In 2011, Chief Justice Roberts commented that if you "pick up a copy of any law review that you see," "the first article is likely to be, you know, the influence of Immanuel Kant on evidentiary approaches in 18th-century Bulgaria, or something, which I'm sure was of great interest to the academic that wrote it, but isn't of much help to the bar.” No such article exists, of course -- until now. This short essay explains why, in all likelihood, Kant’s influence on evidentiary approaches in 18th-century Bulgaria was none.In April Fools Day territory the faux 'Optimal Child Abuse' by Adrian Vermeule in Northwestern University Law Review (Forthcoming) states
I will argue that under contemporary social conditions, in contrast to those that characterize traditional pre-modern forms of social organization, child abuse is not something to be strictly minimized, but rather optimized. A system of child protection, including criminal prosecutions and child protective services, should tolerate a predictable level of child abuse as the inevitable byproduct of attaining other ends that are desirable overall.
There are three principal grounds for this claim. First, the architects of the contemporary regime that combines criminal law with the case-worker model of child protective services were not only worried about the abuse of children by their patents. They were equally concerned about the harms to children that result from removal of children from parents and siblings and mistreatment by government alternatives, including in traditional orphanages, group homes, and foster care. Second, the rate of child abuse in the contemporary era is greater than in the early twentieth century -- so much greater that the the system of child protection has been forced to tolerate a relatively high level of child abuse. Third, the costs of government placement of abused children are necessarily positive and plausibly large, in part because any institutional monitors created to detect and punish abuses must themselves be monitored for abuse.
The architects of the modern system of child protection believed that the optimal system would inevitably involve tradeoffs between the benefits of removing children from abusive environments and the costs of a government system for the care of children removed from such environments. In that sense, the modern system constantly gropes towards an institutional package solution that embodies an optimal level of child abuse.Echoes of Swift's Modest Proposal - "A young healthy child well nursed, is, at a year old, a most delicious nourishing and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked, or boiled; and I make no doubt that it will equally serve in a fricassee, or a ragout."