Thinking About Law and Creativity: On the 100 Most Creative Moments in American Law

98 Pages Posted: 16 May 2008 Last revised: 3 Jun 2008

Date Written: May 2008


In most cultural contexts creativity is viewed as an unalloyed virtue. Law is different: given the inherently conservative and slow-moving pace of legal evolution, innovation in the law is viewed by many observers as problematic. Yet American revolutionaries, constitutionalists, legislators, chief executives, judges, administrators, scholars and activists have creatively changed the law for over two centuries in mostly positive ways with some admittedly questionable innovations. This article makes a bold new proposal designed to energize and clarify our synoptic thinking about the nature of legal creativity.

Starting with the opinions of numerous eminent legal historians on the most creative moments in Anglo-American law, we will explore the meaning of creative moments in law, and advance to analytically compare legal creativity with other kinds of creativity (corporate, artistic, military and rhetorical). Then we will heuristically entertain a ranking of the top hundred moments in American law and a justification for the ranking.

Keywords: law and creativity, American legal development, legal history

Suggested Citation

Blomquist, Robert F., Thinking About Law and Creativity: On the 100 Most Creative Moments in American Law (May 2008). Valparaiso University Legal Studies Research Paper No. 08-04. Available at SSRN: or

Robert F. Blomquist (Contact Author)

Valparaiso University Law School ( email )

656 S. Greenwich St.
Valparaiso, IN 46383-6493
United States
219-465-7857 (Phone)
219-465-7872 (Fax)

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