Judging Under Uncertainty

An Institutional Theory of Legal Interpretation

Author: Adrian Vermeule

Publisher: Harvard University Press

ISBN: 9780674022102

Category: Law

Page: 333

View: 8801

In this book, Adrian Vermeule shows that any approach to legal interpretation rests on institutional and empirical premises about the capacities of judges and the systemic effects of their rulings. He argues that legal interpretation is above all an exercise in decisionmaking under severe empirical uncertainty. In view of their limited information and competence, judges should adopt a restrictive, unambitious set of tools for interpreting statutory and constitutional provisions.
Posted in Law

Law and the Limits of Reason

Author: Adrian Vermeule

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0199914095

Category: Law

Page: 220

View: 5021

Law and the Limits of Reason asks "what are the consequences of recognizing the limits of reason within the legal system?" In particular, what are the consequences for the allocation of lawmaking authority among judges, legislators, and administrative agencies or executive officials? Vermeule examines the conditions under which the limits of reason support a greater or lesser allocation of authority to one institution or another.
Posted in Law

Mechanisms of Democracy

Institutional Design Writ Small

Author: Adrian Vermeule

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 9780199745098

Category: Political Science

Page: 272

View: 7035

What institutional arrangements should a well-functioning constitutional democracy have? Most of the relevant literatures in law, political science, political theory, and economics address this question by discussing institutional design writ large. In this book, Adrian Vermeule moves beyond these debates, changing the focus to institutional design writ small. In established constitutional polities, Vermeule argues that law can and should - and to some extent already does - provide mechanisms of democracy: a repertoire of small-scale institutional devices and innovations that can have surprisingly large effects, promoting democratic values of impartial, accountable and deliberative government. Examples include legal rules that promote impartiality by depriving officials of the information they need to act in self-interested ways; voting rules that create the right kind and amount of accountability for political officials and judges; and legislative rules that structure deliberation, in part by adjusting the conditions under which deliberation occurs transparently or instead secretly. Drawing upon a range of social science tools from economics, political science, and other disciplines, Vermeule carefully describes the mechanisms of democracy and indicates the conditions under which they can succeed.
Posted in Political Science

The Constitution of Risk

Author: Adrian Vermeule

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 1107043727

Category: Law

Page: 210

View: 5678

The Constitution of Risk is the first book to combine constitutional theory with the theory of risk regulation. The book argues that constitutional rulemaking is best understood as a means of managing political risks. Constitutional law structures and regulates the risks that arise in and from political life, such as an executive coup or military putsch, political abuse of ideological or ethnic minorities, or corrupt self-dealing by officials. The book claims that the best way to manage political risks is an approach it calls "optimizing constitutionalism" - in contrast to the worst-case thinking that underpins "precautionary constitutionalism," a mainstay of liberal constitutional theory. Drawing on a broad range of disciplines such as decision theory, game theory, welfare economics, political science, and psychology, this book advocates constitutional rulemaking undertaken in a spirit of welfare maximization, and offers a corrective to the pervasive and frequently irrational attitude of distrust of official power that is so prominent in American constitutional history and discourse.
Posted in Law

The System of the Constitution

Author: Adrian Vermeule

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0190208007

Category: Political Science

Page: 232

View: 8481

A constitutional order is a system of systems. It is an aggregate of interacting institutions, which are themselves aggregates of interacting individuals. In The System of the Constitution, Adrian Vermeule analyzes constitutionalism through the lens of systems theory, originally developed in biology, computer science, political science and other disciplines. Systems theory illuminates both the structural constitution and constitutional judging, and reveals that standard views and claims about constitutional theory commit fallacies of aggregation and are thus invalid. By contrast, Vermeule explains and illustrates an approach to constitutionalism that considers the systemic interactions of legal and political institutions and of the individuals who act within them.
Posted in Political Science

