Wednesday, August 16, 2017

War, Law and Restraint: The SHAFR Panel

War, Law, and Restraint, that panel organized by LHB Founder and SHAFR President Mary Dudziak at this summer’s annual meeting of the at the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations is now available on C-SPAN’s website.  Participants were, in addition to Professor Dudziak (Emory Law), my Georgetown Law colleague Rosa Ehrenreich Brooks; Jack Landman Goldsmith, Harvard Law School; Helen Kinsella, University of Wisconsin-Madison; and John Fabian Witt, Yale Law School.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

A Podcast on Wong Kim Ark

Wong Kim Ark (wiki)
The new episode of the Washington Post’s podcast, Constitutional, centered on Wong Kim Ark (1898), is availableErika Lee, University of Minnesota, and Lucy Salyer, University of New Hampshire, comment.

Brauneis on the Supreme Court's Deadlock on Fair Use, 1958 & 1974

Robert Brauneis, George Washington University Law School, has posted Parodies, Photocopies, Recusals, and Alternate Copyright Histories: The Two Deadlocked Supreme Court Fair Use Cases:
Before any of the Supreme Court’s trio of fair use decisions – Sony v. Universal City Studios, Harper & Row v. Nation, and Campbell v. Acuff-Rose – there were the 1958 case of CBS v. Loew’s and the 1974 case of Williams & Wilkins v. United States: two copyright infringement suits that had turned on fair use in the lower courts, and that the Supreme Court had decided to review and had heard argument in. In both of those cases, however, one of the Justices recused himself, and the others deadlocked 4-4, leading to summary affirmance of the lower court judgments. How would the Court have decided those cases without the recusals? How would the decisions have affected the development of copyright and fair use doctrine? And were the recusals justified?

The papers of a number of Justices, combined with other historical materials, provide surprisingly good answers to those questions. In CBS v. Loew’s, a case in which the Ninth Circuit had held that a Jack Benny parody of the movie Gaslight infringed copyright in that work, the Supreme Court voted to reverse. Justice Douglas started to draft an opinion for the Court, only to recuse himself to pursue a business opportunity with CBS that never materialized. In Williams & Wilkins, a case in which the Court of Claims had held the photocopying practices of two government libraries to fall within the scope of fair use, the Court would also most likely have reversed, with Justice Blackmun providing the fifth vote to decide that the practices were infringing. However, Blackmun recused himself because the Mayo Clinic, whose employment he had left fifteen years previously, took the position that the photocopying was fair use, and was one of thirteen parties signing on to one of many amicus briefs in the court below. Justice Douglas’s recusal, I argue, was unjustified, and Justice Blackmun’s dubious at best.

In a world in Douglas and Blackmun had not recused themselves and the Court had decided CBS and Williams & Wilkins, how could copyright law look different than it now does? I explore that question at three different moments in time. First, I argue that immediately after a CBS v. Loew’s decision in 1958, there might not have been a fair use doctrine separate from a general inquiry into copyright infringement. Second, I contend that just after a Williams & Wilkins decision in 1974, fair use doctrine would likely have focused entirely on what have become known as “productive” or “transformative” uses, while excluding “non-productive” uses and eschewing any distinction between commercial and noncommercial uses. Finally, I consider the present moment, and consider the possible continuing impact of hypothetical decisions in CBS and Williams & Wilkins. Ultimately, however, my goal is not to prove exactly how CBS or Williams & Wilkins would have come out, or would have diverted the path of fair use doctrine or copyright infringement analysis. Rather, I am interested in using the materials that are available about those cases, and the realization that the Supreme Court came very close to deciding them, to free up my imagination, and yours, about how copyright law and the fair use doctrine could be different than they are.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Bank on the Respectability of Tax Avoidance

Steven A. Bank, UCLA School of Law, has posted When Did Tax Avoidance Become Respectable? which is forthcoming in the Tax Law Review:
No matter how many tax scandals are revealed in the media – and there have been many in the past year, involving a diverse set of taxpayers ranging from Donald Trump to Apple – what is most remarkable is that, by and large, the public has considered them relatively non-scandalous. This was not always the case. During the 1930s, even the most innocuous tax avoidance maneuvers, such as buying tax-exempt bonds, were attacked as morally suspect. When did that change and why? This Article offers a novel attempt to gauge the respectability of tax avoidance – using a unique, hand-collected dataset of newspaper advertisements for tax planning services in prominent national papers between 1930 and 1970 – and concludes that a shift occurred after World War II. The Article then explains the reason for this shift, suggesting that a combination of extremely high rates, a broadened base of taxpayers subject to that rate, and a deterioration of the wartime consensus for the rate structure laid the foundation for the respectability of tax avoidance in the 1950s and 1960s. In effect, just as the high wartime rates for the wealthy had been justified as a means of compensating for the sacrifice of the poor during the war, the pursuit, and tacit approval, of tax avoidance after the war was a means of compensating for the high rates at a time when the sacrifice rationale for them had ceased to be compelling. This history parallels the modern experience with corporate tax shelters and has lessons for those seeking to reform the current tax system.

Campbell on Natural Rights and the First Amendment

Jud Campbell, University of Richmond School of Law, has posted Natural Rights and the First Amendment, which is forthcoming in the Yale Law Journal.
The Supreme Court often claims that the First Amendment reflects an original judgment about the proper scope of expressive freedom. After a century of academic debate, however, the meanings of speech and press freedoms at the Founding remain remarkably hazy. Many scholars, often pointing to Founding-Era sedition prosecutions, emphasize the limited scope of these rights. Others focus on the libertarian ideas that helped shape opposition to the Sedition Act of 1798. Still more claim that speech and press freedoms lacked any commonly accepted meaning. The relationship between speech and press freedoms is contested, too. Most scholars view these freedoms as equivalent, together enshrining a freedom of expression. But others assert that the freedom of speech, unlike press freedom, emerged from the legislative privilege of speech and debate, thus providing more robust protection for political speech.

