Through a Glass, Darkly: Reading Justinian through his Supreme Court Citations

8 Elon L. Rev. 479 (2016)

24 Pages Posted: 25 Mar 2019

Date Written: 2016

Abstract

This article applies the analytical paradigm of classical reception theory, widely used within Humanities disciplines but relatively uncommon in the legal academy, to an old problem of legal history. Has Roman law, especially as exemplified by Justinian’s Corpus Juris Civilis, had a direct substantive impact on American jurisprudence? This Article arrives at an affirmative answer by applying classical reception study to an original body of data culled from over two centuries of published U.S. Supreme Court decisions. After briefly discussing the history and contents of the Corpus, this Article explores the direct influence of a particular point of Justinian law on American jurisprudence -- the law of alluvium -- to prove how Roman law has substantively impacted our law.

Keywords: Justinian, Civil Law, Roman Law, Reception Studies, Alluvium

Suggested Citation

Wiley, Neal, Through a Glass, Darkly: Reading Justinian through his Supreme Court Citations (2016). 8 Elon L. Rev. 479 (2016), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3335209

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