The Supreme Court heard the most high profile First Amendment case of the current term in Elonis v. United States. In an extended blog post about the case, Richard Lempert explores the facts of the case, what it means for First Amendment case law, and the details of the hearing before the High Court.
Classical arguments about the legitimate use of force have profoundly shaped the norms and institutions of contemporary international society. But what specific lessons can we learn from the classical European philosophers and jurists when thinking about humanitarian intervention, preventive self-defense or international trusteeship today? The contributors to this volume take seriously the admonition of contextualist scholars not to uproot classical thinkers' arguments from their social, political and intellectual environment. Nevertheless, this collection demonstrates that contemporary students, scholars and policymakers can still learn a great deal from the questions raised by classical European thinkers, the problems they highlighted, and even the problematic character of some of the solutions they offered. The aim of this volume is to open up current assumptions about military intervention, and to explore the possibility of reconceptualizing and reappraising contemporary approaches.
This book is for those who want to know and understand the reasons and the story behind these historic negotiations or for those who may wonder how apparently conventional United Nations negotiations became so unusual and successful.
The intersections between culture and human rights have engaged some of the most heated and controversial debates across international law and theory. To what extent should the law permit cultural defences to general rules?
Law and War explores the cultural, historical, spatial, and theoretical dimensions of the relationship between law and war—a connection that has long vexed the jurisprudential imagination. Historically the term "war crime" struck some as redundant and others as oxymoronic: redundant because war itself is criminal; oxymoronic because war submits to no law. More recently, the remarkable trend toward the juridification of warfare has emerged, as law has sought to stretch its dominion over every aspect of the waging of armed struggle. No longer simply a tool for judging battlefield conduct, law now seeks to subdue warfare and to enlist it into the service of legal goals. Law has emerged as a force that stands over and above war, endowed with the power to authorize and restrain, to declare and limit, to justify and condemn.
Positivism is seen as one of the most influential theoretical frameworks for understanding international law. This book investigates its origins and demonstrates how it has influenced the development of international law.
In a recent interview about her new book on Benjamin Franklin’s sister, Harvard history professor and New Yorker staff writer Jill Lepore talked about the difficulty of writing appealing narrative about historical figures whose life stories contain many negative markers such as personal tragedy, defeat, oppression, exclusion and/or discrimination and, concomitantly, a drastic failure to achieve to potential. In fact, Lepore talks about putting her project on Jane Franklin aside for years because of this problem, until she finally figured out a brilliant way to avoid turning off her readers by starting her story centuries before and ending it centuries after Jane Franklin’s life. After struggling with writing Defining the Struggle, a narrative about late nineteenth and early twentieth century racial justice advocates and the many defeats and often related personal tragedies they faced, I very much identified with Lepore’s problem and was thrilled to find her interview (pointed out to me by my colleague Robert Tsai). Unlike Lepore, however, I never found a brilliant solution. Here are two examples I really struggled with: T. Thomas Fortune -- a law-trained journalist who founded the National Afro American League -- envisioned the founding platform the early NAACP would take up decades later; I like to describe him as the most important early civil rights leader no one in legal academia has heard of. But the story of Fortune’s life trajectory is not a narratively appealing one. Fortune started his adult life full of vision and positive energy, but in mid-life he fell under Booker T. Washington’s influence, in part because he was in desperate financial straits. Washington stole Fortune’s newspaper from him and booted him out onto the street; Fortune had a nervous breakdown and became an irascible, erratic contributor of occasional articles, finishing the last half his life with a greatly diminished stature as compared to his younger self. It occurs to me that part of why he is not well remembered today is that his life story does not form an attractive, coherent narrative arc. It is hard to lionize someone whose life became such a mess after a relatively short period of early accomplishment. My second example is even more tragic. It involves the Niagara Movement’s only test case plaintiff, Barbara E. Pope. Pope was a talented literary writer and left wonderful historical evidence of her views in gems such as a short story in which an African American woman and her husband, a lawyer, argue about whether she should fulfill her strong ambition to become a lawyer. Her husband wins the argument. Given my interest in women’s quasi-legal reform activism, I even thought about starting my book with Pope. But featuring Pope became very problematic once I discovered that she had committed suicide several years after a jury returned an insulting verdict in her test case, awarding her only one cent in damages for the dignitary rights violation of being thrown off a Jim Crow train and forcibly arrested. I did put all this information into the book, of course, but could not start with it; who wants to read a book that starts with such a sad tale. A host of other important figures had similarly tragic stories; racial justice activism in the nadir period was a hugely draining, personally taxing endeavor that quite literally destroyed people’s lives. I am wondering if others have faced similar problems and what solutions, if any, they found to them.
The past sixty years have seen an expansion of international human rights conventions and supervisory organs, not least in Europe. While these international legal instruments have enlarged their mandate, they have also faced opposition and criticism from political actors at the state level, even in well-functioning democracies. Against the backdrop of such contestations, this book brings together prominent scholars in law, political philosophy and international relations in order to address the legitimacy of international human rights regimes as a theoretically challenging and politically salient case of international authority. It provides a unique and thorough overview of the legitimacy problems involved in the global governance of human rights.
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