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Disappearing Claims And The Erosion Of Substantive Law, J. Maria Glover Jan 2015

Disappearing Claims And The Erosion Of Substantive Law, J. Maria Glover

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

The Supreme Court’s arbitration jurisprudence from the last five years represents the culmination of a three-decade-long expansion of the use of private arbitration as an alternative to court adjudication in the resolution of disputes of virtually every type of justiciable claim. Because privatizing disputes that would otherwise be public may well erode public confidence in public institutions and the judicial process, many observers have linked this decades-long privatization of dispute resolution to an erosion of the public realm. Here, I argue that the Court’s recent arbitration jurisprudence undermines the substantive law itself.

While this shift from dispute resolution ...


Constitutional Skepticism: A Recovery And Preliminary Evaluation, Louis Michael Seidman Jan 2014

Constitutional Skepticism: A Recovery And Preliminary Evaluation, Louis Michael Seidman

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

The aim of this article is to recover and reevaluate the American tradition of constitutional skepticism. Part I consists of a brief history of skepticism running from before the founding to the modern period. My aim here is not to provide anything like a complete description of the historical actors, texts, and events that I discuss. Instead, I link together familiar episodes and arguments that stretch across our history so as to demonstrate that they are part of a common narrative that has been crucial to our self-identity. Part II disentangles the various strands of skeptical argument. I argue that ...


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 ...


Political And Constitutional Obligation, Louis Michael Seidman Jan 2013

Political And Constitutional Obligation, Louis Michael Seidman

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

In his provocative, courageous, and original new book, "Against Obligation: The Multiple Sources of Authority in a Liberal Democracy," Abner Greene argues that there is “no successful general case for a presumptive (or ‘prima facie’) moral duty to obey the law.” In my own book, "On Constitutional Disobedience," I argue that there is no moral duty to obey our foundational law–the Constitution of the United States. This brief article, prepared for a symposium on the two books to be published by the Boston University Law Review, I address three issues related to these claims. First, I discuss what seem ...


The Anti-Empathic Turn, Robin West Jan 2011

The Anti-Empathic Turn, Robin West

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Justice, according to a broad consensus of our greatest twentieth century judges, requires a particular kind of moral judgment, and that moral judgment requires, among much else, empathy–the ability to understand not just the situation but also the perspective of litigants on warring sides of a lawsuit.

Excellent judging requires empathic excellence. Empathic understanding is, in some measure, an acquired skill as well as, in part, a natural ability. Some people do it well; some, not so well. Again, this has long been understood, and has been long argued, particularly, although not exclusively, by some of our most admired ...


Tragic Rights: The Rights Critique In The Age Of Obama, Robin West Jan 2011

Tragic Rights: The Rights Critique In The Age Of Obama, Robin West

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

This article discusses the absence of the Rights Critique in the modern era, and its impact on the current formulation of rights in America. The three-pronged rights critique-–that U.S. constitutional rights politically insulate and valorize subordination, legitimate and thus perpetrate greater injustices than they address, and socially alienate us from community--was nearly ubiquitous in the 1980s. Since that time, it has largely disappeared, which in this author’s view is an unfortunate development.

The rights critique continues to be relevant today, because Obama-era rights continue to subordinate, legitimate, and alienate. However, these rights do more than just exaggerate ...


Ronald Dworkin’S Justice For Hedgehogs And Partnership Conception Of Democracy (With A Comment To Jeremy Waldron’S 'A Majority In The Lifeboat'), Imer Flores Jan 2010

Ronald Dworkin’S Justice For Hedgehogs And Partnership Conception Of Democracy (With A Comment To Jeremy Waldron’S 'A Majority In The Lifeboat'), Imer Flores

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

In this article the author focuses mainly in the last part of Ronald Dworkin´s Justice for Hedgehogs and in his argument for a partnership conception of democracy. For that purpose, first, he recalls some of the main features that Dworkin had advanced in previous but intrinsically related works, about political morality, equality and democracy; second, he reassess the arguments for a partnership conception of democracy; third, he reconsiders the resistance produced by Jeremy Waldron in his “A Majority in the Lifeboat” and the response provided by Dworkin, but since it may appear insufficient, he intends to present an alternative ...


