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Northwestern Pritzker School of Law

Legal theory

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Full-Text Articles in Social and Behavioral Sciences

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.


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.