Saturday, November 18, 2017

Weekend Roundup

  • Emory Law's press release on LHB Founder Mary Dudziak's naming as an Honorary Fellow of the American Society for Legal History is here.  She is pictured with another Honorary Fellow, David V. Williams of the University of Auckland, and three past ASLH presidents.
  • A YouTube video of Paul Finkelman’s lecture, "Kosciuszko: A Bridge to Liberty for All," which treats “Brigadier General of the Continental Army and Polish freedom fighter, Tadeusz Kosciuszko, and his efforts to end slavery” is here.
  • Just Security blog is hosting a symposium on The Internationalists: How a Radical Plan to Outlaw War Remade the World, by Yale's Oona Hathaway and Scott Shapiro.  The first post, by Gary J. Bass, is here.
  • Here's an interesting CFP from Perspectives on Politics: Celebrities and Politics.  "We ... invite scholars to submit theoretical and empirical pieces that build on existing celebrity/celebrities and politics research or break new ground to explore the power of "celebrity" and interrogate the forces that produce and maintain it."  The interested should contact
  •  A reminder: the deadline for submitting papers and panels for the Policy History Conference, to be held  in Tempe, Arizona, May 16-19, 2018, is December 8, 2017.
  • And another: the Davis Center fellowship deadline (theme: law & legalities) at the Princeton History department is Dec.1. Details here.
Weekend Roundup is a weekly feature compiled by all the Legal History bloggers.

Friday, November 17, 2017

CFP: European Narratives of Crisis

[We have a call for papers for the conference European Narratives of Crisis, to be held May 17-18, 2018, at the University of Helsinki, Finland.  It is hosted by the Centre of Excellence in Law, Identity and the European Narratives (EuroStorie).]

In his 1919 essay The Crisis of the Spirit Paul Valéry wrote: ”We civilizations now know ourselves mortal.” What the French philosopher captured was a prevalent mood of the post-war era: a sense of finitude not only of particular peoples but of European culture as a whole. In these years it was particularly the concept of crisis that became one of the central symbols to describe the sense of an acute turn, the loss of foundations, or even an irreversible demise.

However, as a political and cultural concept ’crisis’ is by no means neutral. It may be used as a device of political demagogy or a call for passiveness. As Foucault once put it, crisis may also imply a “heroization of the present” in order to elevate a particular historical moment into an absolute turning point in history. Historically speaking, crisis is an ”empty signifier” that is open to various interpretations and meanings. It has supported both optimist and pessimist narratives on the course of history, and provided several opportunities for active intervention on behalf of intellectuals, politicians and the like. In today’s Europe, the euro crisis and the so called refugee crisis have significantly strengthened political divisions; however, the moral, legal and institutional implications of these events are yet to be analyzed.

In this conference we explore the many sides of the concept of crisis in the 20th century European context. We seek to address the phenomenon of the crisis both as a concept and as a form of experience that tells us something of our relation to culture as a whole. We are interested in interventions that tackle this concept in relation to historical narratives, political institutions, legal culture, and social divisions. How do Europe and European history appear as they are viewed through the lens of the crisis? What political, moral, or ideological purposes does the concept of crisis serve?

Confirmed keynote speakers include Jayne Svenungsson (Lund University), Marco Duranti (University of Sydney), and Anthony Pagden (UCLA).

Possible topics include: (1) Crisis as a philosophical/theological concept (e.g. philosophy of history, social ontology, theology of crisis); (2) Crisis as a cultural concept or a mechanism of cultural critique (e.g. crisis of European ideals); (3) Crisis of European (or national) political institutions (e.g. the contemporary crisis of the European Union, euro crisis, the so called refugee crisis); 4) Crisis of European legal culture (e.g. crises of legal identity and legitimacy, harmonization projects, constitutionalism); and 5) Crisis as an interwar/postwar European experience (e.g. immigration, exile, statelessness).

The conference is organized by the The Centre of Excellence in Law, Identity and the European Narratives (EuroStorie), funded by the Academy of Finland and hosted by the University of Helsinki. EuroStorie seeks to critically investigate the foundations of the European narrative about a shared heritage of law, values and ideals. We are interested in the development of conflicting narratives of Europe in 20th century thinking and its impact in contemporary policies and popular perceptions.

Please send your abstract (max. 500 words) and short CV to the address: The language of the meeting is English. There is no registration fee. The organizers are unfortunately unable to aid in the travel arrangements or accommodation of participants.

The deadline for submissions is: January 21, 2018.

Balleisen et al.'s "Policy Shock"

Just out from Cambridge University Press is Policy Shock: Recalibrating Risk and Regulation after Oil Spills, Nuclear Accidents, and Financial Crises, co-edited by four Duke University scholars, Edward Balleisen, Lori S. Bennear, Kimberly D. Krawiec, and Jonathan B. Wiener.
Policy Shock examines how policy-makers in industrialized democracies respond to major crises. After the immediate challenges of disaster management, crises often reveal new evidence or frame new normative perspectives that drive reforms designed to prevent future events of a similar magnitude. Such responses vary widely - from cosmetically masking inaction, to creating stronger incentive systems, requiring greater transparency, reorganizing government institutions and tightening regulatory standards. This book situates post-crisis regulatory policy-making through a set of conceptual essays written by leading scholars from economics, psychology and political science, which probe the latest thinking about risk analysis, risk perceptions, focusing events and narrative politics. It then presents ten historically-rich case studies that engage with crisis events in three policy domains: offshore oil, nuclear power and finance. It considers how governments can prepare to learn from crisis events - by creating standing expert investigative agencies to identify crisis causes and frame policy recommendations.
The code for a discounted purchase price is here.

What Kinds of Civil Cases Black Southerners Litigated Against Whites in Southern Courts, 1900-1950

Yesterday, my blog post discussed the kinds of civil cases black southerners most frequently litigated against whites in eight southern state supreme courts between 1865 and 1899. Today, I'm drawing on the research in my new book Litigating Across the Color Line to discuss the most common kinds of appellate civil cases litigated by African Americans against whites between 1900 and 1950, and how black southerners' cases shifted during this period.

