Questions tagged [legal-history]

For questions related to how and why law has evolved over time.

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2answers
72 views

What is the origin of trials by jury?

What is the origin of trials by jury? Were juries used in Old Testament, Greek, Roman, or Inquisition trials?
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40 views

What are some examples of important/influential Amicus briefs?

I've been digging through Supreme court documents and it got me wondering - does anybody know any specific examples of Amicus briefs that may have changed the outcome of an important case? I couldn't ...
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1answer
494 views

Was cannabis legal in the U.S. in 1969-1970?

In 1969, Timothy Leary challenged the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 in Leary v. The United States. Leary claimed that the requirement to have a tax stamp to possess cannabis, while also requiring ...
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102 views

At what point could courts in England no longer legally create new Common Law offenses?

Common Law offenses, of course, were crimes created solely through case law rather than statute. At what point was the legal authority of courts in England to create new Common Law offenses abolished?...
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4k views

Are there any jurisdictions in the world where dueling is still legal?

Is there any place in the world where it is still legally possible to kill someone in a duel and not be charged? If not, when and where was the last place to outlaw the practice?
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28 views

Meaning of numbers in UK Parliament Sessional Papers

I have a (scan of) an 1858 volume of papers drawn from Sessional Papers of the British Parliament. These appear to be Command Papers, which, according to various sources, were numbered [1] to [4222] ...
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42 views

What does “dormant” mean in the Dormant Commerce Clause?

I think I understand the clause itself, but I'd like to develop some intuitive understanding of why Marshall used the word "dormant." I read the quotes of his decisions where he introduced the word, ...
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1answer
62 views

Historical examples of retrial for longer prison sentences? [closed]

I've asked this question on the History SE, which resulted in some members commenting it might be better suited on the Law SE. Today I've read in 'Journey into the Whirlwind' by Eugenia Ginzburg, ...
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603 views

Were Nazi atrocities legal according the German law of the time?

I have recently had a discussion with a German who claims that Nuremberg trials were entirely based on ex-post-facto laws, and all the atrocities Nazis did were legal according Germany's and ...
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1answer
38 views

FCC: 1975 Rules Relating to Multiple Ownership ( 47 C.F.R. § 73.34, 73.240 and 73.636 ) source? does it exist?

Where can I find the original/historical 47 C.F.R. § 73.34, 73.240 and 73.636? To clarify, I'm looking at wikipedia: Cross ownership rules of 1975, but cannot find the primary source: Amendment of §§...
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179 views

Law in History: Weapon Law in New York in the 1960s: Long Blades

While researching for a novel, I stumbled about an interesting legal point I can't answer on my own because I neither am a lawyer nor am in the US: Between 1945 and 1951 quite some Katana were ...
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1answer
11k views

Why do legal documents often have a place next to the date?

I am talking about Switzerland. So why is there often a line for the place next to the date? Is it for some historic reason, to be easier to archive or is it to prevent fraud? Does anybody know more ...
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67 views

Why is an attempted violent crime judged less harshly than a successful one?

There exist crimes that bring great damage to the victim, such as murder, rape, aggravated assault, theft, etc. If anything had escaped that list, I'm sure it's intuitive what that would be. In most ...
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36 views

On Irish marriage property and divorce law circa 1939

My questions arise from a scenario in Finnegans Wake by James Joyce, published in 1939, and hence pertain to Irish law around or before 1939. As a young Dublin girl, Anna inherits property from her ...
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74 views

What is Legal Theory? I am asking for its concept, its definition by some Oxbridge or Ivy League Legal Dictionary

People talk about Legal Theory and I do not understand what it is. The Theory Part. In Physics, Chemisty, Geology, Economy, Sociology... Theory is an explanation of a phenomenon( why it occurs and ...
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39 views

When was homosexuality as the reason for institutionalization outlawed in the US?

In the United States, I'm guessing that one can no longer commit a person to a mental hospital (AKA insane asylum) with the only reason for commitment being: "said person is gay". Homosexuality is no ...
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2k views

Were the US Articles of Confederation formally repealed?

