August 27, 2021

Tobia on Dueling Dictionaries and Clashing Corpora @kevin_tobia

Kevin Tobia, Georgetown University Law Center; Georgetown University Department of Philosophy, has published Dueling Dictionaries and Clashing Corpora. Here is the abstract.
Judges increasingly look to corpus linguistic tools in legal interpretation, as scholars advance corpus linguistics arguments about statutory and constitutional language. Corpus linguistics is sometimes offered as a preferred interpretive tool, avoiding the pitfalls of dueling canons or cherry-picked dictionary definitions. However, this short essay proposes, legal corpus linguistic tools are unlikely to resolve most difficult debates about the ordinary or public meaning of law. The essay articulates ten emerging “arguments” and “counterarguments” of legal corpus linguistics. Of course, the existence of “clashing corpora” does not imply legal corpus linguistics will be abandoned. It’s been decades since the observation of “dueling canons” and “dueling dictionaries.” Courts today regularly look to both tools.
Download the essay from SSRN at the link.

August 24, 2021

James on Holmes In Nature and Across Time: Book Review of The Black Book of Justice Holmes

Robert A. James, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP, has published Holmes In Nature and Across Time. Here is the abstract.
In a review of The Black Book of Justice Holmes (2021), edited by Michael F. Hoeflich and Ross E. Davies, James comments on the nature observations of the celebrated jurist contained in the transcript of a commonplace volume maintained for decades. He further elaborates on Alger Hiss's concept of the Great Span--the connections across centuries forged by individuals of extraordinary longevity and celebrity--and applies it to Justice Holmes, his 1930 law clerk, and the present day.
Download the essay from SSRN at the link.

August 21, 2021

Call For Papers Extended To September 6, 2021: LAW AND LOVE: IN AND BEYOND PANDEMIC TIMES











Dear Friends,


We hope this email finds you well in these difficult times.


We are absolutely delighted with the response to the call for papers to date – but we don’t want anybody to miss out on being able to submit a proposal for the conference. As such, we are extending the call for papers for the conference until the 6th September 2021. We would also like to confirm that, subject to Covid-restrictions at the time, the conference will have both online and in-person attendance options for all the sessions – and there will be flexibility in changing attendance options if required.


For HDR/postgraduate students, the Association has a number of bursaries on offer – the closing date for these is still 31st of August 2021.  Applications need to be submitted by email to Further information is available on the Association website here:


We have a fantastic line-up of keynotes and plenaries in the works including:

  • Keynote speaker: Associate Professor Ioannis Ziogas (Durham), author of Law and love in Ovid: Courting in the Age of Augustus
  • Plenary Panel: “Loving and Not Loving Law” by Dr Maria Giannacopoulos (Flinders) and Dr Claire Loughnan (Melbourne)
  • With more to come!


Registration for the conference will open shortly, but if you have not yet put in a paper or panel proposal – please do! Attached is the extended call for papers, and more information can be found at our conference website:


We look forward to seeing you (virtually or in-person) later this year.


Best wishes,


Dr Timothy Peters


On behalf of The Law and Love Conference Organising Committee

Jordan Belor, Vincent Goding, Dale Mitchell, Ashley Pearson, Timothy Peters, Justine Poon and Dyann Ross

School of Law and Society

University of the Sunshine Coast

Sippy Downs, Queensland, Australia


August 19, 2021

Alicea on Liberalism and Disagreement in American Constitutional Theory

J. Joel Alicea, Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law, is publishing Liberalism and Disagreement in American Constitutional Theory in volume 107 of the Virginia Law Review (2021). Here is the abstract.
For forty years, American constitutional theory has been viewed as a clash between originalists and non-originalists. This depiction misunderstands and oversimplifies the nature of the debate within constitutional theory. Although originalism and non-originalism describe important differences between families of constitutional methodologies, the foundations of the disagreement among theorists are the justifications that they offer for those methodologies, not the methodologies themselves. Once the debate is refocused around the justifications that theorists offer for their constitutional methodologies, it becomes clear that the debate within constitutional theory is ultimately a debate about liberalism as a political theory. Specifically, it is a debate about two propositions that are central to the liberal tradition: individualism and rationalism. Viewed in this way, constitutional theorists often thought to be opposed to each other are, in fact, allies in the debate over liberalism, even if they disagree about whether their shared theoretical premises imply an originalist or non-originalist methodology. Conversely, theorists often seen as allies profoundly disagree about the premises of their constitutional theories because they disagree about liberalism. Reorienting American constitutional theory to focus on the disagreement over liberalism will help us identify which constitutional theory is best and better understand the outcomes in important constitutional cases.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

August 18, 2021

Newly Published: Pascal Ricard, Law and Philosophy of Language @routledgebooks

 Newly published:

Pascal Richard, Law and Philosophy of Language: Ordinariness of Law (Routledge, 2021).

Here from the publisher's website is a description of the book's contents.
Academic legal production, when it focuses on the study of law, generally grasps this concept on the basis of a reference to positive law and its practice. This book differs clearly from these analyses and integrates the legal approach into the philosophy of normative language, philosophical realism and pragmatism. The aim is not only to place the examination of law in the immanence of its practice, but also to take note of the fact that legal enunciation must be taken seriously. In order to arrive at this analysis, it is necessary to go beyond traditional perspectives and to base reflection on an investigation of the conditions for enunciating law in our democracies. This analysis thus offers a renewal of the ethics inherent in the action of jurists and an original reflection on the role of certain legal tools such as concepts, categories, or "provisions". In this sense, the work nourishes its originality not only by the transversality of its approach, but also by the will to situate legal thought in concrete forms of its implementation. The book will be essential reading for academics working in the areas of legal theory, legal philosophy and constitutional theory.