The Supreme Court and James Q. Whitman’s “The Two Western Cultures of Privacy: Dignity Versus Liberty”
James Q. Whitmore reveals an interesting contrast: whereas American law and rhetoric is strongest when privacy is approached as a protection against state interference, privacy protections in Germany and France are at their peak when the dignity of the individual is at stake. Justice Kennedy, interestingly, emphasizes this more European approach in a number of his Supreme Court decisions. April 2016
Franz Neumann on the importance of history to freedom
Freedom, argues Franz Neumann, requires several kinds of knowledge (historical, for example), not simply the absence of state (or private) coercion — though that too is a necessary and critical element.
Civil law’s influence on early United States law
It is a law-school maxim today that the United States is a common-law country, while most of Europe uses civil law: English-derived common law has as its most basic tenet the binding nature of judicial precedent, while Roman-derived civil law privileges statutes. But the more I investigate the history and details of each, the more clear it becomes to me that the United States, at least, owes (almost?) as much of its legal system to civil law as it does to “pure” common law. October 2011
Civil law’s influence on American common law: the appeal
In “Salamanders and Sons of God,” an article in The Many Legalities of Early America, Mary Sarah Bilder writes about the “Culture of Appeal in Early New England,” and situates the embrace of the right to appeal by New Englanders within the larger English and Roman legal tradition.
Further reflections on the nature of scientific evidence
For two weeks this July, I participated in a conference/summer session in Vienna (VISU) on the nature of scientific evidence. The program brought together students and lecturers from a number of disciplines.
Legal reasoning by analogy
My VISU presentation on reasoning in analogy in Warren and Brandeis’ famous 1890 law review article on privacy.
Initial reflections on the nature of scientific evidence
For the last week I’ve been a part of the Vienna Institute Summer University (VISU) at the University of Vienna, at a two-week conference on “The Nature of Scientific Evidence.” The program brings together graduate students from a variety of disciplines from around the world to discuss science-related topics.
Considering comparative approaches in legal histories
I have proposed comparative/transnational approaches between legal and societal understandings of privacy in the face of new technologies. Micol Siegel’s work suggests that I should, at the very least, consider my approach more critically.
Going beyond national legal histories
“Lived history,” writes Bender, “is embedded in a plenitude of narratives. … [O]ver time, different themes or concepts, different narratives, will be deemed significant and emphasized” (page 1). The “plenitude of narratives” is formed by the stories historians tell about the past, by people at the time speaking and living their own experiences, by groups (ethnicities, races, classes, nations, cities) sharing common understandings, and is thus never simple nor unitary.