Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Review Essays in Summer 2014 Issue of Law & Social Inquiry

The Summer 2014 issue of Law & Social Inquiry includes two review essays that may be of interest:

"Law Clerks and Their Influence at the US Supreme Court: Comments on Recent Works by Peppers and Ward," by Mark C. Miller (Clark University). Here's the abstract:
There has been a fair amount of recent scholarly attention to the role and influence of law clerks at the Supreme Court of the United States. This new wave of systematic research began when Todd C. Peppers (2006) published Courtiers of the Marble Palace: The Rise and Influence of the Supreme Court Law Clerk at almost exactly the same time as Artemus Ward and David L. Weiden's (2006) Sorcerers' Apprentices: 100 Years of Law Clerks at the United States Supreme Court. Then Peppers and Ward (2012) teamed up to produce an edited volume, In Chambers: Stories of Supreme Court Law Clerks and Their Justices, in which each chapter focuses on the relationship of a specific justice and his or her clerks. Together these three works raise interesting questions about how one properly studies the role and power of law clerks at the US Supreme Court. How does one measure the influence of these temporary assistants to the justices? Should sociolegal scholars trust them to help us understand the approaches and behavior of the justices today or in the past or do they have an unrealistic and inflated view of their own contributions? This essay offers a broad overview of what scholars and journalists currently know about the role of clerks at the Supreme Court.
"Across Oceans and Revolutions: Law and Slavery in French Saint-Domingue and Beyond," by Laurie M. Wood (University of Wisconsin Law School). The abstract:
New work on colonial legal regimes suggests new pathways for scholarship on legal regimes, legal consciousness, judicial personnel, and the Atlantic world. Malick Ghachem's recent book, The Old Regime and the Haitian Revolution (2012), introduces scholars to one legal regime—that of the French plantation colony of Saint-Domingue—to show how enslaved and free people continually negotiated the terms of master sovereignty and manumission. This debate lasted from Saint-Domingue's establishment as a slave society in the seventeenth century to its revolution in the 1790s, which overthrew the slave regime and culminated in independence in 1804 as the republic of Haiti.
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