Thursday, September 26, 2013

There's An App For That!

If you like the show NCIS (I have to admit that I do think Mark Harmon is eye candy and I loved David McCallum as Ilya Kuryakin oh so many years ago on The Man From U.N.C.L.E.) you might like the NCIS app, which allows you to play along with Gibbs, Ducky, and the rest of the team as they solve crimes. The app lets you discovers evidence for example--it gives you hints along the way, and characters from the show give you encouragement or suggest you're falling down on the job depending on how long it takes you to solve various stages of the game. I've played the game a little, and found it entertaining, but a little challenging. You have to have good eyesight, and apply some critical thinking. The app is available for iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad. More here.

Looking For Women's Rights In the Constitution

Jill Elaine Hasday, University of Minnesota Law School, has published Women's Exclusion from the Constitutional Canon in the University of Illinois Law Review for 2013. Here is the abstract.

This Essay asks why sex equality is outside the constitutional canon. While race discrimination is a canonical concern of constitutional law, the story of America’s struggles over and against sex discrimination is not widely taken to be a central, organizing part of our constitutional tradition — a defining narrative that exemplifies and expresses the nation’s foundational values and commitments. I offer three potential explanations for the exclusion of sex equality from the constitutional canon. First, the Supreme Court’s jurisprudence developed in ways that suggested that sex discrimination was not a core constitutional problem and concern, especially when compared to race discrimination. Second, the Court’s sex discrimination case law has focused narrowly on state action that draws explicit distinctions between women and men. The Court has little interest in reviewing facially neutral laws, no matter their contribution to women’s unequal status, so the Court hears few sex discrimination suits anymore. This paucity of case law contributes to the sense that conflicts over sex equality are no longer central to constitutional law, if they ever were. Third, the story of women’s resistance to sex discrimination may be less prominent in American constitutional law because this story is less prominent in American popular culture, and vice versa. The Essay concludes by exploring why sex equality may ultimately become part of the constitutional canon. The Court’s reading of the Equal Protection Clause to prohibit sex discrimination has become much less controversial since the 1970s. Moreover, new analogies have emerged in constitutional law, which over time have pushed sex discrimination closer to the core of the Equal Protection Clause. Courts, lawmakers, advocates, and scholars seeking constitutional protection from sexual orientation discrimination now routinely analogize sexual orientation to sex. The frequency and prominence of these analogies, which presuppose that struggles against sex discrimination are already central to our nation’s understanding of equality and equal protection, may help move sex into the constitutional canon at last.
Download the essay from SSRN at the link.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

A New Award, Named For Penelope Pether

From Keith Bybee, Director, Institute for the Study of the Judiciary, Politics, and the Media at Syracuse University, announcement of a new award:

The Penny Pether Award for Law and Language Scholarship A passionate advocate for interdisciplinary scholarship in law, literature, and language, Penelope J. Pether was Professor of Law at Villanova University School of Law and former Professor of Law and Director of Legal Rhetoric at the American University Washington College of Law. Her own scholarship focused not only on law, literature, and language, but also on constitutional and comparative constitutional law; legal theory, including constitutional theory; common law legal institutions, judging practices, and professional subject formation. Beginning in November 2013, the Penny Pether Award for Law & Language Scholarship will be given annually to an article or essay published during the preceding year (September 1 to September 1) that exemplifies Penny’s commitment to law and language scholarship and pedagogy. The Committee selecting award recipients from among the articles and essays nominated will look for scholarship that not only embodies Penny’s passion and spirit but also has some or all of the following characteristics:1. “[S]cholarship concerning itself with the unique or distinctive insights that might emerge from interdisciplinary inquiries into ‘law’ grounded in the work of influential theorists of language and discourse.”2. Scholarship that “attempts to think through the relations among subject formation, language, and law.”3. Scholarship that provides “accounts of—and linguistic interventions in—acute and yet abiding crises in law, its institutions and discourses.”4. Scholarship and pedagogy that is “[c]arefully theorized and situated, insisting on engaging politics and law, [and that] charts ways for law and its subjects to use power, do justice.” More explanations and descriptions of these characteristics can be found in Penny’s chapter from which these quotations are drawn: Language, in Law and the Humanities: An Introduction (Austin Sarat et al. eds., Cambridge U. Press 2010). Nominations should be sent by October 25, 2013 to Jeremy Mullem at  You are free to nominate more than one work and to nominate work you’ve written.  Please provide a citation for each work you nominate. The Selection Committee includes Linda Berger, David Caudill, Amy Dillard, Ian Gallacher, Melissa Marlow, Jeremy Mullem, Nancy Modesitt, and Terry Pollman.  Members of the Selection Committee and other faculty at their schools are not eligible for the award.   -------------------------Keith J. Bybee
Director, Institute for the Study of the Judiciary, Politics, and the Media at Syracuse University
Paul E. and the Hon. Joanne F. Alper '72 Judiciary Studies Professor, Syracuse University College of Law
Professor of Political Science, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs

