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Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Alabama Law Review Symposium: The End of Animus: The Lifespan of Impermissible Purposes--In Print

The Alabama Law Review recently published its symposium issue from last year's Law Review Symposium on "The End of Animus." I heartily recommend it. The word "end" here has two meanings. The primary meaning is temporal, asking how long a judicial finding of impermissible purpose or animus does or should remain in place and how (or whether) it can be ended. It's a question raised by several recent cases, such as Ramos v. Louisiana and Trump v. Hawaii. My general sense of the scholarly (and judicial) literature is that much more attention is devoted to the front-end question of how to get a finding of impermissible purpose than to the question of how or when it ends, and it seems to me that the latter question deserves more attention for anyone interested in questions of sound political and legal governance. The second sense of the word has to do with whether "animus" as a legal tool itself ought to be questioned and perhaps done away with. The contributors to the symposium--William Araiza, Dale Carpenter, Michael Coenen, Andrew Hayashi, Joy Milligan, and Robert Tsai--have a great deal of value to say on both questions. Read it now! (In the category of encouraging student efforts to grapple with jurisprudential questions, may I also call your attention to a recent student note, available on the same page, by Matthew T. Still, titled "St. Thomas Confounds Vermeule: A Thomistic Critique of Professor Vermeule's Conservative Anti-Originalism.")

A parting word on "print," which is never dead but often in the process of being wounded: As valuable as I find the ready accessibility of law reviews and law review articles on their own sites and at SSRN, I confess to missing the feeling of law review issues as "books" taking a physical form. Services providing law review tables of contents have faded, partly in response to technological changes and partly as a result of library budget cuts and changes. At least in my case, which I don't think is totally idiosyncratic, COVID cut back on my visit to the library to peruse the actual new print issues in their natural habitat. Another easy budget cut is for law schools to stop subsidizing the production of extra copies and for law reviews to stop sending their new print issues to each member of the faculty. All of this, I think, is a loss whose possible effects--a disconnection between a faculty and its own journal(s), a slackening of interest in individual issues planned for impact as issues, a further reduction in the number of book reviews (since they fall between the stools for both authors and editors and may have less metrical "impact," and a general contribution to our collective disembodiment--are not worried about enough. I wonder whether the sense that the notion of a "publication date" is itself something of an artifact contributes to the increasing lateness of many journals' issues, although doubtless that has a much longer history. In any event, I lament the change and encourage law schools and law libraries not to budget the physical form out of existence, and for law reviews to continue thinking of each issue as a "book" whose contents should be planned and structured accordingly, with different sorts of features within a given issue, with the physical thing itself treated as being of continuing importance, and with copies continuing to fill up mailboxes. (And I await with some eagerness the April Book Review issue of the Michigan Law Review.)    

Posted by Paul Horwitz on May 30, 2023 at 11:25 AM in Paul Horwitz | Permalink


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