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Articles 1 - 11 of 11

Full-Text Articles in Legal History

Law's Visual Afterlife: Violence, Popular Culture, And Translation Theory, Naomi Mezey Jan 2011

Law's Visual Afterlife: Violence, Popular Culture, And Translation Theory, Naomi Mezey

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

In Walter Benjamin’s essay, “The Task of the Translator,” Benjamin argues that translations enable a work’s afterlife. Afterlife is not what happens after death but what allows a work (or event or idea) to go on living and to evolve over time and place and iteration. In its afterlife, the original is transformed and renewed. In this piece I explore film’s visual translation of law and the role film plays in law’s afterlife. Film translates law not by translating from one language to another, but by translating between media and discourses. The cultural-critical lens of translation ...


Re-Imagining Justice, Robin West Jan 2003

Re-Imagining Justice, Robin West

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

What do we mean by legal justice, as opposed to distributive, or social, or political justice; what is the justice, that is, we hope law promotes? What is the justice that lawyers and judges, peculiarly, are professionally committed to pursue? What is the virtue around which, arguably, this profession, and the individuals within it, have defined their public lives?

Justice -- and more particularly legal justice -- is a badly under-theorized topic in jurisprudence; perhaps surprisingly, there is little written on it. The paucity of writing of course has a history. It can be traced to the turn of the last century ...


Tradition, Principle And Self-Sovereignty: Competing Conceptions Of Liberty In The United States Constitution, Robin West Jan 2002

Tradition, Principle And Self-Sovereignty: Competing Conceptions Of Liberty In The United States Constitution, Robin West

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

The “liberty” protected by the United States Constitution has been variously interpreted as the “liberty” of thinking persons to speak, worship and associate with others, unimpeded by onerous state law; the liberty of consumers and producers to make individual market choices, including the choice to sell one’s labour at any price one sees fit, free of redistributive or paternalistic legislation that might restrict it; and the liberty of all of us in the domestic sphere to make choices regarding reproductive and family life, free of state law that might restrict it on grounds relating to public morals. Although the ...


The Right To Liberty In A Good Society, Randy E. Barnett, Douglas B. Rasmussen Jan 2001

The Right To Liberty In A Good Society, Randy E. Barnett, Douglas B. Rasmussen

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

We have been asked to consider how a "Constitution of Civic Virtue" might contribute to a "good society." To answer this question, we need to have some idea of what a good society might be, and we need to be able to articulate that idea. Certainly, we think we know a good movie when we see it, a good book when we read it, a good argument when we hear it, and a good idea when we have one, but we are not sure we have a handle on what a good society is. Even what we think we know ...


Three Positivisms, Robin West Jan 1998

Three Positivisms, Robin West

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

In this article, I accept and hope to expand upon the conventional consensus view that The Path of the Law is a brief for an Americanized version of Austinian legal positivism and for the "separation" of law and morality that is at its core. I also want to show, however, that the distinctive accomplishment of this Essay is its literary ambiguity: Both its explicit arguments for the positivist separation of law and morality, and the three enduring metaphors Holmes uses to make the case -- (1) the "bad man" from whose perspective we can clearly view the law; (2) the "prophecies ...


Constitutional Fictions And Meritocratic Success Stories, Robin West Jan 1996

Constitutional Fictions And Meritocratic Success Stories, Robin West

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

L.H. LaRue demonstrates in his book, Constitutional Law as Fiction, that, at least in the realm of constitutional law, there is no simple correspondence between fiction and falsehood, or fact and truth. Partial or fictive accounts of our constitutional history, even when they are riddled with inaccuracies, may state deep truths about our world, and accurate recitations of historical events may be either intentionally or unintentionally misleading in the extreme. According to LaRue, the Supreme Court engages in a form of storytelling or myth-making that goes beyond the inevitably partial narratives of fact and precedent. The Supreme Court also ...


The Constitution Of Reasons, Robin West Jan 1994

The Constitution Of Reasons, Robin West

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Cass Sunstein's book, The Partial Constitution, brings together a number of his constitutional law essays from the last ten years. During that time, Sunstein has argued, powerfully, for the unconstitutionality of regulatory constraints on access to abortion; for the constitutionality of and the need for regulation of violent pornography; for the constitutionality of limits on both campaign spending and congressional control over public broadcasting; for the deep consistency, conventional wisdom to the contrary notwithstanding, of the Court's repudiation of Lochner in 1937 with its 1974 decision in Roe v. Wade; for the view that we should accord far ...


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 ...


The Authoritarian Impulse In Constitutional Law, Robin West Jan 1988

The Authoritarian Impulse In Constitutional Law, Robin West

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Should there be greater participation by legislators and citizens in constitutional debate, theory, and decision-making? An increasing number of legal theorists from otherwise divergent perspectives have recently argued against what Paul Brest calls the "principle of judicial exclusivity" in our constitutional processes. These theorists contend that because issues of public morality in our culture either are, or tend to become, constitutional issues, all political actors, and most notably legislators and citizens, should consider the constitutional implications of the moral issues of the day. Because constitutional questions are essentially moral questions about how active and responsible citizens should constitute themselves, we ...


Adjudication Is Not Interpretation: Some Reservations About The Law-As-Literature Movement, Robin West Jan 1987

Adjudication Is Not Interpretation: Some Reservations About The Law-As-Literature Movement, Robin West

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Among other achievements, the modern law-as-literature movement has prompted increasing numbers of legal scholars to embrace the claim that adjudication is interpretation, and more specifically, that constitutional adjudication is interpretation of the Constitution. That adjudication is interpretation -- that an adjudicative act is an interpretive act -- more than any other central commitment, unifies the otherwise diverse strands of the legal and constitutional theory of the late twentieth century.

In this article, I will argue in this article against both modern forms of interpretivism. The analogue of law to literature, on which much of modern interpretivism is based, although fruitful, has carried ...


Authority, Autonomy, And Choice: The Role Of Consent In The Moral And Political Visions Of Franz Kafka And Richard Posner, Robin West Jan 1985

Authority, Autonomy, And Choice: The Role Of Consent In The Moral And Political Visions Of Franz Kafka And Richard Posner, Robin West

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

In "The Ethical and Political Basis of Wealth Maximization" and two related articles, Professor (now Judge) Richard Posner argues that widely shared pro-autonomy moral values are furthered by wealth-maximizing market transfers, judicial decisions, and legal institutions advocated by members of the "law and economics" school of legal theory. Such transactions, decisions, and institutions are morally attractive, Posner argues, because they support autonomy; wealth-maximizing transfers are those to which all affected parties have given their consent. This Article argues that Posner's attempt to defend wealth-maximization on principles of consent rests on a simplistic and false psychological theory of human motivation ...