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University of Michigan Law School

United States Supreme Court

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Full-Text Articles in Law

Fourth Amendment Textualism, Jeffrey Bellin Nov 2019

Fourth Amendment Textualism, Jeffrey Bellin

Michigan Law Review

The Fourth Amendment’s prohibition of “unreasonable searches” is one of the most storied constitutional commands. Yet after decades of Supreme Court jurisprudence, a coherent definition of the term “search” remains surprisingly elusive. Even the justices know they have a problem. Recent opinions only halfheartedly apply the controlling “reasonable expectation of privacy” test and its wildly unpopular cousin, “third-party doctrine,” with a few justices in open revolt.

These fissures hint at the Court’s openness to a new approach. Unfortunately, no viable alternatives appear on the horizon. The justices themselves offer little in the way of a replacement. And scholars ...


National Injunctions And Preclusion, Zachary D. Clopton Oct 2019

National Injunctions And Preclusion, Zachary D. Clopton

Michigan Law Review

Critics of national injunctions are lining up. Attorney General Jeff Sessions labeled these injunctions “absurd” and “simply unsustainable.” Justice Clarence Thomas called them “legally and historically dubious,” while Justice Neil Gorsuch mockingly referred to them as “cosmic injunctions.” Scholars in leading law reviews have called for their demise. Critics argue that national injunctions encourage forum shopping, unfairly burden the federal government, and depart from the history of equity. They also claim that national injunctions contradict the Supreme Court’s decision in United States v. Mendoza to exempt the federal government from offensive nonmutual issue preclusion—a doctrine that permits nonparties ...


Can A State’S Water Rights Be Dammed? Environmental Flows And Federal Dams In The Supreme Court, Reed D. Benson May 2019

Can A State’S Water Rights Be Dammed? Environmental Flows And Federal Dams In The Supreme Court, Reed D. Benson

Michigan Journal of Environmental & Administrative Law

Interstate rivers are subject to the doctrine of equitable apportionment, whereby the Supreme Court seeks to ensure that all states that share such rivers get a fair portion of their benefits. The Court has rarely issued an equitable apportionment decree, however, and there is little law on whether the doctrine protects river flows for environmental purposes. The ongoing Florida v. Georgia litigation in the Supreme Court raises this issue, as Florida seeks to limit consumptive uses by upstream Georgia to preserve flows in the Apalachicola River, which provide both economic and environmental benefits. This Article summarizes both the equitable apportionment ...


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 ...


Carpenter's Legacy: Limiting The Scope Of The Electronic Private Search Doctrine, Sarah A. Mezera May 2019

Carpenter's Legacy: Limiting The Scope Of The Electronic Private Search Doctrine, Sarah A. Mezera

Michigan Law Review

One of the most significant challenges confronting courts and legal scholars in the twenty-first century is the application of Fourth Amendment doctrine to new technology. The circuit split over the application of the private search doctrine to electronic devices exemplifies how courts struggle to apply old doctrines to new circumstances. Some courts take the position that the old doctrine should apply consistently in the new context. Other courts have changed the scope of the old doctrine in order to account for the change in circumstances. The Supreme Court took the latter position in Carpenter v. United States and held that ...


Qualified Immunity And Constitutional Structure, Katherine Mims Crocker May 2019

Qualified Immunity And Constitutional Structure, Katherine Mims Crocker

Michigan Law Review

A range of scholars has subjected qualified immunity to a wave of criticism— and for good reasons. But the Supreme Court continues to apply the doctrine in ever more aggressive ways. By advancing two claims, this Article seeks to make some sense of this conflict and to suggest some thoughts toward a resolution.

First, while the Court has offered and scholars have rejected several rationales for the doctrine, layering in an account grounded in structural constitutional concerns provides a historically richer and analytically thicker understanding of the current qualified-immunity regime. For suits against federal officials, qualified immunity acts as a ...


The Quantum Of Suspicion Needed For An Exigent Circumstances Search, Kit Kinports Apr 2019

The Quantum Of Suspicion Needed For An Exigent Circumstances Search, Kit Kinports

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

For decades, the United States Supreme Court opinions articulating the standard of exigency necessary to trigger the exigent circumstances exception to the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement have been maddeningly opaque and confusing. Some cases require probable cause, others call for reasonable suspicion, and still, others use undefined and unhelpful terms such as “reasonable to believe” in describing how exigent the situation must be to permit the police to proceed without a warrant. Not surprisingly, the conflicting signals coming from the Supreme Court have led to disagreement in the lower courts.

To resolve this conflict and provide guidance to law ...


