October 31, 2016

Schulz on A Transnational Study of Law & Justice on TV: Canada

Jennifer L. Schulz, University of Manitoba Faculty of Law, is publishing A Transnational Study of Law & Justice on TV: Canada, in A Transnational Study of Law & Justice on TV (Peter Robson & Jennifer L. Schulz eds., Hart, 2016). Here is the abstract.
Our book examines law and justice on television in 14 different countries around the world. It is a rare empirical study of how much justice material viewers were able to access in November 2014, looking at three phases: apprehension (police), adjudication (lawyers), and disposition (prison). In my chapter on Canada I note that there were 5020 law-related programs in the month of our analysis, not including the law-related content found on news and magazine programs. Although this is a vast amount of legally-themed television, only 26.6% of the shows were Canadian. Seventy-two percent of all the legal shows available on television were American and 81% of the legally-themed television available to be watched in Canada was about police officers, not lawyers.
Download the essay from SSRN at the link.

Call For Submissions From Renaissance Hub: Sex, Lies, and Rhetorical Responsibility: "Trumping It" In the Renaissance

Renaissance Hub has posted a call for submissions in the area of  Sex, Lies, and Rhetorical Responsibility: "Trumping it" in the Renaissance. 

Here's more from the website.

Twitter mobs and online public shaming; the curious rise of ‘The Donald’ in US politics; an historic Brexit result; widespread mistrust of ‘experts’: it’s safe to say that we have never been more engaged as a public in the politics of today. But what does an informed opinion consist of? How do we represent ourselves, and why? Where does real power lie? Who should wield it? And is it ever really possible to get to the truth of a matter amidst all of the spin?  These seemingly contemporary political concerns actually touch upon questions about human knowledge and ethical responsibility that date back at least as far as Plato, over 2300 years ago.

Renaissance Hub (www.renaissancehub.net) is an exciting new online magazine which strongly believes in promoting the continued relevance of early modern thought to a non-academic audience. As such, our first issue entitled ‘Sex, Lies and Rhetorical Responsibility’ will address the issues described above from the fascinating starting point of the Renaissance (loosely defined here as 1450-1650). We are looking for specialists in the field to bring these issues to life in a fun and exciting way, particularly for a wider audience who may not be entirely familiar with early modern thought.

Renaissance Hub is currently accepting brief articles of approximately 1000-1500 words which deal with any of the following topics:

The political machine: what did ‘politics’ mean to people in the early modern period?; political establishments and power structures; the role of religion in state affairs; power and the people during the Renaissance; marginalised groups and their representation in Renaissance culture
Staying connected: political scandal and intrigue; the role of the printing press in public life; diplomacy and political go-betweens; politics and the royal courts
A strictly ‘no-spin’ zone?: the study of rhetoric in the Renaissance; classical influences on the art and ethics of discourse; the language of politics and political debate in the early modern period; assessing the true power of persuasion in public life; courtiers and the art of sprezzatura or ‘studied carelessness’

We are also looking for two book reviews of approximately 1000-1500 words which would ideally discuss a popular fiction or non-fiction release that addresses some of these themes.

The deadline for both article and review submissions is 16:00, Friday 11th November. Please send your article or review via email to renaissancehubmag@gmail.com. We particularly welcome submissions which manage to show parallels (however brief) between the Renaissance and the 21st century political landscape. We would also like to stress that we welcome content dealing with any and every aspect of culture, religion and philosophy across this time period, from Western Europe to East Asia, Calvinism to Kabbalah. Furthermore, if you are interested in becoming a peer reviewer for our publication then please send us a message and we will be happy to send you information on how this works. It is very flexible, requires little work and can even be added to your CV.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to e-mail us at the address listed above, or send a message under the ‘Contact’ page. We look forward to hearing from you! 

