Sunday, September 30, 2012

Thank you, Elizabeth Pleck and Anders Walker!

We owe a big thank you to two recent guest bloggers.

Elizabeth Pleck gave us glimpses of the stories and questions she discusses in her new book, Not Just Roommates: Cohabitation after the Sexual Revolution (University of Chicago Press).

Anders Walker treated us to a valuable series of posts on the U.S. Legal History survey. For ease of reference, here's a compilation:
The Survey: Why?

Listening to Rakove
Integrating Tomlins
Equality at the Founding

The Early (French) Republic

Inequality, Slavery & Rights

Reconstruction/Long Civil War


Southern Pluralism

Culture & Rights in the Post-Brown Era

Sample Syllabus
Guests like these help us keep the blog fresh and interesting, so please join us in thanking Elizabeth Pleck and Anders Walker.

Laws, Wars, and a Lot of Politics: This Week in the Book Pages

I had difficulty putting down John Fabian Witt's, Lincoln's Code: The Laws of War in American History this week, so I was delighted to read Gary J. Bass's review of in the New York Times.  As Bass puts it, the book is "magnificent."  Here is a sample of the review:
“Lincoln’s Code” is both a celebratory chronicle of American lawmaking and a gruesome record of American wartime cruelty, from William Tecumseh Sherman’s rampage through Georgia and South Carolina to the Indian wars. In an effort to make sense of what animates the “world’s only military superpower” today, Witt looks backward: “From the Revolution forward, the United States’ long history of leadership in creating the laws of war stands cheek by jowl with a destructive style of warfare.”
Read on, here.

For more books on war and foreign affairs this week, see a review of H.W. Brands The Man Who Saved the Union: Ulysses Grant in War and Peace (Doubleday) and Max Boot's review of The Endgame: The Inside Story of the Struggle for Iraq, from George W. Bush to Barack Obama (Pantheon) by Michael R. Gordon and Bernard E. Trainor, both in the Wall Street Journal.  The Washington Post has a review of Fredrik Logevall's Embers of War: The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America's Vietnam (Random House), and a review of  David G. Coleman's The Fourteenth Day: JFK and the Aftermath of the Cuban Missile Crisis (W.W.Norton).

With the first presidential debate coming up on Wednesday, there are plenty of reviews of books on politics and the presidency:   In the New York Times, you'll find reviews of Charles R. Kesler's I Am the Change: Barack Obama and the Crisis of Liberalism (Broadside) (here)  William H. Chafe's Bill and Hillary: The Politics of the Personal (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) (here), Robert W. Merry's Where They Stand: American Presidents in the Eyes of Voters and Historians (Simon and Schuster) (here), Jeffrey Toobin's The Oath: The Obama White House and the Supreme Court (Doubleday) (here) , Joseph Crespino's, Strom Thurmond's America, (Hill and Wang) (here), and E.J. Dionne, Jr's Our Divided Political Heart: The Battle for the American Idea in an Age of Discontent (Bloomsbury) (here).

Other reviews of possible interest this week, include a review of Nate Silver's The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail-- but Some Don't (Penguin) in the LA Times, a review of Jonathan Kozol's Fire in the Ashes: Twenty-five years Among the Poorest Children in America (Crown) in the Washington Post, and a review of Hitler's Berlin: Abused City (Yale) by Thomas Friedrich in TNR: The Book

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Weekend Roundup

  • Steven J. Ross, USC History, will present Hollywood Left and Right: How Movie Stars Shaped American Politics to the Washington History Seminar, which will convene at the Woodrow Wilson Center, 6th Floor Moynihan Boardroom, Ronald Reagan Building, Washington, DC, on Monday, October 1, 2012, at 4:00.  According to the Wilson Center’s announcement, “Steven J. Ross challenges the commonly held belief that Hollywood has always been a bastion of liberalism. The real story, he argues, is far more complicated. First, Hollywood has a longer history of conservatism than liberalism. Second, and most surprising, while the Hollywood Left was usually more vocal and visible, the Right had a greater impact on American political life, capturing a Senate seat (Murphy), a governorship (Schwarzenegger), and the ultimate achievement, the Presidency (Reagan).”  Reservations are requested at or 202-691-4166.
  • The FDR Presidential Library and Museum and the Roosevelt Institute present "FDR's Four Campaigns,” a free public forum on October 21, 2012.  Among the participants, is Donald Ritchie, the Historian of the U.S. Senate and the author of Electing FDR: The New Deal Campaign of 1932 (Kansas).  Information here
  • Via In Custodia Legis, the blog of the Law Library of Congress, you can catch a glimpse of Chinese judicial gazettes from the Minguo (or Republican) Period (1912-1949). Follow the link
  •  Over at SCOTUS Blog, Carl Cecere and Lorianne Updike Toler have posted on their article, “Pre-Originalism,” in which the authors offer “a systematic, even-handed examination of the pedigree” of  Originalist and Non-Originalist theories of historical constitutional interpretation.  Presumably they'll have to revise to take into account G. Edward White's recent essay on West Coast Hotel.
  • We've previously noted the Yale Law Library's exhibit on the illustrations of Joseph Hémard.   The collector who jointly curated the exhibit, the San Antonio tax lawyer Farley P. Katz,will deliver the talk "The Comic Art of Joseph Hémard" on October 5 at 1:00 p.m. in Room 128 of the Yale Law School. The talk is open to the public.
  • Readers in the Philly area may wish to check out "Remembering Lou Pollak," an exhibit at the University of Pennsylvania Law School commemorating the great professor, dean, and judge. 
  • "The Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations seeks to hire a Webmaster. SHAFR is embarking on a redesign of its website and reinvigoration of its web presence. The Webmaster will work together with the SHAFR President, the Committee on SHAFR and the Web, and others as the organization works with a web designer to upgrade the website. Once the website is redesigned, the Webmaster will be responsible for on-going management of the website, including the SHAFR blog."  More here.
The Weekend Roundup is a weekly feature compiled by all the Legal History bloggers.

Friday, September 28, 2012

The ICC Remembered

Library of Congress
The Marquette Law Review published, in its 95:4 (2012) issue, a symposium on the Interstate Commerce Act and the commission it created: "125 Years Since the Interstate Commerce Act: A Symposium in the Form of a Final Convocation."

