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Full-Text Articles in Law

Foreword: Elected Branch Influences In Constitutional Decisionmaking, Neal Devins Sep 2019

Foreword: Elected Branch Influences In Constitutional Decisionmaking, Neal Devins

Neal E. Devins

No abstract provided.


Will, Judgment, And Economic Liberty: Mr. Justice Souter And The Mistranslation Of The Due Process Clause, Alan J. Meese Sep 2019

Will, Judgment, And Economic Liberty: Mr. Justice Souter And The Mistranslation Of The Due Process Clause, Alan J. Meese

Alan J. Meese

No abstract provided.


Interpreting Constitutions: A Comparative Study, Frederick W. Dingledy Sep 2019

Interpreting Constitutions: A Comparative Study, Frederick W. Dingledy

Frederick W. Dingledy

No abstract provided.


Why Congress Does Not Challenge Judicial Supremacy, Neal Devins Sep 2019

Why Congress Does Not Challenge Judicial Supremacy, Neal Devins

Neal E. Devins

Members of Congress largely acquiesce to judicial supremacy both on constitutional and statutory interpretation questions. Lawmakers, however, do not formally embrace judicial supremacy; they rarely think about the courts when enacting legislation. This Article explains why this is so, focusing on why lawmakers have both strong incentive to acquiesce to judicial power and little incentive to advance a coherent view of congressional power. In particular, lawmakers are interested in advancing favored policies, winning reelection, and gaining personal power within Congress. Abstract questions of institutional power do not interest lawmakers and judicial defeats are seen as opportunities to find some other ...


How Not To Challenge The Court, Neal Devins Sep 2019

How Not To Challenge The Court, Neal Devins

Neal E. Devins

No abstract provided.


Correspondence: The Stuff Of Constitutional Law, Neal Devins Sep 2019

Correspondence: The Stuff Of Constitutional Law, Neal Devins

Neal E. Devins

No abstract provided.


The Return Of The Unprovided-For Case, Michael S. Green Sep 2019

The Return Of The Unprovided-For Case, Michael S. Green

Michael S. Green

No abstract provided.


Constitutional Avoidance And The Roberts Court, Neal Devins Sep 2019

Constitutional Avoidance And The Roberts Court, Neal Devins

Neal E. Devins

No abstract provided.


Congress As Culprit: How Lawmakers Spurred On The Court's Anti-Congress Crusade, Neal Devins Sep 2019

Congress As Culprit: How Lawmakers Spurred On The Court's Anti-Congress Crusade, Neal Devins

Neal E. Devins

No abstract provided.


Against Mix-And-Match Lawmaking, Aaron-Andrew P. Bruhl Sep 2019

Against Mix-And-Match Lawmaking, Aaron-Andrew P. Bruhl

Aaron-Andrew P. Bruhl

No abstract provided.


The Declaration Of Independence And Constitutional Interpretation, Alexander Tsesis Jun 2019

The Declaration Of Independence And Constitutional Interpretation, Alexander Tsesis

Alexander Tsesis

This Article argues that the Reconstruction Amendments incorporated the human dignity values of the Declaration of Independence. The original Constitution contained clauses, which protected the institution of slavery, that were irreconcilable with the normative commitments the nation had undertaken at independence. The Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments set the country aright by formally incorporating the Declaration of Independence's principles for representative governance into the Constitution.

The Declaration of Independence provides valuable insights into matters of human dignity, privacy, and self-government. Its statements about human rights, equality, and popular sovereignty establish a foundational rule of interpretation. While the Supreme Court ...


The Popular Constitutional Canon, Tom Donnelly May 2019

The Popular Constitutional Canon, Tom Donnelly

William & Mary Bill of Rights Journal

Popular constitutionalism scholarship has often left out the American people. Sure, ordinary citizens make cameo appearances—often through the actions of elected officials and elite movement leaders. However, focusing on high politics among elite actors—even if those actors are not judges—simply is not enough. If popular constitutional views do, indeed, matter, then we can expect constitutional partisans to try to manipulate the processes through which these views emerge. Some constitutional scholars have made a start, reflecting on the importance of the constitutional canon. However, these scholars focus mostly on the legal canon and often ignore its popular analog ...