Courtesy: Library of Congress
Black southerners had litigated a range of appellate civil cases against whites between 1865 and 1899, and often asserted their rights in such cases boldly. But as disfranchisement and segregation increasingly set in at the end of the 19th century, the kinds of civil cases black litigants were most able to litigate against whites in their state's highest courts shifted. During the first two decades of the 20th century, in particular, the types of appellate civil cases between black and white southerners narrowed significantly. Now, almost three-fourths of the appellate civil cases examined involved personal injury or fraud in property dealings. To a limited degree, this reflected larger legal trends, including the nationwide growth in tort cases. However, I argue that fraud and personal injury cases occurred especially frequently in appellate civil cases between black and white litigants during this period because the legal claims necessary to support these cases also sometimes supported whites' ideas about racial inequality. According to the law, it was difficult to bring a case of fraud if both parties in the transaction stood on an equal footing. Similarly, in personal injury cases, litigants needed to demonstrate that they had suffered injuries that caused them pain and loss of income. As a result, black litigants in such cases had strong motivations to present themselves as particularly vulnerable, and/or uneducated, which they almost uniformly did in cases that reached southern state supreme courts. Such presentations supported both their legal claims and white jury members' and judges' ideas about race, allowing black southerners to litigate cases against whites even at the height of Jim Crow.

In one 1907 Alabama fraud case, the white defendant J.W. Abercrombie had defrauded the elderly black plaintiff, 81-year-old Andrew Carpenter, by telling him that he was signing a mortgage when he was actually deeding away his property. In response, Carpenter brought a civil suit against Abercrombie. In his testimony, just as in the testimony of almost every other black litigant in an appellate fraud suit during this period, Carpenter emphasized his lack of business knowledge, stating “I do not know anything about the significance of deeds and mortgages, or legal papers.” But even as they emphasized their lack of education in such suits, African Americans' defiance and assertions of their rights still sometimes clearly came through. Carpenter also testified that when he confronted the white man about the fraud, Abercrombie had offered to pay him a small fraction of the costs of the property. Carpenter then testified, “I told him I would not take $100 but before I took that I would die first.” He continued, “I came on then to see if I could get any rights in court.”*  Despite such assertions of individual rights, however, most such cases during the first two decades of the 20th century made no larger claims for African American rights as a whole.

Then, between 1921 and 1950, the kinds of cases that black southerners could litigate in southern appellate courts broadened once again. In addition, more and more seemingly everyday kinds of suits litigated by individuals over personal injury, property, contracts, and wills began to include challenges to the racial status quo. Unlike the personal injury cases of the first decades of the 20th century, for instance, Ethel New's mid-1940's personal injury case challenged racial discrimination as well as claiming damages for the plaintiff's injury. New’s husband was stationed in Virginia as WWII came to an end and when the incident occurred, she had been returning from a visit to him, three months pregnant. She stood up for the first 81-mile leg of her bus journey as there were no seats in the section on the back of the bus reserved for African Americans. Finally, in Lynchburg, Virginia, she obtained a seat in the second to last row. A few minutes later, though, a bus driver ordered her to move to the last row of the bus to accommodate the white passengers who had just boarded. Seeing that the back bench was hard and did not recline, New refused to move. In response, the bus driver and an officer dragged her off the bus by her shoulders and legs. After reaching her destination of Kentucky, New’s back and leg ached and she suffered a miscarriage. She hired a lawyer to file a personal injury suit. The suit protested not only her own treatment and the loss of her unborn child, but also the segregation laws that required her to sit in the back of the bus. Indeed, the suit stated that New’s injuries had been a direct result of her race. While New's case was ultimately unsuccessful in both the trial and appellate courts, she had asserted not only her own individual rights, but the rights of African Americans to equal treatment on public transportation.**

These largely individual-led civil cases challenging discrimination during the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s existed alongside the NAACP's legal efforts to challenge discrimination. Ethel New's law firm, for instance, also played a part in representing Irene Morgan in the 1946 NAACP-led suit Morgan v. Virginia over interstate bus travel. In general, though, the civil suits during this time that challenged discrimination in southern appellate courts seem to have been brought by individuals who had economic stakes in the suits, as well as concerns over equal rights. In these ways, these suits had many similarities to the many civil appellate suits between black and white southerners that had occurred in the decades before.
* Abercrombie v. Carpenter, 150 Ala. 294 (1907).
** New v. Atlantic Greyhound Corporation, 186 Va. 726 (1947)

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Howlin on a 19th-Century Irish Murder Trial

Niamh Howlin, Sutherland School of Law, University College Dublin, Maamtrasna: The Trial of Myles Joyce in 1882
At Maamtrasna, County Galway, five members of the Joyce family were brutally killed in August 1882. The initial victims were John Joyce his mother, Margaret Joyce, his wife, Bridget Joyce, his daughter, Margaret Joyce (also known as Peggy). John’s son, Michael Joyce, died of his injuries the following day. The sole survivor of the attack was Patsy Joyce, John’s youngest son, aged around nine or ten years.

Myles Joyce was convicted in November 1882 of murdering his cousin, Margaret Joyce. He was one of ten men arrested. Two of these men, Anthony Philbin and Thomas Casey, later testified against the others. Five pleaded guilty and received prison sentences; these were Michael Casey, Martin Joyce (Myles’s brother), Patrick Joyce (another brother of Myles), Tom Joyce (Patrick’s son) and John Casey. Three men, Myles Joyce, Patrick Joyce and Patrick Casey were tried, convicted and hanged. Given the number of victims, accused persons and accusers, and the remote, tight-knit nature of the area, it is unsurprising that there were various relationships between the main protagonists. They were neighbours, cousins, brothers, fathers and sons, many of whom shared the same names and surnames.

Myles Joyce’s death sentence was executed at Galway Gaol in December 1882. Right up until the point of death Myles protested his innocence, and is now widely accepted as having been innocent of the offence. Two other men who were hanged alongside Myles, (Patrick Joyce and Patrick Casey), claimed responsibility for the murders before they were executed. Both emphasised Myles Joyce’s innocence. The question for this paper is whether the circumstances Myles’s conviction were inconsistent with the legal standards of the period.

What Kind of Civil Cases Black Southerners Litigated Against Whites in Southern Courts, 1865-1899

As black southerners litigated civil cases against whites in southern appellate courts from the end of the Civil War to the mid-20th century, they found it far easier to litigate certain kinds of civil cases against whites than others. The types of civil cases that they could litigate in appellate courts also shifted over time.
Courtesy: Library of Congress

A baseline for what kinds of cases state supreme courts around the country were hearing can be
established from an extensive study of almost 6,000 cases heard by 16 state supreme courts around the U.S. (including several in the South) completed during the 1970s. An analysis of the kinds of cases found to be coming before these courts between 1870 and 1970 appeared in the January 1977 Stanford Law Review. In contrast, the research for my new book Litigating Across the Color Line found the proportions of different kinds of appellate civil cases litigated by black southerners significantly diverged from the proportions of such cases documented in U.S. state supreme courts as a whole.

