Friday, April 16, 2010

Should he be citing Dworkin, or Maxwell?

The following sentence is remarkable in Mississippi jurisprudence for at least two things:
We give to a statute (or any other rule of law, for that matter) that meaning which best fits its language, history and spirit recognizing the electromagnetic force of positive principles embedded in other rules. See Dworkin, Law's Empire 313-54 (1986).
First, it's a rare citation by the Court to anything by Ronald Dworkin; and second, it's the only decision to discover, not merely penumbras, but electromagnetic forces in our law. Indeed, that's only the first use of the expression in that opinion.

The case is Warren County v. Culkin, 497 So. 2d 433 (Miss. 1986); I daresay that connoisseurs of that era's caselaw will be able to guess which justice wrote those words for the Court. There are other citations to Dworkin's work in our caselaw, but all by the same justice.


  1. I guessed right.

  2. Sui generis, truly.

    I think NMC may have an unfair advantage, if he plays the guessing game.

  3. As that particular justice would have said, "Suffice it to say," I didn't have to guess, I just knew.