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University at Buffalo School of Law

Legal History

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Full-Text Articles in Legal History

What Is Criminal Law About?, Guyora Binder, Robert Weisberg Jan 2015

What Is Criminal Law About?, Guyora Binder, Robert Weisberg

Journal Articles

In a recent critique, Jens Ohlin faults contemporary criminal law textbooks for emphasizing philosophy, history and social science at the expense of doctrinal training. In this response, we argue that the political importance of criminal law justifies including reflection about the justice of punishment in the professional education of lawyers. First, we argue that both understanding and evaluating criminal law doctrine requires consideration of political philosophy, legal history, and empirical research. Second, we argue that the indeterminacy of criminal law doctrine on some fundamental questions means that criminal lawyers often cannot avoid invoking normative theory in fashioning legal arguments. Finally ...


The Slavery Of Emancipation, Guyora Binder Jan 1996

The Slavery Of Emancipation, Guyora Binder

Journal Articles

The Thirteenth Amendment abolishes the institution of slavery rather than freeing individual slaves. Yet it quickly came to stand for little more than granting universal rights to make labor contracts and to leave service. This article develops a distinction between abolishing an institution and reclassifying individuals within it. Drawing on the comparative history of slavery, it shows that the institution of slavery has generally included mechanisms for the manumission of slaves and their passage into a liminal status combining self-ownership with social subordination and relative isolation. A critical account of the Antelope litigation shows that proponents of mass manumission still ...