This new book advances a fresh philosophical account of the relationship between the legislature and courts, opposing the common conception of law, in which it is legislatures that primarily create the law, and courts that primarily apply it. This conception has eclectic affinities with legal positivism, and although it may have been a helpful intellectual tool in the past, it now increasingly generates more problems than it solves. For this reason, the author argues, legal philosophers are better off abandoning it. At the same time they are asked to dismantle the philosophical and doctrinal infrastructure that has been based on it and which has been hitherto largely unquestioned. In its place the book offers an alternative framework for understanding the role of courts and the legislature; a framework which is distinctly anti-positivist and which builds on Ronald Dworkin's interpretive theory of law. But, contrary to Dworkin, it insists that legal duty is sensitive to the position one occupies in the project of governing; legal interpretation is not the solitary task of one super-judge, but a collaborative task structured by principles of institutional morality such as separation of powers which impose a moral duty on participants to respect each other's contributions. Moreover this collaborative task will often involve citizens taking an active role in their interaction with the law.
This collection of essays takes as its starting point Arthur Ripstein's Force and Freedom: Kant's Legal and Political Philosophy, a seminal work on Kant's thinking about law, which also treats many of the contemporary issues of legal and political philosophy. The essays offer readings and elucidations of Ripstein's thought, dispute some of his claims and extend some of his themes within broader philosophical contexts, thus developing the significance of Ripstein's ideas for contemporary legal and political philosophy. All of the essays are contributions to normative philosophy in a broadly Kantian spirit. Prominent themes include rights in the body, the relation between morality and law, the nature of coercion and its role in legal obligation, the role of indeterminacy in law, the nature and justification of political society and the theory of the state. This volume will be of interest to a wide audience, including legal scholars, Kant scholars, and philosophers with an interest in Kant or in legal and political philosophy.
In this groundbreaking book, Scalia and Garner systematically explain all the most important principles of constitutional, statutory, and contractual interpretation in an engaging and informative style with hundreds of illustrations from actual cases. Is a burrito a sandwich? Is a corporation entitled to personal privacy? If you trade a gun for drugs, are you using a gun in a drug transaction? The authors grapple with these and dozens of equally curious questions while explaining the most principled, lucid, and reliable techniques for deriving meaning from authoritative texts. Meanwhile, the book takes up some of the most controversial issues in modern jurisprudence. What, exactly, is "textualism?" Why is "strict construction" a bad thing? What is the true doctrine of "originalism?" And which is more important: the spirit of the law, or the letter? The authors write with a well-argued point of view that is definitive yet nuanced, straightforward yet sophisticated.
The Path of the Law is a short essay by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., an American jurist who served on the Supreme Court of the United States from 1902 to 1932. A cornerstone of his jurisprudential philosophy was the prediction theory of law, believing the law should be defined specifically as a prediction of how the courts work. In The Path of the Law Holmes argues that a criminal isn't concerned about ethics or conceptions of natural law; they are concerned about avoiding punishment and jail. "The law", therefore, should be based on prediction of what will bring about punishment via the court system.
In this book Dimitrios Kyritsis advances an original account of constitutional review of primary legislation for its compatibility with human rights. Key to it is the value of separation of powers. When the relationship between courts and the legislature realizes this value, it makes a stronger claim to moral legitimacy. Kyritsis steers a path between the two extremes of the sceptics and the enthusiasts. Against sceptics who claim that constitutional review is an affront to democracy he argues that it is a morally legitimate institutional option for democratic societies because it can provide an effective check on the legislature. Although the latter represents the people and should thus be given the initiative in designing government policy, it carries serious risks, which institutional design must seek to avert. Against enthusiasts he maintains that fundamental rights protection is not the exclusive province of courts but the responsibility of both the judiciary and the legislature. Although courts may sometimes be given the power to scrutinize legislation and even strike it down, if it violates human rights, they must also respect the legislature's important contribution to their joint project. Occasionally, they may even have a duty to defer to morally sub-optimal decisions, as far as rights protection is concerned. This is as it should be. Legitimacy demands less than the ideal. In turn, citizens ought to accept discounts on perfect justice for the sake of achieving a reasonably just and effective political order overall.
