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Full-Text Articles in Law

To Seek A Newer World: Prisoners’ Rights At The Frontier, David M. Shapiro Apr 2016

To Seek A Newer World: Prisoners’ Rights At The Frontier, David M. Shapiro

Michigan Law Review First Impressions

Prisoners’ rights lawyers have long faced a dismal legal landscape. Yet, 2015 was a remarkable year for prison litigation that could signal a new period for this area of law—the Supreme Court handed down decisions that will reverberate in prison jurisprudence for decades to come. New questions have been asked, new avenues opened. This piece is about what the Court has done recently, and what possibilities it has opened for the future. More broadly, I suggest that the Court may be subjecting prison officials to greater scrutiny and that this shifting judicial landscape reflects an evolving social discourse about ...


When Congress Is Away The President Shall Not Play: Justice Scalia's Concurrence In Nlrb V. Noel Canning, Krista M. Pikus Oct 2015

When Congress Is Away The President Shall Not Play: Justice Scalia's Concurrence In Nlrb V. Noel Canning, Krista M. Pikus

Michigan Law Review First Impressions

On June 26, 2014, the Supreme Court unanimously decided NLRB v. Noel Canning, holding that the Recess Appointments Clause authorizes the president “to fill any existing vacancy during any recess . . . of sufficient length.” Justice Scalia filed a concurring opinion, joined by Chief Justice Roberts, Justice Thomas, and Justice Alito. While Justice Scalia “concurred,” his opinion read more like a dissent. Both the majority and the concurring opinions relied heavily on historical evidence in arriving at their respective opinions. This was expected from Justice Scalia given his method of “new originalism,” which focuses on “the original public meaning of the constitutional ...


Plenary Power Is Dead! Long Live Plenary Power, Michael Kagan Sep 2015

Plenary Power Is Dead! Long Live Plenary Power, Michael Kagan

Michigan Law Review First Impressions

For decades, scholars of immigration law have anticipated the demise of the plenary power doctrine. The Supreme Court could have accomplished this in its recent decision in Kerry v. Din, or it could have reaffirmed plenary power. Instead, the Court produced a splintered decision that did neither. This Essay examines the long process of attrition that has significantly gutted the traditional plenary power doctrine with regard to procedural due process, while leaving it largely intact with regard to substantive constitutional rights.


A Solution To Michigan's Child Shackling Problem, Gabe Newland Sep 2014

A Solution To Michigan's Child Shackling Problem, Gabe Newland

Michigan Law Review First Impressions

Detained children routinely appear before Michigan's juvenile courts shackled with handcuffs, leg irons, and belly chains. Once security officers bring a child to court in these shackles, the child usually remains in them for her hearing or trial. In Michigan, as in many other states, no statute or court rule requires the judge to decide whether shackles are necessary. This Essay argues that Michigan should pass legislation or amend state court rules to create a presumption against shackling children. Unless a child poses a substantial risk of flight or physical danger and less restrictive alternatives to shackling will not ...


Transforming Juvenile Justice: Making Doctrine Out Of Dicta In Graham V. Florida, Jason Zolle Sep 2013

Transforming Juvenile Justice: Making Doctrine Out Of Dicta In Graham V. Florida, Jason Zolle

Michigan Law Review First Impressions

In the late 1980s and 1990s, many state legislatures radically altered the way that their laws treated children accused of crimes. Responding to what was perceived of as an epidemic of juvenile violence, academics and policymakers began to think of child criminals as a "new breed" of incorrigible "superpredators." States responded by making it easier for prosecutors to try and sentence juveniles as adults, even making it mandatory in some circumstances. Yet in the past decade, the Supreme Court handed down four opinions that limit the states' ability to treat children as adults in the justice system. Roper v. Simmons ...


Doing Affirmative Action, Stephen Clowney Jan 2013

Doing Affirmative Action, Stephen Clowney

Michigan Law Review First Impressions

Sometime this year the Supreme Court will announce its holding in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, a case that asks whether colleges may continue to consider race when making admissions decisions. Most Court watchers predict that the five conservative justices will vote to curtail the use of racial preferences. Lost in the weighty discussions about the scope of the Equal Protection Clause and the meaning of the Civil Rights struggle is any clear and concise explanation of how selective colleges actually make admissions decisions and how they work to fulfill the goals of affirmative action. This Essay seeks ...


