Monday, September 21, 2015
MOVING TO FRONT FROM LAST WEEK--MORE COMMENTS WELCOME
Prof. Jeff Sovern (St. John's) writes:
We often hear Chief Justice Roberts’s famous complaint about law review articles: “Pick up a copy of any law review that you see and the first article is likely to be, you know, the influence of Immanuel Kant on evidentiary approaches in 18th-century Bulgaria, or something, which I'm sure was of great interest to the academic that wrote it, but isn't of much help to the bar.” I’ve been wondering how many law review articles have changed the law. Given your role, through your blog, as a connector of legal academics, I wondered if you would be interested in inviting people who know of such articles to list them in the comments. I would limit it to articles written in the last ten or fifteen years on the theory that the Chief Justice was probably not complaining about older scholarship. I can start the list off with citations my co-author, Dee Pridgen of Wyoming, compiled to articles in our field of consumer law. Her list consists of Oren Bar-Gill and Elizabeth Warren, Making Credit Safer, 157 U.PA. L. Rev.1 (2008); Kathleen C. Engel and Patricia McCoy, A Tale of Three Markets, 82 Tex. L. Rev. 439 (2003). Kathleen C. Engel and Patricia A. McCoy, A Tale of Three Markets: The Law and Economics of Predatory Lending, 80 Tex. L. Rev. 1255 (2002)—all of which contributed to the Dodd-Frank Act; Oren Bar-Gill, Seduction by Plastic, 98 Nw. U.L. Rev. 1373 (2004)—which led to the Credit CARD Act; and Steven M. Graves and Christopher L. Peterson, Predatory Lending and the Military: The Law and Geography of “Payday” Loan in Military Towns, 66 Ohio St. L.J. 653 (2005)—which brought about the Military Loan Act. The pieces on that list produced statutes, rather than case law, but I would still count them. Of course, it is impossible to show that the changes in the law would not have occurred anyway in the absence of the writings, but perhaps we can take it on faith that the articles helped push things along.
Comments are open for other examples. (And just for the record, the idea that legal scholarship has to be interesting to the Chief Justice or to lawmakers is silly, though if some is, that's fine too [assuming it's a good influence!].)