I was going through the questions on legal-history and realized that two different kinds of questions are covered:
- Questions about the history of law, such as (as mentioned in the current tag wiki) "how and why law has evolved over time". A good example is When did the American and British naming conventions for legislation diverge?.
- "Snapshot" questions about the law at a certain historical period or point. Examples include How would the first constitution of India interpret hijab in the classrooms? and Did Sweden really make it illegal to sell imported Nintendo 64 games (and *only* those) in the later half of 1997?.
The tag doesn't seem busy enough to make a huge fuss, but it occurred to me that the second category represents a moving target. For example, if Ruritania repeals its Mopery laws tomorrow and grants blanket pardons to all prior mopery offenders, then all of our existing questions about mopery in Ruritania (elements, defenses, statutory presumptions, etc.) would arguably need to be bulk-tagged with legal-history since they originate out of what is no longer good law. Similarly, it is likely that some of our questions about abortion in the united-states that were asked before June 2022 and assume that Roe v. Wade is good law now need to be retagged to legal-history.
Do we need to do anything about this tag? Should the tag be limited to questions about law in a historical context, with snapshot questions ("What was the law on X in year Y?") retagged to something like old-law or obsolete?
For a linguistics analogy, the difference between the categories above is comparable to the difference between "How did the pronunciation of this word change between the middle ages and today?" and "How was this word pronounced by scholars of Oxford University circa 1330?".
A further question could be considered on whether a historical snapshot question should be handled differently depending on whether it became a historical question due to subsequent legal changes or whether it was a historical question from the moment it was asked. For example, a question from the first category could include a "How does Roe v. Wade apply to [hypothetical case]?" asked in 2019 while a question from the second category might be "How would Roe v. Wade have applied to [hypothetical case] if it had not been overturned in 2022?" and asked today? Should questions in the first category be retagged (either to legal-history or to a proposed new tag such as obsolete), or should they remain as-is and receive a new answer such as "Roe v. Wade is no longer good law [cite], so the application of it to this hypothetical situation will not arise."?