This Article argues that Founding-Era elites shared understandings of speech and press freedoms, as concepts, even when they divided over how to apply those concepts. In particular, their approach to expressive freedom was grounded in a multifaceted understanding of natural rights that no longer survives in American constitutional thought. Speech and press freedoms referred, in part, to natural rights that were expansive in scope but weak in their legal effect, allowing for restrictions of expression to promote the public good. In this respect, speech and press freedoms were equivalent concepts with highly contestable implications that depended on calculations of the public good. But expressive freedom connoted more determinate legal protections as well. The liberty of the press, for instance, often referred specifically to the rule against press licensing, while the freedom of speaking, writing, and publishing ensured that well-intentioned statements of one’s views were immune from governmental regulation. In this respect, speech and press freedoms carried distinct meanings. Much of our modern confusion stems from how the Founders—immersed in their own constitutional language—silently shifted between these complementary frames of reference.

This framework significantly reorients our understanding of the history of speech and press freedoms by recognizing the multifaceted meanings of these concepts, and it raises challenging questions about how we might use that history today. Various interpretive theories—including ones described as “originalist”—might incorporate this history in diverse ways, with potentially dramatic implications for a host of First Amendment controversies. Most fundamentally, however, history undercuts the Supreme Court’s recent insistence that the axioms of modern doctrine inhere in the Speech Clause itself, with judges merely discovering—not crafting—the First Amendment’s contours and boundaries.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Sunday Book Review Roundup

How should you entertain yourself this summer weekend?  Well I don't know . . . this blog can only provide so much!  But you're welcome to read these book reviews.

In Black Detroit: A People’s History of Self-Determination, now reviewed in the Washington Post, Herb Boyd “surveys the sights and sounds, personalities and events that defined Detroit as it rose to become the hub and pulse of black working-class life and later devolved to a struggling post-industrial ghost town.”

In the New York Times, you can read Travis Mallon’s review of William Stahr’s Stanton: Lincoln’s War Secretary. Mallon notes that “Stahr issues appropriate scoldings” regarding Stahr’s wartime civil liberties policies, but stays “aware of the overwhelming circumstances.”

In the NYRB, Michael Greenberg’s Tenants Under Siege: Inside New York City’s Housing Crisis addresses Richard Rothstein’s “revelatory” The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America. “We speak nowadays with contrition of redlining," he says. "We may soon look with equal shame on what might come to be known as bluelining: the transfiguration of those same neighborhoods with a deluge of investment aimed at a wealthier class.”

Also in the NYRB, Ian Buruma writes about The Memory of Justice, the 1976 documentary film directed by Marcel Ophuls. The initial version of the film, Ophuls was forced by the producers to focus on American and French war crimes in Vietnam and Algeria. In the 2015 version, which reflects ten years of reconstruction by Martin Scorsese’s Film Foundation and Paramount, the Ophuls’ original emphasis on Nazi Germany and the Nuremburg trials is resurrected. Relatedly, the New Books Network features an interview with Michael Barnett about a new edition of his seminal text Eyewitness to a Genocide: The United Nations and Rwanda, a “careful survey of the forces that led to UN inaction in the spring and early summer of 1994,” that is “simultaneously a history, an analysis of institutional culture, and a disquisition on moral responsibility.” This is the first in the NBN’s new series on Rwanda.

Also in the NBN, an interview with Rosalind Rosenberg about Jane Crow: The Life of Pauli Murray (which is a multi-layered and rich biography of Pauli Murray, an activist, lawyer and Episcopal priest whose life intersected with the most significant civil and human rights issues of the twentieth century) and one with Joyce Salisbury about Rome’s Christian Empress: Galla Placidia Rules at the Twilight of the Empire (which covers Galla Placida’s time as regent for Valentinian, when “she dealt with the problems of barbarian invasions, rebellious commanders, and the many other challenges of an empire in decline.”).

In The Nation, Michael Kazin reviews J. M. Opal’s Avenging the People: Andrew Jackson, the Rule of Law, and the American Nation, Kazin argues that Jackson “poses—or at least ought to pose—an interpretive dilemma” for modern historians. For one camp, the one that Opal seems to inhabit, Jackson’s era was characterized by the “ruthless exponent of policies that expanded slavery and pushed Native Americans out of their homelands.” For the other, he was a “self-made man who railed against the well-born elite, he also persuaded many white farmers and wage earners—both immigrants and the native-born—that a lack of privilege should not prevent them from thriving.” The magazine also features a review of The Rise of a Prairie Statesman: The Life and Times of George McGovern by Thomas J. Knock.

The Guardian celebrates Kumari Jayawardena’s influential work Feminism and Nationalism in the Third World on the occasion of its republication. “More than three decades after it first came out, the book remains the best introduction to the history of women’s movements in Turkey, Egypt, Iran, India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, the Philippines, China, Vietnam, Korea and Japan. It takes us into the lives and ideas of a host of women and men who sought reform and revolutionary transformation.”

The Guardian also includes a review of Robert Winder’s The Last Wolf: The Hidden Springs of Englishness, a “patchwork of history” on “the conundrum of Englishness,” and Jared Rubin’s Rulers, Religion and Riches: Why the West Got Rich and the Middle East Did Not, which takes the long view and tackles the “dramatic reversal of fortunes” between the Middle East and western Europe. (“By 1600, however, the Islamic world had fallen behind western Europe, and for centuries the Middle East has been beset by slow growth.”).

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Weekend Roundup

  • The historians' brief in the Emoluments Clause case, CREW v. Trump, is out.  Signatories are Jed Handelsman Shugerman, John Mikhail, Jack N. Rakove, Gautham Rao, and Simon Stern.
  • Update: according to a story in the Hartford Courant, with the cessation on August 25 of its use "for the purpose of a county courthouse," the land on which Litchfield's 250-year old courthouse sits will revert to "the heirs of the original six proprietors who leased the land to the county in 1803."
Weekend Roundup is a weekly feature compiled by all the Legal History bloggers.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Hiring Update: Zulfiqar to Rutgers-Camden

More good news from the hiring front: Adnan Zulfiqar has joined the faculty at Rutgers-Camden as Assistant Professor of Law. Cribbing from the Rutgers website:
Adnan Zulfiqar's scholarship centers on better understanding the theoretical and practical dynamics of legal change in domestic and global contexts. His interdisciplinary approach particularly relies on legal history, including history of the present, to uncover potential conflicts and innovations for legal reform. Zulfiqar’s primary fields of inquiry are criminal law, the laws of war (IHL) and Islamic law. In criminal law, his work explores questions on criminal codification, over-criminalization, and abuse of authority. In Islamic law, he focuses on the formulation, evolution and application of Islamic legal concepts, with particular emphasis on legal obligation in times of war and revolution.
Before joining the faculty at Rutgers, Zulfiqar was a George Sharswood Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania Law School and a Harry F. Guggenheim Fellow. He previously consulted with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the International Development Law Organization (IDLO), helping draft penal codes and commentaries for the Federal Republic of Somalia and the Republic of the Maldives. Zulfiqar also worked as an Associate in the Investigations, White Collar and Fraud Group at Hogan Lovells, LLP (Washington, D.C.) and was a Legislative Staffer for U.S. Senator Max Cleland (D-GA). He is currently a Fellow at the Truman National Security Project.
Zulfiqar received his J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School and has an M.L.S. in International Affairs (Georgetown) and M.A. in Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations (UPenn). He is currently completing his Ph.D. dissertation on collective duties in Islamic law, with a specific focus on jihad and social responsibility, at the University of Pennsylvania.
Congratulations to Adnan Zulfiqar and to Rutgers! If you have hiring updates for us to share, please feel free to email us.