October 30, 2016

From Andrew Murphy: A New Book on the Political Thought of William Penn

Andrew R. Murphy, Professor of Political Science, Rutgers University, has published Liberty, Conscience, & Toleration: The Political Thought of William Penn (Oxford University Press, 2016). Here is a description of the book's contents from the publisher's website.
In a seventeenth-century English landscape populated with towering political and philosophical figures like Hobbes, Harrington, Cromwell, Milton, and Locke, William Penn remains in many ways a man apart. Yet despite being widely neglected by scholars, he was a sophisticated political thinker who contributed mightily to the theory and practice of religious liberty in the early modern Atlantic world. In this long-awaited intellectual biography of William Penn, Andrew R. Murphy presents a nuanced portrait of this remarkable entrepreneur, philosopher, Quaker, and politician. Liberty, Conscience, and Toleration focuses on the major political episodes that attracted William Penn's sustained attention as a political thinker and actor: the controversy over the Second Conventicle Act, the Popish Plot and Exclusion Crisis, the founding and settlement of Pennsylvania, and the contentious reign of James II. Through a careful examination of writings published in the midst of the religious and political conflicts of Restoration and Revolutionary England, Murphy contextualizes the development of Penn's thought in England and America, illuminating the mutual interconnections between Penn's political thought and his colonizing venture in America. An early advocate of representative institutions and religious freedom, William Penn remains a singular figure in the history of liberty of conscience. His political theorizing provides a window into the increasingly vocal, organized, and philosophically sophisticated tolerationist movement that gained strength over the second half of the seventeenth century. Not only did Penn attempt to articulate principles of religious liberty as a Quaker in England, but he actually governed an American polity and experienced firsthand the complex relationship between political theory and political practice. Murphy's insightful analysis shows Penn's ongoing significance to the broader study of Anglo-American political theory and practice, ultimately pointing scholars toward a new way of understanding the enterprise of political theory itself.
Dr. Murphy discusses his new book in a post on the OUP blog here.

October 28, 2016

Waldron @JeremyJWaldron on Immigration, Culture, and Community

Jeremy Waldron, New York University School of Law, has published What Respect is Owed to Illusions About Immigration and Culture? Here is the abstract.
Against the background of my own general skepticism about cultural arguments in favor of immigration restrictions, I consider the possibility that such arguments may be redeemed by focusing on the damage unrestricted immigration may do to "imagined" cultural community as opposed to "actual" cultural community. There is plenty to explore here, but the paper ends with the suggestion that arguments about "imagined community" will operate differently and will be subject to greater constraints than well-founded arguments about the impact of immigration on actual culture.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

Stefan Larsson's New Book: Conceptions in the Code: How Metaphors Explain Legal Challenges In Digital Times @lastsys

Via @maksdelmar

Stefan Larsson, Associate Professor in Technology and Social Change, Lund University Internet Institute (LUii), Sweden, is publishing Conceptions in the Code: How Metaphors Explain Legal Challenges in Digital Times (Oxford, 2017) (Oxford Studies in Language and Law). Here is a description of the book's contents from the publisher's website.
Stefan Larsson's Conceptions in the Code makes a significant contribution to sociolegal analysis, representing a valuable contribution to conceptual metaphor theory. By utilising the case of copyright in a digital context it explains the role that metaphor plays when the law is dealing with technological change, displaying both conceptual path-dependence as well as what is called non-legislative developments in the law. The overall analysis draws from conceptual studies of "property" in intellectual property. By using Karl Renner's account of property, Larsson demonstrates how the property regime of copyright is the projection of an older regime of control onto a new set of digital social relations. Further, through an analysis of the concept of "copy" in copyright as well as the metaphorical battle of defining the BitTorrent site "The Pirate Bay" in the Swedish court case with its founders, Larsson shows the historical and embodied dependence of digital phenomena in law, and thereby how normative aspects of the source concept also stains the target domain. The book also draws from empirical studies on file sharing and historical expressions of the conceptualisation of law, revealing both the cultural bias of both file sharing and law. Also law is thereby shown to be largely depending on metaphors and embodiment to be reified and understood. The contribution is relevant for the conceptual and regulatory struggles of a multitude of contemporary socio-digital phenomena in addition to copyright and file sharing, including big data and the oft-praised "openness" of digital innovation.


October 27, 2016

(Please Don't) Send In the Clowns?

Okay, here it is. The beginnings of a new area for law and popular culture scholars to investigate.

Clowns and the Law!

Out of concern for community reactions, and because of the recent wave of scary clown sightings, some municipalities are banning clown costumes for Hallowe'en.

Christine Hauser, Clowns, Candidates, and Other Halloween Missteps
Amber Jamieson,  No Clowns Allowed: Scariest Halloween Costume of 2016 Faces Bans Across US
Maureen Sullivan, Boo--Connecticut Schools Ban Clown Costumes For Halloween

Effects of Clown Costumes: What Evidence Might Support a Clown Costume Ban?

Esther Bergdahl, Why Clowns Are a Particular Kind of Scary

Ah, but wait: We have First Amendment concerns.

Eugene Volokh, Kemper County (Miss.) Bans Clown Costumes, Likely Violates the First Amendment 

PI, Assault and Battery, and Clowns

Law Offices of Cohen and Jaffe, Personal Injury Attorneys Discuss the Impact of Scary Clowns on Halloween Safety
Mark Pesto, Fears of a clown: Pa. entertainers 'afraid' to travel amid reports of unnerving sightings

There's even a Twitter account:

Clown Sightings (@ClownsSightings)

And don't forget the IP prong:

Law and Magic Blog: Clowning Around, or More on Clowns and Copyright

Law and Popular Culture Generally

Benjamin Radford,  Bad Clowns (University of New Mexico Press, 2016).

