Saturday, December 31, 2022

Weekend Roundup

  • Tomiko Brown-Nagin joins Melissa Murray and Kate Shaw to discuss her book Civil Rights Queen: Constance Baker Motley and the Struggle for Equality on the Strict Scrutiny Podcast.
  • New NYT reportage on the fundraising of the Supreme Court Historical Society.  And in case you're wondering who was on deck for the Silverman Lectures on November 1, 2017: this.
  • The National Museum of African American History and Culture will observe the 160th Anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. (More).
  • ICYMI: Mary Ziegler, University of California-Davis School of Law, and Kimberley Reilly, University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, on Wisconsin’s 1849 abortion ban (WPR).  Lauren Robel and nine historians file brief against the Indiana attorney general on the history of abortion in Indiana (KPVI). Noah Feldman on the Supreme Court's "Nostalgia Doctrine" (WaPo).  Scott Gerber on why the Puritans outlawed Christmas (Washington Examiner).

Weekend Roundup is a weekly feature compiled by all the Legal History blogger.  (Links fixed. H/t: JC.)

Friday, December 30, 2022

Family Law Trailblazers

Family Law Quarterly 55:3 contains a symposium on “Family Law Trailblazers” that included the following articles:

Judith S. Kaye: A Chief Judge for Families and Children Family Law Trailblazers
Andrew Schepard

Judge Jane Bolin: Ahead of the Times, Part I: A Look at an Important Decision on Juvenile Interviews, In Re Rutane
Patria Frias-Colon and Irwin Weiss

Judge Jane Bolin: Ahead of the Times, Part II: A Look at Her Child Support Cases Family Law Trailblazers
Patria Frias-Colon and Irwin Weiss

The Ties That Bind: What Pauli Murray Teaches Us about Race, Family, Slavery, and Inequality Family Law Trailblazers
Jessica Dixon Weaver

How to Bring Your Kids up Queer: Family Law Realism, Then and Now
Kris Franklin, Kris and Noa Ben-Asher

Tributes to Family Law Scholars Who Helped Us Find Our Path

--Dan Ernst

Thursday, December 29, 2022

Gindis and Medema on Manne's "Joint Committee"

David Gindis, University of Hertfordshire, and Steven G. Medema, Duke University, have posted
One Man a Committee Does Not Make: Henry Manne, the AEA-AALS Joint Committee, and the Struggle to Institutionalize Law and Economics:

In 1965, Henry Manne convinced the Association of American Law Schools and the American Economic Association to establish an ad hoc Joint Committee to explore the possibilities of collaborative efforts between economists and legal scholars. This paper examines the origins and activities of this Joint Committee and reveals that its work was far less about promoting increased interaction between economists and legal scholars than about a conscious attempt to use this committee to help fashion a particular form of law and economics that would reshape legal analysis in a way consistent with Manne’s vision. Though the Committee’s effective life was very short and its direct influence negligible, the lessons learned informed Manne’s subsequent efforts to institutionalize law and economics within the legal academy.

--Dan Ernst

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Adams's "Legal Concept of Work"

Zoe Adams, Lecturer in Law, University of Cambridge, has published The Legal Concept of Work (Oxford University Press):

"Why do we think about some practices as work, and not others? Why do we classify certain capacities as economically valuable skills, and others as innate characteristics? What, moreover, is the role of law in shaping our answers to these questions?"

These are just some of the queries explored by Zoe Adams's analysis of the legal construction, and regulation, of work.

Spanning from the 14th century to the present day, The Legal Concept of Work explores how the role of law and legal concepts comes to consider some forms of human labour as work, and some forms of human labour as non-work. It examines why perceptions of these activities can change over time, and how legal constitution impacts the way in which work comes to be regulated, organised, and valued.

As part of the analysis, the book presents a series of case studies, ranging from the publishing industry, academia, medicine, and retail, with a view of illustrating some of the regulatory challenges different types of work face, in the context of capitalism.

--Dan Ernst

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Risinger on Smith v. Rapid Transit

D. Michael Risinger, Seton Hall University School of Law, has posted Off the Rails: The Surprising Story of Smith v. Rapid Transit, Inc.:

A large percentage of lawyers of my generation and later would recognize the case of Smith v. Rapid Transit, Inc. because the short opinion of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court was presented in its entirety in leading casebooks. The reader may recall that, according to the opinion, the evidence presented by the Plaintiff, Betty Smith, was insufficient to raise a jury issue on the question of Rapid Transit’s ownership of the bus which she testified ran her off the road and caused her to collide with a parked car. However, a close look at the realities of transportation in Winthrop in 1941 makes it almost certain that any bus operating in Winthrop at 1:00 a.m. on the date and at the place of the accident was indeed a Rapid Transit bus. But beyond that, newly discovered material casts a surprising light on the conventional understanding of the dispute that led to the opinion.
--Dan Ernst

Monday, December 26, 2022

Zipursky on Cardozo's "American Natural Law

Benjamin C. Zipursky, Fordham University School of Law, has posted Benjamin Cardozo and American Natural Law Theory, which is forthcoming in the Yale Journal of Law and the Humanities

Benjamin N. Cardozo (NYPL)
Cardozo’s famous Storrs’ Lectures -- The Nature of the Judicial Process -- turned 100 years old in 2021, but its central themes resonate with many legal thinkers today. Is it possible to reconcile the creativity of adjudication with rule-of-law values central to our democracy? Is it possible for judges to strive to make the law better approximate justice while nonetheless retaining a sense of judicial humility central to their role in our system? Many of today’s legal academics, judges, and lawyers have responded to these tensions skeptically, by adopting a form of Legal Positivism combined with supposedly disciplined interpretive methodologies such as Originalism and Textualism – a view I label “Washington Legal Positivism.” Cardozo’s reaction -- spelled out in his Storrs’ Lectures -- was quite the opposite: while he rejected Legal Realism, Legal Positivism, and Classic Natural Law Theory, he believed that it was possible to harmonize creativity and justice-seeking in adjudication with fidelity to the law and a modest conception of judicial role suitable to our democratic system and to the maintenance of the rule of law. The article suggests that The Nature of the Judicial Process should be read as an early statement of a form of Natural Law theory especially suitable to modern American legal thought: “American Natural Law Theory,” as I call it. Quoting German and American predecessors, Cardozo wrote “the modern philosophy of law departs essentially from the natural-law philosophy in that the latter seeks a just, natural law outside of positive law, while the new philosophy of law desires to deduce and fix the element of the just in and out of the positive law—out of what it is and of what it is becoming. ” On this view, I argue in detail, Cardozo’s jurisprudential descendants are most notably Lon Fuller and Ronald Dworkin. The second half of the article develops the possibility that while some of Ronald Dworkin’s work furthered the Cardozoan project of developing American Natural Law Theory (although not under that name), the replacement of Cardozoan judicial humility by Herculean moral arrogance was a turn in the wrong direction. It concludes by sketching a reconstruction of a Cardozoan natural law theory suitable to a restrained conception of the judicial role and a modest pragmatic approach central to The Nature of the Judicial Process.
--Dan Ernst

