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Articles 1 - 11 of 11

Full-Text Articles in Legal History

What Oaths Meant To The Framers’ Generation: A Preliminary Sketch, Steve Sheppard Jan 2009

What Oaths Meant To The Framers’ Generation: A Preliminary Sketch, Steve Sheppard

Steve Sheppard

To the Framers’ generation, oaths of office were understood as commitments, both public and personal, which stemmed from a source of morality. Recent discussions have raised concerns over whether or not the closing phrase in many oaths of office, “so help me God,” demonstrates a possible preference by the Framers for religious leaders and commitments to God. Oaths are not only an acceptance of an office itself, but also the acceptance of the office’s obligations. While oaths state an office’s obligations generally, the obligations include all that could be reasonably inferred from the nature of the office, including ...


Teach Justice, Steve Sheppard Jan 2008

Teach Justice, Steve Sheppard

Steve Sheppard

Law schools must improve their preparation of students to practice law ethically. Current law school curricula focus on preparing students to analyze legal issues but not ethical issues. A curriculum that encourages students to distance themselves from their ethical instincts is dangerous. A value-neutral approach to the law eventually leads to distortions of the law. Lawyers will be left without a proper way to sense the purpose behind the law, and they will instead focus solely on what the law requires or allows. While law schools could choose from limitless lists of moral values to include in their curricula, this ...


Disciplinary Evolution And Scholarly Expansion: Legal History In The United States, Steve Sheppard, Michael H. Hoeflich Jan 2006

Disciplinary Evolution And Scholarly Expansion: Legal History In The United States, Steve Sheppard, Michael H. Hoeflich

Steve Sheppard

The study and teaching of legal history has flourished in the last few decades in the United States. This progression has been augmented by several key factors. First, digital sources have made legal and historical documents widely accessible. A chief difficulty scholars once faced while teaching legal history was a limited access to important documents; printed scholarly journals are expensive to produce, buy, and store. However, the advent of digital technology has provided greater ease of access to once difficult to obtain sources. For example, scholars at Yale Law School’s Avalon Project placed essential documents on the Internet, where ...


The Common Law And The Constitution: John Locke And The Missing Link In Law, Steve Sheppard Nov 2005

The Common Law And The Constitution: John Locke And The Missing Link In Law, Steve Sheppard

Steve Sheppard

Locke's concept of rights influenced the Framers of the Constitution, which has increased the stakes in later interpretation of what Locke’s model of rights entailed. “Lockean rights” now suggests a perfect right unlimitable by the state in the public interest. Such a right is theoretically interesting, but it is not what Locke had in mind, and it was not the model of rights Madison, Jefferson, Hamilton, and other inherited from Locke's Second Treatise.

This paper was an initial reconstruction of Locke's model of a right, locating it within the legal culture of his time and place ...


Revisiting A Classic: Duncan Kennedy's Legal Education And The Reproduction Of Hierarchy The Ghost In The Law School: How Duncan Kennedy Caught The Hierarchy Zeitgeist But Missed The Point, Steve Sheppard Jan 2005

Revisiting A Classic: Duncan Kennedy's Legal Education And The Reproduction Of Hierarchy The Ghost In The Law School: How Duncan Kennedy Caught The Hierarchy Zeitgeist But Missed The Point, Steve Sheppard

Steve Sheppard

In his manifesto, Duncan Kennedy aptly identified hierarchies within legal scholarship and the legal profession, but his conclusion--hierarchies in law are wrong and must be resisted--is misplaced. Kennedy’s Legal Education and the Reproduction of Hierarchy: A Polemic Against the System, claims law schools breed a hierarchical system, where rank plays an important part in how law schools relate to each other; how faculty members relate to each other and to students; and how students relate to other students. This system trains students to accept and prepare for their place within the hierarchy of the legal profession. According to Kennedy ...


Officials' Obligations To Children: The Perfectionist Response To Liberals And Libertarians, Or Why Adult Rights Are Not Trumps Over The State Duty To Ensure Each Child's Education, Steve Sheppard Jan 2005

Officials' Obligations To Children: The Perfectionist Response To Liberals And Libertarians, Or Why Adult Rights Are Not Trumps Over The State Duty To Ensure Each Child's Education, Steve Sheppard

Steve Sheppard

Lawmakers must care more to educate children than to cater to their parents. While parents and the state both have roles in childhood development, the difficulty is finding the proper balance. Lawmakers must decide who should determine exposure of children to new and different ideas. Arguments that limit exposure to ideas should be pursued with the good of a child as the desired end, and not the means to some other end. These arguments fall into two categories: negative arguments and affirmative arguments. Affirmative arguments are less likely to be made with ulterior motives in mind. In the spirit of ...


