Mark S. Weiner is a writer, web-based documentary filmmaker, and legal historian. He retains the position of professor of law at Rutgers University School of Law—Newark, where he taught constitutional law and legal history, though he turned to a full-time writing career in 2012 and is no longer actively teaching at the school. He blogs at his website Worlds of Law.
Weiner received his A.B. from Stanford University, where he graduated with Honors and Distinction and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. He holds a J.D. from Yale Law School and a Ph.D. in American Studies from Yale University, where he was awarded a Jacob K. Javits Fellowship from the United States Department of Education, a Samuel I. Golieb Fellowship in Legal History from New York University School of Law, and a dissertation fellowship from the Whiting Foundation. He received a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities in 2001. In 2009 he was a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Akureyri, Iceland.
He is the author of three books: The Rule of the Clan: What an Ancient Form of Social Organization Reveals about the Future of Individual Freedom (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2013), Americans without Law: The Racial Boundaries of Citizenship (New York University Press, 2006), and Black Trials: Citizenship from the Beginnings of Slavery to the End of Caste (Alfred A. Knopf, 2004). Black Trials was selected a 2005 Silver Gavel Award winner by the American Bar Association for its contribution to the public understanding of law. Americans Without Law was awarded the President's Book Award from the Social Science History Association (see juridical racialism).
Weiner has written numerous articles about a wide variety of topics involving law, culture, and historical consciousness. Topics of his work include the memory of medieval law in modern Iceland, the Argentinean statesman Domingo Sarmiento, kinship and legal identity in Muslim societies, the history of Coca-Cola, and corporate food museums. He likewise has published poems on historical themes in the experimental journal Rethinking History. Other notable publications include "New Biographical Evidence on Somerset's Case," in Slavery & Abolition (2002).
Weiner has produced short documentary videos about legal history and comparative law. His work includes videos about the Napoleonic Code  Bedouin law, “Why German Law is Like Music,” the use of stone and glass in European Union legal buildings, and judicial bobbleheads.
"Juridical racialism" is a term coined by Weiner in his book Americans Without Law: The Racial Boundaries of Citizenship. Juridical racialism is a civic rhetoric or discourse through which the racial boundaries of civic life are defined based on the perceived capacity of minority groups for specific forms of legal behavior. According to Weiner, "juridical racialism was a civic rhetoric that fused the concepts of race and law into a single idea--in which the two concepts were mutually constitutive--and that drew its principles from prominent contemporary social scientific theories of human variation, especially those associated with the developing field of anthropology."
Perhaps the first prominent usages of juridical racialism occurred immediately after the Civil War in a time named by President Ulysses S Grant the "assimilationist era". During this time, the federal government attempted to force Native Americans to adopt Euro-American styles of living. Under the Dawes Act passed during this era, the United States was given the power to totally alter the property regimes of scores of individual societies.
Juridical racialism manifested itself in the case of the Native American, Crow Dog (Ex Parte Crow Dog). In 1881, shaman Crow Dog, who opposed the United States' involvement in Indian affairs, killed a fellow Native American, Spotted Tail, during a dispute. In accordance with then-current laws, Crow Dog was dealt with under Sioux tribal law, however the Bureau of Indian Affairs used the incident to test the federal government's jurisdiction in Native American lands. After Crow Dog was brought to trial, it was the opinion of the Supreme Court that he should be set free. However, the decision was not due to the sovereignty of the tribe but rather the ambiguous nature of the statute in question. According to Justice Thomas Stanley Matthews, the language used to in the Act was awkward because it invoked the term "orderly government" which had to be read in the context of clear ethno-legal differences between Euro-Americans and Native Americans.
- Americans Without Law: The Racial Boundaries of Citizenship. New York University Press, New York City, NY. (ISBN 0814793649)
- Black Trials: Citizenship from the Beginnings of Slavery to the End of Caste. Alfred A. Knopf, New York City, NY. ISBN 978-0-375-40981-3 (0-375-40981-5)
- The Rule of the Clan: What an Ancient Form of Social Organization Reveals about the Future of Individual Freedom. Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, New York, NY. ISBN 0374252815.
|This biographical article relies on references to primary sources. (May 2008)|
- http://www.worldsoflaw.com Worlds of Law
- Biography at Rutgers School of Law (accessed 22 May-2008)
- Americans without Law, p. 1.