Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Another Historians' Brief in Trump v. Anderson (Now with Graber's)

[We're updating and moving this post up because Professor Graber's brief is now available.  DRE.]

Another group of eminent historians have filed an amicus brief in Trump v. Anderson: Jill Lepore, David Blight, Drew Gilpin Faust, and John Fabian Witt

Update: Here is the Harvard Crimson on the Professors Faust and Lepore's participation on the brief. 

Update: Mark Graber's brief is here.

Dan Ernst

Arvind and Burset on Camden and Mansfield

T. T. Arvind, York Law School, and Christian R. Burset, Notre Dame Law School, have posted Partisan Legal Traditions in the Age of Camden and Mansfield, which is forthcoming in the Oxford Journal of Legal Studies:

Lord Camden (LC)
The eighteenth century is often treated by scholars as a period of juristic consensus. This article argues, in contrast, that the late eighteenth century saw the emergence of rival ‘Patriot’ and ‘Tory’ legal traditions. Through a detailed study of the jurisprudence of Lords Camden and Mansfield—who were both pillars of the law, as well as political and juristic rivals—we show that they differed systematically in their understanding of the common law. Those differences had a partisan cast: although they were not crude attempts to instrumentalise law to political ends, their political and jurisprudential commitments influenced each other and emerged from the same intellectual roots. We place these differences in the context of the fragmentation of eighteenth-century Whig politics, and argue that they have important implications for how we understand and use the common-law tradition today.
--Dan Ernst

Monday, January 29, 2024

ICH Seminar: The Presidency and the Constitution

The New-York Historical Society’s Bonnie and Richard Reiss Graduate Institute for Constitutional History Seminar, which is not to be confused with the Institute for Constitutional Studies, directed by Mavea Marcus at GW Law, has announced its Spring 2024 seminar for advanced graduate students and junior faculty.  DRE]

The Presidency and the Constitution: Historical Case Studies and Contemporary Questions

Presented in person at the New-York Historical Society and via Zoom.*  Fridays, May 3, 10, 31 and June 14, 2024 | 2–5 pm ET.  The Instructors are Corey Brettschneider and Kate Shaw.  Apply by March 29, 2024:

Scholars have renewed their focus on threats to democracy and, specifically, the ways the American presidency holds the potential to undo many of the legal norms fundamental to self-government. In this series of seminars, Corey Brettschneider and Kate Shaw lead an inquiry into four past case studies—including the Alien and Sedition Acts, the Tenure of Office Act and Andrew Johnson’s presidency, Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s interactions with the Federal Communications Commission and use of radio to directly message the American people, and the constitutional vulnerabilities to a criminally-minded president through the lens of the Richard Nixon presidency—with an aim towards thinking about the systemic vulnerability of the American Constitution generally, and the executive branch specifically, to democratic decay and collapse.

*Although we encourage students to attend the class in person, livestream participation will be offered to admitted students who do not live in the New York metropolitan area or who are unable to attend a class in person. If you are interested in attending some or all of the class sessions virtually, please indicate this in your application statement.    

More information here

[Of course I'm intrigued by the reference to FDR and the FCC.  DRE.]

Saturday, January 27, 2024

Historians Brief in Trump v. Anderson

The historians' amicus brief in Trump v. Anderson, an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court from the Colorado Supreme Court's exclusion of Donald J. Trump from the state's primary presidential ballot, is here.  Signers include James McPherson, Nell Painter, Vernon Burton, Manisha Sinha, Steve Hahn, and Thomas Holt.  H/t to another signer, Adam Domby.

--Dan Ernst

Weekend Roundup

  • Jill Lepore reviews Robert Post's The Taft Court: Making Law for a Divided Nation, 1921-1930 (New Yorker).  YLS's notice of the book is here.
  • Jonathan Entin, Case Western Reserve University, on The Surprising History of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals (Governing).
  • Allen Levine on Samuel Leibowitz, who "earned a national reputation defending everyone from Al Capone to the Scottsboro Boys, he represented small-time crooks like ‘Izzy the Goniff’ and used his knowledge of gefilte fish to win a client’s acquittal" (Tablet). 
  • The American Historical Association has issued a CFP for its 138th annual meeting to be held in New York City, January 3–6, 2025.
  • "Civic Stories: Students of the Civil Rights Movement," a student-oriented video of the National Constitution Center (YouTube).

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

Friday, January 26, 2024

Landmark Cases on Punitive Damages

Landmark Cases in the Law of Punitive Damages, edited by James Goudkam, University of Oxford, and Eleni Katsampouka, Kings College, London, has been published by Hart/Bloomsbury.

Punitive damages are private law's most controversial remedy. This book traces the development of the jurisdiction from the foundational decisions of Huckle v Money and Wilkes v Wood in England, to leading modern cases such as Harris v Digital Pulse Pty Ltd in Australia, Whiten v Pilot Insurance Co in Canada, Couch v AG (No 2) in New Zealand, PH Hydraulics and Engineering Pte Ltd v Airtrust (Hong Kong) Ltd in Singapore and Mathias v Accor Economy Lodging, Inc and State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co v Campbell in the United States. Many of the decisions addressed are not only landmarks regarding punitive damages but are among the most important judgments delivered in private law more generally.

The essays, which are written by leading scholars from a wide range of jurisdictions, cast new light on the cases covered. They do so by examining their historical antecedents and the impact that they have had on the development of the law. The full spectrum of issues regarding punitive damages is addressed including the insurability of punishment, constitutional constraints on the remedy's availability and whether the award should be confined to particular causes of action. The collection will be of interest to all scholars and students of private law. It concentrates on common law cases although civilian perspectives, drawn from France and Germany, are also offered.

Discount Price: £96.  Order online at & use the code GLR AQ7 to get 20% off!

--Dan Ernst.  Table of Contents after the jump.

Postdoc on Local Law under Rome

 [We have the following announcement.  DRE]

The [European Research Council] project Local Law under Rome is offering a number of Postdoctoral fellowships at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem beginning October 2024, or as soon as possible thereafter. Scholars who have received their Ph.D. after October 1st 2019 or will submit their Ph.D. no later the beginning of the Postdoctoral period are eligible to apply.

The successful candidate will be a part of a unique interdisciplinary team which will be engaged in comparative study of local legal cultures within their Roman imperial context. Together we seek to enhance the understanding of provincial legalism in its multiple manifestations.  