Time to quit clowning around (oh, you knew that was coming). Things to do. I will, however, check out more clowns and the law issues. I have some ideas..... will check the databases...back soon.

October 26, 2016

Tyler @profamandatyler on the English Habeas Corpus Act and the Statutory Origins of the Habeas Privilege

Amanda L. Tyler, University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, has published A 'Second Magna Carta': The English Habeas Corpus Act and the Statutory Origins of the Habeas Privilege at 91 Notre Damae Law Review 1949 (2016). Here is the abstract.
This Article tells the story of the English Habeas Corpus Act of 1679, which came in direct response to perceived failings by the royal courts and the common law writ to do enough to check executive excess at the expense of individual rights. Unearthing the story of the backdrop against which the Act was passed and tracing its role in English law going forward reveals that the Act was enormously significant in the development of English law’s habeas jurisprudence — far more so than most jurists and scholars recognize today. Further, extensive evidence of the Act’s influence across the Atlantic dating from well before, during, and after the Revolutionary War demonstrates that much of early American habeas law was premised upon efforts to incorporate the Act’s key protections rather than developed through judicial innovation. Further, there is every reason to believe that the Act, along with its suspension by Parliament on several occasions in the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, established the suspension model that the Founding generation imported into the United States Constitution’s Suspension Clause. Accordingly, in tracing the Anglo-American development of habeas corpus jurisprudence, it is important to account for the statutory roots of the habeas privilege, particularly because statutory developments were designed in important respects to alter and constrain the common law courts’ approach to habeas corpus and harness the common law writ toward specific ends.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

Solan and Gales on Finding Ordinary Meaning in Law: The Judge, the Dictionary, or the Corpus?

Lawrence M. Solan, Brooklyn Law School, and Tammy A. Gales, Hofstra University, are publishing Finding Ordinary Meaning in Law: The Judge, the Dictionary or the Corpus? in The International Journal: Journal of Legal Discourse. Here is the abstract.
Courts in the U.S. frequently apply a rule of statutory construction that calls for the words in laws to be given their “ordinary meaning”. The rule is based on the presumption that legislatures are most likely to have intended the language to be understood in their ordinary sense and on the value that people subject to such laws will more likely comprehend the rights and obligations granted to them. Courts are not, however, in accord when it comes to determining which of a term’s available meanings is the “ordinary” one. This article describes three methods for making this determination: the judge’s linguistic intuitions, dictionary definitions, and reference to linguistic corpora. We argue that the use of corpus analysis enhances the legal system’s ability to rely on actual distributional facts about word usage, thus enhancing the accuracy of ordinary meaning analysis. We apply the three methods to a case pending before the U.S. Supreme Court, Shaw v. United States, at the time this article is written. The issue in Shaw is whether the expression “defraud a financial institution” applies to a situation in which the defendant tricked a bank into releasing to him the funds of another depositor, when the bank suffered no loss. We look first at linguistic literature based largely on intuition, then at dictionary definitions, and finally at a corpus. Examining hundreds of examples from the Corpus of Historical English (COHA) developed at Brigham Young University, we find that the verb “defraud” is virtually always used to describe a situation in which the object of the fraud is also the target of the ultimate loss. Analyses based on the intuitions of linguists and on dictionary definitions are consistent with this result, although less robust. We conclude that if the Court wishes to be faithful to the ordinary meaning of the statutory language, it should rule that the statute does not apply to this situation.

Download the article from SSRN at the link. 

Reminder: Witteveen Memorial Fellowship In Law and Humanities Still Accepting Applications: Deadline Is November 15, 2016


