Open Access. Powered by Scholars. Published by Universities.®

Law Commons

Open Access. Powered by Scholars. Published by Universities.®

Articles 1 - 30 of 71

Full-Text Articles in Law

How Criminal Code Drafting Form Can Restrain Prosecutorial And Legislative Excesses: Consolidated Offense Drafting, Paul H. Robinson, Matthew Kussmaul, Muhammad Sarahne Mar 2021

How Criminal Code Drafting Form Can Restrain Prosecutorial And Legislative Excesses: Consolidated Offense Drafting, Paul H. Robinson, Matthew Kussmaul, Muhammad Sarahne

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Solving criminal justice problems typically requires the enactment of new rules or the modification of existing ones. But there are some serious problems that can best be solved simply by altering the way in which the existing rules are drafted rather than by altering their content. This is the case with two of the most serious problems in criminal justice today: the problem of overlapping criminal offenses that create excessive prosecutorial charging discretion and the problem of legislative inconsistency and irrationality in grading offenses.

After examining these two problems and demonstrating their serious effects in perverting criminal justice, the essay ...


Ai In Adjudication And Administration, Cary Coglianese, Lavi M. Ben Dor Nov 2020

Ai In Adjudication And Administration, Cary Coglianese, Lavi M. Ben Dor

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The use of artificial intelligence has expanded rapidly in recent years across many aspects of the economy. For federal, state, and local governments in the United States, interest in artificial intelligence has manifested in the use of a series of digital tools, including the occasional deployment of machine learning, to aid in the performance of a variety of governmental functions. In this paper, we canvas the current uses of such digital tools and machine-learning technologies by the judiciary and administrative agencies in the United States. Although we have yet to see fully automated decision-making find its way into either adjudication ...


Local Elected Officials’ Receptivity To Refugee Resettlement In The United States, Robert Shaffer, Lauren E. Pinson, Jonathan A. Chu, Beth A. Simmons Oct 2020

Local Elected Officials’ Receptivity To Refugee Resettlement In The United States, Robert Shaffer, Lauren E. Pinson, Jonathan A. Chu, Beth A. Simmons

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Local leaders possess significant and growing authority over refugee resettlement, yet we know little about their attitudes toward refugees. In this article, we use a conjoint experiment to evaluate how the attributes of hypothetical refugee groups influence local policymaker receptivity toward refugee resettlement. We sample from a novel, national panel of current local elected officials, who represent a broad range of urban and rural communities across the United States. We find that many local officials favor refugee resettlement regardless of refugee attributes. However, officials are most receptive to refugees whom they perceive as a strong economic and social fit within ...


Steiner V. Utah: Designing A Constitutional Remedy, Michael S. Knoll, Ruth Mason Mar 2020

Steiner V. Utah: Designing A Constitutional Remedy, Michael S. Knoll, Ruth Mason

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

In an earlier article, we argued that the Utah Supreme Court failed to follow and correctly apply clear U.S. Supreme Court precedent in Steiner v. Utah when the Utah high court held that an internally inconsistent and discriminatory state tax regime did not violate the dormant commerce clause. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court recently declined certiorari in Steiner, but the issue is unlikely to go away. Not every state high court will defy the U.S. Supreme Court by refusing to apply the dormant commerce clause, and so the Court will sooner or later likely find itself facing conflicting interpretations ...


Regulation Of Algorithmic Tools In The United States, Christopher S. Yoo, Alicia Lai Jan 2020

Regulation Of Algorithmic Tools In The United States, Christopher S. Yoo, Alicia Lai

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Policymakers in the United States have just begun to address regulation of artificial intelligence technologies in recent years, gaining momentum through calls for additional research funding, piece-meal guidance, proposals, and legislation at all levels of government. This Article provides an overview of high-level federal initiatives for general artificial intelligence (AI) applications set forth by the U.S. president and responding agencies, early indications from the incoming Biden Administration, targeted federal initiatives for sector-specific AI applications, pending federal legislative proposals, and state and local initiatives. The regulation of the algorithmic ecosystem will continue to evolve as the United States continues to ...


Confronting Complexity With Regulatory Excellence: Recommendations In The Wake Of The Philadelphia Refinery Explosion, Cary Coglianese Aug 2019

Confronting Complexity With Regulatory Excellence: Recommendations In The Wake Of The Philadelphia Refinery Explosion, Cary Coglianese

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Following the June 2019 explosion at the Philadelphia Energy Solutions (PES) refinery, the city of Philadelphia now confronts major challenges associated with the future of the refinery site. Whether the site is reopened as a refinery or other chemical-processing operation, or redeveloped for other uses, the city will face challenges endemic to all kinds of public policy issues: complexity, uncertainty, dynamism, tradeoffs, and value choices. This testimony, delivered to the City of Philadelphia Refinery Advisory Group’s Environment Committee, offers three main suggestions to help guide Philadelphia officials in dealing with the future of the PES refinery site. First, city ...