Saturday, December 24, 2022

Weekend Roundup

  • In the latest Legal History Podcast, host Siobhan Barco talks with Professor Peter Grajzl and Peter Murrell about their June 2022 Law and History Review article “Using Topic-Modeling in Legal History, with an Application to Pre-Industrial English Case Law on Finance."

  • The Fall/Winter 2022 issue of Historical Review, a publication of the Florida Supreme Court Historical Society, is available here.  It includes the “ask the archivist” column: “Why Are There So Many British Common Books Law in the Library's Collection?”
  • “Less than a week before the 50th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, Cynthia Nixon sits down with author and historian Felicia Kornbluh to discuss A Woman’s Life Is a Human Life” at the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan on January 17.  More.
  • David Armitage, “In Defense of Presentism,” a chapter in History and Human Flourishing, ed. Darrin M. McMahon (Oxford University Press).
  • ICYMI: The 1,800 congressmen who owned enslaved Black people (WaPo).  David W. Blight on Dred Scott and the inevitability of the Civil War (NYT Magazine).  Excerpts from Judge Robert L. Wilkins’s speech during the installation of his official portrait at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in 2014, in which Judge Wilkins reflects on his family history (Slate).  Jamelle Bouie on the continuing relevance of “Thomas Skidmore’s 1829 treatise The Rights of Man to Property” (NYT).

Weekend Roundup is a weekly feature compiled by all the Legal History bloggers.

Friday, December 23, 2022

GLOSSAE 19 (2022)

Volume 19 (2022) of GLOSSEA: European Journal of Legal History is now on-line.  Its editor, Professor Aniceto Masferre, Legal History & Comparative Law, Faculty of Law, University of Valencia, tells us that its editorial board welcomes articles written in English dealing with legal history, no matter their geographical and chronological context .  Submissions are through its website.  The journal is is indexed in SCOPUS, SJR-2019 is 0.111, Q4 on Law & History and available through such the databases as SCOPUS, HEINONLINE-Law Journal Library, Directory of Research Journals Indexing (DRJI), DIALNET, and WorldCat.

--Dan Ernst

Novak's "New Democracy" Abroad

William J. Novak’s New Democracy: The Creation of the Modern American State is the subject of a symposium in Tocqueville21:

 1. The Limitless Possibilities of the Long Progressive Era’s New Democracy by Laura Phillips-Sawyer (University of Georgia Law)

2. État et démocratie aux Etats-Unis by Alain Chatriot (Sciences Po, Paris)

3. The History and Myth of American Democracy by Stephen Sawyer (American University in Paris)

4. The Progressive State, New Democracy, and the Elision of Race by Kate Masur (Northwestern University)

5.  Response: New Democracy and the De-Democratization of American Law and History, by William Novak.

Professor Novak was photographed in action at a book event at Sciences Po.  

--Dan Ernst

Thursday, December 22, 2022

Coffey on the Irish Influence on the Burmese Constitution

Donal K. Coffey, National University of Ireland Maynooth, has published The Drafting of the Constitution of the Union of Burma in 1947: Dominion Status, Indo-Burmese Relations, and the Irish Example online, open-access in the Law and History Review:

This paper aims to consider four elements of Burmese constitutional history between 1946 and 1948. The first section considers the negotiations between Burma and the United Kingdom and argues that the debate about whether Burma wanted Dominion status has overlooked the crucial transitional government period. The second section gives a brief overview of the drafting process, paying particular attention to the links between the Indian Constituent Assembly in Delhi and Rangoon. The third section outlines the comparative influences on the Burmese Constitution using the digital humanities and illustrates that the biggest foreign influence was the Irish Constitution of 1937. The final section looks at the Burmese political leadership after World War II along two dimensions—at a nationalist level and at an elite level—and traces some of the links between Burma and Ireland.
--Dan Ernst

California Supreme Court Historical Society Review

The latest issue of the California Supreme Court Historical Society Review (Fall/Winter 2022) is out.  We borrow from a communication from its editors:

“The Supreme Court Case That Dared Not Speak Its Name,” by L.A. attorney Bob Wolfe, documents the little-known story of ONE v. Olesin (1958). One Magazine, whose offices were in L.A., was the first openly gay magazine in the nation, and the subject of the high court’s summary reversal of the obscenity charges filed against it. The court’s action is now regarded as pivotal in the eventual legal recognition of LGBTQ rights."

"The 1944 Port Chicago Mutiny and the Legacy of Racism in the U.S. Military” by John S. Caragozian is “an  mutiny by African-American Navy personnel. The workers, at the naval base near Marin, California, were assigned to load huge shipments of live explosives without training, and feared deadly accidents. Indeed, the massive explosion that occurred on July 17 killed 320 men, wounded an additional 390 and destroyed the pier, the cargo ship Bryan, railroad locomotives and buildings. The subsequent court martial and conviction of 50 sailors who resisted orders to go back to work resulted in lengthy prison sentences for the men. L.A. author John Caragozian sees the incident as another example of the U.S. military’s legacy of racism.”

“Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye’s Mission to Bring Order From Chaos” by David A. Carrillo, is “an appraisal of California's retiring Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye's tenure and a profile of the state's new chief justice, Patricia Guerrero.”  It is followed by Jake Dear, “Personal Reflections About Working for and With Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye.”