The most frequent types of appellate civil suits litigated by black southerners against whites between 1865 and 1899 were suits over wills/bequests, cases over transactions/contracts, property dispute cases, and cases over personal injury. In particular, during this period, African Americans litigated appellate civil cases against whites over wills and estates far more often than such cases appeared in general appellate litigation. While the 1977 study found cases over inheritance/estates made up 6% of overall cases between 1870 and 1900, inheritance/estates cases made up approximately 36% of black litigants' appellate civil cases against white litigants in the 8 courts examined between 1865 and 1899. In such cases, black litigants frequently litigated suits against white heirs to obtain a bequest left in a former master or former employer's will. For instance, a number of former slaves who had been left money in former masters' wills to facilitate their migration to Liberia brought civil suits after the Civil War to claim the bequests without having to move to Liberia.  I argue that such cases made up a large proportion of black southerners' litigation because they drew on the power of a white person's will and appealed to respected legal precedents around bequests.

In addition, cases over contracts and transactions occurred about twice as often in African Americans' appellate civil cases during Reconstruction than they occurred in general appellate cases during this time. In these cases over contracts and transactions, black litigants presented themselves as able to function competently and independently in the postwar economic realm and at times boldly challenged economic injustice. In one such contract suit in 1873, a black sharecropper named Moses Summerlin did not tend his crops for several weeks after his wife died. He soon returned to the fields but when he asked William Smith, the white owner of the land, to aid him in hauling the cotton and corn, Smith refused and accused the sharecropper of producing only half of the crop that he could have. In response, Moses Summerlin brought a civil case against Smith that appealed to the law of contract to gain his portion of the crop. In his testimony, Summerlin emphasized his economic abilities, stating that he had employed “five or six hands” to work for him. At great personal risk, Summerlin also told the court that when he had asked the white landowner to give him his portion of the crop, Smith ordered him out of the yard and told him “if he came back he would kill him.”  In the end, the county court ordered the white landowner to pay $113.18 and legal costs to Summerlin, and on appeal, the Georgia state supreme court upheld the decision. While this was significantly less than the amount the sharecropper had claimed, Summerlin had shifted -- in some small way -- the terms upon which he and Smith operated.* Through his litigation and testimony, he had also publicly expressed his own ideas about how the post-war southern economy should function.  At the same time, by hearing such suits and at times ruling in favor of the black litigant, white jury members and judges could show the supposed justice of southern courts and seek to elide widespread unfairness in the labor system and property transactions.

I'll be back tomorrow morning to discuss the kinds of appellate civil cases black litigants most frequently litigated against whites in southern courts between 1900 and 1950.

*Smith v. Summerlin, 48 Ga. 425 (1873).

Meyn on the Drafting of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure

Ion Meyn, University of Wisconsin Law School, has posted Why Civil and Criminal Procedure Are So Different: A Forgotten History, which appears in the Fordham Law Review 86 (2017): 697-736:
Much has been written about the origins of civil procedure. Yet little is known about the origins of criminal procedure, even though it governs how millions of cases in federal and state courts are litigated each year. This Article’s examination of criminal procedure’s origin story questions the prevailing notion that civil and criminal procedure require different treatment. The Article’s starting point is the first draft of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure — confidential in 1941 and since forgotten. The draft reveals that reformers of criminal procedure turned to the new rules of civil procedure for guidance. The contents of this draft shed light on an extraordinary moment: reformers initially proposed that all litigation in the United States, civil and criminal, be governed by a unified procedural code. The implementation of this original vision of a unified code would have had dramatic implications for how criminal law is practiced and perceived today. The advisory committee’s final product in 1944, however, set criminal litigation on a very different course. Transcripts of the committee’s initial meetings reveal that the final code of criminal procedure emerged from the clash of ideas presented by two committee members, James Robinson and Alexander Holtzoff.  Holtzoff’s traditional views would ultimately persuade other members, cleaving criminal procedure from civil procedure.

Since then, differences in civil and criminal litigation have become entrenched and normalized. Yet, at the time the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure were drafted, a unified code was not just a plausible alternative but the only proposal. The draft’s challenge to the prevailing notion that civil and criminal wrongs inherently require different procedural treatment is a critical contribution to the growing debate over whether the absence of discovery in criminal procedure is justified in light of discovery tools afforded by civil procedure. The first draft of criminal procedure, which called for uniform rules to govern proceedings in all civil and criminal courtrooms, suggests the possibility that current resistance to unification is, to a significant degree, historically contingent.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Behrens on the Life and Work of Murder Trial Bibliographer

Jennifer L. Behrens, J. Michael Goodson Law Library, Duke University School of Law, has posted Beyond 'The Annals of Murder': The Life and Works of Thomas M. McDade:
Thomas M. McDade is best known (if not well-known enough) for his seminal 1961 reference bibliography, The Annals of Murder: A Bibliography of Books and Pamphlets on American Murders from Colonial Times to 1900. Beyond that singular text on early American murder trial accounts, though, lies more than 70 additional publications on American legal history, law enforcement, and literature, gathered together for the first time in an annotated bibliography of McDade’s lesser-known writings. The article also examines McDade’s fascinating life and varied career as an early FBI agent, World War II veteran, corporate executive, and true crime chronicler.

Cummings on Movement Lawyering

Movement Lawyering, an article by Scott L. Cummings, UCLA Law, to be published in the University of Illinois Law Review 12017(5), is now available in prepublication form.
This Article explores an important development in American legal  theory and practice over the past decade: the rise  of ‘‘movement  lawyering’’ as an alternative model  of public interest advocacy focused on building the power of non-elite constituencies through integrated  legal and political  strategies.  Its central goal is to explain why movement lawyering has gained  prominence, define its essential  features, and explore what it reveals about the current state of efforts to work out an empirically grounded and normatively appealing vision of the lawyer’s role in social change.  Toward that end,  this Article shows how movement lawyering has long been an important part of progressive legal practice–complicating the standard  historical  account–while  also  illuminating  the contemporary  political and professional shifts that have powered the recent social  movement turn.  Synthesizing  insights from social movement theory and practice, the article then defines and analyzes the core features of the movement  lawyering model–representing ‘‘mobilized clients’’ and deploying  ‘integrated advocacy’’–and explores  how these features respond to long-standing  critiques of  public interest advocacy by presenting movement  lawyers  at their most accountable and effective: taking instructions from activist  organizations in client-centered fashion and using law in politically sophisticated ways designed to maximize the potential for sustained social reform. In doing so, the new movement lawyering literature usefully refocuses attention on fundamental questions about the lawyer’s role in social change and thereby offers a crucial opportunity to jumpstart a contemporary dialogue–less freighted with the critical canon of the past and more rooted in empirical  inquiry–about  the  conditions in which  lawyering is most likely to produce accountable and effective democratic transformation.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

The American Historian magazine's November issue on Law and the Courts

Cover Design: Ashlee W. Smith; Photo: Emmanuel Huybrechts        
The Organization of American Historians' magazine, The American Historian, has focused its November 2017 issue (out online today) on Law and the Courts. The issue includes resources for teaching legal history, including a discussion of several scholars' favorite court cases to use in the classroom and an article by Robert Cohen and Laura Dull that encourages including Ruth Bader Ginsburg when teaching about the women’s rights revolution.

