Of the common law and “chymistry”

Melton v. Phillips, No. 15-10604 (Nov. 13, 2017), a difficult qualified immunity case that required en banc review to resolve, features a concurrence with the unusual verb “cross-pollinated” to describe a confluence of two lines of authority. That perspective on the development of common law recalls the concept of “vegetation” in early scientific thought, used to describe vigorous and lively growth not just in plant life, but throughout nature. Indeed, no less than Isaac Newton wrote a paper about “Chymystry” titled “On Nature’s Obvious Laws and Processes in Vegetation”:


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