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Full-Text Articles in Law

Is Law? Constitutional Crisis And Existential Anxiety, Alice G. Ristroph Jan 2009

Is Law? Constitutional Crisis And Existential Anxiety, Alice G. Ristroph

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

In the recurring discussions of constitutional crises, one may find three forms of existential anxiety. The first, and most fleeting, is an anxiety about the continued existence of the nation. A second form of anxiety—to my mind, the most interesting form—is an anxiety about the possibility of the rule of law itself. Third, and most solipsistically, references to crisis in constitutional law scholarship could be the product of a kind of professional anxiety in the legal academy. We may be asking ourselves, “Constitutional theory: what is it good for?” and worrying that the answer is, “Absolutely nothing.” And ...


After The Reasonable Man: Getting Over The Subjectivity Objectivity Question, Victoria Nourse Jan 2008

After The Reasonable Man: Getting Over The Subjectivity Objectivity Question, Victoria Nourse

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

This article challenges the conventional notion of the “reasonable man.” It argues that we make a category mistake when we adopt the metaphor of a human being as the starting point for analysis of the criminal law and instead offers an alternate approach based on heuristic theory, reconceiving the reasonable man as a heuristic that serves as the site for debate over majoritarian norms. The article posits that the debate over having a purely subjective standard and a purely objective standard obscures the commonsense necessity of having a hybrid standard, one which takes into account the characteristics of a particular ...


Reconceptualizing Criminal Law Defenses, Victoria Nourse Jan 2003

Reconceptualizing Criminal Law Defenses, Victoria Nourse

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

In 1933, one of the leading theorists of the criminal law, Jerome Michael, wrote openly of the criminal law "as an instrument of the state." Today, criminal law is largely allergic to claims of political theory; commentators obsess about theories of deterrence and retribution, and the technical details of model codes and sentencing grids, but rarely speak of institutional effects or political commitments. In this article, the author aims to change that emphasis and to examine the criminal law as a tool for governance. Her approach is explicitly constructive: it accepts the criminal law that we have, places it in ...


Self-Defense And Subjectivity, Victoria Nourse Jan 2001

Self-Defense And Subjectivity, Victoria Nourse

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

The law of self-defense has rarely produced as much academic or popular heat as it has in the past two decades. Widely publicized trials, such as the Goetz and Menendez cases, have generated deep-seated fears of a law unmoored from principle. Those fears have generated a standard public critique--that the criminal law has become too soft and subjective, too wedded to syndrome science and prone to weak-kneed affection for defendants. The criminal law has lost its "objectivity," so the argument goes. The poster child, and even the alleged cause of this development, is the battered woman.

In this article, the ...


The "Normal" Successes And Failures Of Feminism And The Criminal Law, Victoria Nourse Jan 2000

The "Normal" Successes And Failures Of Feminism And The Criminal Law, Victoria Nourse

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

To write of feminist reform in the criminal law is to write of simultaneous success and failure. We have seen marked changes in the doctrines and the practice of rape law, domestic violence law, and the law of self-defense. There is not a criminal law casebook in America today, nor a state statute book, that does not tell this story. Yet for all of this success, we also live in a world in which reform seems to suffer routine failures. Many believe, for example, that feminist reforms have rid rape law of the resistance requirement; however, recent scholarship makes it ...


The New Normativity: The Abuse Excuse And The Resurgence Of Judgment In The Criminal Law, Victoria Nourse Apr 1998

The New Normativity: The Abuse Excuse And The Resurgence Of Judgment In The Criminal Law, Victoria Nourse

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

This article reviews Moral Judgment: Does the Abuse Excuse Threaten Our Legal System? by James Q. Wilson (1997).

There is growing interest within the academy in reviving the "normative" in criminal law scholarship. Enter a recent book, Moral Judgment, by the distinguished criminologist James Q. Wilson. Professor Wilson's work prompts the question: What is meant by the term ''judgment"? Considering three different models--judgment as community, judgment as character, and judgment as critique--this review argues that Professor Wilson's idea of judgment both departs from the "new normativity" in existing scholarship and shows how easily ''judgment" may stand in for ...