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Phi Beta Cons

The Right take on higher education.

Academia and the Heller Decision



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I’ve been fascinated by the Supreme Court’s Heller Second Amendment case since it was called Parker, and one of the most interesting aspects is the important role that law reviews played. A small minority of scholars who thought the Second Amendment protected an individual right started publishing research, and their views eventually became what Glenn Reynolds called the “standard model.”

The Harvard Law Review has several articles online about the case, including one that explores its own role in the decision.

I’m not sure the Foreword will draw anyone in, though:

In this Foreword, I argue that oral dissents, like the orality of spoken word poetry or the rhetoric of feminism, have a distinctive potential to root disagreement about the meaning and interpretation of constitutional law in a more democratically accountable soil.

At first I thought “the orality of spoken word poetry” was redundant, but Wikipedia informs me that orality “can be defined as thought and its verbal expression in societies where the technologies of literacy (especially writing and print) are unfamiliar to most of the population.” In which case the sentence just doesn’t make sense, because spoken-word poetry is quite common outside of illiterate populations — in fact, I’d guess most spoken-word poets write their words first. Also, I don’t see how spoken-word poetry has a “distinctive potential to root disagreement about the meaning and interpretation of constitutional law” anywhere (though it’s obvious how feminism and its rhetoric has distorted our nation’s founding document). Hmm.



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