New Acquisitions: Feminist Judgment Series

February 20, 2024

The Kathrine R. Everett Law Library has recently acquired several new titles in the Feminist Judgments Series: Rewritten Judicial Opinions. Published by Cambridge University Press, these texts reimagine major legal decisions in various subjects through a social justice lens. Each collection includes rewritten decisions authored and edited by prominent legal scholars, who take the facts and precedent from the original opinion but rewrite it from a feminist perspective. The first volume, Feminist Judgments: Rewritten Opinions of the U.S. Supreme Court, was published in 2016. Since then, the series has expanded to twelve volumes. Some volumes cover topics central to feminist critiques of American law, like reproductive justice, family law, and employment discrimination. Others consider areas like tax, property, torts, and corporate law.

Law students will recognize many of the rewritten cases, and the series tackles not only foundational American common law but also more recent jurisprudence. For example, the Property volume covers not only Johnson v. M’Intosh, 21 U.S. 545 (1823) and Pierson v. Post, 3 Cai. R. 175 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. 1805), but also Kelo v. City of New London, Connecticut, 545 U.S. 469 (2005). The tort volume wouldn’t be complete without reconsidering Palsgraf v. Long Island Railroad Co., 162 N.E. 99 (N.Y. 1928), but it also includes more recent cases like G.M.M. v. Kimpson, 116 F. Supp. 3d 126 (E.D.N.Y. 2015) and Simpkins v. Grace Brethren Church, 75 N.E. 3d 122 (Ohio 2016). For each case, the volumes include both a rewritten opinion and a short commentary essay providing background for the decision and its rewriting. Each volume in the series also has at least one introductory essay for the entire volume; some have several.

The collection aims to do two things: first, show that U.S. law as written is not neutral and objective, but rather influenced by the raced, classed, and gendered perspectives of those who write it. Second, the series demonstrates how theory can be brought into the practice of law, by providing concrete examples of how theory can be incorporated into judicial opinions and legal arguments. Ultimately the series provides readers with an opportunity to think critically about the law and the assumptions that underpin it; reconsidering our perspectives can open up new ways of thinking about legal practice.