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Jurisprudence

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Full-Text Articles in Legal History

Originalism And The Law Of The Past, William Baude, Stephen E. Sachs Jan 2019

Originalism And The Law Of The Past, William Baude, Stephen E. Sachs

Faculty Scholarship

Originalism has long been criticized for its “law office history” and other historical sins. But a recent “positive turn” in originalist thought may help make peace between history and law. On this theory, originalism is best understood as a claim about our modern law — which borrows many of its rules, constitutional or otherwise, from the law of the past. Our law happens to be the Founders’ law, unless lawfully changed.

This theory has three important implications for the role of history in law. First, whether and how past law matters today is a question of current law, not of history ...


Fiction In The Code: Reading Legislation As Literature, Thomas J. Mcsweeney Apr 2018

Fiction In The Code: Reading Legislation As Literature, Thomas J. Mcsweeney

Faculty Publications

One of the major branches of the field of law and literature is often described as "law as literature." Scholars of law as literature examine the law using the tools of literary analysis. The scholarship in this subfield is dominated by the discussion of narrative texts: confessions, victim-impact statements, and, above all, the judicial opinion. This article will argue that we can use some of the same tools to help us understand non-narrative texts, such as law codes and statutes. Genres create expectations. We do not expect a law code to be literary. Indeed, we tend to dissociate the law ...


James Dewitt Andrews: Classifying The Law In The Early Twentieth Century*, Richard A. Danner Jan 2017

James Dewitt Andrews: Classifying The Law In The Early Twentieth Century*, Richard A. Danner

Faculty Scholarship

This paper examines the efforts of New York lawyer James DeWitt Andrews and others to create a new classification system for American law in the early years of the twentieth century. Inspired by fragments left by founding father James Wilson, Andrews worked though the American Bar Association and organized independent projects to classify the law. A controversial figure, whose motives were often questioned, Andrews engaged the support and at times the antagonism of prominent legal figures such as John H. Wigmore, Roscoe Pound, and William Howard Taft before his plans ended with the founding of the American Law Institute in ...


Justice Scalia’S Originalism And Formalism: The Rule Of Criminal Law As A Law Of Rules, Stephanos Bibas Aug 2016

Justice Scalia’S Originalism And Formalism: The Rule Of Criminal Law As A Law Of Rules, Stephanos Bibas

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Far too many reporters and pundits collapse law into politics, assuming that the left–right divide between Democratic and Republican appointees neatly explains politically liberal versus politically conservative outcomes at the Supreme Court. The late Justice Antonin Scalia defied such caricatures. His consistent judicial philosophy made him the leading exponent of originalism, textualism, and formalism in American law, and over the course of his three decades on the Court, he changed the terms of judicial debate. Now, as a result, supporters and critics alike start with the plain meaning of the statutory or constitutional text rather than loose appeals to ...


Recovering Forgotten Struggles Over The Constitutional Meaning Of Equality, Helen Norton Jan 2016

Recovering Forgotten Struggles Over The Constitutional Meaning Of Equality, Helen Norton

Articles

No abstract provided.


Originalism’S Bite, William Baude, Stephen E. Sachs Jan 2016

Originalism’S Bite, William Baude, Stephen E. Sachs

Faculty Scholarship

Is originalism toothless? Richard Posner seems to think so. He writes that repeated theorizing by "intelligent originalists," one of us happily included, has rendered the theory "incoherent" and capable of supporting almost any result. We appreciate the attention, but we fear we've been misunderstood. Our view is that originalism permits arguments from precedent, changed circumstances, or whatever you like, but only to the extent that they lawfully derive from the law of the founding. This kind of originalism, surprisingly common in American legal practice, is catholic in theory but exacting in application. It might look tame, but it has ...


The Original Meaning Of "God": Using The Language Of The Framing Generation To Create A Coherent Establishment Clause Jurisprudence, Michael I. Meyerson Apr 2015

The Original Meaning Of "God": Using The Language Of The Framing Generation To Create A Coherent Establishment Clause Jurisprudence, Michael I. Meyerson

All Faculty Scholarship

The Supreme Court’s attempt to create a standard for evaluating whether the Establishment Clause is violated by religious governmental speech, such as the public display of the Ten Commandments or the Pledge of Allegiance, is a total failure. The Court’s Establishment Clause jurisprudence has been termed “convoluted,” “a muddled mess,” and “a polite lie.” Unwilling to either allow all governmental religious speech or ban it entirely, the Court is in need of a coherent standard for distinguishing the permissible from the unconstitutional. Thus far, no Justice has offered such a standard.

