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Law as a Means to an End
Threat to the Rule of Law

Part of Law in Context

  • Date Published: December 2006
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521689670


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About the Authors
  • The contemporary US legal culture is marked by ubiquitous battles among various groups attempting to seize control of the law and wield it against others in pursuit of their particular agenda. This battle takes place in administrative, legislative, and judicial arenas at both the state and federal levels. This book identifies the underlying source of these battles in the spread of the instrumental view of law - the idea that law is purely a means to an end - in a context of sharp disagreement over the social good. It traces the rise of the instrumental view of law in the course of the past two centuries, then demonstrates the pervasiveness of this view of law and its implications within the contemporary legal culture, and ends by showing the various ways in which seeing law in purely instrumental terms threatens to corrode the rule of law.

    • Provides a unique historical and contemporary account of the spread and entrenchment of the idea that law is a means to an end
    • Draws upon legal history, legal theory, and legal sociology
    • Provides an overview of the U.S. legal culture - past, present, and future
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    Reviews & endorsements

    ' … an excellent treatment of a substantively interesting phenomenon, with real world implications. it is written in a lively, lucid manner, filled with fascinating titbits of information about its subject matter … an outstanding treatment of an important scholarly question with profound normative implications for American society.' Law and Politics Review

    ' … at once a high-paced historical thriller and a clamorous critique of contemporary US legal culture … Tamanaha is an energetic travel companion. We should be grateful for his political sensitivity and his willingness to trawl through what he sees as a kind of Dante's Hell.' The Cambridge Law Journal

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    Product details

    • Date Published: December 2006
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521689670
    • length: 268 pages
    • dimensions: 228 x 155 x 18 mm
    • weight: 0.38kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. The Spread of Legal Instrumentalism:
    1. Non-instrumental views of law
    2. Changing society and common law in the nineteenth century
    3. Nineteenth century legislation and legal profession
    4. Instrumentalism of the legal realists
    5. Twentieth century Supreme Court instrumentalism
    Part II. Contemporary Legal Instrumentalism:
    6. Instrumentalism in legal academia in the 1970s
    7. Instrumentalism in theories of law
    8. Instrumentalism in the legal profession
    9. Instrumentalism of cause litigation
    10. Instrumentalism and the judiciary
    11. Instrumentalism in legislation and administration
    Part III. Corroding the Rule of Law:
    12. Collapse of higher law, deterioration of common good
    13. The threat to legality

  • Author

    Brian Z. Tamanaha, St John's University Law School, New York
    Brian Z. Tamanaha is the Chief Judge Benjamin N. Cardozo Professor of Law at St. John's University School of Law. He delivered the inaugural Montesquieu Lecture (2004) at the University of Tilburg. He is the author of On the Rule of Law (Cambridge, 2004), Realistic Socio-Legal Theory (1997), and A General Jurisprudence of Law and Society (2001) which won the Herbert Jacob Book Prize in 2001. He has published many articles and is the Associate Editor of Law and Society Review.

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