CFP: Social Histories of Neoliberalism

In light of the deep connections between social history and legal history, this Call for Papers may be of interest:

Social Histories of Neoliberalism: CFP for Special Issue of the Journal of Social History

What does the history of neoliberalism look like from the bottom-up? In recent years, historians have identified the 1970s and the 1980s as the dawning of a new era in global political economy. Its contours are complex and contradictory: old modes of production have been disrupted by technological transformations, new forms of financialization, and a shifting global geography of work; state regulation of the economy has been rolled back and delegitimized; the emergence of social movements committed to new forms of freedom has been accompanied by new forms of coercion and policing. While intellectual, economic, and political historians have begun to sketch the “commanding heights” of these transformations, we know far less about the lived experience of these important developments. And while these transformations in political economy were clearly global in their implications, our narratives of these years remain largely centered on the U.S. and Western Europe.
The Journal of Social History is preparing a special issue devoted to exploring the history of neoliberalism at the grass-roots, the margins, and the periphery. “Social Histories of Neoliberalism” will feature articles revealing the lived experience of recent economic and political transformations from a variety of ignored locations around the world. We are particularly interested in articles that use empirically grounded case-studies to illuminate or challenge accounts of macro-level historical change, or that deploy or interrogate theoretical categories in innovative ways. And we are very open to transnational or comparative approaches that seek to unite the study of more than one geographic location (particularly non-Western locations). But we are deliberately leaving our terms open and our definitions broad. “Social Histories of Neoliberalism” is intended to draw together a variety of articles that would not otherwise be placed in dialogue and, in so doing, help to define and inspire new approaches to the history of these important decades.
Please send a cv and an abstract of no more than 600 words to Sam Lebovic (slebovic[at]gmu.edu) by September 1. Articles selected for inclusion in the volume will be due by March 15, 2018, and will then be sent out for peer review.

Hiring Update: Mitchell to Purdue

More hiring news: Mary X. Mitchell has joined the history department at Purdue University as an assistant professor. From the Purdue website:
Mary X. Mitchell joins Purdue as an assistant professor in the history department. She earned her PhD in history and sociology of science from the University of Pennsylvania in 2016. Before beginning her doctorate, Mitchell worked in university technology licensing, earned her JD, practiced law, and served as a judicial law clerk to the Honorable Anthony J. Scirica of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.
She is currently an Atkinson Postdoctoral Fellow in Sustainability at Cornell University.
Mitchell is broadly interested in the intersections between law, technology, and science. Her research explores the transnational legal histories of nuclear weapons and energy. She is completing a book manuscript tentatively titled, Test Cases: American Law, Nuclear Weapons, and Extraterritorial Power in the Postwar Pacific. Test Cases uses legal conflict over nuclear weapons testing to trace the contours of America’s Pacific expansion following World War II. Mitchell is concurrently beginning research for a new book about the history of liability, insurance, and compensation frameworks for nuclear reactor incidents.
She has published articles in Environmental History, the Journal of the History of Biology, and Change over Time. Her research has been supported by funders including the William Nelson Cromwell Foundation. Mitchell will be on leave during the 2017-2018 school year.
Congratulations to Mary Mitchell and to Purdue! Do you have hiring news? Feel free to email us.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Special issue: The Child at Risk

We've learned of a special issue of SOLON: Journal of Law, Crime & History 7:1 (2017) on "The Child at Risk in Modern Britain." Daniel J. R. Grey is the guest editor. Here is the line-up:


Daniel J. R. Grey, Introduction: The Child at Risk in Modern Britain, 1-15

Margaret L. Arnot, Perceptions of Parental Child Homicide in English Popular Visual Culture 1800-1850, 16-74

Kim Stevenson,
, ‘Children of a Very Tender Age Have Vicious Propensities’: Child Witness Testimonies in Cases of Sexual Abuse, 75-97

Judith Rowbotham, When to Spare the Rod? Legal Reactions and Popular Attitudes Towards the (In)Appropriate Chastisement of Children, 1850-1910, 98-125

Victoria Bates, The Child as Risk: Precocious Girls and Sexual Consent in Late Victorian Britain, 126-144

Kate Bradley, Saving the Children of Shoreditch: Lady Cynthia Colville and Needy Families in East London, c.1900-1960, 145-163
Conference Report

Rhiannon Pickin, Lives Trials and Executions, Liverpool, 24 May 2017, 164-168

Further information is available here.

Hiring Update: Lvovsky to Harvard Law

More good news from the hiring front: Anna Lvovsky has joined the faculty at Harvard Law School as an Assistant Professor of Law. Cribbing from the HLS website:
Anna Lvovsky is an Assistant Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, where she teaches American legal history, the history of policing, criminal law, and evidence. Professor Lvovsky’s scholarship focuses on the legal and cultural dimensions of policing, judicial uses of professional knowledge, and the regulation of gender, sexuality, and morality. Her recent work examines judicial deference to police expertise and the role of moral judgment in the Supreme Court’s Fourth Amendment jurisprudence.
Professor Lvovsky’s book project, Queer Expertise: Urban Policing and the Discovery of the Gay World, 1920-1970, under contract with the University of Chicago Press, examines how the police drew on a combination of scientific expertise and lay stereotype about homosexuality to shape the legal status of gay men in the United States. As a dissertation, the project received the 2016 Julien Mezey Dissertation Award from the Association for the Study of Law, Culture, and the Humanities.
Prior to joining HLS, Professor Lvovsky was an Academic Fellow at Columbia Law School. She clerked for Judge Michael Boudin of the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and for Judge Gerard E. Lynch of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Professor Lvovsky graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School, where she was articles co-chair of the Harvard Law Review and the recipient of the LGBTQ Writing Prize, and received her Ph.D. in the History of American Civilization from Harvard University. She earned a B.A. summa cum laude from Yale College.
Congratulations to Anna Lvovsky and to Harvard Law! Do you have other hiring news for us to pass along? Feel free to email us.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Franklin Research Grants

[We have the following, updated information on the Franklin Research Grant program of the American Philosophical Society.]