A careful reading of the history of ...


Contract Law And Fundamental Legal Conceptions: An Application Of Hohfeldian Terminology To Contract Doctrine, Daniel P. O'Gorman Jan 2015

Contract Law And Fundamental Legal Conceptions: An Application Of Hohfeldian Terminology To Contract Doctrine, Daniel P. O'Gorman

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


Contract Law And Fundamental Legal Conceptions: An Application Of Hohfeldian Terminology To Contract Doctrine, Daniel P. O'Gorman Jan 2015

Contract Law And Fundamental Legal Conceptions: An Application Of Hohfeldian Terminology To Contract Doctrine, Daniel P. O'Gorman

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


Foreword: Theorizing Contemporary Legal Thought, Justin Desautels-Stein, Duncan Kennedy Jan 2015

Foreword: Theorizing Contemporary Legal Thought, Justin Desautels-Stein, Duncan Kennedy

Articles

This is a co-authored foreword to a symposium in Law & Contemporary Problems titled "Theorizing Contemporary Legal Thought." It includes a discussion of the background of the project, a brief summary of the articles included in the issue, and a very short statement from Desautels-Stein and Kennedy on the "loss of faith" indicative of Contemporary Legal Thought.


Structuralist Legal Histories, Justin Desautels-Stein Jan 2015

Structuralist Legal Histories, Justin Desautels-Stein

Articles

This is a contribution to a symposium titled "Theorizing Contemporary Legal Thought." The central theme of the piece is the relation between legal structuralism and legal historiography.


Originalism As A Theory Of Legal Change, Stephen E. Sachs Jan 2015

Originalism As A Theory Of Legal Change, Stephen E. Sachs

Faculty Scholarship

Originalism is usually defended as a theory of interpretation. This Article presents a different view. Originalism ought to be defended, if at all, not based on normative goals or abstract philosophy, but as a positive theory of American legal practice, and particularly of our rules for legal change.

One basic assumption of legal systems is that the law, whatever it is, stays the same until it's lawfully changed. Originalism begins this process with an origin, a Founding. Whatever rules we had when the Constitution was adopted, we still have today -- unless something happened that was authorized to change them ...


Saving Originalism’S Soul, Stephen E. Sachs Jan 2014

Saving Originalism’S Soul, Stephen E. Sachs

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


Introduction To The Workplace Constitution From The New Deal To The New Right, Sophia Z. Lee Jan 2014

Introduction To The Workplace Constitution From The New Deal To The New Right, Sophia Z. Lee

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Today, most American workers do not have constitutional rights on the job. As The Workplace Constitution shows, this outcome was far from inevitable. Instead, American workers have a long history of fighting for such rights. Beginning in the 1930s, civil rights advocates sought constitutional protections against racial discrimination by employers and unions. At the same time, a conservative right-to-work movement argued that the Constitution protected workers from having to join or support unions. Those two movements, with their shared aim of extending constitutional protections to American workers, were a potentially powerful combination. But they sought to use those protections to ...


The Normativity Of Copying In Copyright Law, Shyamkrishna Balganesh Nov 2012

The Normativity Of Copying In Copyright Law, Shyamkrishna Balganesh

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Not all copying constitutes copyright infringement. Quite independent of fair use, copyright law requires that an act of copying be qualitatively and quantitatively significant enough or “substantially similar” for it to be actionable. Originating in the nineteenth century, and entirely the creation of courts, copyright’s requirement of “substantial similarity” has thus far received little attention as an independently meaningful normative dimension of the copyright entitlement. This Article offers a novel theory for copyright’s substantial-similarity requirement by placing it firmly at the center of the institution and its various goals and purposes. As a common-law-style device that mirrors the ...