Additionally, the issue contains a roundtable in which three scholars discuss "Historians in Court," including the ethical difficulties posed by historians’ participation in the courtroom and how effective historians’ testimony is in the courtroom. As part of the roundtable, Tomiko Brown-Nagin discusses her experience filing amicus briefs with the U.S. Supreme Court in cases dealing with discrimination and affirmative action in education, Linda Gordon talks about amicus briefs she has participated in in abortion cases, and Kenneth Mack explains his experiences supervising a professional historian’s expert report as a young lawyer and later signing amicus briefs from scholars and historians to the US Supreme Court. 

My own article in this issue, “Rethinking the Role of the Courts in the Lives of Black Southerners,” discusses how black southerners’ civil cases reframe the traditional narrative of African American political participation.  In the traditional narrative, black southerners move from institutional engagement during Reconstruction and its aftermath to a fight largely outside of government institutions in the US South, only to take up the fight for the vote again in the decades immediately before the Civil Rights movement. I argue that looking at black southerners’ engagement in southern courts shifts this story, showing continuing engagement with one southern government institution – the courts – from Reconstruction to the Civil Rights movement. In addition, the magazine contains an article by Susan J. Pearson on "Anticruelty Organizations and Statebuilding in Gilded-Age America” and a consideration of the history of felon disfranchisement laws and prison gerrymanders by Christina Rivers. 

The full issue can be accessed by OAH members on the OAH website here, but non-members can also look out for selected articles from the issue that may be released to the public on the magazine's website.

Webster on the (Australian) River Murray Dispute

Adam Webster, Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford, has posted A Colonial History of the River Murray Dispute, which appears in the Adelaide Law Review 38 (2017): 13-47:
This article examines the history of the dispute over the sharing of the waters of the River Murray between the colonies, with particular emphasis on the period from the mid-1880s to the mid-1890s. The article shows that the change in water use by the colonies during this period had a significant impact on the question of how the water should be shared between the colonies. The article examines the early legal arguments regarding the ‘rights’ of the colonies to the waters of the River Murray and argues that these early legal analyses influenced the drafting of the Australian Constitution, which in turn has influenced the way similar disputes between the states are resolved today.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Metzger's "1930s Redux: The Administrative State"

The Forward to the latest Supreme Court issue of the Harvard Law Review, 1930s Redux: The Administrative State, by Gillian E. Metzger, Columbia Law, is of especial interest to legal historians of the American state.  Professor Metzger commences, “Eighty years on, we are seeing a resurgence of the antiregulatory and antigovernment forces that lost the battle of the New Deal.”  H/t: Aaron Nielson, in Notice & Comment, who responded to the piece on-line (as did with Mila Sohoni).

Dinner on Tomlins, "Historicism and Materiality in Legal Theory"

Writing for JOTWELL's Legal History Section, Deborah Dinner (Emory Law) has posted an admiring review of "Historicism and Materiality in Legal Theory," by Christopher Tomlins (University of California, Berkeley). The essay appears in Law in Theory and History: New Essays on a Neglected Dialogue (Maksymilian Del Mar & Michael Lobban eds., 2016). Here's a taste:
Christopher Tomlins’ fascinating essay, Historicism and Materiality in Legal Theory, reconsiders the purpose of legal history and its utility for legal theory. For the last three decades, Robert W. Gordon’s landmark article, Critical Legal Histories, has served as the shining lighthouse by which the discipline navigated the murky waters between fact and theory, description and normativity.1 Departing from the evolutionary functionalism of law and society and law and economics scholarship, Gordon extolled the virtues of a critical historicism. In showing the indeterminate character of law’s past, this historicism destabilizes its present. As Tomlins sees it, critical historicism offers a post-structuralist interpretation of law, marked by contingency, complexity, and contradiction. The project of locating law in its socio-temporal context, he argues, generates an almost infinite set of relationships for examination. If critical historicism contends that the relationship between law and society is underdetermined, then Tomlins yearns for bolder causal explanations about legal and social change. Building on several prior pieces, Tomlins’ essay calls for an alternative paradigm to historicism, what he terms “materiality.” (P. 59.)
The last paragraph of Dinner's review also bears note:
Tomlins’ essay is part of a larger volume, edited by Maksymilian Del Mar and Michael Lobban, which reinvigorates a dialogue between history and theory. The wide-ranging essays examine the relevance of history to the study of jurisprudence. One quibble is that feminism’s history and feminist jurisprudence receive barely a passing mention in the volume. A related but not equivalent criticism is that women scholars wrote only two of the seventeen essays in the volume. A reader might consider these absences a contingent product of the editors’ selection process. Tomlins might instead point us toward a structural explanation: perhaps the artificiality of a divide between jurisprudence and the study of law’s social effects, or the enduring role that gender plays in the construction of academic networks.
Read the full review here.

Grisinger on Collins, "Bureaucracy as the Border"

The JOTWELL Legal History Section has posted a few items since we last checked. The first, by Joanna Grisinger (Northwestern University), spotlights "Bureaucracy as the Border: Administrative Law and the Citizen Family," by Kristin A. Collins (Boston University). The article appeared in the Duke Law Journal this spring, as part of a symposium on "Inclusion, Exclusion, and the Administrative State."

Here's a taste of Grisinger's review:
Kristin A. Collins’s recent article ties together “two foundational ‘borders of belonging’ in American law: the rules that determine family membership and the rules that determine political membership.” (P. 1730.) More specifically, Collins, in a case study of the evolution of derivative citizenship, demonstrates how immigration administrators fashioned rules to guide their own decisionmaking in this area and embedded those rules in statutes and legal precedents. 
Collins pushes back against the all too common idea that immigration administration is more lawless and discretionary than regulation at the economic regulatory agencies that are the usual focus of scholarship on the administrative state. Instead, Collins observes immigration officials engaged in the same kind of “administrative constitutionalism” practiced by bureaucrats elsewhere.
Read on here.

