Fermat’s Principle and the FTAIA: What Courts Can Learn From Optics

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James Martin, Sep 17, 2014

Pierre de Fermat was a professional lawyer and amateur mathematician. Say what you will about our noble profession, Fermat’s greatest contributions to society occurred during his off-hours. In 1662, Fermat stated his “principle of least time:” light follows the path that takes the least amount of time to travel. This principle has broad application beyond the world of quantum electrodynamics. Ants, for example, take the fastest route when traveling from point A to point B. If judges and United States prosecutors would apply this fundamental principle to the house-of-mirrors erected by the Foreign Trade Antitrust Improvements Act of 1982, the law would be in far better shape than it is today.

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