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Authors’ Response: An Enquiry Concerning Constitutional Understanding, Gary Lawson, Guy I. Seidman Jul 2019

Authors’ Response: An Enquiry Concerning Constitutional Understanding, Gary Lawson, Guy I. Seidman

Faculty Scholarship

One of Professor Lawson’s first students, alluding to a 1985 article with the provocative title “Why Professor [Marty] Redish Is Wrong about Abstention,” declared that his ambition was to inspire someone to write an article entitled “Why [the student] Is Wrong about XXX.” The student claimed that, regardless of what filled in the “XXX,” this event would be the pinnacle of academic accomplishment.

If that view is even close to the mark, then having an entire conference devoted to explaining why Professors Lawson and Seidman are wrong about the Constitution is an extraordinary honor. In all seriousness, we are ...


Why Robert Mueller’S Appointment As Special Counsel Was Unlawful, Gary Lawson, Steven Calabresi Jan 2019

Why Robert Mueller’S Appointment As Special Counsel Was Unlawful, Gary Lawson, Steven Calabresi

Faculty Scholarship

Since 1999, when the independent counsel provisions of the Ethics in Government Act expired, the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) has had in place regulations providing for the appointment of Special Counsels who possess “the full power and independent authority to exercise all investigative and prosecutorial functions of any United States Attorney.” Appointments under these regulations, such as the May 17,2017 appointment of Robert S. Mueller to investigate the Trump campaign, are patently unlawful, for three distinct reasons.

First, all federal offices must be “established by Law,” and there is no statute authorizing such an office in the DOJ. We ...


The Depravity Of The 1930s And The Modern Administrative State, Gary Lawson, Steven Calabresi Dec 2018

The Depravity Of The 1930s And The Modern Administrative State, Gary Lawson, Steven Calabresi

Faculty Scholarship

Gillian Metzger’s 2017 Harvard Law Review foreword, entitled 1930s Redux: The Administrative State Under Siege, is a paean to the modern administrative state, with its massive subdelegations of legislative and judicial power to so-called “expert” bureaucrats, who are layered well out of reach of electoral accountability yet do not have the constitutional status of Article III judges. We disagree with this celebration of technocratic government on just about every level, but this Article focuses on two relatively narrow points.

First, responding more to implicit assumptions that pervade modern discourse than specifically to Professor Metzger’s analysis, we challenge the ...


Bureaucratic Resistance And The National Security State, Rebecca Ingber Nov 2018

Bureaucratic Resistance And The National Security State, Rebecca Ingber

Faculty Scholarship

Modern accounts of the national security state tend toward one of two opposing views of bureaucratic tensions within it: At one extreme, the executive branch bureaucracy is a shadowy “deep state,” unaccountable to the public or even to the elected President. On this account, bureaucratic obstacles to the President’s agenda are inherently suspect, even dangerous. At the other end, bureaucratic resistance to the President represents a necessary benevolent constraint on an otherwise imperial executive, the modern incarnation of the separation of powers, as the traditional checks on the President of the courts and Congress have fallen down on the ...


Appointments And Illegal Adjudication: The Aia Through A Constitutional Lens, Gary Lawson Jan 2018

Appointments And Illegal Adjudication: The Aia Through A Constitutional Lens, Gary Lawson

Faculty Scholarship

In 2011, Congress enacted the America Invents Act (“AIA”), largely in order to provide more effective mechanisms for invalidating, or cancelling, already-issued patents. The statute provides for inter partes review, in which patents, on the request of third parties, can be cancelled by an administrative body, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), subject to deferential judicial review. The constitutionality of this scheme is currently (as of January 9, 2018) before the Supreme Court in Oil States Energy Services, LLC v. Greene’s Energy Group, LLC, but the arguments in that case understandably focus on the consistency of inter partes ...


Confronting Crawford: Justice Scalia, The Judicial Method, And The Limits(?) Of Originalism, Gary Lawson Sep 2017

Confronting Crawford: Justice Scalia, The Judicial Method, And The Limits(?) Of Originalism, Gary Lawson

Faculty Scholarship

Crawford v. Washington, which revamped (and even revolutionized) interpretation and application of the Sixth Amendment’s Confrontation Clause, just might be Justice Scalia’s most important majority opinion, for three reasons. First, its impact on the criminal justice system has been immense, and even if the case is overruled in the near future, as seems quite possible, that effect will still likely exceed the concrete impact of any other opinion that he wrote. Second, and more importantly, Crawford emphasizes the trite but crucial point that methodology matters. Crawford has generally been a boon to criminal defendants and a bane to ...


