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Critiquing Critical Legal Theory and Legal Education
submitted to Washington Post, AJPS Supreme Court Review, Legal Education, Legal Theory, IFLR (2011)
  • James T Struck

Critical Legal Theory arose in the US and is described as "The law exists to support the interests of the party or class that forms it and is merely a collection of beliefs and prejudices that legitimize the injustices of society" from Legal Information Institute accessed 7/17/2011. Critical Legal Theory simplifies law too much. Law actually tries to protect property, ideas, persons, things, other characteristics and does other things as well. Critical Legal Theory can explain some persecution of persons; in an effort not to protect the interests of a party or class, a party or class is persecuted or prosecuted.

Lawmakers, judges, lawyers sometimes derive money from revenues, taxes, income sometimes associated with harmful issues like taxes on harmful things and money associated with deaths, so the legal system is not trying to legitimize injustice. Laws are always formed associated with revenue from taxes on issues like income, water, alcohol, tobacco, weapons, sales, corporations, etc., so the laws are not supporting the interests of a party or class but rather have a relationship with revenues and taxes from many places including taxation of good, helpful, harmful issues and income. Because the lawmakers are taxed, their interest alone is not being protected, their class is not being protected. U.S. First Amendment concepts allow discussion of lawmakers receiving revenue from many sources including taxation of helpful and harmful things; lawmaking is more than party or class protection.

Law school graduates attend somewhere between 240-600 hours of classes, while prisoners in prison libraries or persons in libraries sometimes learn the law better. This concern is that lawyers, judges, and legal scholars should have more respect for the liberties and rights of those who appear before them as lawyers knowledge of law is not tremendously different in some cases than non-lawyer knowledge of laws.

Laws do not protect lawyers or one class, but apply to lawyers and those classes and parties as well. Critical legal theory could have the sad effect of making people persecute, prosecute classes, parties, wealth as a way to respond to Critical Legal Theories' claim that a party is being supported. Guardianship for example takes away rights and resources of persons with disabilities in some states, and Critical Legal Theory would support those actions possibly as a way to not support the interests of a class. Law actually protects persons, ideas, property, and has other functions in some locales not party interests, so the person with a disability or difference has rights or should have rights no matter what party or class is in power.

Aside from FDR and potentially anyone else, persons with disability are not in power, but the Americans With Disabilities Act and UN Convention on Persons with Disability protect the interests of persons with disability. Persons with disabilities' interest are not being protected in laws like some guardianship law that take away persons with disabilities rights. Critical Legal Theory is problematic and too simplistic, and Legal Education may be overvalued. Three years of training should not give rise to complete control over persons.

Critical Legal Theory may be one cause of some prosecution of persons in the United States and elswhere.In an effort not to protect a class or party, people who committed no great injustice are prosecuted. An "Astronomy Party" could be established focusing on travelling to other astronomical worlds, but the party would still be bound by old legal concepts and laws not just travel to the edges of the Universe. A "Leave Me Alone" party could want to focus on Justice Brandeis or some anarchists' concern with being left alone, but the parties' laws would not reflect that parties' interests alone. The "Baby in the White House Party" could want a first baby to be born in the White House in 130 years, but it would approve laws other than that interest. A "Restoring Party" would want people to be restored under guardianships or with convictions to voting rights, but the party would approve and pass hundreds of unrelated measures, laws. A "Congressional Earth" Party might actually vote for laws in the interest of a president, so that Congress alone was not blamed. The days when the Whigs, Know Nothings, Libertarians, Greens, Republicans, Democrats, Socialists, Anarchists, Communists are all the parties the US has had show that more diverse interests have been represented in our laws.

Publication Date
Summer 2011
Citation Information
James T Struck. "Critiquing Critical Legal Theory and Legal Education" submitted to Washington Post, AJPS Supreme Court Review, Legal Education, Legal Theory, IFLR (2011)
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