September 22, 2017

Magendanz on the Structure of Religious Violence: Hugo Grotius on Property and Pious War @DougMagendanz

Doug Magendanz, University of Queensland, has published The Structure of Religious Violence: Hugo Grotius on Property and Pious War. Here is the abstract.
Hugo Grotius (1583-1645) is well-known for his defence of just war in The Rights of War and Peace (1625). He is less well-known for his defence of pious war and religious violence. God wants Christians to wage just war against the wicked, he argued, this being part of ‘the whole duty of a Christian solider’. Grotius held that religion presents no barrier to military alliances and commercial trade with heretics, infidels, and pagans. On the contrary, religion is an ideological tool to be used to achieve national prosperity and international justice (Immanuel Kant famously called him a ‘sorry comforter’ of military aggression). Grotius replaced the traditional defence of religious violence (the liberty of the Church) with a new libertarian defence of property rights. Religious war is justified on non-religious grounds, namely the protection of property and the recovery of just compensation for injury and sin. This paper examines Grotius’s defence of pious war, paying special attention to the creditor-debtor relationship as foundational structure of religious violence.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

West on The New Legal Criticism @GeorgetownLaw

Robin L. West, Georgetown University Law Center, has published The New Legal Criticism at 117 Columbia Law Review Online 144 (2017). Here is the abstract.
Professors Hanoch Dagan and Avihay Dorfman’s article Just Relationships is a fundamental reinterpretation of the moral ideals of large swaths of private law. Its significance, however, may go beyond even that broad ambition. In this Response, I suggest that Just Relationships is also an exemplar — perhaps par excellence — of an emergent form of critical discourse, which may itself foreshadow a paradigm shift in contemporary critical legal scholarship. That new form of scholarship might usefully be dubbed “the new legal criticism.” The label serves partly as an echo of the “New Criticism” movement that emerged in literary criticism in the middle of the twentieth-century, which, in methodological ways, the new legal criticism very much resembles. But primarily, the label “new legal criticism” suggests that this ascendant group of legal scholars articulates a different point of departure for critical thinking about law — particularly for critical thinking about private law — from that which most immediately preceded it in twentieth century legal thought: the critical legal studies movement. Part I describes new legal criticism and compares it with the critical legal scholarship movements of the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. Part II further expands my claim that Just Relationships is a good exemplar of the new legal criticism by looking at the roles played by relational justice in Dagan and Dorfman’s explication of their jurisprudential claims. Part III looks at the limits of new legal criticism, again as exemplified by Just Relationships. I will explore whether the reliance of the new legal criticism on law itself in the development of the idea of justice limits its potency as a form of criticism by comparing the authors’ discussion of discrimination in housing with a subject they do not address, at-will employment. Finally, the conclusion explores possible avenues of further exploration within the authors’ chosen field — private law, largely understood — and within the parameters set by the new legal criticism’s premises.

Download the article from SSRN at the link. 

September 20, 2017

West In Praise of Richard Weisberg's Intransigence @GeorgetownLaw @CardozoLaw

Robin L. West, Georgetown University Law Center, has published In Praise of Richard Weisberg's Intransigence at 29 Law & Literature 21 (2017). Here is the abstract.
In early essays on Herman Melville’s Billy Budd, Sailor, Richard Weisberg startled the literary and legal academic world with a novel claim: Captain Vere, he argued, far from being a tragic hero resigned to the moral and legal necessity of an unpopular act, as he had been commonly understood, was a murderer. His summary execution of Billy Budd, Weisberg showed, was neither required, excused, nor justified by law. Rather, Vere engineered an unreviewable conviction and death sentence, contrary to both the letter and spirit of the governing positive law, for personal gain. But why was Weisberg’s claim so novel? Why was it that for seven decades, well over half a century, Vere’s villainy was so obscure, even to so many legally sophisticated readers? In this article, I argue that the obscurity of Vere’s villainy resulted from the dominant legal theories developed over the past seven decades. This, in turn, explains the novelty of Weisberg’s understanding of Vere’s character: his understanding rests on a conception of law and legal meaning distinctively outside all our received jurisprudential traditions. And it suggests a much-needed corrective, not only of our understanding of Melville’s story, but also of our conventional and critical jurisprudence. It suggests the case, more specifically, for moving our conventional legal thinking away from its focus on the unjust law, and toward the duplicitous or unjust adjudicator, and for moving our critical sensibility away from its still-dominant commitments to indeterminacy, legal skepticism, and interpretive flexibility, and toward an appreciation of the virtues of legal intransigence. In the first part of this article, I put forward an account of why it was that Richard Weisberg could see clearly what was beyond the reach to most of Billy Budd’s professional readers for the duration of the book’s life, both in law and in literature. In the second part, I turn to Weisberg’s recent defense of legal intransigence, suggesting some reasons we should attend more carefully to the case Weisberg has made for intransigence and against “flexibility” in law and jurisprudence. I then offer a couple criticisms along with a qualified endorsement of Weisberg’s brief for interpretive fidelity to positive law, informed by humane commitments to text, law, and moral rectitude.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

Munshi on Comparative Law and Decolonizing Critique @GeorgetownLaw

Sherally K. Munski, Georgetown University Law Center, has published Comparative Law and Decolonizing Critique. Here is the abstract.
This essay seeks to reanimate comparative legal scholarship by reorienting it towards decolonizing critique. In his critical assessment of the state of the field, Pierre Legrand suggests that comparative law has become mired in a solipsistic and outmoded style of positivism. Drawing upon theoretical insights from critical theory, Legrand argues that comparative law might render itself more generative and more relevant by engaging in a more contextualized analysis of law and encouraging active interpretation beyond descriptive reporting. In this essay, I extend Legrand’s arguments to suggest that an emancipated, incorporative, and interdisciplinary comparative law might play an important role in decolonizing legal scholarship more broadly. Founded in a commitment to constrain an ethnocentric impulse in legal discourse, comparative law might be expanded to challenge the varieties of Eurocentrism that continue to define legal scholarship and study, while providing hospitable ground for critical and interdisciplinary projects aimed at exploring the colonial roots of both the contemporary nation-state system and globalized racial formations.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

Feminism In London: An October 14-15 Event Sponsored by FiLiA @FiLiA_charity @ThomGiddens

Via Thom Giddens @ThomGiddens:

FiLiA announces a conference at the Institute of Education, London, October 14-15, 2017, on Feminism in London. Some of the panels and workshops include "When Courage Is "Illegal," "Justice For Women," "Prison Doesn't Work," "Feminist Art," "International Activism," "Domestic Abuse and the Family Courts," and Lesbian Line: 40 Years."

There are also a number of interesting events planned, including art exhibitions and some performances and readings. There's also a breakout session on sex robots: I would love to attend that.

This event looks wonderful.