“Second Looks, Second Chances”: Collaborating With Lifers Inc. On A Video About Commutation Of Lwop Sentences, Regina Austin Jan 2019

“Second Looks, Second Chances”: Collaborating With Lifers Inc. On A Video About Commutation Of Lwop Sentences, Regina Austin

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

In Pennsylvania, life means life without the possibility of parole (“LWOP”) or “death by incarceration.” Although executive commutation offers long serving rehabilitated lifers hope of release, in the past 20 years, only 8 commutations have been granted by the state’s governors. This article describes the collaboration between an organization of incarcerated persons serving LWOP and the law-school-based Penn Program on Documentaries and the Law that produced a video supporting increased commutations for Pennsylvania lifers. The article details the methodology of collaborative videomaking employed, the strategic decisions over content that were impacted by the politics of commutation, and the contributions ...


Unlocking Access To Health Care: A Federalist Approach To Reforming Occupational Licensing, Gabriel Scheffler Jan 2019

Unlocking Access To Health Care: A Federalist Approach To Reforming Occupational Licensing, Gabriel Scheffler

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Several features of the existing occupational licensing system impede access to health care without providing appreciable protections for patients. Licensing restrictions prevent health care providers from offering services to the full extent of their competency, obstruct the adoption of telehealth, and deter foreign-trained providers from practicing in the United States. Scholars and policymakers have proposed a number of reforms to this system over the years, but these proposals have had a limited impact for political and institutional reasons.

Still, there are grounds for optimism. In recent years, the federal government has taken a range of initial steps to reform licensing ...


Reflections On Two Years Of P.R.O.M.E.S.A., David A. Skeel Jr. Jun 2018

Reflections On Two Years Of P.R.O.M.E.S.A., David A. Skeel Jr.

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This Essay draws both on my scholarly and on my personal experience as a member of Puerto Rico’s oversight board to assess the first two years of the Board’s existence. I begin in a scholarly mode, by exploring the question of where P.R.O.M.E.S.A., the legislation that created the Board, came from. P.R.O.M.E.S.A.’s core provisions are, I will argue, the product of two historical patterns that have emerged in responses to the financial distress of public entities in the United States. The first dates back to ...


Still Living After Fifty Years: A Census Of Judicial Review Under The Pennsylvania Constitution Of 1968, Seth F. Kreimer Jan 2018

Still Living After Fifty Years: A Census Of Judicial Review Under The Pennsylvania Constitution Of 1968, Seth F. Kreimer

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The year 2018 marked the fiftieth anniversary of the Pennsylvania Constitution of 1968. The time seems ripe, therefore, to explore the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s exercise of judicial review under the 1968 Pennsylvania Constitution. This Article constitutes the first such comprehensive exploration.

The Article begins with an historical overview of the evolution of the Pennsylvania Constitution, culminating in the Constitution of 1968. It then presents a census of the 372 cases in which the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has vindicated distinctive Pennsylvania Constitutional rights under the Constitution of 1968.

Analysis of these cases leads to three conclusions:

1. Exercise of independent ...


Exclusionary Megacities, Wendell Pritchett, Shitong Qiao Jan 2018

Exclusionary Megacities, Wendell Pritchett, Shitong Qiao

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Human beings should live in places where they are most productive, and megacities, where information, innovation and opportunities congregate, would be the optimal choice. Yet megacities in both China and the U.S. are excluding people by limiting housing supply. Why, despite their many differences, is the same type of exclusion happening in both Chinese and U.S. megacities? Urban law and policy scholars argue that Not-In-My-Backyard (NIMBY) homeowners are taking over megacities in the U.S. and hindering housing development therein. They pin their hopes on an efficient growth machine that makes sure “above all, nothing gets in the ...


Cooperative And Uncooperative Foreign Affairs Federalism, Jean Galbraith Jun 2017

Cooperative And Uncooperative Foreign Affairs Federalism, Jean Galbraith

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This book review argues for reorienting how we think about federalism in relation to foreign affairs. In considering state and local engagement in foreign affairs, legal scholars often focus on the opportunities and limits provided by constitutional law. Foreign Affairs Federalism: The Myth of National Exclusivity by Michael Glennon and Robert Sloane does precisely this in a thoughtful and well-crafted way. But while the backdrop constitutional principles studied by Glennon and Sloane are important, so too are other types of law that receive far less attention. International law, administrative law, particular statutory schemes, and state law can all affect how ...


