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University of Michigan Law School

Constitution

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Full-Text Articles in Law

Article Ii And Antidiscrimination Norms, Aziz Z. Huq Oct 2019

Article Ii And Antidiscrimination Norms, Aziz Z. Huq

Michigan Law Review

The Supreme Court’s opinion in Trump v. Hawaii validated a prohibition on entry to the United States from several Muslim-majority countries and at the same time repudiated a longstanding precedent associated with the Japanese American internment of World War II. This Article closely analyzes the relationship of these twin rulings. It uses their dichotomous valences as a lens on the legal scope for discriminatory action by the federal executive. Parsing the various ways in which the internment of the 1940s and the 2017 exclusion order can be reconciled, the Article identifies a tension between the Court’s two holdings ...


Article Ii Vests Executive Power, Not The Royal Prerogative, Julian Davis Mortenson Jun 2019

Article Ii Vests Executive Power, Not The Royal Prerogative, Julian Davis Mortenson

Articles

Article II of the United States Constitution vests “the executive power” in the President. For more than two hundred years, advocates of presidential power have claimed that this phrase was originally understood to include a bundle of national security and foreign affairs authorities. Their efforts have been highly successful. Among constitutional originalists, this so-called “Vesting Clause Thesis” is now conventional wisdom. But it is also demonstrably wrong. Based on an exhaustive review of the eighteenth-century bookshelf, this Article shows that the ordinary meaning of “executive power” referred unambiguously to a single, discrete, and potent authority: the power to execute law ...


Neglecting Nationalism, Gil Seinfeld May 2019

Neglecting Nationalism, Gil Seinfeld

Articles

Federalism is a system of government that calls for the division of power between a central authority and member states. It is designed to secure benefits that flow from centralization and from devolution, as well as benefits that accrue from a simultaneous commitment to both. A student of modern American federalism, however, might have a very different impression, for significant swaths of the case law and scholarly commentary on the subject neglect the centralizing, nationalist side of the federal balance. This claim may come as a surprise, since it is obviously the case that our national government has become immensely ...


Review By Justice John Paul Stevens (Ret.), John Paul Stevens Apr 2019

Review By Justice John Paul Stevens (Ret.), John Paul Stevens

Michigan Law Review

Review of Noah Feldman's The Three Lives of James Madison: Genius, Partisan, President.


Looking Backward And Forward At The Suspension Clause, G. Edward White Apr 2019

Looking Backward And Forward At The Suspension Clause, G. Edward White

Michigan Law Review

Review of Amanda L. Tyler's Habeas Corpus in Wartime: From the Tower of London to Guantanamo Bay.


The New Impartial Jury Mandate, Richard Lorren Jolly Feb 2019

The New Impartial Jury Mandate, Richard Lorren Jolly

Michigan Law Review

Impartiality is the cornerstone of the Constitution’s jury trial protections. Courts have historically treated impartiality as procedural in nature, meaning that the Constitution requires certain prophylactic procedures that secure a jury that is more likely to reach verdicts impartially. But in Peña- Rodriguez v. Colorado, 137 S. Ct. 855 (2017), the Supreme Court recognized for the first time an enforceable, substantive component to the mandate. There, the Court held that criminal litigants have a Sixth Amendment right to jury decisions made without reliance on extreme bias, specifically on the basis of race or national origin. The Court did not ...


Piracy And Due Process, Andrew Kent Oct 2018

Piracy And Due Process, Andrew Kent

Michigan Journal of International Law

This article explores in depth the law of nations, English domestic law, and English government practice from the late medieval period through the eighteenth century, and the U.S. constitutional law and government practice during the Founding and antebellum periods. I conclude that Chapman’s claims about due process and piracy suppression are incorrect. Both Parliament and the U.S. Congress; both the Crown and its counselors and U.S Presidents and their advisers; both the Royal Navy and the U.S. Navy; and commentators both English and American believed that (1) pirates on the high seas could lawfully be ...


State Action And The Constitution's Middle Band, Louis Michael Seidman Oct 2018

State Action And The Constitution's Middle Band, Louis Michael Seidman

Michigan Law Review

On conventional accounts, the state action doctrine is dichotomous. When the government acts, constitutional limits take hold and the government action is invalid if those limits are exceeded. When the government fails to act, the state action doctrine leaves decisions to individuals, who are permitted to violate what would otherwise be constitutional constraints.

It turns out though that the modern state action doctrine creates three rather than two domains. There is indeed a private, inner band where there is thought to be insufficient government action to trigger constitutional constraints, but often there is also a public, outer band where there ...


