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Abstract

This lecture given at Birmingham City University School of Law, March 21, 2019 considers the origins of the right to silence in the jurisprudence of the Supreme Court of the United States and compares the constitutional protections against self-incrimination with those of the United Kingdom. It notes that the effect of the changes introduced by the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 and the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act of 1994 is that there is now a fundamental divergence in approach between the two jurisdictions and concludes that as the twenty first century progresses, defendants on both sides of the Atlantic will be less likely to exercise their rights without consequence and then when they do choose to speak it will be at their peril.

Abstract

The modern way of life and reflected in modern political philosophy is directed by capitalist activity of both commodities and persons. Entities that do not have commodity value are worthless to the capitalist enterprise, regardless of any intrinsic value in themselves. Modernity is capitalist modernity. Modernity has given preference for objects/commodities over persons. This paper will argue for opening-up the landscape for alternative experiences to capitalism, as an attempt to move away from the capitalist enterprise. That is, be able to provide open space for people to use other than the buying and selling of commodities---where the commodification process breaks down and opens-up spaces for alternative experiences besides the capitalist experience. In other words, this work will attempt to serve as critique of Enlightenment philosophical discourse---that is, serve as a critique of the Age of Enlightenment serving as the foundational head of modernism---a plea for the rebellion against the quantification and mathematization of reality under modernist and industrial societies. It will use the modern landscape as the first effort to break free from the capitalist enterprise.

Abstract

The prevalent approach to the concept of the rule of law among legal theorists puts attributes first, assigning certain features of laws and sometimes legal systems as rule-of-law virtues. Inquiring at a more basic level, this paper advances a novel, structuralist view of the rule of law. While honoring theoretical constraints that guard against diluting the rule-of-law concept too thinly as a remedy for myriad societal ills, this approach shows that the concept implicates inequalities sustained by a society’s social, economic, and political structures. This is accomplished by demonstrating that the rule-of-law project holds a structural position in the collective normative discourse as a vehicle by which people morally evaluate the interplay between the actual capabilities of individuals and groups to participate in law, and the legal system’s treatment of those individuals and groups.

Law’s procedural outputs may formally provide the public with access to the legal system, but the rule-of-law project goes to the actual capabilities of the people to access the system in reality, to have a fair opportunity to participate in the inputs into the system, and to have that participation impartially adjudicated. Conditions impacting a diversity of stakeholders – and particularly the most disadvantaged within the population – perturb the virtues typically associated with the rule-of-law ideal when those conditions, and the power exercised to maintain them, impair capabilities for fair, dignified, and equal access to legal processes.

Understanding the rule of law in structuralist terms, as an informal moral operator, (1) makes sense of the schism we normally accept between the concepts of law and the rule of law, (2) reorients the source of rule-of-law thinking from theorists bent on fixing a conceptual definition to communities engaged in first-order interactions with the legal system, (3) helps explain why citizens come not only to expect law to constrain official coercive powers but also to demand that law promote their actual capabilities to participate in the legal system on an egalitarian and dignitarian footing, and hence (4) implicates a critique of conditions of political and material inequalities that cannot but impair the healthy functioning of the rule-of-law project.

Abstract

The relationship between the law and masculinity has not been as thoroughly examined as the relationship between the law and feminism or, more generally, between the law and gender. Yet, the reach of masculinity stretches deep into the very fiber of the law. Masculinity has for too long served as an invisible bedrock on which the law founded both its substance and method. The struggle for formal equality during the last half century sought the elimination of the masculinist bias, but has only exposed the extent of the entrenchment. The popular idea is that the law exists in a removed and exalted position where it sits in judgement of a preexisting and fully formed masculinity. Indeed, much of the internal coherence of the law is premised on the integrity of the subject and the propagation of sexual difference. Thus, the law is precluded from acknowledging or engaging with its own productive power and vacuously characterizes itself as a neutral arbiter. Today, while significant changes occur in sex and sexuality, the study of masculinity appears theoretically stagnant.