Other contributions include “A Glimpse Into the Private Life of the Late Chief Justice Rose Bird” by the Honorable Robert C. Vanderet; “Expanding Justice for All: The Supreme Court of California in Times of Change” by Marie Silva, and “Public Defenders: The Antidote to Communism,” which is the Honorable Maria E. Stratton’s review of Sara Mayeux’s Free Justice: A History of the Public Defender in Twentieth.Century America.

--Dan Ernst

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

CFP: Global Correspondent Banking 1870–2000

[We have the following announcement.   DRE]

The global payments system represents the underlying plumbing of globalisation, determining the efficiency and security of cross-border payments for goods and services. Despite its fundamental importance surprisingly little is known about the evolution of this system, especially the dynamics of the network of bilateral bank relationships used for cross-border settlements across the past 150 years.

The European Research Council funded "Global Correspondent Banking 1870–2000" project would like to invite proposals from researchers at all levels for a conference on the evolution of the global payments system during the 19th and 20th centuries. Topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • Correspondent banking, international banking networks and the development of the global payments system
  • The changing shape, patterns and dynamics of international banking networks, and the impact of financial crises, world events and regulatory changes
  • Banking technologies and the 'plumbing' of the international payments system, e.g. bills of exchange, ICT innovation
  • Bank internationalisation strategies

The conference will be held at St Hilda's College, Oxford University on Thursday 23rd and Friday 24th March 2023.

Submission details: Proposed titles and paper abstracts of c. 300 words, along with a short biography of the author, should be submitted to by Monday 2 January 2023. Participants will be notified in early January if their proposal has been accepted.

Conference organisers: Professor Catherine R. Schenk; Dr Marco Molteni; Dr Alena Pivavarava | GloCoBank Project

About GloCoBank: "Global Correspondent Banking 1870–2000" (GloCoBank) is a 5-year research project funded by the European Research Council (ERC) which seeks to identify and analyse the international network of correspondent banking relationships across the 20th century.

CFP: Tangier Statute Centenary Conference

[We have the following Call for Papers.  DRE.]

Tangier Statute Centenary Conference, 18 December 2023, Tangier.

On 18 December 2023 (i.e. a year from now), Willem Theus (KU Leuven – UCLouvain), Dr Michel Erpelding (University of Luxembourg), Prof Dr Francesco Tamburini (University of Pisa), Prof Dr Fouzi Rherrousse (University of Oujda), and [Geert van Calster] are organising a conference to celebrate the centenary of the Statute of Tangier, signed at Paris. Credit for kicking off the process goes to Willem.

This treaty, signed between France, Spain and the United Kingdom, and later joined by Sweden, Belgium, the Netherlands, Portugal and Italy, provided for the creation of a new legal entity: the International Zone of Tangier. Established by 1925, the Tangier Zone was formally an integral part of Morocco, but subject to a special regime that left most of its institutions under the joint administration of several Western powers. This special regime would last until Morocco’s independence in 1956, with some international elements remaining in place under a Royal Charter until 1960.

Thinking about the Zone triggers an extravaganza of thoughts on international commercial courts, conflict of laws, history of law and so much more. The call asks for papers on

The Politics of Individual Powers Towards/Within the Zone
Moroccan Attitudes and Policies Towards/Within the Zone and Its Institutions
The Interzonal and Foreign Relations of the International Zone17
Politics in the International Legislative Assembly
The Veto-Role of the Committee of Control
The Zone’s Legal System/Codes
The Operation, Case Law and Reforms of the Mixed Court
The Bar of the International Zone

Careers of Individual Lawyers/Officials/Businessmen/Intermediaries
The Tangier Banking System
The Ecclesiastical, Jewish and Sharia Courts
The Working and Case Law of the American Consular Court
The Spanish Civil War and its Impact on the Zone
The Architecture of the International Administrative Buildings of the Zone
Smugglers and the Law; and
The Legal System of the Transition Period (1956–1960)

The call and further details are available in Arabic, English, French, Italian and Spanish.

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Announcing the Boston Area Legal History Colloquium

We have the following announcement:

With the financial support of the American Society for Legal History, the Boston College Morrissey Graduate College of Arts and Sciences and Boston College Law School are sponsoring a new initiative for graduate students studying legal history.

The Boston Area Legal History Colloquium will convene in January, February, March, and April 2023 and offer an opportunity for graduate students studying legal history to receive feedback on works-in-progress in a collegial atmosphere. The BALHC also offers a unique opportunity to meet other Boston-area graduate students and faculty with similar interests.

The Colloquium is open to M.A./M.Phil., J.D., LL.M., Ph.D., and S.J.D. students at any Boston-area institution. Faculty are also welcome to attend the convenings and/or serve as commentators for graduate student papers. Faculty and graduate students can register to present, comment, and/or attend the Colloquium using this registration form, which is also linked in the attached PDF. 

-- Karen Tani

Mikhail on the Federalist Theory of Implied Powers

John Mikhail, Georgetown University Law Center, has posted The Original Federalist Theory of Implied Powers, which is forthcoming in the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy:

William Lloyd Garrison (NYPL)
In March, 2022, Professor Michael McConnell and I debated the original design of the Constitution at The Federalist Society’s annual National Student Symposium. This forthcoming essay in the Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy is a lightly edited transcript of my opening remarks at that debate. The essay argues that the two principal draftsmen of the Constitution, James Wilson and Gouverneur Morris, framed that instrument to vest sweeping implied powers in the Government of the United States, including but not limited to: (1) all the powers to which any nation would be entitled under the law of nations, (2) all the powers that Blackstone and other writers had explained were tacitly possessed by any legal corporation, (3) the power to legislate on all issues that affect the general interests or harmony of the United States, or that lay beyond the competence of the individual States, and (4) the power to fulfill all the purposes for which the Government of the United States was formed, including those ends enumerated in the Preamble and General Welfare Clause. The essay responds to some familiar objections to this thesis, with particular reference to the ratification of the Constitution, controversies in the First Congress, early congressional practice, and other evidence of original public meaning. Finally, the essay touches on the implications of this thesis for our understanding of “the federal consensus” and the disputes between later abolitionists, such as William Lloyd Garrison and Frederick Douglass, over the constitutional powers of the United States to abolish slavery.
--Dan Ernst

Monday, December 19, 2022

Call for Applications: Dissertation Support from the Immigration and Ethnic History Society

We're re-posting the following dissertation support opportunity, from the Immigration and Ethnic History Society. The deadline to apply is December 31, 2022.

