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Four Mistakes On The Debate On "Outsourcing Authority", Roger P. Alford Oct 2013

Four Mistakes On The Debate On "Outsourcing Authority", Roger P. Alford

Roger P. Alford

The purpose of this Article is to discuss common mistakes in the current debate on outsourcing authority. The first mistake in the debate on outsourcing authority is about the protagonists. To focus solely on the fact that some justices espouse this approach, while others do not, distorts the true picture of the rich debate that is ongoing at the bar, the bench, the academy, and beyond. Mistaking the voices in the debate will distort what is at issue in the discussion. The reality is much more complex. There is a groundswell of opposition to this trend from various corners and ...


Misusing International Sources To Interpret The Constituion, Roger P. Alford Oct 2013

Misusing International Sources To Interpret The Constituion, Roger P. Alford

Roger P. Alford

This article addresses the trend toward using international sources to interpret the Constitution. While recognizing that international sources may be appropriately used as persuasive authority in certain types of constitutional analysis, this article argues that such reliance is inappropriate if done improperly. There are four misuses of international sources that serve as the focus of the article. The first misuse of international sources - particularly evident in death penalty litigation - occurs when the global opinions of humankind are ascribed constitutional value to thwart the domestic opinions of Americans. The article suggests that international norms cannot be internalized within our Constitution unless ...


Roper V. Simmons And Our Constitution In International Equipoise, Roger P. Alford Oct 2013

Roper V. Simmons And Our Constitution In International Equipoise, Roger P. Alford

Roger P. Alford

In Roper v. Simmons, the Court unequivocally affirms the use of comparative constitutionalism to interpret the Eighth Amendment. It does not, however, provide an obvious theoretical basis to justify the practice. This Article searches for a theory to explain the comparativism in Roper using the theories advanced in the author's previous scholarship. It concludes that of the colorable candidates, natural law constitutionalism is the most plausible explanation, with the attendant problems associated therewith. The Article concludes with an analysis of the possible ramifications of the Court's comparative approach, suggesting that it may be pursuing a Constitution that is ...


In Search Of A Theory For Constitutional Comparativism, Roger P. Alford Oct 2013

In Search Of A Theory For Constitutional Comparativism, Roger P. Alford

Roger P. Alford

Constitutional comparativism - the notion that international and foreign material should be used to interpret the U.S. Constitution - is gaining currency. Yet proponents of this practice rarely offer a firm theoretical justification for the practice. This Article contends that constitutional comparativism should be examined from the perspective of constitutional theory. The use of comparative and international material must be deemed appropriate or inappropriate based on a particular judge's interpretive mode of constitutional analysis. The Article presents four classic constitutional theories - originalism, natural law, majoritarianism, and pragmatism - and addresses the propriety of constitutional comparativism under each theory. This theoretical approach ...


Free Speech And The Case For Constitutional Exceptionalism, Roger P. Alford Oct 2013

Free Speech And The Case For Constitutional Exceptionalism, Roger P. Alford

Roger P. Alford

Embodied in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is the evocative proposition that [e]veryone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression. But beneath that level of abstraction there is anything but universal agreement. Modern democratic societies disagree on the text, content, theory, and practice of this liberty. They disagree on whether it is a privileged right or a subordinate value. They disagree on what constitutes speech and which speech is worthy of protection. They disagree on theoretical foundations, uncertain if the right is grounded in libertarian impulses, the promotion of a marketplace of ideas, or the advancement ...


Foreign Relations As A Matter Of Interpretation: The Use And Abuse Of Charming Betsy, Roger P. Alford Oct 2013

Foreign Relations As A Matter Of Interpretation: The Use And Abuse Of Charming Betsy, Roger P. Alford

Roger P. Alford

Charming Betsy is a canon of construction that construes legislative enactments consistent with the law of nations. This canon promotes the passive virtue of avoiding constitutional problems by eschewing potential international law violations through statutory interpretation, thereby enhancing the United States' performance in foreign affairs. As a rule of separation of powers, Charming Betsy helps explain how foreign relations concerns clarify the scope of legislative, executive, and judicial authority. But when advocates contend that the Constitution likewise should be read through the lens of Charming Betsy, they abuse the doctrine by ignoring its purpose. While structural guarantees that relate to ...