On Oct. 27, Lewis & Clark Law School announced that Assistant Professor of Law David Schraub won the Huffman Scholarship Award for his article “Sadomasochistic Judging,” which was published in Constitutional Commentary at University of Minnesota Law School.
It is Schraub’s second year at LC and he is the third person to receive the award. The award is given annually to a professor who authored an article that was written the year prior. The recipient is chosen by a three-member faculty committee.
Schraub teaches constitutional law and discrimination law. He looks at what discrimination is in law and how to conceptualize it, he often looks at different approaches when it comes to the issues of discrimination and inequality. He has written law journals on philosophy, anti semitism and microaggressions.
According to Schraub, his article focuses on the role judges play in the judicial system.
“Sometimes judging means doing something that you don’t like, the outcome and you wouldn’t have reached it if you were a politician or a dictator and that you’re doing because you’re bound by the law,” Schraub said. “That’s the heart of what legitimacy is, restraining yourself from simply pursuing your own preferences.”
Schraub said that the best way that a judge can hold themselves accountable is to issue painful decisions that are harsh and then you are able to say that you are not just fighting for your own preferences, but judging based on the law.
“I don’t want people to get out of it (Sadomasochistic Judging) is anytime a judge issues a position that has outcomes we dislike for behaving badly. I mean, sometimes it is,” Schraub said. “The reason it’s a puzzle is because it is the case that sometimes law requires judges to do things they would rather not do. But the takeaway is that we shouldn’t swing too far the other direction and assume that just because judicial decisions are harsh, that is your proof positive, the judges are really, really committed legalists, because sometimes pain is just pain and hurt is just hurt.”
Schraub said that winning the award was especially rewarding because it was a sign that he belongs at LC and that his peers support him. He also thinks that it is notable that for the past three years the Hufffman award has been won by junior members of the faculty.
“I’m really grateful not just for the vote of confidence, but for the underlying mentorship and support that I think the award represents,” Schraub said. “That is, in large part, responsible for putting me in a position where I’m producing what I hope to be interesting and provocative pieces of the scholarship.”
To Schraub, learning about law was always tied to a broader interest in solving social problems. He thinks that if someone studies law and never becomes a lawyer, the act of studying law is still a valuable part of becoming a good citizen.
“I’m very proud that I think it is readable to non-law people, audiences, which is something that I always try to do,” Schraub said. “I’m very much a believer, and this is especially true at Lewis and Clark.”
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