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Full-Text Articles in Jurisprudence

What If Fiduciary Obligations Are Like Contractual Ones?, Gregory Klass Jan 2016

What If Fiduciary Obligations Are Like Contractual Ones?, Gregory Klass

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

This essay, to appear in Contract, Status, and Fiduciary Law (Miller & Gold, 2016), explores three ways fiduciary obligations might be like contractual ones: in the methods lawmakers use or should use to determine the content of the obligation; in the private voluntary acts that generate the obligation; and in the fact that the obligation is a default that parties have the power to alter. The thesis is that to the extent that these similarities exist, they are not especially revealing. Theorists who emphasize the similarities commonly treat contract law as a private power-conferring rule, then analogize the law of fiduciary obligations to it. In fact, the law of contract is more complex and serves a broader range of purposes than just giving private parties the ability to ...


Franz Kafka, Lawrence Joseph, And The Possibilities Of Jurisprudential Literature, Patrick J. Glen Jan 2011

Franz Kafka, Lawrence Joseph, And The Possibilities Of Jurisprudential Literature, Patrick J. Glen

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

The purpose of this article is twofold. First, it offers a complementary reading of Franz Kafka’s writings on the law and Lawrence Joseph’s novel Lawyerland. This reading focuses on the distinct perspectives offered by these authors. Whereas Kafka approaches the law from the perspective of the litigant or accused, Joseph’s perspective, through the eyes of his lawyers and judges, is that of the consummate insider. The importance of perspective rests with the fact that although law might constitute an objective system, its experience is inevitably subjective. The absurd malevolence of law in Kafka can thus be rationalized ...


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 ...


Comments On Roger Cotterrell's Essay, 'The Struggle For Law: Some Dilemmas Of Cultural Legality', Robin West Jan 2009

Comments On Roger Cotterrell's Essay, 'The Struggle For Law: Some Dilemmas Of Cultural Legality', Robin West

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

First, many thanks to Carrie Menkel-Meadow, the editors of The International Journal of Law In Context and the sponsors of this series for facilitating this lecture, and for inviting my participation. And a special thank you to Professor Roger Cotterrell for sharing with us such a generous, humanistic and hopeful account of law’s moral possibilities, when faced with multicultural conflict within a society governed by a liberal rule of law. I very much appreciate the opportunity to reflect on this set of claims, although I feel somewhat an outsider to the task, as I’ll explain below. I understand ...


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 ...


Roscoe Pound, Melvin Belli, And The Personal-Injury Bar: The Tale Of An Odd Coupling, Joseph A. Page Jan 2009

Roscoe Pound, Melvin Belli, And The Personal-Injury Bar: The Tale Of An Odd Coupling, Joseph A. Page

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

In the fourth chapter of Patriots and Cosmopolitans: Hidden Histories of American Law, legal historian John Fabian Witt tells the story of a collaboration between storied scholar Roscoe Pound and trial virtuoso Melvin M. Belli, which he calls "among the most startling and yet unremarked-upon relationships in the annals of American law." Witt argues that it both shaped and energized the efforts of personal-injury lawyers to oppose proposals that would shift to the administrative branch of government responsibility for compensating auto-accident victims. Entitled "The King and the Dean," in reference to the media's coronation of Belli as the "King ...


Introduction: The Jurisprudence Of Justice Stevens Symposium, William Michael Treanor Jan 2006

Introduction: The Jurisprudence Of Justice Stevens Symposium, William Michael Treanor

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Fordham Law School opened its doors on September 28, 1905, a school with ten students and six faculty members. That day marked a great beginning, and on September 28, 2005, we began a year-long celebration of Fordham Law's history and the law school community's remarkable achievements over 100 years. The heart of any great academic institution is, of course, academics, and, as part of the centennial celebration, we are hosting an extraordinary series of conferences. This issue of the Fordham Law Review presents the papers produced by the first of the year's conferences, the Symposium on the ...


The Lawless Adjudicator, Robin West Jan 2005

The Lawless Adjudicator, Robin West

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

First, on the "lawless adjudicator." The question I want to pose is this: Why is it so hard for the legal academy - and the legal profession - to come to grips with the bare logic of the charge, much less the case, that Vere acted lawlessly, and therefore criminally, and indeed murderously, when he willfully distorted the governing law, so as to execute Billy? Why has this quite specific legal claim not received more of a hearing? Is it because Weisberg was not sufficiently considerate in his communication of this idea? On first blush that seems implausible: It is one thing ...


