May 21, 2019

Visual Images and Popular Culture in Legal Education: A New Issue of the JLE @TheAALS

The latest issue of the Journal of Legal Education (v. 68. no. 1), a symposium, is devoted to the topic of Visual Images and Popular Culture in Legal Education. A number of law professors offer essays on the ways in which pop culture informs the teaching of law. As Michael Asimow and Ticien Sassoubre, the editors of the Symposium, explain, the essays are organized into three sections. The first section's essays discuss the use of images in teaching law school classes. The essays in the second section discuss how to use images to help students interpret and create their own materials. The third set of essays discusses courses that focus on the law and pop culture course as a sub-discipline.

Perlin on Bob Dylan, War, and International Affairs @NYLawSchool

Michael L. Perlin, New York Law School, has published 'You That Build the Death Planes': Bob Dylan, War and International Affairs. Here is the abstract.
Several years ago, I wrote that Bob Dylan was “a scholar with a well-developed jurisprudence on a range of topics including civil, criminal, public, and private law” (Perlin, 2011, p.1396). In that article, I discussed and analyzed Dylan songs that dealt with, variously, civil rights, inequality in the criminal and civil justice systems, institutions, governmental/judicial corruption, equality and emancipation, and the role of lawyers in the legal process. (Id.). But I noted that I was omitting – for space considerations – any discussion of Dylan songs dealing with war and international affairs (Id., p. 1398, n. 15). In this paper, I will address some of those songs that confront these topics directly (from John Brown, Highway 61, Masters of War, With God on Our Side, and Let Me Die in My Footsteps, to Slow Train and Neighborhood Bully), as well as others that do so more metaphorically or symbolically (e.g., It’s Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding); A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall; Gates of Eden; Pay in Blood). I will conclude that, beyond the anthemic anti-war core of songs such as Masters, Dylan’s work reflects a keen understanding of geopolitics – why there is war, how profiteering is inevitably part of any pro-war movement, how alliances forged in war time are fragile in the aftermath, and how wars are, inevitably, “mistakes of a past history” (Footsteps) – all a reflection of the Political World in which we live. I also look at these issues through the lens of therapeutic jurisprudence, a model of looking at the law and the legal system to determine that system’s impact on the individuals whose lives are regulated.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

Adeyemi on Modern Trends in Legal Thoughts: A Jurisprudential Outline

Babatunde Ajani Adeyemi, Babcock University, has published Modern Trends in Legal Thoughts: A Jurisprudential Outline. Here is the abstract.
The subject matter of this paper – Modern Trends in Legal Thoughts – connotes new thinking in Legal theory. Themes like; the current trends in analytical and normative jurisprudence, theories of justice, critical legal studies movement, feminist jurisprudence, critical race theory, and post-modernist jurisprudence, among others, constitute strands of the ‘new’ jurisprudential thoughts to be examined in this paper. ‘New’ in this context does not mean ‘novel’, because every product of law in the real sense, may be no more than the product of its time and place. This point is further illustrated by the comments of Freeman, M.D.A, that ‘contemporary thinking and contemporary questions have often rekindled interest in, and thrown new lights upon classical writers. It is the intention of this writer to approach the subject as a genealogical exercise, with the hope that at the end of the paper, a modest attempt to build a kind of bridge between theory and practice of law, would at least have been discernible.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

Dudziak on Hitler's American Model and Transnational Legal History @marydudziak

Mary L. Dudziak, Emory University School of Law, has published The Outcome of Influence: Hitler’s American Model and Transnational Legal History at 117 Michigan Law Review 1179 (2019). Here is the abstract.
James Q. Whitman’s powerful book, Hitler’s American Model: The United States and the Making of Race Law, offers a chilling example of the way the United States can negatively influence the world. This review essay sets the book within the context of foreign relations history and transnational legal history. I first trace Whitman’s careful examination of Nazi uses of American law. His evidence of direct and substantial Nazi discussion of U.S. law when writing the Nuremburg Laws makes his core claim indisputable that American law was a model for the Nazis. Whitman shows that Nazi law sometimes did not go as far as American law due to foreign relations concerns. I argue that attention to Nazi foreign policy history would deepen this history, helping to explain how and when foreign criticism led Germany to modify its approach to race law. Hitler’s ultimate goal was the expansion of German power, not the maintenance of a positive German image, so any moderation in the Nuremberg Laws due to foreign criticism was likely tied to specific goals, like the importance of particular trade relations to Hitler’s goal to expand Germany. Finally, the essay sets Hitler’s American Model within the broader history of the international impact of domestic law. The foreign relations impact of U.S. race discrimination provides an illuminating comparison because foreign criticism played a different role than the German experience. Negative international reaction to American racism during the early Cold War years led American leaders to believe that civil rights reform was essential to protecting the U.S. global image, which mattered to maintaining American Cold War leadership. In comparison, Nazi concerns may have been tied to efforts to build up their arms industry as a means of enabling German power. Comparing the two examples can illuminate the varied relationships between domestic law and international affairs. The international role of domestic law is not limited to the borrowing of legal texts, and the transnational promotion of legal norms. Domestic law can also be an aspect of a nation’s diplomacy. The essay suggests questions for future scholars to pursue, and includes in the footnotes concrete ideas and resources for researching the transnational history of domestic law.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

Call For Papers, Political Theology Theology Network Conference, NYC, October 17-19, 2019

Political Theology Network Conference

Columbia University & Union Theological Seminary

New York City

October 17-19, 2019

***Call for Papers Deadline Approaching: June 1
***Funding Available
***Keynote Speakers: Michelle Alexander, Gil Anidjar, Silvia Federici, Lap Yan Kung, Intisar Rabb, Najeeba Syeed
We invite proposals of 200-300 words for projects exploring political theology, broadly understood as an interdisciplinary conversation about intersections of religious and political ideas and practices. Under the sign of “political theology” political theorists have reflected on analogies between political and theological sovereignty, theologians have reflected on the role of memory and hope in political engagement, and cultural theorists have performed ideology critique. We are looking for projects that may draw on but also challenge and transform such classic conversations about political theology. We embrace the vibrant scholarly and activist work being done under the sign of political theology around the world, particularly in contexts of domination. African, Arab, Asian, and Latinx political theological traditions interrogate discourses around “sacred” and “profane” bodies. Indigenous activists organize to dismantle the anthropocentricism and “civilizing mission” of settler states. Scholars of secularism explore the relationship between caste, political culture, and everyday life in India. Black Muslim intellectuals theorize the power of popular protest and the religious nature of #BlackLivesMatter. Anti-colonial theologians from across the globe discuss abolition, anarchy, statelessness, and “higher laws.” Still others invite us to imagine “the end of the world.” We aim to bring together scholars, activists, and artists working with ethnographic, theoretical, theological, legal, historical, literary, and cultural studies methods motivated by a concern for justice. We are particularly interested in proposals that speak to the following themes:
  • economies
  • ecologies
  • legalities
  • embodiments
  • gender and sexualities
  • racializations
  • citizenship, migration, place and displacement
  • colonialisms (including settler colonialism and relations between settlers and Indigenous peoples)
  • critical disability studies
  • technologies and artificial intelligence
  • fictions and poetics
  • public scholarship and creative pedagogies
  • religious nationalisms and religious pluralities
Proposals that address these themes from diverse global and religious perspectives are especially welcome. We invite five different presentation formats:
  1. Paper presentation or pre-arranged papers panel (we anticipate allotting 90 minutes for each panel)
  2. Poster
  3. Dialogue or roundtable around a single theme (roundtables that include a combination of academics,
    activists, and representatives of the community are strongly encouraged)
  4. Activist workshop (e.g. teach-in, facilitated conversation, skills-building session, etc.)
  5. Performative piece (e.g. poem, spoken word, music, drama, dance, film, digital media, creative fiction readings, etc.) (Please submit either a general description of the piece or the performative work itself. Please
    also indicate any preferences for room and A/V setup.
This conference, hosted by Union Theological Seminary and Columbia University, is also funded by grants from the Henry Luce Foundation and Emory University’s Center for the Study of Law and Religion. It hosts a professional network connecting scholars of political theology across varying fields and traditions, and we are eager for proposals to advance conversations about what political theology could look like both in and outside the academy.
Submit proposals to Winfield Goodwin, PTN Conference Coordinator, at

Proposals Due June 1, 2019.

