Chasing a Paper Topic: Deconstruction and Confrontation

A few half-baked thoughts on this lit theory paper I need to start writing:

1.  Deconstruction and law.  I took to deconstruction like a fish in water when I first encountered it in 2004; my only real regret from all that is that I didn’t stick with it through law school.  (But then, law school is an intentionally traumatic indoctrination in standard legal analysis and reasoning.)

2.  Several commentators I’ve been reading recently have argued that deconstruction in law and law-and-literature is played out.  A few (like Jack M. Balkin, here) point toward Critical Legal Studies as one possible culprit for deconstructing only those opinions and positions they didn’t like.  I’m curious whether deconstruction has fizzled out entirely in law and if so, if this is the reason.  Because if it is the reason, it seems remediable.

3.  In law school, I wrote a (clunky and best forgotten) paper on the postponed-but-inevitable collision between Crawford v. Washington, with its renewed emphasis on the Sixth Amendment Confrontation right, and Maryland v. Craig, which sought to protect child abuse victims from the trauma of being in the same room with their alleged abusers by allowing closed-circuit testimony.  The heart of the problem is that Crawford may require child abuse victims to testify in the same space as their alleged abusers, even if (perhaps especially because) it prevents them from testifying accurately, coherently, or at all.  (Here is a note on the subject from Laurie E. Martin.)

4.  I’d like to see if deconstructing the texts of Crawford and Maryland v. Craig sheds any light on how to better balance the competing interests of confronting defendants with the witnesses against them and protecting abused kids from further trauma.  My inner cynic says that if there was a way out of this, we’d have seen it by now; after all, both Ms. Martin and I wrote our pieces on the subject in 2006, and attorneys have been filing SCOTUS petitions on the subject for at least that long.  (Rich Friedman discusses one such attempt here; the Court denied cert in that case in early 2007.)  But my inner cynic is used only to conventional legal analysis, not to literary methods as applied to legal texts.

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About Dani Alexis

Dani Alexis is the Legal Coordinator at Autonomous Press as well as a freelance writer. When she's not working, she coaches winterguard and waits on the whims of two spoiled cats. Check out her most recent work by subscribing to her Patreon: http://www.patreon.com/noncompliantspace.
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One Response to Chasing a Paper Topic: Deconstruction and Confrontation

  1. Mervin says:

    At this time it appears like Movable Type is the best blogging platform available right now.

    (from what I’ve read) Is that what you are using on your blog?

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