Scope: This program of small grants to scholars is intended to support the cost of research leading to publication in all areas of knowledge. The Franklin program is particularly designed to help meet the cost of travel to libraries and archives for research purposes; the purchase of microfilm, photocopies or equivalent research materials; the costs associated with fieldwork; or laboratory research expenses.

Eligibility: Applicants are expected to have a doctorate or to have published work of doctoral character and quality. Ph.D. candidates are not eligible to apply, but the Society is especially interested in supporting the work of young scholars who have recently received the doctorate.

Award: From $1,000 to $6,000.

Deadlines: October 2, 2017, and December 1, 2017; notification in January 2018 and March 2018.
American Philosophical Society

Augustine-Adam on Mexico's Chinese Labor Law Cases

Kif Augustine-Adams, Brigham Young University J. Reuben Clark Law School, has posted, in Spanish, By a Single Vote: Quong Fat and Chinese Amparo Cases before the Mexican Supreme Court, 1917 to 1932.  Here is the English abstract:
In 1919, Quong Fat and eighteen other plaintiffs of Chinese extraction sought amparo, judicial relief, in Mexico’s federal court system against the fines and imprisonment they suffered for failing to comply with Sonora’s Labor Law. Sonora’s new law required all businesses to employ at least 80% Mexicans. The decision that the Supreme Court of Mexico rendered in the case is one of the first in a series of petitions that Chinese brought before the Supreme Court of Mexico in the 15-year period from 1917, when Mexico inaugurated a new Constitution after the bitter fratricide of revolution, to 1932, when Sonora violently expelled Chinese from the state. This project focuses specifically on amparo petitions brought by Chinese living in Sonora because that state explicitly enacted into law the significant social discrimination that Chinese faced throughout Mexico, as they did around the world, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Application of Sonora’s laws by municipal presidents, police, state court judges, civil registrars and other government officials imposed significant discrimination on Chinese. Even where Sonoran legislation was racially neutral on its face, as was the 1919 Labor Law, the discriminatory impact of Sonora’s laws fell heavily on the Chinese population.

Moreover, Sonora’s discrimination against Chinese provides a particularly compelling context for understanding the multifaceted tensions between federal and state power and among the three branches of government. Mexico’s Supreme Court and federal judiciary played a particular role in moving post-revolutionary Mexico from violence towards law as its organizing principle.

This study first presents a detailed analysis of the political and legal context that led Quong Fat’s case to the Supreme Court. An analysis of the Supreme Court’s reasoning follows, considering the process by which the Supreme Court found no violations of the new Constitution under either Article 4’s right to work or Article 21´s allocation of judicial and administrative authority. The Supreme Court revoked the lower court’s grant of amparo against fines and imprisonment but upheld amparo for the forced closures of Chinese businesses. Ten other cases follow, cases in which the Supreme Court considered enforcement against Chinese of Sonora’s 1919 Labor Law and its 1931 amendment. The Court decided all of these cases on procedural grounds rather than on the merits. In conclusion, the study observes themes to be drawn from the cases including the substantive meaning of Articles 4 and 21, the development of Supreme Court procedure and jurisprudence, the value of lawyers, and the shifting and often volatile relationship between the federal judiciary, federal executive, and state authority in post-revolutionary Sonora.

Hiring Update: Farbman to Boston College

Here's some news from the hiring front: Daniel Farbman has just joined the faculty at Boston College as an Assistant Professor of Law. Cribbing from the BC website:
[Farbman] teaches and writes in the areas of local government law, legal history, constitutional law, the legal profession, civil rights, and property. His work focuses on the legal history of radical reform movements in public law both from an institutional perspective and from the perspective of the practice of cause lawyering.
After he graduated from Amherst College in 2001, Dan spent a few years in New York City trying (and failing) to make it as a professional actor before he enrolled at Harvard Law School. After graduating in 2007, he was a clerk for Judge Margaret Morrow on the Central District of California in Los Angeles before beginning a Skadden Fellowship at Advancement Project in Washington, D.C. At Advancement Project he worked with community organizers around the country on grassroots efforts to fight racial injustice in public education with a particular focus on the school to prison pipeline.
After leaving practice, Dan pursued a PhD in American Studies at Harvard. For three years prior to joining Boston College, he was a Climenko Fellow and Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School. While at Harvard, Dan taught Legal Research and Writing and a seminar on Legal Realism.
Congratulations to Daniel Farbman and to BC Law! Other hiring news? Please let us know!

Ranney on Wisconsin and the Shaping of American Law

New from the University of Wisconsin Press: Wisconsin and the Shaping of American Law, by Joseph A. Ranney (Marquette University Law School). A description from the Press:
State laws affect nearly every aspect of our daily lives—our safety, personal relationships, and business dealings—but receive less scholarly attention than federal laws and courts. Joseph A. Ranney looks at how state laws have evolved and shaped American history, through the lens of the historically influential state of Wisconsin.

Organized around periods of social need and turmoil, the book considers the role of states as legal laboratories in establishing American authority west of the Appalachians, in both implementing and limiting Jacksonian reforms and in navigating legal crises before and during the Civil War—including Wisconsin's invocation of sovereignty to defy federal fugitive slave laws. Ranney also surveys judicial revolts, the reforms of the Progressive era, and legislative responses to struggles for civil rights by immigrants, women, Native Americans, and minorities in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Since the 1960s, battles have been fought at the state level over such issues as school vouchers, voting, and abortion rights.
More information is available here.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Bamzai on Deference to Executive Statutory Interpretation in Marbury

CJ John Marshall (LC)
Aditya Bamzai, University of Virginia Law, has posted Marbury v. Madison and the Concept of Judicial Deference, which appeared in the Missouri Law Review 1057 81 (2016): 1057-1073:
This paper, prepared for a symposium on administrative law hosted by the University of Missouri School of Law, analyzes the relationship between Chief Justice Marshall's opinion in Marbury v. Madison and the concept of judicial deference to executive statutory interpretation.
H/t: Legal Theory Blog

Vanderbilt launches legal history undergraduate major

More legal history news from Vanderbilt: the History Department is launching a new undergraduate major in legal history, titled "Law, History, and Society." The program takes advantage of the department's strong cohort of legal historians. Details are available here.