We are seeking experts in one (or more) of the following legal traditions, who are committed to a contextual and historical analysis of legal materials: (1) Early rabbinic law (2) Legal papyrology (3) Roman law in the provinces, or (4) Greek law. We also welcome applications by scholars of (5) Anthropology of Law who are interested in these materials.

The appointed fellow is expected to work closely with other team members. S/he will participate in the project’s ongoing activities and is expected to contribute to its collaborative outputs, produce project-related publications and provide materials for the comparative database.    

The scholarship will be granted for a maximum of 3 years. (subject to review at the end of each year). The fellow will receive a monthly stipend of approximately 11,000 NIS. Additional funding for travel will be available following approval. The fellow will have an office at the Mount Scopus Campus in Jerusalem and is expected to be present there regularly. Knowledge of Hebrew is not required.

Please submit the following documents (in one PDF file) to the e-mail address below:

  • Introduction
  • Letter describing your academic experience and motivation for participating in the project (2-3 pages)
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Abstract of the PhD dissertation
  • Writing Sample: dissertation chapter or a paper that has been published or accepted for publication (no more than 30 pages)

In addition, please arrange for two Reference Letters to be sent directly.

We encourage potential applicants to contact us for additional information on the project, the
application procedure, The Hebrew University and life in Jerusalem.  Applications will be Reviewed beginning March 15, 2024.

Prof. Yair Furstenberg, Talmud Department, Mandel Institute for Jewish Studies, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel.

Thursday, January 25, 2024

"Women, Their Lives, and the Law"

Women, Their Lives, and the Law: Essays in Honour of Rosemary Auchmuty, edited by Victoria Barnes, Nora Honkala, and Sally Wheeler, has been published by Hart/Bloomsbury:

This collection of essays honours Rosemary Auchmuty, Professor of Law at the University of Reading, UK. She has fostered the study of women's academic careers and, more politically, advanced progress on gender and equality issues including same-sex marriage and property law. Her research promotes the case of feminist legal history as a way of revealing the place of women and challenging dominant historical narratives that cast them aside.

Just as Rosemary's work does, the book seeks to end the marginalisation and exclusion of women in the legal world, by including them. The book begins fittingly with a discussion of Miss Bebb, the woman whose biography Auchmuty deployed to push feminist legal history into the mainstream. It turns then to a discussion of women known and unknown and their struggles within the legal profession offering within those chapters a critical appraisal of the role of history and biography as a methodology. From there it moves to consider feminist perspectives and critiques of the dominant structures of private law. This is followed by chapters that explore those who educate the legal profession within the academy. The chapters, and the collection as a whole, examine areas of law that have a deep significance for women's lives.

--Dan Ernst.  TOC after the jump.

Wednesday, January 24, 2024

BU's Clark Legal History Series

[We have the schedule for the Elizabeth Battelle Clark Legal History Series at the Boston University Law School.  For further information, contact Professor Jed Shugerman (  DRE]

All talks are on Thursdays, 4:20–6:20pm, in room 410, unless otherwise indicated.

Thursday, January 18
Kevin Arlyck, Georgetown Law, “The Nation at Sea: The Federal Courts and American Sovereignty, 1789-1825”

Thursday, February 1
Ashraf Ahmed, Columbia Law, & Noah Rosenblum, NYU Law, “Building Presidential Administration”

Thursday, February 8
Annette Gordon-Reed, Harvard Law, & Peter Onuf, UVA History

Thursday, February 15
Aziz Rana, BC Law, “The Constitutional Bind: How Americans Came to Idolize a Document That Fails Them”

Thursday, February 29
Jilene Chua, BU History, “Birthright Citizenship in the Empire: Chinese-Filipino Intimacies and Race-making in US Colonial Philippines, 1912-1947.”

Thursday, March 7
Anna Lvovsky, Harvard Law, “Vice Patrol: Cops, Courts, and the Struggle Over Urban Gay Life Before Stonewall”

Thursday, March 21
Malick Ghachem, MIT History

Thursday, March 28, 4:20–5:20pm
Robert Tsai, BU Law, with guest and biography subject Steve Bright, Southern Center for Human Rights, “Demand the Impossible: One Lawyer’s Pursuit of Equal Justice for All”

Thursday, April 4
Ryan Williams, BC Law, “Historical Fact”

Thursday, April 11
Matthew Boutros, BU Law 3L, & Jed Shugerman, BU Law, on Federal War-Time Prosecutions Based on “Implied” presidential powers and “the law of nations” – without any federal statutes, 1790s

Tuesday, April 16, 5:00pm (special Tuesday history department lecture in the History Department, not the law school)
Reva Siegel, Yale Law School, on Rahimi, the Second Amendment, Domestic Violence, and “Originalism” after Bruen

ABF/NU Legal History Colloquium

[We have the following announcement of the American Bar Foundation/Northwestern University (ABF/NU) Legal History Colloquium.  The links to the papers are password protected and will circulate only to those who plan to attend.  DRE.]

The ABF/NU Legal History Colloquium will be held periodically on Wednesday evenings (see dates below) from 4:30 – 5:30 pm at the Northwestern Pritzker School of Law, Room 339 of the Rubloff Building (the corner of Chicago Avenue and Lake Shore Drive).

January 24 – Gautham Rao (American University – Department of History)
The Slave Trade Manifest: A Legal History

January 31 – Luis Fuentes-Rohwer (Indiana University – Maurer School of Law)

February 14 – Kate Masur (Northwestern University – Department of History)

February 21 – Sara Mayeux (Vanderbilt University – Law School)

March 6 – Mitra Sharafi (University of Wisconsin-Madison – Law School)

March 13 – Kristin Collins (University of Michigan – Law School)

April 3 – Jonathan Levy (University of Chicago – Department of History)

April 10 – Myisha S. Eatmon (Harvard University – Department of History)

Tuesday, January 23, 2024

Cognitive Legal Humanities

Critical Analysis of Law 10: 1 (2023) is a special issue, Cognitive Legal Humanities:

Whereas cognitive legal studies has attracted a considerable amount of attention from law professors over the past few decades, Cognitive Legal Humanities (CLH) is only starting to gain traction. CLH brings together work in the cognitive sciences, the humanities, and law, focusing not so much on the prescriptive concerns that often animate research in cognitive legal studies, but on ways of enriching that vein of work—and legal scholarship more generally—by bringing the methods and materials of the humanities to bear on questions involving intention, consciousness, perception, memory, reasoning, attention, and emotion in relation to legal issues.
Maksymilian Del Mar and Simon Stern's introduction to the special issues is here.