The Republic In Long-Term Perspective, Richard Primus Aug 2018

The Republic In Long-Term Perspective, Richard Primus

Michigan Law Review Online

Every system of government eventually passes away. That's a feature of the human condition. The United States has been an unusually stable polity by the standards of world civilizations, and for that stability Americans should be deeply grateful. But no nation is exempt from the basic forces of history. It is not reasonable to think that the constitutional republic we know will last forever. The question is when it will meet its end-in our lifetimes, or in our grandchildren's, or centuries later. Given the stable conditions that living Americans were socialized to expect, the dominant intuition is probably ...


Wrong Turn On The Ex Post Facto Clause, Paul D. Reingold, Kimberly Thomas Jun 2018

Wrong Turn On The Ex Post Facto Clause, Paul D. Reingold, Kimberly Thomas

Articles

The Ex Post Facto Clause bars any increase in punishment after the commission of a crime. But deciding what constitutes an increase in punishment can be tricky. At the front end of a criminal case, where new or amended criminal laws might lengthen prisoners’ sentences if applied retroactively, courts have routinely struck down such changes under the Ex Post Facto Clause. At the back end, however, where new or amended parole laws or policies might lengthen prisoners’ sentences in exactly the same way if applied retroactively, courts have used a different standard and upheld the changes under the Ex Post ...


The Cunning Of Reason: Michael Klarman's The Framers' Coup, Charles Fried Apr 2018

The Cunning Of Reason: Michael Klarman's The Framers' Coup, Charles Fried

Michigan Law Review

A review of Michael J. Klarman, The Framers' Coup: The Making of the United States Constitution.


The People Against The Constitution, Aziz Z. Huq Apr 2018

The People Against The Constitution, Aziz Z. Huq

Michigan Law Review

A review of Jan-Werner Müller, What Is Populism?.


The Fortification Of Inequality: Constitutional Doctrine And The Political Economy, Kate Andrias Mar 2018

The Fortification Of Inequality: Constitutional Doctrine And The Political Economy, Kate Andrias

Articles

As Parts I and II of this Essay elaborate, the examination yields three observations of relevance to constitutional law more generally: First, judge-made constitutional doctrine, though by no means the primary cause of rising inequality, has played an important role in reinforcing and exacerbating it. Judges have acquiesced to legislatively structured economic inequality, while also restricting the ability of legislatures to remedy it. Second, while economic inequality has become a cause célèbre only in the last few years, much of the constitutional doctrine that has contributed to its flourishing is longstanding. Moreover, for several decades, even the Court’s more ...


The Gibbons Fallacy, Richard A. Primus Mar 2017

The Gibbons Fallacy, Richard A. Primus

Articles

In Gibbons v. Ogden, Chief Justice John Marshall famously wrote that "the enumeration presupposes something not enumerated." Modern courts use that phrase to mean that the Constitutions enumeration of congressional powers indicates that those powers are, as a whole, less than a grant of general legislative authority. But Marshall wasn't saying that. He wasn't talking about the Constitution's overall enumeration of congressional powers at all. He was writing about a different enumeration - the enumeration of three classes of commerce within the Commerce Clause. And Marshall's analysis of the Commerce Clause in Gibbons does not imply that ...


What Bankruptcy Law Can And Cannot Do For Puerto Rico, John A. E. Pottow Jun 2016

What Bankruptcy Law Can And Cannot Do For Puerto Rico, John A. E. Pottow

Articles

This article is based on a February 2016 keynote address given at the University of Puerto Rico Law Review Symposium “Public Debt and the Future of Puerto Rico.” Thus, much of it remains written in the first person, and so the reader may imagine the joy of being in the audience. (Citations and footnotes have been inserted before publication ‒ sidebars that no reasonable person would ever have inflicted upon a live audience, even one interested in bankruptcy law. Rhetorical accuracy thus yields to scholarly pedantics.) The analysis explains how bankruptcy law not only can but will be required to remedy ...


Why Enumeration Matters, Richard A. Primus Jan 2016

Why Enumeration Matters, Richard A. Primus

Michigan Law Review

The maxim that the federal government is a government of enumerated powers can be understood as a “continuity tender”: not a principle with practical consequences for governance, but a ritual statement with which practitioners identify themselves with a history from which they descend. This interpretation makes sense of the longstanding paradox whereby courts recite the enumeration principle but give it virtually no practical effect. On this understanding, the enumerated-powers maxim is analogous to the clause that Parliament still uses to open enacted statutes: “Be it enacted by the Queen’s most Excellent Majesty.” That text might imply that the Queen ...


Congress And The Reconstruction Of Foreign Affairs Federalism, Ryan Baasch, Saikrishna Bangalore Prakash Jan 2016

Congress And The Reconstruction Of Foreign Affairs Federalism, Ryan Baasch, Saikrishna Bangalore Prakash

Michigan Law Review

Though the Constitution conspicuously bars some state involvement in foreign affairs, the states clearly retain some authority in foreign affairs. Correctly supposing that state participation may unnecessarily complicate or embarrass our nation’s foreign relations, the Supreme Court has embraced aggressive preemption doctrines that sporadically oust the states from discrete areas in foreign affairs. These doctrines are unprincipled, supply little guidance, and generate capricious results. Fortunately, there is a better way. While the Constitution permits the states a limited and continuing role, it never goes so far as guaranteeing them any foreign affairs authority. Furthermore, the Constitution authorizes Congress to ...


