The Board of Editors is pleased to present Issue 2 of the 2012 Volume.
First, Professor Katharine K. Baker explores the ironies involved in the contemporary enforcement of family obligations. As forms of intimate partnership and parenthood become ever more varied, the law of family obligation—child support, property division, and alimony—has become increasingly routine and formulaic. She explains how the law’s rejection of context is an understandable reaction to the growing diversity of family forms.
Next, Professor Robert C. Ellickson challenges the conventional wisdom that cultural differences are the primary reasons why a resident of the United States is twice as likely to move to a different home than a resident of France (or of western Europe as a whole). The Article also offers a normative framework for analyzing the desirability of household relocations. Legal policies that foster residential moves can enable individuals to better match themselves with a job, a dwelling, a set of housemates, a tenure arrangement, a neighborhood, and a municipality (à la Tiebout).
Following, Professor James Grimmelmann tells the story of Sealand and HavenCo. Where others have seen HavenCo’s failure as the triumph of traditional regulatory authorities over HavenCo, this Article argues that in a very real sense, HavenCo failed not from too much law but from too little. The “law” that was supposed to keep HavenCo safe was law only in a thin, formalistic sense, disconnected from the human institutions that make and enforce law. But without those institutions, law does not work, as HavenCo discovered.
The issue continues with the David C. Baum Lecture by Professor Geoffrey Stone, who analyzes the recent trend of conservative judicial activism in the Supreme Court and searches for a principled reason to explain it. The conservative majority has struck down several laws in recent years, culminating in its invalidation of an important provision of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. While judicial restraint and originalism are currently seen as conservative principles, neither principle explains these decisions.