The depiction of the law in art and culture is as old as storytelling. Its manifestation in moving pictures often focuses on questions and concerns about the rule of law and equal citizenship in a well-functioning democracy. The Law Library of Congress and the Library’s Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation will offer a program highlighting the depiction of law in film and television July 20 at the Packard Campus Theater in Culpeper, Virginia. The event is free and open to the public, and no tickets are required.
The event will feature professor of law Jessica Silbey from Northeastern University School of Law. Silbey will present a lecture titled A History of Law in American Film with a focus on the courtroom process—from the beginning of film in 1895 to the present day. She will also reference the depiction of the law in other forms of popular culture. As part of the Law Library’s ongoing commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the United States Supreme Court decision, Miranda v. Arizona, the program will also feature a film montage that will show the reading of the Miranda Warning over the past 50 years in film and television.
Silbey is an expert on the use of film to communicate about law. Her writing explores how film is used as a legal tool and how it becomes an object of legal analysis. Her publications on this subject include Law and Justice on the Small Screen with Peter Robson (Hart, 2012); Picturing Moral Arguments in a Fraught Legal Arena: Fetuses, Phantoms and Ultrasounds, 16 Geo. J. Gender & Law (2015); Images In/Of Law, 57 N.Y.L.S. L. R. 171 (2012/2013); Evidence Verité and the Law of Film, 31 Cardozo L. R. 1257 (2010); Cross-Examining Film, 8 U. Md. J. Race, Religion & Gender & L. 101 (2008); Filmmaking in the Precinct House and the Genre of Documentary Film, 29 Colum. J. L. & Arts. 107 (2006); and Judges as Film Critics: New Approaches to Filmic Evidence, 39 Mich. J. L. Reform 493 (2004).
Silbey teaches in the areas of intellectual property and constitutional law. Her intellectual property research focuses on the empirical and humanistic dimensions of the legal regulation of creative and innovative work. She explores this theme in The Eureka Myth: Creators, Innovators and Everyday Intellectual Property (Stanford University Press, 2015). Silbey holds a bachelor’s degree from Stanford University and a JD and Ph.D. in comparative literature from the University of Michigan.