Three forthcoming chapters by Robin West have been posted to BePress and SSRN:
The article discusses jurisprudential as opposed to purely historical and legal reasons for our failure to either recognize or discover positive rights in our constitutional tradition. By delegating constitutional law to courts, we perhaps unwittingly tie our political morality to a form of decision making -- adjudication -- that must and likely should police against abuses of public power, just as it polices in the civil law sphere against abuses of private power. Constitutionalism and constitutional discourse cannot, so long as it is conducted through adjudicative channels, develop a body of principles conducive to the moral deployment of power, as opposed to challenging or bucking its misuse. One cost of this, relatively unreckoned even by our contemporary critics of judicial review, is the erosion of any conception of politics (rather than law) as being a potentially ennobling human practice.
The article defends the now fairly conventional liberal reform position that consent ought to be the demarcation between rape and non-criminal sex, responding to both radical feminist and modern queer theoretic arguments that problematize it. It then criticizes liberal arguments that legitimize virtually all consensual sex, leaving all of it relatively insulated not only against criminalization but also against moral and political critique. Consensual sex can be wanted or unwanted, and when unwanted, it can be harmful in ways that cannot be recognized by liberal understandings of consensual sex. Lastly, the article defends this claim, again, against both radical feminist and queer theoretic critiques that for opposing reasons seek to undermine the distinction between unwanted and wanted consensual sex.
The article compares programmatic questions from the Law and Literature movement from the 1970s to 1990s with more recent suggestions regarding the foundational questions for the Law and Culture movement. It argues that in both movements, but particularly the latter, scholars have focused on questions regarding the nature of law, culture, and interpretation, and neglected substantive jurisprudential claims regarding law sometimes found in literature and other cultural texts. It argues that this emphasis on theory over substance is unfortunate. To illustrate, the piece examines a false rape claim brought against some university athletes in Durham, North Carolina in the summer of 2006, and a novelistic depiction of sexual exploitation in Tom Wolfe's popular novel, I Am Charlotte Simmons. The novel was repeatedly invoked by commentators and bloggers when the charge was first made and widely believed, to make the case that the Duke campus was drenched in a culture tolerant of rape. The novel, then, might be sensibly understood as central to a cultural understanding of how this false rape charge was interpreted, and then came to be widely believed. Although true enough, the article argues that we miss something important, if we look at (and indict) Wolfe's novel only as a part of a cultural/legal explanation for a sex panic that resulted in a miscarriage of justice. We miss Wolfe's substantive, narrative account of sexual exploitation (not rape) and the harms, quite specific, that undesired, unwanted and unwelcome sex can occasion, on college campuses and elsewhere.