January 31, 2013

English Corporate Legal History, 1558-1640

Ron Harris, Tel Aviv University Buchmann Faculty of Law, has published Could the Crown Credibly Commit to Respecting its Charters? England, 1558-1640. Here is the abstract.

This chapter offers a twofold shift in the application of the ‘credible commitment’ concept laid down by North and Weingast in their classic 1989 article. It examines the concept in the context of charter-granting, rather than in that of the national debt and the government bond market, and applies the concept to the pre-Civil War period, rather than the post-Glorious Revolution period. The chapter focuses on charters for the incorporation of business corporations. At a basic level the puzzle is: if the state could not credibly commit to enforce or not to annual charters why were incorporators willing to pay for the charters and accompanying privileges? The chapter examines multiple mechanisms that could have succeeded in solving the commitment problem: reputation, type of charter activity and its organizational form, the law and judiciary, the extent of parliamentary or common law restraint on the sovereign and interest groups organizing to discourage default. Four case studies demonstrate how each of these mechanisms functioned. This chapter shows the usefulness of the ‘credible commitment’ framework. A nascent rule of law, unavailable elsewhere in Europe, explains the widespread use of charters and corporations in late Tudor and early Stuart England.
Download the chapter from SSRN at the link. 

"Take Your Stinking Paws Off Me...!"

Jonas-Sebastien Beaudry, University of Oxford, has published Of Apes and Men as Oxford Student Legal Studies Paper No. 01/2013. Here is the abstract.

Speciesism is generally taken to refer to the arbitrary preference for one's own species and cast in a morally negative light. My contention is that there are various kinds of speciesism and that it is sometimes morally acceptable. To make this point, I will focus on the 1968 movie The Planet of The Apes which offers instructive examples to test our intuitions on the matter.
Download the paper from SSRN at the link. 

January 30, 2013

"Ripper Street" To Return For a Second Season

The BBC crime drama "Ripper Street" is returning for a season season next year. More here from The Guardian. The show airs on BBC America in the U.S.

January 28, 2013

Film as Memory

Jessica M. Silbey, Suffolk University Law School, is publishing Persuasive Visions: Film and Memory in Law, Culture, and the Humanities. Here is the abstract.

This commentary takes a new look at law and film studies through the lens of film as memory. Instead of describing film as evidence and foreordaining its role in truth-seeking processes, it thinks instead of film as individual, institutional and cultural memory, placing it squarely within the realm of contestability. Paralleling film genres, the commentary imagines four forms of memory that film could embody: memorabilia (cinema verite), memoirs (autobiographical and biographical film), ceremonial memorials (narrative film monuments of a life, person or institution), and mythic memory (dramatic fictional film). Imagining film as memory resituates film’s role in law (procedural, substantive and cultural) as authoritative rhetoric that must be disputed and reappropriated to serve the specific goals of justice.
Download the paper from SSRN at the link. 

January 24, 2013

Those Krazy Kollege Kids

....What will they think of next? Jose Calvo Gonzalez points out that John Rawls has made it to Broadway--well, the Oxford stage, anyway.



Those wild "Oxfordians" have set A Theory of Justice to music. (Don't know what they think about Shakespeare, but what uses they have for Rawls, Nozick, Kant, Aristotle, and the rest is pretty clear). And "they" said it couldn't be done.

January 23, 2013

Regulation of Weapons In the U.S. Through the Early 20th Century

Mark Anthony Frassetto, Georgetown University Law Center, has published Firearms and Weapons Legislation up to the Early 20th Century. Here is the abstract.
This document is a compilation of state firearms and weapons legislation from the colonial era until the start of the twentieth century. This research provides a comprehensive view of firearm and weapons regulations during this era. This document was created in an attempt to understand the historic scope of the Second Amendment in the wake of the Supreme Court's Heller and McDonald decisions. Relevant legislation is categorized by type as well as historical era. Sources are divided into four historical periods: (1) English, which includes English statutes up to the split with the American colonies in 1776; (2) Colonial, which includes statutes passed within the American colonies beginning in 1607 and continuing to the ratification of the Constitution in 1791; (3) Pre-14th Amendment; and (4) Post-14th Amendment.
Download the paper from SSRN at the link. 

Litigation and Reconciliation

Atiba R. Ellis, West Virginia University College of Law, has published Polley v. Ratcliff: A New Way to Address an Original Sin? in volume 115 of the West Virginia Law Review (2012). Here is the abstract.