Monday, January 22, 2024

Legal History at AALS

I'm afraid I didn't attend the Legal History sessions at the Annual Meeting of the Association of American Law Schools earlier this month, but here, from the program, are two sessions sponsored by the Legal History Section (in the latter case, jointly with other sections).

Legal History of Capitalism.  The legal history of capitalism has entered a new phase, following the rise of the new history of capitalism. Its focus on the evolution of the law creating, governing, and enabling the institutions of a market economy, indeed, including its very existence, has energized a new generation of legal historians. This session will attend to the work of young scholars, voices that have uncovered heretofore unseen aspects of the history of capitalism. Legal history is by its nature interdisciplinary, it discusses the sophisticated work of legal historians outside of the legal academy, the better to build intellectual and institutional bridges.

Session Speakers: Kevin R. Organization: Michigan State University College of Law; Gregory A. Mark, DePaul University College of Law (Moderator); Nadav Orian Peer, University of Colorado Law School; Sarah Winsberg, Brooklyn Law School.

The Uses and Misuses of History: The Roberts Court and Its Constitutional Revolution.  The Roberts Court has embarked on a constitutional revolution using history to legitimate its authority. Sometimes the Courts conservative majority employs originalism, sometimes it invokes tradition, and sometimes it ignores originalism and tradition altogether. Critics charge that many of the Court's decisions are undermining democracy and civil rights, while supporters argue that the Court is restoring the Framers' Constitution. This program will discuss how lawyers, scholars, and judges use and misuse history. Our starting points will be Jack Balkin’s Memory and Authority: The Uses of History in Constitutional Interpretation (2024) and Jonathan Gienapp’s Against Constitutional Originalism: A Historical Critique (2024).

 --Dan Ernst

Saturday, January 20, 2024

Weekend Roundup

  • The National Fellowship Program in US Politics at UVA’s Jefferson Scholars Foundation has extended its application deadline to February 1. More info here
  • A notice of "Miranda’s Victim," a film directed by Michelle Danner on Patricia Weir’s violent sexual assault by Ernesto Miranda in 1963 (Cineaholic).
  • "Unearthing Injustice: Carlisle Indian Industrial School and The Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska’s Fight for NAGPRA Repatriation," a blog post of the Native American Rights Fund.
  • Ronald Collins will discuss his new book, Tragedy on Trial: The Story of the Infamous Emmett Till Murder Trial at Politics & Prose in Washington, DC, on March 17.
  • ICYMI: A review of Covered with Night: A Story of Murder and Indigenous Justice in Early America (Liveright, 2022) (New York Alamanck).  The National Law Journal explains How to Effectively Leverage Your Firm History in Your Law Firm Marketing Materials.

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

Friday, January 19, 2024

Transformation of Consumer Law and Policy in Europe

The Transformation of Consumer Law and Policy in Europe, ed. Hans-W Micklitz and , Christian Twigg-Flesner (Hart/Bloomsbury) has been published:

This book analyses the transformation of consumer law and policy in Europe from 4 perspectives: first, the temporal transformation, i.e., changes that can be tracked from the turn of the millennium; secondly, the substantive dimension, i.e., changes in the scope of the rights and remedies provided by consumer law, as well as the underpinning values; thirdly, the institutional dimension, i.e., changes in the role of national courts, national Parliaments, consumer agencies, and consumer organisations; and fourth, the procedural element, i.e., the shift from individual enforcement via courts to enforcement by public regulators, consumer associations, alternative dispute resolution, and the development of collective enforcement exercised by consumer agencies and/or consumer organisations.

With contributions by leading consumer law scholars from across Europe, this book is a fascinating account of how consumer law has often been shaped by national as much as European interests.

--Dan Ernst.  TOC after the jump 

Bamzai on the APA's Interpretive Foundations

Aditya Bamzai, University of Virginia School of Law, has posted On the Interpretive Foundations of the Administrative Procedure Act, which is forthcoming in the George Mason Law Review:

The Administrative Procedure Act’s standard-of-review provision instructs reviewing courts to “decide all relevant questions of law, interpret constitutional and statutory provisions, and determine the meaning or applicability of the terms of an agency action,” and to set aside agency action “not in accordance with law.” How the APA’s statutory text might fit with the concept that courts should “defer” to agency legal interpretations is the subject of significant debate. Moreover, because deriving the meaning of the APA requires understanding the shifting law of the 1940s Supreme Court, the question is a conceptually and theoretically important one. This Essay seeks to understand the APA’s standard-of-review provision from the perspective of those who wrote it—by assessing the statute’s antecedents, text, structure, and legislative history, along with the other steps that Congress took during the 1940s to establish a standard-of-review in related areas.
--Dan Ernst

Thursday, January 18, 2024

Berger-Howe Legal History Fellowship

[We have the following announcement.  DRE]

Harvard Law School invites applications for the Raoul Berger-Mark De Wolfe Howe Fellowship for the  academic year 2024-2025.  Eligible applicants include those who have a first law degree, who have completed the required coursework for a doctorate, or who have recently been awarded a doctoral degree.  A J.D. is preferred, but not required.  The purpose of the fellowship, which is awarded annually, is to enable the fellow to complete a major piece of writing in the field of legal history, broadly defined, as the fellow seeks to begin or establish an academic career in legal history.  There are no limitations as to geographical area or time period. With occasional exceptions, previous fellows have gone on to pursue faculty appointments or other fellowships in American universities, primarily on law faculties.

Fellows are expected to spend the majority of their time on their own research. They also help coordinate the Harvard Law School Legal History Workshop.  Fellows will be required to be in residence at the law school during the academic year (September through May).

Applicants for the fellowship for 2024-2025 should submit their applications and supporting materials electronically to Professor Bruce H. Mann (

Each interested applicant should submit:

  • a detailed (five pages maximum) description of the proposed project,
  • a writing sample,
  • a comprehensive résumé or curriculum vitae that gives the applicant’s educational background, publications, works in progress, and other relevant experience,
  • two academic letters of reference, which may be submitted electronically by the recommenders to Professor Mann at the above email address, and
  •  copies of official transcripts of all academic work done at the graduate level, which may be sent by regular mail to Professor Mann at Harvard Law School, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138.

The deadline for applications is January 26, 2024.  Announcement of the award will be made by February 29, 2025.  The fellow will receive a stipend of $60,000.