The Laws Of War In The Pre-Dawn Light: Institutions And Obligations In Thucydides’ Peloponnesian War, Steve Sheppard Jan 2005

The Laws Of War In The Pre-Dawn Light: Institutions And Obligations In Thucydides’ Peloponnesian War, Steve Sheppard

Steve Sheppard

This Essay, in honor of Oscar Schachter, discusses Thucydides’ account of the Peloponnesian War, not only glimpsing into the events surrounding the conflict but also considering how the sparring greek city-states understood and manifested laws of war. This article describes numerous customs, practices, and procedures including respect for truces, ambassadors, heralds, trophies, and various forms of neutrality the ancients adhered to during times of conflict. The greek city-states and their warriors recognized and enforced obligations concerning a city-state’s right to war (jus ad bellum) and conduct in war (jus in bello). While the ancients’ laws of war were always ...


Passion And Nation: War, Crime, And Guilt In The Individual And The Collective, Steve Sheppard Jan 2003

Passion And Nation: War, Crime, And Guilt In The Individual And The Collective, Steve Sheppard

Steve Sheppard

Riffing off of George Fletcher's theory of Romanticism and war, the article reviews Fletcher's arguments, which received derisive reviews during the War against Iraq in 2003. The article takes Fletcher's approach seriously in considering the problem of war as a Romantic impulse, and the difficulties caused by that understanding. The article then derives arguments on the limits of the laws of war to apply to military actions against terrorism. The article considers the nature of collective guilt as a mitigating element in the crimes of one individual, and it considers the nature of non-state enemies in war ...


The Metamorphoses Of Reasonable Doubt: How Changes In The Burden Of Proof Have Weakened The Presumption Of Innocence, Steve Sheppard Jan 2003

The Metamorphoses Of Reasonable Doubt: How Changes In The Burden Of Proof Have Weakened The Presumption Of Innocence, Steve Sheppard

Steve Sheppard

The standard of proof beyond a reasonable doubt is commonly thought to be an important benefit to the accused. The history of the standard is much more complex and demonstrates lesser commitments to the truth and to the defendant.

This article develops the history of the reasonable doubt instruction in the United States and its English antecedents. Examining the development of the instruction in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and its evolution through the nineteenth and twentieth, this history reveals the dual nature of the instruction. It both encapsulated a theory of knowledge and articulated a level of confidence in ...


Freedom To And Freedom From: A Response To Garvey And Armacost With A Tinge Of Legal Perfectionism, Steve Sheppard Jan 1998

Freedom To And Freedom From: A Response To Garvey And Armacost With A Tinge Of Legal Perfectionism, Steve Sheppard

Steve Sheppard

In his article Control Freaks, 47 Drake L. Rev. 1 (1998), Professor John Garvey offers a controversial explanation of how freedom works and why it is good, which is something the traditional American narrative of freedom assumes without attempting a further justification. Professor Garvey’s theory of freedom depends on freedom’s instrumental quality. Freedom is the mechanism that protects a citizen’s abilities to lead a good life and to act for moral purposes. Professor Garvey asserts that lawmakers must first evaluate the morality of an act before they decide whether it deserves protection. When an act does not ...


An Informal History Of How Law Schools Evaluate Students, With A Predictable Emphasis On Law School Exams, Steve Sheppard Jan 1997

An Informal History Of How Law Schools Evaluate Students, With A Predictable Emphasis On Law School Exams, Steve Sheppard

Steve Sheppard

This story of the evolution of legal evaluations from the seventeenth century to the close of the twentieth depicts English influences on American law student evaluations, which have waned in the twentieth century with the advent of course-end examinations. Seventeenth- and eighteenth-century English examinations given to conclude a legal degree were relatively ceremonial exercises in which performance was often based on the demonstration of rote memory. As examination processes evolved, American law schools adopted essay evaluations from their English counterparts. Examinees in the nineteenth century were given a narrative, requiring the recognition of particularly appropriate legal doctrines, enunciation of the ...