Call For Papers: Annual Meeting of Law & Society/Africa Law and Society

From Mark Kende, Drake University Law School:

The forthcoming Annual Meeting of Law & Society will be held in Minneapolis from May 29 to June 1.  The Africa CRN invites proposals for panels (with submission of abstracts and a panel description), proposals for roundtables (with a description), proposals for Author Meets Reader events, or the submission of  independent papers related to Africa Law & Society issues.  Please list your event as being part of CRN 13 when you submit.  You should also consider whether other CRN’s may be interested in co-sponsoring.  The deadline for submissions to the conference is Tuesday, October 15, 2013.   All submissions must comply with Law & Society rules:    No time extensions will be allowed.
 If you have an independent paper that you would like the Africa CRN to try to match with a panel or would like the CRN’s assistance in organizing a panel or roundtable, please e-mail your paper or panel/roundtable proposal to Professor Brian Ray at b.e.ray@csuohio.eduby 5 p.m. eastern standard time on Monday October 7, 2013.
Among the numerous topics that could be addressed include:  the situation of women in African nations; customary law and traditions; the 20th Anniversary of South African independence; religion in African nations; constitutionalism and human rights; problems and success in governance at the national, regional, and local levels; the rise of Chinese influence in the region as well as other foreign influence; corruption; freedom of the press; problems related to poverty and war; issues of health and medical care; judicial functioning; the legal profession; and many other areas.
 Herewith is a description of the Africa CRN: the research focus of this CRN is on African law and society.  Open to all, this CRN aims to investigate the variety of levels and methods through which African law and society are constituted and change.  Recent annual meetings of the LSA have demonstrated that the Law and Society Association’s full potential for scholarship by Africans or about African law and society has not been achieved.  Likewise, African scholarship falling broadly within the law and society or socio-legal studies intellectual tradition has not been as prominent as could be the case.  Working both within the LSA and Africa, this CRN aims to organize panels for LSA annual meetings in Minneapolis and beyond.  The CRN also aims to promote and facilitate participation in African-located law and society scholarship initiatives.  The CRN is also pursuing funding and holding an African Institute, based loosely on the model of the LSA’s Summer Institutes.  While the CRN is African rather than South African, this CRN will both recognize and critique the role that South Africa plays in African law and society and in its scholarship.
  P.S.  Apologies for any list duplication.  If you know of someone not on the list who might be interested, please pass this on.  Thanks.  Mark
   Professor Mark KendeJames Madison Chair in Constitutional LawDirector, Drake University Constitutional Law Center2507 University Ave., Des Moines, IA 50311515-271-3354, 515-271-1858 (fax) Author, Constitutional Rights in Two Worlds:  South Africa and the United States (Cambridge Univ.), sample papers: Web Site:

Histories of the Law

Lawrence Friedman, New England Law School, has published Introduction to: 'Law and the Modern Condition: Literary and Historical Perspectives' in Law and the Modern Condition: Literary and Historical Perspectives (Lawrence Friedman, edl; Talbot Publishing, Clark: New Jersey, 2013). Here is the abstract.