 Witteveen Memorial Fellowship in Law and Humanities Tilburg University has established the annual Witteveen Memorial Fellowship in Law and Humanities in order to commemorate the life and work of Willem Witteveen. The fellowship aims to enable a junior scholar (PhD or postdoc level) to further develop his or her research in the area of ‘Law and Humanities’ during a visit to Tilburg. Professor Willem Witteveen was an early representative of the interdisciplinary and contextual approach to legal scholarship in The Netherlands and Tilburg Law School. Whereas the emphasis often is on social sciences, Willem’s focus was on law and humanities. Rhetoric, literature, political philosophy and (intellectual and cultural) history in particular were breeding grounds for Willem’s many contributions to academia, politics and society. Willem attached a lot of importance to student formation in the sense of the classic Bildungsideal to which expression (rhetoric, language) and contact with classical texts are central. As progressive as much of his work is, as strong was his attachment to traditional forms of academic life, with their opportunities for direct exchange of ideas.    What the Witteveen Memorial Fellowship in Law and Humanities offers: The Witteveen Memorial Fellow will have office space and facilities at the Department of Public Law, Jurisprudence and Legal History of Tilburg Law School, as well as full library access. We offer reimbursement of travel expenses and accommodation expenses (max. 5250 Euro). The Witteveen Memorial Fellowship does not constitute an employment relationship. For this reason, Tilburg Law School will not make social insurance contributions or contributions to pension or unemployment insurance. In principle the Witteveen Memorial Fellowship in Law and Humanities is for a duration of three months in the Spring following the application deadline. Candidates are welcome to propose a different period. In case the fellowship is awarded for less than three month the maximum amount to be reimbursed will be proportionately lower. If the fellowship is awarded for longer than three months, the total amount to be reimbursed, travel or commuting costs included, remains 5250 euro. What is expected of the Witteveen Memorial Fellow: During the period of the fellowship the scholar will be present in Tilburg, participate in the academic life of both Tilburg Law School and the Tilburg School of Humanities and deliver a guest lecture to students. Any publications resulting from the fellowship should mention the Witteveen Memorial Fellowship in Law and Humanities explicitly. Application procedure Scholars who are currently working on a PhD dissertation or who defended one not longer than five years ago are eligible. Candidates are requested to submit their application before 15-11-2016. Applications can only be submitted online (www.tilburguniversity.edu/about-tilburg-university/working-at/wp/).
Candidates must submit a cover letter, a CV including publications, a statement of intent (‘what do you plan to do during the fellowship?’, ‘what is the end product?’) and one reference letter.
Candidates must submit a cover letter, a CV including publications, a statement of intent (‘what do you plan to do during the fellowship?’, ‘what is the end product?’) and one reference letter.In principle, the selection committee will decide on the basis of the written application only. The extent to which a candidate’s background is in law and humanities as well as evidence of interaction between both disciplines in the candidate’s work is an important selection criterion For questions, please contact Jacoba Floor (J.W.Floor@uvt.nl). h

October 25, 2016

The Police In Film and On Television

Alyssa Rosenberg on real life law enforcement and Hollywood images of the police, here, for the Washington Post. First in a five-part series.

Read more about the police and pop culture below. Selected bibliography.

US TV Shows

Frances Heidenson and Jennifer Brown, "From Juliet to Jane: Women Police in TV Cop Shows, Reality, Rank, and Careers," in Policing: Politics, Culture, and Control 111 (Bloomsbury, 2012).

Hollie McKay, "Angie Dickinson "Felt Exploited" In "Police Woman" But Says Women's Roles in Crimes (sic) Dramas Have 'Evolved'." Fox411.

Jonathan Nichols-Pethick, TV Cops: The Contemporary American Police Drama (Routledge, 2012).

Roger Sabin, Cop Shows: A Critical History of Police Shows on Television (McFarland, 2015).

UK TV Shows

Contemporary British Television Crime Drama: Cops On the Box (Routledge, 2016). Due out November 2.

October 23, 2016

A New Book on Borges and the Law, Edited by Jose Calvo Gonzalez

Jose Calvo Gonzalez, University of Malaga, has a new publication out:

Borges en el espejo de los juristas: Derecho y literatura borgeana (Thomson/Reuters, Aranzadi, 2016) (Duo). Here's a description (in Spanish) of the contents.

Once trabajos internacionales de 'Derecho y Literatura' dedicados a la obra de Jorge Luis Borges. Leer a Borges desde el Derecho es la deliberada proyección de un acto de rebeldía jurídica.
Su propósito de Borges en el espejo de los juristas. Derecho y Literatura borgeana ha sido inventar –es decir, construir; o sea, ingeniar– lecturas jurídicas sobre textos borgeanos transfigurando en Derecho el ámbito de legibilidad de su literatura.

This work is the first of its kind dedicated to the study of Borges and the law.

October 21, 2016

Justice Ginsburg and the Daughter of the Regiment

Ruth Bader Ginsburg has her first speaking role in opera--as the Duchess of Krakenthorp in the Washington National Opera's production of Donizetti's The Daughter of the Regiment (Nov. 12 only). It seems that she'll be putting her own stamp on the role. Some lines from her decisions have been incorporated into her part. More here from Law.com.

There's not much of an explanation of the opera available there, though (not that operas generally make much sense). Here's a synopsis from a University of Michigan press release.  This particular Donizetti work is one of my favorites, so if you don't already know it, and you get a chance to see it in person or hear a recording, I suggest that you just enjoy it without trying to make it logical. It's a lot of fun.

Law Library of Congress Video from the Depiction of Law in Film and Television Now Available

The Law Library of Congress has made video from its event The Depiction of Law in Film and Television available here.

The Law Library held the event July 20, 2016.

October 20, 2016

What Do Academics Write About When They Write About Television? Mental Floss @mental_floss Points Us Toward An Answer

Mental Floss leads us to eighteen (yes, I know, a strange number--why not twenty?) papers and dissertations n the academic literature about various aspects of 1990s television shows. There are undoubtedly more, but these are an eclectic mix, and certainly enough to get us started.  