A limited amount of funding will be available to offset conference travel costs. Note: this funding is not available to tenured or tenure-track faculty (or equivalent). If you would like to be considered for funding, please indicate that with your submission.

Eugene Garver on Spinoza and the Cunning of Imagination (University of Chicago Press, 2018)

ICYMI: Eugene Garver, Spinoza and the Cunning of Imagination (University of Chicago Press, 2018). Here from the publisher's website is a description of the book's contents.
Spinoza’s Ethics, and its project of proving ethical truths through the geometric method, have attracted and challenged readers for more than three hundred years. In Spinoza and the Cunning of Imagination, Eugene Garver uses the imagination as a guiding thread to this work. Other readers have looked at the imagination to account for Spinoza’s understanding of politics and religion, but this is the first inquiry to see it as central to the Ethics as a whole—imagination as a quality to be cultivated, and not simply overcome. ​Spinoza initially presents imagination as an inadequate and confused way of thinking, always inferior to ideas that adequately represent things as they are. It would seem to follow that one ought to purge the mind of imaginative ideas and replace them with rational ideas as soon as possible, but as Garver shows, the Ethics don’t allow for this ultimate ethical act until one has cultivated a powerful imagination. This is, for Garver, “the cunning of imagination.” The simple plot of progress becomes, because of the imagination, a complex journey full of reversals and discoveries. For Garver, the “cunning” of the imagination resides in our ability to use imagination to rise above it.

 Spinoza and the Cunning of Imagination

May 20, 2019

Sherwin and Celermaier's Introduction to A Cultural History of Law in the Modern Age @RKSherwin

Richard K. Sherwin, New York Law School, and Danielle Celermaier, University of Sydney, are published Introduction to 'A Cultural History of Law in the Modern Age' in A Cultural History of Law in the Modern Age (Forthcoming). Here is the abstract.
A distinguishing feature of the twentieth century is the loss of any unitary foundation for truth, ethics, and the legitimate authority of law. With the emergence of radical pluralism, law became the site of extraordinary creativity; on occasion, a source of rights for those historically excluded from its protection. At the same time, it was a century convulsed by worldwide violence within and among states. Amidst pervasive fragmentation, however, the century also saw an unprecedented surge in mass communication (radio, film, television, and the Internet). It was as if for each new perspective on reality there arose an alternative medium for its transmission. 'A Cultural History of Law in the Modern Age' braids these centrifugal movements. Each chapter tells a story about how state power – or resistance to power – has been exercised within a particular expressive medium. From the instigation of genocidal state violence through the acoustics of radio, to the performance of Aboriginal land claims in traditional songs and ceremonial dance, to live street theater as a form of local resistance to corporate power, these case studies show how discrete modes of communication construct, memorialize, and disseminate political and legal meaning. They suggest that we will need to grow adept in multiple ways of knowing, wielding a diverse array of expressive and interpretive tools and modes of attunement, if we are to steady the course of judgment in the ongoing quest for truth and justice under the rule of law.
Download the Introduction from SSRN at the link.

Law and Humanities Roundtable 2019 To Be Held June 29 at the University of Warwick @ThomGiddens @routledgebooks

From the email box:

Law and Humanities Roundtable 2019
29 June, University of Warwick

The interdisciplinary arena of law and humanities is a rich and developing area of scholarship, with an international and diverse field of academics and thinkers at work within it. It is also an area that is characterised by an openness to innovation and new voices, and an expansive understanding of the value of humanities methodologies and sources as part of the ecology of legal discourse. The aim of this on-going annual roundtable is in part to provide a platform for, and thereby showcase, those working in law and humanities, but in particular to promote conversation and reflection between different approaches, methods, and voices within the range of law and humanities work. At its inception, the event is intended to be both expressive of contemporary law and humanities and reflexive in terms of law and humanities as a disciplinary phenomenon. Participants are encouraged not only to communicate and share the substance of their own work, but also to engage in contemplative discussion around the values, histories, methods, and possible futures of law and humanities within and beyond the global legal academy.

The roundtable is associated with the journal Law and Humanities, and is organised by members of its editorial board with financial support from Routledge.

For more information, please contact Thomas Giddens (

Confirmed Speakers

Angela Condello (University of Roma Tre)
Sophie Doherty (Durham University)
Jeanne Gaakeer (Erasmus School of Law)
David Gurnham (University of Southampton)
Golnar Nabizadeh (University of Dundee)
Sophie Rigney (University of Dundee)

Booking will be open soon; Eventbrite details to follow.

May 19, 2019

PEN America Extends Deadline To Apply For Writing for Justice Fellowships To June 3, 2019 @PENamerican

The deadline to apply for a Writing for Justice Fellowship is now June 3, 2019. PEN America sponsors these fellowships, which "aim... to harness the power of writers and writing in bearing witness to the societal consequences of mass incarceration by capturing and sharing the stories of incarcerated individuals, their families, communities, and the wider impact of the criminal justice system. Our goal is to ignite a broad, sustained conversation about the dangers of over-incarceration and the imperative to mobilize behind rational and humane policies. As an organization of writers dedicated to promoting free expression and informed discourse, PEN America is honored to have been entrusted by the Art for Justice Fund to engage the literary community in addressing this pressing societal issue."

 More about the Fellowships and the program here, at PEN America's website.

May 17, 2019

Novelist Herman Wouk Dies

Herman Wouk has died at the age of 103. The acclaimed author of The Caine Mutiny, The Winds of War,  and many other works died at his Palm Beach home. Below is a short bibliography of works discussing law in some of his writing.

Harvey Couch, III, Law and Literature: A Comment, 17 Vanderbilt Law Review 911 (1963-1964). Discusses The Caine Mutiny.

Laurence W. Mazzeno, Herman Wouk (Twayne Publishing, 1994) (Twayne United States Authors Series).

Norman L. Rosenberg, The Caine Mutiny: Not Just One But Many Legal Dramas,  31 Journal of Maritime Law and Commerce 623 (Oct. 2000). Discusses The Caine Mutiny.

Gregory J. Sullivan, Children Into Men: Lawyers and the Law in Three Novels, 37 Catholic Lawyer 29 (1996-1997). Discusses The Caine Mutiny.

Rosenblatt on the British Patent Controversy and the Sherlockian Canon

Elizabeth Rosenblatt, University of California Davis, is publishing 'What One Man Can Invent Another Can Discover:' The British Patent Controversy and the Sherlock Holmes Canon in Canon Law: Lawyers, Law and the Sherlockian Canon (William A. Walsh and Donny Zaldin, eds., 2018). Here is the abstract.
Over the course of the 19th Century in Great Britain, patent law and policy developed quickly in an atmosphere of heated debate. In the first half of the century, some advocated for a patent system that provided greater ownership to inventors, while others advocated for abolition of patents altogether. The one thing people could agree on, it seemed, was that the then-existing system was flawed. In the latter half of the 19th Century and beginning of the 20th, Parliament overhauled the patent system, including unifying the patent systems of England, Ireland, and Scotland, establishing the Patent Office, and passing the Patents Designs and Trademarks Act. In the midst of this atmosphere of debate and change, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote 54 stories and 4 novels about the detective Sherlock Holmes, some of which address inventions. This chapter considers the treatment of patents and patent law in the Sherlock Holmes novels and stories to illuminate popular Victorian and Edwardian understandings of, and ambivalence about, the patent law of the time.
Download the essay from SSRN at the link.

