July 29, 2014

Calling Saul

Breaking Bad's spin-off series, Better Call Saul,will have a delayed premiere date, but not because of network questions about its viability. Instead, its creators are taking additional steps to make certain the show maintains production values. And it already has a green light for a second season.

Meanwhile, Albuquerque, NM, residents can call Saul if they have issues with the cops. His billboard is up in the area (with a lovely photo of series star Bob Odenkirk in the role of "Jimmy McGill," his new name in the show). Or they (and you) can check out his website here (as Saul).

I don't think Saul is the first TV lawyer to have his own website. Ally McBeal's firm Cage & Fish had a website when that show was up and running on Fox; I have been unable to find it on the web, however. Maybe some kind reader will be able to send me a working link.

Better Call Saul will air beginning in early January, 2015, on AMC.

July 26, 2014

His Final Bow

PBS will begin airing the last season's adaptations of Agatha Christie's Poirot novels on July 27. After a quarter of a century, we will say adieu to our old friends Poirot, Hastings, Miss Lemon, and Superintendent Japp. While PBS will not offer the final episode, "Curtain," in which Poirot solves the ultimate case of his career, you can see it as well as all the others at acorn.tv (subscription required). The episodes will be released on DVD later this year.

July 23, 2014

A Comic Book Nice Guy Dies Saving A Friend: Life, Death, and Archie Andrews

Archie Andrews, the lovable character familiar to many from the "Archie" comics, meets his end in today's installment of Life With Archie, when he saves the life of his friend Kevin Keller. Kevin is a veteran opposed to gun violence who is targeted by a stalker; Archie intervenes, and dies as a result. More here in an article by Derrik J. Lang.

More coverage here from the Long Beach Press-Telegram, an opinion piece here from Ana Veciana Suarez of the Miami Herald.

Preliminary CFP for the Law, Literature, and the Humanities Association of Australasia December 2015 Conference

Preliminary call for papers for the December 9-12 2015 conference on "Complicity" at the University of Technology Sydney Law School, sponsored by the Law, Literature, and the Humanities Association of Australasia.

Organizers will post a full CFP later in the year.

Asssessing Law and Religion Scholarship Over the Past Quarter Century

Marie A. Failinger, Hamline University School of Law, has published Twenty-Five Years of Law and Religion Scholarship: Some Reflections at 30 Touro Law Review 9 (2014). Here is the abstract.

In this address, the author describes some of the significant movements in law and religion scholarship over the past twenty-five years, including the dialogue between traditional church-state and international human rights scholars and outside scholars, including those writing from within American minority faith traditions.
Download the article from SSRN at the link. 

Women's Inheritance Rights In the Early Republic

Jeffrey K. Sawyer, University of Baltimore, School of Law, has published Women, Law, and the Pursuit of Happiness in Early Harford County, as Harford Historical Bulletin, Number 81, at p. 3. Here is the abstract.

Martha Griffith filed suit in 1794 against the executors of her late husband's estate. His will had left her a large, waterfront plantation on Swan Creek for the remainder of her life, but she wanted more. The suit demanded a large share of the family's working capital, specifically, livestock, supplies, farm equipment, and the slave labor force that made plantations prosperous in those times. The people and property involved in this case were for the most part members of a closely knit Harford County community, but the legal battle and its outcome had some larger implications.
The decision in Griffith v. Griffith's Executors, rendered by the General Court and affirmed by the Court of Appeals, constitutes a significant piece of the legal history of early America. First, it re-established the undisputed rights of Maryland widows to a share of both the real and personal property of their deceased husbands. Second, it forced leading judges and lawyers in Maryland to undertake a deep historical and logical analysis of the authority of British legal precedents. What law would apply in cases where post-Revolutionary Maryland legislation was unclear? Third, the judgment silently affirmed that slaves in Maryland fell under the regime of personal property with respect to inheritance.
The events surrounding the suit are particularly revealing of how law in action affected women with respect to inheritance and property. Despite many inequalities that affected women under the old common law in early Maryland, women had a dear legal right to own property and to use the courts of law to secure their rights, A widow's right to a reasonable share of her husband's property extended back into Anglo-Saxon times, and was one of the guarantees written into the Magna Carta. "Dower" is the old common law name for a widow's share. Customarily dower consisted of the use of and profit from one third of the deceased husband's real estate for the widow's lifetime, and one third of his personal estate after his debts were paid, But dower could also be fixed by a formal agreement.

Download the article from SSRN at the link. 