More Than Just A Potted Plant: A Court's Authority To Review Deferred Prosecution Agreements Under The Speedy Trial Act And Under Its Inherent Supervisory Power, Mary Miller Jan 2016

More Than Just A Potted Plant: A Court's Authority To Review Deferred Prosecution Agreements Under The Speedy Trial Act And Under Its Inherent Supervisory Power, Mary Miller

Michigan Law Review

In the last decade, the Department of Justice has increasingly relied on pretrial diversion agreements as a means of resolving corporate criminal cases short of prosecution. These pretrial diversion agreements—non-prosecution and deferred prosecution agreements—include substantive terms that a company must abide by for the duration of the agreement in order to avoid prosecution. When entering a deferred prosecution agreement, the Department of Justice files charges against the defendant corporation as well as an agreement outlining the variety of terms with which the company must comply. This delay in prosecution is permitted under the Speedy Trial Act, which provides ...


Constitutionalizing Fetal Rights: A Salutary Tale From Ireland, Fiona De Londras Dec 2015

Constitutionalizing Fetal Rights: A Salutary Tale From Ireland, Fiona De Londras

Michigan Journal of Gender & Law

In 1983, Ireland became the first country in the world to constitutionalize fetal rights. The 8th Amendment to the Constitution, passed by a referendum of the People, resulted in constitutional protection for “the right to life of the unborn,” which was deemed “equal” to the right to life of the “mother.” Since then, enshrining fetal rights in constitutions and in legislation has emerged as a key part of anti-abortion campaigning. This Article traces the constitutionalization of fetal rights in Ireland and its implications for law, politics, and women. In so doing, it provides a salutary tale of such an approach ...


Loopholes For Circumventing The Constitution: Unrestrained Bulk Surveillance On Americans By Collecting Network Traffic Abroad, Axel Arnbak, Sharon Goldberg Jun 2015

Loopholes For Circumventing The Constitution: Unrestrained Bulk Surveillance On Americans By Collecting Network Traffic Abroad, Axel Arnbak, Sharon Goldberg

Michigan Telecommunications & Technology Law Review

This Article reveals interdependent legal and technical loopholes that the US intelligence community could use to circumvent constitutional and statutory safeguards for Americans. These loopholes involve the collection of Internet traffic on foreign territory, and leave Americans as unprotected as foreigners by current United States (US) surveillance laws. This Article will also describe how modern Internet protocols can be manipulated to deliberately divert American’s traffic abroad, where traffic can then be collected under a more permissive legal regime (Executive Order 12333) that is overseen solely by the executive branch of the US government. Although the media has reported on ...


The Sweeping Domestic War Powers Of Congress, Saikrishna Bangalore Prakash Jun 2015

The Sweeping Domestic War Powers Of Congress, Saikrishna Bangalore Prakash

Michigan Law Review

With the Habeas Clause standing as a curious exception, the Constitution seems mysteriously mute regarding federal authority during invasions and rebellions. In truth, the Constitution speaks volumes about these domestic wars. The inability to perceive the contours of the domestic wartime Constitution stems, in part, from unfamiliarity with the multifarious emergency legislation enacted during the Revolutionary War. During that war, state and national legislatures authorized the seizure of property, military trial of civilians, and temporary dictatorships. Ratified against the backdrop of these fairly recent wartime measures, the Constitution, via the Necessary and Proper Clause and other provisions, rather clearly augmented ...


Paths Of Resistance To Our Imperial First Amendment, Bertrall L. Ross Ii Apr 2015

Paths Of Resistance To Our Imperial First Amendment, Bertrall L. Ross Ii

Michigan Law Review

In the campaign finance realm, we are in the age of the imperial First Amendment. Over the past nine years, litigants bringing First Amendment claims against campaign finance regulations have prevailed in every case in the Supreme Court. A conservative core of five justices has developed virtually categorical protections for campaign speech and has continued to expand those protections into domains that states once had the authority to regulate. As the First Amendment’s empire expands, other values give way. Four key cases from this era illustrate the reach of this imperial First Amendment. In Wisconsin Right to Life, Inc ...


