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Legal history

2020

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

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Restoring The Historical Rule Of Lenity As A Canon, Shon Hopwood Oct 2020

Restoring The Historical Rule Of Lenity As A Canon, Shon Hopwood

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

In criminal law, the venerated rule of lenity has been frequently, if not consistently, invoked as a canon of interpretation. Where criminal statutes are ambiguous, the rule of lenity generally posits that courts should interpret them narrowly, in favor of the defendant. But the rule is not always reliably used, and questions remain about its application. In this article, I will try to determine how the rule of lenity should apply and whether it should be given the status of a canon.

First, I argue that federal courts should apply the historical rule of lenity (also known as the rule …


Conquest And Slavery In The Property Law Course: Notes For Teachers, K-Sue Park Jan 2020

Conquest And Slavery In The Property Law Course: Notes For Teachers, K-Sue Park

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

This piece contains ideas for teaching about the foundational place of the histories of conquest and slavery to American property law and the property law course. I begin by briefly reviewing how these topics have been erased and marginalized from the study of American property law, as mentioned by casebooks in the field published from the late nineteenth century to the present. I then show how the history of conquest constituted the context in which the singular American land system and traditional theories of acquisition developed, before turning to the history of the American slave trade and the long history …