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Full-Text Articles in Social and Behavioral Sciences

The Relation Of Theories Of Jurisprudence To International Politics And Law, Anthony D'Amato Jan 2011

The Relation Of Theories Of Jurisprudence To International Politics And Law, Anthony D'Amato

Faculty Working Papers

In this essay we shall be concerned with the real world relevance of theories of international law; that is, with the question of the theories themselves as a factor in international decision-making. To do this it is first necessary to review briefly the substance of the jurisprudential debate among legal scholars, then to view some basic jurisprudential ideas as factors in international views of "law," and finally to reach the question of the operative difference a study of these theories might make in world politics.


On The Connection Between Law And Justice, Anthony D'Amato Jan 2011

On The Connection Between Law And Justice, Anthony D'Amato

Faculty Working Papers

What does it mean to assert that judges should decide cases according to justice and not according to the law? Is there something incoherent in the question itself? That question will serve as our springboard in examining what is—or should be—the connection between justice and law. Legal and political theorists since the time of Plato have wrestled with the problem of whether justice is part of law or is simply a moral judgment about law. Nearly every writer on the subject has either concluded that justice is only a judgment about law or has offered no reason to ...


Aspects Of Deconstruction: The "Easy Case" Of The Under-Aged President, Anthony D'Amato Jan 2010

Aspects Of Deconstruction: The "Easy Case" Of The Under-Aged President, Anthony D'Amato

Faculty Working Papers

When the deconstructionist says that all cases are to some degree problematic, the mainstream legal scholar gleefully pulls out a favorite crystal-clear case and asserts "not this one!" Judging from the law review commentary, the most popular of these "easy cases" concerns the constitutional mandate that the President shall be at least thirty-five years of age. Deconstructionists say that all interpretation depends on context. Radical deconstructionists add that, because contexts can change, there can be no such thing as a single interpretation of any text that is absolute and unchanging for all time.

easy case, deconstruction in law, US Constitution ...


Aspects Of Deconstruction: The Failure Of The Word "Bird", Anthony D'Amato Jan 2010

Aspects Of Deconstruction: The Failure Of The Word "Bird", Anthony D'Amato

Faculty Working Papers

Lawyers and judges often become impatient with those who dispute what they regard as the clear meaning of words. The meaning of words derives from the contexts in which they are employed, and we can never be certain of the context because we cannot enter into the minds of other persons to see the contexts to which their minds are adverting.


Aspects Of Deconstruction: Refuting Indeterminacy With One Bold Thought, Anthony D'Amato Jan 2010

Aspects Of Deconstruction: Refuting Indeterminacy With One Bold Thought, Anthony D'Amato

Faculty Working Papers

Deconstruction has already happened on the Supreme Court. Not only can no member of the Court really believe that "the law" (self-invented by the very Court it is supposed to govern!) can constrain the result in any individual case, but its members have also convinced themselves that they have no time to be concerned with dispensing justice to the parties. The justificatory legal language used in judicial opinions is not what our law teachers told us it was. The justificatory legal language is not provided to explain—much less constrain—the result in the case. Rather, it is a mode ...


Aspects Of Deconstruction: Thought Control In Xanadu, Anthony D'Amato Jan 2010

Aspects Of Deconstruction: Thought Control In Xanadu, Anthony D'Amato

Faculty Working Papers

Nearly every case in nearly every legal system is a case where the factfinder—that is, the judge or jury—must decide what was going on in the minds of the litigants. For example, every criminal case turns on mens rea—a guess that the defendant harbored thoughts amounting to criminal intent. Tort cases involve the intention of the defendant, or at least his reckless indifference to risk. Estate cases require the probate court to assess the intent of the testator. Antitrust cases involve the question whether there was an intent to form a combination in restraint of trade. I ...