What We Talk About When We Talk About Poverty: Racialized Metaphors and Anti-Poverty Programs

Ann Cammett, CUNY School of Law, has published Deadbeat Dads & Welfare Queens: How Metaphor Shapes Poverty Law at 34 Boston College Journal of Law and Social Justice 233 (2014). Here is the abstract.
Since the 1960s, racialized metaphors describing dysfunctional parents have been deployed by conservative policymakers to shape the way that the public views anti-poverty programs. The merging of race and welfare has eroded support for a robust social safety net, despite growing poverty and economic inequality throughout the land. This Article begins by describing the influence that metaphors have on the way people unconsciously perceive reality. It proceeds by examining historical racial tropes for Black families and how they were repurposed to create the Welfare Queen and Deadbeat Dad, the metaphorical villains of welfare programs. It also tracks the demise of welfare entitlements and the simultaneous ascendency of punitive child support enforcement intended to penalize both “absent” parents and families with non-normative structures. Ultimately, this Article argues that the focus on demonizing Black parents in the welfare system has created an obstacle to providing necessary resources to alleviate the suffering of a growing number of poor children of all races, the intended beneficiaries of public assistance.
Download the article from SSRN at the link. 

Rhetoric and Visualization In Brief Writing

Michael D. Murray, Valparaiso University Law School,  has published Visual Rhetoric and Storytelling in Five Sections of a Brief. Here is the abstract.

The rhetoric of visualization is critical to client-centered legal practice. Visualization through storytelling connects all subject areas in the law and extends far beyond the law to disciplines as varied as cognitive studies, brain science, and rhetoric and persuasion. Visual rhetoric is a growing topic of discussion and scholarship in the legal writing academy, as scholars and practitioners explore the potential of images as cognitive, communicative, and persuasive devices. Lawyers use stories and visual images and structures as framing devices, organizational schema, and persuasive rhetorical methods to communicate the context and meaning of a client’s situation and to improve the communication, reception, and understanding of legal argument with a given audience. Most legal writing and advocacy study has focused on the facts section for narrativity and storytelling, while visual rhetoric has focused on the argument section. This presentation will examine the use of client-centered narrative reasoning and visual rhetoric in five sections of trial level and appellate legal briefs: questions presented; introduction or summary of the argument; statement of facts or statement of the case; explanation sections of the argument; and application sections of the argument.
Download the paper from SSRN at the link. 

July 22, 2014

Mill and Porn

Clare McGlynn, Durham Law School, and Ian Ward, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, are publishing Would John Stuart Mill Have Regulated Pornography? in the Journal of Law and Society (2014). Here is the abstract.

John Stuart Mill dominates contemporary pornography debates where he is routinely invoked as an authoritative defence against regulation. This article, by contrast, argues that a broader understanding of Mill’s ethical liberalism, his utilitarianism and his feminism casts doubt over such an assumption. New insights into Mill’s thinking on sex, sexual activity and on the regulation of prostitution, reveal an altogether more nuanced and activist approach. In this light, we argue that John Stuart Mill would almost certainly have recommended the regulation of some forms of pornography.
Download the article from SSRN at the link. 

July 21, 2014

Call For Papers: Asia-Pacific Journal on Human Rights and the Law

From Marco Wan, Associate Professor of Law, University of Hong Kong, comes this call for papers for the Asia-Pacific Journal on Human Rights and the Law.

Asia-Pacific Journal on Human Rights and the Law


Call for Papers 2014-2015

Established in 2000, the Asia-Pacific Journal on Human Rights and the Law has become the leading law journal on human rights in Asia. It has published influential articles on important human rights issues occurring in most Asia-Pacific jurisdictions, including India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, East Timor, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, Malaysia, Myanmar, Mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Australia, Indonesia, Cambodia, Fiji, Vietnam, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, and the ASEAN. Prominent contributing authors include Yash Ghai, Michael Kirby, Jeremy Sarkin, Victor Ramraj, Kam C Wong, Xia Chunli, Rhona Smith, and the Journal’s founder, Fernard de Var.

Finding a new home at The University of Hong Kong in 2013, the Journal continues to play its leading role in publishing new human rights law scholarship concerning, or of interest to, Asia-Pacific jurisdictions, especially those not already mentioned above. In 2014, a special focus section will be devoted to the Commission of Inquiry’s report on human rights in North Korea.

Submission instructions. We publish both short and longer pieces but normally not longer than 20,000 words (inclusive of footnotes). Please follow the OSCOLA (4th edn) standard for the citation of legal authorities. 

Email papers to apjhrl@hku.hk. Submissions are acknowledged promptly and reviews are normally done within six to eight weeks. We also welcome primary documents, e.g. statements or declarations, for our Selected Human Rights Documents section, to further the promotion and dissemination of such documents.