What Can The Brothers Malone Teach Us About Ficher V. University Of Texas?, Charlie Gerstein Jun 2012

What Can The Brothers Malone Teach Us About Ficher V. University Of Texas?, Charlie Gerstein

Michigan Law Review First Impressions

In 1975, the Brothers Malone took the entrance exam for the Boston Fire Department. At the time, the Department was under a court-ordered affirmative action plan: it divided its pool of test-takers into groups of black and white applicants and gave substantial preference to those in the former. The Brothers listed themselves as white and didn't make the cut. In 1977, the Brothers Malone again took the entrance exam for the Boston Fire department, this time listing themselves as black. The Brothers became firemen. Within a few years, someone at the Fire Department grew suspicious of the Malones. An ...


Foreign Affairs Federalism And The Limits On Executive Power, Zachary D. Clopton Jun 2012

Foreign Affairs Federalism And The Limits On Executive Power, Zachary D. Clopton

Michigan Law Review First Impressions

On February 23 of this year, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals invalidated a California statute permitting victims of the Armenian genocide to file insurance claims, finding that the state's use of the label "Genocide" intruded on the federal government's conduct of foreign affairs. This decision, Movsesian v. Versicherung AG, addresses foreign affairs federalism—the division of authority between the states and the federal government. Just one month later, the Supreme Court weighed in on another foreign affairs issue: the separation of foreign relations powers within the federal government. In Zivotofsky v. Clinton, the Supreme Court ordered the ...


Rebel Without A Clause: The Irrelevance Of Article Vi To Constitutional Supremacy, Gary Lawson Dec 2011

Rebel Without A Clause: The Irrelevance Of Article Vi To Constitutional Supremacy, Gary Lawson

Michigan Law Review First Impressions

With Stare Decisis and Constitutional Text, Jonathan Mitchell has produced what I think is the most interesting and creative textual defense (or at least partial defense) to date of the use of horizontal precedent in federal constitutional cases. Mitchell's careful analysis of the Supremacy Clause is fascinating and instructive, and he does an impeccable job of drawing out the implications of his premise that the Supremacy Clause prescribes only a very limited choice-of-law rule-a rule that does not, by its own terms, specifically elevate the Constitution above federal statutes and treaties. His innovative and intriguing framework yields four distinct ...


J.D.B. V. North Carolina And The Reasonable Person, Christopher Jackson Sep 2011

J.D.B. V. North Carolina And The Reasonable Person, Christopher Jackson

Michigan Law Review First Impressions

This Term, the Supreme Court was presented with a prime opportunity to provide some much-needed clarification on a "backdrop" issue of law-one of many topics that arises in a variety of legal contexts, but is rarely analyzed on its own terms. In J.D.B. v. North Carolina, the Court considered whether age was a relevant factor in determining if a suspect is "in custody" for Miranda purposes, and thus must have her rights read to her before being questioned by the police. Miranda, like dozens of other areas of law, employs a reasonable person test on the custodial question ...


Kids Are Different, Stephen St.Vincent Sep 2010

Kids Are Different, Stephen St.Vincent

Michigan Law Review First Impressions

The Supreme Court recently handed down its decision in Graham v. Florida. The case involved a juvenile, Graham, who was sentenced to life in prison after being convicted as an adult of a nonhomicidal crime. The offense, a home invasion robbery, was his second; the first was attempted robbery. Due to Florida's abolition of parole, the judge's imposition of a life sentence meant that Graham was constructively sentenced to life without parole for a nonhomicide crime. Graham challenged this sentence as unconstitutional under the Eighth Amendment. Somewhat surprisingly, the Supreme Court invalidated Graham's sentence by a 6-3 ...


Commerce In The Commerce Clause: A Response To Jack Balkin, Robert G. Natelson Sep 2010

Commerce In The Commerce Clause: A Response To Jack Balkin, Robert G. Natelson

Michigan Law Review First Impressions

The Constitution's original meaning is its meaning to those ratifying the document during a discrete time period: from its adoption by the Constitutional Convention in late 1787 until Rhode Island's ratification on May 29, 1790. Reconstructing it requires historical skills, including a comprehensive approach to sources. Jack Balkin's article Commerce fails to consider the full range of evidence and thereby attributes to the Constitution's Commerce Clause a scope that virtually no one in the Founding Era believed it had.


