Vanderbilt Law Review

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Recent Publications

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Chinese Legal Tradition Under the Mongols: The Code of 1291 as Reconstructed. By Paul Heng-chao Ch'en

The author's analysis of the "New Code" leads him to two conclusions: that the Yuan penal system was more lenient than its predecessors in imposing lesser punishments for minor offenses, and that the Mongol-Chinese partnership of the Yuan dynasty developed one of the most impressive and mature judicial systems that imperial China ever had for the administration of justice. He therefore argues that Chinese law in the time of Marco Polo was much less barbaric than has traditionally been thought.

Courthouse. By Paul Hoffman.

Hoffman follows several trials that made headlines, including those of accused murderer Joseph Cortale, the kidnappers of fashion designer Calvin Klein's daughter, and Marty Evans, the professional con artist and seducer who was acquitted of "assault with a friendly weapon" on the grounds that the "abominable snow job," while perhaps morally reprehensible, is not rape. With reportorial impartiality, Hoffman also chronicles the less glamorous trials of heroin addicts, prostitutes, and the teenage murderer of an elderly couple.

Doctors and the Law. By Gilbert Sharpe and Glenn Sawyer.

A concise manual of law for the practicing physician, Doctors and the Law collects and compares the varying approaches of different jurisdictions to medical malpractice. The final chapter, which discusses alternative mechanisms for the resolution of malpractice claims, is especially noteworthy. The authors conclude by offering the reader a rich set of appendices ranging from the biomedical research provisions of the 1975 Helsinki Declaration to the results of a detailed questionnaire reporting the medical practices and attitudes of nearly 2,000 physicians.

The Justices of the United States Supreme Court: Their Lives and Major Opinions. By Leon Friedman.

In his preface, Professor Friedman stresses the importance of judicial biography as an element in the history of our highest Court. Without such biography, he argues, legal scholars may neglect to study the Court in terms of the thinking and work of each individual member, preferring instead to view it as an anonymous and monolithic institution. For example, Friedman points out that a slight change in the viewpoint of even one Justice can change constitutional history, and an understanding of that change can explain seemingly inconsistent opinions on the same subject. Thus, by examining each member, the book provides an examination of the Burger Court as a whole which seeks to explain that Court's dramatic change in direction over the past decade.

Sexual Harassment of Working Women. By Catharine A. MacKinnon.

Supporting her position equating harassment with discrimination, MacKinnon explains that sexual harassment of women occurs largely because women occupy inferior job positions. In the author's view, moreover, harassment works to keep women in such positions.Drawing upon statistical data and articles in popular journals recounting harassment experiences, MacKinnon finds the working female's world to be characterized by horizontal segregation, vertical stratification, income inequality and sex-defined work. She then explores the imposition of sexual requirements as a quid pro quo for employment or advancement, as a condition of the work environment, and in its psychological impact upon women.

Thomas Jefferson and the Law. By Edward Dumbauld.

The author emphasizes Jefferson's legal scholarship, and explores at great length his subject's role, either as lawyer or participant, in several cases involving public officials, slavery, contested wills, and separation of church and state. Foremost among these is the "batture" controversy, in which Jefferson as President authorized the use of force to eject Edward Livingston from the alluvionor "beach" ("batture" in French) at New Orleans, then part of the newly-acquired Louisiana Purchase. The author similarly details Jefferson's analysis of several major cases in which he did not take part, including his response to the opinion delivered by Chief Justice John Marshall in the Aaron Burr treason trial.