Writing the Legal Record

Law Reporters in Nineteenth-Century Kentucky

Author: Kurt X. Metzmeier

Publisher: University Press of Kentucky

ISBN: 0813168619

Category: Law

Page: 226

View: 7581


Any student of American history knows of Washington, Jefferson, and the other statesmen who penned the documents that form the legal foundations of our nation, but many other great minds contributed to the development of the young republic's judicial system -- figures such as William Littell, Ben Monroe, and John J. Marshall. These men, some of Kentucky's earliest law reporters, are the forgotten trailblazers who helped establish the foundation of the state's court system. In Writing the Legal Record: Law Reporters in Nineteenth-Century Kentucky, Kurt X. Metzmeier provides portraits of the men whose important yet understudied contributions helped create a new common law inspired by English legal traditions but fully grounded in the decisions of American judges. He profiles individuals such as James Hughes, a Revolutionary War veteran who worked as a legislator to reform confusing property laws inherited from Virginia. Also featured is George M. Bibb, a prominent U.S. senator and the secretary of the treasury under President John Tyler. To shed light on the pioneering individuals responsible for collecting and publishing the early opinions of Kentucky's highest court, Metzmeier reviews nearly a century of debate over politics, institutional change, human rights, and war. Embodied in the stories of these early reporters are the rich history of the Commonwealth, the essence of its legal system, and the origins of a legal print culture in America.

Making Habeas Work

A Legal History

Author: Eric M. Freedman

Publisher: NYU Press

ISBN: 1479870978

Category: LAW

Page: 208

View: 2128


Eric M. Freedman "Making Habeas Work: A Legal History" explores habeas corpus, a judicial order that requires a person under arrest to be brought before an independent judge or into court. In his book, Freedman critically discusses habeas corpus as a common law writ, as a legal remedy and as an instrument of checks and balances.

Family, Law, and Inheritance in America

A Social and Legal History of Nineteenth-Century Kentucky

Author: Yvonne Pitts

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 1107245141

Category: History

Page: N.A

View: 6989


Yvonne Pitts explores inheritance practices by focusing on nineteenth-century testamentary capacity trials in Kentucky in which disinherited family members challenged relatives' wills. These disappointed heirs claimed that their departed relative lacked the capacity required to write a valid will. These inheritance disputes criss-crossed a variety of legal and cultural terrains, including ordinary people's understandings of what constituted insanity and justice, medical experts' attempts to infuse law with science, and the independence claims of women. Pitts uncovers the contradictions in the body of law that explicitly protected free will while simultaneously reinforcing the primacy of blood in mediating claims to inherited property. By anchoring the study in local communities and the texts of elite jurists, Pitts demonstrates that 'capacity' was a term laden with legal meaning and competing communal values about family, race relations and rationality. These concepts evolved as Kentucky transitioned from a conflicted border state with slaves to a developing free-labor, industrializing economy.