Joseph D. Kearney, "Foreword: The Last Assembly of Interstate Commerce Act Lawyers"

James W. Ely, Jr., "The Troubled Beginning of the Interstate Commerce Act"

Randal C. Picker, "The Interstate Commerce Act and the Sherman Act: Playing Railroad Tycoon"

Thomas W. Merrill, "The Interstate Commerce Act, Administered Contracts, and the Illusion of Comprehensive Regulation"

Paul Stephen Dempsey, "The Rise and Fall of the Interstate Commerce Commission: The Tortuous Path from Regulation to Deregulation of America's Infrastructure"

Richard D. Cudahy, "The Interstate Commerce Act as a Model of Regulation"

James B. Speta, “Supervising Discrimination: Reflections of the Interstate Commerce Act in the Broadband Debate”

Danner on Librarians and "Duplictative Legal Publications" in the 1930s

Richard A. Danner, Duke University School of Law, has posted The ABA, the AALL, the AALS, and the “Duplication of Legal Publications,” which also appears in the Law Library Journal (2012).  Here is the abstract:    
Eldon R. James (Harvard Law Library)
Between 1935 and 1940, the American Bar Association, the Association of American Law Schools, and the American Association of Law Libraries joined forces to work on solutions to a problem often referred to as the “duplication of legal publications.” The need for practicing attorneys and law libraries to purchase multiple and duplicative versions of published law reports and other law books was burdensome in costs, complicated the research process, and contributed to what the American Law Institute identified as the two chief defects of American law: “its uncertainty and its complexity.” This article highlights the efforts of the ABA, the AALS, and the AALL to develop solutions to the problem, focusing on the leadership of Harvard law librarian Eldon R. James within the ABA and elsewhere. Although these efforts ultimately failed, the story illuminates a moment in the history of law librarianship in which a prominent law librarian provided leadership on a matter of concern to the entire legal profession.

Barbas on the Sidis-New Yorker Privacy Case

Samantha Barbas, SUNY Buffalo Law School, has posted The Sidis Case and the Origins of Modern Privacy Law, which is forthcoming in the Columbia Journal of Law & the Arts.  Here is the abstract:    
William James Sidis (Wiki Commons)
The American press, it’s been said, is freer to invade personal privacy than perhaps any other in the world. The tort law of privacy, as a shield against unwanted media exposure of private life, is very weak. The usual reason given for the weakness of U.S. privacy law as a bar on the publication of private information is the strong tradition of First Amendment freedom. But “freedom of the press” alone cannot explain why liberty to publish has been interpreted as a right to print truly intimate matters or to thrust people into the spotlight against their will. Especially in our time of heightened concerns with privacy and internet overexposure, we need a better explanation of why the law has struck the balance between media exposure and privacy in the way that it has. One answer can be found in the case of William James Sidis.

The Second Circuit case Sidis v. F.R. Publishing (1940) represents a foundational moment in the development of American privacy law. In Sidis, one of the most famous privacy cases in U.S. history, an eccentric former child genius unsuccessfully sued the New Yorker magazine for invasion of privacy when it published information about his private life. Sidis was the first case to address the conflict between the right to privacy and freedom of the press and to come out on the side of free expression. The Second Circuit held that the loss of Sidis’ privacy was an inevitable sacrifice to be made for the New Yorker’s right to publish freely, and the public’s “right to know.” In its conclusion that the public’s ability to obtain facts of all kinds through the mass media, from serious news to gossip about private affairs, is the prerogative of a democratic people, the Sidis court articulated what have become, in many ways, the ground rules for the modern information society.

Women's Legal History and the Indiana Bar

Elizabeth Jane Eaglesfield
Hoosier lawyers have long been committed to promoting the legal history of their state.  Now the Women and Law Division of the Indiana State Bar is presenting a half-day seminar, “Women’s Legal History–Major Movements and Local Impact.”  It will take place on October 23, 2012, from 1:30 to 5:15 p.m. and will provide attendees 3.5 hours of general continuing legal education credit.  More here.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Barrett on Jackson's Path from Nuremberg to Buffalo, 1946

John Q. Barrett, St. John's University School of Law, has posted Bringing Nuremberg Home: Justice Jackson's Path Back to Buffalo, October 4, 1946, which also appears in Buffalo Law Review 60 (April 2012): 295-321.  Here is the abstract:    
As a young man early in the 20th century, Robert H. Jackson lived and practiced law in Buffalo, New York, and developed strong ties to that leading United States city, its people, its legal profession and its University.

Robert H. Jackson (Library of Congress)
By the mid-1940s, Jackson’s life path reached high levels in U.S. government, including acclaimed service as Solicitor General, as Attorney General, and as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. In spring 1945 as Hitler’s Germany was being defeated militarily, President Truman appointed Justice Jackson to represent the U.S. in what became the international prosecution and adjudication, in Nuremberg, of the principal Nazi war criminals. During Jackson’s 1945-46 service as U.S. chief prosecutor at Nuremberg, he was away from the U.S. and missed an entire Supreme Court term.

In fall 1946, Justice Jackson returned from Nuremberg to the Supreme Court by way of Buffalo. At the invitation of the University of Buffalo (UB) as it celebrated its centennial, Jackson accepted an honorary degree, the first it had ever awarded. Jackson then delivered, at the centennial’s closing convocation, an address explicating his just-completed work at Nuremberg. Jackson described the Nuremberg trial as a significant step in global education and international law development and he discussed its connection to national systems of constitutional law. Although Jackson’s 1946 UB address was widely published and discussed in its era, it was not published in a law journal and, over the years, it was generally forgotten.

On October 4, 2011, SUNY Buffalo Law School devoted its prominent annual James McCormick Mitchell Lecture to a program commemorating Justice Jackson’s 1946 UB centennial address. This Essay, based on a Mitchell Lecture that was part of that 65th anniversary program, traces Jackson’s path, including his law practice and friendships in Buffalo and his sojourns from there to Washington to Nuremberg and, in October 1946, back to Buffalo. The Essay describes UB’s spring 1946 offer to Jackson of an honorary degree; his initial acceptance; his subsequent offer to withdraw after he created, in June 1946, public controversy about Supreme Court justice ethics; UB’s reaffirmation of its decision to honor Jackson; his speech writing as he waited for the Nuremberg judgment; his last-minute travel from Nuremberg to Buffalo; and the 1946 UB centennial events that culminated in his significant address.

This Essay and other components growing out of SUNY Buffalo’s 2011 Mitchell Lecture program — an introductory Essay by Professors Alfred S. Konefsky and Tara J. Melish; Justice Robert H. Jackson’s 1946 centennial address; and Mitchell Lectures by Professors Eric L. Muller and Mary L. Dudziak — are published in Volume 60 of the Buffalo Law Review. The Konefsky & Melish, Muller, and Dudziak essays also are posted on SSRN.