The IEHS presents two awards of $1,000 each to help graduate students with their dissertations on American immigration, emigration, or ethnic history, broadly defined. These awards are intended for students in the process of researching and writing their dissertations, and not for students completing and defending in 2023. For the 2023 award, the committee invites applications from any Ph.D. candidate who will have completed qualifying exams by 2022.

The IEHS presents two awards of $1,000 each to help graduate students with their dissertations on American immigration, emigration, or ethnic history, broadly defined. These awards are intended for students in the process of researching and writing their dissertations, and not for students completing and defending in 2023. For the 2023 award, the committee invites applications from any Ph.D. candidate who will have completed qualifying exams by 2022.

Applicants will submit the following materials to, which will reach all committee members:

1. A 1500-word descriptive proposal in English discussing the significance of the work, the methodology, sources, and collections to be consulted.

2. A proposed budget.

3. A brief curriculum vitae.

 In addition, applicants will arrange for their major advisor to submit a supporting letter to

Application materials and the supporting letter must be received by the submission deadline: December 31, 2022.

-- Karen Tani

Hoeflich and Sheppard's "Lucy and the Judge"

M.H. Hoeflich and Stephen Sheppard have published Lucy and the Judge: Wood v. Lucy, Lady Duff-Gordon (Talbot Publishing):
With this fun collection, Mike Hoeflich and Steve Sheppard invite readers to explore the story behind an iconic American contract law case, Wood v. Lucy, Lady Duff-Gordon. In addition to personal reflections from the authors on the case and its legacy, it includes a brief summary of existing scholarship about the case and the parties, a reprint of the contract and Judge Cardozo's opinion, and selections from Sears's catalogue featuring Lady Duff-Gordon's designs.
--Dan Ernst

Saturday, December 17, 2022

Weekend Roundup

  •  The University of Vermont has posted a notice of Felicia Kornbluh's A Woman’s Life is a Human Life (2023).
  •  If you missed Northwestern University's Kate Masur at the Supreme Court Historical Society on Until Justice Be Done: America’s First Civil Rights Movement, the YouTube video is here.
  • On January 20, Ada Kuskowski, University of Pennsylvania, will speak on her book, Vernacular Law: Writing and the Reinvention of Customary Law in Medieval France, at the Stanford Center for Law and History.  Register here.
  • Karen Tani (University of Pennsylvania) appeared on the Death Panel podcast to discuss the legal historical backdrop to Health and Hospital Corporation v. Talevski and the potential ramifications of the pending Supreme Court decision.  
  • For their project, "Anti-CRT Bills Come to Campus: New Threats to Free Expression & Academic Freedom from State Legislatures,” Amna Khalid and Jeffrey Snyder, Carlton College, “are eager to interview faculty, historians in particular, who have been affected by these laws.”
  • ICYMI: Farrell Evans on How Neighborhoods Used Restrictive Housing Covenants to Block Nonwhite Families Communities across the U.S. (History).  Stephen Halbrook, Should Courts Appoint Historians as Experts in Second Amendment Cases? (Volokh Conspiracy).  Nate Raymond, Judge doesn't need historian to review gun law, say prosecutors, defense counsel (Reuters).  Debra Cassens Weiss, Justice Jackson uses originalism to undercut "conservative juristocracy" (ABAJ).

Weekend Roundup is a weekly feature compiled by all the Legal History bloggers.

Friday, December 16, 2022

Paul R. Hyams (1940-2022)

We are very sorry to report the passing of Paul R. Hyams, professor emeritus of history at Cornell University on December 4 at the age of 82.  In Cornell’s excellent notice, students and colleagues recall him as a generous mentor.  “He could spend hours dissecting a historical problem, or asking questions about a new project, or debating the details of your work,” Nicole Marafioti said. “Conversations with Paul lasted for years and were never really finished; we could always pick up where we left off, with a new idea or fresh insight.”   Ada Kuskowski said that he “enjoyed being somewhat of a gadfly, in the Socratic sense, at scholarly gatherings, challenging established scholars and making everyone rethink what they thought they knew,” while also acting as “the absolute champion of graduate students and junior scholars.” A special issue of Reading Medieval Studies, “Law’s Dominion in the Middle Ages: Essays for Paul Hyams,” was devoted to him.

--Dan Ernst

Call for Applications: Baldy Center Mid-Career and Senior Fellowships

 We have the following call for applications:

The Baldy Center for Law and Social Policy at the University at Buffalo School of Law plans to award fellowships to scholars pursuing important topics in law, legal institutions, and social policy. Applications are invited from junior and senior scholars from law, the humanities, and the social and natural sciences. The Baldy Center welcomes scholars from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds to continue to cultivate and maintain a diverse and inclusive law school environment. Mid-career and Senior Fellowships are available for established scholars who wish to work at The Baldy Center, typically during a funded sabbatical or research leave. Awardees will receive a living expense allowance of $2,000 per month during the period of their residence as well as limited relocation assistance. Senior and Mid-career Fellows typically spend one semester in residence, but other terms are possible.

For more information and to apply, please visit our website here.  

-- Karen Tani

Thursday, December 15, 2022

Buddhism and Comparative Constitutional Law

Just published, open-access: Buddhism and Comparative Constitutional Law (Cambridge University Press), edited by Tom Ginsburg, University of Chicago, and Benjamin Schonthal, University of Otago:

Buddhism and Comparative Constitutional Law offers the first comprehensive account of the entanglements of Buddhism and constitutional law in Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Tibet, Bhutan, China, Mongolia, Korea, and Japan. Bringing together an interdisciplinary team of experts, the volume offers a complex portrait of “the Buddhist-constitutional complex,” demonstrating the intricate and powerful ways in which Buddhist and constitutional ideas merged, interacted and co-evolved. The authors also highlight the important ways in which Buddhist actors have (re)conceived Western liberal ideals such as constitutionalism, rule of law, and secularism. Available Open Access on Cambridge Core, this trans-disciplinary volume is written to be accessible to a non-specialist audience.

