Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Keating on Abraham & White, "The Puzzle of the Dignitary Torts"

Over at JOTWELL, Gregory Keating (USC Gould School of Law) has posted an admiring review of a recent article on the history of tort law: Kenneth S. Abraham & G. Edward White, "The Puzzle of the Dignitary Torts," Cornell Law Review 104 (2018). Here's a taste:
The history of the dignitary torts is indeed a puzzle. Why did scholarly interest in them disappear? Why are they still dormant even though dignity has built up a head of steam in both international human rights law and domestic legal developments such as same-sex marriage and the more general recognition of the dignity of LGBT persons? The Puzzle of the Dignitary Torts offers answers to these questions, and more. It also explores the concept of “dignity” and advances a jurisprudential argument that the dignitary torts were foreordained to wither on the vine. That argument is intuitive at first sight, but elusive on closer inspection. The basic idea is that because the common law creeps forward case by petty case it cannot build a body of law which is systematically organized around a highly general concept like “dignity”.
Read on here.