In recent years, there has been much greater legal attention paid to aspects of dignity that have previously been ignored or treated with actual hostility, especially in constitutional law and public law generally. But private law also plays an important role. In particular, certain forms of tort liability are imposed in order to protect individual dignity of various sorts and compensate for invasions of individual dignity. Defamation, invasion of privacy, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and even false imprisonment fall into this category. Despite the growing importance of dignity, this value has received very little self-conscious or express attention in tort cases or torts scholarship. The absence of a robustly-articulated conception of the interest in dignity that tort law protects is puzzling. Why have notions of dignity and dignitary torts been little more than labels, reflecting a value that has gone unanalyzed and undebated, despite its obvious and growing importance? The answers to these questions lie in the structure of the common law of torts, the history of twentieth-century tort law scholarship, the jurisprudence of doctrinal boundaries, and—perhaps, surprisingly—developments in constitutional law during the last four decades of the twentieth century. In the first analysis of the dignitary torts as a whole in half a century, this Article explores the puzzle of the dignitary torts. It argues that these torts have been undertheorized because of the very nature of the common law system, which poses a powerful obstacle to any doctrinal reorientation of tort law toward the understanding or creation of a unified species of dignitary torts. The law of torts may be fully capable of protecting the forms of dignity that our world increasingly recognizes and honors, but it turns out that it must do so in the same manner that it has always protected the interests that are central to our values—cause-of-action by cause-of-action.
Cornell Law Review Online
In their article, Professors Kenneth Abraham and G. Edward White identify a puzzle: despite the value that our society purports to place on dignity, tort law’s dignity- protecting function has been little explored.1 Lawmakers and courts employ the term “dignity” without specifying the interests at stake. Dignitary torts—battery, false imprisonment, defamation, intentional infliction of emotional […]
Not atypically, the Supreme Court in Horne interprets the canonical Nollan narrowly as a case about developer exactions. Viewed that way, Nollan does not speak to the issue in Horne: the raisins that the government took from the owners were not surrendered in exchange for explicit permission to engage in an activity the government either […]
Focusing on “lying” is a natural response to uncertainty but too narrow of a concern. Honesty and truth are not the same thing and conflating them can actually inhibit accuracy. In several settings across investigations and trials, the criminal justice system elevates compliant statements, misguided beliefs, and confident opinions while excluding more complex evidence. Error […]
The Attorney‑Client Privilege, Client Confessions and Wrongful Convictions: Immunity as a Statutory Solution
Attorneys face a serious personal dilemma when a client confesses that he or she committed the crime for which someone else has been wrongfully convicted. If they do nothing, a wrongful conviction stands. If they come forward, their client faces the prospect of a new criminal conviction. Professional ethics require them to maintain all privileges […]
What do juries really think about lawyers? What makes jurors tick? What do lawyers do that irritates jurors? What can lawyers do better in the courtroom from the jury’s perspective? These are the questions at the heart of this article, which provides useful insight gleaned from more than 500 jurors who served in federal district court […]
Symposium on Reassessing the Restatement of Employment Law
The Cornell Law Review hosted a Symposium on Reassessing the Restatement of Employment Law on Friday, November 21, 2014, at Cornell Law School. The Symposium offered the first commentary on Restatement of Employment Law, a twelve-year project, which the American Law Institute approved in 2014. Click for Symposium Agenda
Symposium on Extraterritorialism
The Cornell Law Review will publish its annual Symposium issue for Volume 99 with a focus on extraterritorialism in September 2014. The flurry of recent Supreme Court decisions turning on a revived door-closing territorialism is attracting the attention of legal scholars in various substantive as well as methodological fields of federal law, and the lines […]
Cornell Law Review Online
Cornell Law Review Online will start accepting submissions on Feb. 25.
Welcome to CornellLawReview.org
Welcome to CornellLawReview.org, the new online home of the Cornell Law Review. In the spirit of its mission as a student-run journal, the Law Review is launching this site to provide greater access to its top-notch legal scholarship and more publishing opportunities for legal academics. The website will host all of the content that the Law Review publishes in print […]