This essay recites the history of the Polley v. Ratcliff litigation and interrogates its relevance for modern considerations of racial inequality in America. The Polley case began in 1850s with the wrongful kidnapping of the children of Mr. Peyton Polley, an emancipated African slave who lived in Ohio. The litigation continued from 1851 to 1859 without clear resolution. Although this incident has been discussed at length by historians, the litigation itself came to a remarkable conclusion on April 6, 2012. On that day, some 162 years after this Dred Scott-era kidnapping, Judge Darrell Pratt of the Circuit Court of Wayne County, West Virginia, entered a decree declaring that Mr. Polley wrongfully kidnapped children — Harrison, Louisa, and Anna — “were, and are, FREE PERSONS as of March 22, 1859."
This declaration represented a monumental historical moment in West Virginia history, and it represents, as this essay will argue, an opportunity to consider the question of what our societal response to slavery and racism has been over time and what it ought to be in the twenty-first century. The essay considers the various modes through which Americans look at the history of slavery and race-race consciousness, racial reparations, and post racialism — and then it argues that the Polley litigation represents a different model for considering the American history of race, a model akin to truth and reconcilliation.
Download the essay from SSRN at the link. 

January 20, 2013

The Impact of "Scandal"

Tanzina Vega discusses the impact of the ABC drama "Scandal" in an article in the January 20th issue of the New York Times. Link here. "Scandal" features the activities of Washington "fixer" Olivia Pope, played by Kerry Washington.

January 18, 2013

Law and Culture Study Abroad Through Tulane Law School

Tulane Law School is offering a summer abroad program in International Law, Cultural Heritage & the Arts in Siena, Italy, from June 2 to June 22 this year. More information is available at Tulane's website.

A New Book on Law and Literature From Jose Calvo Gonzalez

Our friend José Calvo González has published a new book, El Escudo de Perseo: La Cultura Literaria del Derecho (Granada, 2012).






Here is the table of contents.


Presentación . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .             1
I PENSAMIENTO JURÍDICO
siglo xvii-xviii
Quevedo en tela de juicio, o sea el tribvnal de la ivsta vengança de luis pacheco de narváez. (De
contiendas literarias y Derecho en la España del s. xvii). . . . . . . . . . .       5
1.  Antecedentes de hechos . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .            5
2.  «Fulminarle proceso». La contienda literaria como querella . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . .          11
3.   Sobre iusta vindicta . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .          19
4.   Para poner en tela de juicio. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .          21
Títeres y derecho. La justicia y las justicias de Sancho en la ópera para marionetas
vida do grande d. Quixote de la Mancha e do gordo sancho Pança, de António José da
Silva (1705-1739) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .           25
1.  António José da Silva en la cultura literaria cervantina ibérica y brasileña . . . . . . . . .
. . . . .          25
2.  António José da Silva y la cultura literaria del Derecho . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . .          34
3.  La Justicia y las justicias de Sancho en la ópera para marionetas Vida do grande D. Quixote
de la Mancha e do gordo Sancho Pança . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . .          41
4.  António José da Silva, en reguero . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . .          51
Apéndice I. Vida do grande D. Quixote de la Mancha e do gordo Sancho Pança. Parte Segunda.
Cena IV . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . .          52
siglo xix
Naturalismo y direcciones criminológicas a finales del siglo xix en España . . . . . .           59
Odia el delito, y compadece al delincuente. Memoria de correccionalismo, antro-  pología cultural y
literatura popular . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .      
 73
1.   «Odia el delito, y compadece al delincuente» . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . .          73
2.   Correccionalismo, y más . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .          77


X                   el escudo de perseo. la cultura literaria del derecho. estudios
interdisciplinares




