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Full-Text Articles in Legal History

The Interpretation-Construction Distinction, Lawrence B. Solum Jan 2010

The Interpretation-Construction Distinction, Lawrence B. Solum

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

The interpretation-construction distinction, which marks the difference between linguistic meaning and legal effect, is much discussed these days. I shall argue that the distinction is both real and fundamental – that it marks a deep difference in two different stages (or moments) in the way that legal and political actors process legal texts. My account of the distinction will not be precisely the same as some others, but I shall argue that it is the correct account and captures the essential insights of its rivals. This Essay aims to mark the distinction clearly!

The basic idea can be explained by distinguishing ...


Is Law? Constitutional Crisis And Existential Anxiety, Alice G. Ristroph Jan 2009

Is Law? Constitutional Crisis And Existential Anxiety, Alice G. Ristroph

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

In the recurring discussions of constitutional crises, one may find three forms of existential anxiety. The first, and most fleeting, is an anxiety about the continued existence of the nation. A second form of anxiety—to my mind, the most interesting form—is an anxiety about the possibility of the rule of law itself. Third, and most solipsistically, references to crisis in constitutional law scholarship could be the product of a kind of professional anxiety in the legal academy. We may be asking ourselves, “Constitutional theory: what is it good for?” and worrying that the answer is, “Absolutely nothing.” And ...


Hamdan V. Rumseld: The Legal Academy Goes To Practice, Neal K. Katyal Jan 2006

Hamdan V. Rumseld: The Legal Academy Goes To Practice, Neal K. Katyal

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Hamdan v. Rumsfeld is a rare Supreme Court rebuke to the President during armed conflict. The time is not yet right to tell all of the backstory of the case, but it is possible to offer some preliminary reflections on how the case was litigated, the decision, and its implications for the oft-noticed divide between legal theory and practice.

In a widely cited article, Judge Harry Edwards lamented "the growing disjunction between legal education and the legal profession," claiming that "many law schools. .. have abandoned their proper place, by emphasizing abstract theory at the expense of practical scholarship and pedagogy ...


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 ...


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 ...