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A Truce In The Criminal Law Distributive Principle Wars?, Paul H. Robinson Feb 2020

A Truce In The Criminal Law Distributive Principle Wars?, Paul H. Robinson

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Crime-control utilitarians and retributivist philosophers have long been at war over the appropriate distributive principle for criminal liability and punishment, with little apparent possibility of reconciliation between the two. In the utilitarians’ view, the imposition of punishment can be justified only by the practical benefit that it provides: avoiding future crime. In the retributivists’ view, doing justice for past wrongs is a value in itself that requires no further justification. The competing approaches simply use different currencies: fighting future crime versus doing justice for past wrongs.

It is argued here that the two are in fact reconcilable, in a fashion ...


Christianity And Bankruptcy, David A. Skeel Jr. Dec 2019

Christianity And Bankruptcy, David A. Skeel Jr.

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Although the term “bankruptcy” is nowhere to be found in the Bible, debt and the consequences of default are a major theme both in the Hebrew Bible and in the New Testament. In Israel, as in the ancient Near East generally, a debtor who defaulted on his obligations was often sold into slavery or servitude. Biblical law moderated the harshness of this system by prohibiting Israelites from charging interest on loans to one another, thus diminishing the risk of default, and by requiring the release of slaves after seven years of service. Jesus alluded to the lending laws at least ...


Against The Received Wisdom: Why Should The Criminal Justice System Give Kids A Break?, Stephen J. Morse Jul 2019

Against The Received Wisdom: Why Should The Criminal Justice System Give Kids A Break?, Stephen J. Morse

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Professor Gideon Yaffe’s recent, intricately argued book, The Age of Culpability: Children and the Nature of Criminal Responsibility, argues against the nearly uniform position in both law and scholarship that the criminal justice system should give juveniles a break not because on average they have different capacities relevant to responsibility than adults, but because juveniles have little say about the criminal law, primarily because they do not have a vote. For Professor Yaffe, age has political rather than behavioral significance. The book has many excellent general analyses about responsibility, but all are in aid of the central thesis about ...


Codifying A Sharia-Based Criminal Law In Developing Muslim Countries, Paul H. Robinson Apr 2019

Codifying A Sharia-Based Criminal Law In Developing Muslim Countries, Paul H. Robinson

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This paper reproduces presentations made at the University of Tehran in March 2019 as part of the opening and closing remarks for a Conference on Criminal Law Development in Muslim-Majority Countries. The opening remarks discuss the challenges of codifying a Shari’a-based criminal code, drawing primarily from the experiences of Professor Robinson in directing codification projects in Somalia and the Maldives. The closing remarks apply many of those lessons to the situation currently existing in Iran. Included is a discussion of the implications for Muslim countries of Robinson’s social psychology work on the power of social influence and internalized ...


Divided By The Sermon On The Mount, David A. Skeel Jr. Feb 2019

Divided By The Sermon On The Mount, David A. Skeel Jr.

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This Essay, written for a festschrift for Bob Cochran, argues that the much-discussed friction between evangelical supporters of President Trump and evangelical critics is a symptom of a much deeper theological divide over the Sermon on the Mount, where Jesus told his disciples to turn the other cheek when struck, love their neighbor as themselves, and pray that their debts will be forgiven as they forgive their debtors. Divergent interpretations of these teachings have given rise to competing evangelical visions of justice.

The historical context dates back to the 1880s, a period when the influence of the Sermon on the ...


Reconsidering Judicial Independence: Forty-Five Years In The Trenches And In The Tower, Stephen B. Burbank Jan 2019

Reconsidering Judicial Independence: Forty-Five Years In The Trenches And In The Tower, Stephen B. Burbank

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Trusting in the integrity of our institutions when they are not under stress, we focus attention on them both when they are under stress or when we need them to protect us against other institutions. In the case of the federal judiciary, the two conditions often coincide. In this essay, I use personal experience to provide practical context for some of the important lessons about judicial independence to be learned from the periods of stress for the federal judiciary I have observed as a lawyer and concerned citizen, and to provide theoretical context for lessons I have deemed significant as ...


