61 George Washington Law Review 1731 (1993)
Roger Whetmore is cannibalized by his cave-exploring colleagues in Lon Fuller's hypothetical case of the Speluncean Explorers. The survivors are convicted of violating a law making it a crime that one "willfully take the life of another," notwithstanding their defense of necessity. The explorers were trapped in a cave and would have died but for the sustenance of Roger Whetmore. An evenly divided Supreme Court of Newgarth affirms the convictions. Voting to affirm, Justice Keen follows the plain meaning of the statute and refuses to consider the equitable defense of necessity, while Chief Justice Truepenny urges the Chief Executive to grant clemency based upon the defense. Voting to reverse, Justice Foster argues that neither the understandings of common society nor the purpose of the statute is served by conviction, while Justice Handy votes to reverse as well, relying on virtual consensus in popular opinion. Anguished Justice Tatting-the potential tiebreaker-recuses himself because he cannot choose among the various arguments.
Date of Authorship for this Version
Eskridge, William N. Jr., "The Case of the Speluncean Explorers: Twentieth-Century Statutory Interpretation in a Nutshell" (1993). Faculty Scholarship Series. Paper 3839.