March 29, 2012

The History of Interracial Marriage In Washington State

Jason Gillmer, Gonzaga University School of Law, has published Crimes of Passion: The Regulation of Interracial Sex in Washington, 1855-1950 at 47 Gonzaga Law Review 393 (2012). Here is the abstract.

This Article explores the regulation of interracial sex and marriage in the state of Washington from its time as a territory through the first half of the twentieth century. Drawing on local records rather than canonical cases, the Article's main thesis is that, although the criminal bans on the practice were short-lived, Washingtonians used legal mechanisms to discourage and penalize interracial families in much the same way. The result of these efforts may not have been prison time; but, lawyers and judges regularly used the law to ensure that wealth and property remained in the hands of whites rather than racial minorities. In doing so, the legal system became an effective deterrent to interracial relationships, perpetuating existing notions of race that privileged whiteness over other racial groups.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

The Court of Chancery, Inheritance, and Policy in the Eighteenth Century

Adam S. Hofri-Winogradow, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Faculty of Law, has published Parents, Children and Property in the Late Eighteenth Century Chancery in volume 32 of the Oxford Journal of Legal Studies (2012). Here is the abstract.

The late eighteenth century court of Chancery established a balance between the respective interests of parents and their children in the family’s property. The court required parents, especially fathers, to themselves provide for the maintenance and education of their minor children, even where money was made available for these purposes from a non-parental source. It prevented parents from intercepting gifts given to their children by third parties. It permitted parents, however, to make their children's entitlements to marriage portions conditional, for children marrying before majority, on the children's choice of spouse being consented to by a parent or parental surrogate. Chancery’s overall intergenerational policy was notably anti-dynastic: it made sure that younger generations, specifically those just reaching adulthood, marriage and parenthood, were endowed with sufficient property to give them at least a measure of independence from their elders, and some power over their own children.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

March 27, 2012

Law, Arbitrary Rule, and the Oresteia

Timothy Sandefur, Pacific Legal Foundation, has published Love and Solipsism: Law and Arbitrary Rule in Classical Drama

What distinguishes the rule of law from the lawless, arbitrary rule of brute force — which can almost interchangeably be described as tyranny or as anarchy — is that in a lawful rule the government’s coercive power operates according to principles of generality, regularity, fairness, rationality and public-orientation, whereas the arbitrary or lawless ruler wields power in the service of his (or their) own self-interest, or by mere ipse dixit. Law is to arbitrariness as reason is to mere will. In this paper, I explore the dichotomy between lawful and arbitrary rule as it has been represented in literature. I examine first the primal foundation of lawful rule, as depicted in Aeschylus’ Oresteia, in which law is generated by domesticating the use of force, through persuasion and willing union. Athena creates lawful order, not by fiat, but by marrying the Furies to “Persuasion”: the ambient coercive powers of the people — morally justified, yet dangerously personal urges for vengeance — will now be rationalized in accordance with public, logical, and articulable principles. By contrast, in Shakespeare’s Richard III, we witness the subversion and near-destruction of lawful order by a man who will tear apart the newly framed lawful order and make the state serve his own private ends. The contrast of these two dramas reveals that the tyrant is essentially a solipsist: his ultimate goal is to make the real world obey his say-so. And if law is like love, the tyrant is like the rapist: the forced surrender of intimacy is the best facsimile of love the solipsist can create; but it can never actually be love, because the two are separated by the same invisible and impenetrable boundary that separates truth from falsehood, or genuine loyalty from the rule of terror.

I conclude with a look at the dissenter living in a lawless order, as depicted in two variations on the story of Antigone — the first by Sophocles and the second by Jean Anouilh. In both, the lawless, arbitrary rule is challenged in the name of law, and in each, the ruler nearly succeeds in substituting his private realm of mere words for the public realm of actual things. What emerges from this study is that the basic premise of all lawful order — the root of all secure liberty — is that there is a gap between the will of the ruler and the genuine law. Whenever such a gap exists — whenever it is meaningful to deliberate over whether the ruler’s commands are, in fact, law — the society will, to that extent, become one of lawful order and of (at least some) freedom. The link between tyranny and solipsism is that where the ruler’s will is accounted the law, there can be no genuine law, and thus no freedom. The paradox whereby tyranny is lawless is explained by the fact that tyranny is an attempt to impose by convention what does not originate in nature — and in the end, neither physical nature nor the nature of human relationships can be subjected to such commands. The ultimate demand of the lawless ruler(s) is to substitute his (or their) word for the world — to compel the subject to love him (or them). And because that can never be accomplished, arbitrary rule is doomed to eventual collapse.
Download the paper from SSRN at the link.

