The Geography of Justice Wormholes: Dilemmas from Property and Criminal Law

56 Pages Posted: 2 Aug 2007 Last revised: 31 Mar 2008

Hari M. Osofsky

Penn State Law (University Park)


This Article provides a law and geography analysis of the ways in which our legal structures constrain the possibilities for justice for categories of people. It explores "wormholes" in the U.S. legal system that transport people pursuing claims under multiple theories of law into another timespace in which basic protections are absent. In particular, the Article compares the barriers faced by post-9-11 "enemy combatants" and the indigenous peoples who were this country's original inhabitants. Through an analysis of two representative case examples - José Padilla's enemy combatant designation and the taking of Mary and Carrie Dann's land - the Article considers: (1) the way in which place, space, and time structure procedural and substantive injustice; (2) how different conceptions of United States spaces impact the possibilities for remapping these wormholes; and (3) the implications of this analysis for limiting and preventing wormholes.

Keywords: enemy combatant, Padilla, Dann, indigenous peoples, civil rights, human rights, war on terror, justice, geography, interdisciplinary

Suggested Citation

Osofsky, Hari M., The Geography of Justice Wormholes: Dilemmas from Property and Criminal Law. Villanova Law Review, Vol. 53, 2008. Available at SSRN:

Hari M. Osofsky (Contact Author)

Penn State Law (University Park) ( email )

Lewis Katz Building
University Park, PA 16802
United States

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