Freedom And Equality On The Installment Plan, Michael Halley Jan 2010

Freedom And Equality On The Installment Plan, Michael Halley

Michigan Law Review First Impressions

A response to Nelson Tebbe & Robert L. Tsai, Constitutional Borrowing, 108 Mich. L. Rev. 462 (2010). Crediting the perception that the Constitution is a poorly cut puzzle whose variously configured pieces don't match, Nelson Tebbe and Robert Tsai propose that the stand-alone parts of freedom and equality can be merged and mutually enlarged through the act of borrowing. They are mistaken. While Thomas Jefferson wrote that ideas may be appropriated without being diminished and so "freely spread from one to another over the globe," the equality and freedom the Constitution addresses as actualities are constrained by a basic, familiar, and inescapable rule of financial accounting. Just as assets and liabilities must be in balance, freedoms are only acquired at the exacting expense of equality; no amount of borrowing can alter the equation. While as a matter of principle we are all equally entitled to be "let alone," this "most comprehensive right . . . the right most valued by civilized men," is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. While "the poorest man in his cottage" and the richest man in his mansion may both "bid defiance to all the forces of the Crown," the amount of privacy they enjoy as a matter of fact is incomparable. The privacy enjoyed by those unable to afford lodgings of any kind and forced to take refuge in ...


Redemption Song: Graham V. Florida And The Evolving Eighth Amendment Jurisprudence, Robert Smith, G. Ben Choen Jan 2010

Redemption Song: Graham V. Florida And The Evolving Eighth Amendment Jurisprudence, Robert Smith, G. Ben Choen

Michigan Law Review First Impressions

In Graham v. Florida, the Supreme Court held that the Eighth Amendment prohibits a sentence of life without parole ("LWOP") for a juvenile under eighteen who commits a non-homicide offense. For Terrance Graham, who committed home-invasion robbery at seventeen, the decision does not mean necessarily that he someday will leave the brick walls of Florida's Taylor Annex Correctional Institution. Unlike previous Eighth Amendment decisions, such as Roper v. Simmons, where the Court barred the death penalty for juveniles, this new categorical rule does not translate into automatic relief for members of the exempted class: "A State need not guarantee ...


Constitutional Interpretation And Judicial Review: A Case Of The Tail Wagging The Dog, Michael Halley Jan 2009

Constitutional Interpretation And Judicial Review: A Case Of The Tail Wagging The Dog, Michael Halley

Michigan Law Review First Impressions

A response to John F. Manning, Federalism and the Generality Problem in Constitutional Interpretation, 122 Harv. L. Rev. 2003 (2009). Professor John Manning's analysis of the Supreme Court's recent federalism decisions works as a platform to further the cause of textualism. His argument fails to persuade, however, because the textualism he says the Court should embrace in federalism cases is antithetical to the atextual nature of the Court's jurisdiction to adjudicate the constitutionality of legislation. Manning prefaces his work by telling readers that his analysis is not an end in itself. His aim, rather, is to "use ...


Mccain’S Citizenship And Constitutional Method, Peter J. Spiro Jan 2008

Mccain’S Citizenship And Constitutional Method, Peter J. Spiro

Michigan Law Review First Impressions

Many things may obstruct John McCain’s path to the White House, but his citizenship status is not among them. The question of his eligibility, given the circumstances of his birth, has already been resolved. That outcome has been produced by actors outside the courts. . . . If non-judicial actors—including Congress, editorialists, leading members of the bar, and the People themselves—manage to generate a constitutional consensus, there isn’t much that the courts can do about it. In cases such as this one, at least, that seems to be an acceptable method of constitutional determination.


Originalism And The Natural Born Citizen Clause, Lawrence B. Solum Jan 2008

Originalism And The Natural Born Citizen Clause, Lawrence B. Solum

Michigan Law Review First Impressions

The enigmatic phrase “natural born citizen” poses a series of problems for contemporary originalism. New Originalists, like Justice Scalia, focus on the original public meaning of the constitutional text. The notion of a “natural born citizen” was likely a term of art derived from the idea of a “natural born subject” in English law—a category that most likely did not extend to persons, like Senator McCain, who were born outside sovereign territory. But the Constitution speaks of “citizens” and not “subjects,” introducing uncertainties and ambiguities that might (or might not) make McCain eligible for the presidency.


Why Senator John Mccain Cannot Be President: Eleven Months And A Hundred Yards Short Of Citizenship, Gabriel Chin Jan 2008

Why Senator John Mccain Cannot Be President: Eleven Months And A Hundred Yards Short Of Citizenship, Gabriel Chin

Michigan Law Review First Impressions

Article II, section 1 of the Constitution provides that “No Person except a natural born Citizen . . . shall be eligible to the Office of President . . . .” A person must be a citizen at birth to be a natural born citizen. Senator McCain was born in the Canal Zone in 1936. Although he is now a U.S. citizen, the law in effect in 1936 did not grant him citizenship at birth. Because he was not born a citizen, he is not eligible to the office of president.


