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Tuesday, February 05, 2019

Criddle et al., Fiduciary Government (and one other general recommendation)

A friend just wrote noting that he has been blogging for 15 years now. We ran a series of posts around our tenth anniversary asking about the future of blogging and of Prawfsblawg itself, and doubtless one could write more today, probably gloomily, on the same subject. For those of us who are not enamored of hot takes or siloed "conversations," along with others who have been enthusiasts about the robust democratic world of social media but are starting to suspect that a platform like Twitter is not completely healthy, there is still (I hope) a role for blogs, although no doubt a smaller and chastened one. Certainly specialized blogs that are less about disguised op-eds or short draft versions of articles, but instead focus on the sifting and dissemination of useful information in a world of overwhelming content, like Larry Solum's blog or Jotwell, are still go-to sources for many of us. Similarly, one thing that some blogs I still frequent do well is to announce new or forthcoming books. People are still writing them and, I hope, reading them: there is more in heaven and earth than can be accessed through the Westlaw database. 

With that in mind, let me note the announcement by Cambridge University Press of a new book, edited by Evan J. Criddle and four other co-editors, simply titled Fiduciary GovernmentCriddle and other co-editors like Evan Fox-Decent have been writing on fiduciary theories of law--especially public law--for some time. But the subject, in my view, has flourished and taken on new interest in recent years. A larger number of authors--many of them seemingly influenced by what they may consider the rise of less faithful office-holders--are speaking in terms of fiduciary obligations, official norms and roles, and so on. As one who is specifically interested in the relationship between oaths, offices, and honor and the United States Constitution, I'm glad the subject is taking on more fans. I hope that new readers in this area will not be fair-weather friends, that they'll think and write about this subject (positively or negatively, but in a critical and engaged fashion either way) over the long term and extend their interest to related subjects (like, say, oaths, honor, and virtue ethics), apply it with equal vigor to other officers besides the ones they're not fond of, and won't necessarily feel the urge to turn the topic into one that is judicially enforceable or applicable through some doctrinal mechanism.

In any event, the book looks very interesting and wide-ranging. Contributors include the other co-editors, Andrew S. Gold, Sung Hui Kim, and Paul B. Miller; Laura Underkuffler; Nicholas Parrillo; and Prawfs' own Ethan Leib, who has a number of valuable articles published or forthcoming on this subject. It's priced to move--to libraries and other institutional buyers. But if you have a relationship with such a library, I hope you'll encourage it to obtain the book.

A quick note for those who like to keep track of new books: Another useful source for me is the St. John's Law and Religion Forum, which is an excellent source for news of new, mostly but not exclusively academic books, not only in the core of law and religion but across a broader range of interests and subjects. It's well worth reading it regularly.      

Posted by Paul Horwitz on February 5, 2019 at 10:29 AM in Paul Horwitz | Permalink


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