Call For Papers: Conference on Images, Copyright, and the Public Domain in the Long Nineteenth Century, March 29-30, 2018

Via IP and IT Conferences Blog posted by Saurabh Vishnubhakat



Call for Papers: Images, Copyright, and the Public Domain in the Long Nineteenth Century

Call for Papers: Images, Copyright, and the Public Domain in the Long Nineteenth Century
Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library
Abstracts: February 1, 2017
Notifications: June 1, 2017
Conference: March 29-30, 2018
In partnership with LARCA (Laboratoire de recherches sur les cultures anglophones), Université Paris Diderot
A combination of technological, cultural, and economic factors during the long nineteenth century made images more readily available in a wider range of media than ever before. These transformations raised new questions about the ownership and use of images.
Working in the new field of lithography, artists produced portraits, topographical landscapes, caricatures, everyday scenes, and representations of events done “on the spot,” which publishers distributed quickly and relatively cheaply. Thanks to changes in printing techniques and the commercial strategies of publishers, engraved images became more common in books, magazines, and newspapers. The development of photography led to the production and circulation of images in the form of daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, tintypes, cartes-de-visite, and stereographs. The quest to reproduce photographic images in print inspired numerous photomechanical processes that raised questions about the status of the image and its creator. Meanwhile, increasingly sophisticated printed reproductions of visual works raised new questions about what constituted “authorship” under copyright law; about how to balance the interests of artists, distributors, and collectors; and about how to protect the privacy of individuals whose images were being reproduced and displayed in public. As images and the techniques used to produce them spread across national borders, the question of colonial and international copyright became increasingly important.
Current Project
This project aims to bring together scholars from a range of disciplines and fields (printing history, art history, law, literature, visual culture, book history, etc.) to explore the cultural and legal consequences of the proliferation of images in the long nineteenth century. Our geographic focus will be on Great Britain and the United States in connection with the wider world, not only their colonies and territories, but also their commercial and artistic links with other countries. Contributions that consider the transnational circulation of images, or provide a comparative perspective on copyright, are most welcome, as are case studies that reveal the local factors that shaped attitudes and practices related to the circulation of images. In referring to the “long 19th century,” we want to encourage specialists of earlier and later periods to help us elucidate the broader history of imaging and printing techniques and the legal and cultural norms that surrounded them.
Event Details
As the first stage in the project, we invite interested scholars to propose papers for a conference to be held at Winterthur Museum, Delaware, March 29-30, 2018. Following the conference, authors will be invited to revise papers for possible publication in a special issue of a journal on this topic. In the spring of 2019, a follow-up workshop for contributors will be held at Université Paris Diderot, with the goal of finalizing the joint publication and discussing further research opportunities in this field.
The following list is in no way exhaustive, but reveals some potential lines of inquiry:
  • To what extent did changes in imaging and printing techniques affect the status of images as understood by those who made them and those who viewed them?
  • What norms did artists, architects, photographers, engravers and others establish to govern the circulation and reproduction of their works?
  • How were copyright and/or patent law understood by the people who produced, distributed, and viewed images of various kinds?
  • Was there a sense of a “public domain” in the realm of visual culture, and if so how was this articulated?
  • How did attitudes toward the authorship and attribution of images evolve during this period?
  • What were the perceived boundaries between legitimate and illegitimate copying, and how did these vary across media?
  • In cases where the law was silent or ambiguous, what cultural practices and commercial strategies were developed, either to promote the ownership of images or to contest it?
Submission Instructions
  • Please send an abstract (one page) of your proposed contribution and a short CV (two pages) to imagecopy19@gmail.com by February 1, 2017.
  • We will notify accepted participants by June 1, 2017.
  • Questions may be addressed to imagecopy19@gmail.com.

A Reboot of Enemy of the State Is Headed For the Small Screen

According to the Hollywood Reporter, Jerry Bruckheimer will take charge of a reboot of Enemy of the State, the Will Smith vehicle from a couple of decades ago.

In this updated version, notes THR, the film will focus on an NSA operative, a female attorney, and an FBI agent. More here.

LSU Digital Scholarship Lab Hosts Talk and Workshop on Social Justice and Social Justice and Digital Humanities October 24 and 25

LSU’s Digital Scholarship Lab invites you to attend the upcoming digital humanities events by guest speaker Angel Nieves, who will offer a talk and a workshop about his work on race, social justice, and digital humanities.

