Symposium Panels available to view online

The law school has graciously posted YouTube videos of last month's symposium, available to view below if you have a spare hour or two or four.

Keynote speech by Professor Richard Epstein


Generalist Panel with Professors Scott Soames, Lawrence Solan, and Peter Tiersma and moderated by NYU's own Professor Burt Neuborne.


Administrative Law Panel with Professor Samuel Estreicher proclaiming "Why Chevron Doesn't Matter" with a discussion between Professors Hanah Volokh and Glen Staszewski moderated by Professor Roderick Hills.

Plain Mean in Context: Can law survive its own language? Panelists


The Journal will be hosting a symposium all day next Friday, February 18th, at NYU Law about the role of plain meaning in legal interpretation. A number of distinguished scholars will be in attendance to share their views on one of our three panels.

Our introductory panel will feature a discussion among Professors Scott Soames, Lawrence Solan, and Peter Tiersma and be moderated by NYU's own Professor Burt Neuborne.

Professor Samuel Estreicher will introduce our panel on administrative law with a presentation, "Why Chevron Doesn't Matter," with a discussion between Professors Hanah Volokh and Glen Staszewski moderated by Professor Roderick Hills.

The symposium will also address the role of plain meaning in intellectual property. We will feature a panel discussion among Mr. Stephan Kinsella, Professor Barton Beebe and Professor Kristen Osenga, moderated by Professor Amy Adler.

A keynote address will also be provided by the Journal's advisor, Professor Richard Epstein, entitled "Plain Meaning Mostly, Right Mostly: A Modest Theory of Interpretivism." His address will discuss the attitudes toward interpretation that should be taken with constitutional, statutory and contractual materials and argue that the underlying linguistic problems should drive the analysis, and that efforts to tailor rules of interpretation to institutional settings may be useful dramatic flourishes, but in the end only detract for understanding how and why language works.

It should be an exciting event for anyone interested in legal philosophy. 7.0 CLE credits are available to attorneys who attend the entire event. Registration is available here.

Save the Date: Plain Meaning in Context

This blog, and the Journal, has been all quiet since exams appeared on our radar in December, but it is a new year and we hope to have the Law and Liberty Community up and running soon.

In the meantime, the Journal will be hosting a symposium, Plain Meaning in Context: Can Law Survive its Own Language?, on February 18, 2011, here at the NYU Law School. From our information sheet:
  1. Generalist Panel
    In our introductory panel, discussion will be focused on the broad question: when does plain meaning break down as a concept? Most lawyers and judges agree that the plain meaning of a text can do most, if not all of the interpretive work most of the time. Thus, another question is: why does plain meaning work most of the time? Finally, panelists will be encouraged to provide suggestions for how legal practice can be improved to avoid these interpretive dilemmas.
  2. Administrative Law Panel
    In the administrative law context, much work is done resolving ambiguity in statutory authorization for agency action. This panel will be addressing the question: does the Chevron line of cases provide meaningful vindication of Congressional intent / does a Chevron-like solution make any sense in determining the plain meaning of an authorizing statute? More broadly, this panel will address the institutional question of whether courts are uniquely-positioned semantic detectives, or whether they are on an equal footing with other possible actors.
  3. Intellectual Property Law Panel
    One of the areas where context for meaning seriously matters is in intellectual property. The precise meaning of a symbol has huge implications for interpreting patent scope, for deciding when to enforce trademarks, and in determining whether or not something is “fair use” for copyright purposes, in the art context and elsewhere. This panel will focus on areas in IP where determining the plain meaning of a symbol is difficult, with suggestions for how to improve and clarify existing law, and thoughts on which institutional actors are best suited to make interpretive determinations.
We'll be posting more information, including our participants in the surprisingly few weeks remaining until the event.