Beauchamp on the Parke-Davis Case

Christopher Beauchamp, Brooklyn Law School, has posted Patenting Nature: A Problem of History, which will also appear in the Stanford Technology Law Review 16 (2013).  Here is the abstract:    
Learned Hand (Library of Congress)
The practice of patenting genetic material is currently under sharp attack. Recent litigation has forced the courts to grapple with the doctrinal basis for patenting DNA sequences identical to those found in nature. Faced with conflicting authorities and difficult policy questions, courts have leaned heavily on history to guide — or at least to justify — their decisions.

This article explores the history in question. It traces the patent law’s changing treatment of “products of nature” in an attempt to untangle the origins of present-day patentability arguments. The evidence suggests that the historical foundations of the bar on patenting products of nature are surprisingly shaky.

The article also reveals how isolated biological materials first came to be patented. This task, I argue, requires looking not only to court decisions, but also to the history of patent practice. My principal vehicle for doing so is the case of Parke-Davis & Co. v. H. K. Mulford Co., a century-old decision by Judge Learned Hand, which now stands as a central (and much disputed) precedent for the patenting of DNA sequences. Parke-Davis arose at a key moment in the sociology of intellectual property, when the American pharmaceutical industry first learned to embrace the power of patents. The article shows how Parke-Davis came to prominence in half-understood form during the biotechnology era, and how the decision’s original rationale suddenly seems poised to control the Federal Circuit’s latest thinking on gene patentability.

CFP: A Graduate Student Conference on Law and International History

[We have the following call for papers.]

The ConIH Committee invites graduate students to submit proposals for the Thirteenth Annual Graduate Student Conference on International History to take place at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts on March 14 and 15, 2013.

Law is often at the heart of international historical inquiry&#8212whether as a subject of study in its own right, a structure providing context for historical analysis, or a source base for amplifying otherwise-unheard voices. This year, ConIH aims to promote a dialogue among historians who use legal sources and ideas in their work. We hope to interrogate the role of law in international, global, and transnational history, and to think critically about law as a concept and a tool in historical analysis.

Possible paper topics include, but are not limited to: transformations in legal systems (including colonial law, law in the transnational or international order, or analogues between domestic and international legal regimes); the relationship between law and institutions; and the changing subjects of international law, such as the rise of the individual and the human rights revolution. We also hope to treat the diffusion of law across borders, both political and cultural; conflicts of laws; informal legal systems; and individuals in the law, from jurists to outlaws. We welcome papers that use legal tools for non-legal historical analysis.

There are no temporal or geographic limits to this theme. We expect the conference to cover a diversity of topics that will look at populations from all parts of the world, as well as at ancient, pre-modern, modern, and contemporary contexts. ConIH welcomes innovative research approaches and agendas.

Papers will be selected on the basis of their strength, novelty of subject and interpretation, and utility as bases for historical dialogue. Particular attention will be given to papers developing comparative perspectives–both  geographical and temporal–and utilizing multi-archival and multi-lingual research bases. Specialists from Harvard and beyond will provide commentary on the papers. The conference will conclude with a plenary session, at which several leading scholars in the field of international & global history and law will discuss broad issues pertaining to the theme of the conference.

Graduate students who are interested in participating in the conference should submit a one-page paper proposal and one-page curriculum vitae (in Word, RTF, or PDF format) to Proposals must be received by November 20, 2012, in order to be considered. Notification of acceptance will be made in December. For additional information about the conference, please contact the conference organizers at or visit the conference website.

"Who Is Aaron Burr?"

[That was the correct response to Monday’s New York Times/Jeopardy Clue of the Day: “In 1807 Marshall wrote the opinion for U.S. v. This Politician, making standards of evidence for treason.”  You should have gotten that one right from our previous heralding of R. Kent Newmyer’s just-published book, The Treason Trial of Aaron Burr.  We invited Professor Newmyer to blog about his book and are especially pleased that, in acknowledging the inspiration of Kathryn Preyer, he testifies to the influence of a scholar whom recent entrants to the field may know only as the namesake of the ASLH’s Preyer Award.]

Guest post by R. Kent Newmyer, University of Connecticut

In paying tribute to the late Kathryn "Kitty" Preyer, Stan Katz observed that the central focus of her teaching and scholarship was "the role of law in the creation of the American republic, and especially the role of judges in articulating that law."  Blackstone in America: Select Essays of Kathryn Preyer (2009)

What Kitty urged her fellow historians to do was to address the complexities of early national law-making, as American politicians, lawyers and judges reworked the English legal inheritance to fit the unique needs of the new republic. Doctrinal analysis figured in Kitty's scheme, but hardly less important in the law-making process were the personalities and character of the lawmakers, the political culture of the new age, and the role of contingency and chance in history. (On the latter point, see her brilliant essay, The Appointment of Chief Justice Marshall," in Blackstone in America.)

Kitty did not write about the Burr treason trial, but the trial fits her scenario remarkably well. Certainly chance combined with Burr's own character traits led him to pursue his western schemes, which in turn led President Jefferson to pronounce his former vice-president guilty of treason--this without the benefit of a grand jury indictment or a jury trial. Jefferson's precipitous decision, based largely on the testimony of James Wilkinson, who himself was a co-conspirator with Burr, tells us a lot about Jefferson's character.  So also does Jefferson's decision to take personal control of the prosecution in Richmond.

Micromanaging the prosecution, moreover, brought the president face-to-face once again with his old political enemy Chief Justice Marshall who, as fate would have it, was sitting as a trial judge in the federal circuit court in Richmond. The conflict between Jefferson and Marshall gave a political cast to the entire trial, which now involved not just the fate of Aaron Burr and the constitutional meaning of the treason clause in the Constitution, but the meaning of separation of powers as well. Thus was the Burr trial the second act in the Constitution-defining struggle between Marshall and Jefferson--Marbury v. Madison being the first.  Indeed, before the trial ended, Marshall, Jefferson, and Burr as well became iconic figures in the culture wars of the new nation.

The process of law-making in Richmond, to return to Kitty's model, was complex and convoluted and downright ugly, as l8th century ideas of personal honor and public virtue were refracted through competing visions of the American Revolution as represented by Burr, Jefferson and Marshall. Even the lawyers mixed it up. The unfinished nature of the young nation also comes through loud and clear: thus the constant fear of disunion, which helps explain Jefferson's paranoia regarding Burr; thus the ill-defined borders of the old Southwest, which fuelled Burr's grandiose plan to free Mexico from Spanish rule; thus the audacious scheming of General James Wilkinson, the government's chief witness against Burr, who like Burr scouted the borderlands of the untamed West in search of gold and glory. All this is to argue that the Burr trial tracks the growing pains of the young republic.