Refining Crawford: The Confrontation Claus After Davis V. Washington And Hammon V. Indiana, Andrew C. Fine Jan 2006

Refining Crawford: The Confrontation Claus After Davis V. Washington And Hammon V. Indiana, Andrew C. Fine

Michigan Law Review First Impressions

Clarification of the Supreme Court’s newly minted interpretation of the Confrontation Clause was desperately needed, and Davis v. Washington and Hammon v. Indiana promised to provide it. Two terms earlier, in Crawford v. Washington, the Supreme Court had worked a revolutionary transformation of Confrontation Clause analysis by overruling Ohio v. Roberts and severing the link between hearsay jurisprudence and the Clause. Crawford was hailed by the criminal defense bar, since it seemed to presage a sharp reduction in the frequency of so-called “victimless” trials by holding that “testimonial” hearsay, no matter how reliable, was constitutionally inadmissible in the absence ...


Stevens's Ratchet: When The Court Should Decide Not To Decide, Joel A. Flaxman Jan 2006

Stevens's Ratchet: When The Court Should Decide Not To Decide, Joel A. Flaxman

Michigan Law Review First Impressions

Hidden underneath the racy death penalty issues in Kansas v. Marsh lurks a seemingly dull procedural issue addressed only in separate opinions by Justices Stevens and Scalia: whether the Court should have heard the case in the first place. As he did in three cases from the Court’s 2005 term, Justice Stevens argued in Marsh that the Court has no legitimate interest in reviewing state court decisions that overprotect federal constitutional rights. Instead, the Supreme Court should exercise its certiorari power to tip the scales against states and in favor of individuals. Granting certiorari in Marsh, Stevens argued, was ...


Davis And Hammon: A Step Forward, Or A Step Back?, Tom Lininger Jan 2006

Davis And Hammon: A Step Forward, Or A Step Back?, Tom Lininger

Michigan Law Review First Impressions

Prosecutors, defense attorneys, and lower court judges hoped that the Supreme Court’s ruling in the consolidated cases of Davis v. Washington and Hammon v. Indiana (hereafter simply Davis) would provide a primer on testimonial hearsay. In retrospect, these hopes were somewhat unrealistic. The Davis ruling could not possibly clear up all the confusion that followed Crawford v. Washington, the landmark 2004 case in which the Court strengthened the right of the accused to confront declarants of testimonial hearsay. In Davis, the Court focused on the facts under review and developed a taxonomy that will be useful in similar cases ...


Still "Left In The Dark": The Confrontation Clause And Child Abuse Cases After Davis V. Washington, Anthony J. Franze, Jacob E. Smiles Jan 2006

Still "Left In The Dark": The Confrontation Clause And Child Abuse Cases After Davis V. Washington, Anthony J. Franze, Jacob E. Smiles

Michigan Law Review First Impressions

In his concurring opinion in Crawford v. Washington, Chief Justice Rehnquist criticized the majority for holding that the Confrontation Clause applies to “testimonial” statements but leaving for “another day” any effort to define sufficiently what “testimonial” means. Prosecutors and defendants, he said, “should not be left in the dark in this manner.” Over the next two years, both sides grappled with the meaning of testimonial, each gleaning import from sections of Crawford that seemingly proved their test was the right one. When the Court granted certiorari in Davis v. Washington and Hammon v. Indiana (hereinafter Davis), hopes were high that ...


Davis/Hammon, Domestic Violence, And The Supreme Court: The Case For Cautious Optimism, Joan S. Meier Jan 2006

Davis/Hammon, Domestic Violence, And The Supreme Court: The Case For Cautious Optimism, Joan S. Meier

Michigan Law Review First Impressions

The Supreme Court’s consolidated decision in Davis v. Washington and Hammon v. Indiana offers something for everyone: by “splitting the difference” between the two cases—affirming one and reversing the other—the opinion provides much grist for advocates’ mills on both sides of this issue. While advocates for defendants’ rights are celebrating the opinion’s continued revitalization of the right to confrontation, which began in Crawford v. Washington, advocates for victims have cause for celebration as well: the decision is notable for its reflection of the Court’s growing—albeit incomplete— awareness and understanding of the dynamics of domestic ...