Rethinking Copyright And Personhood, Christopher S. Yoo Jan 2019

Rethinking Copyright And Personhood, Christopher S. Yoo

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

One of the primary theoretical justifications for copyright is the role that creative works play in helping develop an individual’s sense of personhood and self-actualization. Typically ascribed to the writings of Immanuel Kant and Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, personhood-based theories of copyright serve as the foundation for the moral rights prominent in European copyright law and mandated by the leading intellectual property treaty, which give authors inalienable control over aspects of their works after they have been created. The conventional wisdom about the relationship between personhood and copyright suffers from two fatal flaws that have gone largely unappreciated. First ...


“Second Looks, Second Chances”: Collaborating With Lifers Inc. On A Video About Commutation Of Lwop Sentences, Regina Austin Jan 2019

“Second Looks, Second Chances”: Collaborating With Lifers Inc. On A Video About Commutation Of Lwop Sentences, Regina Austin

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

In Pennsylvania, life means life without the possibility of parole (“LWOP”) or “death by incarceration.” Although executive commutation offers long serving rehabilitated lifers hope of release, in the past 20 years, only 8 commutations have been granted by the state’s governors. This article describes the collaboration between an organization of incarcerated persons serving LWOP and the law-school-based Penn Program on Documentaries and the Law that produced a video supporting increased commutations for Pennsylvania lifers. The article details the methodology of collaborative videomaking employed, the strategic decisions over content that were impacted by the politics of commutation, and the contributions ...


Whatever Did Happen To The Antitrust Movement?, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Dec 2018

Whatever Did Happen To The Antitrust Movement?, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Antitrust in the United States today is caught between its pursuit of technical rules designed to define and implement defensible economic goals, and increasing calls for a new antitrust “movement.” The goals of this movement have been variously defined as combating industrial concentration, limiting the economic or political power of large firms, correcting the maldistribution of wealth, control of high profits, increasing wages, or protection of small business. High output and low consumer prices are typically unmentioned.

In the 1960s the great policy historian Richard Hofstadter lamented the passing of the antitrust “movement” as one of the “faded passions of ...


Rights And Retrenchment In The Trump Era, Stephen B. Burbank, Sean Farhang Oct 2018

Rights And Retrenchment In The Trump Era, Stephen B. Burbank, Sean Farhang

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Our aim in this essay is to leverage archival research, data and theoretical perspectives presented in our book, Rights and Retrenchment: The Counterrevolution against Federal Litigation, as a means to illuminate the prospects for retrenchment in the current political landscape. We follow the scheme of the book by separately considering the prospects for federal litigation retrenchment in three lawmaking sites: Congress, federal court rulemaking under the Rules Enabling Act, and the Supreme Court. Although pertinent data on current retrenchment initiatives are limited, our historical data and comparative institutional perspectives should afford a basis for informed prediction. Of course, little in ...


Self-Actualization And The Need To Create As A Limit On Copyright, Christopher S. Yoo Aug 2018

Self-Actualization And The Need To Create As A Limit On Copyright, Christopher S. Yoo

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Personhood theory is almost invariably cited as one of the primary theoretical bases for copyright. The conventional wisdom views creative works as the embodiment of their creator’s personality. This unique connection between authors and their works justifies giving authors property interests in the results of their creative efforts.

This Chapter argues that the conventional wisdom is too limited. It offers too narrow a vision of the ways that creativity can develop personality by focusing exclusively on the results of the creative process and ignoring the self-actualizing benefits of the creative process itself. German aesthetic theory broadens the understanding of ...


Informed Consent And The Role Of The Treating Physician, Eric Feldman, Holly Fernandez Lynch, Steven Joffe Jun 2018

Informed Consent And The Role Of The Treating Physician, Eric Feldman, Holly Fernandez Lynch, Steven Joffe

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

In the century since Justice Benjamin N. Cardozo famously declared that “[e]very human being of adult years and sound mind has a right to determine what shall be done with his own body,” informed consent has become a central feature of American medical practice. In an increasingly team-based and technology-driven system, however, who is — or ought to be — responsible for obtaining a patient’s consent? Must the treating physician personally provide all the necessary disclosures, or can the consent process, like other aspects of modern medicine, take advantage of specialization and division of labor? Analysis of Shinal v. Toms ...


