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University at Buffalo School of Law

Constitutional law

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Full-Text Articles in Legal History

Facing The Ghost Of Cruikshank In Constitutional Law, Martha T. Mccluskey Jan 2015

Facing The Ghost Of Cruikshank In Constitutional Law, Martha T. Mccluskey

Journal Articles

For a symposium on Teaching Ferguson, this essay considers how the standard introductory constitutional law course evades the history of legal struggle against institutionalized anti-black violence. The traditional course emphasizes the drama of anti-majoritarian judicial expansion of substantive rights. Looming over the doctrines of equal protection and due process, the ghost of Lochner warns of dangers of judicial leadership in substantive constitutional change. This standard narrative tends to lower expectations for constitutional justice, emphasizing the virtues of judicial modesty and formalism.

By supplementing the ghost of Lochner with the ghost of comparably infamous and influential case, United States v. Cruikshank ...


Institutions And Linguistic Conventions: The Pragmatism Of Lieber's Legal Hermeneutics, Guyora Binder Jan 1995

Institutions And Linguistic Conventions: The Pragmatism Of Lieber's Legal Hermeneutics, Guyora Binder

Journal Articles

This article presents Francis Lieber’s 1839 treatise “Legal and Political Hermeneutics” as a surprisingly modern and pragmatic account of interpretation. It first explicates the two most important influences on Liber’s thought, the romantic philology of Friedrich Schleiermacher, and the institutional positivism of Whig jurists Story and Kent. It shows that both of these sources frankly acknowledged that interpretation is an institutional practice, organized by the evolving aims and customs of the institutions within which it took place. Both tended to view the writing and reading of texts as the deployment of linguistic conventions. Both movements thereby viewed meaning ...