Part I of this paper distinguishes between masculinity studies and the men’s movement and explains the relationship of each to feminist theory. Part II looks at how the power of the law works and how masculinity studies is an effective tool to help understand how that power manifests and is employed. Part III examines the relationship between feminist legal theory and masculinity studies with a particular focus on two areas where I view masculinity studies as having successfully employed insights from feminist theory. Finally, Part IV considers four areas where I suggest masculinity studies could better incorporate certain insights from feminist theory, which would result in a more rigorous understanding of the relationship among power, masculinity, and law, and point masculinity studies in a more nuanced direction. To advance this critique, the paper analyzes underlying arguments that support the power of law based in classic liberal political theory. It employs recurrent critiques of the law, and of liberalism more generally, found in Feminist Legal Theory, Critical Race Theory, Queer Theory, and Critical Legal Studies to reveal the law as always already intertwined with masculinity.

Abstract

Within the United States, legal challenges to the death penalty have held it to be a “cruel and unusual” punishment (contrary to the Eighth Amendment) or arbitrarily and unfairly enacted (contrary to the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments). The Eighth Amendment requires that punishments not be disproportionate or purposeless. In recent rulings, the U.S. Supreme Court has adopted a piecemeal approach to this matter. In regard to particular classes of defendant, the Court has sought to rule on whether death is likely to be a proportional and purposeful punishment, as well as whether—given the condition of these defendants—such a determination can be reliably and accurately gauged. This article will suggest a different approach. Instead of asking whether, given the nature of certain categories of human defendant, the death penalty is constitutional in their case, I will begin by asking what—given the nature of the U.S. death penalty—one must believe about human beings for death to be a proportionate punishment. From this, I will argue that to believe that these penal goals are capable of fulfilment by the death penalty entails commitment to an empirically unconfirmable philosophical anthropology. On this basis, it will be further argued that the beliefs required for the U.S. death penalty’s proportional and purposeful instigation (pursuant to the Eighth Amendment) are not congruent with the demands of legal due process.

Abstract

Scholars often appeal to Kant in defending a retributivist view of criminal punishment. In this paper, I join other scholars in rejecting this interpretation as insufficiently attentive to Kant’s wider theory of justice, particularly as found in the Rechtslehre, a section of the Metaphysics of Morals. I then turn to the Tugendlehre, where I examine analogies between Kant’s treatments of morality and justice. In particular, I argue that Kant’s own views about conscience and moral cognition should cause us to rethink the importance of lex talionis (an integral retributive principle) in the criminal justice system, and to adopt a more merciful attitude toward punishable criminals than we might otherwise be inclined to do. I end with a few policy proposals aimed at encouraging such moral cognition in contemporary Anglo-American criminal justice systems

Abstract

William O. Douglas, venerated by some and reviled by others, was very much his own man, disdaining his colleagues on the bench and the work they produced. For him, the point of judging was simply to do justice. However, justice is not always self evident, and legal norms and values, like objectivity and stare decisis, are ignored at a high cost. Nor, as it turns out, was his carefully carved authentic persona more than a mask of lies.

Abstract

The tax gap between taxes that are “actually” paid and taxes that “ought” to have been paid by multinational corporate entities has become an area of huge public policy concern in the recent decades. This study reviews the impact of new legislation to reveal the tax gap created by the EU banks and financial institutions passed in 2013 and in particular of the quality of the resulting country-by-country reporting (CBCR) requirement for banks. Although resulting tax gap estimates are noted, they suffer due to significant problems in the published data; much of it is due to the quality of the regulation requiring its publication and implementation. The findings reveal a lack of understanding of the technical and structural weaknesses of accounting in a transnational context in the design of this regulation. CBCR is destined to fail in achieving its regulatory objectives in this context unless necessary reform of the regulation is undertaken.

Abstract

In this article, I provide a cultural history of some of the critical predicates of corporate personhood. I track the Hobbesian lineage of the corporate form, but also the ways the corporation, ascribed with numinous agency and personhood, has filled the cultural space vacated by our transcendence of anthropomorphic notions of god and Nature.

The corporation was created through the consent of the sovereign, and its charter was formulated to reflect not only its uses, but its potential threat, particularly with regard to its concentration of power. Established under the aegis of individual states, the U.S. corporation was initially restricted to specific functions for limited periods. But corporations in many contexts not only have supplanted the Hobbesian state that created them, but displaced the individual person.