As I see it, there are no perfect heroes in this story, although some of the players were considerably less heroic than others. History tended to call the shots, one might say, as chaos bubbled close to the surface throughout the trial. Even so and against the odds, Marshall the conservative jurist succeeded in placing American treason law on a liberal, republican foundation, one that Jefferson should have liked. Marshall did this with the help of several brilliant lawyers, as he himself acknowledged several times during the course of the trial.  The lawyers' arguments presented Marshall with the raw materials from which he fashioned his decisions. The courtroom fireworks displayed by these lawyers provided entertainment--and a civic education--for the hundreds who witnessed the trial first hand and for the tens of thousands who read about the trial in their local newspapers across the country.  Whether their courtroom performance constituted a transitional moment in the history of American trial advocacy is a question worth pondering.

Marshall may have had help from the lawyers, but the final decisions were his alone, and they reveal an aspect of his judging not apparent in his appellate work as Chief Justice.  Marshall made some law, too, but not by legislating from the bench as Jefferson and his friends (and some historians) claimed.  Working in the common law interpretive tradition, he succeeded in guaranteeing a fair trial to Aaron Burr, whose life was on the line.  In fact, it was in ruling on what evidence a trial jury could hear that Marshall was obliged to clarify the treason provisions in Article III, Section 3 of the Constitution. By standing up to hostile public opinion and threats of impeachment from Jefferson and a Republican Congress, the Chief Justice not only revealed much about his character, but he also struck a decisive blow for judicial independence and the rule of law.  These principles are as vitally important now as they were in l807. Not surprisingly, Marshall's opinion in U.S. v. Burr, upholding the court's right to subpoena a sitting president, provided the foundation for Chief Justice Warren Burger's opinion for a unanimous court in the famous Watergate case of U.S. v. Nixon (1974).

Update, October 1, 2012
Apparently for a limited time those who order the book from Cambridge can save 20 percent by entering the discount code ABURR12 at checkout.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Rest in Peace, Eugene D. Genovese

Via the Historical Society, we have the sad news that historian Eugene D. Genovese has passed away.

We will update the post as more news becomes available. In the meantime, check out this excerpt from a recent forum in Historically Speaking (November 2011) on Genovese's work and career.

UPDATE: Al Brophy (UNC) has written a thoughtful post on Genovese and his legacy. Check it out here, at the Faculty Lounge.

UPDATE: Here's an excerpt from the obituary released by the Genovese family:
Eugene Dominick Genovese, preeminent scholar of slavery and the master class in the American South, died on the morning of September 26th, 2012, after a long illness. Born in 1930, he graduated from Brooklyn College (1953) and Columbia University (1955, 1959) and taught at Rutgers University; Sir George Williams University in Montreal, Canada; the University of Rochester; the College of William and Mary, and a coalition of Georgia universities—Emory, Georgia Tech, Georgia State, and the University of Georgia. Ranking with the most influential historians of his generation, he also had appointments at Cambridge (as Pitt Professor), Princeton, Yale, and Columbia, was recipient of an honorary doctorate from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and served as president both of the Organization of American Historians and of The Historical Society, which he helped found.
Read on here, at HNN.

UPDATE: The Washington Post obituary.

Luff on Anticommunism, Labor and Civil Liberties

Jennifer Luff, the Research Director of the Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor at Georgetown University, will present her book Commonsense Anticommunism: Labor and Civil Liberties between the World Wars, tomorrow, September 27, from 4 until 5:30 at the Mortara Center for International Studies, Georgetown University, 3600 N Street, NW, Washington, DC.  Eric Arnesen, Professor of History, George Washington University, will comment.

According to the announcement:
Between the Great War and Pearl Harbor, conservative labor leaders declared themselves America's "first line of defense" against Communism. In her new book Commonsense Anticommunism, historian Jennifer Luff argues that the AFL's "commonsense anticommunism" tried to steer a middle course between the American Legion and the American Civil Liberties Union, defending unions while condemning communism.  The outcome of that effort, she argues, shaped American labor politics in ways we continue to grapple with today. 

G. Edward White on West Coast Hotel

We've just notice the appearance in the Yale Law Journal Online of the essay West Coast Hotel’s Place in American Constitutional History by G. Edward White of the University of Virginia School of Law.  It commences:
This year marks the seventy-fifth anniversary of West Coast Hotel Co. v. Parrish, which for many years has been part of one of the central narratives of twentieth-century American constitutional history. In that narrative, West Coast Hotel represents the Supreme Court’s abandonment of a constitutional jurisprudence featuring aggressive scrutiny of legislation that regulated economic activity or redistributed economic benefits. Prior to West Coast Hotel, successive Court majorities treated state and federal minimum-wage legislation as interfering with the “liberty” of employers and employees to bargain for the terms of employee services. In West Coast Hotel, the Court upheld minimum-wage legislation in the face of this “liberty of contract” argument, and, according to the traditional narrative, the change in the Court’s posture was triggered by the introduction of a plan by the Roosevelt Administration to alter the membership of the Court.
This Essay seeks to show that the conventional narrative is misleading and distorts the significance of West Coast Hotel. It also seeks to show that West Coast Hotel’s significance comes from its position in a different narrative, one featuring clashing views on the issue of constitutional adaptivity: how the general provisions of the Constitution are adapted to new controversies and whether the meaning of those provisions can be said to change in the process. In that narrative the interpretive postures of “originalism” and “living Constitution” jurisprudence make their appearance, serving to tie West Coast Hotel to contemporary debates about constitutional interpretation.

Update:: The essay is also available as an SSRN paper.

Two New H-Net Reviews: On Clarence Darrow, Elizabeth Packard

One trait of my partner's that I truly admire is that he always finishes the books that he starts. Even when he'd rather not, he follows through. Case in point: when he picked up Clarence Darrow's autobiography, he dutifully read the chapter about Darrow's year-long vacation in Europe ("Montreaux, and The Mediterranean: -- How happy one can be with either!"), as well as the chapter on Darrow's transition to retirement, titled "Learning to Loaf." Based on this new review, commissioned by H-SHGAPE and cross-posted by H-Law, a better choice would have been Andrew Edmund Kersten's 2011 biography, Clarence Darrow: American Iconoclast (Hill and Wang). Here's reviewer Brian Greenberg on this "readable and insightful" book:
I assigned Andrew Kersten's _Clarence Darrow: American Iconoclast_ in my fall 2011 Law and Society graduate class. As Kersten appropriately observes, Darrow was a complex man, who merited the sobriquet given him by the muckraker Lincoln Steffens, "Attorney for the Damned." Yet while justifiably celebrated as a forthright defender of individual freedom and liberty, Darrow frequently disappointed his allies. Certainly, his belief in equality did not extend to women, and in his personal life, Darrow treated his two wives with patronizing disdain. Kersten provides ample evidence that the crusading lawyer was capable of compromising his core values and was very much a believer that the end justifies the means.
Read on here.