September 19, 2017

Alexander on Objects of Art; Objects of Property @CornellLaw

Gregory S. Alexander, Cornell Law School, has published Objects of Art; Objects of Property as Cornell Legal Studies Research Paper No. 17-39. Here is the abstract.
Seemingly worlds apart, art and the law of property in fact share much in common. Some of this shared space is obvious, the result of their intersection through property law's protection and regulation of art. But another aspect of their commonality is considerably less obvious. Both rely, implicitly and in ways not always acknowledged, on assumptions about objects in the world-thing-ness. That is, both have relied, or traditionally have done so, on certain assumptions about the nature of objects-the objects of art and the objects of property-and the upshot of those assumptions is that those objects are characterized by thing-ness, i.e., physicality, tangibility, stability, durability. Further, these assumptions are not only parallel to each realm but intersect with each other in functional ways. Notably, property law's interaction with art depends upon art's assumption of its own thing-ness, for property law itself traditionally has depended upon certain assumptions regarding the nature of property-what can be property. It has assumed that art is a tangible, stable, and durable object.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

Silver on Serfdom By Contract In the Late Roman Empire

Morris Silver, City College of New York, Economics Department, has published Serfdom by Contract in the Late Roman Empire. Here is the abstract.
Legal codes and other documents of the late Roman Empire reveal a system, the colonate, which resembles serfdom in the Middle Ages. Farmers (coloni) had their (head and land) taxes paid by estate owners in whose census rolls they were registered. If the land changed ownership coloni were entitled to stay and were registered in the tax roll of the new owner. However, coloni and their offspring lacked the right to migrate. The paper argues that the pristine or original form of the colonate is a voluntary contractual arrangement among free farmers, estate owners, and the imperial Fiscus which acquired a public law dimension because it required a change in the personal status of the farmer. By means of this serfdom contract the contractors expected to share in the aggregate gains from reducing tax-collection costs and from stabilizing tax revenues. The paper goes on to suggest that a secondary or derived form of the serfdom contract probably emerged in response to the Roman state’s interventions in credit markets. The paper next considers the implications of the colonate for economic efficiency and concludes with some observations on the reasons for changes over time in its importance.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

New From McGill University Press: Censored: A Literary History of Subversion, by Matthew Fellion and Katherine Inglis @EdinburghUni

Via Simon Stern (ArsScripta)

New from McGill University Press:


Matthew Fellion, Independent Scholar, and Katherine Inglis, Department of English, University of Edinburgh, have published Censored: A Literary History of Subversion and Control (2017).


Censored



When Henry Vizetelly was imprisoned in 1889 for publishing the novels of Émile Zola in English, the problem was not just Zola’s French candour about sex - it was that Vizetelly’s books were cheap, and ordinary people could read them. Censored exposes the role that power plays in censorship. In twenty-five chapters focusing on a wide range of texts, including the Bible, slave narratives, modernist classics, comic books, and Chicana/o literature, Matthew Fellion and Katherine Inglis chart the forces that have driven censorship in the United Kingdom and the United States for over six hundred years, from fears of civil unrest and corruptible youth to the oppression of various groups - religious and political dissidents, same-sex lovers, the working class, immigrants, women, racialized people, and those who have been incarcerated or enslaved. The authors also consider the weight of speech, and when restraints might be justified. Rich with illustrations that bring to life the personalities and the books that feature in its stories, Censored takes readers behind the scenes into the courtroom battles, legislative debates, public campaigns, and private exchanges that have shaped the course of literature. A vital reminder that the freedom of speech has always been fragile and never enjoyed equally by all, Censored offers lessons from the past to guard against threats to literature in a new political era.

Pert on the Development of Australia's Legal Personality

Alison Pert, University of Sydney Law School, has published The Development of Australia's International Legal Personality at 34 Australian Yearbook of International Law 149 (2017). Here is the abstract.
This article considers the concepts of statehood, sovereignty, independence and international legal personality as they applied to Australia in the early years after federation in 1901. It outlines the reasons for, and the process of, federation, and charts the subsequent uneven growth in autonomy in matters of foreign relations granted by the United Kingdom. One of the clearest manifestations of such autonomy is the power to enter into treaties, and the development of this power is therefore described in some detail. The precise international legal status of Australia and the other British Dominions in the early part of the 20th century was a mystery to most legal commentators, both within and outside the British Empire. This uncertainty was compounded by the rapidity of constitutional change within the Empire, particularly in the 1920s, and by Australia’s apparent diffidence to independence. For these reasons, few writers have suggested a specific date on or by which Australia acquired international legal personality. This article argues that regardless of when Australia might have gained full international legal personality, tantamount to independence, it had acquired “almost full” international personality by 1923, sufficient to enable it to act autonomously on the international plane.
Download the essay from SSRN at the link.

September 18, 2017

New From OUP: New Directions in Law and Literature @OxUniPress

New from Oxford University Press: New Directions in Law and Literature (Elizabeth S. Anker and Bernadette Meyler, 2017). Here is a description of the contents.
After its heyday in the 1970s and 1980s, many wondered whether the law and literature movement would retain vitality. This collection of essays, featuring twenty-two prominent scholars from literature departments as well as law schools, showcases the vibrancy of recent work in the field while highlighting its many new directions. New Directions in Law and Literature furnishes an overview of where the field has been, its recent past, and its potential futures. Some of the essays examine the methodological choices that have affected the field; among these are concern for globalization, the integration of approaches from history and political theory, the application of new theoretical models from affect studies and queer theory, and expansion beyond text to performance and the image. Others grapple with particular intersections between law and literature, whether in copyright law, competing visions of alternatives to marriage, or the role of ornament in the law's construction of racialized bodies. The volume is designed to be a course book that is accessible to undergraduates and law students as well as relevant to academics with an interest in law and the humanities. The essays are simultaneously intended to be introductory and addressed to experts in law and literature. More than any other existing book in the field, New Directions furnishes a guide to the most exciting new work in law and literature while also situating that work within more established debates and conversations.

Table of Contents:

Part One-Genealogies and Futures
1) Elizabeth S. Anker and Bernadette Meyler, 2) Brook Thomas, 3) Caleb Smith, 4) Austin Sarat,
Part Two-Methods5) Martin Jay Stone, 6) Peter Brooks, 7) Ravit Reichman, 8) Janet Halley, 9) Lorna Hutson, 10) Bernadette Meyler, 11) Peter Goodrich, 12) Julie Stone Peters, 13) Elizabeth S. Anker,
Part Three-Cases
14) Anne Cheng, 15) Imani Perry, 16) Eric Cheyfitz and Shari Huhndorf, 17) Elliott Visconsi, 18) Elizabeth Emens, 19) Simon Stern, 20) Paul Saint-Amour, 21) Priscilla Wald, 22) Wai Chee Dimock,
Acknowledgments
Contributors
Bibliography
Index

The book is available in hardcover, paperback, and ebook. 

Cornell University Press Launches New Series: Corpus Juris: The Humanities in Politics and Law @CornellPress

Elizabeth Anker, Department of English, Cornell University, announces a new book series with Cornell University Press called "Corpus Juris: The Humanities in Politics and Law."

She notes that the editors are currently accepting submissions and encourage potential authors to contact corpus_juris@cornell.edu with any questions or other inquiries.

Paulson on Metamorphosis in Hans Kelsen's Legal Philosophy

Stanley L. Paulson, Washington University Law School (Emeritus), has published Metamorphosis in Hans Kelsen's Legal Philosophy at 80 The Modern Law Review 860 (2017). Here is the abstract.
Two major questions stem from the fundamental shift in Hans Kelsen's legal philosophy that takes place in 1960 and the years thereafter: first, the scope of the shift and, second, its explanation. On the first question, I argue that the shift is not limited to Kelsen's rejection of the applicability of logic to legal norms. Rather, it reaches to his rejection of the entire Kantian edifice of his earlier work. On the second question, I argue that the explanation for the shift has a conceptual dimension as well as a historico‐biographical dimension. That is, I argue that Kelsen's rejection of the principle of non‐contradiction vis‐à‐vis legal norms reaches to the Kantian edifice in that the principle was presupposed in Kelsen's earlier work and appears, expressis verbis, in his 'Kantian filter'. And I argue that certain historico‐biographical data are germane, including, quite possibly, the earlier revolution in Kelsen's thought, that of 1939–40.
The full text is not available from SSRN.

