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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 ...


The Return Of Coverture, Allison Anna Tait Jan 2016

The Return Of Coverture, Allison Anna Tait

Michigan Law Review First Impressions

Once, the notion that husbands and wives were equal partners in marriage seemed outlandish and unnatural. Today, the marriage narrative has been reversed and the prevailing attitude is that marriage has become an increasingly equitable institution. This is the story that Justice Kennedy told in Obergefell v. Hodges, in which he described marriage as an evolving institution that has adapted in response to social change such that discriminatory marriage rules no longer apply. Coverture exemplifies this change: marriage used to be deeply shaped by coverture rules and now it is not. While celebrating the demise of coverture, however, the substantive ...


The Exceptional Circumstances Of Johnson V. United States, Leah M. Litman Jan 2016

The Exceptional Circumstances Of Johnson V. United States, Leah M. Litman

Michigan Law Review First Impressions

Johnson v. United States held that the “residual clause” of the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA) is unconstitutionally vague. Since Johnson was decided six months ago, courts have been sorting out which of the currently incarcerated defendants who were sentenced under ACCA’s residual clause may be resentenced. Determining who can be resentenced in light of Johnson requires courts to answer several questions. For example, does the rule in Johnson apply retroactively to convictions that have already become final? And can prisoners who have already filed one petition for postconviction review—review that occurs after a defendant’s conviction has ...


The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly: Reflections Of A Counterclerk, Gil Seinfeld Jan 2016

The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly: Reflections Of A Counterclerk, Gil Seinfeld

Michigan Law Review First Impressions

Everyone has strong feelings about Justice Scalia. Lionized by the political right and demonized by the left, he has been among the most polarizing figures in American public life over the course of the last halfcentury. It is hardly surprising, then, that in the weeks since Justice Scalia’s death, the public discourse surrounding his legacy has exhibited something of a split personality. There have, of course, been plenty of appropriately respectful—even admiring—tributes from some of the Justice’s ideological adversaries; and here and there one of the Justice’s champions has acknowledged, with a hint of lament ...


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.


Supreme Court Jurisprudence Of The Personal In City Of Los Angeles V. Patel, Brian L. Owsley Jan 2015

Supreme Court Jurisprudence Of The Personal In City Of Los Angeles V. Patel, Brian L. Owsley

Michigan Law Review First Impressions

Recently, the Supreme Court issued a 5-4 decision in City of Los Angeles v. Patel striking down a city ordinance that required hotel and motel owners to make their guest registries available to police officers whenever requested to do so. Although the Court’s opinion in Patel simply affirmed the Ninth Circuit’s finding that the ordinance was unconstitutional, the Court could have used Patel to readdress the third-party doctrine, which establishes that “a person has no legitimate expectation of privacy in information he voluntarily turns over to third parties.” Patel provided a vehicle for the Court to do so ...


Come Back To The Boat, Justice Breyer!, Richard D. Friedman Nov 2014

Come Back To The Boat, Justice Breyer!, Richard D. Friedman

Michigan Law Review First Impressions

I want to get Justice Breyer back on the right side of Confrontation Clause issues. In 1999, in Lilly v. Virginia, he wrote a farsighted concurrence, making him one of the first members of the Supreme Court to recognize the inadequacy of the then-prevailing doctrine of the Confrontation Clause. That doctrine, first announced in Ohio v. Roberts, was dependent on hearsay law and made judicial assessments of reliability determinative. In Crawford v. Washington, the Court was presented with an alternative approach, making the key inquiry whether the statement in question was testimonial in nature. During the oral argument, Justice Breyer ...


The Frame Of Reference And Other Problems, Richard D. Friedman, Jeffrey L. Fisher Nov 2014

The Frame Of Reference And Other Problems, Richard D. Friedman, Jeffrey L. Fisher

Michigan Law Review First Impressions

George argues that, centuries ago, jurists did not distinguish between testimonial and nontestimonial hearsay, and so the distinction cannot be a historically well-grounded basis for modern confrontation doctrine. The argument proceeds from an inaccurate frame of reference. When the confrontation right developed, principally in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and English defendants—Raleigh among them—demanded that adverse witnesses be brought face to face with them, they were making a procedural assertion as to how witnesses must give their testimony. (Giving testimony is what witnesses in litigation do.) Rarely did they phrase this claim in terms of hearsay, for the ...


The Tools Of Political Dissent: A First Amendment Guide To Gun Registries, Thomas E. Kadri Apr 2014

The Tools Of Political Dissent: A First Amendment Guide To Gun Registries, Thomas E. Kadri

Michigan Law Review First Impressions

On December 23, 2012, a newspaper in upstate New York published a provocative map. On it appeared the names and addresses of thousands of gun owners in nearby counties, all precisely pinpointed for the world to browse. The source of this information: publicly available data drawn from the state’s gun registry. Legislators were quick to respond. Within a month, a new law offered gun owners the chance to permanently remove their identities from the registry with a simple call to their county clerk. The map raised interesting questions about broadcasting personal information, but a more fundamental question remains: Are ...


