Of Foxes And Life

For constitutional law, the first day assignment was to read the US constitution, and for legislation, the first day assignment was to read about the legislative process.  Both of those make sense as great places to start the class.  I don’t know if I could think of a better starting point.

For property, we started with a fox hunt in the early nineteenth century.  In Pierson v. Post (2 Am. Dec. 264), one fellow is busy hunting a fox.  Just has he’s about the claim his prize, another fellow comes along and snatches the fox away.  Naturally, the first fellow wants the fox back, and the second doesn’t want to give it up.  The result (on appeal, no less): a fellow does not possess a fox unless they physically hold it or have mortally wounded it.  And with that, so starts property.

Interestingly enough, the notes after the case reveal that Professor Bethany Berger discovered that the case wasn’t really about a fox.  The first fellow was nouveau riche, the second fellow old money.  The second fellow didn’t approve of the first fellow flaunting his wealth through the fox hunt, so he snatched away the fox.  Such is life.  (55 Duke L. J. 1089)


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