Impeachment, the Law & Language

There are sociological and linguistic insights into the nature of law. Sociologists tend to find the meaning of the law in its functions. Max Weber offers a sociological understanding of law when he says that laws cannot vary too much from the customs of a society. If they do, the people will rebel against it while revolutionary regimes, on the other hand, impose legal codes that are out to do away with extant customs and replace them with a reign of reason. For his part, Georg Simmel says that law is a technique for conflict resolution. It gives a third party power to make a decision between contending parties and these decisions and the legal code behind them are designed to do away or mitigate the antagonism between the parties. That is why there are fines and ways for negligent companies to correct their behavior. On the other hand, for the most part, lawyers look to the linguistic characteristics of law. That means they look to the ways in which the nature of language makes the fact of law possible and justifies what lawyers do when they interpret the law. Consider some of these linguistic characteristics of law and how they apply to the question of impeachment.

Read More