The Authors' Reply To Commentaries On, And Criticisms Of The Militia And The Right To Arms, Or, How The Second Amendment Fell Silent, H. Richard Uviller, William G. Merkel Mar 2019

The Authors' Reply To Commentaries On, And Criticisms Of The Militia And The Right To Arms, Or, How The Second Amendment Fell Silent, H. Richard Uviller, William G. Merkel

William G. Merkel

No abstract provided.


Originalism And Second-Order Ipse Dixit Reasoning In Chisholm V. Georgia, D. A. Jeremy Telman Dec 2018

Originalism And Second-Order Ipse Dixit Reasoning In Chisholm V. Georgia, D. A. Jeremy Telman

D. A. Jeremy Telman


This Article presents a new perspective on the Supreme Court’s constitutional jurisprudence during the Early Republic.  It focuses on what I am calling second-order ipse dixit reasoning, which occurs when Justices have to decide between two incommensurable interpretive modalities.  If first-order ipse dixit is unreasoned decision-making, second-order ipse dixit involves an unreasoned choice between or among two or more equally valid interpretive options.  The early Court often had recourse to second-order ipse dixit because methodological eclecticism characterized its constitutional jurisprudence, and the early Court established no fixed hierarchy among interpretive modalities.
Chisholm, the pre-Marshall Court’s most important constitutional ...


All That Is Liquidated Melts Into Air: Five Meta-Interpretive Issues, D. A. Jeremy Telman Dec 2018

All That Is Liquidated Melts Into Air: Five Meta-Interpretive Issues, D. A. Jeremy Telman

D. A. Jeremy Telman


The promise of originalism is that it helps us to fix constitutional meaning and constrain constitutional decision-makers.  There are significant constitutional questions that originalism can help resolve, at least to the extent that constitutional decision-makers buy in to originalism. However, even assuming that originalism is normatively desirable, there are certain issues that are fundamental to constitutional decision-making but that originalism cannot help us resolve. The Framers were hopelessly divided on them, and they may not be susceptible to Madisonian “liquidation.”  That is, at least some of these issues still generate live controversies even though they some of them seem to ...


Originalism As Fable, D. A. Jeremy Telman Dec 2018

Originalism As Fable, D. A. Jeremy Telman

D. A. Jeremy Telman


Eric Segall’s Originalism as Faith provides both a history of the originalist movement in constitutional interpretation and a critique of that movement from the perspective of legal realism.This Review Essay summarizes Segall’s main argument: as originalism has abandoned deference to the political branches, it has become indistinguishable from its nemesis, living constitutionalism. Emptied of substance, originalism becomes nothing more than an expression of faith. Segall makes his argument very convincingly, evidencing both his knowledge of originalism, in all its variants and his mastery of constitutional doctrine.
This Essay offers two ways in which Segall’s exemplary work ...


Justice O'Conner's Dilemma: The Baseline Question, Suzanna Sherry Oct 2018

Justice O'Conner's Dilemma: The Baseline Question, Suzanna Sherry

Suzanna Sherry

No abstract provided.


The Constitution And The Language Of The Law, John O. Mcginnis, Michael B. Rappaport Mar 2018

The Constitution And The Language Of The Law, John O. Mcginnis, Michael B. Rappaport

William & Mary Law Review

A long-standing debate exists over whether the Constitution is written in ordinary or legal language. Yet no article has offered a framework for determining the nature of the Constitution’s language, let alone systematically canvassed the evidence.

