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Regarding the Strength of the Corpus Evidence (and Noting Issues that the Evidence Doesn’t Resolve)

Posted by on July 13, 2021

Introductory note: In advance of the colloquium on corpus linguistics and the Second  Amendment, all the participants submitted drafts of their blog posts, which were in turn distributed to the other participants. Those drafts raised a host of interesting issues—too many to be adequately addressed in the time allotted for the colloquium. I therefore prepared […]

Corpus Linguistics, Public Meaning, and the Second Amendment

Posted by on July 12, 2021

Conservative jurists claim to focus on the text and nothing but the text as they seek to discover the original public meaning of the Second Amendment. But it’s not clear that the amendment ever had a single shared meaning, or if it did, whether that meaning is recoverable. That’s true of any text, not just […]

Heller Survives the Corpus

Posted by on July 9, 2021

District of Columbia v. Heller, meet legal corpus linguistics. Opponents of the decision are excited to have a new lever that might dislodge it. Proponents of the methodology are excited to have a great victory to prove their methodology’s worth. But in my view most of this excitement is premature. Falsifying judicial decisions Legal corpus […]

Corpora and Historical Texts

Posted by on July 8, 2021

Corpus linguistics has always been concerned with studying language by gathering evidence of language use. Historical corpus linguistics concerns itself with studying the language of some speech community at a specific point in the past (sometimes called synchronic analysis) or studying language change through time (sometimes called diachronic analysis). One reason to gather evidence of […]

More than Words

Posted by on July 7, 2021

Functional linguistics, including corpus linguistic methods, has a lot to offer the study of legal meanings. (For those new to corpus linguistics, I provide a quick introduction, with a few key examples of some really cool findings, in Part I of this paper.) In this post I’ll outline a couple of key insights legal thinkers […]

Dueling Dictionaries and Clashing Corpora

Posted by on July 6, 2021

Textualism is more popular than ever. Not “popular” in the sense of being liked or approved; modern commentators lambast textualism as flawed and even “bogus.” Textualism is “popular” in the sense of focusing on the public. Judges increasingly commit to interpret statutory and constitutional language empirically, in line with its “ordinary” and “public” meaning. To […]

A Guest Blog Series from the Center’s Recent Colloquium on Corpus Linguistics and the Second Amendment

Posted by on July 5, 2021

A few weeks ago, the Center hosted a virtual colloquium on Corpus Linguistics and the Second Amendment with experts who are at the forefront of the study of corpus linguistics and its application to a variety of legal questions. Approaching the issue from a broad range of interests, expertise, and backgrounds, these experts raised a […]

Scholarship Highlight: Recent Articles on Gun Violence Prevention

Posted by on July 2, 2021

A few new articles on firearms law have recently been published. Check them out below. Nancy Dodson, To End Gun Violence Against Children, the Firearms Industry Must Be Held Accountable, Hum. Rts., 2021 From the Introduction: The United States is the only developed country where children are routinely killed by a gun. They have been […]

New Collection of Second Amendment Essays

Posted by on June 30, 2021

Earlier this week, the Brennan Center for Justice published more than a dozen essays exploring issues related to Protests, Insurrection, and the Second Amendment. Our own Joseph Blocher and Darrell Miller are contributors. Check it out: https://www.brennancenter.org/our-work/protests-insurrection-and-second-amendment

SCOTUS Gun Watch – Week of 6/28/21

Posted by on June 28, 2021

No new cert petitions added to the tracker this week. The extension request in Corlett was granted, so the opening briefs in that case will not arrive now for about another two weeks. In the meantime, lower courts continue to confront Second Amendment questions while they wait for further Supreme Court guidance, as I wrote […]