War-Time: An Idea, Its History, Its Consequences, Mary L. Dudziak Jan 2012

War-Time: An Idea, Its History, Its Consequences, Mary L. Dudziak

University of Southern California Legal Studies Working Paper Series

When is wartime? On the surface, it is a period of time in which a society is at war. But we now live in what President Obama has called "an age without surrender ceremonies," as the Administration announced an "end to conflict in Iraq," even though conflict on the ground is ongoing. It is no longer easy to distinguish between wartime and peacetime. In this inventive meditation on war, time, and the law, Mary Dudziak argues that wartime is not as discrete a time period as we like to think. Instead, America has been engaged in some form of ongoing ...


Originalism And Loving V. Virginia, Steven G. Calabresi, Andrea Matthews Jan 2012

Originalism And Loving V. Virginia, Steven G. Calabresi, Andrea Matthews

Faculty Working Papers

This article makes an originalist argument in defense of the Supreme Court's holding in Loving v. Virginia that antimiscegenation laws are unconstitutional. This article builds on past work by Professor Michael McConnell defending Brown v. Board of Education on originalist grounds and by Professor Calabresi defending strict scrutiny for gender classifications on originalist grounds. Professor Calabresi's work in this area was defended and praise recently by Slate magazine online. The article shows that Loving v. Virginia is defensible using the public meaning originalism advocated for by Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. This article shows that the issue ...


Race As A Legal Concept, Justin Desautels-Stein Jan 2012

Race As A Legal Concept, Justin Desautels-Stein

Articles

Race is a legal concept, and like all legal concepts, it is a matrix of rules. Although the legal conception of race has shifted over time, up from slavery and to the present, one element in the matrix has remained the same: the background rules of race have always taken a view of racial identity as a natural aspect of human biology. To be sure, characterizations of the rule have oftentimes kept pace with developments in race science, and the original invention of race as a rationale for the subordination of certain human populations is now a rationale with little ...


Justice John Paul Stevens, Originalist, Diane Marie Amann Jan 2012

Justice John Paul Stevens, Originalist, Diane Marie Amann

Scholarly Works

Commentators, including the author of a recent book on the Supreme Court, often attempt to give each Justice a methodological label, such as “practitioner of judicial restraint,” “legal realist,” “pragmatist,” or “originalist.” This Essay first demonstrates that none of the first three labels applies without fail to Justice John Paul Stevens; consequently, it explores the extent to which Justice Stevens’s jurisprudence paid heed to the fourth method, “originalism.” It looks in particular at Justice Stevens’s opinions in recent cases involving firearms, national security, and capital punishment. Somewhat at odds with conventional wisdom, the Essay reveals Justice Stevens as ...


Conference Program -- Association For The Study Of Law, Culture, & The Humanities 14th Annual Conference, University Of Nevada, Las Vegas -- William S. Boyd School Of Law Mar 2011

Conference Program -- Association For The Study Of Law, Culture, & The Humanities 14th Annual Conference, University Of Nevada, Las Vegas -- William S. Boyd School Of Law

Association for the Study of Law, Culture, & the Humanities 14th Annual Conference

The UNLV William S. Boyd School of Law hosted the Association for the Study of Law, Culture & the Humanities 14th Annual Conference from March 11-12, 2011. The Association brings together more than 275 interdisciplinary scholars from around the world each year to discuss law and legal issues from a broad perspective. Scholars attended the meeting at UNLV from Australia, Canada, England, Ireland, Italy, New Zealand and Sweden. The theme of the conference, drawing on the work of Nan Seuffert of the University of Waikato, was "Boundaries and Enemies."

The Association for the Study of Law, Culture and the Humanities is ...


An Essay On Torts: States Of Argument, Marshall S. Shapo Jan 2011

An Essay On Torts: States Of Argument, Marshall S. Shapo

Faculty Working Papers

This essay summarizes high points in torts scholarship and case law over a period of two generations, highlighting the "states of argument" that have characterized tort law over that period. It intertwines doctrine and policy. Its doctrinal features include the tradtional spectrum of tort liability, the duty question, problems of proof, and the relative incoherency of damages rules. Noting the cross-doctrinal role of tort as a solver of functional problems, it focuses on major issues in products liability and medical malpractice. The essay discusses such elements of policy as the role of power in tort law, the tension between communitarianism ...


