New Book: The Classical Liberal Constitution: The Uncertain Quest for Limited Government. By Richard A. Epstein

The Classical Liberal Constitution: The Uncertain Quest for Limited Government.
By Richard A. Epstein.
Harvard University Press 2013.
ISBN: 9780674724891, 0674724895.

The Classical Liberal Constitution: The Uncertain Quest for Limited GovernmentAmerican liberals and conservatives alike take for granted a progressive view of the Constitution that took root in the early twentieth century. Richard Epstein laments this complacency which, he believes, explains America’s current economic malaise and political gridlock. Steering clear of well-worn debates between defenders of originalism and proponents of a living Constitution, Epstein employs close textual reading, historical analysis, and political and economic theory to urge a return to the classical liberal theory of governance that animated the framers’ original text, and to the limited government this theory supports.

Grounded in the thought of Locke, Hume, Madison, and other Enlightenment figures, the classical liberal tradition emphasized federalism, restricted government, separation of powers, property rights, and economic liberties. The most serious challenge to this tradition, Epstein contends, has come from New Deal progressives and their intellectual defenders. Unlike Thomas Paine, who saw government as a necessary evil at best, the progressives embraced government as a force for administering social good. The Supreme Court has unwisely ratified the progressive program by sustaining an ever-lengthening list of legislative programs at odds with the classical liberal Constitution.

Epstein’s carefully considered analysis addresses both halves of the constitutional enterprise: its structural safeguards against excessive government power and its protection of individual rights. He illuminates contemporary disputes ranging from presidential prerogatives to health care legislation, while reexamining such enduring topics as the institution of judicial review, the federal government’s role in regulating economic activity, freedom of speech and religion, and equal protection.

New Book: Legal Orientalism: China, the United States, and Modern Law. By Teemu Ruskola

Legal Orientalism: China, the United States, and Modern LawLegal Orientalism: China, the United States, and Modern Law(《法律东方主义:中国·美国·现代法律》). By Teemu Ruskola. Harvard University Press 2013. ISBN: 0674073061, 9780674073067.

Since the Cold War ended, China has become a global symbol of disregard for human rights, while the United States has positioned itself as the world’s chief exporter of the rule of law. How did lawlessness become an axiom about Chineseness rather than a fact needing to be verified empirically, and how did the United States assume the mantle of law’s universal appeal? In a series of wide-ranging inquiries, Teemu Ruskola investigates the history of “legal Orientalism”: a set of globally circulating narratives about what law is and who has it. For example, why is China said not to have a history of corporate law, as a way of explaining its “failure” to develop capitalism on its own? Ruskola shows how a European tradition of philosophical prejudices about Chinese law developed into a distinctively American ideology of empire, influential to this day.

The first Sino-U.S. treaty in 1844 authorized the extraterritorial application of American law in a putatively lawless China. A kind of legal imperialism, this practice long predated U.S. territorial colonialism after the Spanish-American War in 1898, and found its fullest expression in an American district court’s jurisdiction over the “District of China.” With urgent contemporary implications, legal Orientalism lives on in the enduring damage wrought on the U.S. Constitution by late nineteenth-century anti-Chinese immigration laws, and in the self-Orientalizing reforms of Chinese law today. In the global politics of trade and human rights, legal Orientalism continues to shape modern subjectivities, institutions, and geopolitics in powerful and unacknowledged ways.

New Book: The Roberts Court: The Struggle for the Constitution. By Marcia Coyle

The Roberts Court: The Struggle for the ConstitutionThe Roberts Court: The Struggle for the Constitution. By Marcia Coyle. Simon & Schuster 2013. ISBN: 1451627513; 9781451627510.


The Roberts Court, seven years old, sits at the center of a constitutional maelstrom. Through four landmark decisions, Marcia Coyle, one of the most prestigious experts on the Supreme Court, reveals the fault lines in the conservative-dominated Court led by Chief Justice John Roberts Jr.

Seven minutes after President Obama put his signature to a landmark national health care insurance program, a lawyer in the office of Florida GOP attorney general Bill McCollum hit a computer key, sparking a legal challenge to the new law that would eventually reach the nation’s highest court. Health care is only the most visible and recent front in a battle over the meaning and scope of the U.S. Constitution. The battleground is the United States Supreme Court, and one of the most skilled, insightful, and trenchant of its observers takes us close up to watch it in action.

