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Reform Prosecutors And Separation Of Powers, Logan E. Sawyer Iii Jan 2020

Reform Prosecutors And Separation Of Powers, Logan E. Sawyer Iii

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For decades, state and local prosecutors won election by promising to be tough on crime. Today, a new breed of prosecutor has gained prominence by campaigning on, and then implementing, reform agendas. Rather than emphasize the crimes they plan to prosecute, these reform prosecutors promise to use their discretion to stop the prosecution of certain crimes and halt the application of certain sanctions. They base their decision not on a lack of resources, but rather on a belief that the enforcement of those laws is unwise or unjust. Critics have decried such policies as both inappropriate and undemocratic. Prosecutors, critics ...


Boots And Bail On The Ground: Assessing The Implementation Of Misdemeanor Bail Reforms In Georgia, Andrea Woods, Sandra G. Mayson, Lauren Sudeall, Guthrie Armstrong, Anthony Potts Jan 2020

Boots And Bail On The Ground: Assessing The Implementation Of Misdemeanor Bail Reforms In Georgia, Andrea Woods, Sandra G. Mayson, Lauren Sudeall, Guthrie Armstrong, Anthony Potts

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This Article presents a mixed-methods study of misdemeanor bail practice across Georgia in the wake of reform. We observed bail hearings and interviewed system actors in a representative sample of fifty-five counties in order to assess the extent to which pretrial practice conforms to legal standards clarified in Senate Bill 407 and Walker v. Calhoun. We also analyzed jail population data published by county jails and by the Georgia Department of Community Affairs. We found that a handful of counties have made promising headway in adhering to law and best practices, but that the majority have some distance to go ...


Federal Guilty Pleas: Inequities, Indigence And The Rule 11 Process, Julian A. Cook Jan 2019

Federal Guilty Pleas: Inequities, Indigence And The Rule 11 Process, Julian A. Cook

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In 2017 and 2018, the Supreme Court issued two little-noticed decisions—Lee v. United States and Class v. United States. While neither case captured the attention of the national media nor generated meaningful academic commentary, both cases are well deserving of critical examination for reasons independent of the issues presented to the Court. They deserve review because of a consequential shared fact; a fact representative of a commonplace, yet largely overlooked, federal court practice that routinely disadvantages the indigent (and disproportionately minority populations), and compromises the integrity of arguably the most consequential component of the federal criminal justice process. In ...


Constructing The Original Scope Of Constitutional Rights, Nathan Chapman Jan 2019

Constructing The Original Scope Of Constitutional Rights, Nathan Chapman

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In this solicited response to Ingrid Wuerth's "The Due Process and Other Constitutional Rights of Foreign Nations," I explain and justify Wuerth's methodology for constructing the original scope of constitutional rights. The original understanding of the Constitution, based on text and historical context, is a universally acknowledged part of constitutional law today. The original scope of constitutional rights — who was entitled to them, where they extended, and so on — is a particularly difficult question that requires a measure of construction based on the entire historical context. Wuerth rightly proceeds one right at a time with a careful consideration ...


Quiet-Revolution Rulings In Constitutional Law, Dan T. Coenen Jan 2019

Quiet-Revolution Rulings In Constitutional Law, Dan T. Coenen

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The Supreme Court ordinarily supports its establishment of major constitutional principles with detailed justifications in its opinions. On occasion, however, the Court proceeds in a very different way, issuing landmark pronouncements without giving any supportive reasons at all. This Article documents the recurring character and deep importance of these “quietrevolution rulings” in constitutional law. It shows that—however surprising it might seem—rulings of this sort have played key roles in shaping incorporation; reverse incorporation; congressional power; federal courts; and freedom-ofspeech, freedom-of-religion, and equal-protection law. According to the synthesis offered here, these rulings fall into two categories. One set of ...


Favoring The Press, Sonja R. West Jan 2018

Favoring The Press, Sonja R. West

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In the 2010 case of Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the United States Supreme Court caught the nation’s attention by declaring that corporations have a First Amendment right to independently spend unlimited amounts of money in political campaigns. The Court rested its 5-4 decision in large part on a concept of speaker-based discrimination. In the Court’s words, “the Government may commit a constitutional wrong when by law it identifies certain preferred speakers.”