The Constitutional Convention was originally intended to revise the Articles of Confederation. At some point, the framers decided to start from scratch instead, and produced the Constitution, which ...
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1answer
119 views

Does the iconic WWII-end “Kiss” photo depict sexual assault?

One of the most famous images from the end of World War II was of a sailor kissing someone who looked like a nurse in Times Square, celebrating the victory. As described in a featured article in ...
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15 views

What happens if I don’t not receive a copy of my auto loan documents? Is that a violation of TILA? Do I have grounds for a lawsuit?

I recently purchased a vehicle and after signing all of the paperwork, the finance manager said that I would receive all of my loan documents in the mail the following month. Almost two months have ...
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1answer
55 views

Does annexation of state apply to territories under dispute e.g. Kashmir?

I am not clear on the legal definition of annexation. Can we say India is annexing Kashmir, or Jammu and Kashmir? Or does the word strictly apply to two nation-states only? Many definitions are ...
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2answers
3k views

Jurisdiction of Texas Rangers in Louisiana?

I understand that Texas Rangers are responsible for killing Bonnie& Clyde in North Louisiana. Is it lawful for a Texas Police Agent to engage a citizen in New York City?
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3k views

Why 12 Jurors, why not 11, 10, 9, 1?

The question might seem basic, but why do juries in the United States consist of 12 members? Was there an experimental determination of this number? Would the addition or removal of a juror ...
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1answer
378 views

What is (or was) the difference between Louisiana's Civil Code and Revised Statutes?

As an example, Title V, Chapter 1 of the 1869 Civil Code was about the grounds for divorce. (This Chapter appears to be exactly the same in the 1882 Civil Code.) Section 1190 of the 1870 Revised ...
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51 views

How was entrance to the bar monitored in the 19th Century?

I am seeking historical information on the process as to how individuals such as my grandfather Judge Lewis (H.) Blackledge were admitted to the bar. He graduated in Jun 1888 from high school at ...
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316 views

Why US apostille is not valid for use in US?

I've got an apostille and bottom line says: "...this apostille is not valid for use anywhere within the United States of America..." What was the reason for this? Is it applicable for all countries ...
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166 views

Could an American slave own intellectual property over things they created?

Say that an individual were a slave in the United States before the passage of the 13th Amendment to the US Constitution, abolishing slavery. Could such a slave own intellectual property over things ...
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1answer
62 views

Are State-Authorized Century Farm Programs Titles of Nobility?

Both the Federal and State governments are prohibited from granting "titles of nobility" under the US Constitution (Art. 1, Sec. 9 & 10). My understanding is that "titles of nobility" are ...
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862 views

Has the Alien Property Custodian Office been abolished?

I'm doing research into Japanese internment, and I was reading about executive order 9095. This order created the Office of Alien Property Custodian (APC) as authorized by the Trading with the Enemy ...
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53 views

Are there books or sources on how laws are evolving in a way that current laws have little to do with original purposes?

I am seeing pattern where laws that used to serve some purposes is now serving very different purposes. I wonder if there is a name for these patterns. According to Why are there distinct burdens of ...
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8k views

What exactly is a “title of nobility” under the US Constitution?

Article 1, sections 9 & 10 of the US constitution prohibit granting titles of nobility by the federal government or the states. What exactly is a title of nobility for these purposes? Why is (say) ...
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173 views

Why does the US patent law have a section about inventions in outer space?

I came upon a curiously exorbitant statute, Inventions in outer space (35 USC 105). To summarize my question, what was the story and the rationale behind this law? The section reads, in part: Any ...
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1answer
121 views

Congressional History and Legislative Intent of Statute 18 U.S.C.1832

To start off, I am only a high school student helping a friend of mine with a little predicament. She has asked me to research about the Congressional history and the legislative intent of a statute: ...
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187 views

Are there any contemporary examples of jurists “riding circuit?”