Intersectional Cartographies: Social Justice,
Digital Humanities Practices, and 3D Visual Heritage in Soweto, Johannesburg” 

When: Monday, 10/24, 11am-12:15pm
Where: Hill Memorial Library 
Nieves’s talk will address the question: Can digital reconstructions of difficult histories be used to harness the tools of restorative social justice in a preservation-based practice that combines both tangible and intangible heritage? Technologies now at our disposal allow us to layer victim testimony in hypertexts using multiple tools for mapping, text mining, and 3D visualizations. Digital humanities may also help analyze documentation so as to reconstruct and recover an alternative historical narrative in the face of conventional wisdom or officializing histories. The layering of the many narratives also helps lay bare the messiness of archive making, the methodologies of digital ethnography, and, the endangered nature of those archives across South Africa – in particular, those related to the Soweto Uprisings of June 1976.   

 Digital Pedagogy Workshop 

“Race, Social Justice, and DH: Applied Theories and Methods” 

When: Tuesday, 10/25, 10am-12pm
Where: Middleton Library, Room 295 (Dean’s Conference Room) 
Nieves’s workshop will show how – through an interdisciplinary, intersectional, and CRT (Critical Race Theory) framework – both race and social justice can be central to digital humanities teaching, pedagogy, and practice. The workshop will pay special attention to queer theory, critical ethnic studies, postcolonial theory, WOC/Black feminism, Indigenous studies, and disability studies as they currently help to reshape digital humanities teaching and methods across our university/college classrooms. 
Angel David Nieves is an Associate Professor at Hamilton College, Clinton, N.Y. and is Director of the American Studies and Cinema & Media Studies Programs there. He is also Co-Director of Hamilton’s Digital Humanities Initiative (DHi) which is recognized as a DH leader among small-liberal arts colleges in the Northeast. He is also a Research Associate Professor in the Department of History at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa.  

Holler on the Marquis de Condorcet and the Two-Dimensional Jury Model

Manfred J. Holler, University of Hamburg, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, is publishing Marquis De Condorcet and the Two-Dimensional Jury Model in Law and Economics in Europe and the U.S.: The Legacy of Juergen Backhaus (Alain Marciano and Giovanni Ramello eds., Springer). Here is the abstract.
The two-dimensional jury model, which is the core of this paper, demonstrates the two, partly conflicting, dimensions in Condorcet’s work and life. There is the dimension of enlightenment, reflected in Condorcet’s jury theorem, i.e., the belief that there is some truth can be approximated in collective decision making. On the other hand, there is creed that individual preferences are the building block of the society with the consequence of inevitable conflicts in aggregating them. This paper combines the idea of winning a maximum of votes in a voting game with utility maximization that derives from the winning proposition. The model assumes a first mover, the plaintiff, and a second-mover, the counsel of the defendant. Typically, these agents represent parties that have conflicting interests. Here they face an arbitration court in the form of jury that consists of three voters such that no single voter has a majority of votes. The agents are interested in both gaining the support of a majority of jury members and seeing their preferred alternative selected as outcome. It will be demonstrated that equilibrium decision making can be derived for this model.
Download the essay from SSRN at the link.

October 19, 2016

Jessica Lake's New Book on the Beginnings of the Common Law Right to Privacy

Jessica Lake is publishing The Face That Launched a Thousand Lawsuits: The American Women Who Forged a Right to Privacy (Yale University Press, 2016). Here is a description of the contents from the publisher's website.
Drawing on a wealth of original research, Jessica Lake documents how the advent of photography and cinema drove women—whose images were being taken and circulated without their consent—to court. There they championed the creation of new laws and laid the groundwork for America’s commitment to privacy. Vivid and engagingly written, this powerful work will draw scholars and students from a range of fields, including law, women’s history, the history of photography, and cinema and media studies.

Wendie Ellen Schneider on Veracity in the Victorian Courtroom

ICYMI: Wendie Ellen Schneider has published Engines of Truth: Producing Veracity in the Victorian Courtroom (Yale University Press, 2016). Here is a description of the contents from the publisher's website.
During the Victorian era, new laws allowed more witnesses to testify in court cases. At the same time, an emerging cultural emphasis on truth-telling drove the development of new ways of inhibiting perjury. Strikingly original and drawing on a broad array of archival research, Wendie Schneider’s examination of the Victorian courtroom charts this period of experimentation and how its innovations shaped contemporary trial procedure. Blending legal, social, and colonial history, she shines new light on cross-examination, the most enduring product of this time and the “greatest legal engine ever invented for the discovery of truth.”

William Baude @WilliamBaude), The First Day of Law School, and the Musical "Hamilton"

Via our friend Lyonette Louis-Jacques @LyoLouisJacques:

Professor William Baude invokes the musical Hamilton in his remarks to the University of Chicago Law School's class of 2019. 

Another Legal Drama In the Works From Shondaland and Writer Paul William Davies @harrierhound

Paul William Davies is working with Shondaland and ABC on a pilot for a legal drama. The show, which doesn't yet have a name, would follow the personal and professional lives of budding legal eagles on both sides of "high profile" cases filed in the Second Circuit. More here from the Hollywood Reporter.