Harvard Law School selects individuals for fellowships without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, gender identity, sexual orientation, pregnancy and pregnancy-related conditions, or any other characteristic protected by law.

Links to additional information may be found here.

Brennan Center's Historians Council on the Constitution

[We have the following announcement from the Brennan Center for Justice.  DRE]

In recent years, the U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly relied on history to decide major questions of constitutional law. But the Court’s historical accounts are often deeply flawed, departing significantly from historians’ understandings of the past and their shared methods for creating accurate interpretations of it.

To help change the national legal conversation on history and the Constitution, the Brennan Center has convened a council of 18 expert historians from leading institutions nationwide.

The council’s members include winners of the Pulitzer Prize, the Bancroft Prize, the Guggenheim Fellowship, and the MacArthur Fellowship, as well as numerous awards given by history’s top professional organizations. Their expertise spans from early American history through the 20th century and covers the gamut of topics relevant to today’s biggest constitutional questions.

The council will advise the Brennan Center’s experts on the historical dimensions of major legal issues, encourage accurate understandings of the United States’ past, and foster more responsible approaches to history in the courts as judges increasingly grapple with whether and how the past should inform their rulings. The council’s members have diverse views on how history matters to the law. The council as a body does not necessarily speak for all its members, nor do its members necessarily endorse the positions that the Brennan Center takes on historical matters.

The council’s members and their areas of expertise are listed here.

[Gautham Rao and Thomas Wolf's essay on Relentless and Loper-Bright, posted on January 16, is here.]

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Pufendorf's International Political and Legal Thought

Peter Schröderr, Professor of the History of Political Thought, University College London, has published the essay collection Pufendorf's International Political and Legal Thought in the Oxford University Press’s series, The History and Theory of International Law.  The TOC is here.

Contemporary research on the genealogy of human rights and the foundations of international law has brought renewed interest to the study of natural law in the early-modern period. German-born Samuel Pufendorf (1632-1694) is one of the eminent thinkers of this tradition, shaping the period's natural jurisprudence.

This unique collection of essays edited by historian of political thought Peter Schröder fills in a gap in Pufendorf scholarship, exploring the significance of his contributions to political and legal thought on a broad scale. While many books studying Pufendorf's work are confined to one specific academic area, Pufendorf's International Political and Legal Thought is truly interdisciplinary, and the first book to substantially address the international aspect of Pufendorf's work.

Ambitious and accessible, this collection is indispensable for scholars and students of intellectual history, political thought, international legal history, the Enlightenment, and political economy. With its focus on international law, Pufendorf's International Political and Legal Thought is a critical addition to the existing body of work on this renowned philosopher and jurist.

--Dan Ernst

Tuesday, January 16, 2024

Communicating the Law in Europe (1500-1750) Scholarship 2024

 The University of St Andrews has issued the following announcement:

Communicating the Law in Europe (1500-1750) Scholarship 2024

Two fully funded PhD studentships are available at the University of St Andrews to work as part of the ERC-selected/UKRI-funded project ‘Communicating the Law in Europe, 1500-1750’, under the supervision of the Principal Investigator, Dr Arthur der Weduwen. The project investigates how law was communicated in early modern Europe (c. 1500-1750), and what impact this had on European society.

The PhD studentships will begin in September 2024, will be based in the School of History at the University of St Andrews (with significant periods to be spent on research abroad), and will last for four years. 

These PhD studentships offer the successful applicants the exciting prospect of combining the pursuit of an independently researched thesis exploring a particular dimension of legal and political communication in early modern Europe with the opportunity to work collaboratively within a research team and to contribute to co-authored publications and the organisation of scholarly conferences.

The ‘Communicating the Law in Europe, 1500-1750’ project has been awarded a grant of €1.4 million by the European Research Council and is funded as part of the UKRI’s Frontier Research Guarantee scheme.  It will run for five years, from 1 January 2024 to 31 December 2028, and is led by the Principal Investigator, Dr Arthur der Weduwen.

The COMLAWEU project is the first to investigate comparatively how law was communicated to citizens and subjects by the authorities in early modern Europe (1500-1750). It pursues an original comparative study of the publication and circulation of municipal, regional and national law, encompassing oral communication, ceremonial proclamations and the employment of criers, as well as the affixing, distribution and sale of law texts, in manuscript and printed form.

Based on extensive archival research, this project will seek to establish for the first time to what extent the increasing body of law that was issued in early modern Europe was made publicly available, and in what forms.

The project seeks to add a new and much-needed perspective to the study of European politics in a critical era of state formation, framing the communication of law as an essential stabilising factor in an era of highly participatory but undemocratic politics.

This project will offer multiple comparative frameworks through which the communication of law will be studied, including Protestant and Catholic states, urban and rural areas, and empires, national kingdoms and city-states.

With the aid of such a comparative lens, it is an overarching aim of the project to analyse how the public dissemination of law shaped early modern civic society and influenced political participation and accountability.

The project team, led by the PI and comprising two postdoctoral research assistants and two PhD students, will work collaboratively, using a series of comparative case studies based on European regions to explore and reveal the complex ways in which European authorities communicated with their citizens and subjects.

Further details about this opportunity can be found on the School of History postgraduate funding page.

-- Karen Tani

Polan Fellowship in Constitutional Law and History

[We have the following announcement.  DRE]

The Brennan Center is launching a new fellowship program aimed at enhancing public understanding and appreciation of the meaning and promise of the United States Constitution. The Steven M. Polan Fellowship in Constitutional Law and History will support outstanding individuals – including legal practitioners, advocates, scholars, and other experts in constitutional law and history – to spur urgently needed debate over the proper understanding of our Constitution at this crucial moment, when new approaches to constitutional interpretation including originalism, incubated by the conservative legal movement over the past half century, have gained traction in the courts. These projects may include conducting legal and historical research, publishing original writing, crafting amicus briefs, organizing symposia and public events, spearheading public education projects, and other activities as appropriate.

Proposals are due by February 15, 2024. These nonresident, part-time fellowships will be one year in duration. Fellows will be awarded compensation in the form of stipends ranging from $30,000 to $60,000 per year, depending on the scope of the project. The Fellowship is open both to experienced individuals with a proven track record of achievement and expertise and to people at earlier stages of their careers who demonstrate the potential to develop into leaders in their field. We’re looking for visionaries who are animated by the challenge of reclaiming our Constitution as an enduring plan of government suited to the needs of a changing country.

