Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Chapter 2 (Law and Justice: The cast of characters, institutions and Forms): From "Elements of Law" to "Introduction to the Law and Legal System of the United States"--Building an Introductory Course to the Legal Curriculum for the 21st Century

(Pix (c) Larry Catá Backer 2014)

Since 2010, I have been posting on the development  of a new course I have been developing for our first year law school students, "Elements of Law."  The course originally had a quite modest objective--to introduce law students to legal research and reasoning through case law, statutory interpretation, and legal history, processes, and institutions.  I chose to broaden its objectives within these specific parameters and development a framing and concepts course that would provide a deep foundation to law students on the legal system they were undertaking to study. 
--Elements of Law 3.0: On the Relevance of a First Year Law Course Designed to Frame the Law School Curriculum).
--Developing a New Course--"Elements of Law"
--"Elements of Law" Course 2.0: A Framework Course for the U.S. Law Curriculum,
Grounded in the principles of the sociology of law, the course has morphed into an effort to introduce students to law as a self-referencing system with its own particular structures, premises, constraints and language, with its own logic and taboos and its own means of understanding the world.  That systemicity (cf. Peter Checkland, Systems Thinking, Systems Practice, Chichester : John Wiley and Sons Ltd, 1999) is then a critical element in the way in which the legal system (in this case of the United States) interacts with the world, both as a legal and as a socio-economic-political actor.  The course has also expanded from its original narrow and technical focus, to a broader focus on principles and the use of language and logic to build and operate a system of law. That broadening has made it possible to offer the course not just to first year law students, but also to graduate students in the social sciences and in international affairs, as a grounding in the legal systems that are important in their respective fields.

This post produces some of the materials I will be presenting to the class.  I offer these materials in hopes that they may prove of use and that you might share comments, perspectives and suggestions as I develop those materials on this site. Thanks.

This post includes a draft of Chapter 2.
 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Advancing the Rule of Law With Chinese Characteristics: A Conversation About Constitutionalism, Shangfang, and the Ideological Work of the Chinese Communist Party

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(Pix (c) Larry Catá Backer 2014)

 The Chinese Communist Party has recently accelerated its political work--moving deliberately to develop its operating theory to enhance its role as a vanguard party in China. 
 The Communist Party of China (CPC) will hold the fourth plenary session of the 18th central committee in October, to discuss key issues concerning the rule of law, it was announced on Tuesday.

The Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee will discuss "governing the country according to law" on every front, it was announced after the Tuesday meeting, presided over by the CPC Central Committee's general secretary, Xi Jinping.

It was agreed that the rule of law is a must if the country will attain economic growth, clean government, culture prosperity, social justice and sound environment, and realize the strategic objective of peaceful development.

A statement after the meeting said that the rule of law is an intrinsic requirement of socialism with Chinese characteristics and crucial to modern governance. Governing according to law holds the key to the CPC's leadership, the people's well-being, deepening reform and long-term stability. The statement emphasized, that governing according to law has become more significant in the entire agenda of the Party and the nation, due to new circumstances. (Embassy of the People's Republic of China in Camnada, CPC to hold key session on rule of law, July 30, 2014)
This post includes the transcript of a conversation with Keren Wang, a PhD candidate at Penn State (Communication Arts and Sciences, School of Liberal Arts) and my co-author, about the recent strong movement at the highest levels of the Chinese Communist Party toward the institutionalization of rule of law systems with Chinese characteristics, including the petitioning system or shanfang.  It is meant to provide a more conversational introduction to issues of rule of law, of the institutionalization of the relationship between the people and the administrative organs of state and of the role of a vanguard party.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Chapter 1 (The Context and Roadmap for Study): From "Elements of Law" to "Introduction to the Law and Legal System of the United States"--Building an Introductory Course to the Legal Curriculum for the 21st Century

(Pix (c) Larry Catá Backer 2014)

Since 2010, I have been posting on the development  of a new course I have been developing for our first year law school students, "Elements of Law."  The course originally had a quite modest objective--to introduce law students to legal research and reasoning through case law, statutory interpretation, and legal history, processes, and institutions.  I chose to broaden its objectives within these specific parameters and development a framing and concepts course that would provide a deep foundation to law students on the legal system they were undertaking to study. 
--Elements of Law 3.0: On the Relevance of a First Year Law Course Designed to Frame the Law School Curriculum).
--Developing a New Course--"Elements of Law"
--"Elements of Law" Course 2.0: A Framework Course for the U.S. Law Curriculum,
Grounded in the principles of the sociology of law, the course has morphed into an effort to introduce students to law as a self-referencing system with its own particular structures, premises, constraints and language, with its own logic and taboos and its own means of understanding the world.  That systemicity (cf. Peter Checkland, Systems Thinking, Systems Practice, Chichester : John Wiley and Sons Ltd, 1999) is then a critical element in the way in which the legal system (in this case of the United States) interacts with the world, both as a legal and as a socio-economic-political actor.  The course has also expanded from its original narrow and technical focus, to a broader focus on principles and the use of language and logic to build and operate a system of law. That broadening has made it possible to offer the course not just to first year law students, but also to graduate students in the social sciences and in international affairs, as a grounding in the legal systems that are important in their respective fields.
This post produces some of the materials I will be presenting to the class.  I offer these materials in hopes that they may prove of use and that you might share comments, perspectives and suggestions as I develop those materials on this site. Thanks.

