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Common law

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Articles 1 - 30 of 65

Full-Text Articles in Legal History

Finding Law, Stephen E. Sachs Jan 2019

Finding Law, Stephen E. Sachs

Faculty Scholarship

That the judge's task is to find the law, not to make it, was once a commonplace of our legal culture. Today, decades after Erie, the idea of a common law discovered by judges is commonly dismissed -- as a "fallacy," an "illusion," a "brooding omnipresence in the sky." That dismissive view is wrong. Expecting judges to find unwritten law is no childish fiction of the benighted past, but a real and plausible option for a modern legal system.

This Essay seeks to restore the respectability of finding law, in part by responding to two criticisms made by Erie and ...


Appellate Standards Of Review Then And Now, Yves-Marie Morissette Apr 2017

Appellate Standards Of Review Then And Now, Yves-Marie Morissette

The Journal of Appellate Practice and Process

No abstract provided.


Contemplating Masterpiece Cakeshop, Terri R. Day Jan 2017

Contemplating Masterpiece Cakeshop, Terri R. Day

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


The Prosser Myth Of Transferred Intent, Peter B. Kutner Jul 2016

The Prosser Myth Of Transferred Intent, Peter B. Kutner

Indiana Law Journal

The main theme of this Article is that Prosser advanced a mythical doctrine of transferred intent. What Prosser asserted to be the law was not the law when he wrote his article on transferred intent and amended his treatise. The cases he relied on to support his conclusions on transferred intent did not support them. Moreover, despite Prosser’s great influence on American tort law, Prosser’s position on transferred intent is not the law now and should not be. Its consequences are undesirable. Recognition of transferred intent as a basis of liability is due primarily to its inclusion in ...


Law As Interpretation, Charles W. Collier Apr 2016

Law As Interpretation, Charles W. Collier

Charles W. Collier

In this Article, I shall trace out separate professional narratives in common law, constitutional law, and in legal cases turning on the distinction between community and society (Part III). But first I should like to situate these legal-professional narratives within a broader interdisciplinary framework (Part II).


Law And Regime Change: The Common Law, Knowledge Regimes, And Democracy Between The Nineteenth And Twentieth Centuries, Kunal Parker Jan 2016

Law And Regime Change: The Common Law, Knowledge Regimes, And Democracy Between The Nineteenth And Twentieth Centuries, Kunal Parker

Articles

Using a change in knowledge regime as a paradigm of regime change, this paper explores the career of common law thinking in the United States between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. It shows how, under the pressures of anti-foundational thinking, knowledge moved from a nineteenth-century regime of “knowledge that,” a regime of foundational knowledge, to an early-twentieth-century regime of “knowledge how,” a regime of anti-foundational knowledge concerned with the procedures, processes, and protocols of arriving at knowledge. It then shows how common law thinkers adapted to this change in knowledge regimes, transforming the common law from a body of substantive ...


A Government Of Laws Not Of Precedents 1776-1876: The Google Challenge To Common Law Myth, James Maxeiner Apr 2015

A Government Of Laws Not Of Precedents 1776-1876: The Google Challenge To Common Law Myth, James Maxeiner

All Faculty Scholarship

The United States, it is said, is a common law country. The genius of American common law, according to American jurists, is its flexibility in adapting to change and in developing new causes of action. Courts make law even as they apply it. This permits them better to do justice and effectuate public policy in individual cases, say American jurists.

Not all Americans are convinced of the virtues of this American common law method. Many in the public protest, we want judges that apply and do not make law. American jurists discount these protests as criticisms of naive laymen. They ...


The Opening Of American Law: Neoclassical Legal Thought, 1870-1970: Epilogue, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Feb 2015

The Opening Of American Law: Neoclassical Legal Thought, 1870-1970: Epilogue, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The Opening of American Law examines changes in American legal thought that began during Reconstruction and the Gilded Age, and extending through the Kennedy/Johnson eras. During this period American judges and legal writers embraced various conceptions of legal "science," although they differed about what that science entailed. Beginning in the Gilded Age, the principal sources were Darwinism in the biological and social sciences, marginalism in economics and psychology, and legal historicism. The impact on judicial, legislative, and later administrative law making is difficult to exaggerate. Among the changes were vastly greater use of behavioral or deterrence based theories of ...