Monday, January 15, 2024

Kuskowski, "The Time of Custom and the Medieval Myth of Ancient Customary Law"

The latest issue of Speculum (the journal of the Medieval Academy of America) includes an article of interest: "The Time of Custom and the Medieval Myth of Ancient Customary Law," by Ada Kuskowski (University of Pennsylvania). Here is the abstract:

Medieval custom has been variously described as old, long, repeated, remembered, or immemorial. These notions of the time of customary law can be traced to Fritz Kern’s “good old law.” While scholars have finessed or critiqued Kern’s conception, the assumption that custom had to be viewed as old or ancient law remains. This article examines the temporal framework of custom in lawbooks from late antiquity to the fourteenth century, as well as in modern history and historiography, to trace how and when the language of age and antiquity came to frame custom. When and how, in other words, did a medieval myth of an old, ancient, and even immemorial customary law form? Jurists who tried to define the term, first in late antiquity and then in the high Middle Ages, deployed various notions of time to separate a legal custom that worked like law from habitual practice. The lawbooks that described custom, on the other hand, tended to see it as current or presentist, and it was only around the turn of the fourteenth century that learned definitions worked their way into customary lawbooks. The medieval myth that customary law necessarily had to be old law turns out not to be medieval but modern.

The full article is available here (but behind a paywall).

-- Karen Tani

California Legal History: "New Histories Regarding Revolutions in the Administration of Criminal Justice"

The newest issue (Volume 18) of California Legal History features "New Histories Regarding Revolutions in the Administration of Criminal Justice."

Todd Spitzer and Greg Totten, "Did Brown v. Plata Unleash a More Dangerous Genie?"

Nancy E. O’Malley and Harold “Bosco” Boscovich, "Victims' Rights in California: A Historical Perspective to Modern Day"

George Nicholson, "The Roots of America's Crime Victims' Legal Rights Movment, 1975-2003: A Personal Retrospective and Memoir"

Barry Goode and John S. Caragozian, "California Without Law:1846 Though 1850"

The full issue is available here. It also features prize-winning student essays (profiled in an earlier post) and tributes to Norman L. Epstein and Bernard E. Witkin, two important figures in California legal history.

-- Karen Tani

Sunday, January 14, 2024

Princeton Fellowship in Law and Normative Thinking

[LHB readers may recall that Princeton University had a robust fellowship series to bring legal scholars to campus, the Program in Law and Public Affairs.  Although "LAPA" has lapsed, Princeton's University Center for Human Values has created a new program called PLANT (the Program in Law and Normative Thinking).  It has just issued a "quick-response call for fellowships for the next academic year."  DRE]

UCHV Fellows in Law and Normative Thinking for Academic Year 2024-25

The University Center for Human Values invites practitioners, faculty members of any discipline, independent scholars, and lawyers to apply for visiting residential fellowships for 2024-25. Scholars are expected to reside in or around Princeton or demonstrate to the program’s satisfaction the ability to be on campus daily. The fellowship typically extends from September 1 to June 1. The Princeton University rank is Visiting Research Scholar. Fellows are paid monthly in nine equal installments.

Fellows will devote the full academic year to research, discussion, and scholarly collaboration on topics related to law and normative inquiry. Under exceptional circumstances, fellowships for one semester may be considered.  Scholars will participate in a seminar for Law-Engaged Graduate Students (which involves some mentoring of JD/PhD students) and in activities organized by Law@Princeton.

Applicants must have a doctorate, juris doctor, or an equivalent professional degree at the time of submission.

The selection committee looks closely at the research proposal. Successful applicants should demonstrate substantial expertise in law-related matters, but in explaining research projects, applicants should write for an audience of academic generalists (not necessarily lawyers). The selection committee will evaluate applicants on: the quality of their achievements in their field of specialization and their ability to benefit from the activities of the program; the quality and significance of their proposed research projects and writing sample; the contributions they are likely to make in the future to legal scholarship and practice and their ability to contribute to legal studies at Princeton. The program seeks to appoint scholars with mutual synergies and a balance between senior and junior scholars, domestic and international scholars, and those based in law schools or in the practice of law and those who are home are in other disciplines.

Candidates must submit an online application.  The required materials are:

  • A cover letter explaining your intellectual trajectory and suitability for the fellowship
  • A CV
  • A research statement of maximum 1,000 words for a project to be pursued in the course of the fellowship
  • A writing sample consisting of a single article or chapter (published or unpublished)
  • Contact information for two referees

The deadline for submission is February 2, 2024, 11:59 p.m. EST. Letters of reference should be submitted by the priority deadline of February 9, 2024, 11:59 p.m. EST. The anticipated start date is on or about September 1, 2024, with some limited flexibility.

The work location for this position is in-person on campus at Princeton University.

For more about UCHV, [this].  For more about PLANT, [this].  And for more about an umbrella program called Law@Princeton that hosts several different legal initiatives, [this].

Saturday, January 13, 2024

Weekend Roundup

  • Stanford Law School's profile of Jud Campbell, who recently joined its faculty (Stanford Lawyer).
  • Over at the LPE Blog, this post on local procurement includes some interesting legal history. Scott Cummings (UCLA Law) and Madeline Janis (Jobs to Move America) discuss "a little-known federal rule requiring that all contracts using federal grant funds be awarded through a 'competitive bidding' process." This process, they argue, "privileges low price over all other criteria—effectively preempting local governments from using their procurement authority to sponsor public works projects meeting pressing social needs."
  • Over at Lawfare, Michael Ramsey and  Matthew Waxman have a post on the history of constitutional debates and practice of delegating Congressional war power to the President.
  • "The Irish Legal History Society has invited under-graduate and post-graduate students to submit entries for this year’s student-essay competition by 31 May 2024"  (Law Society Gazette). 
  • "The Cokie Roberts Research Fund for Women’s History will support one to three annual fellowships [in support of] research to elevate women’s history using the records held by the National Archives." More.
  • Archivist of the United States Colleen Shogan to discuss "The Politics of History and Records" at Yale University's Institution for Social and Policy Studies, Wednesday, January 31, 2;00 to 3:30 EST.  Register here
  • This Week in Section 3: Should President Trump Be Allowed on the 2024 Ballot?–a National Constitution Center podcast with Josh Blackman and Gerard Magliocca, moderated by Jeffrey RosenMark Graber disputes the significance of the latest discovery of Josh Blackman and Seth Barrett Tillman related to whether the President is an Office of the United States for purposes of Section 3 of the fourteenth Amendment (Balkinization).
  • ICYMI: The failed attempt to rename Brown v. Board of Education (Law&Crime).

