I’ll be a panelist on the “Intellectual Property Law and Policy” panel of Symposium: “Plain Meaning in Context: Can Law Survive its Own Language?”, being put on by New York University School of Law/Journal of Law and Liberty (February 18, 2011). Details below:
The Journal of Law and Liberty is excited to announce our Spring 2011 Symposium entitled “Plain Meaning in Context: Can Law Survive Its Own Language?” will take place on February 18, 2011 in Vanderbilt Hall, 40 Washington Square South.
Please register here. 7.0 CLE credits will be available to those that attend the full symposium. This program is appropriate for newly admitted attorneys.
Keynote address by Professor Richard Epstein
“Plain Meaning Mostly, Right Mostly: A Modest Theory of Interpretivism”
This talk will address the attitudes toward interpretation that should be taken with constitutional, statutory and contractual materials and argue that the underlying linguistic problems should drive the analysis, and that efforts to tailor rules of interpretation to institutional settings may be useful dramatic flourishes, but in the end only detract for understanding how and why language works.
Panel 1: Generalist Panel
In our introductory panel, discussion will be focused on the broad question: when does plain meaning break down as a concept? Most lawyers and judges agree that the plain meaning of a text can do most, if not all of the interpretive work most of the time. Thus, another question is: why does plain meaning work most of the time? Finally, panelists will be encouraged to provide suggestions for how legal practice can be improved to avoid these interpretive dilemmas.
Professor Burt Neuborne
New York University Inez Milholland Professor of Civil Liberties & Legal Director, Brennan Center for Justice
Professor Scott Soames
University of Southern California Distinguished Professor of Philosophy
Professor Lawrence Solan
Brooklyn Law School Don Forchelli Professor of Law
Professor Peter Tiersma
Loyola Law School, Los Angeles Professor of Law & Hon. William Matthew Byrne, Jr. Chair
Panel 2: Administrative Law Panel
In the administrative law context, much work is done resolving ambiguity in statutory authorization for agency action. This panel will be addressing the question: does the Chevron line of cases provide meaningful vindication of Congressional intent. Furthermore, does a Chevron-like solution make any sense in determining the plain meaning of an authorizing statute? More broadly, this panel will address the institutional question of whether courts are uniquely-positioned semantic detectives, or whether they are on an equal footing with other possible actors.
Introduction: “Why Chevron Doesn’t Matter”
Professor Samuel Estreicher
New York University Dwight D. Opperman Professor of Law
Director, Center for Labor and Employment Law
Co-Director, Dwight D. Opperman Institute for Judicial Administration
Professor Roderick Hills
New York University William T. Comfort, III Professor of Law
Professor Hanah Volokh
Emory University School of Law Visiting Assistant Professor
Professor Glen Staszweski
Michigan State University College of Law A.J. Thomas Faculty Scholar, Associate Dean for Research, and Associate Professor of Law
Panel 3: Intellectual Property Law Panel
One of the areas where context for meaning seriously matters is in intellectual property. The precise meaning of a symbol has huge implications for interpreting patent scope, for deciding when to enforce trademarks, and in determining whether or not something is “fair use” for copyright purposes, in the art context and elsewhere. This panel will focus on areas in IP where determining the plain meaning of a symbol is difficult, with suggestions for how to improve and clarify existing law, and thoughts on which institutional actors are best suited to make interpretive determinations.
Professor Amy Adler
New York University Emily Kempin Professor of Law
Professor Barton Beebe
New York University Professor of Law
Mr. Stephan Kinsella
Ludwig von Mises Institute Senior Fellow, Libertarian Papers Founder & Editor, Center for the Study of Innovative Freedom Founder & Director and Applied Optoelectronics, Inc. General Counsel
Professor Kristen Osenga
University of Richmond Associate Professor of Law
Schedule of Events:
8:30 – 9:00 Registration and Breakfast
9:00 – 9:15 Opening Remarks
9:15 – 11:00 Panel 1: Generalist Panel
11:00 – 12:30 Panel 2: Administrative Law Panel
12:30 – 1:15 Lunch
1:15 – 2:00 Keynote Address by Professor Richard Epstein
2:00 – 3:30 Panel 3: Intellectual Property Law Panel
3:30 – 4:00 Closing Remarks