Prof. Thomas P. Crocker

Professor of Law at the University of South Carolina

May 2019 until June 2019

In cooperation with Prof. Dr. Rainer Forst

Thomas Crocker is Professor of Law at the University of South Carolina. He holds a J.D. from Yale Law School, a Ph.D. in Philosophy from Vanderbilt University, and an M.A. in Philosophy from the University of Wales. He has held fellowships as a Visiting Scholar at the American Academy of Arts & Sciences in Cambridge, MA, as a Senior Fulbright Scholar in Germany at the Johann Goethe Universität, Frankfurt am Main, where he was a resident fellow at the Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften, and as the MacCormick Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Edinburgh School of Law. His scholarship focuses on issues in constitutional law and theory, and intersects both law and philosophy. Within constitutional theory, his scholarship addresses issues concerning privacy, free speech and democracy, criminal procedure, presidential power, and constitutional constraints. His book, Overcoming Necessity: Emergency, Constraint, and the Meanings of American Constitutionalism, is forthcoming with Yale University Press.

Research project title:
The Constitution of Ethical Life: Privacy, Community, and the Liberal State

Abstract
I am in the early stages of a monograph project entitled, “The Constitution of Ethical Life: Privacy, Community, and the Liberal State,” that explores how conceptions and practices of privacy are central to constitutionalism, and are therefore central to how legal practices and institutions constitute ethical life within a polity. This project will investigate how constitutional communities shape governing institutions through shifting conceptions of privacy. How has an increased tendency to blur the distinction between state and private commerce—a process of privatization—also accompanied a pervasive loss of personal privacy? Public goods, however these might be defined, are increasingly provided through private entities, closed to ordinary forms of democratic transparency and control. At the same time, everyday private matters are increasingly rendered transparent to both governmental and other private enterprises. On the one hand, political policies translate public goods into private values subject to market exchange and cost benefit logics.  On the other hand, private matters of everyday personal life are subject to surveillance and marketized “datafication” by both governmental bodies and other private entities. As a consequence of these two processes, the status of privacy, of “the private,” is undergoing a transformation that this project seeks to explore.  My exploration of this transformation focuses on the relationship between the constitutive commitments that comprise a shared ethical life and the constitutive understandings that shape a constitutional community.

List of Recent Publications

Overcoming Necessity:  Emergency, Constraint, and the Meanings of American Constitutionalism (Yale University Press, forthcoming 2020).

“Constitutions, Rule Following, and the Crisis of Constraint,” Legal Theory, vol. 24 (2018): 3-39 (with M. Hodges).

“Constitutive Visions: Sovereignty, Necessity, and Saramago’s Blindness,” Constellations, vol. 24 (2017): 63-75.

“Dystopian Constitutionalism,” 18 University of Pennsylvania Journal of Constitutional Law, vol. 18 (2015): 593-655.

 


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