The Supreme Court And Public Schools, Erwin Chemerinsky Apr 2019

The Supreme Court And Public Schools, Erwin Chemerinsky

Michigan Law Review

Review of Justin Driver's The Schoolhouse Gate: Public Education, the Supreme Court, and the Battle for the American Mind.


Textualism For Realists, Ian Samuel Apr 2019

Textualism For Realists, Ian Samuel

Michigan Law Review

Review of Richard L. Hasen's The Justice of Contradictions: Antonin Scalia and the Politics of Disruption.


What Corporate Veil?, Joshua C. Macey Apr 2019

What Corporate Veil?, Joshua C. Macey

Michigan Law Review

Review of Adam Winkler's We the Corporations: How American Business Won Their Civil Rights.


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 ...


Second Redemption, Third Reconstruction, Richard A. Primus Jan 2019

Second Redemption, Third Reconstruction, Richard A. Primus

Articles

In The Accumulation of Advantages, the picture that Professor Owen Fiss paints about equality during and since the Second Reconstruction is largely a picture in black and white. That makes some sense. The black/white experience is probably the most important throughline in the story of equal protection. It was the central theme of both the First and Second Reconstructions. In keeping with that orientation, the picture of disadvantage described by Fiss’s theory of cumulative responsibility is largely drawn from the black/white experience. Important as it is, however, the black/white experience does not exhaust the subject of ...


The Political Party System As A Public Forum: The Incoherence Of Parties As Free Speech Associations And A Proposed Correction, Wayne Batchis Jan 2019

The Political Party System As A Public Forum: The Incoherence Of Parties As Free Speech Associations And A Proposed Correction, Wayne Batchis

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

The Supreme Court’s jurisprudence addressing the associational rights of political parties is both highly consequential and deeply inconsistent. It dates back at least as far as the Court’s White Primary decisions more than a half-century ago. In recent decades, the Court has imposed an arguably ad hoc formula, striking down regulations on political parties on First Amendment grounds in some cases, while upholding them in others. From a jurisprudential perspective, critics might point to insufficiently principled distinctions between these cases. From a normative perspective, the very expansion of First Amendment rights to political parties, like the parallel extension ...


Class Actions, Indivisibility, And Rule 23(B)(2), Maureen Carroll Jan 2019

Class Actions, Indivisibility, And Rule 23(B)(2), Maureen Carroll

Articles

The federal class-action rule contains a provision, Rule 23(b)(2), that authorizes class-wide injunctive or declaratory relief for class-wide wrongs. The procedural needs of civil rights litigation motivated the adoption of the provision in 1966, and in the intervening years, it has played an important role in managing efforts to bring about systemic change. At the same time, courts have sometimes struggled to articulate what plaintiffs must show in order to invoke Rule 23(b)(2). A few years ago, the Supreme Court weighed in, stating that the key to this type of class action is the “indivisible” nature ...


Securities Law In The Sixties: The Supreme Court, The Second Circuit, And The Triumph Of Purpose Over Text, Adam C. Pritchard, Robert B. Thompson Nov 2018

Securities Law In The Sixties: The Supreme Court, The Second Circuit, And The Triumph Of Purpose Over Text, Adam C. Pritchard, Robert B. Thompson

Articles

This Article analyzes the Supreme Court’s leading securities cases from 1962 to 1972—SEC v. Capital Gains Research Bureau, Inc.; J.I. Case Co. v. Borak; Mills v. Electric Auto-Lite Co.; Superintendent of Insurance v. Bankers Life & Casualty Co.; and Affiliated Ute of Utah v. United States—relying not just on the published opinions, but also the Justices’ internal letters, memos, and conference notes. The Sixties Court did not simply apply the text as enacted by Congress, but instead invoked the securities laws’ purposes as a guide to interpretation. The Court became a partner of Congress in shaping the securities laws ...


Arguing With Friends, William Baude, Ryan D. Doerfler Nov 2018

Arguing With Friends, William Baude, Ryan D. Doerfler

Michigan Law Review

Judges sometimes disagree about the best way to resolve a case. But the conventional wisdom is that they should not be too swayed by such disagreement and should do their best to decide the case by their own lights. An emerging critique questions this view, arguing instead for widespread humility. In the face of disagreement, the argument goes, judges should generally concede ambiguity and uncertainty in almost all contested cases.

Both positions are wrong. Drawing on the philosophical concepts of “peer disagreement” and “epistemic peerhood,” we argue for a different approach: A judge ought to give significant weight to the ...


