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Optimal Standardization In The Law Of Property: The Numerus Clausus Principle, Thomas W. Merrill, Henry E. Smith Jan 2000

Optimal Standardization In The Law Of Property: The Numerus Clausus Principle, Thomas W. Merrill, Henry E. Smith

Faculty Scholarship

A central difference between contract and property concerns the freedom to "customize" legally enforceable interests. The law of contract recognizes no inherent limitations on the nature or the duration of the interests that can be the subject of a legally binding contract. Certain types of promises – such as promises to commit a crime – are declared unenforceable as a matter of public policy. But outside these relatively narrow areas of proscription and requirements such as definiteness and (maybe) consideration, there is a potentially infinite range of promises that the law will honor. The parties to a contract are free to be ...


The Role Of Letters Of Credit In Payment Transactions, Ronald J. Mann Jan 2000

The Role Of Letters Of Credit In Payment Transactions, Ronald J. Mann

Faculty Scholarship

Common justifications for the use of the letter of credit fail to explain its widespread use. The classic explanation claims that the letter of credit provides an effective assurance of payment from a financially responsible third party. In that story, the seller – a Taiwanese clothing manufacturer, for example – fears that the overseas buyer – Wal-Mart – will refuse to pay once the goods have been shipped. Cross-border transactions magnify the concern, because the difficulties of litigating in a distant forum will hinder the manufacturer's efforts to force the distant buyer to pay. The manufacturer-seller solves that problem by obtaining a letter ...


Of Prosecutors And Special Prosecutors: An Organizational Perspective, H. Geoffrey Moulton Jr., Daniel Richman Jan 2000

Of Prosecutors And Special Prosecutors: An Organizational Perspective, H. Geoffrey Moulton Jr., Daniel Richman

Faculty Scholarship

The Independent Counsel (IC) statute, designed to restore public trust in the impartial administration of criminal justice after Watergate, ultimately fueled rather than quieted the perception that partisan politics drives the investigation of high-ranking government officials. Congress, in an inspiring display of bipartisanship, bid it a muted farewell. The statute's fate was sealed by the enormous controversy surrounding the investigation conducted by Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr.

Although Start did not bring criminal charges against President Clinton, his office went pretty far in that direction, committing considerable enforcement resources to that end, bringing criminal charges against people believed to have ...


Patterns Of Legal Change: Shareholder And Creditor Rights In Transition Economies, Katharina Pistor Jan 2000

Patterns Of Legal Change: Shareholder And Creditor Rights In Transition Economies, Katharina Pistor

Faculty Scholarship

This paper analyses changes in the legal protection of shareholder and creditor rights in 24 transition economies from 1990 to 1998. It documents differences in the initial conditions and a tendency towards convergence of formal legal rules as the result of extensive legal reforms. Convergence seems to be primarily the result of foreign technical assistance programs as well as of harmonisation requirements for countries wishing to join the European Union. The external supply of legal rules not withstanding, the pattern of legal reforms suggests that law reform has been primarily responsive, or lagging, rather than leading economic development. In comparison ...


Europe's Evolving Regulatory Strategy For Gmos – The Issue Of Consistency With Wto Law: Of Kine And Brine, Robert Howse, Petros C. Mavroidis Jan 2000

Europe's Evolving Regulatory Strategy For Gmos – The Issue Of Consistency With Wto Law: Of Kine And Brine, Robert Howse, Petros C. Mavroidis

Faculty Scholarship

This Essay deals with one question: If challenged, how would regulatory restrictions on genetically modified organisms ("GMOs") be judged by a World Trade Organization ("WTO") adjudicating body. Many of the controversies about the effect of WTO law on domestic regulation have been influenced by the view that the law as it stands may well impede the ability of governments to regulate new and uncertain risks to health and the environment. The result in the Beef Hormones case ("Hormones case") is often cited for this proposition. In this Essay we aim to show that, contrary to an increasingly widespread popular perception ...


The Uses Of History In Struggles For Racial Justice: Colonizing The Past And Managing Memory, Katherine M. Franke Jan 2000

The Uses Of History In Struggles For Racial Justice: Colonizing The Past And Managing Memory, Katherine M. Franke

Faculty Scholarship

In this Commentary, Professor Katherine Franke offers an analysis on Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic's California's Racial History and Constitutional Rationales for Race-Conscious Decision Making in Higher Education and Rebecca Tsosie's Sacred Obligations: Intercultural Justice and the Discourse of Treaty Rights. These two Articles, she observes, deploy history for the purposes of justifying certain contemporary normative claims on behalf of peoples of color: affirmative action in higher education for Delgado and Stefancic, and sovereignty rights for native peoples in Tsosie's case. Franke explores the manner in which stories of past conquest and discrimination contribute to contemporary ...