The Crawford Debacle, George Fisher Jan 2014

The Crawford Debacle, George Fisher

Michigan Law Review First Impressions

First a toast—to my colleague Jeff Fisher and his Crawford compatriot, Richard Friedman, on the tenth anniversary of their triumph: What they achieved in Crawford is every lawyer’s dream. By dint of sheer vision and lawyerly craft, they toppled what many saw as a flawed confrontation-law regime and put in its place one that promised greater justice. For that, much applause is due. Still there’s no denying their doctrine’s a muddle, if not as conceived, then as realized. Consider the count: Four justices almost agree on Crawford’s contours but patch over the issues that divide ...


Confrontation And The Re-Privatization Of Domestic Violence, Deborah Tuerkheimer Jan 2014

Confrontation And The Re-Privatization Of Domestic Violence, Deborah Tuerkheimer

Michigan Law Review First Impressions

When the Supreme Court transformed the right of confrontation in Crawford v. Washington, the prosecution of domestic violence predictably suffered as a result. But commentators at the time did not anticipate how the Court’s subsequent Confrontation Clause cases would utterly misconceive the nature of domestic violence, producing a flawed understanding of what constitutes a “testimonial” statement. Although the Court’s definition was especially problematic in the domestic violence context, its overly rigid approach finally became intolerable in Michigan v. Bryant, a 2011 case that did not involve domestic violence. In Bryant, the Court resurrected a public–private divide that ...


Crawford V. Washington: The Next Ten Years, Jeffrey L. Fisher Jan 2014

Crawford V. Washington: The Next Ten Years, Jeffrey L. Fisher

Michigan Law Review First Impressions

Imagine a world . . . in which the Supreme Court got it right the first time. That is, imagine that when the Supreme Court first incorporated the Confrontation Clause against the states, the Court did so by way of the testimonial approach. It’s not that hard to envision. In Douglas v. Alabama—issued in 1965, on the same day the Court ruled that the Confrontation Clause applies to the states—the Court held that a nontestifying witness’s custodial confession could not be introduced against the defendant because, while “not technically testimony,” the confession was “the equivalent in the jury’s ...


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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


Why Governance Might Work In Mutual Funds, Michael C. Schouten May 2011

Why Governance Might Work In Mutual Funds, Michael C. Schouten

Michigan Law Review First Impressions

The Supreme Court's recent decision in Jones v. Harris Associates L.P. has highlighted the potential for agency conflicts in mutual funds, whose advisors have the de facto power to award themselves high fees. While the surrounding debate has focused on the extent to which market competition replaces the need for fee litigation, there appears to be a growing consensus that fund governance, through the use of voice, is unlikely to be effective. The use of voice is commonly said to be hampered by collective action problems. More recently, scholars have argued that it is further weakened by the ...


How United States V. Jones Can Restore Our Faith In The Fourth Amendment, Erica Goldberg Mar 2011

How United States V. Jones Can Restore Our Faith In The Fourth Amendment, Erica Goldberg

Michigan Law Review First Impressions

United States v. Jones, issued in January of this year, is a landmark case that has the potential to restore a property-based interpretation of the Fourth Amendment to prominence. In 1967, the Supreme Court abandoned its previous Fourth Amendment framework, which had viewed the prohibition on unreasonable searches in light of property and trespass laws, and replaced it with a rule protecting the public’s reasonable expectations of privacy. Although the Court may have intended this reasonable expectations test to provide more protection than a test rooted in property law, the new test in fact made the Justices’ subjective views ...


When Will Race No Longer Matter In Jury Selection?, Bidish Sarma Jan 2011

When Will Race No Longer Matter In Jury Selection?, Bidish Sarma

Michigan Law Review First Impressions

We are coming upon the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Supreme Court's opinion in Batson v. Kentucky, which made clear that our Constitution does not permit prosecutors to remove prospective jurors from the jury pool because of their race. The legal question in Batson-when, if ever, can governmental race discrimination in jury selection be tolerated?-was easy. The lingering factual question, however-when will prosecutors cease to discriminate on the basis of race?-has proven far more difficult to answer. The evidence that district attorneys still exclude minorities because of their race is so compelling that it is tempting to assume ...


Response To "Snyder V. Louisiana: Continuing The Historical Trend Towards Increased Scrutiny Of Peremptory Challenges", Bidish J. Sarma Oct 2010

Response To "Snyder V. Louisiana: Continuing The Historical Trend Towards Increased Scrutiny Of Peremptory Challenges", Bidish J. Sarma

Michigan Law Review First Impressions

John P. Bringewatt's recent note makes several important observations about the Supreme Court's opinion in Snyder v. Louisiana. Although he provides reasonable support for the claim that Snyder represents a sea change in Batson jurisprudence, the US Supreme Court's fresh opinion in Thaler v. Haynes (rendered on February 22, 2010) reads the Snyder majority opinion narrowly and suggests the possibility that Snyder is not as potent as it should be. The Haynes per curiam's guarded reading of Snyder signals the need for courts to continue to conduct the bird's-eye cumulative analysis that the Court performed ...


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 ...