We usually pay far less attention to what the law actually tells us than to the possible consequences of our disobeying it. Yet, if we try to take it at face value, we discover that the law expects us to comply not out of fear of the harmful consequences of disobedience, but because it is the law that tells us to do this or that - that, at least, seems to be the law's claim. Whence does this authority over our lives derive, and why should we take the fact that it is the law that tells us to do something as a reason to do it? Legal positivism, by far the most influential theoretical doctrine on what the law is, insists that our being under a legal obligation cannot in any way entail that we should really act accordingly. Positivists claim that if we are really to act as the law requires us to, this is not because of some supposed general moral obligation to obey the law, but rather because we think that we personally have a concrete moral, or other, reason of our own, to act thus. Yet, according to positivists, whether we happen to morally approve of the law's requirements or not is a matter of indifference to the law: law doesn't need morality in order to exist or to become knowable. For positivists the law is the law whether we like it or not. Despite its intuitive plausibility this thesis - of law's moral indifference - does not go unchallenged. This book traces the developments that established legal positivism as an almost insurmountable horizon in legal theory. But it also attempts to show that modern positivism's enduring success is due to the gradual abandonment of its core position on law's moral indifference, which, paradoxically, renders it less and less positivistic.
Kelsen, Hans. Pure Theory of Law. Translation from the Second German Edition by Max Knight. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1967. x, 356 pp. Reprinted 2005 by The Lawbook Exchange, Ltd. ISBN 1-58477-578-5. Paperbound. $36.95 * Second revised and enlarged edition, a complete revision of the first edition published in 1934. A landmark in the development of modern jurisprudence, the pure theory of law defines law as a system of coercive norms created by the state that rests on the validity of a generally accepted Grundnorm, or basic norm, such as the supremacy of the Constitution. Entirely self-supporting, it rejects any concept derived from metaphysics, politics, ethics, sociology, or the natural sciences. Beginning with the medieval reception of Roman law, traditional jurisprudence has maintained a dual system of "subjective" law (the rights of a person) and "objective" law (the system of norms). Throughout history this dualism has been a useful tool for putting the law in the service of politics, especially by rulers or dominant political parties. The pure theory of law destroys this dualism by replacing it with a unitary system of objective positive law that is insulated from political manipulation. Possibly the most influential jurisprudent of the twentieth century, Hans Kelsen [1881-1973] was legal adviser to Austria's last emperor and its first republican government, the founder and permanent advisor of the Supreme Constitutional Court of Austria, and the author of Austria's Constitution, which was enacted in 1920, abolished during the Anschluss, and restored in 1945. The author of more than forty books on law and legal philosophy, he is best known for this work and General Theory of Law and State. Also active as a teacher in Europe and the United States, he was Dean of the Law Faculty of the University of Vienna and taught at the universities of Cologne and Prague, the Institute of International Studies in Geneva, Harvard, Wellesley, the University of California at Berkeley, and the Naval War College.Also available in cloth.
Some say that private law ought to correct wrongs or to protect rights. Others say that private law ought to maximise social welfare or to minimise social cost. In this book, Emmanuel Voyiakis claims that private law ought to make our responsibilities to others depend on the opportunities we have to affect how things will go for us. Drawing on the work of HLA Hart and TM Scanlon, he argues that private law principles that require us to bear certain practical burdens in our relations with others are justified as long as those principles provide us with certain opportunities to choose what will happen to us, and having those opportunities is something we have reason to value. The book contrasts this 'value-of-choice' account with its wrong- and social cost-based rivals, and applies it to familiar problems of contract and tort law, including whether liability should be negligence-based or stricter; whether insurance should matter in the allocation of the burden of repair; how far private law should make allowance for persons of limited capacities; when a contract term counts as 'unconscionable' or 'unfair'; and when tort law should hold a person vicariously liable for another's mistakes.
One of his most important American studies of labor economics published in the twentieth century, this book outlines an evolutionary and behavioral theory of value based on data drawn from court decisions. Analyzing the meaning of reasonable value as defined by the courts, he finds that the answer is based on a notion of reasonable conduct. Expanding this point to encompass the habits and customs of social life, he shows that court decisions are based on customs that are powerful forces shaping the economic system. In an early review Wesley Mitchell declared that Commons [1862-1945] carried this "analysis further along his chosen line than any of his predecessors. Into our knowledge of capitalism he has incorporated a great body of new materials which no one else has used adequately.": American Economic Review, XIV (1924) 253.