H-Law has also cross-posted a review, commissioned by H-Disability, of Linda V. Carlisle, Elizabeth Packard: A Noble Fight (University of Illinois Press, 2010). Here's the first paragraph, from reviewer David J. Roof (Minot State University):
Linda V. Carlisle has written a complex and comprehensive portrait of Elizabeth Packard (1816-97). It is a fascinating story, detailed with the intricacies of her historical context. In June 1850, Packard was placed, against her will, in the Jacksonville, Illinois, insane asylum by her disgruntled husband. She eventually won her release and devoted her life to reforming the rights of those deemed insane and to advocating for women’s rights.
Read on here.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Job Posting: Texas Tech

image credit
Via H-Law, we have the following job announcement:
The Department of History at Texas Tech University invites applications for a tenure-track assistant professorship in post-1900 U. S. history, with research emphases in the fields of Peace Studies, Social Movements, and/or the Law.  This position will begin September 1, 2013.  The successful candidate will be expected to teach both halves of the U. S. history survey, as well as upper-level undergraduate and graduate courses in her/his areas of expertise.  The successful candidate must also conduct research commensurate with the standards of a research-intensive university, offer service to the department, college, and university, as needed, and seek external funding when appropriate to support their research and scholarship.  A strong commitment to undergraduate and graduate teaching is also required.  Ph.D. must be completed by the time of the appointment. 
More information is here.

New Release: Michael J. Klarman's From the Closet to the Altar

Oxford University Press announces the release of Michael J. Klarman's timely book, From the Closet to the Altar: Courts, Backlash, and the Struggle for Same-Sex Marriage.  A description of the book and its table of contents follow:
Same-sex marriage has become one of the most volatile issues in American politics. But if most young people support gay marriage, and if there are clear indicators that a substantial majority of the population will soon favor it, why has the outcry against it been so strong?
Bancroft Prize-winning historian and legal expert Michael Klarman here offers an illuminating and engaging account of modern litigation over same-sex marriage. After looking at the treatment of gays in the decades after World War II and the birth of the modern gay rights movement with the Stonewall Rebellion in 1969, Klarman describes the key legal cases involving gay marriage and the dramatic political backlashes they ignited. He examines the Hawaii Supreme Court's ruling in 1993, which sparked a vast political backlash--with more than 35 states and Congress enacting defense-of-marriage acts--and the Massachusetts decision in Goodridge in 2003, which inspired more than 25 states to adopt constitutional bans on same-sex marriage. Klarman traces this same pattern--court victory followed by dramatic backlash--through cases in Vermont, California, and Iowa, taking the story right up to the present. He also describes some of the collateral political damage caused by court decisions in favor of gay marriage--Iowa judges losing their jobs, Senator Majority Leader Tom Daschle losing his seat, and the possibly dispositive impact of gay marriage on the 2004 presidential election. But Klarman also notes several ways in which litigation has accelerated the coming of same-sex marriage: forcing people to discuss the issue, raising the hopes and expectations of gay activists, and making other reforms like civil unions seem more moderate by comparison. In the end, Klarman discusses how gay marriage is likely to evolve in the future, predicts how the U.S. Supreme Court might ultimately resolve the issue, and assesses the costs and benefits of activists' pursuing social reforms such as gay marriage through the courts.

From the Closet to the Altar will stand as the definitive one-volume history of the tumultuous emergence of same-sex marriage in American life as well as a landmark study of litigation, social reform, and the phenomenon of political backlash to court decisions.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: World War II to Stonewall
Chapter 2: Stonewall to Bowers v. Hardwick
Chapter 3: Hawaii
Chapter 4: Vermont
Chapter 5: Massachusetts
Chapter 6: Post-Goodridge to Proposition 8
Chapter 7: To The Present
Chapter 8: Why Backlash?
Chapter 9: Conclusions and Predictions

An early review of From the Closet by Publisher's Weekly notes: "Klarman does a remarkable job using the debate over gay marriage as a lens for examining the factors that will go into the Court’s inevitable engagement with the issue." The review concludes, "Advocates will be encouraged by his well-buttressed conclusion: 'Once public opinion has shifted overwhelmingly in favor… the Court will constitutionalize the emerging consensus.'”  We'll keep you posted as other reviews of the book --which is sure to receive a lot of attention--appear.

The same-sex marriage project is an outgrowth of Klarman's prize-winning work on law, social change, and the civil rights movement, From Jim Crow to Civil Rights: The Supreme Court and the Struggle for Racial Equality (2005).   

Yin on the Couzens Tax Suit and the Joint Committee on Taxation

George K. Yin, University of Virginia School of Law, has posted James Couzens, Andrew Mellon, the "Greatest Tax Suit in the History of the World," and Creation of the Joint Committee on Taxation and Its Staff.  Here is the abstract:
James Couzens (Library of Congress)
In early 1924, James Couzens was a Republican Senator from Michigan and reportedly the richest member of Congress. Andrew Mellon was beginning his fourth year as Secretary of the Treasury — a service that would eventually span 11 years under three Republican Administrations — and one of the wealthiest persons in the entire country. This article describes how a feud between these two men, an ensuing investigation led by Couzens of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) (predecessor to the modern-day IRS), and a tax case against Couzens that was described as the “greatest tax suit in the history of the world,” helped lead to creation of the U.S. Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) and its staff. Drawing upon many previously unreported key details, the article reveals a fascinating tale filled with political intrigue, backstabbing (real or imagined), and unintended consequences. The article shows how the events antagonized Congress’s relationship with the executive branch, but improved cooperation between the House and Senate, and both were instrumental in the JCT’s creation. The article also provides insight on the unique role the JCT has played in Congress for over 85 years. Finally, the article explains how creation of the JCT became entangled with two of the most contentious tax issues of the day — the publicity of tax return information and the depletion allowance for oil and gas production — and played a role in changing the law in both areas.

