Ferment is Abroad: Techlash, Legal Institutions, and the Limits of Lawfulness

Ferment is Abroad: Techlash, Legal Institutions, and the Limits of Lawfulness

Both law and technology have played a foundational role in constructing, maintaining, and extending neoliberal modes of governance. Technological implementations have given new life to the longstanding neoliberal separation of economic and political domains, and legal methods that have facilitated the neoliberal political economy have also enabled new technologies. As critiques of the centrality of neoliberal economic logic gain traction, we must take care that such work does not simply clear the path for an emerging hegemony of neoliberal computational logic. Instead, we must be attentive to proponents of the epistemic and political dominance of computational mechanisms, and we must critique them on similar grounds and with similar urgency. In addition, theories of the legal programs and methods required to democratize the economy must not ignore the role digital technologies may play in achieving these goals.

Critiquing Legal Futurism and Imagining a Radical, Emancipatory Legal Liberalism

Critiquing Legal Futurism and Imagining a Radical, Emancipatory Legal Liberalism

The exact trajectory predictive legal analytics will take in the coming years is really anyone’s guess, but we can be fairly sure that the discourse of cost cutting and increased rationality via technology will be coming for the legal system, piece by piece. As such, it is worthwhile for left legal theory to take legal futurism, and even the idea of a legal singularity, seriously. Doing so, even for critics of liberalism, requires revisiting the liberal principle of the rule of law.

Partisan Warriors and Political Courts

Partisan Warriors and Political Courts

Thursday’s Supreme Court confirmation hearing was a stomach churning, nauseating affair. Christine Blasey Ford laid her life on the tracks, knowing full well that trains delivering important men can rarely be stopped.  That was enough, but then came the turn:  Brett Kavanaugh, partisan warrior.  He tore into Democrats for a process almost entirely dictated by Republicans.  He…

The Second Republican Revival

The Second Republican Revival

As questions of economic inequality have taken center stage in American politics, there has been a growing interest among public law scholars in questions of power, institutional design, inequality, and political economy. Scholars like Zephyr Teachout, Larry Lessig, Yasmin Dawood, and others have used concepts like domination and corruption to diagnose problems of oligarchy, inequality,…

Where Is Race in Law and Political Economy?

Where Is Race in Law and Political Economy?

In their first post on this blog, Amy, David, and Jed assert that “politics and the economy cannot be separated.” Nevertheless, as they also observe, the separation of the two – as, for example, in the idea that economic activity is determined by laws of supply and demand that lie outside the power of governments…

Law, Political Economy, and the Legal Realist Tradition Revisited

Law, Political Economy, and the Legal Realist Tradition Revisited

This is not the first time that a similar moment of crisis has helped spur creative new thinking about the relationships between law, capitalism, and democracy—and it won’t be the last. In this post, I want to sketch a particular aspect of this trajectory: the long legacy of legal realism and its relationship to our current debates around law and political economy.

Law & Neoliberalism

Law & Neoliberalism

Neoliberalism is an indispensable term for making sense of the legal, political, and ideological conflicts of the moment, and also one of the most maligned. Liberals who feel criticized by it have insisted so often and so loudly on its uselessness that even those on the left who use it often seem compelled to apologize…

Why Law and Political Economy?

Why Law and Political Economy?

Why focus on what we call law and political economy, and why now? In the last decade, inequality has become impossible to ignore. The 2008 financial crisis and the foreclosures and dislocation that followed it shook public and (to a limited extent) elite confidence that financial markets would “police” themselves and work for everyone. The…