Keep Law Alive


  • James Boyd White University of Michigan Law School



Law, Democracy, Justice, Tension


An account of the author’s recent book, Keep Law Alive, including: an assessment of the dangers which threaten law and the democracy it depends upon; an analysis of the ethically and intellectually praiseworthy methods and traditions law once enjoyed, using as examples the Model Penal Code, a pair of judicial opinions by Justice Holmes, and an essay on affirmative action; the elaboration of a way of thinking about law not as rules or policy or theory but as an inherently unstable but crucially important structure of thought and expression; and finally some attention to the question, how we might resist the corruption of law and, failing that,  and using Augustine as an example, how we might live with its loss.


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Abrams v. United States, 250 U.S. 616 (1919).

Bush v. Gore, 531 U.S. 98 (2000).

Loving v. Virginia, 388.U.S. 1 (1967).

Powell, S. (2013). Big Law, Carolina Academic Press.

Schenck v. United States, 249 U.S. 49 (1919).

State v. Woods, 179 A. 1 (1935).

White, J. Boyd (2014). Augustine’s Confessions as Read by a Modern Law Teacher, Journal of Law and Religion, 29, 330-335.