The Bylaw Puzzle In Delaware Corporate Law, David A. Skeel Jr. Jan 2017

The Bylaw Puzzle In Delaware Corporate Law, David A. Skeel Jr.

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

In less than a decade, Delaware’s legislature has overruled its courts and reshaped Delaware corporate law on two different occasions, with proxy access bylaws in 2009 and with shareholder litigation bylaws in 2015. Having two dramatic interventions in quick succession would be puzzling under any circumstances. The interventions are doubly puzzling because with proxy access, Delaware’s legislature authorized the use of bylaws or charter provisions that Delaware’s courts had banned; while with shareholder litigation, it banned bylaws or charter provisions that the courts had authorized. This Article attempts to unravel the puzzle.

I start with corporate law ...


The Economic Foundation Of The Dormant Commerce Clause, Michael S. Knoll, Ruth Mason Jan 2017

The Economic Foundation Of The Dormant Commerce Clause, Michael S. Knoll, Ruth Mason

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Last Term, a sharply divided Supreme Court decided a landmark dormant Commerce Clause case, Comptroller of the Treasury of Maryland v. Wynne. Wynne represents the Court’s first clear acknowledgement of the economic underpinnings of one of its main doctrinal tools for resolving tax discrimination cases, the internal consistency test. In deciding Wynne, the Court relied on economic analysis we provided. This Essay explains that analysis, why the majority accepted it, why the dissenters’ objections to the majority’s reasoning miss their mark, and what Wynne means for state taxation. Essential to our analysis and the Court’s decision in ...


Partial Takings, Abraham Bell, Gideon Parchomovsky Jan 2017

Partial Takings, Abraham Bell, Gideon Parchomovsky

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Partial takings allow the government to expropriate the parts of an asset it needs, leaving the owner the remainder. Both vital and common, partial takings present unique challenges to the standard rules of eminent domain. Partial takings may result in the creation of suboptimal, and even unusable, parcels. Additionally, partial takings create assessment problems that do not arise when parcels are taken as a whole. Finally, partial takings engender opportunities for inefficient strategic behavior on the part of the government after the partial taking has been carried out. Current jurisprudence fails to resolve these problems and can even exacerbate them ...


Uncontrolled Experiments From The Laboratories Of Democracy: Traditional Cash Welfare, Federalism, And Welfare Reform, Jonah B. Gelbach May 2016

Uncontrolled Experiments From The Laboratories Of Democracy: Traditional Cash Welfare, Federalism, And Welfare Reform, Jonah B. Gelbach

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

In this chapter I discuss the history and basic incentive effects of two key U.S. cash assistance programs aimed at families with children. Starting roughly in the 1980s, critics of the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program argued that the program -- designed largely to cut relatively small checks -- failed to end poverty or promote work. After years of federally provided waivers that allowed states to experiment with changes to their AFDC programs, the critics in 1996 won the outright elimination of AFDC. It was replaced by the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program, over which states ...


Is The Philadelphia Wage Tax Unconstitutional? And If It Is, What Can And Should The City Do?, Michael S. Knoll, Ruth Mason Apr 2016

Is The Philadelphia Wage Tax Unconstitutional? And If It Is, What Can And Should The City Do?, Michael S. Knoll, Ruth Mason

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Philadelphia has a complex and antiquated tax system that has long been criticized for driving employers and jobs away from Philadelphia by making it expensive to conduct business in the City. The centerpiece of the Philadelphia tax system is the Philadelphia wage tax, which raised more than $1.6 billion in 2014. That tax has been challenged as unconstitutional in light of the Supreme Court’s 2015 decision in Wynne v. Comptroller of Maryland, which struck down a structurally similar Maryland tax. This Essay explains the constitutional challenge to the City wage tax, argues that the tax is unconstitutional, describes ...


Patent Exhaustion And Federalism: A Historical Note, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Apr 2016

Patent Exhaustion And Federalism: A Historical Note, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This essay, written as a response to John F. Duffy and Richard Hynes, Statutory Domain and the Commercial Law of Intellectual Property, 102 VA. L. REV. 1 (2016), argues that the patent exhaustion (first sale) doctrine developed as a creature of federalism, intended to divide the line between the law of patents, which by that time had become exclusively federal, and the law of patented things, which were governed by the states. Late nineteenth and early twentieth century courts were explicit on the point, in decisions stretching from the 1850s well into the twentieth century.

