The Weekly Five

The Weekly Five highlights articles about abortion, neutrality in First Amendment jurisprudence; the difficult but necessary task of speaking about religion in legal language; Augustine; and religion and legal pluralism.

1. Michael Stokes Paulsen (Minnesota), Kermit Gosnell and ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Professor Paulsen argues that the events in the Gosnell case can serve the same function in the abortion context as did Harriet Beecher Stowe’s novel for the abolitionist context.

2. Corey L. Brettschneider (Brown), Value Democracy as the Basis for Viewpoint Neutrality: A Theory of Free Speech and Its Implications for the State Speech and Limited Public Forum Doctrines. Professor Brettschneider tackles the problem of the baseline in neutrality doctrines, arguing for the protection of the rights of people to make up their minds and speak free from the threat of coercive punishment, in conjunction with the state’s obligation to  defend the values that underlie these rights and to criticize expressions of hate that oppose them. With implications for free speech and religion clause doctrine.

3. James Boyd White (Michigan), Talking About Religion in the Language of the Law: Impossible But Necessary. An older paper of Professor White that has just been posted and is well worth checking out. The piece discusses various reasons for the difficulty of speaking about religion in legal contexts, including some internal to American constitutional history and structure, and others that are more sociological or conceptual in nature.

4. James Boyd White (Michigan), The Creation of Authority in a Sermon by St. Augustine. Another paper by Professor White published as part of a symposium honoring the work of Professor Joseph Vining. The piece discusses a sermon in which Augustine explicates the Ten Commandments and the transformation of those Commandments by Jesus in his Sermon on the Mount. Professor White uses that transformation to reflect on the nature of authority as the giving of life to text.

5. Haider Ala Hamoudi (Pittsburgh), Decolonizing the Centralist Mind: Legal Pluralism and the Rule of Law. Professor Hamoudi criticizes the view that the rule of law must give exclusivity or even primacy to state law systems and argues that those who are intent on rule of law centralization in the state are pressing a fantastical program. Professor Hamoudi draws on the example (one with which he has great familiarity) of Shi’i dominated central and southern Iraq to make these points.

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