the Zealous

14 Aug 22

An exposition on the use and abuse of dictionaries in recent US Supreme Court jurisprudence, by Mark A. Lemley, Chief Justice Webster, 106 Iowa L. Rev. 299 (2020):

The Supreme Court has a love affair with the dictionary. Half of its decisions in the 2018 Term cited a dictionary, often as the primary or exclusive means of defining a statutory term. The Court regularly upends decades of precedent and ignores congressional intent (and sometimes common sense) in favor of a chosen dictionary definition. The Solicitor General may long have been the “tenth Justice,” but in the twenty-first century the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court may as well be, not John Roberts, but Noah Webster.

30 Jul 22

Justice in the dark web is explained in this piece from Analyst1, Dark Web - Justice League (2021):

When it comes to the rule of law, access to justice for all and a fair trial are both fundamental in any democratic society. But what if the Dark Web community has its own justice system that believes in the same values?

Every day there are dozens of cases all over the Dark Web that escalate to this underground justice system and patiently wait for the high-ranking authorized cybercriminals (usually members of a forum administration) to solve the dispute and assign a winner and loser.

14 Jul 22

A cogent summary of the Veil of Ignorance, first articulated by John Rawls in A Theory of Justice (1971).

The Veil of Ignorance is a way of working out the basic institutions and structures of a just society. According to Rawls, working out what justice requires demands that we think as if we are building society from the ground up, in a way that everyone who is reasonable can accept. We therefore need to imagine ourselves in a situation before any particular society exists; Rawls calls this situation the Original Position. To be clear, Rawls does not think we can actually return to this original position, or even that it ever existed. It is a purely hypothetical idea: our job in thinking about justice is to imagine that we are designing a society from scratch. …

Of course, if we were designing a society in the Original Position, people might try to ensure that it works in their favour. The process is thus vulnerable to biases, disagreements, and the potential for majority groups ganging up on minority groups. Rawls’s solution to this problem comes in two parts. Firstly, he makes some assumptions about the people designing their own society. People in the Original Position are assumed to be free and equal, and to have certain motivations: they want to do well for themselves, but they are prepared to adhere to reasonable terms of cooperation, so long as others do too. …