Sunday, April 18, 2010

Samuel Warren and Louis Brandeis, "The Right to Privacy," goes digital, with my Foreword

Posted by Alan Childress

Admittedly 120 years too late, and not exactly on-topic to the blog, but Warren and Brandeis have now Samuel D Warren wedding published their landmark article on the iPad!  Or any PC, or Kindle, iPhone, iTouch, BlackBerry, or Mac.  They do not do Droid. 

I wanted to post a link to the Amazon DTP version of The Right to Privacy and my Foreword and other materials in the compilation (including active TOC, linked notes, and period photos and press clips provided to me, graciously,
by Amy Gajda, who did extensive research up on SSRN on the infamous backstory). Sorry to charge for the ebook, but that is Amazon rules for non-bigtime-publishers (and I must make it a buck more on July 1). You can get my own contribution part of it free anyway, below.

Any free Amazon app for those devices, even just on the PC or a laptop, will work great to read this and their ebooks (which do include 20,000 free classics), or on Kindle. I will try to post some more old pics later this week...

From the blurb:

The most influential piece of legal scholarship in history, many scholars say, is this 1890 Harvard Law Review article by two Boston lawyers (one of whom later became a legendary Supreme Court Justice).  Warren and Brandeis created -- by cleverly weaving strands of precedent, policy, and logic --  the legal concept of privacy, and the power of legal protection for that right.  Their clear and effective prose stands the test of time, and influenced such modern notions as "inviolate personality," the law's "elasticity," and the problems of "piracy."  They resisted the label of "judicial legislation" for their proposals.  And they foresaw the threat of new technology. 

Most of all, they asserted the fundamental "right to be let alone," and its implications to modern law are profound.  Their privacy concept has grown into a constitutional law norm raising issues about abortion, drug testing, surveillance, sexual orientation, free speech, the "right to die," and medical confidentiality.  All these spinoffs trace their origins to this master work.  It is simply one of the most significant parts of the modern canon of law, politics, and sociology.

The Foreword shares not only this import and effect, but also the fascinating backstory behind the article.  Its origins are found in Warren's own prickly experiences with the press, famously after its reports on his family weddings.  One myth was recently debunked by Gajda:  it could not have been his daughter's wedding that upset him.  The newer legend is explained, including the role of The Washington Post and the emerging paparazzi.  This was no mere academic exercise to Warren and Brandeis, it turns out.  The Foreword adds a biographical summary of each author,  noting some less-known questions about Brandeis's own judicial ethics later in life (debunking another myth), as well as noting the possible tension between the privacy right and the First Amendment that Brandeis championed.

If readers here want to do a similar compilation, formatting, and Foreword to classic legal scholarship in pre-1923 U.S. books, for digital readers, ask You must be willing to write original work or annotations, and work from source materials not just scanned crap.  The goal is high quality ebooks, not the formatting nightmares that are out there now (even the online versions of The Right to Privacy are all full of substantive errors, including one on a Harvard site!)

[You can also, without needing an app, Download Foreword TRTP2]

April 18, 2010 in Abstracts Highlights - Academic Articles on the Legal Profession, Books, Childress, Law & Society | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, March 6, 2010

36 Arguments for the Existence of God: A Work of Fiction by Rebecca Newberger Goldstein

Posted by Jeff Lipshaw

To paraphrase Bill Murray in Stripes, I rarely read fiction but when I do it's something unusual.  (Unfortunately, however, chicks don't dig me.)  I'm reading 36 Arguments for the Existence of God:  A Work of Fiction by Rebecca Newberger Goldstein right now.  I was lucky enough to attend her reading of the first chapter at the Harvard Book Store.

Ms. Goldstein is a Princeton-certified philosopher, and well acquainted with the folkways of academia.  The hero is Cass Seltzer, a psychology professor at Frankfurter University in Weedham, Massachusetts, just up the river from Harvard, who has crossed over into popular culture with his book The Varieties of Religious Illusion, and now holds an offer to join the Harvard faculty.  His love interest is the beautiful and brilliant Lucinda Mandelbaum, originator of the Mandelbaum Equilibrium in game theory.  There are thirty-six short chapters, each entitled "The Argument from ... ", and an appendix summarizing the thirty-six actual philosophical arguments (and a critique of each one) that appear in Cass's fictional book. 

I guess it's not for the faint-hearted, but what prompted me to offer this endorsement was finishing the really clever chapter in which Cass works through a Prisoner's Dilemma matrix on being the first person to say "I love you" in a relationship (X and Y each have the strategy of saying or staying silent, and the payoffs are bliss, discomfort, hell, and status quo), concluding (not in these words) that the dominant rational strategy would always be to stay silent, so how can it be that anyone ever says "I love you" first.

How about this?  Chances are that if you like Bruces' Philosopher Song, you'll like this book.

March 6, 2010 in Books | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, June 8, 2008

The Summer Before Law School?

Posted by Alan Childress

I think hard work (preferably non-law) and/or travel are the best preparation for starting law school, for opposite reasons. Hard work so that being back in school will be fun, will feel like a reminder that it's not the real world (sometimes for the better). Or travel because it may be the last time for a while. 292198_41647079 Either way, come to law school fresh and grateful for the opportunity.

Elsewhere, and with more substance and literary value, there is advice from several good sources:

--student A and student B posting on the great-titled law student advice blog, Wish I Would Have Known.

--suggested summer reading lists from law schools at Appalachian and Hofstra, as well as U Conn's Anne Dailey.  Tulane's own Susan Krinsky has an extensive and thoughtful reading list that she has put together for admitted and prospective students to choose from:  Download List2008.pdf.

--a few tips posted on, now that it is working again.

--advice from the student-editors of Three Years of Hell and the Legally Numb blogs, surprisingly useful despite their names.

--serious advice from The J.D. Project, Inc. in this post.

--a student at Widener gives this advice on its admissions site.

--an "older guy" offers advice at nontradlaw blog.

--Eugene Volokh and lots of commenters here spoke to the reading list issue in 2007, and even more VC commenters added their book ideas here. (Our recent post related to To Kill A Mockingbird is here.)

--a response to Volokh, from the feminist perspective, by Ms. JD and her commenters.  It includes doing nothing or getting a tan.

Me, I worked in a movie theater selling tickets, and for a papermill company counting beavers.  The latter involved some travel.  And I got tanned.

UPDATE in 2010:  To the extent some of the lists have Holmes, The Common Law, on the list -- or even more so if they leave it off because it is somewhat inaccessible despite its clarity on criminal intent, torts, and contracts -- there is my new ANNOTATED version of it that makes it accessible to anyone, even non1Ls.  It is at Amazon for Kindle and apps for Apple, PC, BlackBerry, Ipad etc.  And at Smashwords for simple downloads and online viewing, including a very nice linked and active PDF for those who do not have reader apps in epub or Kindle formats.  Smashwords also has it in epub for Nook and Apple, and has Sony and basic rtf and Java.  Look for a paperback by early fall 2010.

UPDATE in 2012: all the lists seem to have Llewellyn's The Bramble Bush, as a how-to guide to 1Ls, so I helped bring it back and made it available in Kindle, iBooks, Nook, and paperback. Blog post on that here; and Amazon is here. We also released Epstein's Women in Law. Enjoy!

June 8, 2008 in Books, Childress, Teaching & Curriculum | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)