September 13, 2017

How Forensic Artists Help Solve Crimes @StrandMag

From the Strand Magazine, a post highlighting how forensic artists help solve crimes. Among their talents, the ability to interview witnesses and translate what they say into images.

September 12, 2017

If You Like Sherlock Holmes, You Might Also Like...

From the blog Interesting Literature, a list of ten literary detectives for those who like Sherlock Holmes. It includes such clever sleuths as C. L. Pirkis's Loveday Brooke and R. Austin Freeman's Dr. Thorndyke. There's also E. W. Hornung's Dr. John Dollar. Hornung was Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's nephew, and was the creator of the inimitable "gentleman-thief" Raffles, played on screen by Ronald Colman. 

You may also appreciate these rivals of Sherlock Holmes, collected in several volumes by various editors.

The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes (Hugh Greene, ed., Penguin Books, 1972). DVD 2009.
The Further Rivals of Sherlock Holmes (Hugh Greene, ed., Penguin Books, 1974). DVD 2010.
Cosmopolitan Crimes: Foreign Rivals of Sherlock Holmes (Hugh Greene, ed., Penguin Books, 1972)
The American Rivals of Sherlock Holmes (Hugh Greene, ed., Pantheon Books, 1976).
The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes (Alan K. Russell, ed., Castle Books, 1978).
The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes (Alan K. Russell, ed., Castle Books, 1979).

UK's Channel 4 Will Begin Airing Chilean Crime Series "Fugitives" Later This Month @CriFiLover

The UK's Channel 4 is making history: it will begin broadcasting Chile's crime series Fugitives (Prófugos) on September 20th. The series, an HBO Latino production which began in 2011, is the first Chilean import for the UK.

More here from the excellent blog Crime Fiction Lover.

Peters on The Rise and Decline of the International Rule of Law and the Job of Scholars @MPILheidelberg

Anne Peters, Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law, is publishing The Rise and Decline of the International Rule of Law and the Job of Scholars in The International Rule of Law: Rise or Decline (Heike Krieger, George Nolte, and Andreas Zimmermann, eds.). Here is the abstract.
International law feeds on preconditions which it cannot guarantee itself. International scholarship, too, must come to grips with pre-conditions and existing parameters over which it has no control itself. But such scholarship must not ‘succumb’ to these factual and ideational realities by adapting its methods and findings to any given political, social, and economic climate. It is the job of international legal scholars to produce ideas in a spirit of realist utopianism (John Rawls). Depending on the existing parameters, these ideas are apt to shape attitudes and actions, or not. Such scholarship also needs to distance itself from its object of study in order not to lose its capacity to criticise the law and the practice. How far exactly scholarly writing should transcend or keep aloof from the prevailing political climate and from concerns of feasibility depends on the research questions under discussion and is a matter of judgment. The style of scholarship suggested here is illustrated by the work of three eminent scholars whose careers continued through different political eras more or less favourable to the international rule of law: Hersch Lauterpacht, Antonio Cassese, and Josef Kunz.
Download the essay from SSRN at the link.

A Book To Accompany the Exhibit: Law as Art, Law as LiIterature,Law as Justice

Via Thom Giddens, St. Mary's University, news of this exhibition at neue Gesellschaft für bildende Kunst (nGbK) in Berlin:

Curator Agieszka Kilian is working on the book describing this very interesting exhibit which ran from March to May of this year.

In the Throes of Art and Law: Dreams & Dramas: Law as Literature. Running 10 March through 7 May 2017.

From the website, here's a description of the exhibit:

The exhibition is proposing a different reading of the legal text, reading against the grain of pre-conceived structures in order to re-chart the system of our relations with ourselves and with various communities; both territorial communities as well as those constructed ad hoc, based not on blood or territorial ties, but on shared values and beliefs. The exhibition raises the question of how the law literally produces us: both as individuals and as citizens, establishing a framework of our presence in public space as well – its legality or illegality. It also questions the different meanings of a ‘civil body’, a ‘legal thing’, or a ‘legal slave’. How do legal rituals and narratives influence and shape our existence?
The law organises our reality in its entirety. It uses physical states and experiences (such as ‘poverty’ or ‘nature’) to create concrete concepts, endowing them with autonomous meanings. The law, as it was, distils fractions of reality to serve its purpose, and then assembles the elements, as if on a factory line, into a concrete picture, a parallel world. The legal text at once describes and produces reality, operating as an assembler of social relations. The ambivalent nature – of simultaneous description and production – offers an inducement to pose the question: What are the ways in which we can use the double nature of the law, regaining our agency, to re-describe and re-create the social order?
Narratives techniques assemble social existence according to values and beliefs of those who wield the power of naming (writing the legal text), but also, importantly, the power of executing. In ʺThe Making of Lawʺ (2010) Bruno Latour presents law as a fabric which is irreducible to an editorial unit; emerging from the law, but not limited to it: “Law does not reside in the law, but equally in the context of application which they have seen with their own eyes and with which they have sometimes violently collide.”
The exhibition takes up Latour’s intuition of locating law in everyday practice in an aim to present the law as a construction that is not abstracted from existential order
- one that is larger than ‘the letter of the law’, but inextricably related to its execution, practices, habits of reading and a choreography of navigating the text and legal interpretation
– law as justice and justice as law.





More here.


September 11, 2017

Katyal on Technoheritage @SoniaKatyal @BerkeleyLawBCLT

Sonia Katyal, University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, is publishing Technoheritage in the California Law Review. Here is the abstract.
This Article explores the legal revolution that is swiftly unfolding regarding the relationship between technology, user interactivity, and cultural institutions, both inside and outside of the law. At the same time that cultural properties are facing destruction from war and environmental change, we are also living in an age of unprecedented interactivity and reproduction — everywhere, museums are offering their collections for open access, 3-D printing, and new projects involving virtual and augmented reality. With the advent of other sophisticated forms of digital technology, the preservation and replication of antiquities have never been easier. Today’s archaeological moment demonstrates both the possibilities and limitations behind “technoheritage” — the marriage of technology and cultural heritage. Toward that end, this Article argues that, in order to understand the relationship between technology and cultural heritage, it might be helpful to study the theoretical dimensions behind interactivity itself. Just as technology has the power to preserve and protect ancient artifacts, it also invites a dizzying array of legal conflicts over their digitization and replication, particularly with regards to the intersection of copyright law with cultural identity. Unpacking this further, this Article offers a tripartite taxonomy of interactivity: the first, described as extractive (drawing upon the accumulation and selection of data); the second, immersive (drawing upon new forms of user participation through virtual and augmented reality); and the third, derivative (drawing upon new possibilities of user creation). Normatively, I argue that these models of interactivity provide us with an important framework with which to examine the importance of copyright protection for cultural heritage. In the concluding section, I suggest a potential way of rethinking the museum by drawing on the logic and legal protection extended to databases and archives in an age of unprecedented user interactivity.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

CFP: Law and Society Annual Meeting, Toronto, Canada, June 7-10, 2018 @law_soc

From the mailbox:  Call for Papers from the Law and Society Association for its 2018 Annual Meeting

June 7 - 10, 2018 in Toronto, Canada

 LAW AT THE CROSSROADS: LE DROIT A LA CROISÉE DES CHEMINS

For thousands of years the place where the City of Toronto is located has been a crossroad where many peoples have met and had fruitful exchanges. According to some Indigenous knowledge keepers, the word “Toronto” comes from the Wendat term for a fishing weir constructed of sticks standing in the water. Lake and river fishing has been an important activity for the area’s many Indigenous peoples, including Huron-Wendat, Haudenosaunee, Mississauga and Chippewa.