Is International Law Part Of Natural Law?, Anthony D'Amato Jan 2010

Is International Law Part Of Natural Law?, Anthony D'Amato

Faculty Working Papers

The affinity of international law to natural law goes back a long way to the classic writers of international law. "Natural law" is the method of dispute resolution based on a conscious attempt to perpetuate past similarities in dispute resolution. "International law" has a deep affinity to this natural law method, for it consists of those practices that have "worked" in inter-nation conflict resolution.


Can Any Legal Theory Constrain Any Judicial Decision?, Anthony D'Amato Jan 2010

Can Any Legal Theory Constrain Any Judicial Decision?, Anthony D'Amato

Faculty Working Papers

A growing number of legal scholars have recently revived the American legal realist thesis that legal theory does not dictate the result in any particular case because legal theory itself is indeterminate. A more radical group has added that theory can never constrain judicial practice. I will present a spectrum of types of legal theories to demonstrate that the position of the more radical group of writers is correct—that legal theory is inherently incapable of identifying which party should win any given case.


Pragmatic Indeterminacy, Anthony D'Amato Jan 2010

Pragmatic Indeterminacy, Anthony D'Amato

Faculty Working Papers

If, as a result of taking Indeterminacy seriously, we revolutionize the way we teach law and the way we select judges, then we will also revolutionize the way cases are litigated (because the new judges will expect to hear a different kind of argumentation) and the way people order their lives in anticipation of the way their disputes will be decided by these new judges.


There Is No Norm Of Intervention Or Non-Intervention In International Law, Anthony D'Amato Jan 2010

There Is No Norm Of Intervention Or Non-Intervention In International Law, Anthony D'Amato

Faculty Working Papers

Comments on Prof. Jianming Shen's position that humanitarian intervention is unlawful under international law and that there is a principle of non-intervention in international law that is so powerful that it amounts to a jus cogens prohibition.


The Effect Of Legal Theories On Judicial Decisions, Anthony D'Amato Jan 2010

The Effect Of Legal Theories On Judicial Decisions, Anthony D'Amato

Faculty Working Papers

I draw a distinction in the beginning of this essay between judicial decision-making and a judge's decision-making. To persuade a judge, we should try to discover what her theories are. Across a range of theories, I offered well-known case examples typically cited as examples of each theory. Then I showed that the exact same theory used to justify or explain those case results could be used to justify or explain the opposite result in each of those cases.


Legal Realism Explains Nothing, Anthony D'Amato Jan 2010

Legal Realism Explains Nothing, Anthony D'Amato

Faculty Working Papers

I argue that American legal realism as derived from Oliver Wendell Holmes's prediction theory of law was misinterpreted, and that a deeper examination of law-as-prediction might help to reduce the pathology of judicial lawmaking that has been the unfortunate consequence of legal realism.


A Few Steps Toward An Explanatory Theory Of International Law, Anthony D'Amato Jan 2010

A Few Steps Toward An Explanatory Theory Of International Law, Anthony D'Amato

Faculty Working Papers

If any one sentence about international law has stood the test of time, it is Louis Henkin's: "almost all nations observe almost all principles of international law and almost all of their obligations almost all of the time." If this is true, why is this true? What makes it true? How do nations invent rules that then turn around and bind them? Are international rules simply pragmatic and expedient? Or do they embody values such as the need for international cooperation? Is international law a mixed game of conflict and cooperation because of its rules, or do its rules ...


The Speluncean Explorers--Further Proceedings, Anthony D'Amato Jan 2010

The Speluncean Explorers--Further Proceedings, Anthony D'Amato

Faculty Working Papers

Lon L. Fuller's The Case of the Speluncean Explorers is a classic in jurisprudence. The case presents five judicial opinions which clash with each other and produce for the reader an exhilarating excursion into fundamental theories of law and the state and the role of courts vis-i-vis legislatures and executives. Though the issues articulated by Fuller are timeless, the past thirty years in jurisprudential scholarship have produced at least one major new vantage point—the "rights thesis".