Marcia Coyle’s brilliant inside account of the High Court captures four landmark decisions—concerning health care, money in elections, guns at home, and race in schools. Coyle examines how those cases began—the personalities and conflicts that catapulted them onto the national scene—and how they ultimately exposed the great divides among the justices, such as the originalists versus the pragmatists on guns and the Second Amendment, and corporate speech versus human speech in the controversial Citizens United campaign case. Most dramatically, her analysis shows how dedicated conservative lawyers and groups are strategizing to find cases and crafting them to bring up the judicial road to the Supreme Court with an eye on a receptive conservative majority.

The Roberts Court offers a ringside seat at the struggle to lay down the law of the land.

New Book: Reflections on Judging. By Richard A. Posner

Reflections on Judging. By Richard A. Posner. Harvard University Press 2013. ISBN: 0674725085, 9780674725089


Reflections on JudgingIn Reflections on Judging, Richard Posner distills the experience of his thirty-one years as a judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. Surveying how the judiciary has changed since his 1981 appointment, he engages the issues at stake today, suggesting how lawyers should argue cases and judges decide them, how trials can be improved, and, most urgently, how to cope with the dizzying pace of technological advance that makes litigation ever more challenging to judges and lawyers.

For Posner, legal formalism presents one of the main obstacles to tackling these problems. Formalist judges—most notably Justice Antonin Scalia—needlessly complicate the legal process by advocating “canons of constructions” (principles for interpreting statutes and the Constitution) that are confusing and self-contradictory. Posner calls instead for a renewed commitment to legal realism, whereby a good judge gathers facts, carefully considers context, and comes to a sensible conclusion that avoids inflicting collateral damage on other areas of the law. This, Posner believes, was the approach of the jurists he most admires and seeks to emulate: Oliver Wendell Holmes, Louis Brandeis, Benjamin Cardozo, Learned Hand, Robert Jackson, and Henry Friendly, and it is an approach that can best resolve our twenty-first-century legal disputes.


“A deep and thought-provoking collection of insightful analyses of various aspects of being a judge, told from an insider’s perspective, but with appropriate and equally thoughtful caveats about the advantages and disadvantages of an insider’s account.”—Frederick Schauer, University of Virginia School of Law

Table of Contents

Introduction: A Judge on the Challenges to Judges
Two Kinds of Complexity
Extrajudicial Writing by Judges
Plan of the Book
Appendix: External versus Internal Complexity in Federal Adjudication

1. The Road to 219 South Dearborn Street
Education and Early Career
The Federal Judicial Appointment Process in 1981
Transition, and the Question of Initial Judicial Training

2. The Federal Judiciary Evolves
A Half-Century of Change
Input-Output, with Special Reference to the Supreme Court
Staff and Specialization in Relation to Rank

3. The Challenge of Complexity
Complexity Further Explained
Examples, Primarily from Criminal Law and Sentencing
The Impact of Technology
Judicial Insouciance about the Real
Specialization the Solution?
Internal Complexity: The Case of the Bluebook

4. Formalism and Realism in Appellate Decision Making
The Formalist Judge
The Realist Judge
Advice to New Appellate Judges

5. The Inadequate Appellate Record
Internet Research by Judges
Is a Word Really Worth a Thousand Pictures?

6. Coping Strategies for Appellate Judges I: Judicial Self-Restraint
Thayer and His Epigones
The Decline of Self-Restraint
The Rise of Constitutional Theory
Thayerism’s Death and Legacy

7. Coping Strategies for Appellate Judges II: Interpretation
The Spirit Killeth, but the Letter Giveth Life
Dreaming a Constitution
Opposites Attract and Repel
Realist Interpretation

8. Make It Simple, Make It New: Opinion Writing and Appellate Advocacy
The Signs of Bad Judicial Writing
The Writer Model versus the Manager Model
Management versus Managerialism
The Formalist Opinion
Rules of Good Opinion Writing
The Morris Opinion
Some Tips on Appellate Advocacy
Appendix: United States v. Morris (Original and Rewritten)

9. Forays into the District Court
Expert Witnesses and Trial by Jury: An Anecdotal Introduction
Party-Appointed and Court-Appointed Expert Witnesses
The Jury
Jury Trials in Patent Cases
Internet Research by Jurors
Other Issues
Appendix: Jury Instructions in Chamberlain v. Lear

10. What Can Be Done, Modestly?
Initial Judicial Training
Continuing Judicial Education
The Widening Gap between Academia and the Judiciary
The Role of the Law Schools in Continuing Judicial Education
MOOCs to the Rescue?