Historically, in Great Britain and the United States, some judges would "ride circuit," traveling around a region holding court on some schedule rather than asking plaintiffs to travel to a fixed ...
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50 views

Earliest effective American Law

What is the earliest American federal law that could technically be used to prosecute someone today, that has not been overridden by another law? For the purposes of this question, we are talking ...
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117 views

Has “deceiving a machine” been prosecuted/defined in practice?

Alaska Statutes - Section 11.46.985 ("Deceiving a machine") states: In a prosecution under this chapter for an offense that requires "deception" as an element, it is not a defense that the ...
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1answer
134 views

Was defamation legal in Russian empire in the 19th century?

In Dostoevsky's Idiot, it seemed that it was perfectly legal to publish articles of slanderous nature. Was there any legal protection of a Russian's rights in publicity in the 1800's?
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1answer
212 views

Using hash functions to bypass Cold War-era crypto export restrictions

During the Cold War and up until late 1992, export restrictions prevented the distribution of strong cryptographically secure ciphers. These export restrictions required that all symmetric ciphers be ...
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1answer
114 views

What is the history of rules requiring prosecutors to disclose evidence?

I was surprised to discover that Brady v. Maryland was decided as recently as 1963. Not knowing enough about the context in which it was decided, I am having trouble understanding exactly what ...
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17k views

Why do judges use a hammer in court?

In many movies featuring a court scene, the judge is seen pounding a wood hammer on the desk to either silence the court room, or to announce a decision. Why do judges use a hammer? Is it only a ...
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1answer
49 views

Searching for the term for an anecdotal “simple person”

Maria Theresa and the Law Many years ago, I was attending a university course about legal aspects for computer scientists. It was a very basic course and in order to make the topic digestible more ...
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1answer
84 views

What semantic notions underlie '(equitable) tolling' and the lay meanings of 'toll'?

I quoted this lawyer as seeing use of 'toll' as a noun and verb, educates more than seeing its use as a noun. What connects the lay meanings of 'toll' to the legal definition? What explains this ...
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0answers
46 views

California non-compete laws: where do they come from?

I once read that California non-compete laws come from the gold rush era, and yet I was not able to find any more information about the subject. It would be interesting to understand what ...
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1answer
207 views

Exclusive sport fishing easement/profit with no dominant land: nature, alienation, apportionement, term and jurisdiction specifics?

This question is about easements, profits-à-prendre and fundamentals of Property Law.1 I. Suppose you have a riparian land owner (A). By a deed of exchange, they trade to someone (B) an exclusive ...
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2answers
1k views

Explanation of “habeas corpus”

What body? And who has to have it? For what purpose? And then (it might be obvious once you've answered those questions, but please spell it out anyway) why is habeas corpus so central to the law?
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232 views

Why don't Nordic countries have codes of private law?

I'm aware that there are some major differences between Scandinavian law systems and other European systems, e.g., the fact that Roman Law had very little influence in Scandinavian countries. But why ...
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59 views

latin expressions in jurisprudence

I'm from Austria, which is a german speaking country. In the german language, in jurisprudence, we have lots of latin terms / expressions, because latin expressions seem to be more exact. Is this ...
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UK gun licenses prior to Firearms Amendment Act 1988

The Firearms (Amendment) Act 1988 came into force as a response to the Hungerford massacre of 1987. The perpetrator had legally owned some firearms, including a semi-automatic assault rifle. Before ...
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151 views

Why was my digitized signature rejected?

I really dislike printing out an electronic form (i.e. PDF) just to sign and re-scan it, especially if I'm going to just send out a digital copy anyway. So, usually I just paste a scanned image of my ...
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1answer
248 views

Have there ever been any thought crimes?

Has there ever been anywhere a law criminalizing certain thoughts? The closest I can find is The Treason Act 1351, which is still in force in Britain today. This criminalizes compassing or imagining ...
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1answer
136 views

Famous case involving stacking the deck in a standards body

When I first got involved in telecommunications standards back in the 1980's, some standards old-timers gave me an old case to read about one company stacking the deck in standards for steam boilers (...