May 16, 2019

ABA Announces 2019 Silver Gavel Award Winners @ABAesq @ABAJournal

The ABA has announced the Silver Gavel Award winners for 2019. 


Silver Gavel: The Woman’s Hour: The Great Fight to Win the Vote, by Elaine Weiss.

Honorable Mention: The Schoolhouse Gate: Public Education, the Supreme Court, and the Battle for the American Mind, by Justin Driver.


Silver Gavel: I Am Evidence, by Shelved LLC for HBO Documentary Films.

Honorable Mention: RBG, by Magnolia Pictures, Participant Media and CNN Films. 


Silver Gavel: “Sign Here to Lose Everything,” featured in Bloomberg. NEWSPAPERS Silver Gavel: “Protecting the Shield,” featured in Asbury Park Press.

Honorable Mention: “Denied Justice,” featured in Star Tribune (Minneapolis).

TELEVISION Silver Gavel: Dark Money, by American Documentary/POV and PBS Distribution, Big Sky Film Productions with Big Mouth Productions and Meerkat Media Collaborative. 

May 15, 2019

Quinn on Judge Jean Hortense Norris, New York City, 1912-1955 @maecquinn

Mae C. Quinn, University of Florida College of Law, has published Fallen Woman (Re)framed: Judge Jean Hortense Norris, New York City - 1912-1955 at 67 U. Kan. L. Rev. 451 (2019). Here is the abstract.
This Article seeks to surface and understand more than what is already known about Jean Hortense Norris as a lawyer, jurist, and feminist legal realist—as well as a woman for whom sex very much became part of her professional persona and work. This article analyzes the lack of legal protections provided to Norris and troubling nature of her removal from the bench given the evidence presented and standards applied. Finally, this Article seeks to provide further context for Jean Norris’s alleged misconduct charges to suggest that as a woman who dared to blur gender boundaries, embrace her professional power, and offer a unique vision of the “fairer sex,” she was held to a different standard than her male peers and made to pay the price with her career. In these ways, this Article provides a more complete picture of Jean Norris beyond a shamed and disrobed judge. And it begins to move Judge Norris out of legal history’s margins so that she may be remembered as more than mere mugshot in the American imagination.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

May 13, 2019

Call For Papers, ESIL International Conference, Athens, 2019 ESIL Interest Group History of International Law @esil_sedi

The Call for Papers for the ESIL Interest Group History of International Law event on 12 September 2019 "New Histories of Sovereigns and Sovereignties" has been extended to May 31, 2019. Here is the call.

May 11, 2019

Brooks on Dying Declarations @Princeton

Peter Brooks, Center for Human Values, Princeton University, is publishing Dying Declarations in Fictional Discourse and the Law (Hans J. Lind, ed., New York and London: Routledge, Forthcoming). Here is the abstract.
In Chavez v. Martinez, where a police officer interrogated a badly wounded—blinded and partially paralyzed—suspect undergoing treatment in the emergency room, Justice Kennedy evoked the ancient doctrine of “dying declarations,” which provides an exception to the exclusion of hearsay evidence in the case of words spoken where “the expectation of almost immediate death will remove all temptation to falsehood.” In a context once marked by the fear of eternal damnation, the brink of death was considered to produce the truth. One can find in the Ordinary of Newgate’s Accounts—containing confessions from those about to be hung at Tyburn—material that may both confirm and throw some doubt on the unconstrained truth of the dying declaration. But here I am especially concerned with deathbed scenes in the nineteenthcentury novel as moments of the transmission of truth—or sometimes a kind of cosmic lie. My examples are drawn from Balzac, Dickens, Collins, and Conrad.
Download the essay from SSRN at the link.

May 9, 2019

Call For Proposals: Conference on Prison Abolition, Human Rights, and Penal Reform: From the Local to the Global

From the email box:

Prison Abolition, Human Rights, and Penal Reform:
From the Local to the Global

Mass incarceration and overcriminalization in the United States are subject to critique by some on both the right and the left today. Many critics increasingly talk of prison abolition. At the same time, the international human rights movement continues to rely upon criminal punishment as its primary enforcement tool for many violations, even as it criticizes harsh prison conditions, the use of the death penalty, and lack of due process in criminal proceedings. What would it mean for the human rights movement to take seriously calls for prison abolitionism and the economic and racial inequalities that overcriminalization reproduces and exacerbates? And what might critics of the carceral regime in the United States have to learn from work done by international human rights advocates in a variety of countries?

September 26-28th, 2019, the Rapoport Center will host in Austin an interdisciplinary conference to consider the relationships among the human rights, prison abolition, and penal reform movements. Do they share the same goals? Should they collaborate? If so, in what ways? The conference is co-sponsored by the Frances Tarlton “Sissy” Farenthold Endowed Lecture Series in Peace, Social Justice and Human Rights, Center for European Studies, William Wayne Justice Center for Public Interest Law, LLILAS Benson Latin American Studies and Collections, John Warfield Center for African and African American Studies, Center for the Study of Race and Democracy, Department of Sociology, Center for Population Research, and Capital Punishment Center.

Ruth Wilson Gilmore will offer the keynote lecture on September 26. We invite proposals for papers, panels, art, or other forms of presentation from activists, practitioners, and scholars in all disciplines. We are eager to include those who study or advocate around criminal law and human rights in different regions and contexts, those who work on various forms of incarceration (including immigration detention), and those who explore alternatives to current criminal punishment regimes. We encourage discussion of the distributive effects of various constructions of and responses to crime. Topics might include:
  • Racial capitalism and prison abolition
  • Prison abolition: short- versus long-term goals
  • Abolition and efforts to reform/transform conditions of confinement: are they in opposition?
  • Capital punishment, human rights, and the goals of death penalty abolition
  • Mass incarceration and surveillance
  • Gender, sexuality, reproductive rights and the prison system
  • Human rights and decriminalization
  • The human rights movement and national and international criminal law
  • Lessons from transitional and restorative justice
  • Incarceration and the intersections of criminal and immigration law
  • Immigration detention and the (private) prison industrial complex
  • Potential responses to violent crime
  • The UN and crime
  • Exportation of criminal justice models: good and bad
  • The role of victims in carceral regimes and anti-carceral responses
  •  Reflections on the role human rights courts do and should play in the carceral state
  • Black Lives Matter, human rights, and abolition
  • Queer politics and abolition

Please send an abstract of your paper, panel, or project in under 500 words to Sarah Eliason by July 15, 2019. A limited number of need-based travel grants are available to support travel costs for selected participants. If you wish to apply for a travel grant, please complete this application form by July 15, 2019.