March 26, 2012

A New Book Series: Law, Knowledge, and Imagination

Dean Ken Randall and the School of Law at The University of Alabama are pleased to announce a new book series – Law, Knowledge, and Imagination – edited by Austin Sarat, the Justice Hugo L. Black Visiting Senior Faculty Scholar and the William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Jurisprudence and Political Science at Amherst College.

Books in the series, some of which are published by Cambridge University Press and others by The University ofAlabama Press, explore the ways law is known and imagined in a diverse array of disciplines, including political science, history, cultural studies, philosophy, and science. The series examines the conjunctions of law, knowledge, and imagination as they play out in debates about theory and policy and speak to venerable questions as well as contemporary issues.

Books published so far include:

§ Dissenting Voices in American Society: The Role of Judges, Lawyers, and Citizens
§ Imagining Legality: Where Law Meets Popular Culture

§ Merciful Judgments and Contemporary Society: Legal Problems, Legal Possibilities
§ Sovereignty, Emergency, Legality
§ Speech and Silence in American Law
§ Transitions: Legal Change, Legal Meanings
For more information on the entire series please see the Symposium Archives page here.

Rape, Law, and Art

Yxta Maya Murray, Loyola Law School Los Angeles, has published Rape Trauma, the State, and the Art of Tracey Emin in volume 100 of the California Law Review (2012). Here is the abstract.

Prosecutors use “rape trauma syndrome” evidence at rape trials to explain victims’ “counterintuitive” behaviors and demeanors, such as their late reporting, rape denials, returning to the scenes of their attacks, and lack of emotional affect. Courts and experts, in instructions and testimony, usually describe victim reticence as a product of “shame” or “trauma.” Feminist critics of R.T.S. evidence posit that the syndrome’s profile is based on incomplete evidence, because most rapes are unreported. Furthermore, they object to its condescending, sexist, and colonial construction of rape victims and their emotions.
In this Article, I respond to feminist critics by studying the work of Tracey Emin. Emin is a British-Turkish artist who suffered an unreported rape at the age of 13, and who has been commenting on that rape through her art ever since. Expanding and innovating upon the work of law and humanities scholars, I apply the insights found in art – or, what I describe as “artifacts,” with a deliberate play on the word – to rape law. Through my study of the facts limned in art, I show how the complexities of Emin’s reactions to rape challenge the too-streamlined and often confusing stories of victims told by prosecutors, experts, and courts. Emin’s art demonstrates that she harbors suspicions of the state, a skepticism based in part on her failure to correspond to “real rape” victim stereotypes. Her critique adds much needed insight into problems of the R.T.S. model. Based on the lessons learned, I make suggestions for rape law reform, and for changes to be made to the administration of rape prosecutions in the U.S. and U.K.
Download the Article from SSRN at the link.

American Society for Legal History Announces Paul Murphy Prize

The American Society for Legal History announces the Paul Murphy Prize to support the completion of a book on the history of civil liberties that addresses any topic or any time in American history. The award will be given out two times only, in 2012 and 2013. Recipients will receive $5000 to support their work. Nominees at all levels of seniority will be considered, however the award is not for the completion of a dissertation.

The award honors Paul L. Murphy (1923-1997), who spent much of his career at the University of Minnesota where he rose to the rank of Regent’s Professor of History and American Studies. At the time of his death, he was in the second year of his term as president of the ASLH. During his tenure at Minnesota he became one of the nation’s leading constitutional historians and a mentor to generations of undergraduate and graduate students. Among his most important books were: The Meaning of Freedom of Speech: First Amendment Freedoms from Wilson to FDR (1972); World War I and the Origin of Civil Liberties in the United States (1979); Historic Background of the Bill of Rights, Vol. 1 (1990); and The Shaping of the First Amendment: 1791 to the Present (1991). In addition, civil liberties played a fundamental role in the argument he developed in what was likely his most influential book, The Constitution in Crisis Times 1918-1969 (The New American Nation Series, 1972). Murphy’s commitment to civil liberties and his passion for the subject was evident in his deeds as well as his words. He was an ardent and committed member of the American Civil Liberties Union throughout his life. For additional information on Murphy please see the tribute to him in the Law and History Review, 16 (Spring 1998), ix-xi.