Among the contributions: "Buddhism and Constitutionalism: A Comparison with the Canon Law" by Richard H. Helmholz.  TOC after the jump.

--Dan Ernst

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

A Book Launch and Celebration for Lawrence Friedman

[We have the following announcement from Stanford Law School.  DRE.]

We are excited to announce two upcoming book talks hosted by Stanford Law School and the Stanford
Center for Law and History in honor of Professor Lawrence Friedman, to be held on Friday, January 13, 2023.

Please join us in celebrating the pioneering and broad-ranging scholarship of Lawrence Friedman, the Marion Rice Kirkwood Professor of Law, Emeritus at Stanford Law School. A leading founder and champion of the law-and-society movement, Friedman has made an indelible impact on the nature of legal scholarship and teaching, not only in the United States, but also throughout the world. Closer to home, he has left an enormous mark on Stanford Law, such that generations of colleague and students have come to associate him with the very best of SLS—brilliant scholarship and teaching, combined with true menschlichkeit.

The event will consist of two separate panels, each focused on a different, recent book published by Friedman—The Walled Garden: Law and Privacy in Modern Society (co-authored with Joanna Grossman) and Personal Identity in the Modern World. Leading commentators from Stanford and elsewhere will offer their reflections on these books, allowing time for Friedman to respond and to engage with members of the audience.  To register and get event details, please visit this link.

Dale's "Fight for Rights"

Elizabeth Dale, University of Florida, has published Fight for Rights: The Chicago 1919 Riots and the Struggle for Black Justice, open access, with the LibraryPress@UF. From the Press’s announcement:

Fight for Right traces the experiences of Black Chicagoans from the city’s founding in the 1830s, through the population boom of the Great Migration and the racial violence that shaped the summer of 1919. As a legal historian, Dale considers the aftermath of that violence through the 1930s and the forces that arose—in the streets, in city government, in the courts, and in the police department—to limit the rights of Black people. 

Dale draws on current scholarship and rich primary sources, including newspapers, photos, maps, and documents. As a multimedia, online publication, the book incorporates many of these sources alongside the text for a closer look and better understanding of day-to-day lives and acts of resistance by Black citizens of Chicago. “Voices from Chicago’s First 100 Years,” a supplement to the book, identifies many individuals mentioned throughout the text, including key figures such as activist Ida B. Wells-Barnett and her husband, lawyer Ferdinand Barnett. 

One section of the book delves into the trial of Walter Colvin and Charles Johnson, two Black youths accused of murder during the 1919 riots. Dale’s research into this case reflects the inherent bias of Chicago’s legal system, as even conflicting witness accounts and factual inaccuracies could not avert a conviction. This and other examples throughout the book highlight individual and community efforts—sometimes successful, often not—to attain rights on par with those of white Chicagoans.

--Dan Ernst

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Joshi on Racial Equality Compromises

Yuvraj Joshi, University of British Columbia Faculty of Law, has posted Racial Equality Compromises, which is forthcoming in the California Law Review:

Can political compromise harm democracy? Black advocates have answered this question for centuries, even as most academics have ignored their wisdom about the perils of compromise. This Article argues that America’s racial equality compromises have systematically restricted the rights of Black people, and have generated inequality and distrust, rather than justice and unity. In so doing, these compromises have impeded the achievement of a multiracial democracy.

Using unpublished archival documents, the Article examines how Black advocates throughout history approached compromises on equal rights. It examines how figures like Booker T. Washington, W. E. B. Du Bois, Martin Luther King, Jr., Bayard Rustin, and Fannie Lou Hamer conceived of historic compromises, what kinds of compromises they were willing and unwilling to make, and when they were prepared to sacrifice more ambitious goals for modest gains. This historical account shows that even “compromising” figures distinguished between principled and unprincipled compromises, and how pressures from “uncompromising” Black activists sometimes facilitated more just and effective outcomes—findings that prove useful for modern-day equality debates.

The Article then examines court decisions that have been central to making and breaking America’s racial equality compromises. This legal analysis reveals that American society is currently constrained by previous judicial compromises that have both failed to secure equality and curtailed society’s ability to battle inequality. Competing forces—from a Black Lives Matter movement demanding racial justice to a Roberts Court ready to unravel longstanding equality precedent—are now driving the United States to reconsider these earlier compromises. Unfortunately, the problematic features from the racial equality compromises of the past are recurring in those proposed for the present.

Ultimately, this Article investigates how past compromises might help us approach present and future ones. It describes common democracy-constraining features of compromises, including their disregard for fundamental humanity, drawing of false equivalences, exclusion of subordinated groups, emboldening of dominant groups, and endangerment of long-term change. The Article applies this framework to current debates over policing, voting rights, the Senate filibuster, and Supreme Court reform, and, using lessons from history, cautions against accepting democracy-constraining features in these contexts. This Article thus reconsiders the value of compromise by learning from Black advocates who lived through the consequences of past equality compromises.

--Dan Ernst

CFP: ASLH 2023

[We have the following CFP for the 2023 annual meeting of the American Society for Legal History.  Further information is here. DRE]

The Program Committee of the American Society for Legal History invites proposals for complete panels and individual papers for the 2023 meeting to be held October 26-28 in Philadelphia. Panels and papers on any facet or period of legal history from anywhere in the world are welcome. We encourage thematic proposals that transcend traditional periodization and geography.

Limited financial assistance (covering airfare and ground transportation only) is available for presenters in need, with priority given to graduate students, post-doctoral fellows and scholars from abroad.

Panel proposals should include the following: a c.v. with complete contact information for each person on the panel, including chairs and commentators; 300-word abstracts of individual papers; and a 300-word description of the panel.

The Program Committee also welcomes other forms of structured presentation for a 90-minute slot, including lightning round (1-2 chairs, 8-12 presenters for a few minutes each on projects in a related field at any stage of development), skills/pedagogical workshop (chair, 3-4 presenters), or roundtable format (1-2 chairs, 3-4 presenters). The Committee will also consider author-meets-reader panel proposals concerning books with a copyright date of 2022. We encourage panels that put two or three books in conversation, with up to three commentators total. Sufficient information following the general guidelines for panel proposals should be provided for the Committee to assess the merits of the presentation.