To drive home its point that speaker-based distinctions are inherently problematic, the Court focused on one type of speaker distinction — the treatment of news media ...


Due Process Of War, Nathan Chapman Jan 2018

Due Process Of War, Nathan Chapman

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The application of the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment to the government’s deprivation of rights during war is one of the most challenging and contested questions of constitutional law. The Supreme Court has not provided a consistent or historically informed framework for analyzing due process during war. Based on the English background, the text and history of the U.S. Constitution, and early American practice, this Article argues that due process was originally understood to apply to many but not to all deprivations of rights during war. It proposes a framework for analyzing due process during war ...


Free Speech And Generally Applicable Laws: A New Doctrinal Synthesis, Dan T. Coenen Jan 2018

Free Speech And Generally Applicable Laws: A New Doctrinal Synthesis, Dan T. Coenen

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A longstanding mystery of constitutional law concerns how the Free Speech Clause interacts with “generally applicable” legal restrictions. This Article develops a new conceptual framework for working through this puzzle. It does so by extracting from prior Supreme Court rulings an approach that divides these restrictions into three separate categories, each of which (at least presumptively) brings into play a different level of judicial scrutiny. An example of the first and most closely scrutinized category of generally applicable laws—that is, laws that place a “direct in effect” burden on speech—is provided by breach-of-the-peace statutes. These laws are generally ...


A Reformed Liberalism: Michael Mcconnell’S Contributions To Christian Jurisprudence, Nathan Chapman Jan 2018

A Reformed Liberalism: Michael Mcconnell’S Contributions To Christian Jurisprudence, Nathan Chapman

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Michael McConnell is one of the most influential constitutional scholars of the past thirty years. He has written a great deal about religious liberty, but relatively little about how his own religious beliefs may relate to his constitutional jurisprudence. This essay is the first to explore the connection between McConnell’s religious views and scholarship. The essay engages with a short piece by McConnell that sketches the outlines of a “reformed liberalism.” McConnell argued that reformed Christian theology is compatible with the classical liberalism that animated the framing of the U.S. Constitution. Though he did not develop this account ...


Suing The President For First Amendment Violations, Sonja R. West Jan 2018

Suing The President For First Amendment Violations, Sonja R. West

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On any given day, it seems, President Donald Trump can be found attacking, threatening, or punishing the press and other individuals whose speech he dislikes. His actions, moreover, inevitably raise the question: Do any of these individuals or organizations (or any future ones) have a viable claim against the President for violating their First Amendment rights?

One might think that the ability to sue the President for violation of the First Amendment would be relatively settled. The answer, however, is not quite that straightforward. Due to several unique qualities about the First Amendment and the presidency, it is not entirely ...


Qui Tam Litigation Against Government Officials: Constitutional Implications Of A Neglected History, Randy Beck Jan 2018

Qui Tam Litigation Against Government Officials: Constitutional Implications Of A Neglected History, Randy Beck

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The Supreme Court concluded twenty-five years ago, in Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, that uninjured private plaintiffs may not litigate “generalized grievances” about the legality of executive branch conduct. According to the Lujan Court, Congress lacked power to authorize suit by a plaintiff who could not establish some “particularized” injury from the challenged conduct. The Court believed litigation to require executive branch legal compliance, brought by an uninjured private party, is not a “case” or “controversy” within the Article III judicial power and impermissibly reassigns the President’s Article II responsibility to “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed ...


Qualified Immunity And Statutory Interpretation: A Response To William Baude, Hillel Y. Levin, Michael Wells Jan 2018

Qualified Immunity And Statutory Interpretation: A Response To William Baude, Hillel Y. Levin, Michael Wells

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In his article, Is Qualified Immunity Unlawful?, Professor Baude argues that the doctrine of qualified immunity under section 1983 is unlawful because the doctrine did not exist at the time section 1983 was enacted. We disagree. Section 1983 is a common law statute. Consequently, its meaning and application was not fixed at the time of original passage. In this article, we explain why.

Although we are sympathetic to Professor Baude’s implicit policy-based critique of the doctrine of qualified immunity, we believe his analysis is flawed. The better and more likely way to improve the doctrine is through the common ...