A Government Of Laws Not Of Precedents 1776-1876: The Google Challenge To Common Law Myth, James Maxeiner Jan 2015

A Government Of Laws Not Of Precedents 1776-1876: The Google Challenge To Common Law Myth, James Maxeiner

James R Maxeiner

Conventional wisdom holds that the United States is a common law country of precedents where, until the 20th century (the “Age of Statutes”), statutes had little role. Digitization by Google and others of previously hard to find legal works of the 19th century challenges this common law myth. At the Centennial in 1876 Americans celebrated that “The great fact in the progress of American jurisprudence … is its tendency towards organic statute law and towards the systematizing of law; in other words, towards written constitutions and codification.” This article tests the claim of the Centennial Writers of 1876 and finds it ...


Structure And Value In The Common Law, Shyamkrishna Balganesh, Gideon Parchomovsky Jan 2015

Structure And Value In The Common Law, Shyamkrishna Balganesh, Gideon Parchomovsky

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Legal concepts are seen today as archaic relics of the past, and as representing a largely dispensable feature of the common law. This Article challenges the widely accepted view of legal concepts as remnants of formalist thinking, and argues that legal concepts play a crucial role in ensuring the vitality and subsistence of the common law over time, place, and context. Legal concepts embody what we term “a duality of meaning,” which effects a separation between a concept’s analytical and normative meanings. The analytical (or structural) meaning of a concept is, at its core, well-defined and remains stable over ...


Americanization Of The Common Law: The Intellectual Migration Meets The Great Migration, David Thomas Konig Jun 2014

Americanization Of The Common Law: The Intellectual Migration Meets The Great Migration, David Thomas Konig

Chicago-Kent Law Review

This essay is an appreciation of William E. Nelson’s Americanization of the Common Law: The Impact of Legal Change on Massachusetts Society, 1760–1830 (1975) and the complementary study published six years later as Dispute and Conflict Resolution in Plymouth County, Massachusetts, 1725–1825 (1981). The essay places Nelson’s research project in the immediate context of historical writing on colonial New England at the time of their publication but steps back from that narrow context to identify the significance of the book in the long trajectory of great legal historical writing on the Anglo-American legal tradition.


The Restatement (Second) Of Contracts Reasonably Certain Terms Requirement: A Model Of Neoclassical Contract Law And A Model Of Confusion And Inconsistency, Daniel P. O'Gorman Jan 2014

The Restatement (Second) Of Contracts Reasonably Certain Terms Requirement: A Model Of Neoclassical Contract Law And A Model Of Confusion And Inconsistency, Daniel P. O'Gorman

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


Sosa, Federal Question Jurisdiction, And Historical Fidelity, Anthony J. Bellia Oct 2013

Sosa, Federal Question Jurisdiction, And Historical Fidelity, Anthony J. Bellia

Anthony J. Bellia

In his paper "International Human Rights in American Courts," Judge Fletcher concludes that Sosa v. Alvarez-Machain “has left us with more questions than answers.” Sosa attempted to adapt certain principles belonging to the "general law" to a post-Erie positivistic conception of common law while maintaining fidelity to certain historical expectations. “[I]t would be unreasonable,” the Court thought, “to assume that the First Congress would have expected federal courts to lose all capacity to recognize enforceable international norms simply because the common law might lose some metaphysical cachet on the road to modern realism.” The Court was unwilling, however ...


Procedural Common Law, Amy Coney Barrett Oct 2013

Procedural Common Law, Amy Coney Barrett

Amy Coney Barrett

Debates about the common lawmaking power of the federal courts focus exclusively on substantive common law. But federal common law is not limited to matters of substance; it reaches matters of procedure as well. Federal law includes a robust body of what might be called procedural common law - common law primarily concerned with the regulation of internal court processes rather than substantive rights and obligations. This body of law includes many doctrines that are fixtures in the law of procedure and federal courts. For example, abstention, forum non conveniens, remittitur, stare decisis, and preclusion can all fairly be characterized as ...


The Unwritten Law And Its Writers, Frederick J. Moreau May 2013

The Unwritten Law And Its Writers, Frederick J. Moreau

Pepperdine Law Review

No abstract provided.


