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A striking feature of contemporary legal theory is its narrow focus. A Martian reading fashionable jurisprudence might imagine that everything important could be learned by combining a few common law cases with the hottest news from the Supreme Court. By indulging this neotraditionalist premise, we close ourselves off from the most distinctive aspects of our legal culture: whatever else is obscure, it is clear that we are living in an age of the activist state, in which legislation and administration are central elements of the professional experience. How has this transformation affected the substance and form of legal argument?

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