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The Law & Society Review blog welcomes the following entries:
  1. Discussions of LSR articles
  2. Discussions of sociolegal books and monographs
  3. Research summaries
Entries should
  • Focus on sociolegal perspectives
  • Be between 400-650 words in length:
  • Appeal to general readers
Please include visuals when possible (e.g. graphs, charts, free-for-use pictures; if they are your own pictures, please make sure you have the permission of any people depicted).

Please include a short title for the piece, as well as the authors' full name and university affiliation (if relevant).

We look forward to reading your submission.


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What Courts do with Executive Privilege Claims

By Gbemende Johnson, Hamilton College

“Because Congress requires this material in order to perform our constitutionally-mandated responsibilities, I will issue a subpoena for the full report and the underlying materials.” This was the response of House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) after receiving the redacted 448-page Report on the Investigation Into Russian Interference in the 2016 Presidential Election.The battle over the Mueller Report is just one example of conflicts between Congress and the executive branch over executive privilege, where agency officials claim they can withhold documents. Many disputes land in federal court. The Obama Administration Department of Justice spent years in court defending its claim of executive privilege over documents related to the ATF’s “Fast and Furious” gunwalking operation. Federal courts have proven less likely to let cabinet level agencies like the Department of Justice withhold documents than they are with independent agencies li…

Switching Up the Metaphor: from Baseball to Knitting

Susan M. Sterett, University of Maryland, Baltimore County



Metaphors guide what we see. In studying law and courts, metaphors for the law have come from baseball: Justice Roberts famously said in his confirmation hearing that judges call balls and strikes. Justice Kavanaugh followed his lead. Although umpires argued the analogy misunderstands the creativity the job requires, it remains a common metaphor for judging. The valuable website Oyez asks on each Supreme Court justice’s biography which baseball player is most like the justice’s contribution to the law. It’s an incomprehensible question for those who don’t follow men’s professional baseball closely. It also points to justices, and individual achievement, as the key players in law. Others are spectators.

What would show up if instead an activity often dismissed as trivial, mechanistic and feminine—knitting (and I want to include crochet; for brevity I’ll sum up both with knitting)—were the metaphor for the law instead? 
Bas…

How do text messages complicate contemporary sexual assault adjudication?

By Heather Hlavka and Sameena Mulla 
Department of Social and Cultural Sciences, Marquette University


“There’s no video, no injury. It’s purely one hundred percent ‘he said, she said.’ They had a terrible relationship. They were nasty to each other and they don’t get along well, probably never will. But there is no evidence to support the state’s case, other than their words.” Our article, “’That’s How She Talks’: Animating Text Message Evidence in the Sexual Assault Trial,” begins with these familiar words offered by a defense attorney during a sexual assault trial in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The oft-invoked trope of “he said, she said” in cases of sexual violence suggests that without third-party eye witness testimony or material evidence, sexual assault allegations rest on conflicting reports provided by victims, the accused, and other witnesses. But how do trial attorneys reinvent this trope when the words of the witnesses are preserved as text messages?

Text messages are recorded co…