Sunday, February 24, 2013


Ann Althouse, a conservative law professor who has a blog, notes that Critical Legal Theorists explicitly denied that Marxism was a useful approach to the law:
Here's a useful passage from the classic 1983 CLS book by Harvard lawprof Duncan Kennedy, "Legal Education and the Reproduction of Hierarchy: A Polemic Against the System":

Left-liberal rights analysis submerges the student in legal rhetoric, but, because of its inherent vacuousness, can provide no more than an emotional stance against the legal order. The instrumental Marxist approach is highly critical of law, but also dismissive. It is no help in coming to grips with the particularity of rules and rhetoric, because it treats them, a priori, as mere window dressing. In each case, left theory fails left students because it offers no base for the mastery of ambivalence. What is needed is to think about law in a way that will allow one to enter into it, to criticize without utterly rejecting it, and to manipulate it without self-abandonment to their system of thinking and doing.

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