Sagy on Social Darwinism and the History of Regulation

Yair Sagy, University of Haifa Faculty of Law, has posted The Legacy of Social Darwinism: From Railroads to the 'Reinvention' of Regulation.  Here is the abstract:    
According to accepted wisdom, new paradigms of regulation are upon us. This Article challenges this conception. It revisits the work of the leading regulator and theoretician of regulation in post-Civil War U.S., Charles Francis Adams, Jr., and argues that contemporary regulation reverts to Adams' theory of regulation, rather than introducing a revolutionary chapter to the intellectual history of regulation in the United States. The Article operates on three levels. On one level, it offers a new interpretation of Adams' seminal theory by revealing the hold that Herbert Spencer and Social Darwinism had on his work. On another level, the article uncovers the influence evolutionary thinking had on the rise of the American administrative state in general, and on the work of one of its greatest regulators in particular. Finally, in exposing the imprint of Social Darwinism in Adams' theory of regulation and connecting this theory to present models of regulation, the Article unearths and explores key theoretical foundations of much of contemporary thinking and practice in the field of administrative regulation. Thus, the Article reveals that the legacy of Social Darwinism, which originated in nineteenth century U.S. regulation, persists to this day.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Zietlow on Ashley's Thirteenth Amendment

Rebecca E. Zietlow, University of Toledo College of Law, has posted James Ashley's Thirteenth Amendment which is forthcoming in Columbia Law Review 112 (2012). Here is the abstract:
James Ashley (Library of Congress)
On January 31, 1865, the United States House of Representatives voted to approve the Thirteenth Amendment. Chairing the final debate over the Amendment was Representative James Ashley, a lifelong opponent of slavery from Northwest Ohio who led the fight for the Amendment’s approval in the House. Ashley and his antislavery colleagues believed that the Thirteenth Amendment not only ended slavery, but also established fundamental human rights for freed slaves and other people in the United States. This Essay describes Ashley’s theory of the Thirteenth Amendment, a theory that addressed the intersectionality of racial and class-based oppression. Ashley viewed slavery as an institution that relied on both racial and class subordination. Remedying the harms of slavery would require the restoration of a wide range of fundamental human rights that had been violated by that institution, to remedy both the class and race-based subordination that had made slavery possible and improve the status of all workers. As scholars engage in that dialogue over the meaning of rights in the twenty-first century, the Thirteenth Amendment will play an important role. James Ashley’s vision of the Thirteenth Amendment is helpful not only for understanding its history, but also because it resonates in the twenty-first century and provides a useful model for rethinking equality rights.
Hat tip: Legal Theory Blog

Conference: "Abolition, Past and Present"

The Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition has announced its 14th Annual International Conference, to be held November 8-10, 2012, at Yale University.

The theme is "Abolition, Past and Present: Scholars, Activists, and the Challenge of Contemporary Slavery." Here's the description:

image credit
In order to put past and present in lasting dialogue, this conference combines some of the world's most distinguished historians of slavery and abolition with many of the most important activist-leaders in the current movement to counteract and abolish modern forms of slavery. The gathering will be one effort toward forging a field of study about the origins and nature of current human trafficking and bonded labor systems in the world. By use of rich historical analogies, comparative perspectives, international contexts, and real world examples of intervention, we will explore and use the past in order to see deeper into the challenges faced by governments, non-governmental organizations, scholars, writers, and concerned citizens. We further hope to place the complex problem of contemporary slavery within the history of modern ideas and regimes of human rights. This is a conference where the worlds of scholarship and international activism meet, in similar and different ways to eighteenth and nineteenth century abolitionists, to curtail and ultimately rid the world of this ancient - and very current - problem of human exploitation.
Conference participants include Seymour Drescher (University of Pittsburgh), Jenny Martinez (Stanford Law School), Samuel Moyn (Columbia University), and Jessica Pliley (Texas State University).

The conference is free and open to the public, but registration is required. Follow the link for a full conference schedule and to register.

Hat tip: H-Law

Tsai on Popular Constitutionalism and Langston Hughes

Robert L. Tsai, American University Washington College of Law, has posted "Simple" Takes on the Supreme Court. Here is the abstract:
Langston Hughes (Library of Congress)
This essay excavates how black fiction has served as a medium for working out popular understandings of America’s Constitution and laws. Starting in the 1940s, Langston Hughes’s fictional character, Jesse K. Semple, began appearing in the prominent black newspaper, the Chicago Defender. Eventually, the stories became syndicated, published in the New York Post, and later compiled in a series of books. As circulation increased, the stories enabled non-blacks to participate vicariously in an ongoing intracommunity debate over issues dear to African Americans. The character affectionately known as “Simple” was undereducated, unsophisticated, and plain spoken — certainly to a fault according to prevailing standards of civility, race relations, and professional attainment. But these very traits, along with a gritty experience under Jim Crow, made him not only a sympathetic figure but also an armchair legal theorist. In a series of barroom conversations, Simple ably critiqued the ongoing project of liberal legal experimentation. In fact, Simple had something to say on many matters of constitutional law during the turbulent decades of the 1940s, 50s, and 60s: the Supreme Court’s pronouncements, anti-lynching efforts, the injustice and absurdity of segregation, the pace of integration, and the effectiveness of landmark civil rights laws. Fiction became a two-way legal medium, allowing ordinary citizens to understand the idealism and goals of institutions that acted to enforce the U.S. Constitution, while giving them a way to puncture the lofty, hegemonic, and cramped official visions of law. Through arguments, stories, and dream sequences, Simple proposed a conception of equality rooted in authenticity, charity, and opportunity, to counteract the vision of selective, formal equality emerging from the Court. And he recommended a transitional form of poetic justice as a means of effectuating the ethical and material transformation necessary to guarantee equal protection of the law.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

This Week in the Book Pages: Asian Intellectuals, Israel's Military Elite, Strom Thurmond, and More

The New York Times has Hari Kunzru's review of From the Ruins of Empire: The Intellectuals Who Remade Asia (Farrar, Straus & Giroux) by Pankaj Mishra.  Kunzru writes:
Mishra, the Indian essayist and novelist, shows how, like their European and American counterparts, Asian intellectuals of the 19th and 20th centuries responded to the colonial encounter by constructing a binary opposition between East and West. From Ottoman Turkey to Meiji Japan, writers struggled in the face of the humiliating experience of subjugation. The superior technology and organization of the imperial powers were self-­evident. What was the correct response? Could new innovations and modes of production be grafted onto existing social structures, or did cherished ways of life and thought have to be abandoned? 
Read on here.

