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Weekly Roundup: April 12


At the Blog

On Monday, while the sun shone darkly in the sky, the inner light of the LPE community radiated forth: that’s right, it was our bi-annual round-up of forthcoming LPE and LPE-adjacent scholarship. Scrapped together from twitter announcements, ssrn, our whisper network, and an open submission call, the list contains many exciting .pdfs to add to your collection.

On Tuesday, Premal Dharia concluded our symposium on Jocelyn Simonson’s Radical Acts of Justice, by discussing a crisis of purpose in public defense. Reflecting on the complexities of power and the shifting purposes of public defenders who work in solidarity with social movements, she writes, “It’s no mistake that Simonson, a former public defender, highlights participatory defense as an organizing practice. Participatory defense is a method of collective contestation through which would-be ‘clients’ and their families intervene in the criminal court process. Rather than waiting for their public defenders to build a defense or negotiate a plea deal, families involved in participatory defense hubs take leadership over their loved one’s defense, actively push their attorneys, and even—in some cases—publicly politicize prosecutions. By cultivating ‘productive tension’ with attorneys, participatory defense organizers instill in public defenders — especially those willing to listen, reflect, and adapt — a deeper appreciation of their own knowledge, expertise, and power. But this appreciation will not bear fruit unless it ties to clear goals. It needs a purpose to undergird it. Does public defense seek to make the system more fair, and thus sustain it, and to expand itself in the process? Or does it seek to dismantle a system whose harms it confronts every day?”

In LPE Land

On Tuesday, April 16 at 8pm ET, our wildly popularly open course/reading group “What To Do About the Courts,” returns for its fourth session. Led by Professors Ganesh Sitaraman and Amy Kapczynski, this session will focus on the legal tools available to us to restructure, reform, and disempower the Supreme Court.

David Grewal passes along that LPE readers will find much of interest in a new Special Issue of Law & Contemporary Problems on “Methodological Tensions in Understanding Markets.” He writes: “In addition to a wonderfully clarifying Introduction by the editors, Marietta Auer, Hanoch Dagan, Roy Kreitner, and Ralf Michaels, the Issue contains many articles of interest, including one on ‘The Monetary Structure of Economic Activity,’ by Christine Desan; a reflection on the ‘Epistemic Preconditions of Markets and Their Historicity,’ by Lisa Herzog, and a study of the ‘Concepts, Contexts, and Contests‘ involving in theorizing markets, by Roy Kreitner, among many others. My own contribution to the volume, entitled ‘The Epicycles of General Equilibrium Theory,’ offers an analysis of the way that the conceptualization of transaction costs and externalities works in neoclassical political economy (including law and economics). It draws on some ideas I have had about transaction costs and their role in economic theory that I first began to explore in my undergraduate thesis (!) over twenty-five years ago, and which is indebted to later work that Amy Kapczynski, Jedediah Purdy, Sabeel Rahman, and I did together on the idea of ‘linking theories’ in law and economics. (A personal aside that may amuse some readers of the LPE blog and may resonate with many of you pursuing off-beat intellectual projects. I first submitted a proposed ‘Note’ on transaction costs, very much along these lines, to the Yale Law Journal while I was a student at Yale Law School in the mid-1990s. It was quickly rejected by the student editors of that publication. Accordingly, I am especially grateful to the editors of L & CP for giving me the chance now, several decades later, to get some of these ideas into print. What a consolation of growing old – that I can finally publish the remnants of a disappointed youth!)”

Ivana Isailovic is hosting a virtual reading group on Property, Law, Race & Colonialism. The group will read Brenna Bhandar’s introduction to her book Colonial Lives of Property: Law, Land, and Racial Regimes of Property (2018) and Cheryl L. Harris’ now classic article “Whiteness as Property” (Harvard Law Review, 1993). Sign-up here.

For LPE readers interested in data governance or consumer protection, the FTC’s consumer protection chief will be speaking at Fordham next week (& on zoom), with a panel including Frank Pasquale and Luke Herrine.