The Indigenous knowledge frameworks and laws of the peoples of this area encourage a multilayered understanding of an item such as a fishing weir in terms of its natural, sacred, practical and social meanings. The area continues to be home to many Indigenous people from all over Canada and beyond, but Toronto has also been shaped by immigration flows from many parts of the world, with about half of its current residents being born outside of Canada. The Law and Society Association and the Canadian Law and Society Association hope that our joint meeting in Toronto will be creative and fruitful, in keeping with the traditional use of this land as a gathering place, and that visitors to the area will take the opportunity to make new connections not only with one another but also with diverse local communities.

This year’s Program Committee is Chair is Mariana Valverde, University of Toronto. We invite the submission of Individual Papers and/or Session proposals. Papers and panels need not be centered on the conference theme. Proposals on any law and society topic are welcome.

You will find the Call at www.lawandsociety.org/Toronto2018/toronto2018.html

In the Call you will find more information about the theme, submission instructions, and more. We will be adding more meeting information as time progresses. The deadline for proposal submission is October 18, 2017.

Registration will begin in early February, 2018. If you have questions, please contact us at lsa@lawandsociety.org. We hope you will join in what promises to be a full and exciting program in Toronto!

September 10, 2017

"The Greatest American Hero" Reboot Features a Woman as Hero: So Did the Last Episode of the Original Series

ABC is rebooting the show "The Greatest American Hero" with a woman in the lead as the character with the task of righting wrongs with the help of an alien-provided magic suit. There seems to be a lot of surprise that the superhero character would be female, as if the idea was new. But back in 1986 the original actors filmed a pilot, called "The Greatest American Heroine," which became an episode of the series (season 3, episode 14).   In it, Ralph Hinckley, the original hero, selects a woman to carry on the mission after the public learns his secret identity. That was thirty years ago. At that time, it seems to have been a relatively novel idea. Today we may see it happen, although the idea that the main character will be as clueless as Mr. Hinckley was in terms of how to use the amazing weapon the aliens have given her could be problemactic.

She also seems to have no profession; the original suit-wearer was a high school history teacher (and remember that his girlfriend was an attorney, suggesting that she saw something in him pre-suit). Maybe the lack of career is supposed to signal that the new suit-wearer can pass unnoticed in today's society, or to give her the ability to save the world without having to take a day off from work. It's a little disturbing to think, though, that intelligent aliens would entrust such a mission to someone who has little sense of professional direction. I understand the original show was a satire, and the reboot probably will be, also. I wonder how the viewers will receive the new character, because we're still hearing (or hearing once again) that women just aren't as good as men at many things.

BTW, Fox tried a reboot in 2015. It didn't take off.


September 7, 2017

James Grippando Wins Harper Lee Prize For Legal Fiction @James_Grippando

James Grippando, lawyer (Boies, Schiller, Flexner) and novelist (HarperCollins), has won the seventh annual Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction. The winning title? Gone Again, released last year, the latest in a series about Miami criminal law attorney Jack Swyteck.

More about the University of Florida Law alum from the ABA Journal here and the school's website here.

Gould on Punishing Violent Thoughts: Islamic Dissent and Thoreauvian Disobedience in Post 9/11 America @rrgould

Rebecca Ruth Gould, Unviersity of Birmingham; Harvard University Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, is publishing Punishing Violent Thoughts: Islamic Dissent and Thoreauvian Disobedience in Post-9/11 America in the Journal of American Studies. Here is the abstract.
American Muslims increasingly negotiate their relationship to a government that is suspicious of Islam, yet which recognizes them as rights-bearing citizens, within a culture they claim as their own. To better understand how the post-9/11 state is reshaping American Islam, I examine the case of Muslim American dissident Tarek Mehanna, sentenced to seventeen years in prison in 2012 for providing material support for terrorism. I read Mehanna’s verbal and visual depictions of his persecution in relation to the American dissidents Mehanna claims as intellectual predecessors, above all Henry David Thoreau and John Brown, while situating this dissent within a long history of American activism.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

Sherwin on Vico's Providence Today @RKSherwin

Richard K. Sherwin, New York Law School, has published Vico's Providence Today. Here is the abstract.
According to Vico, it is piety, the way divine providence breaks into fractured time, that teaches the ideal patterns of history. Today, we stand in need of a post-secular, metaphysical framework for this Vichian insight in order to counter the nihilist impulse that has swept through late modernity. Vico had already identified nihilism as the dark secret of Cartesianism. Indeed, it is the historical vicissitudes of that dark secret for which he presciently sought to prepare us. Piety finds its roots in something beyond the subject, beyond the will. It is that disruptive, ineffable force that resists the impulse toward totality (the will to power) in whatever historic form it may take: from the totalizing mechanics of Hobbes’ Leviathan state to the totalizing algorithmic programming that covertly constructs and drives today’s digital social media and the so-called ‘Internet of Experience.’
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

Hoopes on Reclaiming the Primary Significance Test: Dictionaries, Corpus Linguistics, and Trademark Genericide

Neal Hoopes (Independent) has published Reclaiming the Primary Significance Test: Dictionaries, Corpus Linguistics, and Trademark Genericide. Here is the abstract.
Companies spend billions to promote their brand. But with increased trademark recognition comes the possibility of losing exclusive rights to use that trademark, a process called genericide. Courts have often turned to linguistic evidence, such as dictionaries and media usage, to determine whether a trademark has become generic. These courts merely suggest that linguistic tools reflect a trademark’s meaning. Yet these tools are not the objective indicators that courts have assumed. This Paper discusses why using dictionaries and media usage to prove genericide is a mistake and then turns to evaluating another tool, corpus linguistics. Corpus linguistics, unlike other linguistic tools, may prove beneficial for companies seeking to protect their trademarks. Ultimately, however, linguistic tools — including dictionaries, media usage, and corpus linguistics — cannot prove genericism because linguistic data may, at best, prove a term’s majority usage. But the Lanham Act requires a showing of primary significance. The Paper contends that courts should maintain majority usage and primary significance as distinct concepts and, in this way, should reclaim the primary significance test.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

September 2, 2017

Zucca and Judge on Measure For Measure on Trial: A Shakespearean Mock Trial @Lzucca

Lorenzo Zucca, Professor of Law and Philosophy, King's College, London, and Igor Judge, Lord Judge, Visiting Professor, King's College, London, have published Measure for Measure on Trial: A Shakespearean Mock Trial, at 2017 Journal of Dispute Settlement 1 (PDF paging). Here is the abstract.

Mock trials have been a privileged way to teach law for many years. They allow to convey to the students many subtleties in the workings of the law in a way that lecturing probably never can. Among many other things, it helps pinpoint the values in tension in the real life of the law, the drama of a court room, the imaginaries at play, the social pressure and other forces bearing down on the law’s different actors. Shakespeare’s work epitomises this passion, these waves that curl the flat, cool covers of the law books.