3.   «Odia el delito, y compadece al delincuente» desde la antropología cultural y la literatura
popular. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .          80
4.   «Odia el delito, y compadece al delincuente». Colofón a día de hoy . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . .          87
siglo xx
Derecho y literatura: Anatoliĭ Fedorovich Koni (1844-1927). Sobre Cultura jurídica de la literatura
y Cultura literaria del Derecho en la Rusia imperial de Alejandro
II a Nicolás II . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .          91
1.   La tradición jurídica liberal-moderada rusa a mediados del s. xix . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . .          91
2.  Anatoliĭ Fedorovich Koni (1844-1927) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . .          94
3.   Koni y el Derecho desde la Literatura: Pushkin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . .          98
4.   Koni y la Literatura desde el Derecho: Chéjov, Dostoievski y Tolstói. . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . .        104
5.  A modo de síntesis: sobre Cultura Jurídica y Cultura literaria en la Rusia imperial de
Alejandro
II a Nicolás II . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .        132
Sobre la geografía de la recepción literaria y jurídico-social tolstiana, con apunte
acerca del reformista social norteamericano Ernest Howard Crosby (1856-1907) . .       135
1.   Literatura y pensamiento tolstiano: geografía de una recepción . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . .        135
2.   Ernest H. Crosby y la recepción ideológica de Tolstói en EEUU . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . .        158
Apéndice. Derecho y Literatura: Shakespeare and the Working Classes, por Ernest H. Crosby . .    
 173
Rousseau y Tolstói (Reflejos en el espejo pushkiano). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. .        197
1.   Los eslabones. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .        197
2.   Otro engarce . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .        199
3.   Una medalla y un anillo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .        204
Justicia en trilce (1922) y escalas (1923) de César Vallejo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. .       207
1.   Trilce entre cuatro paredes albicantes. Esperanza de Justicia, y desespero . . . . . . . . . .
. . . .        207
2.   Escalas para alcanzar la Justicia: la evasión fallida . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . .        211

Derecho y Literatura. Notículas para una galería peruana: Enrique López Albújar
(1872-1966) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .        221

II PERIODISMO JURÍDICO
Dickensiana. En torno a una crónica de tribunales, con digresiones. . . . . . . . . . . . .      
239
1.   Preliminar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .        241
2.   Secuencia. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .        243
3.   Más juristas que médicos . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .        246
4.  Tóxicos jurídicos de Dickens . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . .        249
5.   Post scriptum . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .        251
bionarrativa de la Justicia en el periodismo literario de César Vallejo . . . . . . . . . . .    
 253
0.   Bionarrativa: índole de una categoría . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . .        253
1.   Cesar Vallejo. Notículas biobibliográficas de 1910 a 1927 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . .        255
2.   El periodismo literario de César Vallejo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . .        261
3.   La bionarrativa vallejiana de la Justicia en dos Crónicas judiciales de 1927 y 1926 . . . . .
. .        263
3.1.  Gaston Guyot, nuevo Landrú. La Justicia entre cortinas de humo rojo y una historia de
dualidades . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . .        263
3.2.  El otro caso de Mr. Curwood. La Justicia bajo examen de conciencia . . . . . . . . . . . . .
      266

sumario                                                                                          
                                                                    XI



La intimidad en el espejo de los media. Una mirada desde la Literatura y el Derecho .     269
III
TEORIA LITERARIA DEL DERECHO
Derecho y Literatura. Intersecciones instrumental, estructural e institucional .              297
0.  Geometría del jardín. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .       297
1.   Una cuestión de nomenclatura, pero ante todo de orden metodológico . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . .        298
2.   Intersección instrumental . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .        302
3.   Intersección estructural. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .        308
4.   Intersección institucional . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .        313
5.   Mirador al jardín . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .        321
constitutional law en clave de teoría literaria: una guía de campo para el estudio.     323
1.  Sobre Teoría literaria del Derecho y Constitución . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . .        323
2.   Derecho & Literatura Constitucional. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . .        325
2.1.   Como top stories . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . .        325
2.2.   Como fictional canon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . .        325
2.3.   Como foundational hypothetical narrative or myth . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . .        327
3.   Narrativa en las instituciones constitucionales. Últimos episodios . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . .        330
3.1.   Constitutional Law Interpretation: Juricentric Constitution v. «Juriperipheral Consti-
tution» . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . .        330
3.2.   Constitutional judicial interpretation: between romantic narrative, fuzzy fiction, and
ascetic narrative . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . .        331
4.   Guía de campo. Coda . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .        332
IV EDUCACIÓN JURÍDICA
Derecho y Literatura. La cultura literaria del Derecho . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  
   335
1.   Ab ocio literario y De dicendi elegantia. Los inicios . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . .        335
2.   De disputa ameníssima a Cultura literaria del Derecho: la aculturación lectora . . . . . . . .
. .        340
3.   ¿Qué literatura leen, cómo la leen y para qué los juristas (que leen)? . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . .        342
4.   Epílogo sobre escépticos, y final abierto (a la discusión) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . .        345
Derecho y Literatura, ad usuM scholaris juventutis. (Con relato implícito) . . . . . . . .      
349
1.   [Querría contaros una historia…] Preámbulo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . .        349
2.  [Hace muchos años…] Formación jurídica y literatura: vínculos que fueron sólo colindan-
cias . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .        350
3.   [Muchos años después…] Derecho y literatura: ¿habitaciones separadas? . . . . . . . . . . . .
.        363
4.   [Hoy, pero… ¿mañana será otro día?] Derecho y Literatura. Ad extra usum scholae accommo-
date? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .        372
V
Y… DOS PRÓLOGOS
De la cultura lectora y literaria del Derecho . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . .      379
A propósito de l´Étranger de Camus, o una absurdidad llena de sentido (Pro logos
en Derecho y Literatura). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . .        385

