Prof. Dr. Lawrence M. Solan

Brooklyn Law School

Curriculum Vitae

Prof. Dr. Lawrence M. Solan ist Rechts- und Sprachwissenschaftler.  Er erwarb seinen Ph.D. in Linguistik an der University of Massachusetts im Jahr 1978 sowie den J.D. an der Harvard Law School im Jahr 1982. Seit 1996 ist Lawrence Solan an der Universität tätig. Zuvor war er Partner in der Kanzlei Orans, Elsen und Lupert sowie Assistent von Richter Stewart Pollock am Supreme Court von New Jersey. Seit 2002 ist Prof. Solan Direktor des Center for the Study of Law, Language and Cognition an der Brooklyn Law School. 2004 wurde er darüber hinaus Don Forchelli Professor of Law und 2012 Direktor of Graduate Education.  Lawrence Solan war unter anderem Gastwissenschaftler an der Yale Law School, der Princeton University, der Universität Greifswald sowie der Universität Pompeu Fabra (Barcelona). Im Jahr 2009 verlieh ihm das Wuhan Institute of Technology eine Honorarprofessur. 

Prof. Solan ist Präsident der International Association of Forensic Linguistics, Mitglied der International Academy of Law and Mental Health und Mitherausgeber des International Journal of Speech, Language and the Law. Seine wissenschaftlichen Arbeiten gelten als wegweisende Arbeiten auf dem Gebiet der theoretischen Linguistik und juristischen Argumentation. Zu seinen rennomiertesten Werken zählen unter anderem “The Language of Judges” (1993) „Speaking of Crime: The Language of Criminal Justice” (gemeinsam mit Peter Tiersma, 2005),“The Language of Statutes: Laws and their Interpretation” (University of Chicago Press, 2010) und das Oxford Handbook of Language and Law (gemeinsam mit Peter Tiersma, 2012).

Von Oktober bis Dezember 2017 war Prof. Dr. Lawrence M. Solan Fellow am Käte Hamburger Kolleg „Recht als Kultur“.


Shadows and Satellites in Constitutional Interpretation

This project evaluates competing metaphors used in constitutional interpretation.  The U.S. Supreme Court has held that constitutional principles have “penumbras,” that is, shadowy areas at their outskirts.  Most famously, the Court used this metaphor to hold that privacy in the home should be deemed a penumbral extension of specifically enumerated constitutional protections, striking down a statute that prohibited the prescription of birth control in the state of Connecticut.  Compare this metaphor to the one used by Edward Levi in his important 1948 book, An Introduction to Legal Reasoning.  Levi argued that constitutional provisions are accompanied by “satellite concepts.”  Satellites, unlike shadows, are tethered to planets by gravitational force.  In essence, a penumbral relationship is horizontal, one concept fading into another, while a satellite relationship is vertical and hierarchical.  Constitutional argumentation contains both kinds of reasoning.  On the one hand, legal principles become vague at the margins, while on the other hand much constitutional analysis is structural.  This project will attempt to explain and  illustrate these competing frameworks, further offering criticism of their use in particular contexts.  

Publikationen (Auswahl)

  • “Can Originalism be Made Scientific?” Yale Law Journal Forum (2016).
  • “Die Auslegung mehrsprachigen Rechts: Einige Vor – und Nachteile [The Interpretation of Multilingual Laws – Some Costs and Benefits], 21 GreifRecht 38 (2016).
  • “Precedent in Statutory Interpretation” North Carolina Law Review (2016).
  • Speaking of Language and Law: Conversations on the Work of Peter Tiersma (co-edited with Janet Ainsworth and Roger Shuy), Oxford University Press (2015).
  •  “Identifying Where People Come from by How They Speak: A Methodological Gap Worth Bridging, 21 International Journal of Speech, Language and the Law 383 (2014).
  • “Multilingualism and Morality in Statutory Interpretation,” 1 Language and Law/Linguagem e Direito 5 (2014).
  • “Is it Time for a Restatement of Statutory Interpretation?” 79 Brooklyn Law Review 733 (2014).
  • “Must Torts be Wrongs? An Empirical Perspective,” (with Joseph Sanders, Matthew Kugler and John Darley), 49 Wake Forest Law Review 1 (2014).
  • The Oxford Handbook of Language and Law (co-edited with Peter Tiersma) (2012).
  • The Language of Statutes: Laws and Their Interpretation, University of Chicago Press (2010).
  • “Private Language, Public Laws: The Central Role of Legislative Intent in Statutory Interpretation,” 93 Georgetown Law Journal 427 (2005).
  • Speaking of Crime: The Language of Criminal Justice (with Peter Tiersma), University of Chicago Press (2005).
  • The Language of Judges, University of Chicago Press (1993).