May 7, 2019

Craig on Judicial Audiences: A Case Study of Justice David Watt's Literary Judgments @SchulichLaw

Elaine Craig, Dalhousie University School of Law, is publishing Judicial Audiences: A Case Study of Justice David Watt's Literary Judgments in volume 64 of the McGill Law Journal (2019). Here is the abstract.
Applicants to the federal judiciary identify three main audiences for their decisions: the involved and affected parties, the public, and the legal profession. This case study examines a set of decisions authored by Justice David Watt of the Ontario Court of Appeal, involving the rape, torture, murder or attempted murder of women, in which he attempts humour or uses puns, parody, stark imagery and highly stylized and colloquial language to introduce the violence, or factual circumstances surrounding the violence, in these cases. It assess these introductions in relation to the audiences judges have identified as important for their decisions. The study concludes that these literary introductions may not speak productively to any of the three audiences identified as critical by applicants to the federal judiciary. For example, Justice Watt’s writing in these introductions does not reflect the empathy and sensitivity that some judges have identified as an important feature of writing that is intended for the parties (in their applications for appointment). The study also highlights two interrelated factors that judges should consider when writing decisions involving gender-based violence with a view to the public audience that these decisions are likely to receive. These factors are the crisis of public faith in the legal system’s ability to respond appropriately to incidents of gender-based harm, and the importance of writing judicial decisions that do not obscure the social context and dynamics that produce gender-based violence. Justice Watt’s unorthodox writing in these cases does not reflect consideration of these factors. Justice Watt’s short, staccato style introductions to decisions have received attention. His introductions, which differ from the conventional style of legal judgments, have been the subject of legal blogs, mainstream media articles, and professional praise and criticism. Decisions that include intentional stylistic departures from conventional judicial writing, including the ones written by Justice Watt, raise particular issues regarding the notion of judicial audience. Justice Watt’s departure from the conventional style of legal writing, particularly given the gruesome and tragic facts involved in many of the decisions he has written, raises numerous questions: Who is the audience for these literary judgments? What are some of the attendant risks of delivering literary judgments to particular audiences? Do Justice Watt’s literary judgments speak appropriately and productively to the three constituencies for court decisions identified by judges themselves: the parties (understood broadly), the public, and the legal profession?
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

May 4, 2019

Newly Published: Trial Films On Trial (University of Alabama Press) @ljstprof @JSilbey @UnivofALPress

Newly published: Trial Films on Trial: Law, Justice, and Popular Culture (Austin Sarat, Jessica Silbey, and Martha Merrill Umphrey, eds., University of Alabama Press, 2019). Here from the publisher's website is a description of the book's contents.
Historically, the emergence of the trial film genre coincided with the development of motion pictures. In fact, one of the very first feature-length films, Falsely Accused!, released in 1908, was a courtroom drama. Since then, this niche genre has produced such critically acclaimed films as Twelve Angry Men, To Kill a Mockingbird, and Anatomy of a Murder. The popularity and success of these films can be attributed to the fundamental similarities of filmic narratives and trial proceedings. Both seek to construct a “reality” through storytelling and representation and in so doing persuade the audience or jury to believe what they see. Trial Films on Trial: Law, Justice, and Popular Culture is the first book to focus exclusively on the special significance of trial films for both film and legal studies. The contributors to this volume offer a contemporary approach to the trial film genre. Despite the fact that the medium of film is one of the most pervasive means by which many citizens receive come to know the justice system, these trial films are rarely analyzed and critiqued. The chapters cover a variety of topics, such as how and why film audiences adopt the role of the jury, the narrative and visual conventions employed by directors, and the ways mid-to-late-twentieth-century trial films offered insights into the events of that period.


She-Hulk, Attorney At Law

ICYMI: From the July, 2014, issue of the ABA Journal, Barry Malone's interview with attorney Charles Soule, who writes the She-Hulk comic for Marvel. Mr. Soule writes She-Hulk (Jennifer Walters) as a sole practitioner) and presents real-life aspects of legal practice. More here. 

ICYMI: McGrath on Alexander Hamilton and the Transformation of the Common Law of Libel

May 3, 2019

A New Book on Law and Alcohol: Brian F. Haara's Bourbon Justice @bfhaara, @SippnCorn @PotomacBooks

Brian F. Haara has published Bourbon Justice: How Whiskey Law Shaped America (Potomac Books, dist. by the University of Nebraska Press, 2018). Here from the publisher's website is a description of the book's contents.
Bourbon whiskey has made a surprising contribution to American legal history. Tracking the history of bourbon and bourbon law illuminates the development of the United States as a nation, from conquering the wild frontier to rugged individualism to fostering the entrepreneurial spirit to solidifying itself as a nation of laws. Bourbon is responsible for the growth and maturation of many substantive areas of the law, such as trademark, breach of contract, fraud, governmental regulation and taxation, and consumer protection. In Bourbon Justice Brian Haara delves into the legal history behind one of America’s most treasured spirits to uncover a past fraught with lawsuits whose outcome, surprisingly perhaps, helped define a nation. Approaching the history of bourbon from a legal standpoint, Haara tells the history of America through the development of commercial laws that guided our nation from an often reckless laissez-faire mentality, through the growing pains of industrialization, and past the overcorrection of Prohibition. More than just true bourbon history, this is part of the American story.

May 2, 2019

Wurman on the Origins of Substantive Due Process @ilan_wurman

Ilan Wurman, Arizona State University College of Law, is publishing The Origins of Substantive Due Process in the University of Chicago Law Review. Here is the abstract.
In the antebellum nineteenth century, courts often voided legislative acts for substantive unreasonableness or for exceeding the scope of legitimate police powers. Contrary to the assertions of a number of modern scholars, however, this tradition does not support the concept of economic substantive due process. Courts voided municipal acts exceeding the scope of legitimate police powers on two grounds — the law of delegation and the law of municipal corporations — that did not apply to acts of state legislatures. The states themselves were limited to reasonable exercises of the police power only when their asserted authority came into potential collision with federal constitutional requirements, namely the commerce and contracts clauses. It was only late in the century, after the adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment, that a police-power version of substantive due process emerged as a limitation on state legislatures as courts began conflating, under the guise of “due process of law,” earlier doctrines that had used a similar vocabulary but for distinct purposes. Police-power limitations on state legislatures regulating purely internal matters therefore probably cannot be justified by any antebellum legal conception of due process of law. It is possible, however, that such limitations could find support in the privileges or immunities clause by analogy to antebellum commerce clause and contracts clause jurisprudence.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

May 1, 2019

Levine on The Constitution as Poetry @TouroLawCenter

Samuel J. Levine, Touro College Law Center, has published The Constitution as Poetry 49 Seton Hall L. Rev. 737 (2019). Here is the abstract.
Building upon a body of scholarship that compares constitutional interpretation to biblical and literary interpretation, and relying on an insight from a prominent nineteenth century rabbinic scholar, this Article briefly explores similarities in the interpretation of the Torah — the text of the Five Books of Moses — and the United States Constitution. Specifically, this Article draws upon Rabbi Naftali Zvi Yehudah Berlin’s (“Netziv”) intriguing suggestion that the interpretation of the text of the Torah parallels the interpretation of poetry. According to Netziv, this parallel accounts for the practice of interpreting the Torah expansively in ways that derive substantive legal rules and principles far beyond those found in the relatively narrow wording of the text. Moreover, Netziv explains that deriving these interpretations, which, at times, seem far removed from the literal reading of the text, requires a level of technical expertise similar to the skilled literary analysis necessary for thorough, thoughtful, and meaningful interpretation of poetry. Based on Netziv’s insight, this Article focuses on two methods of interpreting the Torah and the Constitution that may otherwise appear to present an anomalous approach to understanding a legal text, but which are standard and important methods of literary analysis when applied to poetry: first, the expansive interpretation of a provision, a brief phrase or, at times, a single word, to establish a wide-ranging set of principles and ideas; and second, somewhat conversely, the interpretation of a provision, seemingly stated in categorical terms, but understood to incorporate qualifications, limitations, and exceptions. In either case, both the Jewish legal system and the American legal system accept the authority, if not the competency, of judicial experts to understand, interpret, and apply the text in ways that may not be apparent, and that may be difficult to accept outside the technical practices of biblical and constitutional exegeses. Finally, and perhaps as a further justification for these methods of interpretation, this Article concludes with the observation that, beyond their literary forms, the Torah and the Constitution share poetry’s design to function as a timeless text, susceptible to meaningful application and containing important lessons for the foreseeable — and unforeseeable — future.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

