Document Type


Publication Date



This Article explores common formalist themes, asking not whether formalism's aspirations are attainable but why formalists still struggle to attain them in the face of sustained attacks by anti-formalists. After briefly sketching the tenets of formalism in Section I, this Article turns to an examination of Summers' "post-realist formalism." Finally, this Article probes the philosophical and psychological attractions of formalism and suggests that formalism's promise of stability and order may be essential to the effective functioning of the legal system, even if this promise can never be realized.

Included in

Legal History Commons