“Beyond Standard Legal Positivism and ‘Aggressive’ Natural Law: Some Thoughts on Judge’ O’Scannlain’s ‘Third Way’”

Fordham Law Review 79 (4):1529-1539 (2011)
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With his contribution on "The Natural Law in the American Tradition," Judge Diarmuid O'Scannlain has begun the indispensable task of laying the groundwork for sound jurisprudential reasoning in the natural law tradition. It is on the basis of this groundwork that we can begin to appreciate what natural law reasoning might mean, and what it does not mean, for contemporary American legal thinking. More specifically, it is on the basis of this groundwork that one can begin to articulate what might be called a "third way" of jurisprudential reasoning. This "third way" would steer clear of two opposed and equally problematic jurisprudential views; that is, it would steer clear of what we might call "standard legal positivism" (on the one hand), and (on the other hand) what Judge O'Scannlain calls the "aggressive" natural law jurisprudence of some contemporary theorists.

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Michael Baur
Fordham University


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