Benjamin Johnson, Politics

Like Cases

Wed, 04/27/2016
450 Robertson Hall
Event Category: 
Graduate Students

*Please Note Location - 450 Robertson Hall*

LEGS, or "Law-Engaged Graduate Students," meets during the academic year to discuss a work in progress by one of our Graduate Associates. Academic papers, dissertation proposals, and dissertation chapters have been presented at these meetings, to an audience of fellow graduate students.

Abstract: "This article is an attempt to bring greater precision to political and legal theory. We focus on the maxim: ``Like cases should be decided alike,'' because it bridges concerns about equal treatment in theories of justice with a symmetric concern in legal theory. This maxim is commonly deployed in this phrasing, but variations are legion. But as the great philosopher Inigo Montoya once suggested, we do not think this means what they think it means. We consider five possible definitions of this maxim, formalize them, and consider their implications to any theory of law or justice.  We also examine how the definition is represented and dealt with in legal practice. They payoff from the formalism is a toolkit that allows theory to check its internal consistency and a better understanding of how legal practice reflects core theoretical concerns."

Ben Johnson is a PhD student in politics at Princeton University. His research focuses on how courts operationalize the law and how people interact with and respond to the courts. Ben earned his JD from Yale University, his MA in economics from Boston University, and his BA in economics, history, and English from Baylor University. 


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