Jurismania: The Madness of American Law

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Oxford University Press, Jul 15, 1999 - Law - 208 pages
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In Jurismania, Paul Campos asserts that our legal system is beginning to exhibit symptoms of serious mental illness. Trials and appeals that stretch out for years and cost millions, 100 page appellate court opinions, 1,000 page statutes before which even lawyers tremble with fear, and a public that grows more litigious every day all testify to a judicial overkill that borders on obsessive-compulsive disorder. Campos locates the source of such madness, paradoxically, in our worship of reason and the resulting belief that all problems are amenable to legal solutions. In insightful discussions of a wide range of cases, from NCAA regulations of student-athletes to the Simpson trial, from our most intractable social disputes over abortion and physician-assisted suicide to the war on drugs and the increasingly fastidious attempts to regulate behavior in public spaces, Campos shows that the mania for more law exacerbates the very problems it seeks to remedy. In his final chapter, the author calls instead for a humbling recognition of the limits of reason and a much more modest role for our legal system. Clearly written and laced with a delicious wit, Jurismania gives us a CAT-scan of the American legal mind at work. It reveals not only that the patient is even worse off than we imagined, but also clarifies the many reasons why.

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1 American Culture and the Madness of Law
2 The Color of Money
3 The Anarchic Panopticon
4 Leaving Las Vegas
5 Rationalization and Its Discontents
6 Toward a General Theory of Unicorns
7 Addicted to Law
8 The Future of an Illusion
9 The Banality of Goodness
10 The Way of Renunciation

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About the author (1999)

Paul Campos is Professor of Law at the University of Colorado and Director of the Byron R. White Center for American Constitutional Study.

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