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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Ravitch's Law and Religion, 2nd Edition

Congratulations to Frank S. Ravitch on the publication of the second edition of his casebook, Law and Religion, A Reader.  Casebooks may not always get much respect from law professors (envy, yes -- I'd very much like to be an editor of a con law or law and religion casebook!), but the best of them are interesting and valuable enterprises, and I think this latest and much-expanded edition fits the bill.  Among other things, kudos to Prof. Ravitch for remembering, in an area in which our focus is so often on the Supreme Court, that there are such things as "lower courts," and that their opinions in this area may be illuminating, if only by way of showing us how little the Supreme Court has actually given us. 

Browse the whole thing!

Posted by Paul Horwitz on April 30, 2008 at 12:30 PM in Books | Permalink


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That wasn't a dig, Joseph; but do you think it was really a terribly controversial statement? They respect them in some ways, yes, absolutely, and are aware of the time and work that go into them. They USE them, certainly. And, as I said, they (often) respect those names that go on front of a casebook and may feel a little envy (present company included) and some desire to do a casebook themselves. But they also generally don't treat them as "scholarship," don't necessarily treat them as a basis for tenure, and lump them with treatises (again, something entirely valuable and enviable, at least for those treatises that are serious synthesizing enterprises rather than laboriously compiled fluff) as non-"scholarly" "doctrinal" stuff. See various Posner treatments ad nauseam; and note that although he might agree with that distinction and so in some sense would show less respect for treatises/casebooks as a scholarly enterprise, he also fully acknowledges the value of such works to the profession and likely feels that many folks out there who write unhelpful law review articles would be better off concentrating on this kind of effort.

Posted by: Paul Horwitz | May 1, 2008 10:50:49 AM

Profs don't respect casebooks?

Posted by: Joseph Slater | May 1, 2008 10:17:45 AM

I hope no one from Congress is reading this, Paul: They could abolish those lower courts just to spite you.

Posted by: Orin Kerr | Apr 30, 2008 5:22:41 PM

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