January 14, 2013

Metaphor in Law

Linda Berger, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, School of Law, is publishing Metaphor in Law as Poetic and Propositional Language in The European Legacy: Towards New Paradigms, Journal of the International Society for the study of European Ideas (ISSEI). Here is the abstract.

My argument in this essay is that although lawyers routinely use and abuse metaphor as propositional language, they mostly neglect the use of metaphor as poetic language. Poetic metaphor openly invites you to view a topic or a target from a new angle by setting it against or alongside a light source; in this way, it prompts second looks and encourages insights. Propositional metaphor, by comparison, appears designed to persuade you to view the target or the topic under discussion as something you already know about because of your experience with the source. As a result, you are better able to understand or to “handle” the topic, but you discover little that is new. The essay was presented as part of a panel discussion on Law and Language at the 2012 conference of the International Society for the Study of European Ideas.
Download the paper from SSRN at the link. 

January 11, 2013

Remembering a Divided Nation

Currently at the Library of Congress, an exhibit entitled "The Civil War In America." The New York Times reviews it here.

January 9, 2013

Funny Politicians

From the Dirksen Congressional Center: Serious Consequences of Congress as a Target For Humorists.

New Star Trek Film Folks Will Unveil App To Encourage Faithful Fans

Love Star Trek (particularly the reboot of the franchise)? Love your smart phone? Now you can indulge your affection for both with a Star Trek Into the Darkness app, which will be available, according to the Hollywood Reporter, at the end of this month. Says THR's Aaron Couch,

A smartphone app for fans anticipating J.J. Abrams’ upcoming Trek sequel will launch at the end of this month and will allow users to go on Starfleet-esque missions by inputting audio-visual elements into their phones....For example, a fan could watch the Into Darkness trailer on TV, and the app's audio tool would hear it and might reward its user with points toward unlocking a new Star Trek image or wallpaper. The app's geolocation tool might reward fans for going to a movie theater, while those who snap a photo of an Into Darkness poster could earn points toward unlocking a video.
The ultimate prize? A trip to see the premiere of the film. Sounds just a little interactively high tech-ily obsessive to me, but then only about ten people even have my cell phone number. 

Indigenous Sovereignty: A Literature Review

Jennifer L. Archer, Archer Law Corporation, has published Sovereignty as a Social Construct: A Literature Review of Indigenous Peoples’ Perspectives.
The concept of sovereignty is both culturally and historically dependent. Sovereignty evolved within the Western legal tradition as a tool to legitimize imperial conquest over Indigenous peoples, territories and resources. Indigenous peoples, as non-state actors in the international community of sovereigns, have found themselves defined by this narrow and often-violent conception of power, which, at its heart, is contrary to Indigenous peoples’ values and epistemology. This has made it difficult for Indigenous peoples to engage or assert Western sovereignty without also experiencing a form of cultural and epistemological assimilation. An understanding and respect for the values that form the basis of Indigenous sovereignty can ultimately allow for the possibility of genuine social and legal reconciliation within the international legal system.

This literature review allows current narratives regarding Indigenous sovereignty to provide an emerging counterpoint to the dominant legal discourse in order to demonstrate that sovereignty is ultimately a man-made construct. Once we acknowledge sovereignty as a social construct, we can undertake to (re)construct new laws in a manner that no longer legitimizes the domination of imperialist values over Indigenous values.
Download the paper from SSRN at the link. 