Regulation And The Marginalist Revolution, Herbert J. Hovenkamp May 2018

Regulation And The Marginalist Revolution, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The marginalist revolution in economics became the foundation for the modern regulatory State with its “mixed” economy. Marginalism, whose development defines the boundary between classical political economy and neoclassical economics, completely overturned economists’ theory of value. It developed in the late nineteenth century in England, the Continent and the United States. For the classical political economists, value was a function of past averages. One good example is the wage-fund theory, which saw the optimal rate of wages as a function of the firm’s ability to save from previous profits. Another is the theory of corporate finance, which assessed a ...


Women’S Human Rights And Migration: Sex-Selective Abortion Laws In The United States And India, Rangita De Silva De Alwis Jan 2018

Women’S Human Rights And Migration: Sex-Selective Abortion Laws In The United States And India, Rangita De Silva De Alwis

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Sital Kalantry’s Women’s Human Rights and Migration: Sex Selective Abortion Laws in the United States and India addresses a long-existing gap in feminist theory at the intersection of a migrant woman’s experience and culturally motivated reproductive decisions. By recognising the possibility that ‘practices that are oppressive to women in one country context may not have a negative impact on women in another country context’ Kalantry takes an important step in creating a framework for evaluating competing human rights interests within the complex cultural contexts that arise in migrant-receiving countries. Her proposed framework rejects the decontextualisation and politicisation ...


“Long Past Time”: Cedaw Ratification In The United States, Rangita De Silva De Alwis, Amanda M. Martin Jan 2018

“Long Past Time”: Cedaw Ratification In The United States, Rangita De Silva De Alwis, Amanda M. Martin

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

More than 70 years after Eleanor Roosevelt pioneered the drafting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the US has not ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW or what is known as the global Bill of Rights for Women). The Trump administration is planning measures such as paid parental leave and child care legislation which are supported by the CEDAW. Despite the Trump administration's caution about human rights treaties, we argue that an enlightened self-interest on the part of the administration will draw it towards the CEDAW ratification despite the ratification ...


The Subversions And Perversions Of Shadow Vigilantism, Paul H. Robinson, Sarah M. Robinson Jan 2018

The Subversions And Perversions Of Shadow Vigilantism, Paul H. Robinson, Sarah M. Robinson

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This excerpt from the recently published Shadow Vigilantes book argues that, while vigilantism, even moral vigilantism, can be dangerous to a society, the real danger is not of hordes of citizens, frustrated by the system’s doctrines of disillusionment, rising up to take the law into their own hands. Frustration can spark a vigilante impulse, but such classic aggressive vigilantism is not the typical response. More common is the expression of disillusionment in less brazen ways by a more surreptitious undermining and distortion of the operation of the criminal justice system.

Shadow vigilantes, as they might be called, can affect ...


Exclusionary Megacities, Wendell Pritchett, Shitong Qiao Jan 2018

Exclusionary Megacities, Wendell Pritchett, Shitong Qiao

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Human beings should live in places where they are most productive, and megacities, where information, innovation and opportunities congregate, would be the optimal choice. Yet megacities in both China and the U.S. are excluding people by limiting housing supply. Why, despite their many differences, is the same type of exclusion happening in both Chinese and U.S. megacities? Urban law and policy scholars argue that Not-In-My-Backyard (NIMBY) homeowners are taking over megacities in the U.S. and hindering housing development therein. They pin their hopes on an efficient growth machine that makes sure “above all, nothing gets in the ...


The Loving Story: Using A Documentary To Reconsider The Status Of An Iconic Interracial Married Couple, Regina Austin Jan 2018

The Loving Story: Using A Documentary To Reconsider The Status Of An Iconic Interracial Married Couple, Regina Austin

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The Loving Story (Augusta Films 2011), directed by Nancy Buirski, tells the backstory of the groundbreaking U.S. Supreme Court case, Loving v. Virginia, that overturned state laws barring interracial marriage. The article looks to the documentary to explain why the Lovings should be considered icons of racial and ethnic civil rights, however much they might be associated with marriage equality today. The film shows the Lovings to be ordinary people who took their nearly decade long struggle against white supremacy to the nation’s highest court out of a genuine commitment to each other and a determination to live ...