Download the article at the link (from the publisher's website).  

September 1, 2017

Daly on Rousseau's Constitutionalism: New From Hart Publishing @hartpublishing @eoinmauricedaly

Eoin Daly, Lecturer in Law, National University of Ireland, has published Rousseau's Constitutionalism (Hart Publishing, 2017). Here is a description of the book's contents.
Despite Rousseau's legacy to political thought, his contribution as a constitutional theorist is underexplored. Drawing on his constitutional designs for Corsica and Poland, this book argues that Rousseau's constitutionalism is defined chiefly by its socially directive character. His constitutional projects are not aimed, primarily, at coordinating and containing state power in the familiar liberal-democratic sense. Instead, they are aimed at fostering the social conditions in which a fuller sense of freedom – understood broadly as non-domination – can be realised across all social domains. And in turn, since Rousseau views domination as being deeply embedded in complex social practices, his constitutionalism is aimed at fostering a radical austerity – social, economic and cultural – as its foil. In locating Rousseau's constitutional projects within his social and political theory of servitude and domination, this book will challenge the predominant focus and orientation of contemporary republican theory. Leading republican thinkers have drawn on the historical republican canon to articulate a model of constitutionalism which is, on the whole, 'liberal' in focus and orientation. This book will argue that the more communitarian orientation of Rousseau's constitutionalism – that is, its socially-directive focus – stems from a sophisticated and compelling account of the sources of unfreedom in complex societies, sources which are ignored or downplayed by the neo-republican literature. Rousseau embraces a communitarian social politics as part of his constitutional project precisely because, pessimistically, he views domination as being deeply embedded in the social relations of the liberal order.



 Media of Rousseau's Constitutionalism

August 31, 2017

Krebs on The Legalization of Truth in International Fact-Finding @ShiriKrebs

Shiri Krebs, Deakin Law School; Stanford Center on International Security and Cooperation (CISAC), is publishing The Legalization of Truth in International Fact-Finding in volume 18 of the Chicago Journal of International Law (2017). Here is the abstract.
Do legal judgments influence people’s attitudes and beliefs concerning contested events? This article builds on studies from three disciplines – law, psychology, and political science – and employs experimental methods to shed light on the impact of legal institutions on their intended audiences. The article identifies a rising ‘legalization of truth’ phenomenon – the adoption of legal discourse to construct and interpret facts outside the courthouse. It argues that legal truth, while providing a framework of legal terminology and conventions to analyze and understand facts, comes with a price tag: it triggers cognitive and emotional biases that frustrate efforts to disseminate controversial information and to resolve factual disputes; and it lacks the emotional appeal, participatory value, and social cues that moral expressions or other types of social truth-telling entail. To demonstrate the legalization of truth process and to measure its impact on attitudes and beliefs, this article focuses on the practice of international fact-finding. In recent years, international fact-finding has become a dominant response to armed conflicts and political violence around the world. Lacking compulsory jurisdiction, international fact-finding bodies have adopted legal discourse, assuming that legal reports uniformly inform the relevant publics with an authoritative account of what happened and motivate domestic sanctioning of in-group offenders. This article challenges both assumptions. Based on two survey-experiments fielded in 2013 and 2014 on representative samples of 1,000 and 2,000 U.S. nationals, respectively, as well as on an original dataset of U.N. fact-finding missions, the study demonstrates that three elements of legal discourse – binary legal judgment, ‘hot’ legal terminology, and legal frame – harm the perceived credibility and persuasive value of fact-finding reports: the legal judgment of the fact-finding report is likely to trigger cognitive biases and belief polarization; ‘hot’ legal terminology is likely to trigger emotional biases and reduce the perceived fairness of the report; and the legal frame appears to be less effective than moral frame in influencing attitudes on accountability.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

Solan on Patterns in Language and Law @lsolum

Lawrence Solum, Brooklyn Law School, has published Patterns in Language and Law at 6 International Journal of Language & Law 46 (2017). Here is the abstract.
Our language faculty is rule-like in some ways, pattern-like in others, as Steven Pinker (1999) has shown. Much of syntax is describable a set of rules, whereas the range of meanings attributed to a word is best described in terms of patterns. Laws are typically written as rules, but they are written in words, many of which display pattern-like arrays of usage. Legal systems default to an expression’s “ordinary meaning,” requiring estimates of patterns of usage. Recently, advances in corpus linguistics have been adduced by judges and legal scholars in this regard. Furthermore, open-textured legal terms, including the word “pattern” itself, are by their nature more describable in terms of patterns of their application than in terms of hard-and-fast rules. Apart from linguistic issues in legal interpretation, legal systems value coherence, requiring that like things be treated alike, often focusing on patterns of how laws are applied. At times, however, these patterns uncover biases in a law’s application. This article attempts to describe how this duality in both linguistic description law interact with each other.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

Corbin on Picturing Terrorists: "Always Muslim But Never White" @CarolineMCorbin

Caroline Mala Corbin, University of Miami School of Law, is publishing 'Terrorists are Always Muslim But Never White': At the Intersection of Critical Race Theory and Propaganda in the Fordham Law Review. Here is the abstract.
When you hear the word “terrorist,” who do you picture? Chances are, it was not a white person. In the United States, two common though false narratives about terrorists who attack America abound. We see them on television, in the movies, on the news, and, currently, in the Trump Administration. The first is that “terrorists are always (brown) Muslims.” The second is that “white people are never terrorists.” Different strands of critical race theory can help us understand these two narratives. One strand examines the role of unconscious cognitive biases in the production of stereotypes, such as the stereotype of the “Muslim terrorist.” Another strand focuses on white privilege, such as the privilege of avoiding the terrorist label. These false narratives play a crucial role in Trump’s propaganda. As the critical race analysis uncovers, these two narratives dovetail with two constituent parts of propaganda: flawed ideologies and aspirational myths. Propaganda relies on pre-existing false ideologies, which is another way to describe racist stereotyping. Propaganda also relies on certain ideals and myths, in this case, the myth of white innocence and white superiority. Thus, the Trump Administration’s intentional invocation of both narratives amounts to propaganda in more than just the colloquial sense. Part I illustrates each of the two narratives. Part II analyzes them through a critical race lens, showing how they map onto two strands of critical race theory. Part III examines how these narratives simultaneously enable and comprise propaganda. Finally, Part IV argues that the propagation of these false narratives hurts the nation’s security.
Download the essay from SSRN at the link.