The "Broadest Reasonable Interpretation" And Applying Issue Preclusion To Administrative Patent Claim Construction, Jonathan I. Tietz Nov 2018

The "Broadest Reasonable Interpretation" And Applying Issue Preclusion To Administrative Patent Claim Construction, Jonathan I. Tietz

Michigan Law Review

Inventions are tangible. Yet patents comprise words, and words are imprecise. Thus, disputes over patents involve a process known as “claim construction,” which formally clarifies the meaning of a patent claim’s words and, therefore, the scope of the underlying property right. Adversarial claim construction commonly occurs in various Article III and Article I settings, such as district courts or the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). When these proceedings ignore each other’s claim constructions, a patent’s scope can become inconsistent and unpredictable. The doctrine of issue preclusion could help with this problem. The Supreme Court recently reemphasized ...


Accusers As Adjudicators In Agency Enforcement Proceedings, Andrew N. Vollmer Oct 2018

Accusers As Adjudicators In Agency Enforcement Proceedings, Andrew N. Vollmer

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

Largely because of the Supreme Court’s 1975 decision in Withrow v. Larkin, the accepted view for decades has been that a federal administrative agency does not violate the Due Process Clause by combining the functions of investigating, charging, and then resolving allegations that a person violated the law. Many federal agencies have this structure, such as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Federal Trade Commission.

In 2016, the Supreme Court decided Williams v. Pennsylvania, a judicial disqualification case that, without addressing administrative agencies, nonetheless raises a substantial question about one aspect of the combination of functions at ...


You Can’T Say That!: Public Forum Doctrine And Viewpoint Discrimination In The Social Media Era, Micah Telegen Oct 2018

You Can’T Say That!: Public Forum Doctrine And Viewpoint Discrimination In The Social Media Era, Micah Telegen

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

The growing prevalence of privately-owned social media platforms is changing the way Americans and their governments communicate. This shift offers new opportunities, but also requires a reinterpretation of the First Amendment’s proscription of government limitations of speech. The public forum doctrine and its proscription of viewpoint discrimination seem particularly stretched by the digital revolution and the development of social media. In ongoing cases, litigants and courts have invoked the doctrine to limit the government’s ability to ‘block’ those who comment critically on government pages—much to the chagrin of those who note the private status of the companies ...


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 ...


Change, Creation, And Unpredictability In Statutory Interpretation: Interpretive Canon Use In The Roberts Court's First Decade, Nina A. Mendelson Oct 2018

Change, Creation, And Unpredictability In Statutory Interpretation: Interpretive Canon Use In The Roberts Court's First Decade, Nina A. Mendelson

Michigan Law Review

In resolving questions of statutory meaning, the lion’s share of Roberts Court opinions considers and applies at least one interpretive canon, whether the rule against surplusage or the presumption against state law preemption. This is part of a decades-long turn toward textualist statutory interpretation in the Supreme Court. Commentators have debated how to justify canons, since they are judicially created rules that reside outside the statutory text. Earlier studies have cast substantial doubt on whether these canons can be justified as capturing congressional practices or preferences; commentators have accordingly turned toward second-order justifications, arguing that canons usefully make interpretation ...


Renovations Needed: The Fda's Floor/Ceiling Framework, Preemption, And The Opioid Epidemic, Michael R. Abrams Oct 2018

Renovations Needed: The Fda's Floor/Ceiling Framework, Preemption, And The Opioid Epidemic, Michael R. Abrams

Michigan Law Review

The FDA’s regulatory framework for pharmaceuticals uses a “floor/ceiling” model: administrative rules set a “floor” of minimum safety, while state tort liability sets a “ceiling” of maximum protection. This model emphasizes premarket scrutiny but largely relies on the state common law “ceiling” to police the postapproval drug market. As the Supreme Court increasingly holds state tort law preempted by federal administrative standards, the FDA’s framework becomes increasingly imbalanced. In the face of a historic prescription medication overdose crisis, the Opioid Epidemic, this imbalance allows the pharmaceutical industry to avoid internalizing the public health costs of their opioid ...


Fourth Amendment Constraints On The Technological Monitoring Of Convicted Sex Offenders, Ben A. Mcjunkin, J. J. Prescott Jul 2018

Fourth Amendment Constraints On The Technological Monitoring Of Convicted Sex Offenders, Ben A. Mcjunkin, J. J. Prescott

Articles

More than forty U.S. states currently track at least some of their convicted sex offenders using GPS devices. Many offenders will be monitored for life. The burdens and expense of living indefinitely under constant technological monitoring have been well documented, but most commentators have assumed that these burdens were of no constitutional moment because states have characterized such surveillance as ‘‘civil’’ in character—and courts have seemed to agree. In 2015, however, the Supreme Court decided in Grady v. North Carolina that attaching a GPS monitoring device to a person was a Fourth Amendment search, notwithstanding the ostensibly civil ...