Take The Fifth... Please!: The Original Insignificance Of The Fifth Amendment's Due Process Of Law Clause, Gary Lawson Jul 2017

Take The Fifth... Please!: The Original Insignificance Of The Fifth Amendment's Due Process Of Law Clause, Gary Lawson

Faculty Scholarship

The Fifth Amendment’s Due Process of Law Clause adds nothing to the Constitution’s original meaning. Every principle for limiting federal executive, judicial, and even legislative powers that can plausibly be attributed to the idea of “due process of law” – from the principle of legality forbidding executive or judicial action in the absence of law to the requirement of notice before valid judicial judgments to a limitation on arbitrary governmental action that today goes under the heading of “substantive due process” – is already contained in the text and structure of the Constitution of 1788. The Fifth Amendment Due Process ...


The Second Amendment & Private Law, Cody Jacobs Jul 2017

The Second Amendment & Private Law, Cody Jacobs

Faculty Scholarship

The Second Amendment, like other federal constitutional rights, is a restriction on government power. But what role does the Second Amendment have to play—if any—when a private party seeks to limit the exercise of Second Amendment rights by invoking private law causes of action? Private law—specifically, the law of torts, contracts, and property—has often been impacted by constitutional considerations, though in seemingly inconsistent ways. The First Amendment places limitations on defamation actions and other related torts, and also prevents courts from entering injunctions that could be classified as prior restraints. On the other hand, the First ...


The Prophylactic Fifth Amendment, Tracey Maclin May 2017

The Prophylactic Fifth Amendment, Tracey Maclin

Faculty Scholarship

Before Miranda was decided, the Court had not squarely confronted the issue of when a violation of the Fifth Amendment occurs. Over fifty years ago, the Court acknowledged that the right against self-incrimination has two interrelated facets: The Government may not use compulsion to elicit self-incriminating statements; and the Government may not permit the use in a criminal trial of self-incriminating statements elicited by compulsion. Back then, the “conceptual difficulty of pinpointing” when a constitutional violation occurs — when the Government employs compulsion, or when the compelled statement is actually admitted at trial — was unimportant. Chavez v. Martinez forced the Court ...


The Contract Clause: A Constitutional History By James W. Ely (Review), Jay Wexler Jan 2017

The Contract Clause: A Constitutional History By James W. Ely (Review), Jay Wexler

Shorter Faculty Works

If the Constitution were a zoo, what resident animal would the Contract Clause be? The clause, which is found in Article I, section 10 of our founding document, reads: “No state shall . . . pass any . . . Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts.” It certainly would not be one of the zoo’s star attractions; the Contract Clause is no First Amendment lion or Fourth Amendment tiger. But it is no bat-eared fox (the Letters of Marque Clause?) or Eurasian water shrew (the Third Amendment?) either. Based on reading Ely’s comprehensive history of the Contract Clause, perhaps it would be an animal ...


Did Justice Scalia Have A Theory Of Interpretation?, Gary Lawson Jan 2017

Did Justice Scalia Have A Theory Of Interpretation?, Gary Lawson

Faculty Scholarship

It seems beyond bizarre to ask whether Justice Scalia had a theory of textual interpretation. If he did not have such a theory, what were he and his critics talking about for the past three decades? The answer is that they were talking about part of a theory of textual interpretation but not an actual, complete theory. A complete theory of textual interpretation must prescribe principles of admissibility (what counts towards meaning), significance (how much does the admissible evidence count), standards of proof (how much evidence do you need for a justified conclusion), burdens of proof (does inertia lie with ...


Original Foreign Affairs Federalism, Gary Lawson Jan 2017

Original Foreign Affairs Federalism, Gary Lawson

Faculty Scholarship

Two of the most doctrinally bewildering topics in American constitutional law are federalism and foreign affairs. Put the two together and it requires the patience of Job and the wisdom of Solomon to navigate, never mind make sense of, the judicial and political accommodations that have arisen over the course of more than two centuries concerning the relative roles of the national, state, and local governments in matters that implicate American involvement with foreign countries and citizens. I will not go so far as to say that Mike Glennon and Rob Sloane’s new book, Foreign Affairs Federalism: The Myth ...


