Abstracts

JURISDICTION

R. Cover, "The Folktales of Justice: Tales of Jurisdiction", Capital University Law Review 14 (1985), 179-203. - In Cover's view, law is a bridge in normative space connecting the "world-that-is" with our projection of "alternative worlds that might be". As such, law along with sacred writ and myth proclaim the ideal. Courts normally charged with enforcing laws, are sometimes imperfect instruments in behalf of autonomous law when confronted with the king as the offender or as the obstacle to "Utopean reorderings of the world". To avoid their own destruction, courts sometimes decline to exercise jurisdiction over those who control armed might. Cover shows from examples drawn from the Talmud and from Josephus's Jewish Antiquities, that when, in practice, jurisdiction could not be used, religion may slant history to show a more courageous court; or a religious court may boldly claim. as a matter of doctrine only, the jurisdiction it would never dare use. Thus religion preserves the ideal as a goal when law fails to achieve it in reality. (D.H.P.)

M. Shava, "The Rabbinical Courts in Israel: Jurisdiction Over Non-Jews?", Journal of Church and State 27 (1985), 99-112. - Israeli law currently gives rabbinical courts jurisdiction over matters of "personal status", broadly defined. The rabbis, of course, use Jewish law. Shava explores hypothetical situations in which this would subject non-Jews to the Law of Moses. Examples include estoppel (as, for example, when a person of questionable Jewish ancestry marries in a Jewish ceremony, then is sued for divorce), unilateral changes of religion (which, by law, do not defeat the jurisdiction of the court which otherwise would rule in marital matters); succession (where some heirs or legatees are non-Jewish); and referral to rabbinical courts by the president of the Israeli Supreme Court. (D.H.P.)

Symposium, The Rabbinical Courts of the State of Israel, Diné Israel 10/11 (1984), 9-299.

 

 

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