Holmes And The Common Law: A Jury's Duty, Matthew P. Cline Mar 2013

Holmes And The Common Law: A Jury's Duty, Matthew P. Cline

Matthew P Cline

The notion of a small group of peers whose responsibility it is to play a part in determining the outcome of a trial is central to the common conception of the American legal system. Memorialized in the Constitution of the United States as a fundamental right, and in the national consciousness as the proud, if begrudged, duty of all citizens, juries are often discussed, but perhaps not always understood. Whatever misunderstandings have come to be, certainly many of them sprang from the juxtaposition of jury and judge. Why do we have both? How are their responsibilities divided? Who truly decides ...


The Restatement (Second): Its Misleading Quality And A Proposal For Its Amelioration, W. Noel Keyes Jan 2013

The Restatement (Second): Its Misleading Quality And A Proposal For Its Amelioration, W. Noel Keyes

Pepperdine Law Review

No abstract provided.


The Restatement (Second): A Tribute To Its Increasingly Advantageous Quality, And An Encouragement To Continue The Trend, John W. Wade Jan 2013

The Restatement (Second): A Tribute To Its Increasingly Advantageous Quality, And An Encouragement To Continue The Trend, John W. Wade

Pepperdine Law Review

No abstract provided.


Positivism In The Historiography Of The Common Law, David K. Millon Jan 2013

Positivism In The Historiography Of The Common Law, David K. Millon

David K. Millon

A great deal of important legal historical scholarship is doctrinal in focus, its objective being to chart the history of substantive common law rules. In this Article, Professor Millon suggests that doctrinal legal history is based implicitly on the modern positivist theory of law as a system of state-endorsed rules designed to resolve disputes in a consistent, predictable manner. He questions the validity of efforts to write the history of the premodern common law from this theoretical point of view. Focusing on pre-seventeenth century civil cases, he finds that trial procedure seems to have allowed or even encouraged juries to ...


Positivism In The Historiography Of The Common Law, David K. Millon Jan 2013

Positivism In The Historiography Of The Common Law, David K. Millon

David K. Millon

A great deal of important legal historical scholarship is doctrinal in focus, its objective being to chart the history of substantive common law rules. In this Article, Professor Millon suggests that doctrinal legal history is based implicitly on the modern positivist theory of law as a system of state-endorsed rules designed to resolve disputes in a consistent, predictable manner. He questions the validity of efforts to write the history of the premodern common law from this theoretical point of view. Focusing on pre-seventeenth century civil cases, he finds that trial procedure seems to have allowed or even encouraged juries to ...


The “Unwritten Constitution” And Unwritten Law, Stephen E. Sachs Jan 2013

The “Unwritten Constitution” And Unwritten Law, Stephen E. Sachs

Faculty Scholarship

America’s Unwritten Constitution is a prod to the profession to look for legal rules outside the Constitution’s text. This is a good thing, as outside the text there’s a vast amount of law—the everyday, nonconstitutional law, written and unwritten, that structures our government and society. Despite the book’s unorthodox framing, many of its claims can be reinterpreted in fully conventional legal terms, as the product of the text’s interaction with ordinary rules of law and language.

This very orthodoxy, though, may undermine Akhil Amar’s case that America truly has an “unwritten Constitution.” In ...


Natural Law, Slavery, And The Right To Privacy Tort, Anita L. Allen Dec 2012

Natural Law, Slavery, And The Right To Privacy Tort, Anita L. Allen

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

In 1905 the Supreme Court of Georgia became the first state high court to recognize a freestanding “right to privacy” tort in the common law. The landmark case was Pavesich v. New England Life Insurance Co. Must it be a cause for deep jurisprudential concern that the common law right to privacy in wide currency today originated in Pavesich’s explicit judicial interpretation of the requirements of natural law? Must it be an additional worry that the court which originated the common law privacy right asserted that a free white man whose photograph is published without his consent in a ...


Constitutional Backdrops, Stephen E. Sachs Jan 2012

Constitutional Backdrops, Stephen E. Sachs

Stephen E. Sachs

The Constitution is often said to leave important questions unanswered. These include, for example, the existence of a congressional contempt power or an executive removal power, the role of stare decisis, and the scope of state sovereign immunity. Bereft of clear text, many scholars have sought answers to such questions in Founding-era history. But why should the historical answers be valid today, if they were never codified in the Constitution's text? This Article describes a category of legal rules that weren't adopted in the text, expressly or implicitly, but which nonetheless have continuing legal force under the written ...


