Book by Blocher, Miller named to The Green Bag's list of best legal writing

August 5, 2019Duke Law News

Joseph Blocher (left) and Darrell MillerJoseph Blocher (left) and Darrell Miller

A book on gun rights and regulations co-authored by Professors Joseph Blocher and Darrell Miller has been named to an influential annual list of the best legal writing.

The Positive Second Amendment: Rights, Regulation and the Future of Heller (Cambridge University Press, 2018) was picked for The Green Bag’s list of “Exemplary Legal Writing” that appears in its just-published 2019 Almanac & Reader.

“We are honored by this recognition, and delighted to be included in the company of such distinguished fellow scholars,” said Miller.

Blocher and Miller, who co-direct the Duke Center for Firearms Law, are leading constitutional scholars who have written extensively about the Second Amendment. The Positive Second Amendment offers the first comprehensive account of the history, theory, and law of the right to keep and bear arms in the aftermath of District of Columbia v. Heller, the Supreme Court’s 2008 ruling that the Second Amendment protects a private, personal right to own guns.

Blocher, the Lanty L. Smith ’67 Professor of Law, has published articles in the Harvard Law Review, Yale Law Journal, Stanford Law Review, Duke Law Journal, Yale Journal of International Law, and other leading journals. He is co-author, with Mark Tushnet and Alan Chen, of Free Speech Beyond Words (NYU Press, 2017).

Scholarship by Miller, the Melvin G. Shimm Professor of Law, has been published in the Yale Law Journal, the University of Chicago Law Review, and the Columbia Law Review, and has been cited by the Supreme Court of the United States, the United States Courts of Appeals, the United States District Courts, and in congressional testimony and legal briefs.

The Green Bag is a quarterly journal that features “short, readable, useful, and sometimes entertaining legal scholarship,” and its annual almanac highlights judicial opinions and books recommended as the year’s “Exemplary Legal Writing” by its contributors. The Positive Second Amendment was one of five books recommended by Femi Cadmus, a longtime contributor to The Green Bag who joined the Duke Law faculty last year as Archibald C. and Frances Fulk Rufty Research Professor of Law and director of the J. Michael Goodson Law Library, and Cas Laskowski, technology and research services librarian and lecturing fellow.

“Over the years, I have really enjoyed reviewing and selecting books for the annual Green Bag Almanac and Reader and up until now, I had never selected a book written by authors at my own law school” said Cadmus. “I selected The Positive Second Amendment for inclusion as an exemplary work because it very skillfully analyzes a highly polarized issue without getting bogged down in the process. In addition, it is written clearly enough to appeal to a broad spectrum of readers.” 

The Green Bag has previously selected works by Duke Law faculty, including Kimberly Krawiec, Stephen Sachs, David F. Levi, Christopher Schroeder, and Walter Dellinger to its annual lists of “Exemplary Legal Writing.”

An opinion by Judge Don Willett ’92 of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit also made this year’s list, the seventh time his writing has been recognized on the lists.