To be considered for this award, authors or nominators should send a book proposal with chapter descriptions, a discussion of the book’s contributions, and a time-line for completion; a sample chapter; and a c.v. to committee chair Mary L. Dudziak at
Submissions via e-mail are preferred, and attachments can be in Word or PDF. Please put “Murphy Prize” in the subject line. If you must submit by hardcopy, please send four copies of these materials to arrive by the deadline to this address: Professor Mary L. Dudziak, USC Gould School of Law, 699 Exposition Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90089. The deadline for receipt of proposals for this year’s award is June 30, 2012.

Members of the Murphy Prize Committee are:

Mary L. Dudziak, Chair, University of Southern California

Robert Kaczorowski, Fordham University

Serena Mayeri, University of Pennsylvania

David M. Rabban, University of Texas

March 22, 2012

New Adaptation of "1984" Under Consideration

George Orwell's 1984 may be returning to the screen. Brian Grazer and Ron Howard at Imagine Entertainment were looking into adapting the iconic novel with the assistance of artist Shepard Fairey. At the same time, LBI Entertainment's Julie Yorn had a similar project in the works.As a result, the two companies have decided to team up.

1984 has been adapted before: In 1956 Edmond O'Brien and Michael Redgrave starred in a big screen adaptation and in 1984 John Hurt and Richard Burton starred in a big screen production.

Love, Loyalty, and Sacrifice in "To Kill a Mockingbird"

Linda Ross Meyer, Quinnipiac University School of Law, has published Love, Law and Sacrifice in 'To Kill a Mockingbird'. Here is the abstract.

This paper reflects on themes of love, loyalty, and sacrifice in the film version of 'To Kill a Mockingbird.' Using the typology of Kierkegaard's knight of the infinite/knight of faith, the paper argues that Atticus does not stand for liberal principles of universal law but rather faith in the possibilities of friendship and neighborliness.
Download the paper from SSRN at the link.

March 21, 2012

Crime Shows Recognized At Royal Television Society Programme Awards

Two law-related shows won awards at the Royal Television Society Programme Awards, held March 20th in London. The acclaimed crime drama Luther, which stars the wonderful Idris Elba, took home honors as best drama series. Mr. Elba won a Golden Globe earlier this season for his role as Luther, the conflicted detective.

Dominic West and Emily Watson, stars of Appropriate Adult, a miniseries dramatizing the career of serial killer Fred West and Janet Leach, the social worker who sat in on his meetings with police, won for their roles as Fred and Janet. The Sundance Channel bought the rights to the series last fall. More here from the BBC about the miniseries.

March 20, 2012

Law and Literature In the First Year Curriculum: Tort Law

Zahr Said, University of Washington School of Law, has published Incorporating Literary Methods and Texts in the Teaching of Tort Law at 3 California Law Review Circuit 170 (January 2012). Here is the abstract.
This essay, presented in a Law and Humanities Section panel at the 2012 AALS Annual Meeting, discusses my use of literature to aid and amplify legal analysis in a first-year Torts class. Literary texts and methods helped my students investigate how the law conceives of, and expresses, duties and losses among parties. The course drew on several diverse strands of law-and-literature methodology and it incorporated literary texts and methods into discussions of case law and legal policy to produce analysis that is deeply interdisciplinary.

Content and methodology, to the extent they can be satisfactorily decoupled, informed my teaching of Torts in separate ways. First, I incorporated a central literary text that accompanied more traditional legal materials. Second, I required students to engage in close reading and I helped them theorize the act of reading itself. By emphasizing the textually mediated nature of the cases — both as a function of common law’s system of authority through analogy, and as a function of the casebook editors’ choices — I hope to have made clear to students that this is a new type of reading they are doing in law school, and that they are learning to think in new ways. In growing acculturated to legal analysis, law students are learning not just a new language, but a new awareness of how and why they read the way they do.