By the second half of ...


A Two-Step Plan For Puerto Rico, Clayton P. Gillette, David A. Skeel Jr. Mar 2016

A Two-Step Plan For Puerto Rico, Clayton P. Gillette, David A. Skeel Jr.

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Few still believe that Puerto Rico is capable of meeting all of its financial obligations and continuing to provide basic services. The territory is already in default, and conditions are rapidly deteriorating. Is there a way forward? We think there is. In this short article, we outline a two-part plan for correcting Puerto Rico’s most urgent fiscal and financial problems.

The first step is to create an independent financial control board that has authority over Puerto Rico’s budgets and related issues. Notwithstanding concerns that an externally imposed financial control board (FCB) may interfere with the decision making processes ...


A Solution In Search Of A Problem: Kelo Reform Over Ten Years, Wendell Pritchett Jan 2016

A Solution In Search Of A Problem: Kelo Reform Over Ten Years, Wendell Pritchett

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Kelo is NOT Dred Scott. Kelo is not only NOT Dred Scott, it was, as this Essay will argue, the right decision given the facts of the cases and the current state of legal jurisprudence. As an academic who has detailed the historic exploitation of eminent domain to uproot persons of color in this country, I find it interesting, and somewhat troubling, that the case has received so much criticism, much more criticism, I would argue, than other Supreme Court decisions that deserve condemnation. Certainly, eminent domain, like any other government power, must be regulated carefully. But upending the principles ...


Governance Reform And The Judicial Role In Municipal Bankruptcy, Clayton P. Gillette, David A. Skeel Jr. Jan 2016

Governance Reform And The Judicial Role In Municipal Bankruptcy, Clayton P. Gillette, David A. Skeel Jr.

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Recent proceedings involving large municipalities such as Detroit, Stockton, and Vallejo illustrate both the utility and the limitations of using the Bankruptcy Code to adjust municipal debt. In this article, we contend that, to truly resolve the distress of a substantial city, municipal bankruptcy needs to do more than simply provide immediate debt relief. Debt adjustment alone does nothing to remedy the fragmented decision-making and incentives for expanding municipal budgets that underlie municipal distress. Unless bankruptcy also addresses governance dysfunction, the city may slide right back into financial crisis. Governance restructuring has long been an essential element of corporate bankruptcy ...


Governmental Intervention In An Economic Crisis, Robert K. Rasmussen, David A. Skeel Jr. Jan 2016

Governmental Intervention In An Economic Crisis, Robert K. Rasmussen, David A. Skeel Jr.

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This paper articulates a framework both for assessing the various government bailouts that took place at the onset of Great Recession and for guiding future rescue efforts when they become necessary. The goals for those engineering a bailout should be to be as transparent as possible, to articulate clearly the reason for the intervention, to respect existing priorities among investors, to exercise control only at the top level where such efforts can be seen by the public, and to exit as soon as possible. By these metrics, some of the recent bailouts should be applauded, while others fell short. We ...


How The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Should Interpret Wynne, Michael S. Knoll, Ruth Mason Dec 2015

How The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Should Interpret Wynne, Michael S. Knoll, Ruth Mason

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

In this special report, Knoll and Mason discuss how the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court should apply Wynne when it hears on remand First Marblehead v. Commissioner of Revenue. The authors conclude that when it originally heard the case, the Massachusetts court mistakenly considered, as part of its internal consistency analysis, whether Gate Holdings Inc. experienced double state taxation. As developed by the U.S. Supreme Court and most recently applied in Wynne, the internal consistency test is not concerned with actual double taxation that may arise from the interaction of different states’ laws. Rather, the test is designed to determine ...


Rediscovering Capture: Antitrust Federalism And The North Carolina Dental Case, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Apr 2015

Rediscovering Capture: Antitrust Federalism And The North Carolina Dental Case, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This brief essay analyzes the Supreme Court's 2015 decision in the North Carolina Dental case, assessing its implications for federalism. The decision promises to re-open old divisions that had once made the antitrust "state action" doctrine a controversial lightning rod for debate about state economic sovereignty.

One provocative issue that neither the majority nor the dissenters considered is indicated by the fact that nearly all the cartel customers in the Dental case were located within the state. By contrast, the cartel in Parker v. Brown, which the dissent held up as the correct exemplar of the doctrine, benefited California ...