Purposive Interpretation in Law

Author: Aharon Barak

Publisher: Princeton University Press

ISBN: 1400841267

Category: Law

Page: 448

View: 9538

This book presents a comprehensive theory of legal interpretation, by a leading judge and legal theorist. Currently, legal philosophers and jurists apply different theories of interpretation to constitutions, statutes, rules, wills, and contracts. Aharon Barak argues that an alternative approach--purposive interpretation--allows jurists and scholars to approach all legal texts in a similar manner while remaining sensitive to the important differences. Moreover, regardless of whether purposive interpretation amounts to a unifying theory, it would still be superior to other methods of interpretation in tackling each kind of text separately. Barak explains purposive interpretation as follows: All legal interpretation must start by establishing a range of semantic meanings for a given text, from which the legal meaning is then drawn. In purposive interpretation, the text's "purpose" is the criterion for establishing which of the semantic meanings yields the legal meaning. Establishing the ultimate purpose--and thus the legal meaning--depends on the relationship between the subjective and objective purposes; that is, between the original intent of the text's author and the intent of a reasonable author and of the legal system at the time of interpretation. This is easy to establish when the subjective and objective purposes coincide. But when they don't, the relative weight given to each purpose depends on the nature of the text. For example, subjective purpose is given substantial weight in interpreting a will; objective purpose, in interpreting a constitution. Barak develops this theory with masterful scholarship and close attention to its practical application. Throughout, he contrasts his approach with that of textualists and neotextualists such as Antonin Scalia, pragmatists such as Richard Posner, and legal philosophers such as Ronald Dworkin. This book represents a profoundly important contribution to legal scholarship and a major alternative to interpretive approaches advanced by other leading figures in the judicial world.
Posted in Law

How Judges Think

Author: Richard A. Posner

Publisher: Harvard University Press

ISBN: 0674504070

Category: Law

Page: 397

View: 7850

A distinguished and experienced appellate court judge, Posner offers in this new book a unique and, to orthodox legal thinkers, a startling perspective on how judges and justices decide cases.
Posted in Law

Law’s Abnegation

Author: Adrian Vermeule

Publisher: Harvard University Press

ISBN: 0674974719

Category: Law

Page: 208

View: 754

Adrian Vermeule argues that the arc of law has bent steadily toward deference to the administrative state, which has greater democratic legitimacy and technical competence to confront issues such as climate change, terrorism, and biotechnology. The state did not shove lawyers and judges out of the way; they moved freely to the margins of power.
Posted in Law

Judging Social Rights

Author: Jeff King

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 1107378265

Category: Law

Page: N.A

View: 4709

Countries that now contemplate constitutional reform often grapple with the question of whether to constitutionalise social rights. This book presents an argument for why, under the right conditions, doing so can be a good way to advance social justice. In making such a case, the author considers the nature of the social minimum, the role of courts among other institutions, the empirical record of judicial impact, and the role of constitutional text. He argues, however, that when enforcing such rights, judges ought to adopt a theory of judicial restraint structured around four principles: democratic legitimacy, polycentricity, expertise and flexibility. These four principles, when taken collectively, commend an incrementalist approach to adjudication. The book combines theoretical, doctrinal, empirical and comparative analysis, and is written to be accessible to lawyers, social scientists, political theorists and human rights advocates.
Posted in Law

Interpretation in International Law

Author: Andrea Bianchi,Daniel Peat,Matthew Windsor

Publisher: OUP Oxford

ISBN: 0191038709

Category: Law

Page: 380

View: 9973

International lawyers have long recognised the importance of interpretation to their academic discipline and professional practice. As new insights on interpretation abound in other fields, international law and international lawyers have largely remained wedded to a rule-based approach, focusing almost exclusively on the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties. Such an approach neglects interpretation as a distinct and broader field of theoretical inquiry. Interpretation in International Law brings international legal scholars together to engage in sustained reflection on the theme of interpretation. The book is creatively structured around the metaphor of the game, which captures and illuminates the constituent elements of an act of interpretation. The object of the game of interpretation is to persuade the audience that one's interpretation of the law is correct. The rules of play are known and complied with by the players, even though much is left to their skills and strategies. There is also a meta-discourse about the game of interpretation - 'playing the game of game-playing' - which involves consideration of the nature of the game, its underlying stakes, and who gets to decide by what rules one should play. Through a series of diverse contributions, Interpretation in International Law reveals interpretation as an inescapable feature of all areas of international law. It will be of interest and utility to all international lawyers whose work touches upon theoretical or practical aspects of interpretation.
Posted in Law

