Tuesday, August 06, 2013
Donald Langevoort: Cited in the Supreme Court
Donald Langevoort is Thomas Aquinas Reynolds Professor of Law at Georgetown.
Congratulations on being cited in the Supreme Court. What was the work and how was it used?
Thanks. An article of mine entitled “Basic at Twenty: Rethinking Fraud on the Market” (Wisconsin Law Review, 2009) was cited this Term by the majority, the concurrence and a dissent in Amgen v. Connecticut Retirement and Trust Funds.
In your work, do you see the Supreme Court and other courts as the primary audience, are you writing for other scholars, or do you target both?
I write mainly for other scholars, but hope that practitioners take it seriously enough to cite in their briefs, which is what brings the work to the Court’s attention.
Do you do anything in particular to share your work with practitioners?
Yes, especially on the heavily litigation subject of private securities class actions. There is quite a bit of interest in scholarship among those who litigation, on both sides. My article was in a symposium co-sponsored by the University of Wisconsin Law School and the Institute for Law and Economic Policy; the latter is a group dedicated to debating, from the plaintiffs’ perspective, issues relating to class actions. That created an immediate practitioner audience, though by no means everything I said was pro-plaintiff. I’ve also presented my work to defense-side groups like the Chamber of Commerce.
What’s your reaction to the view expressed by some jurists that much legal scholarship is useless to the legal system?
It’s true, but the legal system is only one possible audience for such work. I would venture a guess that more than half of what is published in law reviews is quite relevant to the real world.
Are you happy with the way your work was used?
I had no problems with the citations.
What advice do you have for scholars who want their work to be influential in the courts?
Reach out to the most sophisticated practitioners out there—many of whom have an academic bent and are delighted to debate theory as well as practice.
Did your family or colleagues do anything for you when the opinion case out?
The citations were mentioned in one of Georgetown’s many e-mails to faculty about our research activities, so I had a few congratulations. But it wasn’t that big a deal. I suspect that Georgetown does as good a job as any law school in connecting faculty research to the law-making process, whether judicial or otherwise.
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Sometimes scholarship can be used to support outcomes that the scholar does not support. In the recent Title VII retaliation case, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center v. Nassar, the attorneys for the hospital won because they convinced a majority of the Court that the amendments to Title VII in the 1991 Civil Rights Act were pro-plaintiff. Their brief and a number of the amici on the medical school's side cited yours truly for that proposition. Of course, it is my position that Congress intended precisely that and think the Nassar Court turned the 91 Act on its head.
Posted by: Mike Zimmer | Aug 7, 2013 10:08:25 PM