In the Wall Street Journal, Hillel Halkin's review of Patrick Tyler's Fortress Israel: The Inside Story of the Military Elite Who Run the Country-- and Why They Can't Make Peace (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
Have you ever wondered why Iran, after halting (according to Western intelligence reports) its nuclear weapons program in 2003, resumed it (according to more such reports) by 2005? Patrick Tyler, a former New York Times foreign correspondent, thinks he knows. It wasn't because the initial shock of the American invasion of Iraq had worn off. The Iranian nuclear program was probably restarted, Mr. Tyler believes, in reaction to a "clandestine war" waged by Israel against Iran—a war launched, he states in his new book "Fortress Israel: The Inside Story of the Military Elite Who Run the Country—And Why They Can't Make Peace," by the government of Benjamin Netanyahu that came to power following the 2009 Israeli elections.
The WSJ also has a review of Joseph Anton: A Memoir (Random House) by Salmon Rushdie.  Michael Moynihan writes, "Joseph Anton is hardly a conventional memoir.  It is written in the third person, a conceit that works well enough as a way of recounting the alienating experience of living under cover while hearing one's real name condemned by Muslim leaders world-wide."  And, a review of Karen Elliott House's On Saudi Arabia: Its People, Past, Religion, Fault Lines-- and Future (Knopf), and a review of Christopher Steiner's Automate This: How Algorithms Came to Rule Our World (Portfolio Penguin).

In TNR: The Book, John McWhorter reviews David Skinner's The Story of Ain't: America, Its Language, and the Most Controversial Dictionary Ever Published (Harper)-- "an exploration of the scandal over the publication of Webster's Third New International Dictionary of the English Language"-- and a review of Sasha Issenberg's The Victory Lab: The Secret Science of Winning Campaigns (Crown),

Als in TNR: The Book, Geoffrey Kabaservice reviews Joseph Crespino's Strom Thurmond's America (Hill and Wang).  He writes:
Crespino encompasses a vast sweep of twentieth-century political history in America through his depiction of Thurmond’s life and times. Thurmond was first elected to public office in 1928—when he became superintendent of his home county at the age of twenty-five—and was a U.S. senator for forty-eight years; he also presaged the transformation of the South from solidly Democratic to solidly Republican, and the takeover of the GOP by Southern-inflected conservatism. Crespino is less successful, however, in arguing that his subject was central to the development of the modern Republican Party. Thurmond seems, rather, to have pursued a single-minded course of political opportunism, which sometimes coincided with and often benefited from the rising conservative movement.
Other reviews of interest this week: In the LA Times, a review of Juliet Barker's The Brontes: Wild Genius on the Moors-- The Story of a Literary Family (Pegasus), and in the Washington Post, a review of Kofi Annan's memoir Interventions: A Life in War and Peace (Penguin).  And in the New York Times (here) and TNR: The Book (here), reviews of Junot Diaz's This is How You Lose Her (Riverhead)

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Legal Historians in the Op-Ed Pages: Witt on "Freedom and Restraint"

Today's New York Times "Opinionator" section features an op-ed by John Fabian Witt (Yale Law School). It is part of the NYT's "Disunion" series ("revisit[ing] and reconsider[ing] America's most perilous period -- using contemporary accounts, diaries, images and historical assessments to follow the Civil War as it unfolded").  Here's the first paragraph:
On Sept. 22, 1862 — 150 years ago today — Abraham Lincoln announced the Emancipation Proclamation, promising to free the slaves in any state still in rebellion on Jan. 1, 1863. Americans have celebrated Lincoln’s proclamation, and argued about its meaning, ever since. But there’s a surprising legacy that few Americans know anything about, one that historians have overlooked, even though it shows just how thoroughly American ideas of freedom reshaped the globe. Emancipation touched off a crisis for the principle of humanitarian limits in wartime and transformed the international laws of war. In the crucible of emancipation, Lincoln created the rules that now govern soldiers around the world.
Read on here. The comments, already flowing, make for interesting reading as well.

Weekend Roundup

  • Around the Colloquia: On September 19 Ariela Gross, USC Law, presented in Boston University’s Clark Legal History Series and Patrick Weil, Yale, presented The Sovereign Citizen: Denaturalization & the Origins of the American Republic at Connecticut Law.  Hat tip: Legal Scholarship Blog
Lillian Goldman Law Library, Yale Law School
  • The Yale Law Library announces the exhibit, "And Then I Drew for Books": The Comic Art of Joseph Hémard.  It is curated by Yale's Michael Widener and by Farley Katz, "a tax attorney from San Antonio, [who] has built one of the world's finest collections of Hémard's works."  Katz is the author of "The Art of Taxation: Joseph Hémard's Illustrated Tax Code," 60 Tax Lawyer 163 (2006).  We borrow one of Hémard's illustrations from the Yale Law Library Blog.  Hat tip: H-Law.
Weekend Roundup is a weekly feature compiled by all the Legal History bloggers.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Lamoreaux to Lecture on the Strange History of Corporations and the Fourteenth Amendment

Our friends at H-Law have spotted a lecture of considerable interest to legal historians, which is part of the 2012-2013 Business History Forum at Columbia University.  According to the Forum’s website:
The Business History Forum at Columbia University highlights the relationship between Columbia University and the city through the history of city, national, and global businesses. The Forum features speakers who address the past, present and future of industries that have been and, in many cases, continue to be important to the development of New York City, including accounting; communications, finance; law; media; real estate/development; theater; and trade. It brings together academic experts, industry practitioners, students, and the public. The Forum also provides examples of how the university acquires, preserves, and provides access to business collections through its Rare Book & Manuscript Library.
The complete schedule is here, but note that on Wednesday, November 7, 2012 in 107 Warren Hall (115th Street & Amsterdam Avenue), Naomi R. Lamoreaux, Professor of Economics and History, Yale University, will speak on "'Corporations are People Too':  The Strange History of Corporations and the Fourteenth Amendment."  Here is the abstract:
Morrison R. Waite (Library of Congress)
In 1886 the Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, Morrison R. Waite, declared at the start of oral arguments in the case of Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad, “The court does not wish to hear argument on the question whether the provision in the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution, which forbids a State to deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws, applies to these corporations. We are all of opinion that it does.”  This simple statement has generally been taken to be the Court’s definitive position on the legal personhood of corporations, and many writers have cited it as the key precedent for later decisions extending constitutional rights to corporations, including the recent Citizens United case.

