A Critique of Adjudication [fin de Siècle]
A major statement from one of the foremost legal theorists of our day, this book offers a penetrating look into the political nature of legal, and especially judicial, decision making. It is also the first sustained attempt to integrate the American approach to law, an uneasy balance of deep commitment and intense skepticism, with the Continental tradition in social theory, philosophy, and psychology.
At the center of this work is the question of how politics affects judicial activity-and how, in turn, lawmaking by judges affects American politics. Duncan Kennedy considers opposing views about whether law is political in character and, if so, how. He puts forward an original, distinctive, and remarkably lucid theory of adjudication that includes accounts of both judicial rhetoric and the experience of judging. With an eye to the current state of theory, legal or otherwise, he also includes a provocative discussion of postmodernism.
Ultimately concerned with the practical consequences of ideas about the law, "A Critique of Adjudication" explores the aspects and implications of adjudication as few books have in this century. As a comprehensive and powerfully argued statement of a critical position in modern American legal thought, it will be essential to any balanced picture of the legal, political, and cultural life of our nation.
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Ideological Stakes in Adjudication
The Distinction between Adjudication and Legislation
Ideological Conflict over the Definition of Legal Rules
The Problem of Judicial Legislation
The Paradox of American Critical Legalism
Policy and Coherence
Ideology in Adjudication
Consequences of Adjudication
The Moderation and Empowerment Effects
The Legitimation Effect
Adjudication in Social Theory
Rights in American Legal Consciousness
The Critique of Rights
Conclusion Landscapes along the Highway of Infinite Regress