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

Friday, January 12, 2024

Lowe to Discuss "Murder in the Shenandoah"

The Supreme Court Historical Society has announced its “first virtual event of 2024, a virtual lecture and conversation with Professor Jessica Lowe of UVA Law School on her book Murder in the Shenandoah. The lecture will focus on law in post-Revolution Virginia with some familiar names - John Marshall and Thomas Jefferson in the mix. It will be held at 12:00 PM (EST) on January 30, 2024, via Zoom and will be posted to YouTube following the event.”  Register here.

--Dan Ernst

Banerjee, Deland, Tefoya - Prize-winning Essays on California Legal History

Earlier this week we posted the CFP for the Student Writing Competition on California Legal History, sponsored by the California Supreme Court Historical Society. Last year's prize-winning essays have now been published in California Legal History:

Kyle Deland (University of California, Berkeley), The End of Free Land: The Commodification of Suscol Rancho and the Liberalization of American Colonial Policy

Michael Banerjee (University of California, Berkeley), California's Constitutional University:  Private Property, Public Power, and the Constitutional Corporation, 1868–1900

Miranda Tafoya (University of California, Irvine), A Shameful Legacy: Tracing The Japanese American Experience of Police Violence and Racism From the Late 19th Century Through the Aftermath Of World War II

This issue (Vol. 18) of California Legal History also includes other articles of interest, which we will profile in a separate post. The full issue is available here.

-- Karen Tani

Thursday, January 11, 2024

Tulane Law's Forrester Fellowship

[We have the following announcement.  DRE]

Tulane Law School invites applications for its Forrester Fellowship, which is designed for promising scholars who plan to apply for tenure-track law school positions. This is a full-time faculty position in the law school, and faculty are encouraged to participate in all aspects of the intellectual life of the school. The law school provides significant support and mentorship, a professional travel budget, and opportunities to present works-in-progress in faculty workshops.

Tulane’s Forrester Fellows teach legal writing in the first-year curriculum to first-year law students in a program coordinated by the Director of Legal Writing. Fellows are appointed to a one-year term with the possibility of a single one-year renewal. Applicants must have a JD from an ABA-accredited law school, outstanding academic credentials, and significant law-related practice and/or clerkship experience. If you have any questions about this position, please contact Erin Donelon at Interested candidates may apply here.

Qualifications: J.D. from ABA-accredited law school; practice and/or clerkship experience

Sugarman on "The Hidden Histories of the Pinochet Case"

David Sugarman, Professor of Law Emeritus at the Law School of Lancaster University, is lecturing on The Hidden Histories of the Pinochet Case in the "Director's Seminar" at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies.  The event will occur in the IALS Council Chamber, Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, 17 Russell Square, London WC1B 5DR on February 6, 2024, 5:00PM - 6:30PM.  You may register here.

Autumn 2023 marked the 25th anniversary of Augusto Pinochet’s arrest in London, and the subsequent decisions of Britain’s top court denying Pinochet’s claim as a former head of state to immunity. It was the first time that a former head of state had, while travelling abroad, been arrested on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity, and where that former leader’s claims to immunity were rejected by a domestic court. Hugely controversial, Pinochet’s arrest and the “Pinochet precedent” changed the meaning of international justice, giving a massive fillip to human-rights movements, galvanising victims and their loved ones, activists and lawyers.   

This lecture brings into the open the hidden histories of the Pinochet case. It reveals what went on behind the scenes, in law and in politics. Drawing on a unique set of 250 interviews with victims, NGO’s, activists, judges, lawyers, politicians, government officials and journalists during or shortly after the case, and exhaustive archival research, it casts new light on:

• Pinochet’s arrest.
• The mobilisation of a human rights coalition determined to indict Pinochet.
• The turbulent legal proceedings in London, including the decision to rehear the case as Lord Hoffmann lacked the appearance of judicial independence.
• The vital roles played by victims, their representatives, the superjuez, lawyers, journalists and media outlets (notably, El País) in sustaining the case against Pinochet versus the powerful forces seeking to resist it.
• Pinochet’s release on health grounds.

Under huge pressure many people produced high quality work, but there were structural and personal shortcomings. The lecture lays bare the collaborations that arose, and the professional and personal fissures that ensued.

The struggle to bring Pinochet to justice in London and Madrid was a remarkable endeavour. It has special saliency in an era when autocracy, impunity and denialism of human rights crimes are on the rise, and the notion of international justice is being challenged.
The lecture is situated at the intersection of law, politics, activism, the humanities and the social sciences. It will appeal to the IALS community and beyond.

Speaker: David Sugarman is Professor of Law Emeritus at the Law School of Lancaster University; Senior Associate Research Fellow, Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, University of London; Senior Associate, Centre for Socio-Legal Studies, University of Oxford. He has authored, co-authored and edited 24 books and special issues of journals, and has published over 100 articles and book chapters. He has written widely on the Pinochet case including in the Modern Law Review, Journal of Law and Society, Journal of Spanish Cultural Studies, Amicus Curiae, The Guardian, The Times, The Santiago Times, Open Democracy and El Mostrador. He has contributed to TV and radio on the subject, and has delivered keynote lectures on the case in Australia, Austria, Canada, Chile, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the UK and the USA.  

Chair: Professor Carl Stychin, IALS Director.

 --Dan Ernst

Wednesday, January 10, 2024

Markiewicz on the Panama Canal Purchase Act

Graham Markiewicz has published Pirates, Rogues, Revolutionaries, and Lobbyists: A Legislative History of the Panama Canal Purchase Act of 1902 in the Journal of Legislation:

TR & Steam Shovel in Panama (LC)
Just three pages of legislative text was enough for the United States to embark on the one of  the grandest engineering feats of all time. This Article examines the history, policies, and processes that led to the passage of the Panama Canal Purchase Act of 1902. Beginning and ending with civil wars in Latin America, this Article tells the story of how foreign affairs influence Washington, D.C., and vice versa. It follows closely a rotating cast of characters seeking fame and fortune who resorted to any lengths to achieve them. It winds through stories of revolutions, corruption, pirates, and cutthroat politics. In some ways, the passage of that law was as difficult as the engineering challenges faced by those tasked with constructing the canal. The Act itself faced a multitude of setbacks, referrals to committees, and calls for further study. Despite the intervening century, the final passage of this Act teaches us modern lessons for legislative design and advocacy.