This Article fills the gap. First, it shows that a distinctive legal language exists. This language in the Constitution includes terms, like “Letters of Marque and Reprisal,” that are unambiguously technical, and terms, like “good behavior,” that are ambiguous in that they have both an ordinary and legal meaning but are better interpreted according to the latter. It also includes legal interpretive rules ...


In Defense Of Judicial Supremacy, Erwin Chemerinsky Oct 2017

In Defense Of Judicial Supremacy, Erwin Chemerinsky

Erwin Chemerinsky

“Judicial supremacy” is the idea that the Supreme Court should be viewed as the authoritative interpreter of the Constitution and that we should deem its decisions as binding on the other branches and levels of government, until and unless constitutional amendment or subsequent decision overrules them. This is desirable because we want to have an authoritative interpreter of the Constitution and the Court is best suited to play this role. Under this view, doctrines which keep federal courts from enforcing constitutional provisions—such as denying standing for generalized grievances, the political question doctrine, and the state secrets doctrine—are misguided ...


Striding Out Of Babel: Originalism, Its Critics, And The Promise Of Our American Constitution, André Leduc Oct 2017

Striding Out Of Babel: Originalism, Its Critics, And The Promise Of Our American Constitution, André Leduc

William & Mary Bill of Rights Journal

This Article pursues a therapeutic approach to end the debate over constitutional originalism. For almost fifty years that debate has wrestled with the question whether constitutional interpretations and decisions should look to the original intentions, expectations, and understandings with respect to the constitutional text, and if not, what. Building on a series of prior articles exploring the jurisprudential foundations of the debate, this Article characterizes the debate over originalism as pathological. The Article begins by describing what a constitutional therapy is.

The debate about originalism has been and remains sterile and unproductive, and the lack of progress argues powerfully for ...


Substitute And Complement Theories Of Judicial Review, David E. Landau Oct 2017

Substitute And Complement Theories Of Judicial Review, David E. Landau

Indiana Law Journal

Constitutional theory has hypothesized two distinct and contradictory ways in which judicial review may interact with external political and social support. One line of scholarship has argued that judicial review and external support are substitutes. Thus, “political safeguard” theorists of American federalism and the separation of powers argue that these constitutional values are enforced through the political branches, making judicial review unnecessary. However, a separate line of work, mostly composed of social scientists examining rights issues, argues that the relationship between courts and outside support is complementary—judges are unlikely to succeed in their projects unless they have sufficient assistance ...


The Religious Freedom Restoration Act Is A Constitutional Expansion Of Rights, Erwin Chemerinsky Jun 2017

The Religious Freedom Restoration Act Is A Constitutional Expansion Of Rights, Erwin Chemerinsky

Erwin Chemerinsky

No abstract provided.


Semantic Vagueness And Extrajudicial Constitutional Decisionmaking, Anthony O'Rourke May 2017

Semantic Vagueness And Extrajudicial Constitutional Decisionmaking, Anthony O'Rourke

William & Mary Bill of Rights Journal

This Article integrates two scholarly conversations to shed light on the divergent ways in which courts and legislatures implement constitutional texts. First, there is a vast literature examining the different ways in which courts and extrajudicial institutions, including legislatures, implement the Constitution’s textually vague expressions. Second, in recent years legal philosophers have begun to use philosophy of language to elucidate the relationship between vague legal texts and the content of laws. There is little scholarship, however, that uses philosophy of language to analyze the divergent ways in which legislatures and courts implement vague constitutional provisions. This Article argues that ...


The Return Of The Unprovided-For Case, Michael S. Green Apr 2017

The Return Of The Unprovided-For Case, Michael S. Green

Faculty Publications

No abstract provided.