Diamond on The Transposition of Power: Law, Lawyers, and Social Movements @GeorgetownLaw

Michael Diamond, Georgetown University Law Center, has published The Transposition of Power: Law, Lawyers and Social Movements at 24 Georgetown Journal on Poverty Law & Policy 319 (2017). Here is the abstract.
Various groups of people have been the victims of oppression throughout time and across national borders and cultures. Many forms of oppression continue to exist all over the world today, including in the United States. I have been particularly concerned with oppression on the basis of race. The responses to oppression have taken many forms, ranging from passivity and acquiescence to rebellion. Much of the response, however, takes place between these extremes, often in the form of ongoing collective action by more or less organized groups. Broadly speaking, these actions have come to be known as social movements, and they have been the subject of a great deal of scholarly examination. Through this scholarship, we have learned much about the nature of social movements, who joins them, and how they have been able to succeed. We have not learned as much about how the law and lawyers affect such movements and how, if at all, law and lawyers contribute to their success. I would like to examine these issues in an effort to elucidate the relationship between law, lawyers, and social movements and to better understand how lawyers can be helpful (or detrimental) to such movements. My own interest in this field is somewhat more narrowly confined. For example, I have been skeptical of movements and lawyers who set as their goal the establishment of new or expansion of existing legal rights. New rights do not seem to have much social or political impact on subordinated groups, unless the holders of those rights have the power to enforce them. As an alternative to the rights discourse, I have been interested in the acquisition and utilization of power by marginalized and oppressed groups in the United States. Even more narrowly, my research has focused primarily on issues affecting the urban poor. Historically, there has been a significant intersection connecting social movements to urban poverty. The Civil Rights Movement, the Welfare Rights Movement, the Affordable and Fair Housing Movements, the Affordable Health Care Movement and the Black Lives Matter Movement among others, have had significant impetus from and impact on the urban poor. Many of these movements succeeded in creating new rights for various groups. Many were successful in changing, to some extent individual lives and social environments. Nevertheless, we see today a society where wealth and well-being are even more polarized, often on the basis of race, and groups of people who remain subject to the same forms of intergenerational oppression as those faced by their long departed ancestors. These groups continue to exist on the wrong side of what I have previously called the “power deficit.” If this assertion is correct the dedicated and well-intentioned efforts of lawyers have had only marginal results. Thus, I take the position, as do several others, that lawyers who work with oppressed groups must assist them in gaining and using power rather than pursuing rights as an end in themselves. That being said, there is little consensus among social scientists, philosophers, and lawyers on the meaning of power and virtually no legal literature on how it can be obtained and used (although a fair amount exists on the need to obtain and utilize it). “Of all the concepts used by sociologists, few are the source of more confusion or misunderstanding than power.” My intention in this paper is to dispel some of that confusion and to attempt to illuminate some issues concerning power in relation and as a response to oppression.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

Kerr on The Law According to the Most-Cited Law Review Articles of All Time @GeorgetownLaw @GB2d

Andrew Jensen Kerr, Georgetown University Law Center, is publishing The Law According to the Most-Cited Law Review Articles of All Time in volume 20 of the Green Bag 2d (August 2017). Here is the abstract.
In this essay I address the perennial question of “What is law?” My data is our canon, as measured by citation counts. I limit my compass to the fifty most-cited articles in the modern Anglo-American tradition. My essay reads as a mosaic, but suggests the continuities in legal inquiry.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

New From Elgar Publishing: Niels van Dijk: Grounds of the Immaterial: A Conflict-Based Approach to Intellectual Rights @ElgarPublishing

New from Elgar Publishing: Niels van Dijk, Postdoctoral Fellow, Research Group on Law, Science, Technology, and Society, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium, Grounds of the Immaterial: A Conflict-Based Approach to Intellectual Rights (2017).
This book applies a novel conflict-based approach to the notions of ‘idea’, ‘concept’, ‘invention’ and ‘immateriality’ in the legal regime of intellectual property rights by turning to the adversarial legal practices in which they occur. In doing so, it provides extensive ethnographies of the courts and law firms, and tackles classical questions in legal doctrine about the immaterial nature of intellectual property rights from a thoroughly new perspective. The book follows the legal proceedings of disputes in patent, copyright and trademark law as they circulate from the sites of enterprises, through the offices of law firms, the court registry, the courtroom and the judge’s office, until they finally arrive at judgment. In this way, the central matters of a dispute are gradually transformed into immaterial works, inventions, or signs through the ceaseless ‘material’ operations of legal practices. This analysis sheds light on how seemingly abstract philosophical notions are rendered workable as concrete legal concepts with important consequences. Grounds of the Immaterial offers an inventive and refreshing take on intellectual property rights which will be valued by academics and students in philosophy, legal theory, legal anthropology and intellectual property.


Grounds of the Immaterial  

August 29, 2017

CFP: AALS Sections on Constitutional Law and Legal History

From Rebecca Zietlaw, Chair of AALLS Section on Constitutional Law, 2017-2018 Call for Papers: The AALS Sections on Constitutional Law and Legal History invite paper submissions to participate in our joint program, “Reconstruction: The Second Founding,” at the 2018 AALS Annual Meeting on January 4, 2018. One paper will be selected among those submitted. The panel will take place from 3:00-4:30 on Thursday, January 4, 2018. TOPIC DESCRIPTION On the 150th anniversary of the 14th Amendment, the program celebrates the Reconstruction Constitution and explores its meaning to the law today. In an addition to a keynote luncheon speech by historian Martha Jones of the University of Michigan, the program will consist of two panels; the first on the history of Reconstruction and the second on Reconstruction’s present-day meaning. The AALS Sections on Constitutional Law and Legal History welcome submissions for the second panel. This panel discussion will focus on the impact of the Reconstruction Amendments on contemporary constitutional law, touching on topics from racial justice to sex equality and the law of empire. The Sections invite papers (historical, theoretical, doctrinal, empirical) on the present-day resonance of the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments and their broader significance. ELIGIBILITY Full-time faculty members of AALS member law schools are eligible to submit papers. Preference will be given to junior scholars doing original work on the Reconstruction Amendments. Diversity of race, gender, sexual orientation, ideology and subject matter will be taken into account in evaluating proposals. Pursuant to AALS rules, faculty at fee-paid law schools, foreign faculty, adjunct and visiting faculty (without a full-time position at an AALS member law school), graduate students, fellows, and non-law school faculty are not eligible to submit. Please note that all faculty members presenting at the program are responsible for paying their own annual meeting registration fee and travel expenses. PAPER SUBMISSION PROCEDURE Paper submissions should be accompanied by a short abstract (no more than 800 words). While complete papers with abstract are preferred, paper abstracts without accompanying papers will also be accepted. Papers will be selected by the Sections’ officers in a double-blind review. Please submit only anonymous papers by redacting from the submission the author’s name and any references to the identity of the author. Please send proposals to Derinda Kirkland at dkirklan@law.fsu.edu. Each submission should be in PDF format and come with a separate cover sheet including the applicant’s name, affiliation, and contact information. . The subject line of the email submission should read: “Submission – 2018 Joint Program on Reconstruction.” DEADLINE Deadline for submission of proposals is 5 pm EST on Friday, September 8 2017. Rebecca E. Zietlow Chair, AALS Section on Constitutional Law, 2017-2018 Charles W. Fornoff Professor of Law and Values University of Toledo College of Law (419) 530-2872 http://ssrn.com/author=291341 http://works.bepress.com/rebecca_zietlow/

Byberg on the History of the Common Market Law Review 1963-1993

Rebekka Byberg, University of Copenhagen, has published The History of Common Market Law Review 1963–1993 at 23 European Law Journal 45 (2017). Here is the abstract.
The transnational organisation of an academic discipline of European law has been a key component in the history of European law. A constitutive element is explored in this article, namely, the journal Common Market Law Review (CML Rev.). General existing claims of a strong connection between the Community institutions and academia in the transnational, academic discipline of European law are substantiated, and it is documented how CML Rev. legitimised the jurisprudence of the ECJ, differentiated European law from international law and countered national criticism as the academic lighthouse of the discipline in the 1960s and 1970s. In the 1980s, other forces drove the academic field forward, and CML Rev. lost its position as the avant‐garde in the discipline, but the journal developed a critical stance and rejected the most radical claims of the ECJ on the ultimate authority as part of a development towards professional maturity in the same period.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

