October 25, 2012

Judicial Pragmatism: The Early(er) Years

Robert F. Blomquist, Valparaiso University Law School, has published Early American Judicial Pragmatism, 1793-1949 as Valparaiso University Legal Studies Reseach Paper No. 12-13. Here is the abstract.

After the writings of Charles S. Peirce and William James became popular among intellectuals in the early twentieth century, American judges started to use pragmatic parlance to decide cases. Starting with a trilogy of opinions by Supreme Court of Florida Justice Thomas M. Shackelford, a variety of prominent jurists deployed pragmatic analysis in their opinions. These judges included Benjamin Cardozo, Learned Hand, Robert Jackson, and Jerome Frank. American judicial theorists can learn a lot from this early use of pragmatism language in judicial opinions written before 1950.
Download the paper from SSRN at the link. 

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