Traditional Property Law and Indigenous Culture

Susan Elizabeth Farran, Northumbria University & University of the South Pacific, has published The ‘Unnatural’ Legal Framing of Traditional Knowledge and Forms of Cultural Expression. Here is the abstract.
The consequences of social and economic development in Pacific Island States are far reaching and on a number of levels illustrate the head-on collision of endogamous and exogamous forces. This is particularly evident in the ways in which manifestations of cultural property and traditional knowledge are harnessed and regulated. Laws inspired by western liberal thinking and capitalist economies see intellectual effort as giving rise to property rights and their related remedies, which are premised on individualism, exclusion and the commodity value of knowledge and creativity and its physical manifestation. Traditional, indigenous perceptions are however different. While knowledge may be power it is not always exclusive, individual or commercial. Cultural property creates networks of exchange and reflects continuums between the past and the present, between people and generations, and people and places. Increasingly there is pressure internally and externally to exploit and use cultural property and traditional knowledge for development objectives. Linked to this is a real or perceived need to adopt or incorporate a range of legal measures. Many of these are reflections of the colonial past of Pacific islands and an illustration of the neo-colonial present. There are however some attempts to moderate this onslaught and to take steps to shape the regulatory framework in a way that bridges the traditional and the modern.
This paper considers the challenges facing Pacific island states seeking to articulate laws which meet the demands of modernity and satisfy the values of tradition. It looks in particular at the problems posed by unfamiliar legal concepts and the consequences of trying to bring traditional knowledge and cultural property within the framework of laws originating from very different cultural and normative backgrounds and concludes with a critical assessment of the contemporary legal picture.
Download the paper from SSRN at the link. 

January 8, 2013

British Trials In the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries

A new publication of interest:

Crime, Courtrooms and the Public Sphere in Britain, 1700-1850, Edited by David Lemmings, University of Adelaide, Australia, Ashgate, December 2012.  Via the blog ESCLH: European Society for Comparative Legal History.

More here at the Ashgate website.

Mapping the March of Same-Sex Marriage and Relationships

Peter Nicolas, University of Washington School of Law, and Mike Strong (no affiliation given), have published The Geography of Love: Same-Sex Marriage & Relationship Recognition in America (The Story in Maps) Third Edition (2013) as a University of Washington School of Law Research Paper. Here is the abstract.

There is no question that the most prominent gay rights issue in the United States today is the right to marry. Yet accurate, objective information about same-sex marriage and relationship recognition in the United States is difficult to come by. In this book, Seattle-based authors Peter Nicolas & Mike Strong combine their respective training in law and geography to depict the history and current state of marriage and relationship recognition rights for same-sex couples in the United States in words...and in maps.
This publication begins with a detailed history of efforts to achieve marriage rights and other forms of relationship recognition (such as domestic partnerships and civil unions) for gay and lesbian Americans, from the first lawsuit filed in 1970 in Minnesota to the new marriage laws approved by voters in November, 2012 — and just about everything (judicial and legislative) in between.
Next, it provides detailed information on relationship recognition in the United States, including: which states permit same-sex couples to marry or to enter into other types of legal unions; the rules for entering into or terminating such relationships; a comparison of the rights that each state provides to same-sex couples; the extent to which same-sex relationships entered into in one state are recognized by other states; and which cities and counties have domestic partnership registries and equal benefits ordinances.
That is followed by a look at efforts to ban same-sex marriage at the ballot box, including: selected vote details by state and county; a closer look at where support for such efforts was weakest and strongest; and a comparison of the processes for amending state constitutions across the United States.
For those same-sex couples interested in getting married in one of the jurisdictions that permits same-sex couples to marry, the book features a table that provides detailed information about the prerequisites for getting married, including: the marriage license fee; minimum age and blood test requirements; whether non-residents are permitted to marry; and the waiting period, if any, between applying for a license and getting married.
The third edition is completely up-to-date, and provides extensive coverage of the votes in November 2012 legalizing same-sex marriage in Maine, Maryland, and Washington.
Download the paper from SSRN at the link. 

Women's History, Law, Politics, and Abortion Rhetoric

Tracy A. Thomas, University of Akron School of Law, has published Misappropriating Women's History in the Law and Politics of Abortion at 36 Seattle University Law Review 1 (2012). Here is the abstract.