A Moment For Pragmatism, Jane S. Schacter Apr 2015

A Moment For Pragmatism, Jane S. Schacter

Michigan Law Review

One of the least controversial things to say about the U.S. Constitution is that it has proven very difficult to amend. The numbers are familiar. Only 27 amendments have been made since the Constitution was ratified, and 10 of those were adopted at the same time, only a few years after the original ratification. These numbers are all the more remarkable given that there have been over 11,500 attempts to amend the Constitution since it was first enacted. The paucity of amendments is also striking as a comparative matter. The national constitution that India approved in 1949 has ...


Countersupermajoritarianism, Frederic Bloom, Nelson Tebbe Apr 2015

Countersupermajoritarianism, Frederic Bloom, Nelson Tebbe

Michigan Law Review

Our Constitution can change. We can amend it, update it, improve it. And so we have—twenty-seven times by one count, many more by another. Everyone recognizes this. But fewer people appreciate that the mechanics of constitutional change can change as well. A method of alteration unaddressed at the founding can grow into established practice. A procedure built into constitutional text can slip into disuse. As much as citizens can change the substance of the Constitution, they can also change the ways they change it. In Originalism and the Good Constitution, John McGinnis and Michael Rappaport make an elegant and ...


Reflections On Comity In The Law Of American Federalism, Gil Seinfeld Apr 2015

Reflections On Comity In The Law Of American Federalism, Gil Seinfeld

Articles

Comity is a nebulous concept familiar to us from the law of international relations. Roughly speaking, it describes a set of reciprocal norms among nations that call for one state to recognize, and sometimes defer to, the laws, judgments, or interests of another. Comity also features prominently in the law of American federalism, but in that context, it operates within limits that have received almost no attention from scholarly commentators. Specifically, although courts routinely describe duties that run from one state to another, or from the federal government to the states, as exercises in comity, they almost never rely on ...


Six Overrulings, Andrew Koppelman Apr 2015

Six Overrulings, Andrew Koppelman

Michigan Law Review

John Paul Stevens, who retired in 2010 at the age of ninety after more than thirty-four years on the Supreme Court, has capped his astoundingly distinguished career by becoming an important public intellectual. He reviews books, gives high-profile interviews, wrote a memoir of the chief justices he has known, and has now written a second book. Six Amendments revisits half a dozen old, lost battles. Stevens appeals over the heads of his colleagues to a higher authority: the public. Now that he is off the Court, Stevens explains why six decisions in which he dissented should be overruled by constitutional ...


Saving Originalism, Robert J. Delahunty, John Yoo Apr 2015

Saving Originalism, Robert J. Delahunty, John Yoo

Michigan Law Review

It is sometimes said that biographers cannot help but come to admire, even love, their subjects. And that adage seems to ring true of Professor Amar, the foremost “biographer” of the Constitution. He loves it not just as a governing structure, or a political system, but as a document. He loves the Constitution in the same way that a fan of English literature might treasure Milton’s Paradise Lost or Shakespeare’s Macbeth. He loves the Constitution not just for the good: the separation of powers, federalism, and the Bill of Rights. He also loves it for its nooks and ...


The Limits Of Enumeration, Richard A. Primus Dec 2014

The Limits Of Enumeration, Richard A. Primus

Articles

According to a well-known principle of constitutional interpretation here identified as the “internal-limits canon,” the powers of Congress must always be construed as authorizing less legislation than a general police power would. This Article argues that the internallimits canon is unsound. Whether the powers of Congress would in practice authorize any legislation that a police power would authorize is a matter of contingency: it depends on the relationship between the powers and the social world at a given time. There is no reason why, at a given time, the powers cannot turn out to authorize any legislation that a police ...


Passive Takings: The State's Affirmative Duty To Protect Property, Christopher Serkin Dec 2014

Passive Takings: The State's Affirmative Duty To Protect Property, Christopher Serkin

Michigan Law Review

The purpose of the Fifth Amendment’s Takings Clause is to protect property owners from the most significant costs of legal transitions. Paradigmatically, a regulatory taking involves a government action that interferes with expectations about the content of property rights. Legal change has therefore always been central to regulatory takings claims. This Article argues that it does not need to be and that governments can violate the Takings Clause by failing to act in the face of a changing world. This argument represents much more than a minor refinement of takings law because recognizing governmental liability for failing to act ...


The Scope Of Precedent, Randy J. Kozel Nov 2014

The Scope Of Precedent, Randy J. Kozel

Michigan Law Review

The scope of Supreme Court precedent is capacious. Justices of the Court commonly defer to sweeping rationales and elaborate doctrinal frameworks articulated by their predecessors. This practice infuses judicial precedent with the prescriptive power of enacted constitutional and statutory text. The lower federal courts follow suit, regularly abiding by the Supreme Court’s broad pronouncements. These phenomena cannot be explained by—and, indeed, oftentimes subvert—the classic distinction between binding holdings and dispensable dicta. This Article connects the scope of precedent with recurring and foundational debates about the proper ends of judicial interpretation. A precedent’s forward- looking effect should ...