Posts Tagged ‘common law’

Hamowy on Hayek and the English common law

I’ve got a tribute at Cato at Liberty to the great libertarian scholar Ronald Hamowy, who specialized in intellectual history and in particular the Scottish Enlightenment of David Hume, Adam Smith and Adam Ferguson. Hamowy was a friendly but nonetheless acute critic of Friedrich Hayek, and I quote Daniel Klein’s summary of Hamowy’s bracing critique of Hayek on English common law as spontaneous order:

The final critical essay concerns Hayek’s tale of the common law. Hayek’s idea of spontaneous order is most prominently applied to the complex workings of the economy — “the incredible bread machine” — but also finds application in the evolution of customs, language, law, and science. Hayek was keen to show the viability of capturing a dynamic system of law under the conceptual umbrella of spontaneous order. In making his case, he portrayed the English common law as such a system. Hamowy looks hard at the history and character of English common law, and concludes that Hayek’s historic tale fails on two counts: first, its substance was not all that libertarian, and second, its evolution was not all that spontaneous. Hamowy advises us against citing the English common law as an example of spontaneous-order law.

More: David Boaz.

“What is the role of the courts in making social policy?”

If blogging from me is light the next three days, it is because I somehow snuck in to the all-star cast of judges and scholars and attorneys participating in a on-line roundtable on this question sponsored by Common Good’s new website, NewTalk.  Participants include Walter Dellinger, Ken Feinberg, Mark Geistfeld, Gillian Hadfield, Lord Leonard Hoffman, Philip Howard, Robert Joffe, Judge Edith Jones, Alan Morrison, David Schoenbrod, Peter Schuck, Stuart Taylor, Michael Traynor, and Russell Wheeler.

March 1 roundup

  • Oregon Supreme Court plays chicken with SCOTUS over $79.5 million punitive damages award in Williams v. Philip Morris case. [Sebok @ Findlaw; Krauss @ IBD; POL Feb. 1]
  • Speaking of punitive damages, I did a podcast on Exxon Shipping v. Baker. I can’t bear to listen to it, so let me know how I did. [Frank @ Fed Soc]
  • Arkansas case alleged legal sale of pseudoephedrine was “nuisance” because meth-makers would buy it; case dismissed. [Beck/Herrmann]. This is why I’ve stockpiled Sudafed.
  • Lawyers advertise for refinery explosion victims before fire goes out. [Hou Chron/TLR]
  • Connecticut Supreme Court: cat-attack victim can sue without showing past history of violence by animal. [On Point] Looking forward to comments from all the anti-reformers who claim to oppose reform because they’re against the abrogation of the common law.
  • Op-ed on the Great White fire deep pockets phenomenon. [SE Texas Record; earlier: Feb. 2]
  • “FISA lawsuits come from Twilight Zone.” [Hillyer @ Examiner]
  • Legislative action on various medical malpractice tweaking in Colorado, Hawaii, and Wyoming. [TortsProf]
  • Request for unemployment benefits: why fire me just because I asked staffers for a prostitute? [Des Moines Register]
  • “So much for seduction and romance; bring in the MBAs and lawyers.” [Mac Donald @ City Journal; contra Belle Lettre; contra contra Dank]
  • Where is the Canadian Brandeis standing up for free speech? [Kay @ National Post]
  • In defense of lobbying. [Krauthammer @ WaPo]