Over the past twenty years, prolife advocates have sought to control the political and legal narrative of abortion by misappropriating women’s history. They claim that “[w]ithout known exception, the early American feminists condemned abortion in the strongest possible terms.” Conservatives, led by the lobbying group Feminists for Life, have used historical feminist icons like Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Alice Paul, to support their anti-abortion advocacy. Federal anti-abortion legislation has been named after these feminist heroines, amicus briefs to the U.S. Supreme Court proffer evidence that these women were outspokenly against abortion, and political forums for college students popularize the notion that feminists historically opposed abortion. The need to create a history of anti-abortion feminists seems important today because abortion has come to be equated with women’s rights. The appeal to historical figures in the abortion debate is powerful because it utilizes the gravitas of feminist heroines to challenge the existing legal and political assumption that abortion is a cornerstone of sex equality.
This political narrative, however, misconstrues the historical evidence. It invents rather than describes history, blatantly ignoring the text, context, and spirit of the work of the women it appropriates. This paper tests the veracity of the claims of a feminist history against abortion by focusing on Elizabeth Cady Stanton, “the brilliant chief philosopher and leader” of the nineteenth-century women’s rights movement. Stanton has quite literally been the poster child for the historical campaign against abortion, appearing on posters, commemorative coffee mugs and federal legislation. This analysis offers a detailed account of Stanton’s views related to abortion based on original historical research into the archives of Stanton’s papers. Like other works of legal history, it is fundamentally concerned with recovering all of the legally relevant facts and placing those facts in appropriate historical and legal context.
The evidence shows that Stanton did not talk about abortion per se. She did not respond to the public campaign for the criminalization of abortion led by the medical profession with attacks on the growing autonomy of women. Instead Stanton reframed this debate as one of women’s rights, framing the question as one of the “elevation of woman” through equal legal and social rights. Stanton’s theory of “enlightened motherhood” placed women as the “sovereign of her own person” with sole responsibility for deciding when and under what circumstances to bear children. She defended women accused of infanticide, exposing the gendered legal system of all-male juries, legislatures, and judges that condemned them. Stanton’s life work labored for radical change to the patriarchy of society seeking liberal legal reforms of equal rights for women. Her ideology was about the “self-sovereignty” of women and against the regulation of women by men or the law. Stanton thus seems an unlikely spokesperson for the modern anti-abortion movement committed to opposite ends.
Download the article from SSRN at the link. 

The Lincoln Legend

John Blake of CNN reviews (and critiques) Steven Spielberg's new film "Lincoln," and suggests that the Spielberg Lincoln is not as accurate or as complex as the PBS Lincoln available in a three-part documentary which begins airing tonight. In part, says Mr. Blake, the documentary points out that Harriet Beecher Stowe, not President Lincoln, had a great part in persuading people that slavery was immoral, via her novel Uncle Tom's Cabin. Further, what fueled the enduring attraction of slavery in the South was not just twisted moral thinking on the part of its defenders, but its economic foundation. He discusses more reasons, more issues, here.

January 7, 2013

Narratives and Trials

Lisa Kern Griffin, Duke University School of Law, has published Narrative, Truth, & Trial, at 101 Georgetown Law Journal 281 (2012). Here is the abstract.

This article critically evaluates the relationship between constructing narratives and achieving factual accuracy at trials. The story model of adjudication — according to which jurors process testimony by organizing it into competing narratives — has gained wide acceptance in the descriptive work of social scientists and currency in the courtroom, but it has received little close attention from legal theorists. The article begins with a discussion of the meaning of narrative and its function at trial. It argues that the story model is incomplete, and that “legal truth” emerges from a hybrid of narrative and other means of inquiry. As a result, trials contain opportunities to promote more systematic consideration of evidence. Second, the article asserts that, to the extent the story model is descriptively correct with respect to the structure of juror decision making, it also gives rise to normative concerns about the tension between characteristic features of narrative and the truth-seeking aspirations of trial. Viewing trials through the lens of narrative theory brings sources of bias and error into focus and suggests reasons to increase the influence of analytic processes. The article then appraises improvements in trial mechanics — from prosecutorial discovery obligations through appellate review of evidentiary errors — that might account for the influence of stories. For example, a fuller understanding of narrative exposes the false assumption within limiting instructions that any piece of evidence exists in isolation. And to better inform how adjudicators respond to stories in the courtroom, the article argues for modifying instructions in terms of their candor, explanatory content, and timing.
Download the article from SSRN at the link. 

What's In Theaters; What's Up With "Zero Dark Thirty"

Two reviews of newly released law-related films from The Hollywood Reporter: Gangster Squad and Promised Land.