Submarine Statutes, Christian Turner Jan 2018

Submarine Statutes, Christian Turner

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I define as “submarine statutes” a category of statutes that affect the meaning of later-passed statutes. A submarine statute calls for courts to apply future statutes differently than they would have otherwise. An example is the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which requires, in some circumstances, exemptions for religious exercise from otherwise compulsory statutory requirements. A new statute can only be understood if its interaction with RFRA is also understood. While scholars have debated the constitutionality of some statutes like these, mainly analyzing the legitimacy of their entrenching quality, I argue that submarine statutes carry an overlooked cost. Namely, they add ...


Wrongful Convictions, Constitutional Remedies, And Nelson V. Colorado, Michael Wells Jan 2018

Wrongful Convictions, Constitutional Remedies, And Nelson V. Colorado, Michael Wells

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This article examines the U.S. Supreme Court’s Nelson v. Colorado opinion, in which the Court addressed the novel issue of remedies for persons wrongly convicted of crimes. Governments routinely deprive criminal defendants of both liberty and property upon conviction, and do so before giving them a chance to appeal their convictions and sentences. When a conviction is overturned, the state typically refunds fines and most other monetary exactions but seldom compensates for the loss of liberty. In Nelson, the Supreme Court addressed an unusual case in which the state did not return the money and that refusal was ...


Qualified Immunity After Ziglar V. Abbasi: The Case For A Categorical Approach, Michael Wells Jan 2018

Qualified Immunity After Ziglar V. Abbasi: The Case For A Categorical Approach, Michael Wells

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Qualified immunity protects officers from liability for damages unless they have violated clearly established rights, on the ground that it would be unfair and counterproductive to impose liability without notice of wrongdoing. In recent years, however, the Supreme Court has increasingly applied the doctrine to cases in which it serves little or no legitimate purpose. In Ziglar v. Abbasi, for example, the rights were clearly established but the Court held that the officers were immune due to lack of clarity on other issues in the case. Because holdings like Ziglar undermine the vindication of constitutional rights and the deterrence of ...


Due Process Of War, Nathan Chapman Jan 2018

Due Process Of War, Nathan Chapman

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The application of the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment to the government’s deprivation of rights during war is one of the most challenging and contested questions of constitutional law. The Supreme Court has not provided a consistent or historically informed framework for analyzing due process during war. Based on the English background, the text and history of the U.S. Constitution, and early American practice, this Article argues that due process was originally understood to apply to many but not to all deprivations of rights during war. It proposes a framework for analyzing due process during war ...


Due Process Abroad, Nathan Chapman Dec 2017

Due Process Abroad, Nathan Chapman

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Defining the scope of the Constitution’s application outside U.S. territory is more important than ever. This month the Supreme Court will hear oral argument about whether the Constitution applies when a U.S. officer shoots a Mexican child across the border. Meanwhile the federal courts are scrambling to evaluate the constitutionality of an Executive Order that, among other things, deprives immigrants of their right to reenter the United States. Yet the extraterritorial reach of the Due Process Clause — the broadest constitutional limit on the government’s authority to deprive persons of “life, liberty, and property” — remains obscure. Up ...


The Downstream Consequences Of Misdemeanor Pretrial Detention, Paul Heaton, Sandra G. Mayson, Megan Stevenson Jan 2017

The Downstream Consequences Of Misdemeanor Pretrial Detention, Paul Heaton, Sandra G. Mayson, Megan Stevenson

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In misdemeanor cases, pretrial detention poses a particular problem because it may induce innocent defendants to plead guilty in order to exit jail, potentially creating widespread error in case adjudication. While practitioners have long recognized this possibility, empirical evidence on the downstream impacts of pretrial detention on misdemeanor defendants and their cases remains limited. This Article uses detailed data on hundreds of thousands of misdemeanor cases resolved in Harris County, Texas—the thirdlargest county in the United States—to measure the effects of pretrial detention on case outcomes and future crime. We find that detained defendants are 25% more likely ...