The Case For Formalism In Relational Contract, Robert E. Scott Jan 2000

The Case For Formalism In Relational Contract, Robert E. Scott

Faculty Scholarship

The distinguished scholars who gathered last year to honor Ian Macneil and to reflect on his contributions to the understanding of contract and contract law represent diverse methodologies, and they approach the vexing problems raised by relational contracts from different normative perspectives. But on one point, I daresay, they all agree: the central task in developing a plausible normative theory of contract law is to specify the appropriate role of the state in regulating incomplete contracts. Complete contracts (to the extent that they exist in the real world) are rarely, if ever, breached since by definition the payoffs for every ...


Liberality, Philip A. Hamburger Jan 2000

Liberality, Philip A. Hamburger

Faculty Scholarship

Did late eighteenth-century Americans ever consider themselves liberal? To many historians, this will seem a strange question. The concept of liberalism is widely held to be a nineteenth-century innovation, and therefore to inquire whether Americans in the previous century thought of themselves as liberal seems anachronistic.

Yet precisely because so many scholars take for granted the late evolution of liberal ideas, it may be all the more valuable to reexamine this assumption. Is there really no evidence that eighteenth-century Americans considered themselves liberal? Although they may not have embraced later concepts of liberalism, is it not at least possible that ...


The Role Of Letters Of Credit In Payment Transactions, Ronald J. Mann Jan 2000

The Role Of Letters Of Credit In Payment Transactions, Ronald J. Mann

Faculty Scholarship

Rules governing letters of credit rest on the premise that they provide a highly certain method of payment to a seller of goods. Thus, the law and the terms of the letter of credit make the obligation of the issuer to provide payment to the seller independent of the purchaser's performance on the underlying contract. Hence, the issuer is obligated to pay the seller upon presentation of specified documents, without regard to the seller's actual compliance with the contract. In practice, however, most drafts on letters of credit in such transactions do not comply with the letter of ...


Unocal Fifteen Years Later (And What We Can Do About It), Ronald J. Gilson Jan 2000

Unocal Fifteen Years Later (And What We Can Do About It), Ronald J. Gilson

Faculty Scholarship

The coincidence of the new millennium and the fifteenth anniversary of the Delaware Supreme Court's announcement of a new approach to takeover law provides an appropriate occasion to step back and evaluate a remarkable experiment in corporate law - the Delaware Supreme Court's development of an intermediate standard for evaluating defensive tactics. I will argue that Unocal has developed into an unexplained and, I think, inexplicable preference that control contests be resolved through elections rather than market transactions. In doing so, I will highlight the remarkable struggle between the Chancery Court and the Supreme Court for Unocal's soul ...


The Political Parties And Campaign Finance Reform, Richard Briffault Jan 2000

The Political Parties And Campaign Finance Reform, Richard Briffault

Faculty Scholarship

Recent campaign finance innovations of the major political parties have blown large and widening holes in federal campaign finance regulation. The relationship between parties and candidates also challenges the basic doctrinal categories of campaign finance law. The Constitution permits regulation of campaign finances to deal with the danger of corruption. But some judges and commentators have argued that the parties present no danger of corruption. This Article finds that, although parties play a positive role in funding campaigns, certain party practices raise the specter of corruption in the constitutional sense. Moreover, due to the close connection between parties and candidates ...


The Overproduction Of Death, James S. Liebman Jan 2000

The Overproduction Of Death, James S. Liebman

Faculty Scholarship

In this Article, Professor Liebman concludes that trial actors have strong incentives to – and do – overproduce death sentences, condemning to death men and women who, under state substantive law, do not deserve that penalty. Because trial-level procedural rights do not weaken these incentives or constrain the overproduction that results, it falls to post-trial procedural review – which is ill-suited to the task and fails to feed back needed information to the trial level – to identify the many substantive mistakes made at capital trials. This system is difficult to reform because it benefits both pro-death penalty trial actors (who generate more death ...