Kortvelyesi on Game of Norms: Law, Interpretation, and the Realms in Game of Thrones

Zsolt Kortvelyesi, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Institute for Legal Studies, Centre for Social Sciences, has published Game of Norms: Law, Interpretation, and the Realms in Game of Thrones as MTA Law Working Paper No. 2019/3. Here is the abstract.
In this paper I will use Game of Thrones (the TV series) and its oath of the Night’s Watch to discuss some basic questions related to the nature and functioning of law. This will serve a dual goal: assessing the concept of law used in the series (making the paper part of a long-thriving academic field, law and literature, or law and film), but, more importantly, also to present theoretical questions in a friendly way – something I also tested in introduction to law classes. It is not easy to draw students into discussing questions of the right interpretation or functionalist understandings, but by driving them to a friendly (if deadly) territory, one can engage with them and show how the discussion is intimately related to fundamental dilemmas of legal theory.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

Bassok on The Mysterious Meeting Between Carl Schmitt and Josef Redlich

Or Bassok, University of Nottingham, Faculty of Law and Social Sciences, has published The Mysterious Meeting between Carl Schmitt and Josef Redlich. Here is the abstract.
In 1934, Carl Schmitt, then the crown jurist of the Third Reich, writes in an essay titled National Socialist Legal Thought about “[a] conversation with a world-famous, world travelled, experienced scholar of more than seventy years of age from the United States [which] belongs to the major experiences and encounters I have had as a jurist in the service of National Socialism.” Schmitt never revealed the identity of the scholar whom he met. Based on Schmitt’s diaries, I reveal that the scholar whom Schmitt met was Josef Redlich. Born to a Jewish family in 1869, Redlich was the Fairchild Professor of Comparative Public Law at Harvard Law School at the time he met Schmitt in 1931. According to Schmitt’s 1934 essay, the conversation focused on insights relating to the indeterminacy of legal norms as well as on a nihilist understanding of the era. Yet Schmitt drew conclusions from the encounter which hardly correspond to Redlich’s views. My essay first puts the ideas that Schmitt adopted from his encounter with the “American scholar” in the context of the era. Second, I examine Schmitt’s diaries as well as other relevant materials in order to prove that Redlich is the scholar whom Schmitt met. In the process, I exclude Roscoe Pound, the Dean of Harvard Law School at that time, who was the previous “prime suspect” for this encounter with Schmitt. Even after my discovery of the identity of the scholar to whom Schmitt refers in his essay, the story of Schmitt and Redlich’s encounter remains mysterious: the ideas of a scholar of Jewish decent, who believed in an Austrian multi-national, federal state, inspired and played a profound role in the formulation of a blatantly antisemitic essay promoting National Socialist legal thought by the crown jurist of the Nazi regime. After examining the contradictions between Redlich and Schmitt’s positions, I offer an explanation for why Schmitt viewed this encounter as so influential on his road to National Socialism.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

Flores on Law as an Artefact @imerbflores

Imer B. Flores, Instituto de Investigaciones Juridicas, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico (UNAM), has published Law as an Artefact. Here is the abstract.
In this paper, I aim to explore the claim that law is an artefact and the implications to our understanding of law and legal entities. For that purpose, I intend to review the general theory of artefacts and to revisit the artefactual nature of law to determine what sort of sub-kind law is. I argue that the relevant authorial intention is not the productive but the reproductive one, i.e. the collective recognition. Finally, I conclude that law and other legal entities are indeed artefacts broadly speaking, but they are much more than mere artefacts, i.e. complex institutions and institutional practices, comprising different sub-institutions, which require not only recognition, but also (re)evaluation and (re)interpretation, as I suggest by pointing to the forms of government, in general, and to democracy, in particular.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

New from Cambridge University Press: Jonathan Bond, Natural Law and the Nature of Law (2019) @drjoncrowe @CambridgeCore

Now available from Cambridge University Press: Jonathan Crowe, Bond University, has published Natural Law and the Nature of Law (2019). Here from the publisher's website is a description of the book's contents.
This book provides the first systematic, book-length defence of natural law ideas in ethics, politics and jurisprudence since John Finnis's influential Natural Law and Natural Rights. Incorporating insights from recent work in ethical, legal and social theory, it presents a robust and original account of the natural law tradition, challenging common perceptions of natural law as a set of timeless standards imposed on humans from above. Natural law, Jonathan Crowe argues, is objective and normative, but nonetheless historically extended, socially embodied and dependent on contingent facts about human nature. It reflects the ongoing human quest to work out how best to live flourishing lives, given the natures we have and the social environments we inhabit. The nature and purpose of law can only be adequately understood within this wider context of value. Timely, wide-ranging and clearly written, this volume will appeal to those working in law, philosophy and religious studies.

 Natural Law and the Nature of Law

Stappert on the Use of Academic Writings at International Criminal Courts and Tribunals

Nora Stappert, University of Copenhagen, iCourts, Centre of Excellence for International Courts, has published A New Influence of Legal Scholars? The Use of Academic Writings at International Criminal Courts and Tribunals at 31 Leiden Journal of International Law 963 (2018). Here is the abstract.
Which role have international legal scholars played in the development of international criminal law? Building on recent studies of the citation practices of international courts, the article provides an empirical assessment of the use and functions of citations to scholarly writings in the judgements of international criminal courts and tribunals. Using a mixed methods approach, the article combines a) a quantitative analysis of judgements interpreting the law of war crimes across five international and internationalized courts with b) qualitative interviews with judges and legal officers at the International Criminal Court (ICC), the ad hoc Tribunals, and the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL). The article argues that scholarly writings have been strikingly visible in the judgements of international criminal courts and tribunals, and especially at the ICC, which entails significant implications for the functions of academic writings and the role of international legal scholars.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

April 30, 2019

Now Available: The Art of Law (2018) @SpringerLaw

Now available:

The Art of Law: Artistic Representations and Iconography of Law and Justice in Context, from the Middle Ages to the First World War: (S. Huygebaert, G. Martyn, V. Paumen, E. Bousmar, and X. Rousseaux, eds., Springer Publishing, 2018). Here from the publisher's website is a description of the book's contents.

The contributions to this volume were written by historians, legal historians and art historians, each using his or her own methods and sources, but all concentrating on topics from the broad subject of historical legal iconography. How have the concepts of law and justice been represented in (public) art from the Late Middle Ages onwards? Justices and rulers had their courtrooms, but also churches, decorated with inspiring images. At first, the religious influence was enormous, but starting with the Early Modern Era, new symbols and allegories began appearing. Throughout history, art has been used to legitimise the act of judging, but artists have also satirised the law and the lawyers; architects and artisans have engaged in juridical and judicial projects and, in some criminal cases, convicts have even been sentenced to produce works of art. The book illustrates and contextualises the various interactions between law and justice on the one hand, and their artistic representations in paintings, statues, drawings, tapestries, prints and books on the other.

April 29, 2019

Call For Submissions: Third Annual Conference of the South African Conference for Critical Theory

Call For Submissions

The South African Society for Critical Theory (SASCT) invites abstract submissions of up to 500 words for its 3rd Annual Conference which will take place at the Howard College Campus of the University of KwaZulu-Natal (Durban, South Africa), from the 22nd to the 23rd of November 2019.

