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Doctrinal Reasoning As A Disruptive Practice, Jessie Allen Jan 2018

Doctrinal Reasoning As A Disruptive Practice, Jessie Allen

Articles

Legal doctrine is generally thought to contribute to legal decision making only to the extent it determines substantive results. Yet in many cases, the available authorities are indeterminate. I propose a different model for how doctrinal reasoning might contribute to judicial decisions. Drawing on performance theory and psychological studies of readers, I argue that judges’ engagement with formal legal doctrine might have self-disrupting effects like those performers experience when they adopt uncharacteristic behaviors. Such disruptive effects would not explain how judges ultimately select, or should select, legal results. But they might help legal decision makers to set aside subjective biases.


Blackstone, Expositor And Censor Of Law Both Made And Found, Jessie Allen Jan 2017

Blackstone, Expositor And Censor Of Law Both Made And Found, Jessie Allen

Book Chapters

Jeremy Bentham famously insisted on the separation of law as it is and law as it should be, and criticized his contemporary William Blackstone for mixing up the two. According to Bentham, Blackstone costumes judicial invention as discovery, obscuring the way judges make new law while pretending to uncover preexisting legal meaning. Bentham’s critique of judicial phoniness persists to this day in claims that judges are “politicians in robes” who pick the outcome they desire and rationalize it with doctrinal sophistry. Such skeptical attacks are usually met with attempts to defend doctrinal interpretation as a partial or occasional limit ...


The Persistence Of Proximate Cause: How Legal Doctrine Thrives On Skepticism, Jessie Allen Jan 2012

The Persistence Of Proximate Cause: How Legal Doctrine Thrives On Skepticism, Jessie Allen

Articles

This Article starts with a puzzle: Why is the doctrinal approach to “proximate cause” so resilient despite longstanding criticism? Proximate cause is a particularly extreme example of doctrine that limps along despite near universal consensus that it cannot actually determine legal outcomes. Why doesn’t that widely recognized indeterminacy disable proximate cause as a decision-making device? To address this puzzle, I pick up a cue from the legal realists, a group of skeptical lawyers, law professors, and judges, who, in the 1920s and 1930s, compared legal doctrine to ritual magic. I take that comparison seriously, perhaps more seriously, and definitely ...


The Struggle For Sex Equality In Sport And The Theory Behind Title Ix, Deborah Brake Jan 2001

The Struggle For Sex Equality In Sport And The Theory Behind Title Ix, Deborah Brake

Articles

Title IX's three-part test for measuring discrimination in the provision of athletic opportunities to male and female students has generated heated controversy in recent years. In this Article, Professor Brake discusses the theoretical underpinnings behind the three-part test and offers a comprehensive justification of this theory as applied to the context of sport. She begins with an analysis of the test's relationship to other areas of sex discrimination law, concluding that, unlike most contexts, Title IX rejects formal equality as its guiding theory, adopting instead an approach that focuses on the institutional structures that subordinate girls and women ...