Baby M Turns 30: The Law And Policy Of Surrogate Motherhood, Eric A. Feldman Jan 2018

Baby M Turns 30: The Law And Policy Of Surrogate Motherhood, Eric A. Feldman

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This article marks the 30th anniversary of the Supreme Court of New Jersey’s Baby M decision by offering a critical analysis of surrogacy policy in the United States. Despite fundamental changes in both science and society since the case was decided, state courts and legislatures remain bitterly divided on the legality of surrogacy. In arguing for a more uniform, permissive legal posture toward surrogacy, the article addresses five central debates in the surrogacy literature.

First, should the legal system accommodate those seeking conception through surrogacy, or should it prohibit such arrangements? Second, if surrogacy is permitted, what steps can ...


Our Principled Constitution, Mitchell N. Berman Jan 2018

Our Principled Constitution, Mitchell N. Berman

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Suppose that one of us contends, and the other denies, that transgender persons have constitutional rights to be treated in accord with their gender identity. It appears that we are disagreeing about “what the law is.” And, most probably, we disagree about what the law is on this matter because we disagree about what generally makes it the case that our constitutional law is this rather than that.

Constitutional theory should provide guidance. It should endeavor to explain what gives our constitutional rules the contents that they have, or what makes true constitutional propositions true. Call any such account a ...


Arguing With Friends, William Baude, Ryan D. Doerfler Jan 2018

Arguing With Friends, William Baude, Ryan D. Doerfler

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

It is a fact of life that judges sometimes disagree about the best outcome in appealed cases. The question is what they should make of this. The two purest possibilities are to shut out all other views, or else to let them all in, leading one to concede ambiguity and uncertainty in most if not all contested cases.

Drawing on the philosophical concepts of “peer disagreement” and “epistemic peerhood,” we argue that there is a better way. Judges ought to give significant weight to the views of others, but only when those others share the judge’s basic methodology or ...


Crimes That Changed Our World: Tragedy, Outrage, And Reform: Chapter One: 1911 Triangle Factory Fire: Building Safety Codes, Paul H. Robinson, Sarah M. Robinson Jan 2018

Crimes That Changed Our World: Tragedy, Outrage, And Reform: Chapter One: 1911 Triangle Factory Fire: Building Safety Codes, Paul H. Robinson, Sarah M. Robinson

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This first chapter of the recently published book Crimes That Changed Our World: Tragedy, Outrage, and Reform, examines the process by which the tragic 1911 Triangle Factory Fire provoked enormous outrage that in turn created a local then national movement for workplace and building safety that ultimately became the foundation for today’s building safety codes. What is particularly interesting, however, is that the Triangle Fire was not the worst such tragedy in its day. Why should it be the one that ultimately triggers social progress?

The book has 21 chapters, each of which traces the tragedy-outrage-reform dynamic in a ...


The Modigliani-Miller Theorem At 60: The Long-Overlooked Legal Applications Of Finance’S Foundational Theorem, Michael S. Knoll Jan 2018

The Modigliani-Miller Theorem At 60: The Long-Overlooked Legal Applications Of Finance’S Foundational Theorem, Michael S. Knoll

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

2018 marks the 60th anniversary of the publication of Franco Modigliani and Merton Miller’s The Cost of Capital, Corporation Finance, and the Theory of Investment. Widely hailed as the foundation of modern finance, their article, which purports to demonstrate that a firm’s value is independent of its capital structure, is little known by lawyers, including legal academics. That is unfortunate because the Modigliani-Miller capital structure irrelevancy proposition (when inverted) provides a framework that can be extremely useful to legal academics, practicing attorneys and judges.


Petitioning And The Making Of The Administrative State, Maggie Blackhawk Jan 2018

Petitioning And The Making Of The Administrative State, Maggie Blackhawk

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The administrative state is suffering from a crisis of legitimacy. Many have questioned the legality of the myriad commissions, boards, and agencies through which much of our modern governance occurs. Scholars such as Jerry Mashaw, Theda Skocpol, and Michele Dauber, among others, have provided compelling institutional histories, illustrating that administrative lawmaking has roots in the early American republic. Others have attempted to assuage concerns through interpretive theory, arguing that the Administrative Procedure Act of 1946 implicitly amended our Constitution. Solutions offered thus far, however, have yet to provide a deeper understanding of the meaning and function of the administrative state ...


