Justice in Robes
Academic defenders of legal positivism, like Coleman and Raz, remain. But their rguments, as i have tried to show, have the artificiality and strain of theories that defenders of a sacred faith construct in the face of embarrassing evidence. What is that sacred faith? The remaining positivists are not political conservatives who hope to resist the spread of individual and minority righs by insisting on a majoritarian conception of law. On the contrary, they argue that legal positivism imposes no constraints on what judges and legal officials actually do; they have traveled far from Bentham and from Erie. They celebrate positivism as an accurate description of the very concept of law or as the most illuminating theoretical description of legal phenomena over time. Sometimes they treat these as pretty much the same thing. But they offer no serious explanation of the kind of conceptual analysis they have in mind and no empirical evidence that might support large generallizations about the forms and histories of legal institutions. They make little attempt to connect their philosophy of law either to political philosophy gegenrally or to substantive legal practice, scholarship, or theory. They teach courses limited to "legal philosophy" or analytic jurisprudence in which they distinguish and compare different contemporary versions of positivism, they attend conferences dedicated to those subjects, and they comment on each other's orthodoxies and heresies in the most minute detail in their own dedicated journal.
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