Palmer on Empires as Engines of Mixed Legal Systems @TulaneLaw

Vernon V. Palmer, Tulane Law School, has published Empires as Engines of Mixed Legal Systems as Tulane Public Law Research Paper No. 17-13. Here is the abstract.
Nowhere else is the evolution of pluralism more accelerated than in the legal transformations brought about by assembling and managing empires. Whether Roman, Ottoman or English, Empires have been veritable engines of mixed and plural laws. This essay will suggest that mixed legal systems have been with us since antiquity and have been continually generated in conditions of increased social contact, commerce and communication between peoples. The incubation of mixed systems within empires suggests that legal mixing is unavoidable (and maintaining original purity unsustainable) when there is sufficient social and intellectual connection between peoples who fall under the same imperial sovereign. Different variables affect the speed and thoroughness of integration, for instance the social distance between cultures and civilizations, the prestige and rational appeal of the imperial law, and imperial policies which promote assimilation or seek to maintain separate laws for different peoples. Furthermore empires have distinctive purposes and devise distinctive strategies toward foreign laws. The Roman and Ottoman Empires clearly had different purposes and strategies and such differences have contributed to two forms of pluralism we find in the modern world.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

Kiel on Racial Registration in Native American Communities @Doug_Kiel

Doug Kiel, Northwestern University, is publishing Bleeding Out: Histories and Legacies of 'Indian Blood', in The Great Vanishing Act: Blood Quantum and the Future and Native Nations (K. Ratteree and N. Hill, 2017). Here is the abstract.
This essay examines the origins of the blood quantum system of racial registration in Native American communities, evaluates arguments for and against its continuation, and identifies potential alternatives for reconciling sovereign Indigenous nationhood with racialized conceptions of indigeneity.
Download the essay from SSRN at the link.

August 24, 2017

Gebeye on Legal Theory in Africa: Between Legal Centralism and Legal Pluralism

Berihun Adugna Gebeye, Central European University (CEU), Department of Legal Studies, is publishing Legal Theory in Africa: Between Legal Centralism and Legal Pluralism in the Queen Mary Law Journal (2017). Here is the abstract.
The African legal universe is difficult to capture through the lens of legal centralism and legal pluralism. While the former excludes the pre-colonial African legal experience, the latter blurs the post-colonial legal dynamics. By employing Joseph Raz’s theory of legal system, this paper argues that there have been centralized legal systems and plural laws in Africa. Customary legal systems, colonial legal systems and constitutional legal systems have existed in pre-colonial, colonial and post-colonial Africa respectively. Plural laws such as diverse customary and religious laws, imperial colonial laws, and statutory laws constituted these legal systems in different time and space. Hence, the quest for African legal theory rests in between legal centralism and legal pluralism.
The full text is not available for download.

"Bohemian Rhapsody" as a Crime Film @openculture @digg

Via Open Culture and Digg: Jeff Schine and Deborah Ramaglia act out Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" as a crime film. Check it out here.

August 23, 2017

Burke on Why Novelists Write About the Criminal Justice System @alafairburke @Hofstra_Law

Alafair S. Burke, Hofstra University School of Law, is publishing Why Fiction? in the New England Law Review (2017). Here is the abstract.
When I sold my first novel the summer after my first year as a tenure-track law professor, I assured the dean of my law school that fiction was a hobby, completely separate from my academic work, no different than if a colleague were training for a marathon in her spare time. Fifteen years later, this symposium asks its participants - four of us published novelists, one of us a judge, all of us trained lawyers - to reflect on the depiction of the criminal justice system in fiction. Our contributions make clear that the promise I made to my dean was itself a type of fiction. Whether an author realizes it or not, it is impossible to create an interesting, albeit fictional, depiction of the criminal justice system without having something to say about its real-world counterpart. Successful legal fiction uses the legal system as a defining component of the narrative that feels entirely realistic, even if the plot that unfolds there is wholly fictional. To be of interest, a novel’s legal setting must serve a purpose. Legal detail should advance the development of character, plot, or atmosphere. Separate from the question of why a novelist might write about law is the question of why a legal professor might choose to write fiction. This symposium presses me to respond to that query. Fortunately, the five thoughtful and diverse essays contributed to this collection have helped clarify a decade and a half of my own thoughts. I appreciate the opportunity to comment on three themes that I hope I have developed at least as well through fiction as through traditional legal scholarship: (1) individual actors in the criminal justice system matter; (2) legal rules are only a starting point; and (3) justice is not inevitable. Comparing these three points to narrative, one could say that they provide lessons about character, structure, and surprise endings.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

Solum on Triangulating Public Meaning: Corpus Linguistics, Immersion, and the Constitutional Record @lsolum @GeorgetownLaw

Lawrence B. Solum, Georgetown University Law Center, has published Triangulating Public Meaning: Corpus Linguistics, Immersion, and the Constitutional Record. Here is the abstract.
This Essay contributes to the development of an originalist methodology by making the case for an approach that employs three distinct methods, each of which serves as a basis for confirming or questioning the results reached by the other two. This approach will be called the Method of Triangulation. The three component techniques are as follows: (1) The Method of Corpus Linguistics: The method of corpus linguistics employs large-scale data sets (corpora) that provide evidence of linguistic practice. (2) The Originalist Method of Immersion: The method of immersion requires researchers to immerse themselves in the linguistic and conceptual world of the authors and readers of the constitutional provision being studied. (3) The Method of Studying the Constitutional Record: The method of studying the record framing, ratification, and implementation requires the researcher to examine the drafting process, including sources upon which the drafters relied, debates during the drafting and ratification process, and the early history of implementation of the constitutional provision. These three methods each provide different inputs into the process of constitutional interpretation and construction. Because each method can be checked against the others, the combination of the three methods results in what can be called "triangulation."
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

August 22, 2017

Del Gobbo on Unreliable Narration in Law and Fiction @danieldelgobbo

Daniel Del Gobbo has published Unreliable Narration in Law and Fiction, 30 Canadian Journal of Law and Jurisprudence 311 (2017). Here is the abstract.
This article revisits long-standing debates about objective interpretation in the common law system by focusing on a crime novel by Agatha Christie and judicial opinion by the Ontario High Court. Conventions of the crime fiction and judicial opinion genres inform readers’ assumption that the two texts are objectively interpretable. This article challenges this assumption by demonstrating that unreliable narration is often, if not always, a feature of written communication. Judges, like crime fiction writers, are storytellers. While these authors might intend for their stories to be read in certain ways, the potential for interpretive disconnect between unreliable narrators and readers means there can be no essential quality that marks a literary or legal text’s meaning as objective. Taken to heart, this demands that judges try to narrate their decisions more reliably so that readers are able to interpret the texts correctly when it matters most.

Lawrence Joseph's Sixth Book of Poetry Published @fsgbooks @StJohnsU

Lawrence Joseph, poet and professor of law at St. John's University, has published his sixth book of poems, So Where Are We? (Farrar, Straus, Giroux).





Other collections of his poetry include Into It (2005), and Codes, Precepts, Biases, and Taboos: Poems 1973-1993, both published by FSG. The latter collects his first three books of poetry. He is also the author of the novel Lawyerland, under option by Mr. Mudd Productions. 

