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Articles 1 - 12 of 12

Full-Text Articles in Jurisprudence

Asymmetric Empirical Similarity, Joshua C. Teitelbaum Mar 2014

Asymmetric Empirical Similarity, Joshua C. Teitelbaum

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

The paper offers a formal model of analogical legal reasoning and takes the model to data. Under the model, the outcome of a new case is a weighted average of the outcomes of prior cases. The weights capture precedential influence and depend on fact similarity (distance in fact space) and precedential authority (position in the judicial hierarchy). The empirical analysis suggests that the model is a plausible model for the time series of U.S. maritime salvage cases. Moreover, the results evince that prior cases decided by inferior courts have less influence than prior cases decided by superior courts.


Communicative Content And Legal Content, Lawrence B. Solum Jan 2013

Communicative Content And Legal Content, Lawrence B. Solum

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

This essay investigates a familiar set of questions about the relationship between legal texts (e.g., constitutions, statutes, opinions, orders, and contracts) and the content of the law (e.g., norms, rules, standards, doctrines, and mandates). Is the original meaning of the constitutional text binding on the Supreme Court when it develops doctrines of constitutional law? Should statutes be given their plain meaning or should judges devise statutory constructions that depart from the text to serve a purpose? What role should default rules play in the interpretation and construction of contracts? This essay makes two moves that can help lawyers ...


Natalie Stoljar’S Wishful Thinking And One Step Beyond: What Should Conceptual Legal Analysis Become?, Imer Flores Jan 2013

Natalie Stoljar’S Wishful Thinking And One Step Beyond: What Should Conceptual Legal Analysis Become?, Imer Flores

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Praising wishful thinking is a serious risk that the author is willing to run not only in this article commenting of Natalie Stoljar’s work but also elsewhere in his scholarship. The author will analyze her claims and will agree mostly with them, he will also criticize her for stopping one step short adopting the desirability or weaker claim, when in it is not merely possible but necessary to go one step beyond arguing for the necessity or stronger claim. The author intends to present further grounds for endorsing “conceptual (legal) analysis pluralism” by distinguishing the three different inquiry or ...


Confucian Virtue Jurisprudence, Linghao Wang, Lawrence B. Solum Jan 2012

Confucian Virtue Jurisprudence, Linghao Wang, Lawrence B. Solum

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Virtue jurisprudence is an approach to legal theory that develops the implications of virtue ethics and virtue politics for the law. Recent work on virtue jurisprudence has emphasized a NeoAristotelian approach. This essay develops a virtue jurisprudence in the Confucian tradition. The title of this essay, “Confucian Virtue Jurisprudence,” reflects the central aim of our work, to build a contemporary theory of law that is both virtue-centered and that provides a contemporary reconstruction of the central ideas of the early Confucian intellectual tradition.

This essay provides a sketch of our contemporary version of Confucian virtue jurisprudence, including a view of ...


The Unity Of Interpretation, Lawrence B. Solum Jan 2010

The Unity Of Interpretation, Lawrence B. Solum

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

What is interpretation? One can imagine a range of answers to this question. One answer might begin with the observation that the English word “interpretation” is used to refer to a variety of human activities. Translators at the United Nations interpret remarks made in French when they offer an English translation. Literary critics interpret novels when they investigate the deep and sometimes unconscious motivations of the author. Conductors interpret a score when they make decisions about meter, tempo, and dynamic range. Actors interpret a screenplay when they improvise new lines based on their understanding of the characters. Judges interpret statutes ...


District Of Columbia V. Heller And Originalism, Lawrence B. Solum Jan 2009

District Of Columbia V. Heller And Originalism, Lawrence B. Solum

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

On June 26, 2008, the United States Supreme Court handed down its 5-4 decision in District of Columbia v. Heller, striking a District of Columbia statute that prohibits the possession of useable handguns in the home on the ground that it violated the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution. Justice Scalia's majority opinion drew dissents from Justice Stevens and Justice Breyer. Collectively, the opinions in Heller represent the most important and extensive debate on the role of original meaning in constitutional interpretation among the members of the contemporary Supreme Court.