SASCT invites papers which address the vexed notion of the “human” in the contemporary age. As part of such considerations, this conference welcomes papers that consider the possibilities and pitfalls of identity theory in relation to Critical Theory. What analytic and conceptual resources does identity politics offer Critical Theory? What might a critical analysis of identity politics reveal? Do identity politics serve as an instance of a process whereby we come to view our own individuality in terms of pre-constructed cultural categories? What stance should Critical Theory adopt towards identity politics?

This conference also welcomes papers that explore the concept of “the human” and “human nature” from a critical perspective. What, for instance, might we construe as “essential” human characteristics? Is critical reason to be understood as such a characteristic? Is the question of the “human ” even meaningful any longer? Would the attempt to define the “human” in its present historico-social conditions enable us to map its future trajectory? Would the attempt to formulate such a definition facilitate liberation or merely serve a repressive ideological function? If the “human” or “human nature” are no longer meaningful categories, then what is it that Critical Theory aims to liberate? Has the technological mediation of existence altered our understanding of humanity? In short, what is the future of the “human”?

The conference welcomes approaches from all aspects of Critical Theory, broadly construed. In particular, the conference welcomes papers that address issues relating to: African Critical Theory, Digital Culture, the intersections between Critical Theory of European origin (Frankfurt School, Foucault, etc.), Black Existentialism, and Africana Critical Theory as well as contributions on any and all aspects of Critical Theory, e.g. the 3 generations of Frankfurt School Critical Theory, Postcolonial Theory, De-colonial Theory, Critical Feminism, Critical Film Studies, Critical Race Theory, Critical Theory of Technology, Critical Legal Studies, Post-structuralism, Psychoanalysis, Critical Hermeneutics, Liberation Theory, Critical Pedagogy, Critical Theology, Critical Anthropology, etc.

The Conference organisers would also appreciate papers that address thinkers whose work lies outside the “canon” of Critical Theory, but whose work can extend current research in Critical Theory or whose work in itself embodies alternative forms of Critical Theory. Whilst the organisers encourage contributions that address the conference theme, the theme itself should be viewed as merely suggestive.

Please submit abstracts to by the 7th September 2019. Acceptance letters will be sent by the 21st of September at the latest.

Should you have queries regarding any aspect of the conference then please do not hesitate to contact the conference organising committee.

Call For Papers: Law, Power, and Justice in Game of Thrones

Via @ThomGiddens: CfP: Law, Power, and Justice in Game of Thrones: 

HBO’s award-winning adaptation of George Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire novels has become one of the most watched televisions shows and elevated the cult fantasy novels to social phenomenon.
Academic attention has focussed on its rich themes and deconstruction of medieval society as a font for exploring contemporary issues relating to power, gender, war, capitalism, torture and language.

Law and Global Justice at Durham and Abertay University are pleased to announce a one-day conference to explore themes of law, power and justice in Game of Thrones in the 11thJune 2019, in the Senate Suite, Durham Castle 
We welcome papers considering law, power and justice (broadly constructed) as well as related themes found within Game of Thrones or the A Song of Ice and Fire novels. We welcome reflections including, but not limited to:

Power, corruption, and rule of law in Game of Thrones, Justice and retribution in Game of Thrones, 

The role of war, war crimes, and weapons of mass destruction in Game of Thrones, 

The limited agency of women in patriarchal and feudal systems Game of Thrones, 

The regulation of dragons, monsters, and other-worldly creatures in Game of Thrones, 

The symbolism and use of magic, religion, and authority in Game of Thrones, 

Reflections on archetypes and tropes in law and in Game of Thrones. 

Papers, presentations, or outlines of proposed research from established academics and postgraduate students are welcome. 

A small number of travel bursaries of £50 per person are available to support participation. These will be allocated on the basis of need but priority will be given to PhD students. 

If you wish to be considered for a travel bursary please indicate this at the time of application and include a brief paragraph (max 250 words) about why you need the bursary. 

Please send abstracts (max 350 words) to and by 3rd May 2019.

April 26, 2019

Yo, Ho, Ho: Sailors and Rum @GB2d

Ross E. Davies, George Mason Univesrity Law School; The Green Bag, is publishing Sailors and Rum, at Sea and Ashore in Deadly Harpoon: A Facsimile of the Original Manuscript of “The Adventure of Black Peter” by Arthur Conan Doyle with Annotations and Commentary (Glen Miranker, ed., BSI Press 2018)). Here is the abstract.
An examination of the regulation and culture of grog in Victorian maritime life, using a scenario drawn from a Sherlock Holmes story -- “The Adventure of Black Peter.”
Download the essay from SSRN at the link.

Austin on Understanding the Neurobiology of Emotion @SturmCOL @WFULawReview

Debra S. Austin, University of Denver College of Law, is publishing Windmills of Your Mind: Understanding the Neurobiology of Emotion in the Wake Forest Law Review. Here is the abstract.
Intelligence has been parsed into categories including general intelligence (IQ), which is cognitive capacity, and emotional intelligence (EQ), describing social competency. Perhaps the most important new form of intelligence that lawyers can cultivate is neuro-intelligence (NQ), which is an understanding of the most important tool a lawyer must deploy – the brain. NQ can help us understand how emotions that arise in the brain are often experienced in the windmills of the mind as “words that jangle in your head”. Boomers will enjoy the Noel Harrison version of Windmills of your Mind, which won the 1968 Academy Award for Best Original Song, while Millennials should check out the Sting version from the 1999 remake of The Thomas Crowne Affair. This article describes the importance of developing mental strength, and challenges lawyers to enhance their understanding of the role emotion plays in their relationships with colleagues, clients, employees, and constituents. Brain Literacy defines key components of the emotional and thinking brains. The process of memory formation is illustrated in Learning and Memory. Stress and Cognition outlines the harmful impacts of stress on brain health and mental performance. Recent research results are reviewed in Law Students and Lawyers are at Risk for Impaired Well-being. The brain’s automated response to emotional stimuli is detailed in Emotion. Emotion Regulation explores methods for responding to emotion, and the difference between survival and attachment emotions. Emotion and Decision-Making depicts the process that helps us determine what outfit to wear, what rewards we are strong enough to defer to meet our long-term goals, and how public policy is shaped by emotion. Finally, Interventions to Strengthen the Mind links mental strength to happiness, explains three obstacles to developing mental strength that are commonly experienced by law students and lawyers, and provides ten practices that can promote mental strength. This article proposes that law students, legal educators, and lawyers will benefit from developing their NQ, as well as their understanding of the impact of emotion and stress on performance, and the how building mental strength can empower their professional and personal lives. With greater NQ, individuals can improve well-being and performance, and organizations can leverage healthy human beings to enhance capacity and innovation.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

April 25, 2019

For Those Interested in Law and Game of Thrones: A Blog For You! @ShannonKilpatri @WesterosLaw

Via Shannon Kilpatrick: news of a blog devoted to law and Game of Thrones:  Laws of Fire and Ice. The author is attorney Clint Woods.  And there's a Twitter Feed!