Corporations have become super-persons and forms of sovereigns themselves, in part by acquiring human rights and “personalities” and tethering them to the corporation’s inhuman attributes. However, corporations don’t just mimic human behaviors; at best simulacra, or imitations of human life, corporations challenge and destabilize the status of personhood, and what it means to be a person.

In the process, corporations have amassed not just wealth, but personhood (for example, in perhaps surprising ways, the personhood of African Americans). In many ways, the ever-increasing wealth gap in the United States is actually a personhood gap. The overarching effect of corporate personhood, which operates in tandem with privatization, is to dehumanize people, turning them into things that have no rights. Created to encourage entrepreneurial (or reckless and socially irresponsible) risk-taking and minimize personal liability, the corporation evolved into an entity that dynamically diminishes the personal.

The corporation represents a collective, transcendental body that has taken on the role of a deity, and, in U.S. ontology, of nature. The relationships between human and corporate personhood and identity implicate fantasies of the supernal; the superhuman; immortality; and the transcendence of individuality. For these reasons, I treat the corporation not primarily as a commercial enterprise, but as a cultural phantasm, a kind of black hole that draws in more and more cultural phenomena into its orbit. The modern corporation has come to guarantee certain rights at a price, in much the way the Hobbesian state once did. People barter their attributes to corporations; but they are no longer trading liberty for security, but “souls” for identity. As the corporation comes to serve as the de facto guarantor and distributor of culture, it remains amoral at best, and in practice serves as a dominant pathological personality that helps reduce all human endeavor to commercial interest.

Abstract

The purpose of regulating any profession is to assure competent practitioners, particularly where its absence can cause irreparable harm. Regulatory “licensing” ideally achieves such assurance, while at the same time avoiding unnecessary supply constriction. The latter can mean much higher prices and an inadequate number of practitioners. Regrettably, the universal delegation to attorneys of the power to regulate themselves has led to a lose/lose system lacking protection from incompetent practice while also diminishing needed supply. The problem is manifest in four regulatory flaws:

First, state bars—in combination with the American Bar Association—require four years of largely irrelevant higher education for law school entry. Most of this coursework commonly has nothing to do with law.

Second, and related, these seven-years of mandatory higher education (that only the United States requires for attorney licensure) impose extraordinary costs. Those costs now reach from $190,000 to $380,000 in tuition and room and board per student—driven by shocking tuition levels lacking competitive check.

Third, attorney training focuses almost entirely on a few traditional subjects, with little attention paid to the development of useful skills in most of the 24 disparate areas of actual practice (e.g., administrative, bankruptcy, corporate, criminal, family, taxation, et al.). And schools often pay scant attention to legislation, administrative proceedings, or the distinct areas of law that will be relevant to a student’s future practice.

Fourth, state bars rely on supply-constricting bar examinations of questionable connection to competence assurance. In the largest state of California, the bar examination fails about 2/3 of its examinees. This system has fostered an opportunistic cottage industry of increasingly expensive preparatory courses that further raise the cost of becoming an attorney—even after 7 years of higher education.

Meanwhile, the bars regulating attorneys in the respective states:

  1. a)Do not treat negligent acts as a normal basis for discipline (outside of extreme incapacity);
  2. b)Do not require malpractice insurance—effectively denying consumer remedies for negligence;
  3. c)Do not allow clients injured by malpractice to recover from “client security funds”;
  4. d)Do not require post-licensure “legal education” in the area of an attorney’s practice;
  5. e)Do not test attorneys in the area of practice relied upon by consumers—ever; and
  6. f)Respond to cost-effective, technology-centric solutions to legal problems not by regulation to assure consumer benefit, but by attempts to categorically foreclose them in favor of total reliance on often unavailable/expensive counsel.

No area of state regulation has more openly violated federal antitrust law than has the legal profession. The United States Supreme Court held in 2015 that any state body controlled by “active market participants” in a profession regulated is not a sovereign entity for antitrust purposes without “active state supervision.” Yet four years later, attorneys continue to regulate themselves without such supervision, overlooking the threat of criminal felony and civil treble damage liability.