Davis V. Washington And Hammon V. Indiana: Beating Expectations, Robert P. Mosteller Jan 2006

Davis V. Washington And Hammon V. Indiana: Beating Expectations, Robert P. Mosteller

Michigan Law Review First Impressions

I begin with a question of effectiveness: does the new Confrontation Clause doctrine effectively protect defendants with respect to the most im-portant types of problematic out-of-court statements? Although they leave much room for the introduction of hearsay in the immediate aftermath of crime generally, Davis v. Washington and Hammon v. Indiana (together hereinafter Davis) are better opinions from that broad perspective than I had feared. The new doctrine now covers and provides substantial procedural protection for a very important class of problematic hearsay—statements made to government agents investigating past crime.


Putting The Guesswork Back Into Capital Sentencing, Sean D. O'Brien Jan 2006

Putting The Guesswork Back Into Capital Sentencing, Sean D. O'Brien

Michigan Law Review First Impressions

In 1972, in Furman v. Georgia, the Supreme Court deemed it “incon-testable” that a death sentence is cruel and unusual if inflicted “by reason of [the defendant’s] race, religion, wealth, social position, or class, or if it is imposed under a procedure that gives room for the play of such prejudices.” Arbitrary and discriminatory patterns in capital sentencing moved the Court to strike down death penalty statutes that required judges or juries to cast thumbs-up or thumbs-down verdicts against offenders found guilty of capi-tal crimes. The issue of innocence was barely a footnote in Furman; the Court’s concerns ...


The Revolution Enters The Court: The Constitutional Significance Of Wrongful Convictions In Contemporary Constitutional Regulation Of The Death Penalty, Jordan Steiker Jan 2006

The Revolution Enters The Court: The Constitutional Significance Of Wrongful Convictions In Contemporary Constitutional Regulation Of The Death Penalty, Jordan Steiker

Michigan Law Review First Impressions

Over the last decade, the most important events in American death pen-alty law have occurred outside the courts. The discovery of numerous wrongfully convicted death-sentenced inmates in Illinois led to the most substantial reflection on the American death penalty system since the late 1960s and early 1970s. Former Illinois Governor George Ryan, a Republi-can, first declared a moratorium on executions in 2000 and eventually commuted all 167 inmates on Illinois’s death row in 2003. The events in Illinois reverberated nationwide. Almost overnight, state legislative agendas shifted from expanding or maintaining the prevailing reach of the death penalty to studying ...


The High Court Remains As Divided As Ever Over The Death Penalty, George H. Kendall Jan 2006

The High Court Remains As Divided As Ever Over The Death Penalty, George H. Kendall

Michigan Law Review First Impressions

More than three decades ago, in Furman v. Georgia, a sharply divided Supreme Court struck down all existing capital punishment schemes be-cause the results they generated were arbitrary, discriminatory, and unreasoned. No member of that Court remains on the Court today, and the Court has grown increasingly conservative ever since. Nevertheless, impor-tant questions concerning the administration of capital punishment continue to wrought deep divisions within the Court, for instance in determining whether racial bias influences the system, in determining the sufficiency of new evidence of innocence to justify review of a defaulted claim in habeas corpus proceedings, in determining a ...


Legitimizing Error, Rebecca E. Woodman Jan 2006

Legitimizing Error, Rebecca E. Woodman

Michigan Law Review First Impressions

Since Furman v. Georgia, the Supreme Court has sought to harmonize competing constitutional demands under Eighth Amendment rules regulat-ing the two-step eligibility and selection stages of the capital decision-making process. Furman’s demand for rationality and consistency requires that, at the eligibility stage, the sentencer’s discretion be limited and guided by clear and objective fact-based standards that rationally narrow the class of death-eligible defendants. The selection stage requires a determination of whether a specific death-eligible defendant actually deserves that punish-ment, as distinguished from other death-eligible defendants. Here, fundamental fairness and respect for the uniqueness of the individual are the ...


Circling Around The Confrontation Clause: Redefined Reach But Not A Robust Right, Lisa Kern Griffin Jan 2006

Circling Around The Confrontation Clause: Redefined Reach But Not A Robust Right, Lisa Kern Griffin

Michigan Law Review First Impressions

The Supreme Court’s consolidated ruling in United States v. Davis and United States v. Hammon is a classic of the genre of consensus opinions to which the Roberts Court aspired in its first, transitional term. The opinion, authored by Justice Scalia, contains practical accommodations unusual in a decision by the Court’s fiercest proponent of first principles. The restraint that characterized the term is, of course, more about considerations of logistics (including the desire to avoid re-arguments after the mid-term replacement of Justice O’Connor) than about the alignment of logic. Because it reflects temporary institutional constraints rather than ...