Legal Authority & Judicial Review

Class Unique: 28697
This class will examine the relationship between a legal system’s basic authority and the proper methodology for judicial review (appellate courts’ interpretation and application of law). If proper judicial decision-making maintains fidelity to the law, it clearly presupposes an account of what the law is. That, in turn, depends on understanding the roots of law’s authority – what possesses the requisite authority to constitute genuine law? Thus we will examine the fundamental nature of a legal system’s authority (including its possible moral authority) to ground guidelines for the proper conduct of judicial review. We will focus particularly on two widespread models of legal authority: constitutional and common law. By probing the bases and limitations of each, we’ll gain a firmer grasp of the character of legal authority, as such. We will then consider how differing conceptions of the law’s authority shape some of the leading accounts of proper judicial review, again, narrowing our focus to two influential approaches: Judicial Minimalism and Dworkinian Perfectionism.

Class Details

Meeting Days Time Location
Wednesday 12:30 - 3:30 pm WAG 312
Evaluation Method Date Time Alpha Range Room

Additional Information

Course Type
Grading Method
Pass/Fail Not Allowed


Smith, Tara A. Smith, Tara A.