Legislative Supremacy, Kenneth Ward Jan 2012

Legislative Supremacy, Kenneth Ward

Washington University Jurisprudence Review

This essay develops an institutional perspective to consider limitations on judicial authority. Rather than assume that judicial decisions put an end to disagreements about what the Constitution means, this perspective focuses on the political contests that occur after judges make disputed interpretations of constitutional law. This perspective shows that scholars both exaggerate the role of judicial review in enforcing constitutional limits and underestimate the political instability that follows from difficulty in challenging controversial judicial holdings. Together, these claims are the beginning of an argument defending a form of legislative supremacy that would allow Congress and the President to override judicial ...


The Mismeasurement Of Legal Pragmatism, Douglas Lind Jan 2012

The Mismeasurement Of Legal Pragmatism, Douglas Lind

Washington University Jurisprudence Review

No abstract provided.


Constitutional Backdrops, Stephen E. Sachs Jan 2012

Constitutional Backdrops, Stephen E. Sachs

Faculty Scholarship

The Constitution is often said to leave important questions unanswered. These include, for example, the existence of a congressional contempt power or an executive removal power, the role of stare decisis, and the scope of state sovereign immunity. Bereft of clear text, many scholars have sought answers to such questions in Founding-era history. But why should the historical answers be valid today, if they were never codified in the Constitution's text?

This Article describes a category of legal rules that weren't adopted in the text, expressly or implicitly, but which nonetheless have continuing legal force under the written ...


Law And Lawyers In The U.S.: The Hero-Villain Dichotomy, Judith A. Mcmorrow Oct 2011

Law And Lawyers In The U.S.: The Hero-Villain Dichotomy, Judith A. Mcmorrow

Judith A. McMorrow

Lawyers in U.S. culture are often presented in either an extremely positive or extremely negative light. Although popular culture exaggerates and oversimplifies the 'good v. bad' dynamic of lawyers, this dichotomy provides important insights into the role attorneys play in the U.S. legal system, the boundaries of legal ethics, and the extent to which the U.S. legal system is relied upon to address our society's great moral and social dilemmas.


The Origin Of The Appeal In America, Mary Sarah Bilder Sep 2011

The Origin Of The Appeal In America, Mary Sarah Bilder

Mary Sarah Bilder

The appeal has been treated by academics as a mere legal procedure, possessing no particular significance. Indeed, for many years, legal scholars accepted the influential arguments of Professors Julius Goebel and Roscoe Pound that the appearance of the appeal in early American courts arose either from confusion about English common law legal procedures or was the result of colonial adaptation of English justice-of-the-peace practices. Professor Bilder challenges this conventional explanation of the origin of the appeal by locating the early American colonists within a transatlantic Western European legal culture. Professor Bilder's Article draws on recent work in cultural history ...


Rudolf Callmann And The Misappropriation Doctrine In The Common Law Of Unfair Competition, Christopher Wadlow Jul 2011

Rudolf Callmann And The Misappropriation Doctrine In The Common Law Of Unfair Competition, Christopher Wadlow

Christopher Wadlow

Rudolf Callmann (1892-1976) is a central figure for unfair competition lawyers in both the German civil law and the Anglo-American common law traditions. When he emigrated from Germany to America in the 1930s he was already the author of substantial works on trade marks, unfair competition, and cartel law. In the United States he composed the monumental Callmann on Unfair Competition, Trademarks and Monopolies. This article examines his invocation of the 1918 decision of the Supreme Court in International News Service v Associated Press as the basis for a reformulated common law of unfair competition, eschewing a purely tortious conception ...


Adoption Of English Law In Maryland, Garrett Power May 2011

Adoption Of English Law In Maryland, Garrett Power

Garrett Power

It served as an axiom of Maryland’s constitutional history that settlers carried with them the “rights of Englishmen” when they crossed the Atlantic. In 1642 the Assembly of Maryland Freemen declared Maryland’s provincial judges were to follows the law of England. Maryland’s 1776 Declaration of Independence left a legal lacuna--- what were to be the laws and public institutions of this newly created sovereign entity? This paper considers the manner in which the sovereign state of Maryland filled the void.