Kenneth M. Casebeer
Professor of Law Emeritus
J.D. 1974, Harvard Law School
A.B. 1971, Georgetown University
Kenneth M. Casebeer, Professor of Law, earned an A.B., magna cum laude, from Georgetown University in 1971 and a J.D., cum laude, from Harvard Law School in 1974. In 1975-76, he held the position of legal scholar at the Kennedy Institute for Bio-Ethics at Georgetown University, where he taught in the Department of Philosophy. A professor at the University of Miami School of Law since 1974, he served as Associate Dean during 1986-87. Professor Casebeer teaches courses in constitutional law, jurisprudence, and work law: the law governing employment relations and collective bargaining.
As an academic, Professor Casebeer has consistently worked on the connections between law and power, and the state, work, and democracy. His scholarship on constitutional law and social theory, employment, labor history, medical ethics, and legal philosophy combines traditions of American Pragmatism and the Frankfurt School of critical theory. Philosophically, his Work on a Labor Theory of Meaning, and recently, Taking Interdependence and Production More Seriously: Toward Mutual Rationality and a More Useful Law and Economics, posits that human time and organization depend upon social meaning produced through work. This idea serves as a critique of discourse theory and stands as an alternative strategy to that of Jurgen Habermas within Post-Hegelian and Marxian debates.
Jurisprudentially, these commitments lead to a revision and extension of Legal Realism, highlighted in Fact and Value in Karl Llewellyn, and Toward a Critical Theory of Jurisprudence. Juridically, this reveals the intrinsic role of ideology in adjudication; The Judging Glass, and The Empty State and Nobody's Market: The Political Economy of Non-Responsibility and the Judicial Disappearing of the Civil Rights Movement. He therefore argues the need to substantially revise legal practices and education in order to identify the uses of power in law that subordinate people and in turn weaken democracy.
In The Empty State and Nobody's Market, and in Paris is closer than Frankfurt: The Nth American Exceptionalism, he draws upon European social theory to explain the need to understand the state as responsible for the consequences of many forms of power.
Professor Casebeer explores the manner in which the state through law extends power beyond government administration, and therefore, questions how such powers' exercise in a democracy should extend our responsibility for dignity and inclusion, as a mutual self-defense. He believes the pursuit of utopian justice incoherent, in favor of attacking existing injustices, Running on Empty, and Memory Lost.
He proposes that lawyer arguments take account of the continuity of legislative and judicial decisions within on-going struggles over social functions, Teaching an Old Dog New Tricks: Coppage v. Kansas and At-Will Employment Revisited, and that such arguments should be informed by skills necessary to document a "present history" of the stakes and power pending any legal decision. In this endeavor, at the same time, he has been part of the generation of two new academic sub-fields: Critical Labor Law History, and Work Law. His contributions include a political history of the relationship of labor organization and Social Security in the thirties, Unemployment Insurance: American Social Wage, Labor Organization and Legal Ideology, a social history of the community of the test case of the NLRA, Aliquippa: The Company Town and Contested Power in the Construction of Law, a contemporary history of contracting out and low wage immigrant labor, Of Service Workers, Contracting Out, Joint Employment, Legal Consciousness, and the University of Miami, and several articles on the drafting of the Wagner Act, the Fansteel Sit-Down Case and At-Will Employment.
His bibliography of Critical Labor Law has been republished in the first Chinese language study of a Western Legal movement, wherein his work is also discussed. He published a casebook about worker interests and powers within labor markets and the division of labor – Work Law in American Society – and has a labor and the law history book American Labor Struggles and Law Histories. Professor Casebeer has published and edited the labor law newsletter, "Re-Working," served as a peer reviewer for academic journals in social theory, and sat as a board member for numerous private and public institutions.