ICYMI: Joseph Jenkins, Inheritance Law and Political Theology in Shakespeare and Milton (Routledge, 2016)

Reading God's will and a man's Last Will as ideas that reinforce one another, this study shows the relevance of England's early modern crisis, regarding faith in the will of God, to current debates by legal academics on the theory of property and its succession. The increasing power of the dead under law in the US, the UK, and beyond-a concern of recent volumes in law and social sciences-is here addressed through a distinctive approach based on law and humanities. Vividly treating literary and biblical battles of will, the book suggests approaches to legal constitution informed by these dramas and by English legal history. This study investigates correlations between the will of God in Judeo-Christian traditions and the Last Wills of humans, especially dominant males, in cultures where these traditions have developed. It is interdisciplinary, in the sense that it engages with the limits of several fields: it is informed by humanities critical theory, especially Benjaminian historical materialism and Lacanian psychoanalysis, but refrains from detailed theoretical considerations. Dramatic narratives from the Bible, Shakespeare, and Milton are read as suggesting real possibilities for alternative inheritance (i.e., constitutional) regimes. As Jenkins shows, these texts propose ways to alleviate violence, violence both personal and political, through attention to inheritance law.

April 23, 2019

Gerber on Law and Liberty of Conscience in Colonial Pennsylvania

Scott D. Gerber, Ohio Northern University College of Law, is publishing Law and Liberty of Conscience in Colonial Pennsylvania in volume 12 of the NYU Journal of Law & Liberty (2019). Here is the abstract.
Religious liberty is a core component of America’s legal culture. William Penn, the Quaker founder and proprietor of colonial Pennsylvania, played an indispensable role in ensuring that it is. Indeed, Thomas Jefferson — the author of one of the most celebrated religious liberty laws in American history, the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom of 1786 — described Penn as “the greatest lawgiver the world has produced, the first in either ancient or modern times who has laid the foundation of govmt in the pure and unadulterated principles of peace of reason and right.” Jefferson was correct. After all, the commitment to liberty of conscience that characterized colonial Pennsylvania traced directly to Penn’s vision, example, and determination: Pennsylvania enacted more laws about religious tolerance than any other British American colony, both before and after Penn’s death. Delaware, which Penn also owned and which constituted the “lower counties” of Pennsylvania until it became an independent state in 1776, likewise enacted religiously tolerant laws even when Penn permitted it to govern itself with a separate assembly after 1704. Although generations of scholars have explored the political and social history of Penn’s “Holy Experiment,” no one has examined how colonial Pennsylvania used law to ensure its success. This article endeavors to do that through an exegesis of Pennsylvania’s charter, colonial constitutions, statutes, and judicial decisions.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

Magendanz on Church Power, Sovereignty, and Freedom of Religion in Thomas Hobbes

Doug Magendanz, Independent Scholar, has published Church Power, Sovereignty and Freedom of Religion in Thomas Hobbes. Here is the abstract.
This paper examines Thomas Hobbes's critique of Church power and governance. The paper describes the role of publicity - public law and communication - as a key tool Hobbes used to relegate the Catholic Church to a private association.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

Want To Review a New Law-Related Film, TV Series, Or Book? Hedgehogs and Foxes Wants To See Your Work!

The online site Hedgehogs and Foxes ( is seeking essays, book reviews, articles, teaching materials, and original works (including works of fiction, poetry, and other materials related to law and the humanities. Would you like to review a law related film or television series, such as For the People, Proven Innocent, Goliath, Bosch, Les Miserables, The Red Line, or Sneaky Pete? What about a law-related novel or non-fiction book? Let one of the Board of Editors know of your interest.

Call For Proposals and Guest Editor, Law/Text/Culture, December 2020 Issue @law_text

Law/Text/Culture is seeking proposals and a guest editor for its special issue of volume 24 (2020). The issue is due for publication in December 2020.

The annual thematic special issue, curated by guest editors, is selected by the editorial board. Each issue
explores its theme across a range of genres, with scholarly essays and articles sitting alongside visual and
literary engagements. In this way, Law Text Culture excites unique intersectional and interdisciplinary
encounters with law in all its forms.
Proposals by potential guest editors should include:
• a concise description of the proposed theme;
• a draft call for papers setting out the aims and concepts of the issue; and how it fits within the remit
of the journal;
• an indication of the intended authors and how they are to be identified/contacted (eg whether the
proposal arises out of a seminar series, conference or workshop);
• the range of genres (poetry, scholarly essays, visual arts etc) expected to be included;
• an explanation of how the copy-editing will be completed, including whether the guest editor/s will
secure appropriate funding for copy-editing (usually approx $1000), or undertake the copy-editing
themselves; and
• brief details of the guest editor(s).
Proposals should be 1000 words (approx) and should be emailed to the Managing Editor by close of business
1 May 2019. For further information, including the role of guest editors, and the journal style guide, please
visit Details on the editors and themes of previous editions
of Law Text Culture are available at:

April 19, 2019

ICYMI: Boray on the Depiction of Disabilities in Movies


Sameer Boray, NALSAR University of Law, has published Depiction of Disabilities in Movies: Disability Portrayal in the Media Through the Eyes of Bollywood and Hollywood. Here is the abstract.
This paper will journey through the stages of which the media through film has depicted people with disabilities. While every movie-maker has the creative freedom of making a film, certain aspects such as media portrayal of disabilities of movies cannot and should not go unchecked. The author has highlighted how this can be tackled by the intervention of law through censor boards. The Indian Censor Board with this respect has been analyzed and the author has provided how this responsible body can play a larger role, whilst remembering the creative freedoms movie-makers are endowed with. Few popular movies in both Hollywood and Bollywood have been discussed to throw more light on the kind of depictions and a basic study has been mentioned on how there is a change in studying disabilities as a subject.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

Trondheim (Norway), Police Apprehend Night King @GameOfThrones @ShopABA

Via ABA Publishing and Yahoo News: Norwegian law enforcement has captured the Night King. Lots of pictures, including a mug shot. More here from Newsweek, including the back story on this dangerous individual and the charges he faces. 

Davies on Sherlock Holmes: Expert Witness @GB2d

Ross E. Davies, George Mason University Law School; The Green Bag, is publishing Sherlock Holmes: Expert Witness in Canon Law: Lawyers, Law and the Sherlockian Canon (William A. Walsh and Donny Zaldin, BSI Press, 2018). Here is the abstract.
This paper explains the treatment of expert witnesses in late-Victorian English courtrooms, using a scenario drawn from a Sherlock Holmes story -- “The Adventure of the Dancing Men” -- and a prosecution for murder.
Download the essay from SSRN at the link.

Munshi on White Slavery and the Crisis of Will in the Age of Contract @GeorgetownLaw

Sherally Munshi, Georgetown University Law Center, is publishing White Slavery and the Crisis of Will in the Age of Contract in volume 30 of the Yale Journal of Law & Feminism (2018). Here is the abstract.
Recognizing human freedom is never as simple as acts of legal pronouncement might suggest. Liberal abstractions like freedom and equality; legal formulations of personhood, free will, and contract; the constructed divisions between public and private, self and other, home and market on which the former are predicated — these are often inadequate to understanding, let alone realizing, the shared aspirations they supposedly define. By the same token, the dense and dynamic relations of power that characterize any liberal society overwhelm and exceed our critical vocabulary. “Racism,” “sexism,” and “capitalism” powerfully name structures of inequality, but they fail to capture the full spectrum of social relations, practices, and exchanges that reproduce inequality — deep structures of feeling, unspoken common sense, the stories we tell ourselves about the world and our places in it. Focusing on an early twentieth-century case involving an immigrant convicted of “white slavery,” accused of “mesmerizing” his secretary, this Article explores the ways in which the white slave panic and spiritualist practices reflect a set of anxieties about the nature of agency and consent obscured by the universalizing and formalist abstractions of contract law and theory. Through a close reading of competing narratives surrounding the case, this Article seeks to investigate some of the ways in which the rhetorical distortions of law affect the lives of its most vulnerable subjects.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