Why Some Religious Accommodations For Mandatory Vaccinations Violate The Establishment Clause, Hillel Y. Levin Jan 2017

Why Some Religious Accommodations For Mandatory Vaccinations Violate The Establishment Clause, Hillel Y. Levin

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All states require parents to inoculate their children against deadly diseases prior to enrolling them in public schools, but the vast majority of states also allow parents to opt out on religious grounds. This religious accommodation imposes potentially grave costs on the children of non-vaccinating parents and on those who cannot be immunized. The Establishment Clause prohibits religious accommodations that impose such costs on third parties in some cases, but not in all. This presents a difficult line-drawing problem. The Supreme Court has offered little guidance, and scholars are divided.

This Article addresses the problem of religious accommodations that impose ...


The “Sovereigns Of Cyberspace” And State Action: The First Amendment’S Application (Or Lack Thereof) To Third-Party Platforms, Jonathan Peters Jan 2017

The “Sovereigns Of Cyberspace” And State Action: The First Amendment’S Application (Or Lack Thereof) To Third-Party Platforms, Jonathan Peters

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Many scholars have commented that the state action doctrine forecloses use of the First Amendment to constrain the policies and practices of online service providers. But few have comprehensively studied this issue, and the seminal article exploring “[c]yberspace and the [s]tate [a]ction [d]ebate” is fifteen years old, published before the U.S. Supreme Court reformulated the federal approach to state action. It is important to give the state action doctrine regular scholarly attention, not least because it is increasingly clear that “the private sector has a shared responsibility to help safeguard free expression.” It is critical ...


The Fragility Of The Free American Press, Ronnell Anderson Jones, Sonja R. West Jan 2017

The Fragility Of The Free American Press, Ronnell Anderson Jones, Sonja R. West

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President Donald Trump has faced criticism for attacking the press and for abandoning longstanding traditions of accommodating and respecting it. This Essay argues that the national discussion spurred by Trump’s treatment of the press has fallen short of capturing the true seriousness of the situation. Trump’s assault on the custom of press accommodation follows a generation-long collapse of other major press protections. In order to fully understand the critical juncture at which American press freedom now stands, we must expand the discussion beyond talk of a rogue president’s aberrant attacks on the press and consider the increasingly ...


A Politics-Reinforcing Political Question Doctrine, Harlan G. Cohen Jan 2017

A Politics-Reinforcing Political Question Doctrine, Harlan G. Cohen

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The modern political question doctrine has long been criticized for shielding the political branches from proper judicial scrutiny and allowing the courts to abdicate their responsibilities. Critics of the doctrine thus cheered when the Supreme Court, in Zivotofsky I, announced a narrowing of the doctrine. Their joy though may have been short-lived. Almost immediately, Zivotofsky II demonstrated the dark side of judicial review of the separation of powers between Congress and the President: deciding separations of powers cases may permanently cut one of the political branches out of certain debates. Judicial scrutiny in a particular case could eliminate political scrutiny ...


Adjudicating Religious Sincerity, Nathan Chapman Jan 2017

Adjudicating Religious Sincerity, Nathan Chapman

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Recent disputes about the “contraception mandate” under the Affordable Care Act and about the provision of goods and services for same-sex weddings have drawn attention to the law of religious accommodations. So far, however, one of the requirements of a religious accommodation claim has escaped sustained scholarly attention: a claimant must be sincere. Historically, scholars have contested this requirement on the ground that adjudicating religious sincerity requires government officials to delve too deeply into religious questions, something the Establishment Clause forbids. Until recently, however, the doctrine was fairly clear: though the government may not evaluate the objective accuracy or plausibility ...


Freedom Of Speech And The Criminal Law, Dan T. Coenen Jan 2017

Freedom Of Speech And The Criminal Law, Dan T. Coenen

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Because the Free Speech Clause limits government power to enact penal statutes, it has a close relationship to American criminal law. This Article explores that relationship at a time when a fast-growing “decriminalization movement” has taken hold across the nation. At the heart of the Article is the idea that free speech law has developed in ways that have positioned the Supreme Court to use that law to impose significant new limits on the criminalization of speech. More particularly, this article claims that the Court has developed three distinct decision-making strategies for decriminalizing speech based on constitutional principles. The first ...


