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Eyes Scratched In. Reflections on The Bramble Bush by Karl Llewellyn (1930)

  • It is said that William Brennan, the great US Supreme Court Justice, liked to greet his incoming law clerks with a bracingly simple definition of constitutional doctrine: five votes. ›You can’t do anything around here‹, Brennan would say, wiggling the fingers of his hand, ›without five votes.‹1 While memorable, Brennan’s definition was not entirely original. Seventy-five years before Brennan’s elevation to the high court, the jurist Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. famously wrote: ›The life of the law has not been logic; it has been experience [...]. The law […] cannot be dealt with as if it contained only the axioms and corollaries of a book of mathematics.‹2 Some years later, Holmes returned to this idea, writing: ›The prophecies of what the courts will do in fact, and nothing more pretentious, are what I mean by the law.‹3 Statements such as Brennan’s and Holmes’ found elaboration in the American jurisprudential movement known as ›legal realism‹. One of its most influential and articulate exponents was the law professor Karl Llewellyn (1893–1962). Trained at Yale Law School, and on the faculty of Columbia, Llewellyn had a foot in the two institutions most prominently associated with the realist movement.

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Author:Lawrence Douglas
Parent Title (English):Zeithistorische Forschungen - Studies in Contemporary History
Publisher:ZZF – Centre for Contemporary History: Zeithistorische Forschungen
Place of publication:Potsdam
Document Type:Journal Article
Date of Publication (online):2019/09/15
Date of first Publication:2019/09/15
Release Date:2019/10/29
Volume Number:16
Aufgrund einer Vereinbarung mit dem Verlag Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht wird die PDF-Version des Artikels erst ab Herbst 2020 zum Download zur Verfügung stehen. Alle Inhalte der Zeithistorischen Forschungen (inkl. der älteren PDF-Versionen) finden Sie im Archiv auf der Zeitschriften-Website http://zeithistorische-forschungen.de/ .
ZZF Regional-Classification:Amerika
Amerika / Nordamerika
Amerika / Nordamerika / USA
ZZF Topic-Classification:Geistes- und Ideengeschichte
Intellectual History
ZZF Chronological-Classification:1930er
Portal:Zeithistorische Forschungen
Zeithistorische Forschungen: Originalbeiträge:2 / 2019 Zeitgeschichte des Rechts
Licence (German):License LogoZZF - Clio Lizenz