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Constitutional Law

Theses/Dissertations

William & Mary

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"Full Of Internal Contradictions": A Neutral Case For The Invalidation Of The Death Penalty, Carson A. Whitehurst Apr 2019

"Full Of Internal Contradictions": A Neutral Case For The Invalidation Of The Death Penalty, Carson A. Whitehurst

Undergraduate Honors Theses

A neutral evaluation of the modern death penalty, a fundamentally flawed institution, necessitates its invalidation. I analyze 428 death sentences and their appellate outcomes from Virginia, Texas, California, Pennsylvania, Colorado, and Wyoming, states which represent the gamut of capital punishment regimes in the United States. Employing a legal framework derived from the work of Justice Antonin Scalia—a lifelong and staunch supporter of the death penalty—I argue that the harmonious-reading canon and irreconcilability canons offer a neutral means for ending the American death penalty, and one which would be appropriate given the politicization of what is an irreversible punishment.


Accessing The Right To Choose: Factors Predicting The Enactment Of State-Level Abortion Clinic Access Laws, Hannah Gourdie May 2018

Accessing The Right To Choose: Factors Predicting The Enactment Of State-Level Abortion Clinic Access Laws, Hannah Gourdie

Undergraduate Honors Theses

During the 1980s and 1990s, anti-abortion violence and harassment targeted at reproductive health clinics spiked in response to religious and political mobilization around the national decriminalization of abortion. To combat violence, harassment, and mass protests at clinics, 16 states and DC enacted abortion clinic access laws. These laws typically prohibit certain activities, such as obstruction and vandalism, and some create no-protest buffer zones that restrict clinic protests. Most research on clinic access laws concentrates on how these laws affect levels of anti-abortion violence and disruption targeted at clinics. Other literature focuses on the tensions between pro-life speech and privacy/abortion ...


Chilling The Right To A Jury Trial: The Unconstitutionality Of Jury Costs, Stephanie E. Levin May 2017

Chilling The Right To A Jury Trial: The Unconstitutionality Of Jury Costs, Stephanie E. Levin

Undergraduate Honors Theses

This thesis examines jury costs—extra court costs charged to convicted defendants if they exercised their constitutional right to a jury trial. Constitutional arguments against charging these fees are outlined in the broader context of indigency and criminal justice reform. Practical solutions to end the charging of jury fees are offered.


Reasonable Expectations: State Appellate Courts And The Third-Party Doctrine, Tanner M. Russo May 2015

Reasonable Expectations: State Appellate Courts And The Third-Party Doctrine, Tanner M. Russo

Undergraduate Honors Theses

While the United States Supreme Court held in such cases as United States v. Miller (1976), Smith v. Maryland (1979), and California v. Greenwood (1988) that the Fourth Amendment does not protect material shared with third parties, state appellate courts are free to offer greater levels of protection to such material under their own state constitutions. Analyzing a population of 218 state appellate third-party rulings between 1952 and 2014, I examine the legal and political factors that lead some state courts to avail themselves of state constitutions in recognizing citizens' privacy expectations over information shared with third parties. I find ...


Examining The Role Of Cultural Paradigm Shift On Originalist Interpretation: Implications On The Second Amendment, Arvin Alaigh Apr 2015

Examining The Role Of Cultural Paradigm Shift On Originalist Interpretation: Implications On The Second Amendment, Arvin Alaigh

Undergraduate Honors Theses

The Second Amendment is traditionally understood within the bounds of originalism, a method of Constitutional interpretation that calls on founding-era history as a means of ascertaining original meanings of the Constitution. Both proponents and opponents of gun regulation appeal to this history as a means of justifying their respective viewpoints – the former assumes an ‘individual right’ reading of the Amendment, while the latter maintains a ‘collective right’ interpretation. In this project, I describe the origins of the Second Amendment and its original context, affirming Saul Cornell’s ‘civic right’ interpretation, against both the individual and collective rights interpretations. I illustrate ...