Brennan on Compulsory Licensing of IP

David J. Brennan, Swinburne Law School, has posted The First Compulsory Licensing of Patents and Copyright, which is forthcoming in Legal History 17 (2017): 1-45:
This article explains how compulsory licensing for intellectual property originated in British law in the 19th Century and the early part of the 20th Century for both patents and copyright. It is a history that is intricate, straddling the two regimes that comprise the main pillars of intellectual property, and requires consideration of contemporaneous developments occurring in the USA, North American colonies and Continental Europe. Through its exposition and analysis of the first five distinct compulsory licensing regimes, some concluding observations are made about the triggers for the first compulsory licences and the conditions that might help predict the desirability of compulsory licensing as a matter of modern public policy in any given setting.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Vanderbilt Legal History Colloquium, 2017-18

Last year the Vanderbilt History Department began a legal history speaker series/colloquium, sponsored by the Vanderbilt College of Arts and Science and directed by Professor Thomas A. J. McGinn. Here's the lineup for this coming academic year:
September 18
Barbara Welke (University of Minnesota)
"Finding Their Way to the Law”
October 9
Juandrea Bates (Winona State University)
"'Privileges Reserved for a True Family:' Legal Constructions of Family and the
Restriction of Citizenship Rights in the Early Argentine Republic"

November 6
Indira Gesink (Baldwin Wallace University)
"The Complex Sex: Intersexuality in Pre-modern Islamic Legal Texts"
November 13
Donald Davis (University of Texas at Austin)
"The Evolution of the Legal Subject in Classical Hindu Law"

January 29
Paul Halliday (University of Virginia)
Title TBD
February 12
Susannah Burghartz (University of Basel)
Title TBD
 

March 12
Adam Goodman ( Assistant Professor of History & Latin American and Latino Studies, University of Illinois at Chicago )
"Fighting the Deportation Machine: Immigrant Activism in the Streets and in the Courts, 1970-1985" 

March 19
Pascal Pichonnaz (Université de Fribourg)
"Limitation of recoverable losses: From Damages circa rem to foreseeability of damages: some aspects of an evolution”
 

April 9
Sam Erman (University of Southern California, Gould School of Law)
"The Reconstruction Constitution in the Age of Empire"

Peppers and Anderson on Marie Deans and Her Struggle Against the Death Penalty

New from Vanderbilt University Press: A Courageous Fool: Marie Deans and Her Struggle against the Death Penalty, by Todd C. Peppers (Roanoke College) and Margaret A. Anderson (University of Virginia). A description from the Press:
There have been many heroes and victims in the battle to abolish the death penalty, and Marie Deans fits into both of those categories. A South Carolina native who yearned to be a fiction writer, Marie was thrust by a combination of circumstances―including the murder of her beloved mother-in-law―into a world much stranger than fiction, a world in which minorities and the poor were selected to be sacrificed to what Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun called the "machinery of death."
Marie found herself fighting to bring justice to the legal process and to bring humanity not only to prisoners on death row but to the guards and wardens as well. During Marie's time as a death penalty opponent in South Carolina and Virginia, she experienced the highs of helping exonerate the innocent and the lows of standing death watch in the death house with thirty-four condemned men.
More information is available here.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Sunday Book Review Roundup


Edward Balleisen's Fraud: An American History From Barnum to Madoff is reviewed in The Atlantic.

The Guardian carries a review of David Grann's Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI.  Also at The Guardian is a review of Rulers, Religion and Riches: Why the West Got Rich and the Middle East Did Not by Jared Rubin.

A number of outlets have reviewed Svetlana Alexievich's The Unwomanly Face of War: An Oral History of Women in World War II.  Reviews can be viewed at the The New York Times, the New Statesman, and The Washington Post.

Also in The Washington Post is a review of Paul Butler's Chokehold: Policing Black Men. Additionally, Eric Kurlander's Hitler’s Monsters: A Supernatural History of the Third Reich is also reviewed in the publication.

In The New York Review of Books, Annette Gordon-Reed reviews Geoffrey Stone's Sex and the Constitution: Sex, Religion, and Law from America's Origins to the Twenty-First Century.

At H-Net is a review of Karlos Hill's Beyond the Rope: The Impact of Lynching on Black Culture and Memory.

NPR reviews The Portable Nineteenth-Century African American Women Writers, edited by Henry Louis Gates and Hollis Robbins. 

There are plenty of new interviews up at at the New Books Network.  Eric Ask speaks about his The Draining of the Fens: Projectors, Popular Politics, and State Building in Early Modern England. Also interviewed is Bradley Camp Davis about his Imperial Bandits: Outlaws and Rebels in the China-Vietnam Borderlands.  Finally, Naoke Wake answers questions about her Private Practices: Harry Stack Sullivan, the Science of Homosexuality, and American Liberalism.

At the New Republic is a review of Chin Jou's Supersizing Urban America: How Inner Cities Got Fast Food With Government Help.

HNN carries a review of Nancy MacLean's much discussed Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right's Stealth Plan for America.

History Today reviews The Codex of Justinian: A New Annotated Translation with Parallel Latin and Greek Text, translated by Fred H. Blume and edited by Bruce W. Frier.

The Los Angeles Review of Books includes a review of Michael Kazin's War Against War: The American Fight for Peace, 1914-1918..

In the London Review of Books is a review of Thomas Laquer's The Work of the Dead: A Cultural History of Mortal Remains.

At Public Books Anne Trubek's The History and Uncertain Future of Handwriting is reviewed.

