Many people think their own area of scholarly interest is the most fascinating and I fall near average on all fronts, including this one. In that vein, the rapidly shifting international framework for taxation is the musical of tax law: all drama and fancy clothing. If you’re not really into tax, but you at least want to glimpse at one of the costumes, check out Allison Christians’ short piece, “Friends with Tax Benefits: Apple’s Cautionary Tale”. It’s brief enough that you can read it on your iphone. (And if you’re bold enough for a longer related piece, try Antony Ting, “iTax – Apple’s International Tax Structure and the Double Non-Taxation Issue“)
If ethnography is the buzz draw for this era in (legal) methodology, university governance is the sledgehammer. Why not put them together? Enter Gerald de Montigny. He’s not a legal scholar, but his piece, “’Put on a Happy Face’: Tenure, Grievance, and Governance” is all the fun you’d expect when you buzz draw someone to a sledgehammer.
Someone once said something that captured the idea that you cannot know everything yourself. Given that reality, a sensible strategy is to find people around you who know things and then adopt their positions on some matters as your own.
Meet Meinhard Doelle. When I want to know what I think about something related to environmental law, I ask Meinhard what we think about it.
Most urgently, we need to know more about Paris. Meinhard obliges. Read, “The Paris Agreement: Historic Breakthrough or High Stakes Experiment?” The piece is a wonderful precis on Paris – the process and elements of the outcome. Meinhard also offers some early reflections on those outcomes. We are cautiously optimistic about Paris, it seems.
If you want more Meinhard, you can find his blog here.
Judy Mosoff lost her battle with cancer on December 20, 2015. I haven’t seen her since 2007 and I miss her already.
This week, I dug back to one of my favourite Mosoffs. You should read “Motherhood, Madness, and Law“. I read it as a law student and was struck by how wonderfully Judy integrates her qualitative empirical research, and especially narrative, into this otherwise densely substantive piece. Re-reading it, I am reminded of how meaningful friendships that take root in the academy can become to our scholarly explorations and inquiries. Isabel Grant‘s work features prominently in the piece. The two were periodic collaborators and good friends. Over the years I have been struck by how much better Judy’s work was because of her friendship with Isabel and vice versa.
If you weren’t fortunate enough to meet Judy, the Centre for Feminist Legal Studies at UBC videoed one of her talks last year and it exemplifies much of Judy’s thoughtful approach to her research. You should get to know her. (And if you did know her and want to leave a memory in her guestbook, you can do so here.)
I loved serving on a faculty with Lionel Smith. He’s one of those ideal colleagues who cares about ideas, who has a big brain, and who is relentlessly collegial. He’s a prolific scholar (see his SSRN page here) but you might not know that because he’s wonderfully modest. Enjoy “Can we be obliged to be selfless?” as a warm up to Lionel. One of the reasons I am recommending the piece is that Lionel takes issue with other scholars’ ideas (Matthew Conaghlen and Arthur Laby). I like when scholars gracefully do that. When done thoughtfully, it is the best kind of tribute.
I have to confess that although it was wildly popular, I wasn’t excited about judges fundraising for Movember. But my instinct was just that – an uninformed opinion. Thanks to Stephen Pitel and Michal Malecki I can marshal reasonable arguments in favour of my position (and anticipate the contrary-minded). Check out “Judicial Fundraising in Canada”. It’s typical of Stephen’s great work in the area of legal ethics – thoughtful, thorough, and helpful.
Paul Daly blogs on administrative law and writes on administrative law and constitutional law, mainly in comparative context. In “A Supreme Court’s Place in the Constitutional Order” he offers micro comparativism – exploring what we can learn about how the Supreme Court of Canada and the United Kingdom Supreme Court understand their constitutional roles from a review of some recent cases and commentary. He builds from that analysis to general conclusions about the role of the courts in each country’s constitutional order.
I think that Margot Young is one of Canada’s most lucid public policy intellectuals and she gives a great radio interview. But this isn’t a radio interview. Instead, settle in with “Charter Eviction: Litigating Out of House and Home”. Our reluctance to recognize a right to adequate housing seems like one of Canada’s great failings. And Margot helps us by setting out why it’s so important that claims to housing be justiciable. (If, as a separate matter, you want to hear Margot “live” on foreign investment and the housing market try here (at 1:42)).
Scholarship about the incentive effects of rule design fascinates me. Enter Susan Morse’s latest work, “Safe Harbors, Sure Shipwrecks”. Morse boldly claims that she offers a new way of thinking about rules and standards. More specifically, her argument is that safe harbour rules offer different incentives than sure shipwreck rules. You’ve got to read the piece, which will assist you in theorizing about what will happen if you introduce pricing rules for coffee purchased by lobbyists.
Hoi Kong’s work is always a mind bender: the topics seem old school, but he takes a Betzig-style microscope to the project and we see the topics in new ways. In “Journal of Parliamentary and Political Law” he’s back to Lon Fuller, and claiming that the nature of constitutional interpretation requires the incorporation of deliberative democratic principles into the reading of election law.