Legal History

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President Adopts Potential Werewolf

In a lovely ceremony last week, the president of Argentina, Christina Fernández de Kirchner, became the godmother of Yair Tawil (second from left). Contrary to some reports, this had nothing to do with him turning into a werewolf. Not directly, anyway….



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Congress: Please Don’t Ask Us to Declare War; We Might Say No

[King George III has, among other things,] kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures. He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power. —Declaration of Independence…


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The Guano Islands Act and So Forth

For Day 2 of my Volokh Conspiracy guest-bloggery, I wrote about the Guano Islands Act and some other old laws that are still on the books in various jurisdictions, often for no good reason. If you are still 1,100 words short of…


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Sasquatch Goes to Harvard

Well, it's disturbing enough that Harvard's law library actually houses a copy of this book (and that someone has it checked out when they should be studying), but now here it is on Joseph Story's lap. "Listen, I wrote Martin v. Hunter's…



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The Emergency Sasquatch Ordinance!

I am very happy to announce that my project of collecting odd laws, which I creatively referred to as "The Odd Law Project," has now become (or I guess is about to become) my first book: Obviously I changed the…


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Senate Votes to Limit the Filibuster

In a move that there is absolutely no chance they will ever regret making, Senate Democrats today managed to push through a rule change that now makes it impossible to filibuster cabinet and judicial nominations (except for seats on the…


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U.S. Pat. No. 35,600: The Plow Cannon

This might be where the term "Yankee ingenuity" came from, although if it was, somebody was being sarcastic: Two New Yorkers invented this and had it patented in 1862. At the time, the battles of First Bull Run and Shiloh…


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Women Can’t Vote in Sistersville

Actually, they can, but only because of the 19th Amendment, which was ratified in 1920. If it were up to the city charter, which was enacted 21 years before that and is still in effect, only men would be allowed…