CFP: John Grisham and the Law: The University of Memphis Law Review @uofmemphis

From the Mailbox: Via Andrew J. McClurg, University of Memphis School of Law:

CALL FOR PAPERS:  JOHN GRISHAM AND THE LAW

Rudy Baylor, a Memphis Law graduate, lost his new associate job before it even started when a bigger firm bought the firm that had hired him as a 3L.  Defeated, yet still determined to pursue a career in the law, Baylor accepted an associate job at an ambulance-chaser firm.  Little did young Baylor know that he would soon find himself litigating against a white-shoe law firm representing a health insurance monolith in an insurance claim—his very first case—that wound up being worth $50 million.

Of course, none of this actually happened in real life.  Twenty years ago, this tale unfolded on the silver screen in the 1997 major motion picture The Rainmaker, which brought to life author John Grisham’s novel of the same name.

We hope you will join us in celebrating John Grisham’s contributions to the law by submitting your articles on legal topics that arise in Grisham’s stories to The University of Memphis Law Review.  An ideal submission will frame its content with specific reference(s) to Grisham’s work(s) and will offer a practical legal argument.  We aim to publish accepted manuscripts in Volume 48, Number 3 of The University of Memphis Law Review.

John Grisham has repeatedly found ways to use his novels to offer incisive commentary on our profession and has popularized timeless themes of law and justice for the masses, in the South and elsewhereTopics could include, but are not limited to:



The Runaway Jury

·         Voir dire / jury tampering
·         Settlements and arbitration
·         Collateral estoppel

The Chamber

·         Death penalty and politics
·         Working with hostile clients
·         Ethical considerations when representing members of the same family

A Time to Kill

·         Race and the law
·         Law in the South
·         Vigilante justice
·         Hate crimes
·         Advocacy techniques
·         Right to a fair trial (venue, voir dire)
·         Capital punishment

The Client

·         Fifth Amendment issues
·         Witness-protection program
·         Attorney-client privilege

The Firm

·         Mail fraud
·         Moral obligations when you know your client is guilty
·         Moral and professional conflicts arising for junior associates
·         Balancing the obligation to maintain clients’ confidentiality with the obligation to comply with law enforcement’s demands

The Rainmaker

·         Attorney-client relationships
·         Self-defense justifications
·         Refusal to pay insurance claims
·         Punitive damages
·         Tort reform



Submission Protocol
To submit an entry to this themed book, please submit directly to Maggie McGowan, Senior Articles Editor at memphislawarticles@gmail.com with “Grisham Book” in the subject line.


August 21, 2017

Hiring Announcement: Louisiana State University Law Center

Hiring Announcement:


LOUISIANA STATE UNIVERSITY, PAUL M. HEBERT LAW CENTER seeks to hire three (3) tenure-track or tenured faculty members. Areas of particular interest to us include the following: business & transactional law; civil procedure; criminal law & procedure; environmental law; energy law; ethics and professionalism; evidence; family law; and juvenile justice clinical teaching.

We may consider applications who specialize in areas other than those listed. We also seek applications for the position of Director of the John P. Laborde Energy Law Center. Applicants should have superior academic credentials and publications or promise of productivity in legal scholarship. 

Contact: Melissa T. Lonegrass, Chair of the Faculty Appointments Committee c/o Pam Hancock Paul M. Hebert Law Center, Louisiana State University 1 East Campus Drive Baton Rouge, LA 70803-0106.

The Paul M. Hebert Law Center of LSU is an Equal Opportunity/Equal Access Employer and is committed to building a culturally diverse faculty and encourages applications from female and minority candidates.

Rossner, Tait, McKimmie, and Sarre on Courtroom Design and the Presumption of Innocence @meredithrossner @blakemckimmie @UniversitySA

Meredith Rossner, London School of Economics & Political Science, David Tait, University of Western Sydney College of Arts, Blake McKimmie, University of Queensland, and Rick T. Sarre, University of South Australia School of Law, have published The Dock on Trial: Courtroom Design and the Presumption of Innocence at 44 Journal of Law and Society 317 (2017). Here is the abstract.
This article examines the place of the criminal dock in courtroom design. Challenges to the use of the dock have been based upon the inability of the defendants to hear effectively, to communicate with counsel, to maintain their dignity, and to benefit from the presumption of innocence. Increasingly courts are incorporating secure docks, where defendants are partially or completely surrounded by glass (or in some countries, metal bars). To what extent do these changes and modifications undermine the right to the presumption of innocence? We present the results of an experimental mock jury study that was designed to test whether the placement of the accused influences jurors’ perceptions. We find that jurors are more likely to convict defendants when they are located in a traditional dock or a secure dock, compared to sitting next to their counsel at the bar table. We conclude by discussing the implications for trial procedures, counsel communications, and courtroom design.
The full text is not available from SSRN.

August 19, 2017

A Raymond Chandler Map of Los Angeles

This item might make a great holiday gift for someone: it's a foldout map of Los Angeles showing points of interest mentioned in Raymond Chandler's novels. Put together by Herb Lester and published by Gestalten. 

I know it's a little early to be thinking about purchasing presents for the non-denominational holidays, but I shop all year, so...

August 17, 2017

"Suits" Spinoff Will Star Gina Torres In a Series Set In Chicago @Suits_USA

From The Hollywood Reporter: USA Network is planning a Suits spinoff to star Gina Torres, who plays Jessica Pearson in the current series. The pilot for the possible series will air as Suita' season 7 finale and debut in spring of 2018. The Pearson character will move to Chicago and start a new life in politics, which will propel the stories in this new series. More here from International Business Times.

August 16, 2017

Makela on Whether Law Is an Academic Discipline

Finn Makela, Université de Sherbooke, Faculty of Law, has published Is Law an Academic Discipline? at 50(3) R.J.T.U.M. 422 (2017). Here is the abstract.
This article engages with the existing literature on the role of legal research in the University by framing the question as whether law is an academic discipline. I answer in the affirmative but my defense of this position is based on a sociological rather than an ontological conception of disciplinarity. Law is an academic discipline not by virtue of its relationship to a specific object or methodology, but by virtue of the institutional recognition of its legitimacy to produce a scholarly discourse. The argument relies on the distinction between points of view internal and external both to law and to disciplines.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

A Book on the Superhero "Green Arrow" from Richard Gray, Phil Hester, Neal Adams, Mike Grell, Chuck Dixon, Brad Meltzer, and Jeff Lemire

New from the Sequart Organization:

Richard Gray et al., Moving Target: The History and Evolution of Green Arrow (2017).


For 75 years, Green Arrow has been a part of the DC Comics world, working his way up from a supporting player to the star of a flagship television series. Yet for much of his career, he was a hero without a home, separate from his contemporaries, or unfavorably compared with a certain Dark Knight. Whether it is the “cowboys and Indians” influences of the 1940s and 1950s, the rebellious realism of the 1970s, the darker edge of the 1980s, or the melodrama of his TV personas, Green Arrow has remained the conscience of the comics world, and perhaps an even better representative than Batman of what one person can do. This collection is the definitive analysis of the Emerald Archer, from his Golden Age origins to his small screen adventures and beyond. Exploring overlooked chapters of Green Arrow’s life, and those of alter ego Oliver Queen, this book shows that Green Arrow has never been just one thing, but rather a perpetually moving target. Includes new interviews with Green Arrow creators from across the decades, including Neal Adams, Mike Grell, Chuck Dixon, Phil Hester, Brad Meltzer, and Jeff Lemire.