By Any Other Name: Rational Basis Inquiry And The Federal Government's Fiduciary Duty Of Care, Gary Lawson Aug 2016

By Any Other Name: Rational Basis Inquiry And The Federal Government's Fiduciary Duty Of Care, Gary Lawson

Faculty Scholarship

Under modern law, federal legislation is subject to “rational basis review” under the doctrinal rubric of “substantive due process.” That construction of the Fifth Amendment’s Due Process Clause is notoriously difficult to justify as a matter of original constitutional meaning. Something very similar to substantive due process, however, is easily justifiable as a matter of original constitutional meaning once one understands that the Constitution, for interpretative purposes, is best seen as a kind of fiduciary instrument. Fiduciary instruments operate against a background of legal norms that notably include a duty of care on the part of agents. All federal ...


Reflections Of An Empirical Reader (Or: Could Fleming Be Right This Time?), Gary Lawson Jul 2016

Reflections Of An Empirical Reader (Or: Could Fleming Be Right This Time?), Gary Lawson

Faculty Scholarship

Professor Jim Fleming’s new book, Fidelity to Our Imperfect Constitution: For Moral Readings and Against Originalisms, purports to critique all forms of originalism from the perspective of Professor Fleming’s “moral reading” of, or “philosophic approach” to, the Constitution. I propose a somewhat different opposition: empirical reading versus moral reading. Empirical reading is necessarily originalist, but it focuses directly on the need to ground interpretation in theories of concepts, language, and communication. In this short comment, I outline the research agenda for a theory of empirical reading, explore the extent to which empirical readings and moral readings of the ...


The Right To Silence V. The Fifth Amendment, Tracey Maclin Mar 2016

The Right To Silence V. The Fifth Amendment, Tracey Maclin

Faculty Scholarship

This paper concerns a well-known, but badly misunderstood, constitutional right. The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution guarantees, inter alia, that no person “shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself.” For the non-lawyer, the Fifth Amendment protects an individual’s right to silence. Many Americans believe that the Constitution protects their right to remain silent when questioned by police officers or governmental officials. Three rulings from the Supreme Court over the past twelve years, Chavez v. Martinez (2003), Berghuis v. Thomkpins (2010) and Salinas v. Texas (2013), however, demonstrate that the “right to remain silent ...


Time, Institutions, And Adjudication, Gary Lawson Dec 2015

Time, Institutions, And Adjudication, Gary Lawson

Faculty Scholarship

Some of my earliest and fondest memories regarding constitutional theory involve Mike McConnell. He was a participant at the very first Federalist Society conference in 1982, at a time when the entire universe of conservative constitutional theorists fit comfortably in the front of one classroom. More importantly, at another Federalist Society conference in 1987, he gave a speech on constitutional interpretation that, unbeknownst to him, profoundly shaped my entire intellectual approach to the field by emphasizing the obvious but oftoverlooked point that different kinds of documents call for different kinds of interpretative methods.1 In 2015, it is more than ...


Dworkin's Perfectionism, Linda Mcclain, James Fleming Oct 2015

Dworkin's Perfectionism, Linda Mcclain, James Fleming

Faculty Scholarship

In this essay, we shall interpret Dworkin's constitutional theory in light of three varieties of perfectionism: (1) the idea that government should undertake a formative project of inculcating civic virtues and encouraging responsibility in the exercise of rights; (2) the idea that we should interpret the American Constitution so as to make it the best it can be; and (3) the idea that we should defend a Constitution-perfecting theory that would secure not only procedural liberties essential for democratic self-government but also substantive liberties essential for personal self-government. We shall identify three gaps left by Dworkin's work and ...


The Suez Crisis Of 1956 And Its Aftermath: A Comparative Study Of Constitutions, Use Of Force, Diplomacy And International Relations, Pnina Lahav Jul 2015

The Suez Crisis Of 1956 And Its Aftermath: A Comparative Study Of Constitutions, Use Of Force, Diplomacy And International Relations, Pnina Lahav

Faculty Scholarship

This article compares and juxtaposes constitutional war powers (deployed by the belligerents) and diplomacy (deployed by the US) as means of pursuing foreign policy during the 1956 Suez crisis.

In the fall of 1956 the United Kingdom, France and Israel launched a war against Egypt. It soon became clear that this was a coordinated effort. The war started a few days before the US presidential elections but the parties did not share their plans with President Eisenhower. The Hungarian rebellion and the Soviet invasion of Hungary occurred at the same time. Within weeks, the United States, in cooperation with the ...