Western History Association Article, Book Prizes to Jagodinsky

At the recent meeting of the Western History Association, legal historian Katrina Jagodinsky (University of Nebraska) won two awards.

Katrina Jagodinsky (Credit)
She received the Armitage-Jameson Prize--awarded annually "for the most outstanding monograph or edited volume published in western women’s, gender, and sexuality history"--for her book Legal Codes and Talking Trees: Indigenous Women’s Sovereignty in the Sonoran and Puget Sound Borderlands, 1854-1946 (Yale University Press, 2016).

She received the the Jensen-Miller award--for best article in gender history of the North American West--for "A Tale of Two Sisters: Family Histories from the Strait Salish Borderlands," Western Historical Quarterly (Summer 2016).

Congratulations to Katrina Jagodinsky!

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Sunday Book Review Roundup

In The Nation is a review essay drawn from Stuart Elden's Foucault: The Birth of Power and Foucault's Last DecadeAlso in The Nation is a review of Yuri Slezkine's The House of Government: A Saga of the Russian Revolution.  Slezkine's House of Government is also reviewed in The New York Review of Books

In The New York Times Michael Kazin reviews Richard Aldous' Schlesinger: The Imperial Historian.   Aldous also discusses the biography on the paper's book review podcast.

In The New Yorker is a review of Stephen Kotkin's Stalin: Waiting for Hitler, 1929-1941.

James Scott's Against the Grain: A Deep History of the Earliest States is reviewed in the New Republic.

At NPR is a review of Franklin D. Roosevelt: A Political Life by Robert Dallek.

The Times Literary Supplement has published a review of Simon Schama's The Story of the Jews, Volume Two: Belonging: 1492-1900.

There are several interviews of interest at the New Books Network.  Claire Higgins speaks about her Asylum by Boat: Origins of Australia's Refugee PolicyAndrew Lewis is interviewed about his The Rights Turn in Conservative Christian Politics: How Abortion Transformed the Culture Wars.
Sandra Sperino and Suja A. Thomas discuss their Unequal: How American Courts Undermine Discrimination Law.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Weekend Roundup

  • After their recent discovery, two journals from the Territorial Court of Clatsop County, dating from 1849 to 1853, have been deposited with special collection of the State of Oregon Law Library. More
  •  Notice & Comment reports that Philip Hamburger, Columbia Law, the author of Is Administrative Law Unlawful? “has started a nonprofit, public interest law firm called the New Civil Liberties Alliance.”  H/t: JLG
  • We noticed an advertisement for a “person with a strong interest in law, legal history and commercial arbitration” for a legal history of arbitration in the GCC, which we're assuming is the Gulf Cooperation Council. 
  • Last week in Princeton University’s Workshop in Constitutional Development, Lynda Dodd, City College, City University of New York, presented on "Reconstruction and the Origins of Civil Rights," and Michael Paris, College of Staten Island, City University of New York, presented on "Derrick Bell and the Lost Cause of School Desegregation: A Reexamination."  H/t: LAPA.
 Weekend Roundup is a weekly feature compiled by all the Legal History bloggers.

Friday, November 10, 2017

How Black Litigants Shaped Their Civil Cases Against Whites

Today I’m guest blogging about how black southerners negotiated the post-Civil War legal landscape.  In particular, I want to consider how they worked to shape their civil cases against whites. This research is laid out in greater detail in my new book, Litigating Across the Color Line: Civil Cases Between Black and White Southerners from the End of Slavery to Civil Rights.

As African Americans litigated civil cases against whites in the U.S. South from the end of the Civil War to the mid-20th century, they saw that the outcomes of their cases would often have enormous economic effects on their families. At the same time, black litigants generally seem to have recognized the difficulties of operating within the southern legal system – an institution in which those making decisions generally had very different interests than their own. To give their cases the best possible chance, then, black litigants in almost one thousand civil cases that reached eight southern appellate courts between 1865 and 1950 often employed a range of strategies.  While their lawyers undoubtedly played a key part in many of these strategies, black litigants played an important role in shaping and executing them as well.  

First, in almost every civil case between black and white southerners that I found in eight southern state supreme courts, black litigants had hired white lawyers to represent them. The white lawyers involved were often prominent members of the community and seem to have generally taken on a few black litigants’ cases alongside their larger practice of cases involving white litigants.  Often, white lawyers seem to have taken on black clients because their cases promised to yield a large financial reward. At times, however, they seem to have also been influenced by personal connections, paternalism, ideas of professionalism, or very occasionally, to have genuinely sympathized with the causes of their black clients. Using a white lawyer helped make black litigants’ cases seem less threatening and more acceptable to white judges and juries. At the same time, it limited the kinds of cases they could bring and the types of arguments that their suits could make.

A number of black litigants also emphasized connections with prominent whites in their communities.  While this occurred particularly often in cases during the three and a half decades after the Civil War, such strategies were also occasionally employed in the first half of the 20th century.  At times, black litigants mentioned their ties with local whites in their testimony, including at times their connections to former masters. In other cases, black litigants may have played a part in identifying the white witnesses who frequently testified in their favor in such cases.  

Black litigants also shaped their testimony based on their understanding of the relevant law. Case files suggest that they gained some knowledge of the law from coaching and conversations with their lawyers. They also learned from participating in legal actions and daily experiences in a law-saturated society.  Black litigants then often worked with their lawyers to shape their testimony to meet the demands of the law for their particular case. In suits over bequests, for example, black litigants’ testimony sometimes helped to establish the testator’s intention to leave the bequest to them, an element that one 19th century Tennessee judge called “the great rule in the construction of wills.”[i] In fraud cases, on the other hand, black litigants’ testimony often worked to establish proof of physical injury and loss of income, two important elements to proving such a claim.

Finally, some black litigants used their knowledge of white southern racial attitudes to present themselves in ways that would elicit favorable responses from largely white juries and judges. In the decades after the Civil War, they occasionally presented themselves as having been loyal to their former masters, even after the end of the war.  At other times they presented themselves as hardworking, “respectable,” or unthreatening. The ways in which they presented themselves also shifted over time. During the two decades after widespread disfranchisement occurred at the end of the 19th century, black litigants often presented themselves in their testimony as more ignorant, more vulnerable, and more trusting of whites than they actually were. 