This post includes a draft of Chapter 1.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Thursday, August 14, 2014

From "Elements of Law" to "Introduction to the Law and Legal System of the United States"--Building an Introductory Course to the Legal Curriculum for the 21st Century




(Pix (c) Larry Catá Backer 2014)

Since 2010, I have been posting on the development  of a new course I have been developing for our first year law school students, "Elements of Law."  The course originally had a quite modest objective--to introduce law students to legal research and reasoning through case law, statutory interpretation, and legal history, processes, and institutions.  I chose to broaden its objectives within these specific parameters and development a framing and concepts course that would provide a deep foundation to law students on the legal system they were undertaking to study. 
Elements of Law 3.0: On the Relevance of a First Year Law Course Designed to Frame the Law School Curriculum).

Developing a New Course--"Elements of Law"

"Elements of Law" Course 2.0: A Framework Course for the U.S. Law Curriculum,

Grounded in the principles of the sociology of law, the course has morphed into an effort to introduce students to law as a self-referencing system with its own particular structures, premises, constraints and language, with its own logic and taboos and its own means of understanding the world.  That systemicity (cf. Peter Checkland, Systems Thinking, Systems Practice, Chichester : John Wiley and Sons Ltd, 1999) is then a critical element in the way in which the legal system (in this case of the United States) interacts with the world, both as a legal and as a socio-economic-political actor.  The course has also expanded from its original narrow and technical focus, to a broader focus on principles and the use of language and logic to build and operate a system of law. That broadening has made it possible to offer the course not just to first year law students, but also to graduate students in the social sciences and in international affairs, as a grounding in the legal systems that are important in their respective fields.

This post produces some of the materials I will be presenting to the class.  I offer these materials in hopes that they may prove of use and that you might share comments, perspectives and suggestions as I develop those materials on this site. Thanks.

This post offers initial thoughts about the materials.

Monday, August 11, 2014

On the New Members of the Human Rights Council "Independent International Commission of Inquiry to Investigate all Violations of International Humanitarian Law and International Human Rights Law"


(Pix (c) Larry Catá Backer 2014)

On August 11, 2014, the President of the Human Rights Council, Baudelaire Ndong Ella, appointed the members of the Human Rights Council's "independent international commission of inquiry to investigate all violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law" in the area that the Human Rights Council describes as "the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, particularly in the Gaza Strip." Letter to All Permanent Representatives to the United Nations Office and Other International Organizations in Geneva from the President of the Human Rights Council, Baudelaire Ndong Ella, Geneva, August 11, 2014 (the note verbale).

The three commissioners named include Ms. Amal Alamuddin (United Kingdom), Mr. Doudou Diène (Senegal) and Mr. William Schabas (chair, Canada, Eire).
Some information about the commissioners follow along with the text of Council resolution S-21/1.

Saturday, August 09, 2014

New Paper Posted: "International Financial Institutions (IFIs) and Sovereign Wealth Funds—SWFs as Instruments to Strengthen Governance and Enhance Fiscal Discipline in Developing States"




(Pix (c) Larry Catá Backer 2014)


Though sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) have been around since the 1950s, they became much more important instruments of global finance with the maturing of the current system of globalization. Their distinguishing feature was their use of state wealth to invest outside their home states. That characteristic, when exercised by large funds (Norway, Singapore, Malaysia) or by powerful states (Russia and China) raised substantial concerns about the use of private markets to leverage public power. The economic turmoil of 2008 and thereafter, along with the advancement of quasi public self regulatory soft law (the Santiago Principles) substantially ameliorated the sense fo threat. immediately before the Originally SWFs raised concern.

By the start of the second decade of the 21st Century, then, SWFs became again he province of specialists, except for some who continued to see the transformative potential of SWFs at the intersection of public and private finance and governance systems. At the same time, SWF objectives appeared to change as well--most recently focusing on the value of SWFs as an internal ordering device. But this change has substantial ramifications, not just for any theory of SWFs but also for their role in the emerging governance systems around the evolving global financial, governmental and legal systems.

Further to that engagement, I have just posted a new paper to the Social Science Research Network (SSRN) that considers an aspect of this issue: "International Financial Institutions (IFIs) and Sovereign Wealth Funds—SWFs as Instruments to Strengthen Governance and Enhance Fiscal Discipline in Developing States." The Abstract, Contents and Introduction follow. A later version will appear in a special issue of Volume 2014 International Review of Law (Qatar University).