Imperial from the Beginning

The Constitution of the Original Executive

Author: Saikrishna Bangalore Prakash

Publisher: Yale University Press

ISBN: 0300194560

Category: Law

Page: 464

View: 4388

Eminent scholar Saikrishna Prakash offers the first truly comprehensive study of the original American presidency. Drawing from a vast range of sources both well known and obscure, this volume reconstructs the powers and duties of the nation s chief executive at the Constitution s founding. Among other subjects, Prakash examines the term and structure of the office of the president, as well as the president s power as constitutional executor of the law, authority in foreign policy, role as commander in chief, level of control during emergencies, and relationship with the Congress, the courts, and the states. This ambitious and even-handed analysis counters numerous misconceptions about the presidency and fairly demonstrates that the office was seen as monarchical from its inception."
Posted in Law

Judging Statutes

Author: Robert A. Katzmann

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0199362157

Category: Law

Page: 256

View: 6260

In an ideal world, the laws of Congress--known as federal statutes--would always be clearly worded and easily understood by the judges tasked with interpreting them. But many laws feature ambiguous or even contradictory wording. How, then, should judges divine their meaning? Should they stick only to the text? To what degree, if any, should they consult aids beyond the statutes themselves? Are the purposes of lawmakers in writing law relevant? Some judges, such as Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, believe courts should look to the language of the statute and virtually nothing else. Chief Judge Robert A. Katzmann of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit respectfully disagrees. In Judging Statutes, Katzmann, who is a trained political scientist as well as a judge, argues that our constitutional system charges Congress with enacting laws; therefore, how Congress makes its purposes known through both the laws themselves and reliable accompanying materials should be respected. He looks at how the American government works, including how laws come to be and how various agencies construe legislation. He then explains the judicial process of interpreting and applying these laws through the demonstration of two interpretative approaches, purposivism (focusing on the purpose of a law) and textualism (focusing solely on the text of the written law). Katzmann draws from his experience to show how this process plays out in the real world, and concludes with some suggestions to promote understanding between the courts and Congress. When courts interpret the laws of Congress, they should be mindful of how Congress actually functions, how lawmakers signal the meaning of statutes, and what those legislators expect of courts construing their laws. The legislative record behind a law is in truth part of its foundation, and therefore merits consideration.
Posted in Law

Terror in the Balance

Security, Liberty, and the Courts

Author: Eric A. Posner,Adrian Vermeule

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0190294981

Category: Law

Page: 328

View: 1953

In Terror in the Balance, Posner and Vermeule take on civil libertarians of both the left and the right, arguing that the government should be given wide latitude to adjust policy and liberties in the times of emergency. They emphasize the virtues of unilateral executive actions and argue for making extensive powers available to the executive as warranted. The judiciary should neither second-guess security policy nor interfere on constitutional grounds. In order to protect citizens, government can and should use any legal instrument that is warranted under ordinary cost-benefit analysis. The value gained from the increase in security will exceed the losses from the decrease in liberty. At a time when the 'struggle against violent extremism' dominates the United States' agenda, this important and controversial work will spark discussion in the classroom and intellectual press alike.
Posted in Law

The Partial Constitution

Author: Cass R. Sunstein

Publisher: Harvard University Press

ISBN: 9780674654792

Category: Law

Page: 414

View: 5520

American constitutional law is at a crossroads. In a major new interpretation of the Constitution, Cass Sunstein offers a clear account of our present dilemmas and shows where we might go from here. As it is currently interpreted, the Constitution is partial, Sunstein asserts. It is, first of all, biased. Contemporary constitutional law treats the status quo as neutral and just, and any departure as necessarily partisan. But when the status quo is neither neutral nor just, Sunstein argues, reasoning of this sort produces injustice. The Constitution is also partial in another sense: its meaning has come to be identified solely with the decisions of the Supreme Court. This was not always the case, as Sunstein demonstrates; nor was it the intention of the country's founders. Instead, the Constitution often served as a catalyst for public deliberation about its general terms and aspirations--and Sunstein makes a strong case for reviving this broader understanding of the Constitution's role. In light of this analysis, Sunstein proposes solutions to some of the most hotly disputed issues of our time, including affirmative action, sex discrimination, pornography, "hate speech," and government funding of religious schools and the arts. In an especially striking argument, he claims that theequal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment--not the right to privacy--protects a woman's right to choose abortion. Sunstein connects these and other debates to the Constitution's historic commitment to public deliberation among political equalsand in doing so, he reconceives many of our most basic constitutional rights, such as free speech and equality under law. He urges that public deliberation about the meaning of the Constitution in turn be freed from a principle of neutrality based on the status quo. His work points to a historically sound but fundamentally new understanding of the American constitutional process as an exercise in deliberative democracy.
Posted in Law