The Program Committee additionally seeks proposals for full-day or half-day pre-conference symposia crafted around related themes to augment traditional conference offerings. Please provide a 1-2 page proposal including program title, the intended length of program, and a program description, as well as a c.v. and contact information for each presenter. The Program Committee is available to consult with organizers of such symposia as they develop their proposal. Pre-conference symposia must be self-funded. Organizers are encouraged but not required to host their symposia at the conference hotel. Please note that the deadline for these submissions is earlier than the deadline for main conference submissions so that organizers whose symposia are not selected have an opportunity to submit their panels to the main conference.

We especially encourage proposals for pre-conference events that will involve scholars in emerging fields or in fields previously underrepresented at ASLH conferences and/or that will promote early career scholarly development.

As a general matter, we will not be able to accommodate special scheduling requests, so prospective presenters, chairs, and commentators at the main conference should plan to be available on Friday, October 27, and Saturday, October 28. The ASLH has a strict one-appearance policy (excluding appearances at pre-conference symposia). Prospective participants may submit proposals for multiple sessions, with the understanding that the panel chair will be responsible for promptly finding an appropriate substitute member for any session from which a participant has to withdraw.

The Program Committee encourages panels that include participants from groups historically under-represented in the organization, and that include participants who represent a diversity of rank, experience, and institutional affiliation.

The members of the Program Committee are Rabiat Akande, Evelyn Atkinson, Jon Connolly, Jenny Huangfu Day, Aaron Hall, Doug Kiel, K-Sue Park, Ivon Padilla-Rodriguez, Kalyani Ramnath, and Govind Sreenivasan. The co-chairs of the Program Committee are Catherine Evans ( and Kyle G. Volk (

All program presenters must be current members of the Society by the date of the Annual Meeting. All proposals must be submitted through the ASLH website, which will be available to take submissions starting January 17, 2023. Please visit here for updates and additional information. Scholars looking to build a panel may post their potential paper topics here. Information on how to build a successful panel can be found here.

The deadline for Pre-Conference submissions is Friday, February 17, 2023. The deadline for all other submissions is Friday, March 17, 2023.

JSCH 47:3

Journal of Supreme Court History 47:3 has been published.  Here’s the TOC:

Timothy S. Huebner


Anatomy of a Presidential Campaign from the Supreme Court Bench: John McLean, Levi Woodbury, and the Election of 1848
Rachel A. Shelden

A Forgotten First: Everett J. Waring, First Black Supreme Court Advocate, and the case of Jones v. United States  
John G. Browning

"Lost Laws" to "Eat Anywhere":  D.C. v. Thompson and the Road to Brown
Charles J. Sheehan

An Accident of History: The Fourth Amendment as Applied to Schools and New Jersey v. T.L.O.
Andrew H. Meck

Book Reviews

Making Minimum Wage: Elsie Parrish versus the West Coast Hotel Company by Helen J. Knowles
Paul Kens

Judicial Bookshelf
Donald Grier Stephenson Jr.

Monday, December 12, 2022

Love Canal: The Congressional Investigation

[We have the following announcement.  DRE]

Today, the Levin Center for Oversight and Democracy [at the Wayne State University Law School], in collaboration with the U.S. Capitol Historical Society, is releasing a Portrait in Oversight describing how a 1979 congressional investigation into an industrial toxic waste site known as Love Canal led to the discovery of thousands of hazardous waste dumps across the country and enactment of the Superfund Program to identify and begin to clean up those toxic sites.
“Love Canal marked a turning point in Congress’ willingness to acknowledge and investigate industrial waste sites poisoning American communities,” said Jim Townsend, director of the Levin Center. “The new Portrait in Oversight commemorates the bipartisan work that exposed and took action on a complex, nationwide environmental problem, reminding Congress and the public of what is possible.”
This week is the 42nd anniversary of the 1980 Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) that created Superfund and held polluters accountable for a portion of the costs to clean up the environmental disasters they caused. Today, EPA has identified 40,000 Superfund sites across the country, of which more than 1,300 are on the priority list. Since 1980, about 450 have been remediated and removed from the list. Earlier this year, after a lapse of more than 25 years, Congress revived the industry tax that helps pay for Superfund cleanups.
This portrait is the latest in a series of profiles developed by the Levin Center of notable congressional investigations and key figures in the history of congressional oversight from 1792 to the modern era.

Penningroth, "Race in Contract Law"

The University of Pennsylvania Law Review has published "Race in Contract Law," by Dylan Penningroth (University of California, Berkeley). Here's the abstract:

Modern contract law is rife with ideas about race and slavery and cases involving African Americans, but that presence is very hard to see. This Article recovers a hidden history of race in contract law, from its formative era in the 1870s, through the Realist critiques of the early 1900s to the diverse intellectual movements of the 1970s and 80s. Moving beyond recent accounts of “erasure,” and complementing Critical Race Theorists’ insights about law’s role in constructing, naturalizing, and justifying racial inequality, the Article offers a historically rich account of when, where, and why legal professionals have highlighted race in contract law.

The full article is available here.

-- Karen Tani

Saturday, December 10, 2022

ASLH Preyer Awards to Atkinson, DeLand

Closing out our re-cap of the awards, fellowships, and prizes announced at the November 2022 meeting of the American Society for Legal History, we are noting here the winners of the Kathryn T. Preyer Award:

Named after the late Kathryn T. Preyer, a distinguished historian of the law of early America known for her generosity to early career legal historians, the program of Kathryn T. Preyer Scholars is designed to help legal historians at the beginning of their careers.

This year's winners are Evelyn Atkinson (University of Chicago), for her paper "Telegraph Torts: The Lost Lineage of the Public Service Corporation," and Kyle DeLand (University of California, Berkeley), for his paper "California Redeemed: Equity, Fraud, and Land Monopoly in the Moral Economy of Colonial Property, 1831-1861."

Congratulations to both scholars, and thank you to the members of the Preyer award committee, chaired by Elizabeth Katz, for their service!