Judicial Supremacy And Taking Conflicting Rights Seriously, Rebecca L. Brown Apr 2017

Judicial Supremacy And Taking Conflicting Rights Seriously, Rebecca L. Brown

William & Mary Law Review

The best arguments in favor of judicial supremacy rely on its essential role of protecting rights in a democracy. The doctrinal technique of strict scrutiny, developed to do the work of judicial supremacy, has been an important tool in our constitutional jurisprudence in the service of rights protection. When the Supreme Court reviews laws that themselves seek to enhance or preserve constitutional rights, however, strict scrutiny does not provide the right approach. Rather, the Court should consider very carefully the rights claims in favor of the statute as well as those launched by a challenger. In such cases of conflicting ...


In Defense Of Judicial Supremacy, Erwin Chemerinsky Apr 2017

In Defense Of Judicial Supremacy, Erwin Chemerinsky

William & Mary Law Review

“Judicial supremacy” is the idea that the Supreme Court should be viewed as the authoritative interpreter of the Constitution and that we should deem its decisions as binding on the other branches and levels of government, until and unless constitutional amendment or subsequent decision overrules them. This is desirable because we want to have an authoritative interpreter of the Constitution and the Court is best suited to play this role. Under this view, doctrines which keep federal courts from enforcing constitutional provisions—such as denying standing for generalized grievances, the political question doctrine, and the state secrets doctrine—are misguided ...


Why Congress Does Not Challenge Judicial Supremacy, Neal Devins Apr 2017

Why Congress Does Not Challenge Judicial Supremacy, Neal Devins

William & Mary Law Review

Members of Congress largely acquiesce to judicial supremacy both on constitutional and statutory interpretation questions. Lawmakers, however, do not formally embrace judicial supremacy; they rarely think about the courts when enacting legislation. This Article explains why this is so, focusing on why lawmakers have both strong incentive to acquiesce to judicial power and little incentive to advance a coherent view of congressional power. In particular, lawmakers are interested in advancing favored policies, winning reelection, and gaining personal power within Congress. Abstract questions of institutional power do not interest lawmakers and judicial defeats are seen as opportunities to find some other ...


Judicial Supremacy Revisited: Independent Constitutional Authority In American Constitutional Law And Practice, Mark A. Graber Apr 2017

Judicial Supremacy Revisited: Independent Constitutional Authority In American Constitutional Law And Practice, Mark A. Graber

William & Mary Law Review

The Supreme Court exercises far less constitutional authority in American law and practice than one would gather from reading judicial opinions, presidential speeches, or the standard tomes for and against judicial supremacy. Lower federal court judges, state court justices, federal and state elected officials, persons charged with administering the law, and ordinary citizens often have the final say on particular constitutional controversies or exercise temporary constitutional authority in ways that have more influence on the parties to that controversy than the eventual Supreme Court decision. In many instances, Supreme Court doctrine sanctions or facilitates the exercise of independent constitutional authority ...


Soft Supremacy, Corinna Barrett Lain Apr 2017

Soft Supremacy, Corinna Barrett Lain

William & Mary Law Review

The debate over judicial supremacy has raged for more than a decade now, yet the conception of what it is we are arguing about remains grossly oversimplified and formalistic. My aim in this symposium contribution is to push the conversation in a more realistic direction; I want those who claim that judicial supremacy is antidemocratic to take on the concept as it actually exists. The stark truth is that judicial supremacy has remarkably little of the strength and hard edges that dominate the discourse in judicial supremacy debates. It is porous, contingent—soft. And the upshot of soft supremacy is ...


The Annoying Constitution: Implications For The Allocation Of Interpretive Authority, Frederick Schauer Apr 2017

The Annoying Constitution: Implications For The Allocation Of Interpretive Authority, Frederick Schauer

William & Mary Law Review

Constitutional constraints often restrict unwise or immoral official policies and actions, but also often invalidate laws and other official acts that are sound as a matter of both morality and policy. These second-order side constraints—or trumps—on even official acts that are sound as a matter of first-order policy reflect deeper or longerterm values, and they are central to understanding the very idea of constitutionalism. Moreover, once we see the Constitution as restricting not only the unsound and the unwise but also the sound and the wise, we can understand why expecting those whose sound ideas and policies are ...