Meanwhile, on Capitol Hill, some Senators are questioning CIA involvement in the writing of the script for the Kathryn Bigelow hit Zero Dark Thirty. According to THR,

[I]n a Dec. 19 letter to acting CIA director Michael Morell, the lawmakers expressed a concern that “given the CIA’s cooperation with the filmmakers and the narrative’s consistency with past public misstatements by former senior CIA officials, filmmakers could have been misled by information they were provided by the CIA.”
The senators went on to demand that the intelligence agency turn over to them  "'all information and documents provided to the filmmakers by CIA officials." In a second letter sent Dec. 31, Feinstein, Levin and McCain responded to an unusual message Morrell sent to all CIA employees on Dec. 21. In that message, which was posted to the agency's website, the acting director stated that “some [intelligence related to bin Laden’s location] came from detainees subjected to enhanced techniques, but there were many other sources as well.”
More here. More coverage here from the Los Angeles Times.

January 3, 2013

American Society For Legal History Meeting, 2013


Call for Papers and Participation: American Society For Legal History

The 2013 meeting of the American Society for Legal History will take place in Miami, Florida, November 7-10, 2013. The ASLH invites proposals on any facet or period of legal history, anywhere in the world. In selecting presenters, the Program Committee will give preference to those who did not present at last year’s meeting.  Travel grants will be available for presenters in need; these resources will nevertheless still be limited, and special priority will be given to presenters traveling from abroad, graduate students, post-docs, and independent scholars.  The Program Committee welcomes proposals for both full panels and individual papers, though please note that individual papers are less likely to be accepted. As concerns panels, the Program Committee encourages the submission of a variety of different types of proposals, including: • traditional 3-paper panels (with a separate commentator and chair) • incomplete 2-paper panels (with a separate commentator and chair), which the Committee will try to complete with at least 1 more paper; • panels of 4 or more papers (with a separate commentator and chair); • thematic panels that range across traditional chronological or geographical fields ; • author-meets-reader panels; • roundtable discussions.  All panel proposals should include the following: • A 300-word description of the panel; • A c.v. for each presenter (including complete contact info); • In the case of paper-based panels only, a 300-word abstract of each paper .  Individual paper proposals should include: • A c.v. for each presenter (including complete contact info); • A 300-word abstract of each paper  The deadline for submitting proposals is March 1, 2013. Proposals should be sent as email attachments to proposals@aslh.net. Substantive questions should be directed to Christina Duffy Ponsa at cponsa@law.columbia.edu or Karl Shoemaker at kbshoemaker@wisc.edu Those unable to send proposals as email attachments may mail hard copies to: 2013 ASLH Program Committee c/o Christina Duffy PONSA Columbia Law School 435 W. 116th Street, Rm. 913 New York, NY 10027  

News of a Law and Literature Conference, Belo Horizonte, Brazil, July 2013


News of a Law and Literature Conference, forthcoming, July 2013

“Law and Literature: experiences from my country”
Law and Literature  brings together different disciplines and hence different cultures with distinct disciplinary languages, methododologies and values, and as a result different approaches to narratives. It is on this plane that fruitful research can be done on what binds rather than divides the disciplines, law usually aiming at unity and closure and literature being more closely attentive to social diversity. This workshop aims to establish a platform for a literary-legal dialogue , not only about literary reflections on law and justice, or the academic study of law and law’s societal impact, but also about the possible contributions of the humanities to legal education and practice, for example with respect to humanistic methodologies for doing law. This workshop therefore invites both general theoretical and/or methodological explorations of the bonds of law and literature, and reflections on personal experiences and/or applications of literary-legal research in specific countries, jurisdictions or (professional) cultures, hence its subtitle.

Convenors: Marcelo Campos Galuppo, Jeanne Gaakeer, Vera Karam de Chueiri and Alberto Vespaziani

The Congress is held place in Belo Horizonte (Brazil), 21-28 July 2013.
Deadline for submission of abstracts:  28 February 2013
How to submit: via the IVR website under Paper Submissions (please note: not via email) so that those who intend to submit an abstract must first register via ,via www.ivr2013.org under Registrations.

Convenors’deadline for approval of submitted abstracts: 15 March 2013
Approved abstracts will be included in the official Congress Program abstracts book  when the congress fee is paid before 15 March 2013.

Deadline for payment is 21 June 2013.