"What Do I Do About This Word, 'Unavoidable'?": Resolving Textual Ambiguity In The National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act, Jason Lafond Sep 2010

"What Do I Do About This Word, 'Unavoidable'?": Resolving Textual Ambiguity In The National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act, Jason Lafond

Michigan Law Review First Impressions

The quote in the title of this Essay comes from Justice Breyer, expressing his frustration with the language of section 22(b)(1) of the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act. Justice Breyer made this comment during the October 12, 2010, oral argument in Bruesewitz v. Wyeth, Inc., a case about the availability of state tort claims based on vaccine design defects. The question before the Court was whether that section expressly preempts such claims against vaccine manufacturers "if the injury or death resulted from side effects that were unavoidable even though the vaccine was properly prepared and was accompanied by ...


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 ...


Ideological Endowment: The Staying Power Of The Electoral College And The Weaknesses Of The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, Daniel P. Rathbun Jan 2008

Ideological Endowment: The Staying Power Of The Electoral College And The Weaknesses Of The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, Daniel P. Rathbun

Michigan Law Review First Impressions

The National Popular Vote (“NPV”) movement is designed to eliminate the federalist impact of the Electoral College without amending the Constitution. By fashioning an interstate compact to grant participating states’ electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote, NPV proponents suppose they can induce states to forfeit their electoral “weights” and replace the current, federalist election process with a fully majoritarian one. But by leaving the Electoral College in place, the NPV movement is setting itself up for a double pushback: first, in the form of immediate legal resistance, and second, through states’ long-term involvement in a meaningfully ...


The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly: Three Proposals To Introduce The Nationwide Popular Vote In U.S. Presidential Elections, Alexander S. Belenky Jan 2008

The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly: Three Proposals To Introduce The Nationwide Popular Vote In U.S. Presidential Elections, Alexander S. Belenky

Michigan Law Review First Impressions

The idea of reforming the Electoral College recurs each time a presidential election nears. Polls show that an overwhelming majority of respondents support abolishing the Electoral College in favor of direct popular election of the President. Yet, it is doubtful whether these polls really imply that such a move would be best for the country. Despite the seeming simplicity of direct popular presidential election, its introduction in the United States—a country in which the clear separation of powers between the states and the federal government has existed for more than two centuries—would have hidden drawbacks that the media ...


Equal Voice By Half Measures, John Mark Hansen Jan 2008

Equal Voice By Half Measures, John Mark Hansen

Michigan Law Review First Impressions

In democratic theory, the ballot is the most perfect expression of the democratic commitment to the moral equality of persons. Every citizen, whether old or young, rich or poor, sophisticated or simple, enjoys the same endowment in an election: a single vote. The ballot not only gives citizens their voice in government, it also makes their voices equal. In practice, however, democracies have erected all sorts of impediments to the ideal of equal voice, such as restrictions on suffrage, legislative malapportionments, and discriminatory gerrymanders. Among the most egregious impediments, however, are surely the systems of indirect election purported to filter ...


Awarding Presidential Electors By Congressional District: Wrong For California, Wrong For The Nation, Sam Hirsch Jan 2008

Awarding Presidential Electors By Congressional District: Wrong For California, Wrong For The Nation, Sam Hirsch

Michigan Law Review First Impressions

The unfairness of the proposed California Presidential Election Reform Act is obvious: in a close election, the Act virtually assures that California’s fifty-five electoral votes, which would be expected to go entirely to the Democratic presidential candidate under the traditional statewide-winner-takeall system, will instead be split, with more than a third of them going to the Republican candidate. Implementing this “reform” in the nation’s largest Democratic state, but not in any of the large Republican states (like Texas), is roughly the equivalent of handing over to the Republicans the state of Illinois. What is less obvious is that ...


Reforming The Electorial College One State At A Time, Thomas W. Hiltachk Jan 2008

Reforming The Electorial College One State At A Time, Thomas W. Hiltachk

Michigan Law Review First Impressions

The genius of our United States Constitution is the delicate balance our Founding Fathers struck between empowering a national government and preserving the inherent sovereignty of individual states. Any proposed governmental reform that would interfere with that balance should be looked upon skeptically. Recent proposals to do away with the Electoral College in favor of a national popular vote for President deserve such careful examination. But that does not mean that reform is out of reach. We have only to look to the Constitution itself to find that the answer lies in the self-interest of each state. I am an ...


An Unsafe Harbor: Recounts, Contests, And The Electoral College, Daniel P. Tokaji Jan 2008

An Unsafe Harbor: Recounts, Contests, And The Electoral College, Daniel P. Tokaji

Michigan Law Review First Impressions

Although recent proposals for modifying the Electoral College process have focused mainly on how electoral votes are assigned, another problem with the current system has received less attention: the timetable for resolving post-election disputes over electors. Under 3 U.S.C. § 5, the so-called “safe harbor” provision of federal law, a state can be assured of having its chosen slate of electors recognized only if post-election disputes are resolved within thirty-five days of Election Day. As a practical matter, this provision doesn’t provide states enough time to complete recount and contest proceedings in the event of a close, contested ...