Two issues of the Journal are published each year by Brill. Abstracts of articles are indexed on Scopus and searchable on Westlaw. Full text is available on BrillOnline, EBSCO, and HeinOnline. 

Website: http://www.brill.com/asia-pacific-journal-human-rights-and-law.

Simon N. M. Young, Professor, Faculty of Law snmyoung@hku.hk 

Kelley Loper, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Law kloper@hku.hk

The University of Hong Kong


Hermeneutics and Law

Francis Joseph (Jay) Mootz, III, is publishing Hermeneutics and Law in The Blackwell Companion to Hermeneutics (Naill Keane and Chris Lawn, eds.; 2015). Here is the abstract.
This chapter will appear in a forthcoming book on hermeneutics. After providing a hermeneutical phenomenology of legal practice that locates legal interpretation at the center of the rule of law, the chapter considers three important hermeneutical themes:

(1) the critical distinction between a legal historian writing aboout a law in the past and a judge deciding a case according to the law;
(2) the reinvigoration of the natural law tradition against the reductive characteristics of legal positivism by construing human nature as hermeneutical; and
(3) the role of philosophical hermeneutics in grounding critical legal theory rather than serving as a quiescent acceptance of the status quo, as elaborated by reconsidering the famous exchanges between Gadamer, Ricoeur and Habermas.
I argue that these three important themes are sufficient to underwrite Gadamer's famous assertion that legal practice has exemplary status for hermeneutical theory.
Download the essay from SSRN at the link.

Death of Willem Witteveen and Family in Air Crash In Ukraine

From Anne Wagner of the China University of Political Science and Law, and Editor of the International Journal for the Semiotics of Law, and from Richard Weisberg of Cardozo Law School, news that well-known semiotician and professor of law Willem Witteveen of the Tilberg Law School, his wife Lidwien Heerkens, and their daughter Marit, a student at the Tilburg University School of Humanities, died in the crash of Malaysia Flight HM17. We extend our sympathies to their  family, friends, and colleagues at Tilburg.

Anne notes that Professor Wittenveen was very much involved in the International Roundtable for the Semiotics of Law and in the International Journal for the Semiotics of Law where he actively participated to raise the quality and standards of submissions and abstracts.

From Richard, this expression of sympathy and remembrance: We note with sadness the tragic loss of Willem Witteveen on the Malaysian flight over Ukraine. Bill, a distinguished Dutch Senator, was a great friend of the Law and Literature movement in the Netherlands. He helped launch discussions of the field, including stories as a pathway to political activism, at a conference exactly 20 years ago in Leyden. We will miss him.

The University has posted a remembrance here and has opened a condolence book here.

July 2, 2014

Sing Out, Tom!

On Thursday, July 3rd, at the Library of Congress, the famed baritone Thomas Hampson and some friends will introduce us to an unfamiliar (but I'm sure, quite melodic) version of The Star-Spangled Banner, one that is much closer to what attorney Francis Scott Key heard as he came up with new lyrics while watching the bombardment of Fort McHenry during the War of 1812.

More here from the New York Times, here from the Library of Congress. 

July 1, 2014

A New Issue of NoFo and a Call for Papers

From Monica Lopez Lerma, Co-Editor-in-Chief, No Foundations: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Law and Justice, comes information about the contents of volume 11 (2014) of the Journal, and news of the call for papers for volume 12 (2015).

NoFo 11 (2014):
 Law & Society and the Politics of Relevance:
Facts and Field Boundaries in ‘Transnational Legal Theory in Context’
Peer Zumbansen
 Law in the Flesh: Tracing Legitimation’s Origin to The Act of Killing?
Richard K. Sherwin
 ‘No Foundations’?
Mark Antaki
 Pots, Tents, Temples
Angus McDonald
 Is Justice for Sale? Further Readings on Saramago and the Law Joana Aguiar e Silva
 Hanoch Dagan: Reconstructing American Legal Realism & Rethinking Private Law Theory. Oxford University Press, Oxford 2013.
Andrew Halpin
 Gary Watt: Dress, Law and Naked Truth. A Cultural Study of Fashion and Form. Bloomsbury, London 2013.
Leslie J. Moran
 Richard Dawson: Justice as Attunement. Transforming Constitutions in Law, Literature, Economics, and the Rest of Life. Routledge, Abingdon 2014.
Jack L. Sammons
  Call for Papers
 No Foundations is currently accepting general submissions and book reviews for NoFo 12 (June 2015). To facilitate the review process please send us your manuscript before March 1, 2015. Please include an abstract of no more than 200 words with your submission.