The Nature And Function Of Criminal Theory, George P. Fletcher Jan 2000

The Nature And Function Of Criminal Theory, George P. Fletcher

Faculty Scholarship

The practice of teaching and writing in the field of criminal law has changed dramatically in the last half-century. In the United States and England, and to a lesser extent in other English-speaking countries, we have witnessed a turn toward theoretical inquires of a greater depth and variety than had existed previously in the history of Anglo-American law. The subjects of this new literature include the nature and rationale of punishment; the theory of justification and of excuse, that is, of wrongdoing and responsibility; the relevance of consequences to the gravity of offenses (the problem of moral luck); and the ...


(Baby) M Is For The Many Things: Why I Start With Baby M, Carol Sanger Jan 2000

(Baby) M Is For The Many Things: Why I Start With Baby M, Carol Sanger

Faculty Scholarship

For several years now I have begun my first-year contracts course with the 1988 New Jersey Supreme Court case In the Matter of Baby M. In this essay, I want to explain why. I offer the explanation in the spirit of modest proselytizing, recognizing that many of us already have a favored method or manner into the course: some introductory questions we pose before leaping into (or over) the introductions already provided by the editors of the many excellent casebooks available. But I have found that Baby M works extremely well in ways that others may want to consider. It ...


Social Norms And The Legal Regulation Of Marriage, Elizabeth S. Scott Jan 2000

Social Norms And The Legal Regulation Of Marriage, Elizabeth S. Scott

Faculty Scholarship

Americans have interesting and somewhat puzzling attitudes about the state's role in defining and enforcing family obligations. Most people view lasting marriage as an important part of their life plans and take the commitment of marriage very seriously. Yet any legal initiative designed to reinforce that commitment generates controversy and is viewed with suspicion in many quarters. For example, covenant marriage statutes, which offer couples entering marriage the option of undertaking a modest marital commitment, are seen by many observers as coercive and regressive measures rather than ameliorating reforms.

The law tends to reflect – and perhaps contributes to – this ...


The Landscape Of Constitutional Property, Thomas W. Merrill Jan 2000

The Landscape Of Constitutional Property, Thomas W. Merrill

Faculty Scholarship

The Constitution contains two clauses that protect persons against governmental interference with their property. The Due Process Clause provides that "No person shall ... be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law." The Takings Clause adds, "nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation." Both provisions appear to impose a threshold condition that a claimant have some "property" at stake before the protections associated with the Clause apply. Thus, under the Due Process Clause, it would seem that a claimant must have an interest in "property" (or in "life" or "liberty") before we ...


Capital Attrition: Error Rates In Capital Cases, 1973-1995, James S. Liebman, Jeffery Fagan, Valerie West, Jonathan Lloyd Jan 2000

Capital Attrition: Error Rates In Capital Cases, 1973-1995, James S. Liebman, Jeffery Fagan, Valerie West, Jonathan Lloyd

Faculty Scholarship

Americans seem to be of two minds about the death penalty. In the last several years, the overall number of executions has risen steeply, reaching a fifty year high this year. Although two-thirds of the public support the penalty, this figure represents a sharp decline from the four-fifths of the population that endorsed the death penalty only six years ago, leaving support for capital punishment at a twenty year low. When life without parole is offered as an alternative, support for the penalty drops even more – often below a majority. Grants of executive clemency reached a twenty year high in ...


Street Stops And Broken Windows: Terry, Race And Disorder In New York City, Jeffery Fagan, Garth Davies Jan 2000

Street Stops And Broken Windows: Terry, Race And Disorder In New York City, Jeffery Fagan, Garth Davies

Faculty Scholarship

Patterns of "stop and frisk" activity by police across New York City neighborhoods reflect competing theories of aggressive policing. "Broken Windows" theory suggest that neighborhoods with greater concentration of physical and social disorder should evidence higher stop and frisk activity, especially for "quality of life" crimes. However, although disorder theory informs quality of life policing strategies, patterns of stop and frisk activity suggest that neighborhood characteristics such as racial composition, poverty levels, and extent of social disorganization are stronger predictors of race- and crime-specific stops. Accordingly, neighborhood "street stop" activity reflects competing assumptions and meanings of policing strategy. Furthermore, looking ...