The Limits Of Legal Realism, Anthony D'Amato Jan 2010

The Limits Of Legal Realism, Anthony D'Amato

Faculty Working Papers

This article will address some criticisms of legal realism, primarily those of H.L.A. Hart, that have been unanswered in the literature and have appeared to discredit the realist approach to law. The article will also articulate what I believe to be more difficult problems with legal realism.


Legal Uncertainty, Anthony D'Amato Jan 2010

Legal Uncertainty, Anthony D'Amato

Faculty Working Papers

Legal certainty decreases over time. Rules and principles of law become more and more uncertain in content and in application because legal systems are biased in favor of unravelling those rules and principles. In this article I attempt to show what these biases are, and why commentators who have argued that the law tends toward certainty are wrong, then describe various attempts which have been made at restoring certainty, and why these attempts have generally not worked. My conclusion is that these proposals are at best holding actions, and that the tendency toward increasing uncertainty in the law is inexorable.


Is Equality A Totally Empty Idea?, Anthony D'Amato Jan 2010

Is Equality A Totally Empty Idea?, Anthony D'Amato

Faculty Working Papers

Comments on Westen article The Empty Idea of Equality. The only way we know what direction to move in making reductions and increases in burdens is to have a concept of equality in mind. The only way we can know that one burden is 'great' and another burden is 'considerably lesser,' to use the words in Westen's standard, is to compare the burdens. But comparison presupposes a measure of equality, for we cannot know that one burden is greater than another unless we first have a concept of when the two burdens are equal. Westen's standard, therefore, is ...


The Death Of The American Trial, Robert P. Burns Jan 2009

The Death Of The American Trial, Robert P. Burns

Faculty Working Papers

This short essay is a summary of my assessment of the meaning of the "vanishing trial" phenomenon. It addresses the obvious question: "So what?" It first briefly reviews the evidence of the trial's decline. It then sets out the steps necessary to understand the political and social signficance of our vastly reducing the trial's importance among our modes of social ordering. The essay serves as the Introduction to a book, The Death of the American Trial, soon to be published by the University of Chicago Press.


The Moral Dilemma Of Positivism, Anthony D'Amato Jan 1986

The Moral Dilemma Of Positivism, Anthony D'Amato

Faculty Working Papers

I think there has been an advance in positivist thinking, and that advance consists of the recognition by MacCormick, a positivist, that positivism needs to be justified morally (and not just as an apparent scientific and objective fact about legal systems). But the justification that is required cannot consist in labelling "sovereignty of conscience" as a moral principle, nor in compounding the confusion by claiming that positivism minimally and hence necessarily promotes sovereignty of conscience. We need, from the positivists, a more logical and coherent argument than that. Until one comes along, I continue to believe that positivists inherently have ...


What 'Counts' As Law?, Anthony D'Amato Jan 1982

What 'Counts' As Law?, Anthony D'Amato

Faculty Working Papers

A reader of jurisprudence might conclude that only philosophers raise the question whether international law may be said to exist or is really law. But in terms of frequency, the question is probably raised more often by governments and states that are not trying to be philosophical. The increasing attention being paid to the need for, and the procedures for, objective validation of rules of international law in a burgeoning literature of international law evidences the seriousness of the problem, the responsibility of scholars for careful scholarship in this area of legal theory, and ultimately the good possibility of generally ...


The Neo-Positivist Concept Of International Law, Anthony D'Amato Jan 1965

The Neo-Positivist Concept Of International Law, Anthony D'Amato

Faculty Working Papers

The question "Is international law really law?" has not proved troublesome, according to Hart, because "a trivial question about the meaning of words has been mistaken for a serious question about the nature of things." Hart defends international law in Bentham's terms as "sufficiently analogous" to municipal law. It is important to see in what way this analogy is viewed by Hart in order to determine whether the reasoning he offers is too high a price to pay for accepting a neo-positivist into the circle of those who hold that international law is really law.