These strategies played a part in some African Americans’ continuing ability to litigate and win civil cases against whites in the Jim Crow South, even after black men largely lost the right to vote. At the same time, these strategies sometimes limited their cases in important ways.  Moreover, even as they carefully negotiated the southern legal landscape, black litigants found that in contrast to the broad range of cases litigated between whites, they had the most success bringing certain kinds of cases against whites.  The kinds of cases they could litigate shifted over time, as well, as the constraints they operated under changed.  I’ll be back talking about this in my next blog post in a few days.

[i] Lynch v. Burts, 48 Tenn. 600 (1870).

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Jaffe on Gandhi, Lawyers & the Court boycott

James Jaffe, University of Wisconsin, has published "Gandhi, Lawyers, and the Courts' Boycott during the Non-Cooperation Movement" in Modern Asian Studies 51:5, 1340-68.
Here's the abstract:

This article analyses the role of the legal profession and the evolution of aspects of Indian nationalist ideology during the Non-Cooperation Movement of 1920–22. Very few legal professionals responded to Gandhi's call to boycott the British courts despite significant efforts to establish alternative institutions dedicated to resolving disputes. First identified by leading legal professionals in the movement as courts of arbitration, these alternative sites of justice quickly assumed the name ‘panchayats’. Ultimately, this panchayat experiment failed due to a combination of apathy, repression, and internal opposition. However, the introduction of the panchayat into the discourse of Indian nationalism ultimately had profound effects, including the much later adoption of constitutional panchayati raj. Yet this discourse was then and remains today a contested one. This is largely a legacy of Gandhi himself, who, during the Non-Cooperation Movement, imagined the panchayat as a judicial institution based upon arbitration and mediation. Yet, after the movement's failure, he came to believe the panchayat was best suited to functioning as a unit of village governance and administration.

Taft, Hughes and the Travils of Progressivism: An ICH Seminar

[We have the following announcement.]

The Institute for Constitutional History is pleased to announce another seminar for advanced graduate students and junior faculty, “William Howard Taft and Charles Evans Hughes; the Travails and Contradictions of Progressivism within the Law: 1908-1941.”
Between them, Taft and Hughes served as Governor (H),
Governor General (T); Circuit Court Judge (T), Secretary of War (T), President (T), Supreme Court Justice (H), Nominee for the Presidency (H), Secretary of State (H), Chief Justice (T), Chief Justice (H), and this list is not complete.  It indicates, however, the impressive scope of their accomplishments.  In 1916, Taft had called himself a "progressive Conservative," while in 1935, the Taft's biographer noted of his successor that as Chief Justice, Hughes had "ruled against capital, against labor, against the farmer and for the farmer, against Congress and for Congress, against the president and for him."  Hughes' biographer described him as "an old fashioned progressive."  Alpheus Thomas Mason wrote that "Hughes's mind was singularly devoid of ideological content or commitment."  How had progressivism been transformed during their careers?  To what extent were both jurists "independent of rigid ideology?"  This seminar seeks to explore these questions through books, articles, and discussion.

Daniel R. Ernst is Professor of Law at the Georgetown University Law Center, where he has taught since 1988.  He is the author of Lawyers against Labor: From Individual Rights to Corporate Liberalism (University of Illinois Press, 1995), which received the Littleton-Griswold Prize of the American Historical Association, and Tocqueville's Nightmare: The Administrative State Emerges in America, 1900-1940 (Oxford University Press, 2014).  He received the American Society for Legal History's Surrency Prize in 2009 and was a Fulbright Scholar in New Zealand in 1996, a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellow in 2003-04, and a Law and Public Affairs Fellow at Princeton University in 2015-16.

Jonathan Lurie is a professor of history emeritus and formerly an Academic Integrity Officer at Rutgers University in Newark. He had been a member of the History Department there since 1969.   His books include: The Chicago Board of Trade, Law and The Nation, Arming Military Justice, Pursuing Military Justice, The Slaughterhouse Cases [co-authored with Ronald Labbe], Military Justice in America, and The Chase Court.  Lurie's fields of interest comprise legal history, military justice, constitutional law and history, and eras of the Civil War and Reconstruction.  The book on the Slaughterhouse cases received the Scribes award in 2003 as the best book written on law for that year.  In 2005, he served as a Fulbright Lecturer at Uppsala University law School in Sweden.  Lurie was the Visiting Professor of Law at West Point in 1994-1995.  He has lectured on several occasions at the United States Supreme Court. His biography of William Howard Taft was published by Cambridge University Press in 2012.   Lurie's book on the Supreme Court and Military Justice was published late in 2013 by Sage/ CQ Publishers. He has just completed a manuscript for the University of South Carolina Press on the Taft Court (1921-1930).

The dates the seminar will meet are: February 9 and 23, and March 9 and 23; Friday afternoons from 2-5 p.m.  The seminar will be held at the New-York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West, New York City.

Application Process:
The seminar is designed for graduate students and junior faculty in history, political science, law, and related disciplines.  All participants will be expected to complete the assigned readings and participate in seminar discussions.  Although the Institute cannot offer academic credit directly for the seminar, students may be able to earn graduate credit through their home departments by completing an independent research project in conjunction with the seminar.  Please consult with your advisor and/or director of graduate studies about these possibilities.  Space is limited, so applicants should send a copy of their c.v. and a short statement on how this seminar will be useful to them in their research, teaching, or professional development.  Materials will be accepted only by email at until December 30, 2017. Successful applicants will be notified soon thereafter.  For further information, please contact Maeva Marcus at (202) 994-6562 or send an email to

Additional Information:

There is no tuition or other charge for this seminar, though participants will be expected to acquire the assigned books on their own.

About ICH:

The Institute for Constitutional History (ICH) is the nation's premier institute dedicated to ensuring that future generations of Americans understand the substance and historical development of the U.S. Constitution. Located at the New York Historical Society and the George Washington University Law School, the Institute is co-sponsored by the American Historical Association, the

Organization of American Historians, and the American Political Science Association.  The Association of American Law Schools is a cooperating entity. ICH prepares junior scholars and college instructors to convey to their readers and students the important role the Constitution has played in shaping American society.  ICH also provides a national forum for the preparation and dissemination of humanistic, interdisciplinary scholarship on American constitutional history.