Inigo Montoya Goes To War, Gary Lawson Jul 2015

Inigo Montoya Goes To War, Gary Lawson

Faculty Scholarship

In The Princess Bride, 1 the conniving Sicilian Vizzini is constantly declaring that events that are obviously occurring in plain sight are “inconceivable.”2 The third time (in the span of five pages) that Vizzini proclaims something that is clearly happening to be “inconceivable,” Vizzini’s then-companion, the Spaniard Inigo Montoya, snaps, “You keep using that word! . . . I don’t think it means what you think it does.”3 The voice of Inigo Montoya (well, actually the voice of Mandy Patinkin, who brilliantly deadpanned rather than “snapped”4 a version of the line in the movie adaptation of The Princess ...


Comment On Amendment-Metrics: The Good, The Bad And The Frequently Amended Constitution, James Fleming Jul 2015

Comment On Amendment-Metrics: The Good, The Bad And The Frequently Amended Constitution, James Fleming

Faculty Scholarship

This comment assesses Xenophon Contiades and Alkmene Fotiadou’s critique of arguments that long, frequently amended constitutions tend to be bad constitutions. It also criticizes their analysis of the purposes of amendment, arguing that most amendments, in some way, aim to respond to imperfections or correct flaws in existing constitutions. Furthermore (drawing on the analysis of John Marshall), the comment sketches some general criteria for a good constitution: that it should be a “great outline,” not a detailed legal code; that it should be difficult to amend; and that it should not be amended frequently. Finally (building on the analysis ...


Is It Time To Rewrite The Constitution? Fidelity To Our Imperfect Constitution, James Fleming Mar 2015

Is It Time To Rewrite The Constitution? Fidelity To Our Imperfect Constitution, James Fleming

Faculty Scholarship

This essay considers arguments that the U.S. Constitution is so imperfect — and the constitutional and political system so dysfunctional or otherwise failing — that it is time to rewrite the Constitution through amendment or constitutional convention. I argue that if we adopt and maintain an attitude of fidelity to our imperfect Constitution, it may be unnecessary to formally amend the Constitution unless there is good reason to believe that something better might come out of this process. The better approach is to maintain an attitude of fidelity to the imperfect Constitution and to apply a Constitution-perfecting theory — to interpret the ...


Fit, Justification, And Fidelity In Constitutional Interpretation, James Fleming Mar 2015

Fit, Justification, And Fidelity In Constitutional Interpretation, James Fleming

Faculty Scholarship

Ronald Dworkin famously argued that the best interpretation of a Constitution should both fit and justify the legal materials, for example, the text, original meaning, and precedents. In his recent book, Against Obligation (Harvard University Press, 2012), Abner S. Greene provocatively and creatively bucks the tendencies of constitutional theorists to profess fidelity with the past in constitutional interpretation. He rejects originalist understandings of obligation to follow original meaning in interpreting the Constitution. And indeed he rejects interpretive obligation to follow precedent. In this Essay I focus on Greene’s arguments against interpretive obligation to the past, in particular, his argument ...


Fidelity To Our Living Constitution, James Fleming Jan 2015

Fidelity To Our Living Constitution, James Fleming

Faculty Scholarship

This essay explores the arguments of Bruce Ackerman, who decries the Roberts Court’s “shattering judicial betrayal” of our living constitution’s Civil Rights Revolution. He argues for a broader conception of the constitutional canon: The higher law of the Constitution includes not only formally adopted provisions but also “landmark statutes” and judicial “superprecedents,” for example, those of the Civil Rights Revolution. He also argues for a broader conception of popular sovereignty: We the People manifest our will not only through the formal amending procedures but also through higher lawmaking procedures outside Article V. He exhorts us to fidelity to ...


Jefferson's Constitutions, Gerald Leonard Oct 2014

Jefferson's Constitutions, Gerald Leonard

Faculty Scholarship

Between 1787 and 1840, the Constitution gained a far more democratic meaning than it had had at the Founding, and Thomas Jefferson was a key figure in the process of democratization. But, while more democratic in inclination than many of the Framers, he fell far short of the radically democratic constitutionalism of his most important acolytes, Martin Van Buren and Andrew Jackson. This chapter of Constitutions and the Classics explains that Jefferson was actually much less attached to democracy and more to law as the heart of the republican Constitution. Compared to the 1830s founders of the nation’s democratic ...