This article investigates the relationship between originalist constitutional ...


Natural Justice, Lawrence B. Solum Jan 2006

Natural Justice, Lawrence B. Solum

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Justice is a natural virtue. Well-functioning humans are just, as are well-ordered human societies. Roughly, this means that in a well-ordered society, just humans internalize the laws and social norms (the nomoi)--they internalize lawfulness as a disposition that guides the way they relate to other humans. In societies that are mostly well-ordered, with isolated zones of substantial dysfunction, the nomoi are limited to those norms that are not clearly inconsistent with the function of law--to create the conditions for human flourishing. In a radically dysfunctional society, humans are thrown back on their own resources--doing the best they can in ...


Public Legal Reason, Lawrence B. Solum Jan 2006

Public Legal Reason, Lawrence B. Solum

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

This essay develops an ideal of public legal reason--a normative theory of legal reasons that is appropriate for a society characterized by religious and moral pluralism. One of the implications of this theory is that normative theorizing about public and private law should eschew reliance on the deep premises of deontology or consequentialism and should instead rely on what the author calls public values--values that can be affirmed without relying on the deep and controversial premises of particular comprehensive moral doctrines.

The ideal of public legal reason is then applied to a particular question--whether welfarism (a particular form of normative ...


Pluralism And Public Legal Reason, Lawrence B. Solum Jan 2006

Pluralism And Public Legal Reason, Lawrence B. Solum

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

What role does and should religion play in the legal sphere of a modern liberal democracy? Does religion threaten to create divisions that would undermine the stability of the constitutional order? Or is religious disagreement itself a force that works to create consensus on some of the core commitments of constitutionalism--liberty of conscience, toleration, limited government, and the rule of law? This essay explores these questions from the perspectives of contemporary political philosophy and constitutional theory. The thesis of the essay is that pluralism--the diversity of religious and secular conceptions of the good--can and should work as a force for ...


The Aretaic Turn In Constitutional Theory, Lawrence B. Solum Jan 2004

The Aretaic Turn In Constitutional Theory, Lawrence B. Solum

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

The author argues that the aretaic turn in constitutional theory is an institutional approach to theories of constitutional interpretation ought to be supplemented by explicit focus on the virtues and vices of constitutional adjudicators. Part I, The Most Dysfunctional Branch, advances the speculative hypothesis that politicization of the judiciary has led the political branches to exclude consideration of virtue from the nomination and confirmation of Supreme Court Justices and to select Justices on the basis of the strength of their commitment to particular positions on particular issues and the fervor of their ideological passions.

Part II, Institutionalism and Constitutional Interpretation ...


Procedural Justice, Lawrence B. Solum Jan 2004

Procedural Justice, Lawrence B. Solum

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

This article begins in part I, Introduction, with two observations. First, the function of procedure is to particularize general substantive norms so that they can guide action. Second, the hard problem of procedural justice corresponds to the following question: How can we regard ourselves as obligated by legitimate authority to comply with a judgment that we believe (or even know) to be in error with respect to the substantive merits?

The theory of procedural justice is developed in several stages, beginning with some preliminary questions and problems. The first question--what is procedure?--is the most difficult and requires an extensive ...


Virtue Jurisprudence: A Virtue-Centered Theory Of Judging, Lawrence B. Solum Jan 2003

Virtue Jurisprudence: A Virtue-Centered Theory Of Judging, Lawrence B. Solum

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

"Virtue jurisprudence" is a normative and explanatory theory of law that utilizes the resources of virtue ethics to answer the central questions of legal theory. The main focus of the essay is the development of a virtue-centered theory of judging. The exposition of the theory begins with exploration of defects in judicial character such as corruption and incompetence. Next, an account of judicial virtue is introduced. This includes judicial wisdom, a form of phronesis, or sound practical judgment. A virtue-centered account of justice is defended against the argument that theories of fairness are prior to theories of justice. The centrality ...