--Dan Ernst

McSweeney on Magna Carta's Diverse Sources

Thomas J. McSweeney, William and Mary Law, has published Appealing Magna Carta in the online adjunct of the University of Chicago Law Review:

In 1999, Professor Richard Helmholz published Magna Carta and the Ius Commune, in which he argued that some of the ideas and language found in Magna Carta provide evidence that the early common law was engaging with the ius commune, the ancestor of modern civil law traditions. This Essay examines one piece of evidence highlighted by Helmholz and more recently by Professor Charles Donahue: that the Articles of the Barons, a preparatory document for Magna Carta, uses a phrase borrowed from canon law, appellatione remota (without possibility of appeal). Helmholz and Donahue pointed to its use as evidence that canon law formed part of the discussion when the drafters of Magna Carta were thinking about the common law. In this Essay, I argue that the use of this phrase is not actually evidence that canon law was being brought into discussions of the common law, since the phrase is used in the context of an ecclesiastical procedure. This example is nevertheless useful for highlighting some important features of Magna Carta. First, although there is a long tradition of associating Magna Carta with the common law, Magna Carta is not a text that is primarily about the common law. Rather, it contains provisions on several different types of law, including common law, forest law, and canon law, and underscores the pluralistic nature of English law in the thirteenth century. Second, the authors of the text seem to have gone to some length to keep these different types of law “discursively separate,” using common law terminology and canon law terminology only when appropriate to the context. And finally, although Roman and canon law were likely to have been part of the conversation about the contours of royal justice, they probably would have entered into the conversation at a high enough level of abstraction that they would not be visible in the text of Magna Carta. Overall, Magna Carta does not provide conclusive evidence whether contemporaries were thinking about Roman and canon law when reforming the common law.

--Dan Ernst

Tuesday, January 9, 2024

VAP in Southern History and Law at Rhodes College

[Via H-Net, we learn of the following announcement.  DRE] 

The Department of History at Rhodes College invites applications for a two-year Visiting Assistant Professor in the history of the nineteenth- or early twentieth-century American South on a 12-month contract, to begin August 2024.

The College recently received a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to create an Institute for Race and Social Transformation that supports scholarship and teaching around issues of race and injustice in Memphis and the Mid-South region. The successful candidate will coordinate the Justice and Remembrance Project, a digital history project that involves working with two local community partners—one that marks the sites of lynching victims in Memphis and Shelby County, Tennessee (Lynching Sites Project of Memphis) and the other an organization committed to preserving a large historic Black cemetery (Zion Community Project).

Qualified candidates will have training in history, Africana Studies, or a related discipline and will be able to offer courses in at least two of the following areas: lynching and racial violence, law and justice, the Jim Crow era, public history, digital history, or public memory/monuments. As important, the successful candidate must be committed to advancing their own scholarship in the context of a liberal arts college, strengthening the college’s partnerships with the above community organizations, and teaching and mentoring undergraduate students. Candidates must have completed all requirements for a Ph.D. in History, Africana Studies, or a related field by August 2024.

Graduate Fellows Summer Research Institute in U.S. Law and Race

[We have the following Call for Applications.  DRE]

Graduate Fellows Summer Research Institute in U.S. Law and Race.  June 10-28, 2024.  Deadline February 1, 2024

Funded by the Mellon Foundation, this three-week residential fellowship program supports four (4) graduate students in Summer 2024 at the University of Nebraska’s U.S. Law and Race Initiative with the Digital Legal Research Lab. The Mellon Graduate Fellows will have the opportunity to advance their own research and writing projects, contribute to an Open Educational Resource, and engage with faculty mentors. We seek proposals addressing race and racialization in U.S. law and history broadly, aiming to understand racialized people’s use of the law to advance personhood, citizenship, rights, and sovereignty throughout American history.

The Fellowship: Fellows will have the opportunity to workshop their own research and writing projects, receive training in digital methods to support data structuring and textual analysis, and enjoy seminar-style discussion of shared readings in U.S. Law and Race to develop their historiographical and methodological approaches. The 3-week program features tailored mentoring with U.S. Law and Race affiliate faculty and staff, along with opportunities to meet and network with UNL's History and Digital Humanities communities. Faculty mentors include William G. Thomas III (History), Katrina Jagodinsky (History and Women's and Gender Studies), Jeannette Eileen Jones (History and Ethnic Studies), Genesis Agosto (Law), Eric Berger (Law), Danielle Jefferis (Law), Laura Muñoz (History and Ethnic Studies), Jessica Shoemaker (Law), and Catherine Wilson (Law).

: $4,000 stipend; all housing and meals provided; and all travel costs are covered.

Eligibility: We seek Graduate Fellows researching topics broadly related to U.S. Law and Race. We are not able to accept proposals that are solely quantitative social science research. Fellows must be from Ph.D. programs in History or relevant humanities or humanistic social science disciplines, including joint J.D./Ph.D. programs. We are especially interested in applications from scholars who identify with traditionally underrepresented groups or attend Minority Serving Institutions.

How to Apply
: To be considered for the fellowship, you should send 1.) a letter of interest describing both your research project and how you would contribute to diversity, equity, and inclusion in the Initiative; 2.) a CV; and 3.) a list of two references the committee may contact. Please send materials to with the subject line "Mellon Graduate Fellows." Review of applications will begin February 1, 2024.

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) seeks to achieve a working and learning environment that is open to all people. Diversity is the hallmark of great institutions of learning and has long been one of the strengths of our society. Dignity and respect for all in the UNL community are the responsibility of each individual member of the community. The realization of that responsibility across the campus is critical to UNL’s success.

As an EO/AA employer, qualified applicants are considered for employment without regard to race, color, ethnicity, national origin, sex, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, disability, age, genetic information, veteran status, marital status, and/or political affiliation. See [here].

For questions about the U.S. Law and Race Initiative, please contact William G. Thomas III, Angle Chair in the Humanities and Professor of History (

Monday, January 8, 2024

CFP: Student Writing Competition on California Legal History

[We have the following call for submissions.  DRE]

The California Supreme Court Historical Society (CSCHS) announces its call for submissions to the 2024 Selma Moidel Smith Student Writing Competition in California Legal History.

We encourage all those working on California legal history (NOT just the history of California courts) to apply. Papers may include elements of digital humanities and may also be co-authored. This is a GREAT WAY to get attention for your hard work!