An Unsung Success Story: A Forty-Year Retrospective On U.S. Communications Policy, Christopher S. Yoo Nov 2017

An Unsung Success Story: A Forty-Year Retrospective On U.S. Communications Policy, Christopher S. Yoo

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Looking backwards on the occasion of Telecommunications Policy’s fortieth anniversary reveals just how far U.S. communications policy has come. All of the major challenges of 1976, such as promoting competition in customer premises equipment, long distance, and television networking, have largely been overcome. Moreover, new issues that emerged later, such as competition in local telephone service and multichannel video program distribution, have also largely been solved. More often than not, the solution has been the result of structural changes that enhanced facilities-based competition rather than agency-imposed behavioral requirements. Moreover, close inspection reveals that in most cases, prodding by ...


The Progressives: Racism And Public Law, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Nov 2017

The Progressives: Racism And Public Law, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

American Progressivism inaugurated the beginning of the end of American scientific racism. Its critics have been vocal, however. Progressives have been charged with promotion of eugenics, and thus with mainstreaming practices such as compulsory housing segregation, sterilization of those deemed unfit, and exclusion of immigrants on racial grounds. But if the Progressives were such racists, why is it that since the 1930s Afro-Americans and other people of color have consistently supported self-proclaimed progressive political candidates, and typically by very wide margins?

When examining the Progressives on race, it is critical to distinguish the views that they inherited from those that ...


The Inevitability And Ubiquity Of Cycling In All Feasible Legal Regimes: A Formal Proof, Leo Katz, Alvaro Sandroni Jun 2017

The Inevitability And Ubiquity Of Cycling In All Feasible Legal Regimes: A Formal Proof, Leo Katz, Alvaro Sandroni

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Intransitive choices, or cycling, are generally held to be the mark of irrationality. When a set of rules engenders such choices, it is usually held to be irrational and in need of reform. In this article, we prove a series of theorems, demonstrating that all feasible legal regimes are going to be rife with cycling. Our first result, the legal cycling theorem, shows that unless a legal system meets some extremely restrictive conditions, it will lead to cycling. The discussion that follows, along with our second result, the combination theorem, shows exactly why these conditions are almost impossible to meet ...


Bail Reform: New Directions For Pretrial Detention And Release, Megan Stevenson, Sandra G. Mayson Mar 2017

Bail Reform: New Directions For Pretrial Detention And Release, Megan Stevenson, Sandra G. Mayson

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Our current pretrial system imposes high costs on both the people who are detained pretrial and the taxpayers who foot the bill. These costs have prompted a surge of bail reform around the country. Reformers seek to reduce pretrial detention rates, as well as racial and socioeconomic disparities in the pretrial system, while simultaneously improving appearance rates and reducing pretrial crime. The current state of pretrial practice suggests that there is ample room for improvement. Bail hearings are often cursory, with no defense counsel present. Money-bail practices lead to high rates of detention even among misdemeanor defendants and those who ...


Strict Liability's Criminogenic Effect, Paul H. Robinson Jan 2017

Strict Liability's Criminogenic Effect, Paul H. Robinson

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

It is easy to understand the apparent appeal of strict liability to policymakers and legal reformers seeking to reduce crime: if the criminal law can do away with its traditional culpability requirement, it can increase the likelihood of conviction and punishment of those who engage in prohibited conduct or bring about prohibited harm or evil. And such an increase in punishment rate can enhance the crime-control effectiveness of a system built upon general deterrence or incapacitation of the dangerous. Similar arguments support the use of criminal liability for regulatory offenses. Greater punishment rates suggest greater compliance.

But this analysis fails ...


Intersectionality And The Constitution Of Family Status, Serena Mayeri Jan 2017

Intersectionality And The Constitution Of Family Status, Serena Mayeri

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Marital supremacy—the legal privileging of marriage—is, and always has been, deeply intertwined with inequalities of race, class, gender, and region. Many if not most of the plaintiffs who challenged legal discrimination based on family status in the 1960s and 1970s were impoverished women, men, and children of color who made constitutional equality claims. Yet the constitutional law of the family is largely silent about the status-based impact of laws that prefer marriage and disadvantage non-marital families. While some lower courts engaged with race-, sex-, and wealth-based discrimination arguments in family status cases, the Supreme Court largely avoided recognizing ...