Liberty, James Fleming, Linda Mcclain Oct 2014

Liberty, James Fleming, Linda Mcclain

Faculty Scholarship

"To secure the blessings of liberty," the Preamble to the US Constitution proclaims, "We the People . . . ordain and establish this Constitution." The Constitution is said to secure liberty through three principal strategies: the design of the Constitution as a whole; structural arrangements, most notably separation of powers andfederalism; and protection of rights. This chapter focuses on this third strategy of protecting liberty, in particular, through the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments. We first examine the several approaches taken to the "Incorporation" of certain basic liberties "enumerated" in the Bill of Rights to apply to the state governments. We then examine the ...


Congress's (Less) Limited Power To Represent Itself In Court: A Comment On Grove And Devins, Jack M. Beermann Sep 2014

Congress's (Less) Limited Power To Represent Itself In Court: A Comment On Grove And Devins, Jack M. Beermann

Faculty Scholarship

In their recent article, Congress’s (Limited) Power to Represent Itself in Court, 99 Cornell L. Rev. 571 (2014) Tara Leigh Grove and Neal Devins make the case against congressional litigation in defense of the constitutionality of federal statutes. They conclude that Congress, or a single House of Congress, may not defend the constitutionality of federal statutes in court even when the Executive Branch has decided not to do so but may litigate only in furtherance of Congress’s investigatory and disciplinary powers. Grove and Devins claim that congressional litigation in support of the constitutionality of federal statutes violates two ...


Fidelity, Change, And The Good Constitution, James Fleming Jul 2014

Fidelity, Change, And The Good Constitution, James Fleming

Faculty Scholarship

In thinking about fidelity and change in constitutional interpretation, many have framed the basic choice as being between originalism and living constitutionalism. Consider, for example, Jack M. Balkin’s Living Originalism, Robert W. Bennett and Lawrence B. Solum’s Constitutional Originalism: A Debate, and John O. McGinnis and Michael B. Rappaport’s Originalism and the Good Constitution. I shall argue for the superiority of what Ronald Dworkin called “moral readings of the Constitution” and what what Sotirios A. Barber and I have called a “philosophic approach” to constitutional interpretation. By “moral reading” and “philosophic approach,” I refer to conceptions of ...


One(?) Nation Over-Extended, Gary Lawson Jan 2014

One(?) Nation Over-Extended, Gary Lawson

Faculty Scholarship

The conventional wisdom prior to the founding was that republics needed to be small. The conventional wisdom today is that James Madison, and the example of the United States, proves this to be mistaken. But what if Madison was actually wrong and Montesquieu was right? In this article, I consider whether the United States has gotten too big for its Constitution, whether this massive size contributes to political dysfunction, and what might be done to remedy the problem if there is indeed a problem. I suggest that size can increase rather than decrease the dangers of faction because the increased ...


Classical Liberal Constitution Or Classical Liberal Construction?, Gary Lawson Jan 2014

Classical Liberal Constitution Or Classical Liberal Construction?, Gary Lawson

Faculty Scholarship

In The Classical Liberal Constitution: The Uncertain Quest for Limited Government (2013), Richard Epstein says that he "incorporates but goes beyond" originalist theory by calling for adjudication "in sync with" classical liberal theory political theory, which Professor Epstein claims underlies the Constitution. Without in any way detracting from the numerous virtues of this book, I argue that this is primarily a work of constitutional construction rather than constitutional interpretation. From the standpoint of interpretation, the background rules that best supplement the constitutional text are found in eighteenth-century fiduciary law rather than in classical liberal political theory, though the latter is ...


The Inclusiveness Of The New Originalism, James Fleming Nov 2013

The Inclusiveness Of The New Originalism, James Fleming

Faculty Scholarship

In tracing the arc of originalism from the old originalism to the new, I observe a shift from an exclusionary outlook to an inclusionary outlook, reflected in new originalists’ proclamations that “we are all originalists now.” As my title suggests, I am going to bring out the inclusiveness of the new originalism and ponder its implications. The new originalists have emphasized two developments: (1) the movement from a focus on “intention of the framers” to “original public meaning” and (2) the articulation of and emphasis on the distinction between interpretation and construction. My main points are two. First, the inclusiveness ...