Using fiction as a lens through which to view particular developments in the law, each of the essays in the new book, 'Law and the Modern Condition: Literary and Historical Perspectives' (Talbot Publishing, 2013), discusses a work of literary fiction — some classical (the tale of Ruth in the Bible, the fiction of Franz Kafka and Herman Melville, the plays of William Shakespeare) some modern (the post-September 11 fiction of William Gibson, Ken Kalfus, Claire Messud, Ian McEwan and Helen Schulman) — that concerns, directly or indirectly, the historical development of the law. This exploration of legal history through fiction pays particular attention to its relevance to our present circumstances and our growing concerns about terrorism and civil liberties. Each essay considers the legal lessons about the fictional event or events at its core, lessons that tell us something worth remembering as we continue to chart law’s evolution. These lessons, like those that may be found in all great literature, necessarily extend beyond the historical confines of the characters and plot and background of each story to embrace the modern condition — which, as these great stories suggest, is and always has been the only condition.
Download the essay from SSRN at the link. Thanks to Simon Stern, University of Toronto, for sending me the cite.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

A Law and/in/as Literature Conference in Brazil, October 30 to November 1

From our colleague Jose Calvo Gonzalez at the University of Malaga, news of another extremely interesting conference, this one in Brazil. Here's a link to the call for papers and more information about the conference, which is devoted to law and literature, law as literature, and law in literature. The event,officially named the II COLÓQUIO INTERNACIONAL DE DIREITO E LITERATURA:  "A REPRESENTAÇÃO DO JUIZ E O IMAGINÁRIO SOCIAL,” takes place from October 30 through November 1 at the Auditório Central, Faculdade Meridional, Passo Fundo, RS, Brasil.

What We Talk About When We Talk About Ownership

Yxta Maya Murray, Loyola Law School, Los Angeles, has published From Here I Saw What Happened and I Cried: Carrie Mae Weems’ Challenge to the Harvard Archive at 8 Unbound: Harvard Journal of the Legal Left 1 (2013). Here is the abstract.

In the early 1990s, the artist Carrie Mae Weems appropriated daguerreotypes of enslaved people that are housed in Harvard University’s Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology. These incendiary images of Drana, Jack, Renty and Delia had been commissioned by Harvard Zoology Professor Louis Agassiz in the mid-1800s, supposedly in order to illustrate his theory of racial difference. However, Weems had signed a contract with the Peabody promising not to use the images without their permission, and she did not seek such approval before including the daguerreotypes in her now-famous series "From Here I Saw What Happened and I Cried." Harvard threatened to sue Weems on the grounds of copyright infringement and breach of contract, though when Weems invited Harvard to conduct what she understood to be a difficult conversation about law, history, and race "in the courts," Harvard demurred.
In this essay, I consider the copyright and contract claims that Harvard might have depended upon in its litigation. With respect to the copyright infringement claim, I query whether the fair use doctrine’s requirement that an appropriator "transform" borrowed images or text might have provided Weems with a defense. This question ushers me into an extended meditation on the meaning of transformation as it relates to art, history, law, seeing, and slavery. I also query whether Harvard actually owned these images at all; such property ownership proves the foundation for their contract claim. I conclude that Harvard did indeed own these daguerreotypes, but struggle against that determination, since this property was wrested from Drana, Jack, Renty and Delia through violence and atrocity. In the interests of peace, remembrance, and racial justice, I maintain that no valid property law should recognize such a chain of title. Borrowing from the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, I draft a proposed law that would recognize the relics of enslaved people as cultural property and require the federally funded museums that now own them to give them back to the descendants of America’s enslaved peoples.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.