Well, no question--the Second Circuit does have a lively docket, and some fascinating personalities. It will be interesting to follow this development.

"And When You Get the Choice To Sit It Out Or Dance/I Hope You Dance"

Dancing law enforcement officers always get my attention, maybe because I love to dance, and maybe because they seem unique. But as these videos show, dancing LEOS aren't that unusual, and why should they be? Police officers are human, they aren't really "flatfoots" (feet?) and they know how to have a good time. So let's encourage our cops to dance, and let's dance with them. Everybody dance!

This Greater Manchester Police Inspector dances at a Pride Parade in 2015.

This District of Columbia police officer de-escalated a tense situation by engaging in a dance-off (2015).

 A Kansas officer dances at a Black Lives Matter barbeque (2016). 

Some Denver cops dance here. 

Swedish officers dance at a Pride Parade here.

This Ottawa police officer dances on Canada Day here.

The New York Times investigates the "dancing cops" matter more fully here.

Galston on the Puzzle of Alfarabi's Parallel Works

Miriam Galston, George Washington University Law School, has published The Puzzle of Alfarabi's Parallel Works at 77 Review of Politics 519 (2015). Here is the abstract.
Scholars disagree about the correct interpretation of Alfarabi’s Political Regime and Virtuous City, treatises that have striking similarities, yet notable differences. For some, the treatises encapsulate Alfarabi’s philosophy; for others, they express only politically salutary opinions. Both interpretations fail to explain why he wrote parallel works. If both reflect Alfarabi’s genuine philosophic doctrines, why did he compose separate but parallel treatises, both written when his philosophy was mature? Alternatively, if the treatises are political or rhetorical, why did Alfarabi compose two versions, and why did he choose these two accounts rather than others? To answer these questions, I discuss several overarching differences between the treatises, concluding that each work has an inner coherence and develops a distinctive narrative. I offer suggestions to account for the works’ distinctive orientations, both to persuade doubtful readers of their philosophic significance and to suggest to both groups of scholars reasons for their systematic differences.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

Venzke @IngoVenzke on Sources and Interpretation Theories: The International Lawmaking Process

Ingo Venzke, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam Center for International Law, is publishing Sources and Interpretation Theories: The International Lawmaking Process in Oxford Handbook on the Sources of International Law (Samantha Besson and Jean d'Aspremont eds, Oxford University Press, 2017). Here is the abstract.
It is generally recognized that interpretations do not take meanings from norms but give meanings to them. In this way, the practice of interpretation contributes to the process of international lawmaking. The chapter takes this understanding as its starting point and then asks, first: How should interpreters justify their choice to give one meaning rather than another to a norm, be it in a specific case or more generally? Second, it turns from the rule of interpretation to the reality of the interpretative practice and asks: What do interpreters do when they interpret? The Chapter highlights how these two questions are linked. Understandings of what interpreters should do impact the possibilities of what they practically can do. At the same time, beliefs on how interpreters should go about their business are shaped by the power dynamics biases that characterize the practice of interpretation. A conception of interpretation as a practice of arguing about the meaning of norms invites further questions about the balance of reason, rhetoric and violence in that practice.
Download the essay from SSRN at the link.

October 18, 2016

Yes--Based On a True Story

From Benjamin Welton: a list of ten novels based on real-life crimes. The titles range from the well-known (Crime and Punishment) to the more obscure (The High Window--that would be a work by Raymond Chandler).

Kate Sutherland, @LawandLit, Law Professor/Poet, Publishes Book of Poetry: How To Draw a Rhinoceros

Kate Sutherland, Professor of Law, Osgoode Hall, has published her first book of poetry, How To Draw a Rhinoceros (Book Thug, 2016). Here is a description of the book's contents from the publisher's website.
Poetry. Environmental Studies. HOW TO DRAW A RHINOCEROS, the first book of poems by Canadian writer, scholar, and lawyer Kate Sutherland, mines centuries of rhinoceros representations in art and literature to document the history of European and North American encounters with the animal—from the elephant- rhinoceros battles staged by monarchs in the Middle Ages; the rhinomania that took hold in France and later in Italy in response to the European travels of Clara the 'Dutch' Rhinoceros in the mid-1700s; the menageries and circuses of the Victorian era; the exploits of celebrated twentieth-century hunters like Teddy Roosevelt and Ernest Hemingway; and the trade in rhinoceros horn artefacts that thrives online today. Along the way, it explores themes of colonialism, animal welfare, and conservation. Sutherland was inspired on this poetic path by Clara, an eighteenth-century rhinoceros she first encountered in porcelain form in an exhibit of ceramic animals at Toronto's Gardiner Museum. This chance experience set her off on a grand quest to learn all she could of Clara's story, and resulted in a collection that combines Robert Kroetschian documentary poetics with the meticulous research and environmental passion of Elizabeth Kolbert, to successfully examine the centuries- long path of the rhinoceros that's brought it to the brink of global extinction. Readers of contemporary poetry, as well as those audiences interested in natural history, animal welfare, and conservation, and people who have followed Sutherland's scholarly and literary careers (and their intersections in her most recent academic work that focuses on law and poetry), will relish the rich detail and odd tales of historical rhinoceroses and the people who have kept, shown, and traded in them, as depicted using a range of poetic techniques that only a critical eye like Sutherland's could deliver.
Law Times noted the book's release.