April 18, 2019

Murray on Mise en Scene and the Decisive Moment of Visual Legal Rhetoric

Michael D. Murray, University of Kentucky College of Law, is publishing Mise en Scène and the Decisive Moment of Visual Legal Rhetoric in volume 68 of the Kansas Law Review. Here is the abstract.
This article explores the attorney author’s understanding and implementation of principles that define how visual rhetorical works fulfill the task of effective visual communication and advocacy. These principles — referred to as mise en scène — will guide the attorney author in the identification or creation of works that will exhibit the “decisive moment” of effective visual rhetoric in legal contexts. In equal measure, knowledge and understanding of these principles will enable litigators to design and use effective visuals, and to challenge or respond to the visual rhetorical works proffered by their opponents. The article displays and analyzes a series of works of visual rhetoric and critiques the power and potential effectiveness of the image for the communication of the message or argument of the author. The goal of an attorney’s effort should be to choose or create images that show the decisive moment of the client’s narrative or the point of argument that the image is to communicate. This article will guide attorney authors in setting the stage for effective visual legal rhetoric. Introduction I. The Context: Visual Legal Rhetoric and Narrativity A. Speed and Power of Visual Works B. The audience’s role in visual communication C. Narrative and Applied Legal Storytelling II. Mise en Scène Principles A. The Dominant B. Lighting C. Color vs. Black and White D. Point of View and Perspective E. Composition and Framing, including the arrangement of subjects, the Gestalt theory, and the figure-ground relationship 1. The Rule of Thirds and the Golden Ratios 2. The Rule of Odds 3. Filling the Frame without Overcrowding 4. Gestalt Theory and the Figure-Ground Relationship F. Staged vs. Unstaged Photographs and Video G. Altered and Manipulated Images 1. Editing and Cropping 2. Modification, concealing, or erasing of content III. Confronting Visual Legal Rhetoric IV. Conclusion

Download the article from SSRN at the link. 

April 16, 2019

A New Edition of the Memoires of Herve de Tocqueville, Now Available

A new edition of the Memoires of Herve de Tocqueville, now available:

Tocqueville, Hervé de Tocqueville, Les Mémoires d’Hervé de Tocqueville: edition établie par M. Jean-Louis Benoît, Nicole Fréretet, Christian Lippi (Saint-Lô: Archives départementales, Maison de l’histoire de la Manche, 2019). 

Ordering information here.

Now Available from the University of Westminster Press: Law and the Senses (2018) @UniWestminster

Here from the publisher's website is a description of the book's contents.
Vision traditionally occupies the height of the sensorial hierarchy. The sense of clarity and purity conveyed by vision, allows it to be explicitly associated with truth and knowledge. The law has always relied on vision and representation, from eye-witnesses to photography, to imagery and emblems. The law and its normative gaze can be understood as that which decrees what is permitted to be and become visible and what is not. Indeed, even if law’s perspectival view is bound to be betrayed by the realities of perception, it is nonetheless productive of real effects on the world. This first title in the interdisciplinary series ‘Law and the Senses’ asks how we can develop new theoretical approaches to law and seeing that go beyond a simple critique of the legal pretension to truth. This volume aims to understand how law might see and unsee, and how in its turn is seen and unseen. It explores devices and practices of visibility, the evolution of iconology and iconography, and the relation between the gaze of the law and the blindness of justice. The contributions, all radically interdisciplinary, are drawn from photography, legal theory, philosophy, and poetry.

April 15, 2019

Rutherglen on Reconstruction in Legal Theory

George A. Rutherglen, University of Virginia School of Law, has published Reconstruction in Legal Theory as Virginia Public Law and Legal Theory Research Paper No. 2019-20. Here is the abstract.
Reconstruction and the Civil Rights Era did not make a significant appearance in legal theory until the eve of Brown v. Board of Education. The reconstruction accomplished by legal theory was internal to legal theory itself, as it was in philosophy as a whole. Methods of judicial review and processes of legal reasoning came in for criticism and revision, just as the aims and methods of philosophy did so. Legal theory took a turn towards legal positivism and legal realism, neither of which had much patience with the normative claims underlying civil rights. Nor did philosophy as it fell under the influence of logical positivism and its skepticism of normative claims generally. This essay describes this historical pattern, in which the neglect of civil rights in legal theory paralleled the neglect in constitutional law, only to be suddenly transformed by Brown v. Board of Education. Civil rights went from the status of a neglected stepchild in legal theory to the heir apparent of judicial review. Legal theories could no longer ignore principles of racial equality but instead had to take them as axiomatic.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

A Conference on Law and Opera, University of Turin, May 6, 2019

From the emailbox:

An announcement of a fascinating conference on Law and Opera, taking place on May 6th, at the University of Turin. The Department of Law is sponsoring the conference. Participants will include academics, singers, and directors.

See the Conference Program here,

April 11, 2019

A New Book On Law in Games of Thrones @Mare_et_Martin

New from Mare & Martin:

Du droit dans Game of Thrones (Quentin Le Pluard and Péran Plouhinec, eds., 2019). Here is the description of the book's contents from the publisher's website.

La série Game of Thrones et la saga littéraire du Trône de Fer dont elle est tirée connaissent un retentissement mondial. Au sein de cet univers de fiction dépeignant une société médiévale brutale, cruelle, intégrant quelques éléments fantastiques tels les dragons, on ne compte plus les meurtres, viols, incestes, tortures et autres actions blâmables, à tel point que le droit et la justice ysemblent absents. C’est pourtant tout l’inverse. Il existe un droit propre au monde de Game of Thrones. Un individu ressuscité par magie, par exemple, demeure-t-il une personne au regard du droit et conserve-t-il les liens juridiques qu’il avait pu nouer avant sa mort ? Un mur de glace de plusieurs dizaines de mètres de haut constituet-il une frontière au sens juridique du terme ? De même, de quel droit est-il question à l’égard des personnages féminins présentés dans la série ? C’est à toutes ces interrogations, et à bien d’autres mêlant toutes les disciplines juridiques, que les auteurs apportent des réponses en convoquant leur connaissance de la fiction et du droit. Cet ouvrage entend démontrer que l’étude de l’un peut s’enrichir des apports de l’autre. Se voulant accessible à tous – néophytes du droit comme de Game of Thrones, ou naturellement juristes confirmés comme fans inconditionnels de la saga –, il s’agit là d’une autre preuve que, comme le veut l’adage, le droit est véritablement partout. Il l’est donc aussi dans Game of Thrones.

Weber on Legal Structures in a Game of Thrones @DavidPWeber

David P. Weber, Creighton University School of Law, is publishing Legal Structures in a Game of Thrones: The Laws of the First Men and Those That Followed in volume 70 of the South Carolina Law Review (2019). Here is the abst
For as long as we humans have recorded our existence, we have developed rules to govern our affairs. It is not surprising then that the rule of law predominates not only our own life, but also that of those worlds that only exist on paper or the screen. Generally, the more complex the society, the more complex the rules it has developed to govern it. The more you read of Game of Thrones, the more you realize you are reading about our society, our mores, our evolving rules and standards, and most especially about power and who wields it. The laws of this society of dragons, magic, and treachery at times feel shockingly different from our own, but many more similarities exist than we may prefer to acknowledge. Broad themes such as a border-length wall to keep out [the] Others, the abolishment of slavery, effective criminal procedures, and the very structure of the political system itself whether through a democracy, aristocracy, plutocracy or theocracy abound. This paper will look at significant legal topics such as political and legal structures, criminal law and procedure, and, briefly, immigration law, and will examine the applicable rules, laws and customs for each in the world of A Song of Ice and Fire. In addition, this paper will highlight stark differences and startling similarities to many of our current laws and customs demonstrating the underpinnings of what binds us together and makes us a society.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.