Drug Treatment Courts And Emergent Experimental Government, Michael C. Dorf, Charles F. Sabel Jan 2000

Drug Treatment Courts And Emergent Experimental Government, Michael C. Dorf, Charles F. Sabel

Faculty Scholarship

Despite the continuing "war on drugs," the last decade has witnessed the creation and nationwide spread of a remarkable set of institutions, drug treatment courts. In drug treatment court, a criminal defendant pleads guilty or otherwise accepts responsibility for a charged offense and accepts placement in a court-mandated program of drug treatment. The judge and court personnel closely monitor the defendant's performance in the program and the program's capacity to serve the mandated client. The federal government and national associations in turn monitor the local drug treatment courts and disseminate successful practices. The ensemble of institutions, monitoring, and ...


The President And Choices Not To Enforce, Peter L. Strauss Jan 2000

The President And Choices Not To Enforce, Peter L. Strauss

Faculty Scholarship

This paper was one of a number given in a panel on executive authority in a Duke Law School conference, "The Constitution Under Clinton: A Critical Assessment." As its title suggests, the principal subject of the panel was the President's authority, if any, to decline to implement statutes he regards as unconstitutional. The lead paper on the panel focused specifically on questions of the scope of the President's authority to engage in constitutional interpretation, relating that analysis to the role of the courts and their institutional responsibilities for deciding constitutional issues. This paper seeks to place this set ...


Information Technology And The Increasing Efficacy Of Non-Legal Sanctions In Financing Transactions, Ronald J. Mann Jan 2000

Information Technology And The Increasing Efficacy Of Non-Legal Sanctions In Financing Transactions, Ronald J. Mann

Faculty Scholarship

This paper investigates the effect of advances in information technology on the private institutions that businesses use to resolve information asymmetries in financing transactions. It discusses four separate effects. First, in some cases information technology will permit direct verification of the information, obviating the problem entirely; the paper discusses the example of the substitution of the debit card for the check, which provides an immediate payment that obviates the need for the merchant to consider whether payment will be forthcoming when the check is presented to the bank on which it is drawn. Second, the paper discusses how advances in ...


Economic Reasoning And The Framing Of Contract Law: Sale Of An Asset Of Uncertain Value, Victor P. Goldberg Jan 2000

Economic Reasoning And The Framing Of Contract Law: Sale Of An Asset Of Uncertain Value, Victor P. Goldberg

Faculty Scholarship

By analyzing two American contract law decisions, the paper illustrates the usefulness of economic analysis in framing the inquiry. The cases have a common feature, unrecognized by the courts: they both deal with the production and transfer of information regarding the sale of an asset of uncertain value. One involves the combination of an option and a lockup to encourage the buyer to produce information. The other involves contingent compensation to convey the seller's assurance of the quality of the assets. Once this is recognized, the outcomes are straightforward.


Punishment, Deterrence And Social Control: The Paradox Of Punishment In Minority Communities, Jeffrey Fagan, Tracey L. Meares Jan 2000

Punishment, Deterrence And Social Control: The Paradox Of Punishment In Minority Communities, Jeffrey Fagan, Tracey L. Meares

Faculty Scholarship

Since the early 1970s, the number of individuals in jails and state and federal prisons has grown exponentially. Today, nearly 2 million people are currently incarcerated in state and federal prisons and local jails. The growth of imprisonment has been borne disproportionately by African-American and Hispanic men from poor communities in urban areas. Rising incarceration should have greatly reduced the crime rate. After all, incapacitated offenders were no longer free to rob, assault, steal, or commit other crimes. However, no large scale reduction in crime was detected until the mid-1990's. The failure of crime rates to decline commensurately with ...


The Political Parties And Campaign Finance Reform, Richard Briffault Jan 2000

The Political Parties And Campaign Finance Reform, Richard Briffault

Faculty Scholarship

The major political parties have blown large and widening holes in federal campaign finance law. The most significant party practices – independent expenditures, soft money fundraising, and issue advocacy – map on to the fault lines central to the constitutional law of campaign finance – so that limiting these party activities raises important constitutional question. Indeed, in Colorado Republican Federal Campaign Committee v FEC, a Supreme Court plurality determined that parties, like PACs, may engage in expenditures that are independent of their candidates and, thus, not subject to the limits on party contributions to candidates. So, too, several justices and some political scientists ...


