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legal history



  • When Abortion is Criminalized, Can Juries Nullify the Law?

    by Sonali Chakravarti

    Inevitably, a health care provider will be prosecuted under one of the post-Dobbs abortion laws passed by the states. When this happens, will juries be informed by their predecessors who refused to convict defendants charged under the Fugitive Slave Act? 



  • How Pauli Murray Masterminded Brown v. Board of Education

    by Tejai Beulah Howard

    Overcoming marginalization by male classmates, Pauli Murray made a bet with a professor that segregation could be challenged by arguing that separate was inherently unequal. Murray collected on the bet only after the 1954 ruling validated the argument, but was long denied credit. 


  • Who's Afraid of Critical Race Theory?

    by Wallace Hettle

    An introduction to the core ideas of the Critical Race Theory movement and its founding thinkers suggests the right today isn't mad about ideas, but wants a new and scary-sounding term to justify their ongoing opposition to racial equality. 



  • Law School Dean: Whose History is it at SCOTUS?

    by Allison Orr Larsen

    The Supreme Court's embrace of historical arguments for its decisions is dangerous, because motivated advocacy groups, not scholars, are the source of much of it. 



  • Originalism is Just Selective History

    by David H. Gans

    "This is a Court that insists it is following history and tradition where they lead, while cherry-picking the history it cares about to reach conservative results."



  • On the Historical Dilettantes Practicing Originalism

    by Joshua Zeitz

    "The functional problem with originalism is that it requires a very, very firm grasp of history — a grasp that none of the nine justices, and certainly few of their 20-something law clerks, freshly minted from J.D. programs, possess."



  • Legal Historians as Authority in West Virginia v. EPA

    This is a note identifying the legal history sources cited in both Elena Kagan's dissent and Neil Gorsuch's concurrence in the court's ruling limiting the power of the EPA to limit emissions. 



  • Can Law be an Instrument of Black Liberation?

    by Paul Gowder

    As activists debate whether the law and courts are a dead end for the pursuit of justice, it's useful to recall Frederick Douglass's conception of the law as a basis for collective demands. 



  • The Supreme Court Isn't Supposed to be this Powerful

    by Nikolas Bowie and Daphna Renan

    "Judicial supremacy is an institutional arrangement brought to cultural ascendancy by white people who wanted to undo Reconstruction and the rise of organized labor that had followed."



  • Make Progressive Politics Constitutional Again

    by Joseph Fishkin and William E. Forbath

    It is time to jettison the legal liberalism that holds constitutional interpretation separate from popular politics, or else the government's ability to legislate in the public interest will be destroyed.