July 15, 2013

"Beyond Blame"...

...at the Boston Review.  A lead essay by law professor Barbara Fried (Stanford), with responses by legal scholars, philosophers, and psychologists, including Adriaan Lanni (Harvard), Christine Korsgaard and T.M. Scanlon (both Harvard), Paul Bloom (Yale), Gideon Rosen (Princeton), and yours truly, among others.

Posted by Brian Leiter on July 15, 2013 in Jurisprudence, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

June 30, 2013

Blast from the past: Leiter v. Shapiro on "theoretical disagreements"

Bloggingheads TV, 2008, but at a new URL now.

Posted by Brian Leiter on June 30, 2013 in Jurisprudence | Permalink

June 25, 2013

A bare majority of the super-legislature known as the Supreme Court votes to repeal a crucial part of the Voting Rights Act...

...that the actual legislature evaluated and extended in 2006.  They do so based on the finding of five members of the super-legislature that the portion of the Act at issue is no longer necessary, contrary to the view, apparently, of the actual legislature seven years earlier.

And a minority of scholars are still not legal realists!

Posted by Brian Leiter on June 25, 2013 in Jurisprudence, Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

May 17, 2013

"Why Tolerate Religion?" at the Center for Inquiry in Washington, DC

The video.

Posted by Brian Leiter on May 17, 2013 in Faculty News, Jurisprudence, Law in Cyberspace, Navel-Gazing | Permalink

April 26, 2013

"Why Tolerate Religion?" in DC Tomorrow

I look forward to meeting a number of longtime readers there.

Posted by Brian Leiter on April 26, 2013 in Jurisprudence, Navel-Gazing | Permalink

April 18, 2013

First Things (magazine) on "Why Tolerate Religion?"

First Things is a conservative Catholic intellectual magazine.  An unsigned editorial in the April 2013 issue opines that,

A recent book by...Brian Leiter outlines what may well become the theoretical consensus used to reinterpret the First Amendment.  "There is no principled reason," he writes in Why Tolerate Religion?, "for legal or constitutional regimes to single out religion for protection."  He buys the ideological [sic] attack on religion, describing religious belief as a uniquely bad combination of moral fervor and mental blindness.  It serves no public good that justifies special protection.  More significant--and this is his main thesis--it is patently unfair to provide it with such.  Why should a Catholic or Jew have a special right while Peter Singer, a committed utilitarian, doesn't?  Evoking the principle of fairness, Leiter argues that everybody's conscience should be accorded the same legal protections.  Thus he proposes to replace religious liberty with a plenary "liberty of conscience."

Without dwelling on some of the mischaracterizations of my argument (the general thrust of it they have right), it's striking to me that they believe this "may well become the theoretical consensus used to reinterpret the First Amendment."  I would welcome that, but I don't expect it to happen in my lifetime.  I do think there's more potential in Canada and the European countries, many of which
already recognize "liberty of conscience," but have yet, in practice, to extend that much beyond religious claims of conscience.  (Of course, I also think there should be no exemptions from laws respsecting the principle of toleration and that promote the general welfare, unless those exemptions do not shift burdens on to others.)

Posted by Brian Leiter on April 18, 2013 in Jurisprudence, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

March 14, 2013

"Why Tolerate Religion?" in the Harvard Law Review (March 2013)

A nice short notice:  "Why Tolerate Religion? is a readable book that exposes several tenuous assumptions underlying the predominant justifications for religious exemptions. At the same time, it provides a fresh and intuitive framework for analyzing conscience-based objections to facially neutral laws that should appeal to legal practitioners, jurists, and philosophers alike."


Posted by Brian Leiter on March 14, 2013 in Jurisprudence, Navel-Gazing | Permalink

March 13, 2013

"The Boundaries of the Moral (and Legal) Community"

This was a 2011 Meador Lecture at the University of Alabama.  A number of readers gave me helpful comments on a draft that was on SSRN, and are acknowledged in the footnotes.  Many thanks!

Posted by Brian Leiter on March 13, 2013 in Jurisprudence | Permalink

February 27, 2013

Green on Dworkin

Another memorial for Ronald Dworkin, including an interesting observation by Leslie Green:

Leslie Green, professor of the philosophy of law at Oxford, described Professor Dworkin as "one of the most important legal thinkers of our time", who "achieved this by his brilliance, originality and, especially, his unparalleled fearlessness in yoking together moral views that are attractive and widely shared, and views about the nature of law and the courts that are implausible and gained few adherents".

Posted by Brian Leiter on February 27, 2013 in Jurisprudence | Permalink

February 20, 2013

Paul Campos admits he doesn't "even [know] what it means" to think like a lawyer

This probably explains a lot.  Fortunately, Fred Schauer has recently written a book that could help him with his questions, like, "What does it mean to teach people to think like lawyers?  How is thinking like a lawyer different from ordinary thinking?" 

(Thanks to Nick Smith for the pointer.)

UPDATE:  A senior legal academic, who has been involved extensively with legal education reform, writes:  "Keep up the Campos bashing.  I think that some of the law school critics have done a good service.  Even when I don't agree with everything, it was necessary for legal educators to give up a bit of complacency.  I've never met Campos, but he is disgraceful."  It's hard to disagree with any of that, but I don't really plan to keep up the "bashing," since, as we saw a few weeks back, by Campos's own admission, there really isn't much content to his routine. 


Posted by Brian Leiter on February 20, 2013 in Jurisprudence, Law Professors Saying Dumb Things, Legal Humor, Of Academic Interest, Professional Advice | Permalink