Legal Methods

Below the fold are two fun quotes comparing and contrasting civil law versus common law approaches to judging via the Volokh Conspiracy:

[From Alexis deTocqueville, Democracy in America (1835):] “Nothing could be more obscure and out of reach of the common man than a law founded on precedent…. A French lawyer is just a man of learning, but an English or an American one is somewhat like the Egyptian priests, being, as they were, the only interpreters of an occult science.”

[From Sir William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England (1765):] “The English law is less embarrassed with inconsistent resolutions and doubtful questions, than any other known system of the same extent and the same duration. I may instance in the civil law: the text whereof, as collected by Justinian and his agents, is extremely voluminous and diffuse; but the idle comments, obscure glosses, and jarring interpretations grafted thereupon by the learned jurists, are literally without number. And these glosses, which are mere private opinions of scholastic doctors (and not, like our books of reports, judicial determinations of the court) are all of authority sufficient to be vouched and relied on; which must needs breed great distraction and confusion in their tribunals.”

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