The Language of Law

Author: Andrei Marmor

Publisher: OUP Oxford

ISBN: 0191023957

Category: Law

Page: 200

View: 8657

The close connection between philosophy of language and philosophy of law has been recognized for decades through the work of many influential legal philosophers. This volume brings recent advances in philosophy of language to bear on contemporary debates about the nature of law and legal interpretation. The book builds on recent work in pragmatics and speech-act theory to explain how, and to what extent, legal content is determined by linguistic considerations. At the same time, the analysis shows that some of the unique features of communication in the legal domain - in particular, its strategic nature - can be employed to put pressure on certain assumptions in philosophy of language. This enables a more nuanced picture of how semantic and pragmatic determinants of communication work in complex and large-scale systems such as law. Chapters build on explanations of key elements of statutory language, such as the distinction between what is said and what is implicated, the possibility of ascribing truth-values to legal prescriptions and the structure of legal inferences, the various forms of vagueness in the law, the distinctions between vagueness, ambiguity, and polysemy in legal language, and the distinction between concept and conceptions, mostly in the context of constitutional interpretation. The book demonstrates that paying close attention to the kind of speech acts legal directives are, and how they determine the content of the law, enables a better understanding of the boundaries between normative and linguistic determinants of legal content.
Posted in Law

Vagueness and Law

Philosophical and Legal Perspectives

Author: Geert Keil,Ralf Poscher

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0191085707

Category: Law

Page: 350

View: 4078

Vague expressions are omnipresent in natural language. As such, their use in legal texts is virtually inevitable. If a law contains vague terms, the question whether it applies to a particular case often lacks a clear answer. One of the fundamental pillars of the rule of law is legal certainty. The determinacy of the law enables people to use it as a guide and places judges in the position to decide impartially. Vagueness poses a threat to these ideals. In borderline cases, the law seems to be indeterminate and thus incapable of serving its core rule of law value. In the philosophy of language, vagueness has become one of the hottest topics of the last two decades. Linguists and philosophers have investigated what distinguishes " vagueness from other kinds of linguistic indeterminacy, such as ambiguity, generality, open texture, and family resemblance concepts. There is a vast literature that discusses the logical, semantic, pragmatic, and epistemic aspects of these phenomena. Legal theory has hitherto paid little attention to the differences between the various kinds of linguistic indeterminacy that are grouped under the heading of ", let alone to the various theories that try to account for these phenomena. Bringing together leading scholars working on the topic of vagueness in philosophy and in law, this book fosters a dialogue between philosophers and legal scholars by examining how philosophers conceive vagueness in law from their theoretical perspective and how legal theorists make use of philosophical theories of vagueness. The chapters of the book are organized into three parts. The first part addresses the import of different theories of vagueness for the law, referring to a wide range of theories from supervaluationist to contextualist and semantic realist accounts in order to address the question of whether the law can learn from engaging with philosophical discussions of vagueness. The second part of the book examines different vagueness phenomena. The contributions in part 2 suggest that the greater awareness to different vagueness phenomena can make lawyers aware of specific issues and solutions so far overlooked. The third part deals with the pragmatic aspects of vagueness in law, providing answers to the question of how to deal with vagueness in law and with the professional, political, moral, and ethical issues such vagueness gives rise to.
Posted in Law

The Twilight of Human Rights Law

Author: Eric Posner

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0199313466

Category: Political Science

Page: 224

View: 7995

Countries solemnly intone their commitment to human rights, and they ratify endless international treaties and conventions designed to signal that commitment. At the same time, there has been no marked decrease in human rights violations, even as the language of human rights has become the dominant mode of international moral criticism. Well-known violators like Libya, Saudi Arabia, and Sudan have sat on the U.N. Council on Human Rights. But it's not just the usual suspects that flagrantly disregard the treaties. Brazil pursues extrajudicial killings. South Africa employs violence against protestors. India tolerate child labor and slavery. The United States tortures. In The Twilight of Human Rights Law--the newest addition to Oxford's highly acclaimed Inalienable Rights series edited by Geoffrey Stone--the eminent legal scholar Eric A. Posner argues that purposefully unenforceable human rights treaties are at the heart of the world's failure to address human rights violations. Because countries fundamentally disagree about what the public good requires and how governments should allocate limited resources in order to advance it, they have established a regime that gives them maximum flexibility--paradoxically characterized by a huge number of vague human rights that encompass nearly all human activity, along with weak enforcement machinery that churns out new rights but cannot enforce any of them. Posner looks to the foreign aid model instead, contending that we should judge compliance by comprehensive, concrete metrics like poverty reduction, instead of relying on ambiguous, weak, and easily manipulated checklists of specific rights. With a powerful thesis, a concise overview of the major developments in international human rights law, and discussions of recent international human rights-related controversies, The Twilight of Human Rights Law is an indispensable contribution to this important area of international law from a leading scholar in the field.
Posted in Political Science