Support for this seminar of the Graduate Institute for Constitutional History is provided in honor of Eric J. Wallach. The Graduate Institute for Constitutional History is supported, in part, by the Saunders Endowment for Constitutional History and a "We the People" challenge grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Great Documents of New York Legal History

Word has reached us of an upcoming event sponsored by the Historical Society of the New York Courts, Documenting Our Past: Great Documents of New York Legal History, to be held on Thursday, November 30, 2017, at 6:30 PM, at the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, 42 West 44th Street.  CLE credits available.  According to an announcement:
The Society is partnering with the New York State Archives for this program in which leading experts will discuss early documents of State importance that provide a window into NYS legal foundations. The program will also cover the importance of the preservation of early court records and the recent transfer of court documents to State Archives.
After a welcome from the Hon. Albert M. Rosenblatt, President, Historical Society of the New York Courts, the event will consist of three presentations and a panel discussion moderated by Daniel Hulsebosch, the Charles Seligson Professor of Law at the NYU School of LawThomas J. Ruller, Assistant Commissioner and State Archivist, New York State Archives, State Education Department, will speak generally on the preservation of court records.  Leah Moren Green, Esq., Corporate Counsel, Caterpillar Inc., will speak on documents relating to the Erie Canal, and Dr. Dennis J. Maika, Senior Historian and Education Director, New Netherland Institute, will speak on the Flushing Remonstrance.

Hushchynski on the Bar and the Russian Annexation of Belarus

We’re assuming your Belarusian is no better than ours; still we want to note the posting (in that language) of Legislative Support for the Bar on the Territory of Belarus at the End of the 18th – the First Third of the 19th Century, by Ihar Hushchynski, Belarusian State Pedagogical University.  Here is the English abstract:
At the end of the 18th century the territory of Belarus was annexed by the Russian Empire, but local judicial system and court proceedings remained different from Russian domestic provinces until 1840. Participation of professional advocates in judicial proceeding was one of main features. The activities of the bar of Western provinces of the Russian Empire was based on the rules of the Statute of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania of 1588 and Sejm constitutions of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, which remained in force. At the end of the 18th – the first third of the 19th century, this legislative base was complemented and to some extent adjusted by a number of laws issued by Russian Government. This adapted the activities of the bar of the Western provinces to the new administrative and judicial order, which combined local law traditions with Russian governance practices.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Narayan on Widows and Anglo-Hindu law

In 2016, Rochisha Narayan, Yale-NUS College, Singapore, published "Widows, Family, Community, and the Formation of Anglo-Hindu Law in Eighteenth-Century India" in Modern Asian Studies 50:3, 866-97. Here is the abstract:
Late eighteenth-century colonial agrarian and judicial reforms had a direct
impact on women from elite and non-elite backgrounds. Informed by
British liberal ideologies and upper-caste Brahmanical norms, colonial policies
marginalized women’s access to, and control over, resources in the emergent
political economy. In this article, I reconstruct histories of the ways in which
Anglo-Hindu law compromised women’s status as heirs, businesswomen, and
members of society who wielded social capital with other community groups.
Focusing on widows in Banaras who commandeered their property disputes,
I illustrate that pre-colonial precedents of case-resolution under the Banaras
rulers, and practices of ‘forum shopping’ by disputants themselves, shaped
the widows’ approach to the colonial courts. Colonial judicial plans being
incommensurable to everyday life, the courts incorporated pre-colonial forms
of dispute handling and maintained a flexible approach to the practice of colonial
law under the supervision of an Indian magistrate for a period of time. These
characteristicsmade the courts popular among local society in the Banaras region.
However, British officials, insistent on applying abstract scriptural laws, aligned
customary practice to the dictates of Anglo-Hindu law. This article shows that the
narrow legal subject position available to widows under scriptural law reordered
their relationships with family and community networks to their disadvantage.

LHR seeks Assoc. Editor for Digital Projects

We have the following call for applications (which includes an exciting announcement about a new digital platform for legal-historical work):
Law and History Review, a leading journal of legal history, seeks an Associate Editor for Digital Projects to manage its new digital imprint, The Docket. The ideal candidate has a thorough knowledge of legal history and a strong grasp of communication through social media and other digital forums. Public historians are especially encouraged to apply. The Associate Editor will be responsible for publishing articles, interviews, and other items that mirror and expand on the content of issues of Law and History Review, as well as participating in editorial deliberations of the journal. Editor-in-Chief Gautham Rao, and Associate Editors Angela Fernandez, Elizabeth Papp Kamali, and Jedidiah Kroncke will begin reviewing applications on December 1, 2017 and expect to make an appointment by January 15, 2018.

To apply, please send a cover letter that explains your credentials, a C.V., and a list of three references (with name, position, mailing address, email address, and phone number) to Please direct any inquiries about the position to Gautham Rao at

Law and History Review is published quarterly by Cambridge University Press for the American Society for Legal History.

Hammond's "God's Businessmen"

God's Businessmen: Entrepreneurial Evangelicals in Depression and War, by the late Sarah Ruth Hammond (and edited by Darren Dochuk, Department of History, Notre Dame University), is out from the University of Chicago Press.
The evangelical embrace of conservatism is a familiar feature of the contemporary political landscape. What’s less well-known, however, is that the connection predates the Reagan revolution, going all the way back to the Depression and World War II. Evangelical businessmen at the time were quite active in opposing the New Deal—on both theological and economic grounds—and in doing so claimed a place alongside other conservatives in the public sphere. Like previous generations of devout laymen, they self-consciously merged their religious and business lives, financing and organizing evangelical causes with the kind of visionary pragmatism that they practiced in the boardroom.

In God’s Businessmen, Sarah Ruth Hammond explores not only these men’s personal trajectories but also those of the service clubs and other institutions that, like them, believed that businessmen were God’s instrument for the Christianization of the world. Hammond presents a capacious portrait of the relationship between the evangelical business community and the New Deal—and in doing so makes important contributions to American religious history, business history, and the history of the American state.
A celebration of the book and its author, The Religion of Business: In Honor of Sarah Hammond, will take place at Yale University on December 8, 2017.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Carr on Animal Welfare Law in 19th-Century Scotland

Daniel James Carr, University of Edinburgh Law School, has posted The Historical Development of Animal Welfare Law in Nineteenth Century Scotland:
This paper examines the development of animal welfare in Scotland. Whilst the law developed in tandem with developments across nineteenth century Britain, the paper draws attention to the distinctive Scottish situation. By examining the development from disparate common law protections to the statutory interventions of the nineteenth century the paper charts that development, and begins to place it within nascent 'humanist' movements emerging around this time. The piece examines how the Scottish doctrinal law took a distinctive direction in decisions, and in particular considers contemporary opinion. The paper is the first to take a look at the particular Scottish development and opens up new avenues of research into the nineteenth century, and also frames developments in the modern law which I will pursue in future research.