Conclusion: Realism, the Path Forward

Richard A. Posner is Circuit Judge, the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, and a senior lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School.

Richard Posner: How Many Constitutions Can Liberals Have?

America's Unwritten Constitution: The Precedents and Principles We Live By

Richard Posner: How Many Constitutions Can Liberals Have? (Or, A Lawyer’s Dozen)

(A book review of Akhil Amar, America’s Unwritten Constitution: The Precedents and Principles We Live By)

An excerpt from the beginning part:

Actually, despite the book’s title, it is not two in one—it is twelve in one. There is not just one unwritten constitution, in Amar’s reckoning; there are eleven of them. There is an “implicit” constitution, a “lived” constitution, a “Warrented” constitution (the reference is to Earl Warren), a “doctrinal” constitution, a “symbolic” constitution, a “feminist” constitution, a “Georgian” constitution (the reference is to George Washington), an “institutional” constitution, a “partisan” constitution (the reference is to political parties, which are not mentioned in the written Constitution), a “conscientious” constitution (which, for example, permits judges and jurors to ignore valid law), and an “unfinished” constitution that Amar is busy finishing. All these unwritten constitutions, in Amar’s view, are authoritative. And miraculously, when correctly interpreted, they all cohere, both with each other and with the written Constitution. The sum of the twelve constitutions is the Constitution.

One is tempted to say that this is preposterous, and leave it at that. But it is an attempt to respond to the felt need of professors of constitutional law, and of judges who rule on constitutional cases (particularly Supreme Court justices), to find, or at least to assert, an objective basis for constitutional decisions. On the eve of the Supreme Court’s decision on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act—a time of liberal panic—Amar was quoted as saying that if the Court invalidated the act “then yes, it’s disheartening to me, because my life was a fraud. Here I was, in my silly little office, thinking law mattered, and it really didn’t. What mattered was politics, money, party, and party loyalty.” But the constitutional “law” that matters to Amar is not what other lawyers understand law to be. It is a palimpsest of twelve constitutions, only one of which is real.


晚近以来,程序正义理论的一个基本命题认为只有经由“中立第三方”主持、双方当事人平等对抗下的三角结构,所得出的结论才是唯一可接受的结果[1]。其方法论立场系出于自然科学:古典物理学为便利研究,将运动中的物体如赛马、帆船等视为一个可以不考虑大小,无体积、形状的“质点”(mass point),从而引入几何学坐标系进行计算。近代以来,人文、社科研究受自然科学研究方式影响甚重[2]。然而,人文、社会研究中,这种方式的物理简约却可能自我斩断能对事态作出真正有力的解释的因果关系项。





二〇〇八年您写了《法学三十年:重新出发》,文中提到中国法学“最大的挑战,不在体制内的腐败和控制(如买卖学位、竞贿评估、大小山头争夺资源),而是全球化即全球美国化的形势下,中国法学整体上的边缘化、殖民地化……主流法学在话语层面已广泛接受美国的影响,跨入了‘美国时代’”。时隔四年,回顾一下,中国法学的建树还是不少。比如,北大法学院强世功老师试图通过“不成文宪法”的概念来重构实践中的中国宪制;章永乐老师的专著《旧邦新造》,则是取政治学和法学双重视角,探讨晚清至民国的宪政史;山东大学田雷老师最近提交“八二宪法”纪念研讨会的论文,《 “差序格局”、反定型化与未完全理论化合意——中国宪政模式的一种叙述》,也是一种重构的努力。您如何看待学术界这些新的努力?