State Court Litigation: The New Front In The War Against Partisan Gerrymandering, Charlie Stewart Jun 2018

State Court Litigation: The New Front In The War Against Partisan Gerrymandering, Charlie Stewart

Michigan Law Review Online

Partisan gerrymandering is the process of drafting state and congressional districts in a manner that gives one political party an advantage over another. The end goal is simple: help your party win more seats or protect existing ones. The tactic is as old as the United States. In 1788, Patrick Henry convinced the Virginia state legislature to draw the 5th Congressional District to pit his rival James Madison against James Monroe. The term “gerrymander” itself is a hybrid: in 1810, democratic Governor Gerry signed a partisan redistricting plan into law—one that contained a district that infamously looked like a ...


Batson For Judges, Police Officers & Teachers: Lessons In Democracy From The Jury Box, Stacy L. Hawkins Jun 2018

Batson For Judges, Police Officers & Teachers: Lessons In Democracy From The Jury Box, Stacy L. Hawkins

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

In our representative democracy we guarantee equal participation for all, but we fall short of this promise in so many domains of our civic life. From the schoolhouse, to the jailhouse, to the courthouse, racial minorities are underrepresented among key public decision-makers, such as judges, police officers, and teachers. This gap between our aspirations for representative democracy and the reality that our judges, police officers, and teachers are often woefully under-representative of the racially diverse communities they serve leaves many citizens of color wanting for the democratic guarantee of equal participation. This critical failure of our democracy threatens to undermine ...


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 ...


Certiorari, Universality, And A Patent Puzzle, Tejas N. Narechania Jun 2018

Certiorari, Universality, And A Patent Puzzle, Tejas N. Narechania

Michigan Law Review

The most important determinant of a case’s chances for Supreme Court review is a circuit split: If two courts of appeals have decided the same issue differently, review is substantially more likely. But practically every appeal in a patent case makes its way to a single court—the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. How, then, does the Supreme Court decide whether to grant certiorari in a patent case?

The petitions for certiorari in the Court’s patent docket suggest an answer: The Supreme Court looks for splits anyway. These splits, however, are of a different sort. Rather ...


Is There Any Silver Lining To Trinity Lutheran Church, Inc. V. Comer?, Caroline Mala Corbin May 2018

Is There Any Silver Lining To Trinity Lutheran Church, Inc. V. Comer?, Caroline Mala Corbin

Michigan Law Review Online

Trinity Lutheran Church, Inc. v. Comer is a significant setback for a strong separation of church and state. Missouri denied a playground grant to Trinity Lutheran because of a state constitutional provision that bans financial aid to churches. The church sued. The Supreme Court held not only that the Establishment Clause allowed the government to give taxpayer money to Trinity Lutheran, but that the Free Exercise Clause required it. The decision's many flaws are not the focus of this short Essay. Instead, this Essay dissects the Supreme Court's reasoning in order to apply it to current controversies in ...


Both Sides Of The Rock: Justice Gorsuch And The Seminole Rock Deference Doctrine, Kevin O. Leske May 2018

Both Sides Of The Rock: Justice Gorsuch And The Seminole Rock Deference Doctrine, Kevin O. Leske

Michigan Journal of Environmental & Administrative Law

Despite being early in his tenure on the U.S. Supreme Court, Justice Neil Gorsuch has already made his presence known. His October 16, 2017 statement respecting the denial of certiorari in Scenic America, Inc. v. Department of Transportation garnered significant attention within the legal community. Joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito, Justice Gorsuch questioned whether the Court’s bedrock 2-part test from Chevron, U.S.A. v. NRDC—whereby courts must defer to an agency’s reasonable interpretation of an ambiguous statutory term—should apply in the case.

Justice Gorsuch’s criticism of the Chevron ...


Solving The Nonresident Alien Due Process Paradox In Personal Jurisdiction, Robin J. Effron May 2018

Solving The Nonresident Alien Due Process Paradox In Personal Jurisdiction, Robin J. Effron

Michigan Law Review Online

Personal jurisdiction has a nonresident alien problem. Or, more accurately, personal jurisdiction has two nonresident alien problems. The first is the extent to which the specter of the nonresident alien defendant has overshadowed-if not unfairly driven-the discourse and doctrine over constitutional personal jurisdiction. The second is that the constitutional right to resist personal jurisdiction enjoyed by the nonresident alien defendant in a civil lawsuit is remarkably out of alignment with that same nonresident alien's ability to assert nearly every other constitutional right. Neither of these observations is new, although the first problem has drawn far more scholarly attention than ...