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The Secrets of Law$
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Austin Sarat, Lawence Douglas, and Martha Merrill Umphrey

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780804782593

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804782593.001.0001

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Duly Noted or off the Record? Sovereignty and the Secrecy of the Law in Cinema Richard Burt

Duly Noted or off the Record? Sovereignty and the Secrecy of the Law in Cinema Richard Burt

Chapter:
(p.211) Duly Noted or off the Record? Sovereignty and the Secrecy of the Law in Cinema Richard Burt
Source:
The Secrets of Law
Author(s):

Richard Burt

Publisher:
Stanford University Press
DOI:10.11126/stanford/9780804782593.003.0007

This chapter examines a series of related, uncritically examined and positivist and historicist assumptions about the law, secrets, sovereignty, and media. These assumptions are: secrets are indivisible, hidden but waiting to be revealed; whatever media the law allows admitted in court as evidence are transparent, not opaque, and hence the evidence is evidently legible; live testimony is primary, its records secondary; transparent and complete legal records can be easily preserved and stored in documents, files, and archives; these records, some of which may include documents obtained by subpoena or secret documents only the judge reviews in chambers, can be reconstructed by historians, journalists, attorneys, and ordinary citizens; the judge, or sovereign, is indivisible; and fiction and testimony are opposites; fiction amounts to perjury, fully conscious testimony being truth “the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.”

Keywords:   law, media, secrets, testimony, legal records, judge, fiction, perjury

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