The Relation Of Theories Of Jurisprudence To International Politics And Law, Anthony D'Amato Jan 2011

The Relation Of Theories Of Jurisprudence To International Politics And Law, Anthony D'Amato

Faculty Working Papers

In this essay we shall be concerned with the real world relevance of theories of international law; that is, with the question of the theories themselves as a factor in international decision-making. To do this it is first necessary to review briefly the substance of the jurisprudential debate among legal scholars, then to view some basic jurisprudential ideas as factors in international views of "law," and finally to reach the question of the operative difference a study of these theories might make in world politics.


On The Connection Between Law And Justice, Anthony D'Amato Jan 2011

On The Connection Between Law And Justice, Anthony D'Amato

Faculty Working Papers

What does it mean to assert that judges should decide cases according to justice and not according to the law? Is there something incoherent in the question itself? That question will serve as our springboard in examining what is—or should be—the connection between justice and law. Legal and political theorists since the time of Plato have wrestled with the problem of whether justice is part of law or is simply a moral judgment about law. Nearly every writer on the subject has either concluded that justice is only a judgment about law or has offered no reason to ...


Philosophical Legal Ethics: Ethics, Morals, And Jurisprudence, Katherine R. Kruse Jan 2011

Philosophical Legal Ethics: Ethics, Morals, And Jurisprudence, Katherine R. Kruse

Scholarly Works

The authors and moderator David Luban participated in a plenary session of the International Legal Ethics Conference IV, held at Stanford. Each author answered and discussed questions arising from short papers they had written about the principal concern of legal ethics was the morality of lawyers, the morality of clients, or the morality of laws.


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 ...


The Jurisprudential Turn In Legal Ethics, Katherine R. Kruse Jan 2011

The Jurisprudential Turn In Legal Ethics, Katherine R. Kruse

Scholarly Works

When legal ethics developed as an academic discipline in the mid-1970s, its theoretical roots were in moral philosophy. The early theorists in legal ethics were moral philosophers by training, and they explored legal ethics as a branch of moral philosophy. From the vantage point of moral philosophy, lawyers’ professional duties comprised a system of moral duties that governed lawyers in their professional lives, a “role-morality” for lawyers that competed with ordinary moral duties. In defining this “role-morality,” the moral philosophers accepted the premise that “good lawyers” are professionally obligated to pursue the interests of their clients all the way to ...


Can Legislatures Constrain Judicial Interpretation Of Statutes?, Anthony D'Amato Jan 2010

Can Legislatures Constrain Judicial Interpretation Of Statutes?, Anthony D'Amato

Faculty Working Papers

An aspect of the battle over deconstruction is whether resort to legislative intent might help to determine the content of a statutory text that otherwise, in splendid isolation, could be deconstructed by simply positing different interpretive contexts. I examine the same issue by recounting my own quest for determinate meaning in statutes—a sort of personal legislative history. I do not claim for jurisprudence the role of ensuring faithful reception of the legislature's message, for that is impossible. At best, jurisprudential theory only reduces the degrees of interpretive freedom, and then only probably, not necessarily. The more significant thesis ...


Pragmatic Indeterminacy, Anthony D'Amato Jan 2010

Pragmatic Indeterminacy, Anthony D'Amato

Faculty Working Papers

If, as a result of taking Indeterminacy seriously, we revolutionize the way we teach law and the way we select judges, then we will also revolutionize the way cases are litigated (because the new judges will expect to hear a different kind of argumentation) and the way people order their lives in anticipation of the way their disputes will be decided by these new judges.


The Effect Of Legal Theories On Judicial Decisions, Anthony D'Amato Jan 2010

The Effect Of Legal Theories On Judicial Decisions, Anthony D'Amato

Faculty Working Papers

I draw a distinction in the beginning of this essay between judicial decision-making and a judge's decision-making. To persuade a judge, we should try to discover what her theories are. Across a range of theories, I offered well-known case examples typically cited as examples of each theory. Then I showed that the exact same theory used to justify or explain those case results could be used to justify or explain the opposite result in each of those cases.


Legal Realism Explains Nothing, Anthony D'Amato Jan 2010

Legal Realism Explains Nothing, Anthony D'Amato

Faculty Working Papers

I argue that American legal realism as derived from Oliver Wendell Holmes's prediction theory of law was misinterpreted, and that a deeper examination of law-as-prediction might help to reduce the pathology of judicial lawmaking that has been the unfortunate consequence of legal realism.