The book is a CBC Books Fall 2016 Preview selection and a Quill and Quire Fall 2016 Preview Selection.

A "Top Ten List" of Fictional Lawyers From @OllyJarviso

Olly Jarvis offers a list of his ten favorite fictional lawyers here. Do any on the list surprise you? I have to say that the choice of Edward G. Robinson's Victor Scott (Illegal) and Matthew Shardlake (C.D. Ransom's character from a sequence of popular novels) were choices I didn't expect.

Mr. Jarvis is the author of  two legal thrillers, Cut-Throat Defense (2016) and Death By Dangerous (2015). He practices criminal law in Manchester, England.

October 17, 2016

Call For Papers: Law and Literature Conference, Masaryk University, May 31-June 2, 2017

From the mailbox:

Call for papers

Law and literature conference 2017

Masaryk University (Brno, Czech Republic)
31 May – 2 june 2017

 The Law and Literature movement is still quite new in the Central Europe but its importance is growing lately. A unique legal and cultural experience of this area can provide a new inspiration to the Law and Literature discussions so the ambition of the conference is to provide a new platform to explore current possibilities and spaces of the Law and Literature field. It is thus our intention to bring new stimuli to the traditional approach to the mainly West-oriented Law and Literature movement.

Brno is the second largest city of the Czech Republic, home country of Franz Kafka, Milan Kundera and Vaclav Havel. Czech culture is a combination of Slavic, Austro/Hungarian, German and both Christian and Jewish cultural tradition. As well as the multicultural background, also Nazism and Communism left their traces both at the legal and cultural environment. Brno itself is a centre of the Czech judiciary: the Constitutional Court, the Supreme Court and the Supreme Administrative Court. Thanks to all these various influences and conditions, the Czech Republic and especially Brno is a perfect venue for the Law and Literature conference.

The conference will take place at the Faculty of Law of Masaryk University which is situated in the city centre of Brno. Keynote speech and welcome toast will be held in the Villa Tugendhat, designed by the architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and inscribed in the list of UNESCO World Cultural Heritage sites. Thursday sections and dinner will take place in the Villa Stiassny, designed by architect Ernst Wiesner in 1927 and combining a progressive architectural design and civic tradition.

Streams are as follows:

        Metamodernism and the Transformation of Narrative (New Trends and Possibilities in Law and Literature) - co-convened by Daniela Carpi (English Literature, University of Verona, Italy) and Jeanne Gaakeer (Legal Theory, Erasmus School of Law, Rotterdam, Netherlands) (Further details.)

        Muss es Sein? Kundera and Law - convened by Rafał Mańko (University of Amsterdam) (Further details.)

        Fictional-world Jurisprudence – convened by Terezie Smejkalová (Masaryk University, Brno) (Further details.)

        General Stream – co-convened by Martin Škop and Markéta Štěpáníková (Masaryk University, Brno)

 Important dates                                     

Abstract submission deadline:                                 31 October 2016

Notice on acceptance deadline:                                30 November 2016

Draft submission deadline:                                       30 April 2017

Conference date:                                                          31 May – 2 June 2017

 Draft formal requirements

Range:                                                                             min. 2.000 words

Submission:                                                                   on-line at Easychair. 

Conference proceedings

Best papers will be eventually included in the printed book in English.

There will be also an opportunity to publish your conference papers in a special issue of “Časopis pro právní vědu a praxi”, a legal journal of the Law faculty, Masaryk University. 

Conference fees

Early bird registration / students + guests                           200 EUR / 100 EUR

Regular registration / students                                250 EUR / 150 EUR

Conference dinner in Villa Stiassny                                       35 EUR (In order to register you have to create an account at the Faculty of Law Conference System.) Further information is to be found at https://lawandliterature2017.wordpress.com/ and prezi.

Working language of the conference is English.

The titles and the abstracts (200-300 words) of the presentations should be submitted by mail to lawandliterature@law.muni.cz or directly to the stream convenors.

Please indicate your full name, affiliation and e-mail address for contact. We are looking forward to your applications. Kind regards, The Organizing Commitee of the Conference