How the Supreme Court Lost its Reason

5 Pages Posted: 18 Jun 2020

See all articles by Linda Ross Meyer

Linda Ross Meyer

Quinnipiac University School of Law

Date Written: May 24, 2020


This is a short essay on the U.S. Supreme Court's opinion in Kahler v. Kansas, in which the Court held that the right/wrong M'Naghten test of insanity is insufficiently fundamental to be required by Due Process. I argue that the holding is, in part, the symptom of a deep and pernicious positivism and moral cynicism that is itself a kind of "not knowing" of the difference between right and wrong.

Keywords: M'Naghten, insanity, positivism, moral skepticism, supreme court, criminal law, due process

JEL Classification: K10

Suggested Citation

Meyer, Linda R., How the Supreme Court Lost its Reason (May 24, 2020). Available at SSRN: or

Linda R. Meyer (Contact Author)

Quinnipiac University School of Law ( email )

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Hamden, CT 06518
United States
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