$5,000 first-place, $2,500 second-place, and $1,000 third-place prizes will be awarded to the best papers on California state or colonial history, broadly considered. Recent winners include a study of the death penalty in California, the evolution of California land law, especially the movement from “free” to “cheap” land, law governing the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, and the origins of the University of California, as well as a jointly authored paper on Chinese adoption practices and their role in immigration decisions after the Chinese Exclusion Act.

We generally encourage papers of at least 7,500 and no more than 15,000 words, including notes and other explanatory matter. The competition is open to students and recent graduates in history and/or law, provided that they did not have full-time academic employment at the time the paper was written. The paper should also be unpublished, and all prize winners will receive an offer to publish in California Legal History, CSCHS’s journal.

Papers may be self-nominated or sent in by a professor or supervisor. To ensure anonymity, the author’s name should appear only on a separate cover page, along with the author’s mailing address, telephone number, email address, and the name of their school.

Submissions are due by June 1, 2024 and should be sent to with the subject line

For the Prize Committee: Sarah Barringer Gordon, Laura Kalman.

Saturday, January 6, 2024

Weekend Roundup

  • David A. Bell on Sam Moyn's anti-liberalism.  (Liberties). 
  • The latest newsletter of the Historical Society of the District of Columbia Circuit is here.
  • ICYMI:  The July 1859 Wyandotte (Kansas) Constitutional Convention (Hastings Tribune).  Taft, and TR were kept off some state ballots in 1912 (  Forster Alexander Sondley, an Asheville, N.C.,  historian, lawyer, and bibliophile (Tribune Papers). Samuel Issacharoff on the folly of exhuming Section 3 of the 14th Amendment (Just Security).

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

Friday, January 5, 2024

Pardo on Antebellum Bankruptcy

Rafael I. Pardo, Washington University in St. Louis School of Law, has posted Rethinking Antebellum Bankruptcy, which is forthcoming in the University of Colorado Law Review:

Bankruptcy law has been repeatedly reinvented over time in response to changing circumstances. The Bankruptcy Act of 1841—passed by Congress to address the financial ruin caused by the Panic of 1837—constituted a revolutionary break from its immediate predecessor, the Bankruptcy Act of 1800, which was the nation’s first bankruptcy statute. Although Congress repealed the 1841 Act in 1843, the legislation lasted significantly longer than recognized by scholars. The repeal legislation permitted pending bankruptcy cases to be finally resolved pursuant to the Act’s terms. Because debtors flooded the judicially understaffed 1841 Act system with over 46,000 cases, the Act’s administration continued into the 1860s, thereby allowing further development of the law. Importantly, the system operated at a time when the role of the business of slavery in the national economy was increasingly expanding. This Article focuses on two postrepeal episodes involving legal innovation under the Act to demonstrate how an expanded periodization of its duration yields fresh insights into understanding the interaction between federal bankruptcy law and slavery: (1) the judicial constitutional settlement of voluntary bankruptcy relief, part of which occurred through a case involving a bankrupt enslaver; and (2) the practice pursuant to which some federal district courts empowered assignees—the federal court officials appointed to administer property surrendered by bankrupts in 1841 Act cases—to operate a bankrupt’s business before liquidating it, as evidenced by certain cases involving plantation owners who sought relief under the Act.
--Dan Ernst

Thursday, January 4, 2024

Dillon's "First Chief Justice"

Mark C. Dillon, a Justice of the Appellate Division of the New York State Supreme Court, has published The First Chief Justice: John Jay and the Struggle of a New Nation (SUNY Press):

The first Chief Justice of the United States, John Jay faced many unique challenges. When the stability and success of the new nation were far from certain, a body of federalized American law had to be created from scratch. In The First Chief Justice, New York State Appellate Judge Mark C. Dillon uncovers, for the first time, how Jay's personal, educational, and professional experiences—before, during, and after the Revolutionary War—shaped both the establishment of the first system of federal courts from 1789 to 1795 and Jay's approach to deciding the earliest cases heard by the Supreme Court. Dillon takes us on a fascinating journey of a task accomplished by constant travel on horseback to the nation's far reaches, with Jay adeptly handling the Washington administration, Congress, lawyers, politicians, and judicial colleagues. The book includes the history of each of the nine cases decided by Jay when he was Chief Justice, many of which have proven with time to have enduring historical significance. The First Chief Justice will appeal to anyone interested in the establishment of the US federal court system and early American history.

A review is here.

--Dan Ernst

Wednesday, January 3, 2024

The Docket 6:3-4

Issues 3-4 of Volume 6 of The Docket, the online companion of Law & History Review, published by the American Society for Legal History, is now online:

Ryan Reft, Library of Congress Sources on PGA Tour v. Martin

Professor Rabiat Akande discusses Entangled Domains: Empire, Law and Religion in Northern Nigeria

The Docket interviews Ziv Bohrer and Danny Orbach

Allen Boyer reviews Sir John Baker, Reports from the Notebooks of Edward Coke (2022-23)

Grace Mallon reviews Fritz, Monitoring American Federalism

Saru Arifin on Coolie Ordinance 1880 in Colonial Indonesia: The Refinement of Slavery for Indigenous Laborers

--Dan Ernst

Balogh's "Not in My Backyard"

Brian Balogh, University of Virginia, emeritus, has published Not in My Backyard: How Citizen Activists Nationalized Local Politics in the Fight to Save Green Springs (Yale University Press):

This social history of local political activism tells the story of the decades-long fight to save Green Springs, Virginia, illuminating the economic tradeoffs of protecting the environment, the origins of NIMBYism, the changing nature of local control, and the surprising power of history to advance public policy.

Rae Ely faced long odds when she launched a campaign in 1970 to stop a prison, then a strip mine, in Green Springs. The local political machine supported both projects, promising jobs for impoverished Louisa County, Virginia. But Ely and her allies prevailed by repurposing the same tactics used by the Civil Rights movement—the appeal to federal agencies and courts to circumvent local control—and by using new historical interpretations to create the first rural National Historic Landmark District.

The Green Springs protesters fought to preserve the historic character of their neighborhood and the surrounding environment in a quest that epitomized the conflict in late twentieth-century America between unbridled economic development for all and protecting the quality of life for an economically privileged few. Ely's tactics are now used by neighborhood groups across the nation, even if they have been applied in ways she never intended: to resist any form of development.

--Dan Ernst