August 14, 2006
I was shocked and saddened to receive an email from Chris Waldrep on the legal history discussion list about the passing of beloved legal historian Kermit Hall. Dr. Hall was the president of SUNY--Albany. He died in a drowning accident in South Carolina yesterday. He was the co-author of the wildly successful and influential American Legal History: Cases and Materials, as well as The Magic Mirror: Law in American Society. Among many other works is one of my favorite pieces, a gem of an article, The Judiciary on Trial: State Constitutional Reform and the Rise of an Elected Judiciary, 1845-1860, 45 Historian 337 (1983).
Here is his biography from the SUNY--Albany website. As legal historians know, he was kind to young scholars and was always trying to help others improve their scholarship. He tried to help others to improve the scholarly community. I think that's some of the highest praise one can give another scholar. Something of Dr. Hall's modesty and concern for others comes across in the last paragraph of his SUNY-Albany biography: "Hall was born and raised in Akron, Ohio. The son of a tiremaker and a bookkeeper, he is a first-generation college graduate and a Vietnam-era veteran."
UPDATE: Professor Timothy Huebner of Rhodes College, one of Kermit Hall's students, has a moving tribute on H-Law, which you can view here. In addition to talking about his scholarship, Tim also talks about Hall's nurturing of scholars, particularly his Ph.D. students.
August 13, 2006
"Castle Law" in Alabama
This morning's Tuscaloosa News brings a front page story on Alabama's new "Castle Law," which expands the situations in which someone who is attacked may use deadly force.
According to the paper:
Alabama law has always allowed residents to use force, including deadly force, to protect themselves in their homes or at work.
The new law, which took effect June 1, eliminates a provision that a resident, if threatened outside these two locations, must reasonably try to escape or flee before killing an attacker.
So why it's called the castle law is a little unclear, because the expansion of the right of self-defense apparently goes beyond the house, workplace, and car. (I'm having trouble finding the act on the Alabama legislative service's website and it still has the older version of 13A-3-23 on its website.)
The name of the original principle (the castle doctrine)--that you do not have to retreat if attacked in your house--is a piece of the idea that the home is a casle. Propertyprof readers may recall Ben Barros' talk about the home as castle (paper here). In a similar vein, Joseph Singer has an important article on The Ownership Society and Takings of Property: Castles, Investments, and Just Obligations in the most recent issue of the Harvard Environmental Law Journal.
[The image of Windsor Castle is provided by our friends at wikipedia.]