Whether examining election outcomes, the legal status of terrorism suspects, or if (or how) people can be sentenced to death, a judge in a modern democracy assumes a role that raises some of the most contentious political issues of our day. But do judges even have a role beyond deciding the disputes before them under law? What are the criteria for judging the justices who write opinions for the United States Supreme Court or constitutional courts in other democracies? These are the questions that one of the world's foremost judges and legal theorists, Aharon Barak, poses in this book. In fluent prose, Barak sets forth a powerful vision of the role of the judge. He argues that this role comprises two central elements beyond dispute resolution: bridging the gap between the law and society, and protecting the constitution and democracy. The former involves balancing the need to adapt the law to social change against the need for stability; the latter, judges' ultimate accountability, not to public opinion or to politicians, but to the "internal morality" of democracy. Barak's vigorous support of "purposive interpretation" (interpreting legal texts--for example, statutes and constitutions--in light of their purpose) contrasts sharply with the influential "originalism" advocated by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. As he explores these questions, Barak also traces how supreme courts in major democracies have evolved since World War II, and he guides us through many of his own decisions to show how he has tried to put these principles into action, even under the burden of judging on terrorism.
"An Introduction to the American Legal System" is ideal for undergraduate students in legal studies, political science, criminal justice, pre-law, and sociology programs, paralegal programs, as well as for anyone with an interest in the historical and contemporary approaches to law in America.
This book is a work of outstanding importance for scholars of comparative law and jurisprudence and for lawyers engaged in EC law or other international forms of practice. It reviews, compares and analyses the practice of interpretation in nine countries representing Europe as well as the US and Argentina in common and civil law; it also explores implications for general theories of interpretation and of justification. Its authors, who include Aulis Aarnio, Robert Alexy, Ralf Dreier, Enrique Zuleta-Puceiro, Michel Troper, Christophe Grzegorczyk, Jean-Louis Gardes, Enrico Pattaro, Michele Taruffo, Massimo La Torre, Jerry Wroblewski, Alexsander Peczenik, Gunnar Bergholtz and Zenon Bankowski, as well as editors Robert S. Summers and D. Neil MacCormick, constitute an international team of great distinction; they have worked on this project for over seven years.
Do lay judgments about criminal transgressions conflict with the way a case is judged within the legal code? The authors, a law professor and a research psychologist, suggest that such discrepancies in judgment can lead to the loss of the legal code's effectiveness of exercising moral authority within the community. An important look at the breakdown of law and order.
Originally published in German in 1936, The Natural Law is the first work to clarify the differences between traditional natural law as represented in the writings of Cicero, Aquinas, and Hooker and the revolutionary doctrines of natural rights espoused by Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau. Beginning with the legacies of Greek and Roman life and thought, Rommen traces the natural law tradition to its displacement by legal positivism and concludes with what the author calls "the reappearance" of natural law thought in more recent times. In seven chapters each Rommen explores "The History of the Idea of Natural Law" and "The Philosophy and Content of the Natural Law." In his introduction, Russell Hittinger places Rommen's work in the context of contemporary debate on the relevance of natural law to philosophical inquiry and constitutional interpretation. Heinrich Rommen (1897–1967) taught in Germany and England before concluding his distinguished scholarly career at Georgetown University. Russell Hittinger is William K. Warren Professor of Catholic Studies and Research Professor of Law at the University of Tulsa.
A renowned legal scholar presents a theory of law based on Anglo-American legal principles and practices, juridical interpretations, legal precedence, and a forcefully argued concept of political and legal integrity
Arguing that good legal reasoning remains the best device by which we can ensure that judicial impartiality, the rule of law, and social trust and peace are preserved, Thomas F. Burke and Lief H. Carter present an accessible and lively text that analyzes the politics of the judicial process. Looking at the larger social and institutional contexts that affect the rule of law - including religious beliefs and media coverage of the courts - Reason in Law uses cases ripped from the headlines to illustrate its theory in real-world practice.
A collection of new essays on the interplay between intentions and practical reasons in law and practical agency.
Arguably no political principle has been more central than the separation of powers to the evolution of constitutional governance in Western democracies. In the definitive work on the subject, M. J. C. Vile traces the history of the doctrine from its rise during the English Civil War, through its development in the eighteenth century—when it was indispensable to the founders of the American republic—through subsequent political thought and constitution-making in Britain, France, and the United States. The author concludes with an examination of criticisms of the doctrine by both behavioralists and centralizers—and with "A Model of a Theory of Constitutionalism." The new Liberty Fund second edition includes the entirety of the original 1967 text published by Oxford, a major epilogue entitled "The Separation of Powers and the Administrative State," and a bibliography. M. J. C. Vile is Professor of Politics at the University of Kent at Canterbury and author also of The Structure of American Federalism.

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