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Full-Text Articles in Law

How Constitutional Norms Break Down, Josh Chafetz, David E. Pozen Jan 2018

How Constitutional Norms Break Down, Josh Chafetz, David E. Pozen

Faculty Scholarship

From the moment Donald Trump was elected President, critics have anguished over a breakdown in constitutional norms. History demonstrates, however, that constitutional norms are perpetually in flux. The principal source of instability is not that these unwritten rules can be destroyed by politicians who deny their legitimacy, their validity, or their value. Rather, the principal source of instability is that constitutional norms can be decomposed – dynamically interpreted and applied in ways that are held out as compliant but end up limiting their capacity to constrain the conduct of government officials.

This Article calls attention to that latent instability and, in ...


Asymmetric Constitutional Hardball, Joseph Fishkin, David E. Pozen Jan 2018

Asymmetric Constitutional Hardball, Joseph Fishkin, David E. Pozen

Faculty Scholarship

Many have argued that the United States' two major political parties have experienced "asymmetric polarization" in recent decades: The Republican Party has moved significantly further to the right than the Democratic Party has moved to the left. The practice of constitutional hardball, this Essay argues, has followed a similar – and causally related – trajectory. Since at least the mid-1990s, Republican officeholders have been more likely than their Democratic counterparts to push the constitutional envelope, straining unwritten norms of governance or disrupting established constitutional understandings. Both sides have done these things. But contrary to the apparent assumption of some legal scholars, they ...


The Search For An Egalitarian First Amendment, Jeremy K. Kessler, David E. Pozen Jan 2018

The Search For An Egalitarian First Amendment, Jeremy K. Kessler, David E. Pozen

Faculty Scholarship

Over the past decade, the Roberts Court has handed down a series of rulings that demonstrate the degree to which the First Amendment can be used to thwart economic and social welfare regulation – generating widespread accusations that the Court has created a "new Lochner." This introduction to the Columbia Law Review's Symposium on Free Expression in an Age of Inequality takes up three questions raised by these developments: Why has First Amendment law become such a prominent site for struggles over socioeconomic inequality? Does the First Amendment tradition contain egalitarian elements that could be recovered? And what might a ...


Economic Individualism And Preference Formation, Andrzej Rapaczynski Jan 2018

Economic Individualism And Preference Formation, Andrzej Rapaczynski

Faculty Scholarship

This note examines some issues involved in an attempt to go beyond the assumption, long-made by most economists, that people’s preferences are simply to be treated as “given” and that the principle of consumer sovereignty entails a refusal to consider some (or some people’s) revealed preferences as more authoritative than others. The most important break with that assumption has been the development of behavioral economics, which shows that people may not always know what they really want, and that economists have to develop a more critical approach, distinguishing people’s true preferences from those that are merely apparent ...


Transparency's Ideological Drift, David E. Pozen Jan 2018

Transparency's Ideological Drift, David E. Pozen

Faculty Scholarship

In the formative periods of American "open government" law, the idea of transparency was linked with progressive politics. Advocates of transparency understood themselves to be promoting values such as bureaucratic rationality, social justice, and trust in public institutions. Transparency was meant to make government stronger and more egalitarian. In the twenty-first century, transparency is doing different work. Although a wide range of actors appeal to transparency in a wide range of contexts, the dominant strain in the policy discourse emphasizes its capacity to check administrative abuse, enhance private choice, and reduce other forms of regulation. Transparency is meant to make ...


Does Labour Law Need Philosophical Foundations? (Introduction), Gillian L. Lester, Hugh Collins, Virginia Mantouvalou Jan 2018

Does Labour Law Need Philosophical Foundations? (Introduction), Gillian L. Lester, Hugh Collins, Virginia Mantouvalou

Faculty Scholarship

This is the introductory chapter of the book Philosophical Foundations of Labour Law (Collins, Lester, Mantouvalou eds, OUP, 2018). It argues that labour law needs philosophical foundations and explains that careful reflection about underlying moral and political principles and values can serve to provide firm foundations and a clear sense of direction for labour law. At a time when many appear to doubt the value of labour laws and workers’ rights at all, the chapter suggests that it is necessary to reassert that the values and principles that provide the foundations for a system of labour law are not those ...


Activist Directors And Agency Costs: What Happens When An Activist Director Goes On The Board?, John C. Coffee Jr., Robert J. Jackson Jr., Joshua Mitts, Robert Bishop Jan 2018

Activist Directors And Agency Costs: What Happens When An Activist Director Goes On The Board?, John C. Coffee Jr., Robert J. Jackson Jr., Joshua Mitts, Robert Bishop

Faculty Scholarship

We develop and apply a new and more rigorous methodology by which to measure and understand both insider trading and the agency costs of hedge fund activism. We use quantitative data to show a systematic relationship between the appointment of a hedge fund nominated director to a corporate board and an increase in informed trading in that corporation’s stock (with the relationship being most pronounced when the fund’s slate of directors includes a hedge fund employee). This finding is important from two different perspectives. First, from a governance perspective, activist hedge funds represent a new and potent force ...


Critique & Praxis: A Pure Theory Of Illusions, Values, And Tactics, And An Answer To The Question: "What Is To Be Done?", Bernard E. Harcourt Jan 2018

Critique & Praxis: A Pure Theory Of Illusions, Values, And Tactics, And An Answer To The Question: "What Is To Be Done?", Bernard E. Harcourt

Faculty Scholarship

We are going through an unprecedented period of political instability. With the rise of the alt-right and of xenophobic sentiment, and the fallout of neoliberal government policies, our political future is at stake. These times call for the type of critical theory and praxis that gave rise to the Frankfurt School in the 1920s and to the critical ferment of the 1970s. Yet, in the face of our crises today, contemporary critical theory seems disarmed.

Critical theory is in disarray because of a wave of anti-foundational challenges in the 1960s that shattered the epistemological foundations of the Frankfurt School. The ...