Thursday, December 31, 2009

What were the most important contributions to legal scholarship since 2000?

As the decade ends, it might be fun and perhaps even interesting to identify some of the most important articles and books in legal scholarship since 2000.  Nominations must be submitted with your full name and a valid e-mail address.  A few words of explanation for why the work is significant are also required, and will make the nominations of more value to others.  Submit your comment only once, it may take awhile to appear.

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A sleeper, I suppose, but I think the revision of Schlesinger's Comparative Law by Ugo Mattei et al. has the potential for a major long-term impact. Comparative law has been an inexplicably sleepy field in the US, largely limited to a few rather tame comparisons between civil and common law with an aging methodology and relatively little time for non-European legal systems. Not any more.

Posted by: mike livingston | Dec 31, 2009 12:45:59 PM

Jones, Owen D. & Goldsmith, Timothy, Law and Behavioral Biology, 105 Columbia L. Rev. 405 (2005). This article does an excellent job of summarizing the emerging field of law & behavioral biology.
Scott Fruehwald

[BL comment: Since I think the piece Professor Fruehwald recommends contains a good deal of misrepresentation and confusions, I would recommend reading it in conjunction with: ]

Posted by: Scott Fruehwald | Dec 31, 2009 4:09:33 PM

I'll propose two books that I think are profoundly important for our understanding of American constitutionalism: Robert Dahl, How Democratic is the American Constitution (2001) and Sanford Levinson, Our Undemocratic Constitution (2006). Constitutional theory has obsessively focused on the Supreme Court. These two books are excellent correctives to that problem. Our political system is obviously beset with a number of ills. As scholars, we should be shining a light on how many of these ills have origins in our institutions. These two books will help us begin a badly needed conversation.

Posted by: Miguel Schor | Jan 1, 2010 7:29:26 AM

Akhil Reed Amar, America's Constitution: A Biography (2005). Along with The Federalist Papers, this book would be on any short list of the most important works ever on the U.S. Constitution. Amar is at the top of his game here as legal scholar, political scientist, and historian. Of special significance is that the book appeals both to specialists in constitutional law and to general readers--a rare accomplishment.

Posted by: Jason Mazzone | Jan 1, 2010 3:50:26 PM

Constructing Civil Liberties by Ken Kersch, which has not received the attention its due, should be on the list. You can find a detailed explanation of why the book is important here:

Posted by: David Bernstein | Jan 4, 2010 2:36:20 PM

Bruce Ackerman:- Before the Next Attack: Preserving Civil Liberties in an Age of Terrorism: Emergency Powers in an Age of Terrorism 2006

Aharon Barak- The Judge in a Democracy 2008

Posted by: Jamie Fletcher | Jan 5, 2010 7:36:20 PM

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