Finally, at The American Prospect Richard Rothstein's The Color of Law: The Forgotten Story of How Our Government Segregated America is reviewed.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Weekend Roundup

  • The ASLH’s website has the CFP for Laws Across Codes and Laws Decoded, the ESCLH Conference to be held June 28-30, 2018, at the Ecole Normale Supérieure (Paris).  “The conference will focus on the issue of codes or alternatives to codes as instruments of transforming laws in Europe and in the world.”
  • Barry Friedman, NYU Law, on Fixing Law Reviews.  Among his suggestions: "blind submission, elimination of submitting articles to one’s own school, some form of peer review, and limiting submissions or requiring authors to accept the offer they receive."  He also has suggestions for "the editing process, which—at present—is out of control."  H/t: Legal Theory Blog.  
  • On Monday, September 11, Jeremi Suri, University of Texas, will deliver the W. R. Louis Lecture, on The Impossible Presidency: The Rise and Fall of America’s Highest Office, in the  Washington History Seminar at the Wilson Center, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC
  • On August 19, at 4:00 p.m. at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library: The New Deal: The Grandchildren Speak, with James Roosevelt, Jr., David Wallace Douglas, June Hopkins and Tomlin Perkins Coggeshall.
  •  ICYMI: Becky Little, on Bakke, on the History Channel’s “History Stories” website; Tom van der Voort, on the creation of Medicare and Medicaid on the Miller Center's website; Bill Moyers recalls JBJ's role in their passage.  Also, Scott Bomboy, of the National Constitution Center, on the Zenger trial as “a huge free press victory by the original Philadelphia lawyer.”
Weekend Roundup is a weekly feature compiled by all the Legal History bloggers.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Loeffler on a Forgotten Zionist Thinker and the Crime of Genocide

Although we often don’t note gated articles, we’re making an exception for Becoming Cleopatra: The Forgotten Zionism of Raphael Lemkin, by James Loeffler, University of Virginia, which appears in the volume 19 of the Journal of Genocide Research:
The biography of Raphael Lemkin has emerged of late as a highly contested lieu de memoire in charged political debates in Europe, the United States and the Middle East about the meaning, past and present, of the Holocaust and genocide. At the same time, scholars have attempted to demythologize Lemkin by reinscribing his life into its pre-World War II Polish context. Yet thus far no one has identified the precise political activities and affiliations that shaped Lemkin’s concept of genocide. In this article, I show that Lemkin, far from being a Jewish Bundist, a Polish nationalist or an apolitical cosmopolitan, was an active member of the interwar Polish Zionist movement, from which he drew the ideas that inspired his idea of the crime of genocide. In the first part of this article, I use his published writings from the 1920s and 1930s in Hebrew, Yiddish and Polish to recover a rich Jewish political framework in which his concepts of barbarism and genocide first began to emerge. In the second section, I ask how this crucial dimension of Lemkin’s life and thought vanished from the historical record, and why it has yet to be recovered in spite of the boom in biographical scholarship. Finally, I suggest how the recovery of Lemkin’s Zionism helps to reframe the current political impasse in the historiography of Holocaust and genocide studies.

Constitutional Convention of 1787

John R. Vile, Middle Tennessee State University, published the revised 2nd edition of the 2-volume reference work, The Constitutional Convention of 1787 with Talbot Publishing in 2016. From the press:
Now with nearly 400 new and updated entries and over 120 illustrations and maps, this revised and expanded edition of this impressive encyclopedia shows in detail the lively, contentious, four-month process that produced the United States Constitution. With fascinating detailed portraits of the Framers, we are taken behind the scenes into the fiery debates between powerful personalities and the hard-fought battles and compromises that resulted in one of the most important documents in history. Drawing on original sources and a wealth of secondary works and recent scholarship, updated entries and dozens of illuminating side boxes present a comprehensive treatment of all aspects of the Constitutional Convention. Features include: - Two chronologies: day-to-day events at the Convention and important dates leading up to it - Detailed individual profiles of the delegates and excerpts from accounts of their debates - Information that brings the events of the Convention to life such as the delegates' salaries, housing, daily schedule, how appointed, their backgrounds, their personal and legislative motivations, the mechanism of how the Convention and its committees worked - How the creation of states, their legislations, plans and constitutions all contributed to the final document - Analysis of Convention discussion of dominant historical and philosophical influences and themes and how and why they were included in the Constitution - A thorough appendix containing original documents and text of important speeches. - Suggested readings for each entry, cross-references, a topical table of contents, an up-to-date and thorough bibliography, index. These two volumes provide a complete guide to a pivotal moment in the formation of the United States -- the Constitutional Convention -- that created one of the most important documents in history, the United States Constitution.

Further information is available here.

Chesterman on Legal Education in Singapore

Simon Chesterman, National University of Singapore Faculty of Law, has posted The Fall and Rise of Legal Education in Singapore, which is forthcoming in the Singapore Journal of Legal Studies:
Prior to independence, legal education was all but non-existent in Singapore and many other colonies. This essay briefly discusses that colonial context before going on to describe how the National University of Singapore Faculty of Law came to play an important part in Singapore’s rule of law story as Singapore’s national law school, a global law school, and an Asian law school. A third section considers challenges for the future, including the impact of technology on legal practice and the changing market for legal services. These transformations require us to rethink the purpose of law school, even as they are matched by changes in the students and faculty who enter our classrooms and our offices.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Yin on the Birth of the Joint Committee on Taxation

George K. Yin, University of Virginia School of Law, has posted Codification of the Tax Law and the Emergence of the Staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation
In 1926, Congress created the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) and its staff. This article explains how, partly by design but largely by happenstance, the JCT staff helped change the nature of the legislative process. By serving at or near the intersection of three great divides in government — those between the parties, the houses of Congress, and the legislative and executive branches — the staff demonstrated the value of unelected professionals assisting directly in the formation of legislation and led Congress to rely more on its own resources in the legislative process rather than those of the executive branch. This article describes the emergence of the JCT staff from a modest conception much different from its eventual role. The staff’s work on a lengthy and highly technical project — a dozen-year effort to codify the tax statutes — contributed to the growth of its influence and the changes that would take place in the legislative process.

Josev's "Campaign against the Courts"

Tanya Josev, a Senior Lecturer in the Melbourne Law School, University of Melbourne, has published The Campaign Against the Courts: A History of the Judicial Activism Debate (Federation Press, 2017):
The term 'judicial activism' is seemingly ubiquitous in the United States and Australia States today. Prominent public figures, from politicians to cardinals, commentators to business executives, have used this terminology to condemn superior courts and certain judicial outcomes. In Australia, High Court decisions on matters such as native title, property law and the interpretation of Australian history; constitutional rights; the law of negligence; and migration law have been attacked in some quarters as being 'undemocratic' and 'activist', and as exemplifying the growing elitism of higher court judges. In the United States, decisions relating to reproductive rights; gun laws; school prayer; racial segregation and the interpretation of American history have also been criticised on this basis. Yet as the judicial activism critique is increasingly adopted by the popular media, many lawyers and judges are hesitant to engage with the terminology, seeing it as nothing more than an empty pejorative.

