That is the title of our long-awaited and latest legal research paper, which is now available on SSRN. Why did we write a paper on such a seemingly narrow subject? Well, a few years ago, Chief Justice John Roberts made the following remarks about the state of contemporary legal scholarship:
Pick up a copy of any law review that you see, and the first article is likely to be, you know, the influence of Immanuel Kant on evidentiary approaches in 18th Century Bulgaria, or something. If the academy wants to deal with the legal issues at a particularly abstract, philosophical level, that’s great and that’s their business, but they shouldn’t expect that it would be of any particular help or even interest to the members of the practice of the bar or judges …
Then, earlier this year, Professor Orin Kerr actually wrote up a well-researched paper titled “Immanuel Kant on Evidentiary Approaches in Eighteenth Century Bulgaria.” Kerr, however, anticlimactically concludes that “it appears very likely [say what?] that Kant had no influence on evidentiary approaches in 18th Century Bulgaria,” much to our dismay, we might add. We thus decided to write up a short (one page!) reply to Kerr’s masterful analysis. Here is our abstract:
What influence did Kant exert on evidentiary approaches in 18th Century Bulgaria? The seminal work to address this mystery is Kerr, 2015. Although we do not question Professor Kerr’s meticulous research nor impugn his well-reasoned conclusion, we would propose an alternative approach to this important scholarly problem. Briefly, instead of searching through endless old tomes in dark and dusty libraries for a direct correspondence or causal relation between Kant’s work and evidentiary approaches in 18th Century Bulgaria, we would propose the following clean and simple thought experiment: What if Kant were an 18th Century Bulgarian law professor?