After The "Social Meaning Turn": Implications For Research Design And Methods Of Proof In Contemporary Criminal Law Policy Analysis, Bernard E. Harcourt Jan 2000

After The "Social Meaning Turn": Implications For Research Design And Methods Of Proof In Contemporary Criminal Law Policy Analysis, Bernard E. Harcourt

Faculty Scholarship

The social norm movement in criminal justice has received a lot of attention in academic and public policy circles. This essay critically examines social norm writings and explores some of the implications for methods of proof and research design in the social sciences. In the process, the essay offers an alternative theoretical approach. This alternative focuses on the multiple ways in which the social meaning of practices (such as juvenile gun possession, gang membership, or disorderly conduct) and the social meaning of policing techniques (such as juvenile snitching policies, youth curfews, or order-maintenance policing) may shape us as contemporary subjects ...


Discretion In Long-Term Open Quantity Contracts: Reining In Good Faith, Victor P. Goldberg Jan 2000

Discretion In Long-Term Open Quantity Contracts: Reining In Good Faith, Victor P. Goldberg

Faculty Scholarship

The UCC and common law have used "good faith" to interpret long-term, open quantity contracts in a manner which ignores the parties' allocation of discretion. With no theory to guide them, courts have rewritten contracts to say, in effect, that a seller agrees to keep running his factory at a loss in order to generate waste (the waste removal company being the purchaser under the long-term contract) or that a buyer in a long-term requirements contract has promised to never run its facility at full capacity. Commentators have routinely accepted these interpretations without recognizing the peculiar features of this default ...


Moral Pluck: Legal Ethics In Popular Culture, William H. Simon Jan 2000

Moral Pluck: Legal Ethics In Popular Culture, William H. Simon

Faculty Scholarship

Favorable portrayals of lawyers in popular culture tend to adopt a distinctive ethical perspective. This perspective departs radically from the premises of the elite moralism exemplified by the official ethics of the American bar and the arguments of the proponents of President Clinton's impeachment. While elite moralism is strongly authoritarian and categorical, popular culture exalts a quality that might be called Moral Pluck – a combination of resourcefulness and transgression in the service of basic but informal values. This essay traces the theme of Moral Pluck through three of the most prominent fictional portrayals of lawyers in recent years – the ...


The Limits Of Behavioral Theories Of Law And Social Norms, Robert E. Scott Jan 2000

The Limits Of Behavioral Theories Of Law And Social Norms, Robert E. Scott

Faculty Scholarship

The law influences the behavior of its citizens in various ways. Well understood are the direct effects of legal rules. By imposing sanctions or granting subsidies, the law either expands or contracts the horizon of opportunities within which individuals can satisfy their preferences. In this way, society can give incentives for desirable behavior. In recent years, the social norms literature has shown that law can also have indirect effects on incentives. By empowering neighbors and other citizens to use public ridicule as an enforcement technique, these laws can influence behavior by imposing informal sanctions, such as shaming. Similarly, these laws ...


Convergence And Its Critics: What Are The Preconditions To The Separation Of Ownership And Control?, John C. Coffee Jr. Jan 2000

Convergence And Its Critics: What Are The Preconditions To The Separation Of Ownership And Control?, John C. Coffee Jr.

Faculty Scholarship

Recent commentary has argued that deep and liquid securities markets and a dispersed shareholder base are unlikely to develop in civil law countries and transitional economies for a variety of reasons, including (1) the absence of adequate legal protections for minority shareholder, (2) the inability of dispersed shareholders to hold control or pay an equivalent control premium to that which a prospective controlling shareholder will pay and (3) the political vulnerability of dispersed shareholder ownership in left-leaning "social democracies." Nonetheless, this article finds that significant movement in the direction of dispersed ownership has occurred and is accelerating across Europe. To ...


A Legal Giant Is Dead, Henry Paul Monaghan Jan 2000

A Legal Giant Is Dead, Henry Paul Monaghan

Faculty Scholarship

Herbert Wechsler died at his home on April 26, 2000. Two days later, the New York Times obituary's headline announced the passing of a "legal giant," a richly merited appellation. Herbert Wechsler was, I believe, the greatest academic figure in the history of Columbia Law School. At the height of his career, Herb stood at the top of three academic fields: criminal law, constitutional law, and federal jurisdiction. His achievements were, moreover, not confined to Columbia, the faculty of which he joined in 1933 after having served as law clerk to Justice Harlan Fiske Stone. From 1944 to 1946 ...