-- Karen Tani

Friday, December 9, 2022

Podvia's "Strange Case of Dr. Paul Schoeppe"

Mark W Podvia, emeritus from Dickinson School of Law of the Pennsylvania State University, has published The Strange Case of Dr. Paul Schoeppe (Talbot Publishing, 2022):

Maria Steinnecke, a wealthy spinster, died in the central Pennsylvania borough of Carlisle on January 28, 1869. At first her death was not considered suspicious. That changed when her doctor, Paul Schoeppe, presented a will in his handwriting; it said she had left her entire estate to him. Soon afterwards, an autopsy performed on Miss Steinnecke revealed traces of prussic acid, a deadly poison. Thus began the murder case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Paul Schoeppe, an event that brought national and international attention to Carlisle. Found guilty, Dr. Schoeppe would come within days of his execution before the efforts of America's physicians and the German-American community combined to force a second trial that ultimately freed him. Exciting events at the time, the two trials of Dr. Schoeppe forever changed the way that medical evidence was presented and appeals were conducted in criminal cases.
–Dan Ernst

Thursday, December 8, 2022

Sirks to lecture on the Law of the Dutch East Indies

Boudewijn Sirks, Emeritus Regius Professor of Civil Law, University of Oxford, will deliver the lecture, "The Law of the Dutch East Indies: From Ruling a Trading Post to Ruling Territories," December 13, at 14:00h (Finnish/Eastern European Time) as part of the series Comparing Early Modern Colonial Laws: Exploring the Legal History of England, the Netherlands, Portugal, and Spain in Colonial Contexts.  The organizers write, “We welcome all interested to participate in the event via Zoom! The meeting ID and password can be found [above right.]"

Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Porwancher and others' "Prophet of Harvard Law"

Andrew Porwancher, Austin Coffey, Taylor Jipp and Jake Mazeitis have published The Prophet of Harvard Law: James Bradley Thayer and His Legal Legacy (University of Kansas Press):

Amid the halls of Harvard Law, a professor of legend, James Bradley Thayer, shaped generations of students from 1874 to 1902. His devoted protégés included future Supreme Court justices, appellate judges, and law school deans. The legal giants of the Progressive Era—Holmes, Brandeis, and Hand, to name only a few—came under Thayer’s tutelage in their formative years.

He imparted to his pupils a novel jurisprudence, attuned to modern realities, that would become known as legal realism. Thayer’s students learned to confront with candor the fallibility of the bench and the uncertainty of the law. Most of all, he instilled in them an abiding faith that appointed judges must entrust elected lawmakers to remedy their own mistakes if America’s experiment in self-government is to survive.

In the eyes of his loyal disciples, Thayer was no mere professor; he was a prophet bequeathing to them sacred truths. His followers eventually came to preside over their own courtrooms and classrooms, and from these privileged perches they remade the law in Thayer’s image. Thanks to their efforts, Thayer’s insights are now commonplace truisms.

The Prophet of Harvard Law
draws from untouched archival sources to reveal the origins of the legal world we inhabit today. It is a story of ideas and people in equal measure. Long before judges don their robes or scholars their gowns, they are mere law students on the cusp of adulthood. At that pivotal phase, a professor can make a mark that endures forever after. Thayer’s life and legacy testify to the profound role of mentorship in shaping the course of legal history.

--Dan Ernst

Tuesday, December 6, 2022

New Cromwell Article Prize Announced

[We have the following announcement.  DRE]

The William Nelson Cromwell Foundation recently established a $10,000 prize [emphasis supplied] for the best legal history article of the year.  The prize is intended to recognize the growing role of legal history teaching and research in law schools.  Articles on legal history published in a journal of legal scholarship, including student-edited law reviews, or written by a scholar with a degree in law, are eligible for consideration.  Articles published in a journal issue that first became available to subscribers or to the public in the year 2022 are eligible for the 2022 prize.

To select the winning article, the Foundation has appointed a committee of legal scholars chaired by Cromwell trustee and Yale law professor John Fabian Witt.  The other members of the committee are Cromwell trustees Sarah Barringer Gordon of the University of Pennsylvania Law School and John H. Langbein of Yale Law School, as well as Daniel R. Ernst, the Carmack Waterhouse Professor of Legal History at Georgetown Law School; Amalia Kessler, the Lewis Talbot and Nadine Shelton Professor of International Legal Studies at Stanford Law School; Alison L. LaCroix, the Robert Newton Reid Professor of Law at the University of Chicago Law School; and Troy McKenzie, Dean and Cecelia Goetz Professor of Law at NYU School of Law.

Authors and journal editors are welcome to nominate articles, though articles fitting the criteria of the prize may be considered whether or not they are nominated.  Please submit nominations by February 1, 2023 through the submission function [here].

The Foundation, funded principally by a bequest from eminent lawyer William Nelson Cromwell, who died in 1948, has for a number of years awarded Early Scholar prizes for books, articles and dissertations, as well as funding numerous other legal history projects.  This is the first prize the Foundation has offered which is open to scholars of any level of seniority.

Monday, December 5, 2022

CFP: 2023 Law and Humanities Interdisciplinary Workshop for Junior Scholars - Deadline 12/15

 We have the following call for submissions:

2023 Law and Humanities Interdisciplinary Workshop for Junior Scholars

Georgetown University Law Center, Stanford Law School, UCLA School of Law, the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of Southern California Center for Law, History, and Culture invite submissions for the 22nd meeting of the Law and Humanities Interdisciplinary Workshop for Junior Scholars, to be held at Georgetown Law Center, Washington, DC, on May 24-25, 2023.


The workshop is open to untenured professors, advanced graduate students, post-doctoral scholars, and independent scholars working in law and the humanities. In addition to drawing from numerous humanistic fields, including Black and Indigenous studies, history, literature, political theory, critical race theory, feminist theory, and philosophy, we welcome critical, qualitative work in the social sciences, including anthropology and sociology. While the scope of the Workshop is broad, we cannot consider proposals that are focused solely on quantitative social science research or that are limited to purely doctrinal legal research. We are especially interested in submissions from members of traditionally underrepresented groups and submissions touching on themes of anti-racism and anti-subordination. We welcome submissions from those working at regional and teaching-intensive institutions.