What is judicial activism? What are the origins of the terminology? Who has been accused of practising activism? This book provides a history of the term 'judicial activism', from its inception as a historian's catchphrase in the United States in the 1940s, to its nursery years in the universities, and finally, to its more recent manifestation in both Australia and the United States as part of election campaigns and the politics of anti-elitism. Covering diverse topics such as constitutional scholarship, the 'history wars' in Australia, and United States Presidential campaigns, The Campaign Against the Courts also charts the migration of the debate over judicial activism from the United States to Australia over the past 25 years.

For those interested in law, politics and history, The Campaign Against the Courts provides a narrative account of one of the most controversial topics in law-making today.
Some endorsements:

"In this fascinating foray in legal history, Tanya Josev traces the migration of the slippery concept of judicial activism from the post-New Deal United States to contemporary Australia … Josev astutely explains how these differences in legal culture have evolved, while also identifying a remarkable connection in the legal history of both nations. Australian and American scholars alike will benefit from her deft analysis."
Professor Jack Rakove (Stanford)

"Tanya Josev deftly traces from its American origins in 1947 the history of an idea - judicial activism - but this is no orthodox legal history. Josev also presents a gripping account of the culture and history wars of the United States, along with their Australian echoes in the age of Mabo and Wik. This is a fascinating story of political opportunism, ideological obsession, judicial careerism and, amid the tumult and the shouting, a determined quest for laws in tune with the needs of a modern society."
Professor Frank Bongiorno (Australian National University)

"A forensic exploration of the strange territory that turned conservatives in America and then Australia against the courts. Here are the elements of every great story: sex, race and power."
David Marr (Author and Guardian journalist)

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Macalister-Smith and Schwietzke on Russia and the Great War

Peter Macalister-Smith, Assistant General Editor of the Encyclopedia of Public International Law, and Joachim Schwietzke, Library Director Emeritus at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law (Heidelberg) have published Russia and the Great War 1914 to 1924: A Brief Calendar of State with Talbot Publishing. From the press:
Russia and the Great War 1914 to 1924: A Brief Calendar of State Practice is a chronicle of events in diplomacy and international relations combined with references to sources and documentary extracts. A key to several kinds of distinctive information, it: - locates 200 official acts in time and place, - names the party or parties to each act, - supplies a title in English for each instrument, - cites versions in authentic languages and translations, - refers to reliable source materials systematically, - offers notes and explanations for further guidance, - includes references to related acts and instruments, within and beyond the core reporting period, and - reproduces 75 documentary extracts of central passages from the instruments cited in English language versions. The book is a baseline chronology documenting events from global history intended for study, research and ready reference. Russia, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics are represented in Russia and the Great War as a party to over 85 transactions and as the location of some 45 forty-five acts concluded from 1914 to 1924. Russia and the Great War: A Brief Calendar of State Practice 1914 to 1924 is an interactive repertory of practice within and beyond the reporting period from 1914 to 1924.
Further information is available here

2017 Frederick Douglass Book Prize Finalists Announced

[From the website of the Yale Macmillan Center.]

The Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition at the MacMillan Center has announced the finalists for the 19th annual Frederick Douglass Book Prize, one of the most coveted awards for the study of the African American experience. Jointly sponsored by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History and the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition, this annual prize of $25,000 recognizes the best book on slavery, resistance, and/or abolition published in the preceding year.

The finalists are: Alfred L. Brophy for “University, Court, and Slave: Pro-Slavery Thought in Southern Colleges and Courts and the Coming of Civil War” (Oxford University Press); Rashauna Johnson for “Slavery’s Metropolis: Unfree Labor in New Orleans during the Age of Revolutions” (Cambridge University Press); and Manisha Sinha for “The Slave’s Cause: A History of Abolition” (Yale University Press).  [More.]

Hoyos on Kloppenberg, "Toward Democracy"

Over at JOTWELL, Roman Hoyos (Southwestern Law School) has posted an admiring review of James T. Kloppenberg, Toward Democracy: The Struggle for Self-Rule in European and American Thought (2016). Here's a taste:
These are interesting times to be an historian of democracy. Historians are beginning to explore the myriad ways that people outside of and even within political officialdom have pressed their claims for recognition, respect, and inclusion in politics, governance, and society. This work is steadily reshaping our understanding of the historical relationships between law, democracy, and the state. At the same time, we have witnessed recently the emergence of a politics that appears to many to have up-ended many of our ideas and practices of democracy. Political ethics of virulent self-aggrandizement, relentless short-term thinking, and total retaliation, in particular, are increasingly prominent. In this moment of heightened attention the question persists: what is democracy?
Too often we reduce democracy to principles like majoritarianism, egalitarianism, or to institutions like voting and elections. In Toward Democracy, James Kloppenberg refuses to be cabined by reductionist or essentialist conceptions of democracy. Instead, his focus is on how Western thinkers developed an ethical (as opposed to an institutional) framework for democracy, a set of “principles” and “premises” which, he claims, grew out of Christianity. These ethics form a dissonant political harmony that makes democracy a fragile political experiment, containing both the highest aspirations of humanity and the seeds for their betrayal.
Read on here.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Bernstein Revisits Berger's "Impeachment"

Over at the website of Studies in Legal History, the website of the ASLH’s book series, R. B. Bernstein, City College of New York, revisits one of the series’ first volumes, Raoul Berger’s Impeachment: The Constitutional Problems (1973), in light of current events.  A taste:
In today’s atmosphere of constitutional sturm und drang, many are revisiting the 1972-1974 Watergate crisis, which forced President Richard M. Nixon to resign. The Studies in Legal History series played a supporting role in that crisis by publishing Raoul Berger’s Impeachment: The Constitutional Problems (1973). Impeachment made Berger a major figure in the impeachment debates. His stature as a leading constitutional scholar and a progenitor of originalist jurisprudence was evident then, and only grew over time.
More

Burset on Commercial Arbitration at the Sufferance of the State

Christian R. Burset, Samuel I. Golieb Fellow in Legal History, New York University School of Law, and ABD, Yale University Department of History, has posted The Rise of Modern Commercial Arbitration and the Limits of Private Ordering:
Debates about arbitration often assume that it is or can be a purely private way to resolve disputes. This paper challenges that assumption by offering a new account of how and why truly extralegal commercial arbitration declined during the eighteenth century. It argues that the rise of the modern credit economy altered the possibilities of private ordering. Until the middle of the eighteenth century, merchants could generally resolve their disputes without courts or lawyers. But that changed as new forms of lending arose, credit transactions became more impersonal, and disputes became more focused on short-term victory than long-term relationships. As a result, merchants sought more formal ways to settle their differences, and even “private” arbitration came to depend on state law. The law’s heightened importance, in turn, enhanced the state’s control over merchants. This historical account has two implications for our understanding of arbitration today. First, it suggests that a great deal of contemporary private ordering necessarily exists at the sufferance of the state. Second, it casts doubt on recent attempts to distinguish “private” arbitration from “public” litigation by questioning whether commercial arbitration in a modern economy can be truly private.