Administrative Law and Regulatory Policy

Problems, Text, and Cases

Author: Stephen G. Breyer,Richard B. Stewart,Cass R. Sunstein,Adrian Vermeule,Michael E. Herz

Publisher: Aspen Casebook

ISBN: 9781454857914

Category: Law

Page: 1075

View: 7447

When you purchase a new version of this casebook from the LIFT Program, you receive 1-year FREE digital access to the corresponding Examples & Explanations in your course area. Now available in an interactive study center, Examples & Explanations offer hypothetical questions complemented by detailed explanations that allow you to test your knowledge of the topics covered in class. Starting July 1, 2017, if your new casebook purchase does not come with an access code on the inside cover of the book, please contact Wolters Kluwer customer service. The email address and phone number for customer service are on the copyright page, found within the first few pages, of your casebook. An outstanding author team examines administrative procedure and policy in light of substantive policy issues, such as public health and safety, environmental protections, and the regulation of the economy. Questions, notes, and problems support fruitful analysis of Supreme Court decisions, administrative acts, and matters of contemporary debate. Features: Revised materials on presidential appointment and removal E-rulemaking, the Obama Administration's transparency and openness initiatives, and new technologies Material on the Information Quality Act, midnight regulations, and guidance documents A new section on global administrative law Significant new Supreme Court decisions Streamlined Notes and Questions
Posted in Law

The Constitution in Conflict

Author: Robert Burt

Publisher: Harvard University Press

ISBN: 9780674165366

Category: Law

Page: 462

View: 5846

Lincoln was not alone in believing that the Constitution could be interpreted by any of the three branches of the government. Today, however, the Supreme Court's role as the ultimate arbiter of constitutional matters is widely accepted. But as Robert Burt shows in his provocative new book, this was not always the case, nor should it be. In a remarkably innovative reconstruction of constitutional history, Burt traces the controversy over judicial supremacy back to the founding fathers, with Madison and Hamilton as the principal antagonists. The conflicting views these founders espoused--equal interpretive powers among the federal branches on one hand and judicial supremacy on the other--remain plausible readings of "original intent" and so continue to present us with a choice. Drawing extensively on Lincoln's conception of political equality, Burt argues convincingly that judicial supremacy and majority rule are both inconsistent with the egalitarian democratic ideal. The proper task of the judiciary, he contends--as epitomized in Brown v. Board of Education--is to actively protect minorities against "enslaving" legislative defeats while, at the same time, to refrain from awarding conclusive "victory" to these minorities against their adversaries. From this premise, Burt goes on to examine key decisions such as Roe v. Wade, U.S. v. Nixon, and the death penalty cases, all of which demonstrate how the Court has fallen away from egalitarian jurisprudence and returned to an essentially authoritarian conception of its role. With an eye to the urgent issues at stake in these cases, Burt identifies the alternative results that an egalitarian conception of judicial authority would dictate. Thefirst fully articulated presentation of the Constitution as a communally interpreted document in which the Supreme Court plays an important, but not predominant, role, The Constitution in Conflict has dramatic implications for both the theory and the practice of constitutional law
Posted in Law

Cosmic Constitutional Theory

Why Americans Are Losing Their Inalienable Right to Self-Governance

Author: J. Harvie Wilkinson

Publisher: OUP USA

ISBN: 0199846014

Category: Law

Page: 161

View: 6836

What underlies this development? In this concise and highly engaging work, Federal Appeals Court Judge and noted author (From Brown to Bakke) J. Harvie Wilkinson argues that America's most brilliant legal minds have launched a set of cosmic constitutional theories that, for all their value, are undermining self-governance.
Posted in Law