"Meet The New Boss": The New Judicial Center, Mark V. Tushnet Jan 2005

"Meet The New Boss": The New Judicial Center, Mark V. Tushnet

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

A document entitled ‘Guidelines on Constitutional Litigation’ published in 1988 by the Reagan era Department of Justice is the springboard for Professor Tushnet's discussion of the Supreme Court's "new center. " The Guidelines urged Department of Justice litigators to foster a nearly exclusive reliance on original understanding in constitutional interpretation and to resort to legislative history only as a last resort. The Guidelines also advised Department of Justice litigators to seek substantive legal changes including more restrictive standing requirements, an end to the creation of unenumerated individual rights, greater constitutional protection of property rights, and greater limits on congressional ...


Pragmatism And Judgment: A Comment On Lund, Mark V. Tushnet Jan 2004

Pragmatism And Judgment: A Comment On Lund, Mark V. Tushnet

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Nelson Lund's article is entitled The Rehnquist Court's Pragmatic Approach to Civil Rights.' I raise three questions about his analysis, two of which take off from the phrasing of his title. First, calling the present Court the Rehnquist Court is obviously easy, and I do it myself in the subtitle of my forthcoming book. Professor Lund has of course taken his charge from the conveners of this Symposium, and I do not mean to criticize him for doing so. Still, it may be worth pointing out that convening a symposium that encourages people to think in terms of ...


Law And Prudence In The Law Of Justiciability: The Transformation And Disappearance Of The Political Question Doctrine, Mark V. Tushnet Jan 2002

Law And Prudence In The Law Of Justiciability: The Transformation And Disappearance Of The Political Question Doctrine, Mark V. Tushnet

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

This Essay develops the foregoing argument by examining, in Section I, the transformation of the political question doctrine from Baker v. Carr through Walter Nixon v. United States. Section II charts a similar, perhaps even more dramatic transformation of the law of standing. Section I then examines Bush v. Gore, explaining how older doctrines of standing and political questions might have been thought relevant there. It argues as well that the very fact that those doctrines went unmentioned by the Court shows why we must take a historically grounded view of justiciability doctrines. Section IV sketches the historical settings in ...


The Ideal Of Liberty: A Comment On Michael H. V. Gerald D., Robin West Jan 1991

The Ideal Of Liberty: A Comment On Michael H. V. Gerald D., Robin West

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

What is the meaning and content of the "liberty" protected by the due process clause of the fourteenth amendment? In Michael H. v. Gerald D. Justices Brennan and Scalia spelled out what at first blush appear to be sharply contrasting understandings of the meaning of liberty and of the substantive limits liberty imposes on state action. Justice Scalia argued that the "liberty" protected by a substantive interpretation of due process is only the liberty to engage in activities historically protected against state intervention by firmly entrenched societal traditions. I will sometimes call this the "traditionalist" interpretation of liberty. Justice Brennan ...


The Meaning Of Equality And The Interpretive Turn, Robin West Jan 1990

The Meaning Of Equality And The Interpretive Turn, Robin West

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

The turn to hermeneutics and interpretation in contemporary legal theory has contributed at least two central ideas to modern jurisprudential thought: first, that the "meaning" of a text is invariably indeterminate -- what might be called the indeterminacy claim -- and second, that the unavoidably malleable essence of texts -- their essential inessentiality -- entails that interpreting a text is a necessary part of the process of creating the text's meaning. These insights have generated both considerable angst, and considerable excitement among traditional constitutional scholars, primarily because at least on first blush these two claims seem to inescapably imply a third: that the ...


Equality Theory, Marital Rape, And The Promise Of The Fourteenth Amendment, Robin West Jan 1990

Equality Theory, Marital Rape, And The Promise Of The Fourteenth Amendment, Robin West

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

During the 1980s a handful of state judges either held or opined in dicta what must be incontrovertible to the feminist community, as well as to most progressive legal advocates and academics: the so-called marital rape exemption, whether statutory or common law in origin, constitutes a denial of a married woman's constitutional right to equal protection under the law. Indeed, a more obvious denial of equal protection is difficult to imagine: the marital rape exemption denies married women protection against violent crime solely on the basis of gender and marital status. What possibly could be less rational than a ...


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 ...