A Collection on Extrajudicial Conflict Resolution in Antiquity

[We have the following announcement of Global Perspectives on Legal History 9, from the Max Planck Institute for European Legal History.]

With Außergerichtliche Koniktlösung in der Antike. Beispiele aus drei Jahrtausenden (Extrajudicial Conflict Resolution in Antiquity: Examples from Three Millennia), edited by Guido Pfeifer and Nadine Grotkamp, the Max Planck Institute for European Legal History presents the newest publication in its book series "Global Perspectives on Legal History."  Open Access Online EditionPrint-on-demand.

Antiquity is often utilized as a reference to provide a historical dimension for contemporary phenomena. This also holds true for the prevailing scientific discourse on alternative or adequate remedies of dispute resolution. In this context, historical perspectives seem to be in vogue as narratives to legitimize one or another role model, whereas studies on practical examples from ancient legal orders tend not to be given serious consideration in the current debate.  Just as in the case of contemporary legal research, ancient legal history also distinguishes litigation at court from other mechanisms of conflict resolution. Nevertheless, where do the boundaries of judicial and extra-judicial mechanisms of dispute resolution lie within the framework of ancient societies? Are they alternatives in a narrower sense? Is there evidence for concerning the reason there was no (or at least no exclusive) judicial decision? This volume offers a selection of studies of pertinent illustrative material pertaining to these questions. While the relevant sources stemming from the prehistorical period, the Ancient Near East, Hellenistic Egypt and Classical Roman law may vary greatly, this just serves to widen our perspective on ancient times.

Heidi Peter-Röcher focuses on strategies of conflict resolution in prehistoric times corresponding to different forms of violence. Hans Neumann, Susanne Paulus, Lena Fijakowska and Alessandro Hirata delve into case studies situated in the Ancient Near East from Sumerian to Neo-Babylonian times. Three other contributions examine Graeco-Roman Antiquity: Marc Depauw considers non-Greek, i.e., demotic, material from a Hellenistic kingdom, Anna Seelentag embraces the phenomenon of public clamour in the Roman Republic, and Christine Lehne-Gstreinthaler provides a fresh look at the classical arbitration from the perspective of ancient legal history.

Global Perspectives on Legal History is a book series edited and published by the Max Planck Institute for European Legal History, Frankfurt am Main, Germany.  As its title suggests, the series is designed to advance the scholarly research of legal historians worldwide who seek to transcend the established boundaries of national legal scholarship that typically sets the focus on a single, dominant modus of normativity and law. The series aims to privilege studies dedicated to reconstructing the historical evolution of normativity from a global perspective.  It includes monographs, editions of sources, and collaborative works. All titles in the series are available both as premium print-on-demand and in the open-access format.

More information on the series and forthcoming volumes [here].

Guido Pfeifer, Nadine Grotkamp (eds.)
Außergerichtliche Koniktlösung in der Antike
Beispiele aus drei Jahrtausenden
Global Perspectives on Legal History 9
Frankfurt am Main: Max Planck Institute for European Legal History 2017. 182 p., € 10,37 D
ISBN: 978-3-944773-08-7

Monday, July 31, 2017

Swanson Reviews Three Patent Histories

Kara W. Swanson, Northeastern University School of Law, has posted "Great Men," Law, and the Social Construction of Technology, a review essay forthcoming in Law and Social Inquiry:
Alexander Graham Bell is famous as the inventor of the telephone. Is his fame owing to law and lawyers? Two recent histories argue that some popular tales of invention originated with lawyers and judges as part of patent litigation battles. (Stathis Arapostathis and Graeme Gooday, Patently Contestable: Electrical Technologies and Inventor Identities on Trial in Britain (2013); Christopher Beauchamp, Invented by Law: Alexander Graham Bell and the Patent that Changed America (2015)). Bringing law into the historical project of understanding the social construction of technology, the authors unsettle great man narratives of invention. A tale of a recent patent war, however, is a case study in the persistence of such narratives, highlighting the uses of legal storytelling. (Ronald K. Fierstein, A Triumph of Genius: Edwin Land, Polaroid, and the Kodak Patent War (2015)). Together, these works invite consideration of the cultural power possessed by invention origin stories, the role of narratives in law and history, and the judicial performance of truth-finding in Anglo-American law.

Dowling on Elbridge T. Gerry

Shelley L. Dowling, retired Librarian of the Court, US Supreme Court, has published Elbridge Thomas Gerry: An Exceptional Life in Gilded Gotham with Talbot Publishing. The book won the American Association of Law Libraries’ 2017 Joseph L. Andrews Legal Literature Award. From the press:
Elbridge T. Gerry (1837-1927) was a prominent and influential Gilded Age New York trial lawyer, philanthropist and bibliophile whose 30,000 volume library became the foundation of the United States Supreme Court Library. Grandson of Founding Father Elbridge Gerry, who signed the Declaration of Independence, Dowling's extensively illustrated biography of Gerry highlights the influence of his family and its links to other prominent New York families, the Gallatins, Goelets and Livingstons. This biography of Gerry is also the story of Gilded Age New York, when the glamorous society balls that provided entertainment to wealthy New York families such as the Astors and Vanderbilts belied their philanthropic contributions in the Progressive era. Gerry built the first steam yacht, the Electra, which became the flagship of the New York Yacht Club while he also sat on hospital boards and founded the New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children which still operates today. As Dowling shows, Gerry's brilliance and passion was at the heart of it all.

Further information about the book is available here.