But other decisions handed down by the Supreme Court around the same time seemed to say just the opposite—that the Fourteenth Amendment did NOT apply to corporations.  The general thrust of these other decisions was to uphold the regulatory powers of the states over corporations by underscoring the states’ power to set conditions for, discriminate against, and even exclude completely foreign corporations (that is, corporations chartered by other states.) This strain of the case law largely eclipsed Waite’s Santa Clara declaration at least until the 1950s, when southern states sought to use their regulatory authority over corporations to keep out the NAACP.
The event is free and open to the public, but registration is required at

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Merleaux on the Political Culture of Sugar Tariffs

Cambridge Journals is giving free access to an article in International Labor and Working-Class HistoryThe Political Culture of Sugar Tariffs: Immigration, Race, and Empire, 1898–1930, by April Merleaux, Florida International University.  Here is the abstract:
Francis G. Newlands (Library of Congress)
This article contends that the chronology of popular and legislative movements for restrictive tariffs and immigration exclusion in the United States ran parallel courses between 1898 and the 1930. Those who spoke for and against such policies did so using the rhetoric of race, labor, and empire. The article analyzes the career of Nevada Senator Francis G. Newlands in order to show how the sugar industry and Asian immigration were intrinsic to debates over imperial policy between 1898 and the First World War. The article then describes policy changes during the First World War. The war set the stage for renewed debates over immigration and the sugar trade in the 1920s as the newly formed Tariff Commission attempted to grapple with an oversupplied world sugar market. Their work ultimately reinforced the old associations among race, labor, and trade policy and did little to improve the global sugar crisis.

Emon, "On Sovereignties in Islamic Legal History"

Anver M. Emon (University of Toronto - Faculty of Law) has posted "On Sovereignties in Islamic Legal History," Middle East Law and Governance 4, Numbers 2-3 (2012). Here's the abstract:
The concept of sovereignty has posed important challenges in the ongoing debates and discourses on Islam and international law. This essay illustrates how sovereignty reflects competing ideas about legitimate authority by examining and exploring distinct debates in Islamic thought, all of which share a concern about the nature, scope, and contours of legitimacy and authority. This article does not offer a prescriptive argument for a robust notion of sovereignty in Islam, nor does it attempt to judge the Islamic past pursuant to contemporary strands of political theory. Rather, it explores various strands of historical Islamic intellectual debate that traverse the realms of theology, law and politics in order to reflect on the conditions of different sovereignties and their relationship to one another.
Read on here.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Casebeer on Cognition, Resistance, and the Trail of Tears

Kenneth M. Casebeer, University of Miami School of Law, has posted Subaltern Voices in the Trail of Tears: Cognition and Resistance of the Cherokee Nation to Removal in Building American Empire.  Here is the abstract:    
Empire, since publication of the book by the same name, by Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri has generated almost an obsession for revisionist social theorists. In this literature, the idea and history of empire is structurally dialectical - the ongoing interaction between imperialist colonizers and subordinated indigenous or subaltern populations and cultures connected with the colonized space. Included in this literature are two recent works that present a curious view of American Empire, and its relatively early and key history of removal of Eastern Native nations to west of the Mississippi. The curiosity in the book by Sean Wilentz, and an article more focused on law by Paul Frymer , is that the exceptional histories of removal they report includes the voice of none of the removed populations, the subalterns by which the imperialists are in part constructed. In this review the record is simply being documented as necessary to recover the subalterns assumed by the histories because they were there, and had to be there, in the history of subordination. Contrasting the stunted reasoning of the federal government with Cherokee resistance and subsequent dénouement links removal's significant contribution to the legitimation campaign supporting slavery and Dred Scott, and in material terms, contributed to the inevitability of the secession and the Civil War.

Minnesota Legal History Workshop

[The schedule for fall meetings of the Minnesota Legal History Workshop is out.]

Seminars will be held on Fridays from 12:15 - 1:15pm in room 262 Mondale Hall.  Please feel free to bring lunch and come at noon to socialize before we start. Papers will be pre-circulated one week in advance of the workshop, with the exception of the Erickson Lecture. Questions? Contact Barbara Welke (

Friday Sept. 28 Reclaiming Accountability: Transparency, Executive Power, and the U.S. Constitution, Heidi Kitrosser, Professor of Law

Friday Oct. 12 "Law and (Dis)Order: Cultures of Security and the Specter of Anarchy in the Making of the US National Security State, 1880-1920," Ryan Johnson, Ph.D. Candidate in History (recipient of the Erickson Fellowship in Legal History, Summer 2012)

Thursday Oct. 25 "Marriage in the Courts," Nancy F. Cott, Jonathan Trumbull Professor of American History, Harvard University, and Carl and Lily Pforzheimer Foundation Director of the Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study  Note: Thursday, Oct. 25, 4:00 p.m., Room 25, Mondale Hall. This is the Fifth Annual Lecture in the Erickson Legal History Lecture Series. We recommend coming early for seating.

Friday Nov. 2 "No Moral or Legal Obligation: The Bureau of Immigration, Mexican Refugee Migration, and Border Security along the United States-Mexico Border, 1910-1917," Evan Taparata, History Graduate Student

Friday Nov. 16 TBA

Friday Nov. 30
"International Rules for Internal Conflicts? The Political
Origins of Common Article 3 to the Geneva Conventions," Giovanni Mantilla, Ph. D. Candidate in Political Science

Friday Dec. 7 "Work, Pain, and Risk Allocation in U.S. Workplace Injury Law, 1890-1915," Nate Holdren, Ph. D. Candidate in History

Abstracts are here.

CFP: Religion and Law in America

The Florida State University Department of Religion will convene a Conference on Religion and Law in America, March 15-16, 2013, in Tallahassee, Florida. Here's the announcement, via H-Law:
Professor Sullivan (credit)
Dr. Winnifred Sullivan, Chair of the Department of Religious Studies at Indiana University and distinguished scholar of religion and law, will deliver the keynote address.

The emerging field of religion and law in America and American history remains an underexplored yet promising area of study for scholars.  This conference will address the evolving relationship between religion and law in American history from various academic disciplines.

Professors, attorneys, independent scholars, and graduate students who are interested in the academic study of religion and law are encouraged to submit proposals for individual papers and panels.

Participants may explore a diverse array of topics spanning American history from the colonial era to the present, including but not limited to:

·        First Amendment issues

·        Constitutional originalism

·        Judicial definitions of “religion”

·        Faith-based initiatives (vouchers, healthcare, etc.)

·        Religion, race, and law

·        Religion and prison reform

·        Theory and method in the study of religion and law

Presentations should be approximately 15 to 20 minutes in length and will receive peer responses.

Proposals including an abstract of approximately 300 words and a brief CV should be submitted by *November 15, 2012* for review.  Final papers must be submitted by January 31, 2012.  Please send proposals [here].

For additional information, please contact Brad Stoddard.