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Essays in Jurisprudence and Philosophy$
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H. L. A. Hart

Print publication date: 1983

Print ISBN-13: 9780198253884

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198253884.001.0001

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American Jurisprudence Through English Eyes: The Nightmare and the Noble Dream

American Jurisprudence Through English Eyes: The Nightmare and the Noble Dream

Chapter:
(p.123) Essay 4 American Jurisprudence Through English Eyes: The Nightmare and the Noble Dream
Source:
Essays in Jurisprudence and Philosophy
Author(s):

H. L. A. Hart

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198253884.003.0005

This chapter addresses an American audience on the theme of American jurisprudence. It specifically discusses the Nightmare and the Noble Dream. The Nightmare describes litigants in law cases which consider themselves entitled to be under the existing law in their disputes, not to have new law made for them. Like any other nightmare and any other dream, these two scenarios are illusions, though they have much of value to teach the jurist. The truth, perhaps unexciting, is that sometimes judges do one and sometimes the other. It is not of course a matter of indifference but of very great importance which they do and when and how they do it.

Keywords:   American jurisprudence, Nightmare, Noble Dream, judges

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