The paper includes an appendix listing some discussion questions for The Sweet Hereafter, by Russell Banks, one of the texts I used in the class.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

International Law, Torture and "24"

Knut Fournier has published Torture Justification in ‘24’: Aesthetics of the Bush Administration

In the context of the War on Terror, fiction is a support of ideologies for the Bush administration. The TV series '24' resorts on all legal justifications of torture made by the Bush administration, and justifies torture as being necessary, effective, and lawful. In that justification process, the thesis of the main international lawyers supportive of the Bush doctrines are used in a very detailed way, maintaining a 'simulacra' in the sense of Baudrillard.
Download the paper from SSRN at the link. NB: The text is in French.

Law, Culture, and Housing Law and Policy

Lisa T. Alexander, University of Wisconsin Law School, has published Hip-Hop and Housing: Revisiting Culture, Urban Space, Power, and Law, at 63 Hastings Law Journal 803 (2012).

U.S. housing law is finally receiving its due attention. Scholars and practitioners are focused primarily on the subprime mortgage and foreclosure crises. Yet the current recession has also resurrected the debate about the efficacy of place-based lawmaking. Place-based laws direct economic resources to low-income neighborhoods to help existing residents remain in place and to improve those areas. Law-and-economists and staunch integrationists attack place-based lawmaking on economic and social grounds. This Article examines the efficacy of place-based lawmaking through the underutilized prism of culture. Using a sociolegal approach, it develops a theory of cultural collective efficacy as a justification for place-based lawmaking. Cultural collective efficacy describes positive social networks that inner-city residents develop through participation in musical, artistic, and other neighborhood-based cultural endeavors. This Article analyzes two examples of cultural collective efficacy: the early development of hip-hop in the Bronx and community murals developed by Mexican immigrants in Chicago's Pilsen neighborhood. These examples show that cultural collective efficacy can help inner-city residents mitigate the negative effects of living in a poor and segregated community and obtain more concrete benefits from urban revitalization in their communities. Cultural collective efficacy also provides a framework to examine important microdynamics in the inner-city that scholars and policymakers have ignored. Lastly, this Article devises new combinations of place-based laws that might protect cultural collective efficacy, such as: (1) historic districts with affordable housing protections secured through transferable development rights, (2) foreclosure prevention strategies, (3) techniques to mitigate eminent domain abuse, and (4) reinterpretations of the Fair Housing Act's "affirmatively furthering" fair housing mandate. These examples of place-based lawmaking may more effectively promote equitable development and advance distributive justice in U.S. housing law and policy.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

March 19, 2012

More Baseball Trading Cards

Ross E.Davies, George Mason University School of Law; The Green Bag, Craig D. Rust, George Mason University School of Law Alumni, and Adam Aft, George Mason School of Law Alumni, have published Supreme Court Sluggers: Introducing the Scalia, Fortas, and Goldberg/Miller Trading Cards in volume 2 of the Journal of Law (2012). Here is the abstract.

We are pleased to introduce a few new members of the“Supreme Court Sluggers” trading card lineup. The addition of Justice Antonin Scalia to the team is in keeping with our goal of expeditiously compiling and publishing data for all current members of the Supreme Court. (We have issued cards featuring Chief Justice John G. Roberts and Justice John Paul Stevens, and Justices Sandra Day O’Connor and Samuel Alito are in the works.) This season, we have also completed the first two cards of what might be called our “Veterans” series of those who served long ago: Justice Arthur Goldberg, who appears in the company of baseball great Marvin Miller, and Justice Abe Fortas.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

Race, Law, and American Literary Studies: A Conference at the University of Maryland

From Christopher Brown, Ph.D. candidate, Department of English, University of Maryland, news of an exciting upcoming conference at the University: Race, Law, and American Literary Studies. Among the speakers are Brook Thomas, Nan Goodman, and Eric Foner. The conference runs from March 29 through March 30.

Harry Potter in the Law School Curriculum

Marc Roark of the Literary Table on using Harry Potter in the Law School curriculum.