关键词:条块关系 法院院长产生 地方治理机制

Abstract: The relationship between tiao system (vertical) and kuai system (horizontal) is an unique interpretive framework of Chinese issues that is quite different from existing paradigm of western scholarship. In China’s political context, such relationship is more important than that of central-local governments. As for the generation of local people’s court’s head, different dominating powers exist over the head candidate among higher Party’s Committee , local Party’s Committee and higher people’s court. The local governing mechanism of “kuai system is prior to and correlated to tiao system” shaped during the revolutionary period has acquired a new political significance under the current market economy.

Key words: relationship between tiao and kuai, candidate of local people’s court’s head, local governing mechanism governing mechanism






刘忠: 被识别的几率:非法取证程序性制裁的构成性前提




The End of Intellectual Property: Challenges beyond the “China Model”. By Feng Xiang

Copyright © 2011 by Feng Xiang
“The End of Intellectual Property”
International Critical Thought
Vol. 2, No. 1, March 2012, 99-106

The End of Intellectual Property
Challenges beyond the “China Model”*
冯 象

Abstract: A new reef the luxury cruise ship “Rule of Law” has hit, called the unenforceability of intellectual property rights. This article argues that instead of the often misnamed and misunderstood scapegoat, the “China model”, it is two global trends, the internet and outsourcing, that have led to the historical clashing and overcoming of the law. As a result, important revisions to our conception and use of the law and a new faith in universalism must be contemplated.

Key words: intellectual property; rule of law; internet; outsourcing; revisionism; universalism.


Intellectual property is demising. Or at least, that form of intellectual property rights (IPR) as taught at our law schools and propagated by powerful state machines – a complex web of statutorily defined property and moral rights, entitled to official respect and protection in all “civilized nations”, according to a long list of treaties and international conventions signed into effect by members of global trade communities such as the World Trade Organization (WTO) – has come to its end.

The fact is undeniable. Today, few people in good conscience can conduct normal business or enjoy a day of leisure without breaching a commandment of intellectual property by, for example, running a computer program, choosing a branded handbag or sharing a song with friends on the internet. This is so not only in China and other emergent economies, but increasingly in the United States and developed markets in general, as amply documented by academic researchers and industry analysts. The situation of IPR in China, therefore, is essentially no different from elsewhere on this over-wired blue planet, though for various reasons, there is often more media attention paid to it, in China as well as in the west, than deeper economic and social problems, such as what triggered the “Occupy Wall Street” demonstrations.

A couple of months ago, I remember, the BBC reported a case in the city of Kunming, Yunnan Province, southwestern China, in which 22 fake Apple stores were shut down in a crackdown by the local industry and commerce administration. The tips came from a foreign tourist who discovered some alterations in the layout and “signature” features in one of those “Apple stores” (BBC news, 12 Aug 2011). Given the freewheeling business environment, however, we may reasonably expect that similar bootleg operations will soon mushroom to fill in the void, right there or in nearby towns. The consumer market demands that.



法律和社会科学》[Law and Social Sciences] 第八卷,苏力主编,法律出版社 2012年。





“地方政府都市化”策略下的户籍制度改革——以重庆户籍改革为切入点/卢 超
网络舆情中的风险、认知与规制/胡 凌




社会思想译丛 ★ 新书讯


罗纳德·德沃金(Ronald Dworkin):《民主是可能的吗?:新型政治辩论的诸原则》(Is Democracy Possible Here?: Principles for a New Political Debate),鲁楠、王淇译,北京大学出版社2012年。ISBN: 9787301198407. @豆瓣 @小组



美国政治可能正出现前所未有的两极化,并遭到普遍的轻视。最近几年来,来自左右两翼、红蓝两大阵营的政治家们彼此争斗, 仿佛政治是博取啦啦队欢呼的贴身竞技一样。德沃金写道,这种结果已经变成令人深感失望的政治文化,无法面对实现社会正义的长远挑战,而这些挑战是由诸如恐怖主义的新威胁等问题所带来的。改变的希望能够实现吗?



社会思想译丛 ★ 新书讯


约翰·卓贝克(John N. Drobak)(编):《规范与法律》(Norms and the Law),杨晓楠、涂永前译,北京大学出版社2012年。ISBN: 9787301199541. @豆瓣 @小组




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