Tucker on Labor Law History

Eric Tucker, York University Osgoode Hall Law School, has posted On Writing Labour Law History: A Reconnaissance:
Labour law historians rarely write about the theoretical and methodological foundations of their discipline. In response to this state of affairs, this article adopts a reconnaissance strategy, which eschews any pretense at providing a synthesis or authoritative conclusions, but rather hopes to open up questions and paths of inquiry that may encourage others to also reflect on a neglected area of scholarship. It begins by documenting and reflecting on the implications of the fact that labour law history sits at the margins of many other disciplines, including labour history, legal history, labour law, industrial relations and law and society, but lacks a home of its own. It next presents a short historiography of the writing of labour law history, noting its varied and changing intellectual influences. Next the article notes some of the methodological consequences of different theoretical commitments and discusses briefly the possibilities opened up by computer technologies as revealed by two interesting projects that rely heavily on the construction of sophisticated data bases. Finally, the article reflects on the methodological challenges I have experienced in my current project on labour law’s recurring regulatory dilemmas and conclude with some thoughts on the contribution labour law history can make to our understanding of the dynamics that shape its current challenges.

Why African Americans Were Able To Litigate and Win Civil Cases Against Whites in the Jim Crow South

I’m back again today guest blogging about some of the research in my new book, Litigating Across the Color Line: Civil Cases Between Black and White Southerners from the End of Slavery to Civil Rights. In my last blog post, I discussed how I found the almost one thousand civil cases between black and white southerners highlighted in my book. Today, I wanted to discuss why African Americans continued to be able to litigate -- and win -- these cases against whites in the Jim Crow South.

It has generally been assumed that African Americans litigated few civil cases against white southerners in the post-Reconstruction South, and faced widespread inequality in the cases that they did pursue. However, the civil cases involving black southerners that historians and legal scholars have examined in the greatest depth often explicitly revolve around issues of race or racial justice and are the kinds of cases that black litigants found particularly difficult to litigate and often fared the worst in. 

In fact, I found that the vast majority of appellate civil cases that black southerners were able to litigate against whites between 1865 and 1950 took place over economic disputes that originated from their daily lives: cases over contracts, bequests, transactions, personal injury, and property. The outcome of most of their cases would usually have an immediate impact only on the families involved in the suit. Black litigants were also surprisingly successful in civil suits that reached southern state supreme courts. Of the 980 state supreme court cases I examined across eight states during this period, black litigants won 59% of their appellate suits against whites.  

 So why were black southerners not only able to litigate these suits but often won them as well?  There were a number of factors, including the nature of the legal system itself. Undoubtedly, these appellate suits are also not completely representative of black litigants' lower-level suits -- although in these suits, African Americans had often won in trial courts as well. However, the fact that black southerners could litigate and win suits against whites at any level during the era of Jim Crow was also due in large part to the ways that white southerners and black litigants viewed these suits.   

In part because of the limited scope of most of these suits, they often seemed relatively unthreatening to white southerners.  African American access to the courts also seemed much less dangerous than their access to the ballot box because most cases would be mediated by white judges and juries. White southerners argued that generally white judges and juries could be trusted to make the “right” decisions in black southerners’ cases.  Moreover, at times, black southerners’ civil cases actually seemed to uphold white people’s rights.  In cases claiming bequests left in a white man’s will, for instance, a decision for the black litigant upheld the white testator’s right to leave a bequest to whom he pleased. In other instances, whites viewed black litigants’ cases as upholding the system of white supremacy, even as they inconvenienced a few individual whites.  In fraud cases in which African Americans emphasized their ignorance and lack of business understanding, black litigants’ testimony arguably strengthened white claims about black inequality.

At the same time, the outcome of these suits could often have a life-changing effect on the families and finances of the black litigants involved. The results of African Americans’ litigation would determine whether they would have their own land under their feet, funds to replace missing wages when they were injured, or be paid for a year’s work.  Other cases decided whether they would be able to inherit property that had been left them in a will or if they had a legitimate claim to ownership of a horse or mule.

I argue that the very discrepancy between how white and black southerners viewed these suits played an important part in allowing them to continue.  As a result of their view of these suits as relatively unthreatening – and sometimes even beneficial – to white supremacy, white southerners allowed African Americans to continue to access the civil courts even after black men were largely disfranchised throughout the South at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries.  At the same time, because African Americans had important economic stakes in the outcomes of their suits, they often did everything they could to achieve a favorable decision. This included hiring white lawyers, emphasizing connections with prominent whites in their communities, shaping their testimony based on their understanding of the relevant law, and using their knowledge of white southern racial attitudes to present themselves in ways that would elicit favorable responses from largely white juries and judges.

I’ll be back in a few days to discuss in greater detail the ways that a number of black litigants adeptly negotiated an often hostile legal system in which the actors making decisions often had very different interests than their own. 

Slavery and the Constitution: An NEH Summer Institute

[We have the following announcement.]

Slavery and the Constitution is a new NEH Summer Institute designed to examine the relationship between slavery and the Constitution and will enable 25 faculty members from two- and four-year colleges and universities to study the relationship between slavery and the United States Constitution. It will be held in Washington, DC from July 8-21, 2018 at the Library of Congress’ Kluge Center.  Seven eminent scholars will offer seminars, lead scholarly discussions, and provide research assistance on the topic of slavery and the Constitution. The Institute’s scholars will also guide the participants through primary documents and the continuing scholarly debate over the relationship between slavery and the Constitution from its writing to the Civil War. The stipend for the program is $2100.  [More information is here.]

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Weekend Roundup

  • The Historical Society of the DC Circuit has a quite competent history Calmly to Poise the Scales of Justice: A History of the Courts of the District of Columbia Circuit by Jeffrey Brandon Morris.  Recently, the Society posted on its website the full text of two earlier histories completed in 1976:  An Anecdotal History of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, by District Court Judge Mathew F. McGuire, and History of The United States Court of Appeals for The District of Columbia Circuit in The Country's Bicentennial Year.  The latter two books are available free here
  •  Issue 6 (November 2017) of the European Legal History: The Newsletter of the Max Planck Institute is here.  H/t: ESCLH
  • Historians have long had HNN as a platform for reaching the general public.  More recently, as we have noted, they have published op-eds on the Washington Post’s website, Made by History.  More recently still, we learned of another platform, not just for historians but the academe as a whole: The Conversation
  • Just out from Princeton University Press is How to Do Things With International Law
    by Ian Hurd, a political scientist at Northwestern.  “Conventionally understood as a set of limits on state behavior, the ‘rule of law’ in world politics is widely assumed to serve as a progressive contribution to a just, stable, and predictable world.”  Perhaps not, the book argues.
Weekend Roundup is a weekly feature compiled by all the Legal History bloggers.