Based on anonymous evaluation by an interdisciplinary selection committee, between six and eight papers will be chosen for presentation at the Workshop. At the Workshop, two senior scholars will comment on each paper. Commentators and other Workshop participants will be asked to focus specifically on the strengths and weaknesses of the selected scholarly projects, with respect to subject and methodology. The selected papers will then serve as the basis for a larger conversation among all the participants that may include themes connecting all of the projects, as well as discussion of the evolving standards by which we judge excellence and creativity in interdisciplinary scholarship.

The selected papers will appear in a special issue of the Legal Scholarship Network; there is no other publication commitment. (We will accommodate the wishes of chosen authors who prefer not to have their paper posted publicly with us because of publication commitments to other journals.) However, we will only accept Workshop participants whose papers are true works in progress; articles or chapters that are already in page proofs or are otherwise unable to be revised by the time of the Workshop are ineligible.

The Workshop will pay the domestic travel and hotel expenses of authors whose papers are selected for presentation. For authors requiring airline travel from outside the United States, the Workshop will cover such travel expenses up to a maximum of $1250.

Read on here. The application deadline is December 15, 2022.

-- Karen Tani

Federal History 14

Federal History 14 (2022), the journal of the Society for History in the Federal Government, has been published.  Here’s the TOC:

Editor’s Note
        — Benjamin Guterman

Roger R. Trask Lecture
        — Arnita Jones


A Clash of Principles: The First Federal Debate over Slavery and Race, 1790
        — Paul J. Polgar

From Conspiracy to Policy: James V. Martin, the “Air Trust” Narrative, and the 1926 Air Commerce Act
        — Sean Seyer

“Substantive Accomplishments”: Richard Nixon, High School Student Environmentalists, and the President’s Environmental Merit Awards Program
        — Neil Buffett

The Contribution of U.S. Military Advisors in the Dominican Republic to Operation Unified Response, Haiti Earthquake Relief, 2010
        — Bradley Lynn Coleman


An Interview with Kelly J. Shannon
        — Alexander Poster


From Selma to Moscow: How Human Rights Activists Transformed U.S. Foreign Policy
by Sarah B. Snyder
        – Introduction by Paul Adler
        – Review by Theresa Keeley
        – Review by Robert Rakove
        – Review by Matthew K. Shannon
        - Response by Sarah B. Snyder

   Recent Publications

        Human Rights–A Select List

Saturday, December 3, 2022

Weekend Roundup

  • Today, the Connecticut Democracy Center hosts on its "Encounters" series on Connecticut's constitutional history at the Old State House in Hartford (Patch). 
  • The Penn Program on Regulation and the Center for Technology, Innovation & Competition will host William Novak, the Charles F. and Edith J. Clyne Professor of Law at the University of Michigan for a discussion of New Democracy: The Creation of the Modern American State on December 6, 4:30pm - 5:45pm EST.
  • Congratulations to Julian Davis Mortenson and Nicholas Begley for winning the Administrative Law Scholarship Award of the ABA Administrative Law Section for "Delegation at the Founding," 121 Colum. L. Rev. 277 (2021).
  • Ithaca College notes the publication of The End of Public Execution: Race, Religion, and Punishment in the American South, by Michael Trotti.  A book launch is scheduled for Saturday, February 4, at 3pm at Buffalo Street Books.
  • A timeline on the history of laws against cruelty to animals (Lexology). 
  • Here's the University of Virginia Press's legal history list.
  • ICYMI: The Heritage Foundation's historical defense of the ISL theory.  Ruth Marcus on why originalism is "bunk" (WaPo).  Kenji Yoshino on the history of unenumerated constitutional rights (WaPo Magazine).  The Supreme Court's "White-washed" History (The Progressive).  The extensive history of abortion in the United States (Ms. Magazine)
  • Update: The North Carolina Museum of History in Raleigh will host a public exhibition of a rare first printing of the U.S. Constitution on December 7 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (aol)

  Weekend Roundup is a weekly feature compiled by all the Legal History bloggers.

Friday, December 2, 2022

Dippel's "Modern Constitutionalism"

Horst Dippel, professor emeritus of British and American Studies at the University of Kassel, has published Modern Constitutionalism: Origin and Manifestations. England - North America - France - Germany - Europe/European Union - Latin America (Talbot Publishing, 2022):

Dippel assesses the Virginia Declaration of Rights of 12 June 1776 and shows how its ten principles made it the founding document of modern constitutionalism, which subsequently spread across the United States and, beginning with the French Revolution, Europe and Latin America. He shows how these principles were always confronted, in varying degrees, by resistance and opposition and always enriched, modified, or diluted by local or regional variations. With multiple examples from the 17th through the 21st centuries, Dippel shows both what a global and individual national history of modern constitutionalism might look like and how it would help us to better understand the present constitutional situation of individual American and European states, as well as the world we live in.
–Dan Ernst

Thursday, December 1, 2022

Vanatta on the Financialization of Public Pensions

Sean Vanatta, University of Glasgow has posted The Financialization of U.S. Public Pensions, 1945-1974:

This article examines a major transformation public employee pension investment in the United States, from investing public funds in public infrastructure in the 1940s and 1950s, to investing public funds in private securities—corporate bonds, stocks, and mortgages—in the 1960s and 1970s. Three factors drove this change. First, in the adjacent field of professional asset management, motivated financial elites orchestrated a shift in state-level trust law, from legally-sanctioned investment lists, which encouraged amateur investment and safety, to the “prudent man rule,” framed by professional risk-taking and discretion. Second, declining municipal bond yields during World War II led public pension managers to gradually reconceptualize the political goals of pension investment, from balancing retiree returns against low-cost public infrastructure, to maximizing public employee benefits at minimal taxpayer cost by achieving maximum returns in financial markets. Professional asset managers, who joined pension policy networks in the 1950s, encouraged this change. Third, when state and local governments liberalized investment rules to allow public investments in private securities, public officials hired these same asset managers to make these investments. These relationships created new channels for ideology and influence to move from financial elites to state policymakers, through which financial elites continuously pushed for further liberalization. Ultimately, this article argues, financialization was not the product of a radical break or crisis in the 1970s, but was a continuous process in the post-World War II era, one initially pursued by state and local government officials in service of welfare liberalism.

--Dan Erns