Wynne: It's Not About Double Taxation, Michael S. Knoll, Ruth Mason Feb 2015

Wynne: It's Not About Double Taxation, Michael S. Knoll, Ruth Mason

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This Article discusses Wynne v. Comptroller, a dormant Commerce Clause case against Maryland pending before the Supreme Court. We use economic analysis to rebut Maryland’s claim that its tax regime does not discriminate against interstate commerce. We also argue that the parties’ framing of the central issue in the case as whether the Constitution requires states to relieve double taxation draws focus away from the discrimination question, and therefore could undermine the Wynnes’ case and lead to unjustified narrowing of the dormant Commerce Clause. We also show how our approach to tax discrimination resolves many of the issues that ...


From Chrysler And General Motors To Detroit, David A. Skeel Jr. Jan 2015

From Chrysler And General Motors To Detroit, David A. Skeel Jr.

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

In the past five years, three of the most remarkable bankruptcy cases in American history have come out of Detroit: the bankruptcies of Chrysler and General Motors in 2009, and of Detroit itself in 2012. The principal objective of this Article is simply to show that the Grand Bargain at the heart of the Detroit bankruptcy is the direct offspring of the bankruptcy sale transactions that were used to restructure Chrysler and GM. The proponents of Detroit’s “Grand Bargain” never would have dreamed up the transaction were it not for the federal government-engineered carmaker bankruptcies. The Article’s second ...


Comptroller V. Wynne: Internal Consistency, A National Marketplace, And Limits On State Sovereignty To Tax, Michael S. Knoll, Ruth Mason Jan 2015

Comptroller V. Wynne: Internal Consistency, A National Marketplace, And Limits On State Sovereignty To Tax, Michael S. Knoll, Ruth Mason

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

On November 12, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral argument in Comptroller of the Treasury v. Wynne. The case, which has already been called the Court’s most important state tax case in decades, asks how the dormant Commerce Clause restrains state taxation of individual income. Because Wynne lacks the usual indicia of “certworthiness,” the case raises the possibility that the Court will reshape the constitutional balance between the states’ sovereign interest in collecting taxes and the national interest in maintaining an open economy.

The challenge for the Court, whose dormant Commerce Clause rulings have attracted intense criticism ...


What Is A Lien? Lessons From Municipal Bankruptcy, David A. Skeel Jr. Jan 2015

What Is A Lien? Lessons From Municipal Bankruptcy, David A. Skeel Jr.

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

From the outset of Detroit’s bankruptcy, an unlikely set of issues kept coming up: What exactly is a lien? Who has a property interest or its equivalent in bankruptcy? Did general obligation bondholders have special status, due to Detroit’s promise to use its “full faith and credit” for repayment? What about Detroit’s pension beneficiaries, who could point to a provision in the Michigan Constitution stating that accrued pension benefits cannot be diminished or impaired. In this Article, I explore these and related issues that have arisen in Detroit and other recent municipal bankruptcy cases.

Part I of ...


Amicus Brief In Maryland Comptroller V. Wynne, Michael S. Knoll, Ruth Mason Sep 2014

Amicus Brief In Maryland Comptroller V. Wynne, Michael S. Knoll, Ruth Mason

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The internal consistency test reveals that Maryland applies systematically higher “county” taxes to interstate commerce than to in-state commerce.

Economic analysis of Maryland’s tax regime — including its taxes on inbound, outbound, and domestic activities — confirms what the internal consistency test suggests, namely, that the Maryland “county” tax discourages interstate commerce. Specifically, the Maryland tax regime discourages Maryland residents from earning income outside of Maryland, and it simultaneously discourages nonresidents from earning income in Maryland. Maryland alone causes this distortion; the distortion does not depend on the taxes imposed by any other state.

Petitioner’s argument that Maryland’s outbound ...


Distributional Consequences Of Public Policies: An Example From The Management Of Urban Vehicular Travel, Winston Harrington, Elena Safirova, Conrad Coleman, Sébastien Houde, Adam M. Finkel Mar 2014

Distributional Consequences Of Public Policies: An Example From The Management Of Urban Vehicular Travel, Winston Harrington, Elena Safirova, Conrad Coleman, Sébastien Houde, Adam M. Finkel

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This paper uses a spatially disaggregated computable general equilibrium model of a large US metropolitan area to compare two kinds of policies, “Live Near Your Work” and taxation of vehicular travel, that have been proposed to help further the aims of “smart growth.” Ordinarily, policy comparisons of this sort focus on the net benefits of the two policies; that is, the total monetized net welfare gains or losses to all citizens. While the aggregate net benefits are certainly important, in this analysis we also disaggregate these benefits along two important dimensions: income and location within the metropolitan area. The resulting ...