Rights, Harms, And Duties: A Response To Justice For Hedgehogs, Robin West Jan 2010

Rights, Harms, And Duties: A Response To Justice For Hedgehogs, Robin West

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

The author responds to the three jurisprudential positions that Ronald Dworkin discusses in his book--albeit briefly--so as to integrate them into his hedgehoggian program. The first is that we should think of rights as political trumps, such that the individual liberty protected by the right, and hence the behavior protected by the right, trumps in importance and in effect, both in law and in popular imaginings, the various collective goals with which the right might be in conflict. Second, we should think about our collective life, and the principles that should guide it, through the lens of the rights of ...


The Missing Jurisprudence Of The Legislated Constitution, Robin West Jan 2009

The Missing Jurisprudence Of The Legislated Constitution, Robin West

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Does the fourteenth Amendment and its Equal Protection Clause — the promise that "no state shall deny equal protection of the laws" — have any relevance to the progressive project of reducing economic inequality in various spheres of life or, more modestly, of ameliorating the multiple vulnerabilities of this country's poor people? The short answer, I believe, is, it depends. It will depend, in 2020, just as it depends now, on what we mean by the Constitution we are expounding: the Constitution as read and interpreted by courts — the adjudicated Constitution — or what I propose to call the legislated Constitution, the ...


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 ...


Natural Law Ambiguities, Robin West Jan 1993

Natural Law Ambiguities, Robin West

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

I share with Fred Schauer the relatively unpopular belief that the positivist insistence that we keep separate the legal "is" from the legal "ought" is a logical prerequisite to meaningful legal criticism, and therefore, in the constitutional context, is a logical prerequisite to meaningful criticism of the Constitution. As Schauer argues, despite the modern inclination to associate positivism with conservatism, the positivist "separation thesis," properly understood, facilitates legal criticism and legal reform, not reactionary acquiescence. If we want to improve law, we must resist the urge to see it through the proverbial rose-colored glasses; we must be clear that a ...


Constitutional Scepticism, Robin West Jan 1992

Constitutional Scepticism, Robin West

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Interpretive constitutional debate over the last few decades has centered on two apparently linked questions: whether the Constitution can be given a determinate meaning, and whether the institution of judicial review can be justified within the basic assumptions of liberalism. Two groups of scholars have generated answers to these questions. The "constitutional faithful" argue that meaning can indeed be determinately affixed to constitutional clauses, by reference to the plain meaning of the document, the original intent of the drafters, evolving political and moral norms of the community, or the best political or moral philosophical theory available and that, because of ...


Progressive And Conservative Constitutionalism, Robin West Jan 1990

Progressive And Conservative Constitutionalism, Robin West

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

American constitutional law in general, and fourteenth amendment jurisprudence in particular, is in a state of profound transformation. The "liberal-legalist" and purportedly politically neutral understanding of constitutional guarantees that dominated constitutional law and theory during the fifties, sixties, and seventies, is waning, both in the courts and in the academy. What is beginning to replace liberal legalism in the academy, and what has clearly replaced it on the Supreme Court, is a very different conception - a new paradigm - of the role of constitutionalism, constitutional adjudication, and constitutional guarantees in a democratic state. Unlike the liberal-legal paradigm it is replacing, the ...


Law, Literature, And The Celebration Of Authority, Robin West Jan 1989

Law, Literature, And The Celebration Of Authority, Robin West

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Richard Posner's new book, Law and Literature: A Misunderstood Relation, is a defense of “liberal legalism” against a group of modern critics who have only one thing in common: their use of either particular pieces of literature or literary theory to mount legal critiques. Perhaps for that reason, it is very hard to discern a unified thesis within Posner's book regarding the relationship between law and literature. In part, Posner is complaining about a pollution of literature by its use and abuse in political and legal argument; thus, the “misunderstood relation” to which the title refers. At times ...


Jurisprudence And Gender, Robin West Jan 1988

Jurisprudence And Gender, Robin West

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

What is a human being? Legal theorists must, perforce, answer this question: jurisprudence, after all, is about human beings. The task has not proven to be divisive. In fact, virtually all modern American legal theorists, like most modern moral and political philosophers, either explicitly or implicitly embrace what I will call the "separation thesis" about what it means to be a human being: a "human being," whatever else he is, is physically separate from all other human beings. I am one human being and you are another, and that distinction between you and me is central to the meaning of ...