Who Has Standing To Sue The President Over Allegedly Unconstitutional Emoluments?, Matthew I. Hall Jan 2017

Who Has Standing To Sue The President Over Allegedly Unconstitutional Emoluments?, Matthew I. Hall

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Three pending lawsuits challenge President Trump's practice of accepting payments and other benefits from foreign governments through his businesses as violative of the Foreign Emoluments Clause. They also allege that the President's practice of accepting payments and benefits from state or federal governmental units violates the Domestic Emoluments Clause. These actions raise interesting questions about the meaning of two little-discussed provisions of the Constitution. But before reaching the merits the courts will first have to grapple with issues of justiciability - in particular, with the question whether plaintiffs have "standing" to bring their claims in federal court. This article ...


Standing For (And Up To) Separation Of Powers, Kent H. Barnett Apr 2016

Standing For (And Up To) Separation Of Powers, Kent H. Barnett

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The U.S. Constitution requires federal agencies to comply with separation-of-powers (or structural) safeguards, such as by obtaining valid appointments, exercising certain limited powers, and being sufficiently subject to the President’s control. Who can best protect these safeguards? A growing number of scholars call for allowing only the political branches — Congress and the President — to defend them. These scholars would limit or end judicial review because private judicial challenges are aberrant to justiciability doctrine and lead courts to meddle in minor matters that rarely effect regulatory outcomes.

This Article defends the right of private parties to assert justiciable structural ...


The Institutionalization Of Supreme Court Confirmation Hearings, Paul M. Collins Jr., Lori A. Ringhand Jan 2016

The Institutionalization Of Supreme Court Confirmation Hearings, Paul M. Collins Jr., Lori A. Ringhand

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This article uses an original database of confirmation hearing dialogue to examine how the Senate Judiciary Committee’s role in Supreme Court confirmations has changed over time, with particular attention paid to the 1939–2010 era. During this period, several notable developments took place, including a rise in the number of hearing comments, increased attention to nominees’ views of judicial decisions, an expansion of the scope of issues addressed, and the equalization of questioning between majority and minority party senators. We demonstrate that these changes were shaped by both endogenous and exogenous factors to promote the legitimization of the Judiciary ...


What Did The Supreme Court Hold In Heffernan V. City Of Paterson?, Michael Wells Jan 2016

What Did The Supreme Court Hold In Heffernan V. City Of Paterson?, Michael Wells

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As a favor to his mother, Jeffrey Heffernan picked up a political yard sign. His supervisors demoted him, in the mistaken belief that he had engaged in protected speech. In Heffernan v. City of Patterson, 136 S.Ct. 1412 (2016), the Supreme Court held that a public employee can sue a local government under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 when a supervisor acts for constitutionally impermissible motives, even though he has not in fact exercised First Amendment rights. But the grounds for that holding are unclear. The Court may have ruled that the city, through its police chief, violated Heffernan ...


Making Sense Of Legislative Standing, Matthew I. Hall Jan 2016

Making Sense Of Legislative Standing, Matthew I. Hall

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Legislative standing doctrine is neglected and under-theorized. There has always been a wide range of opinions on the Supreme Court about the proper contours of legislative standing doctrine and even about whether the Court should adjudicate disputes between the other two branches at all. Perhaps owing to these disagreements, the full Court has never articulated a clear vision of the doctrine. While the Court has managed to resolve some cases, it has not achieved the consensus necessary to provide a comprehensive and coherent account of critical doctrinal issues such as what type of injury can give rise to legislative standing ...


Policing In The Era Of Permissiveness: Mitigating Misconduct Through Third-Party Standing, Julian A. Cook Jan 2016

Policing In The Era Of Permissiveness: Mitigating Misconduct Through Third-Party Standing, Julian A. Cook

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On April 4, 2015, Walter L. Scott was driving his vehicle when he was stopped by Officer Michael T. Slager of the North Charleston, South Carolina, police department for a broken taillight. A dash cam video from the officer’s vehicle showed the two men engaged in what appeared to be a rather routine verbal exchange. Sometime after Slager returned to his vehicle, Scott exited his car and ran away from Slager, prompting the officer to pursue him on foot. After he caught up with Scott in a grassy field near a muffler establishment, a scuffle between the men ensued ...