March 16, 2012

ASLCH Conference Underway In Dallas

The annual conference of ASLCH (the Association for the Study of Law, Culture and the Humanities) is going on this weekend at Texas Wesleyan School of Law in Dallas. The Graduate Student Workshop, the association's first, was yesterday, and Susan Ayres tells me it was very successful. Today the panel presentations begin. The law school is a lovely venue and everyone has been making us feel very welcome.

The theme for this year's conference is "Representing Justice." The keynote speakers are Judith Resnik and Dennis Curtis. Their recent book, Representing Justice, is featured here in the New York Times.

March 13, 2012

The US Constitutional Model and Chinese Legal History

Jedidiah Kroncke, Harvard Law School, has published An Early Tragedy of Comparative Constitutionalism: Frank Goodnow & the Chinese Republic. Here is the abstract.

This article recovers a lost episode in the neglected early history of American comparative constitutionalism. In 1913, pioneering comparative lawyer Frank Goodnow was sent to China to assist the new Chinese Republic in the writing of its first constitution. Goodnow’s mission reflected the growing interest of America in China’s legal development in this era, and his constitution-writing project won broad support from the American legal profession. Goodnow’s tenure ultimately generated great controversy when he advised China to adopt constitutional monarchy rather than continue on as a republic. This article describes this controversy and how American international engagement was increasingly shaped in the early 20th century by the attempted export of American legal models as a presumptively altruistic mechanism of modernization. Goodnow’s allegiance to comparative legal science agitated against this more parochial view of legal internationalism, and in the end he was excommunicated from American foreign policy affairs.

More broadly, this article shows how the early history of American comparative constitutionalism had its roots in the early 20th century American discourse on colonial administration. Goodnow and other American lawyers of the era turned to indirect engagements with foreign legal reform only after the popular rejection of colonialism that had been already constitutionally sanctioned by the now infamous Insular Cases. This article further argues that these colonial roots and Goodnow’s feckless misadventure in China hold key lessons for today’s comparative constitutionalists. It provides a vivid example of how the technocratic illusion of engaging in depoliticized legal reform abroad is self-defeating and untenable. Further, it warns against the inherent tensions between a methodologically coherent comparative law and the desire to export American constitutional models abroad, and how such tensions can undercut clear-sighted American understanding of foreign legal developments.
Download the paper from SSRN at the link.

Harry Potter and the First Year Curriculum

Nancy J.White, Central Michigan University, has published Harry Potter and the Denial of Due Process. Here is the abstract.

This paper is designed to be used to teach students the concept of due process using the book/move Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. It contains an overview of due process and examples using due process violations from the book.
Download the paper from SSRN at the link.

March 10, 2012

Law and the Humanities in the Curriculum

The current issue of the California Law Review is a companion to the Ninth Circuit's Symposium on Excavating and Integrating Law and the Humanities into the Core Curriculum.  The symposium features contributions from Bret Asbury, Ariela Gross, Melissa Murray, Zahr Said, Carol Sanger, David Sklansky, and Rose Cuison Villazor.

[Information provided by Melissa Murray, Professor of Law, UC Berkeley].

Conference on the Iconography of Justice

The Warburg Institute is sponsoring a conference on the Iconography of Justice on May 7, 2012. Speakers include Dennis Curtis, Dame Hazel Genn, Martin Loughlin, Judith Resnik, Peter Mack, and Avrom Sherr. More here from the Institute's website.

[Information provided by Melissa Murray, Professor of Law, UC, Berkeley]

March 7, 2012

They're Not Lawyers, But They Play Them In the Movies

Attorney Alan L. Rupe discusses what movies have taught him about how to present a case in What I Learned at the Movies. Among the films he lists as worthy of legal study are Legally Blonde, North Country, Norma Rae, Philadelphia, and the lesser-known Office Space.

Swinish Behavior?

Robert Krulwich ponders law, journalism, ethics, and the three little pigs in this essay for National Public Radio. I would say he hams up it, but...

March 1, 2012

USA Network's Legal Series Return With New Episodes

USA Network's law-related series Fairly Legal returns Friday, March 16th at 9 p.m., 8 p.m. Central time. Sarah Shahi stars as Kate Reid, a lawyer turned mediator at her late father's San Francisco law firm. In addition, the pseudo-psychic detective show Psych returns this week, and the legal dramedy Suits is back this summer. Watch full episodes from its first season here.