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Why Federal Courts Apply The Law Of Nations Even Though It Is Not The Supreme Law Of The Land, Anthony J. Bellia, Bradford R. Clark Jan 2018

Why Federal Courts Apply The Law Of Nations Even Though It Is Not The Supreme Law Of The Land, Anthony J. Bellia, Bradford R. Clark

Journal Articles

We are grateful to the judges and scholars who participated in this Symposium examining our book, The Law of Nations and the United States Constitution. One of our goals in writing this book was to reinvigorate and advance the debate over the role of customary international law in U.S. courts. The papers in this Symposium advance this debate by deepening understandings of how the Constitution interacts with customary international law. Our goal in this Article is to address two questions raised by this Symposium that go to the heart of the status of the law of nations under the ...


Vote Fluidity On The Hughes Court: The Critical Terms, 1934-1936, Barry Cushman Jan 2017

Vote Fluidity On The Hughes Court: The Critical Terms, 1934-1936, Barry Cushman

Journal Articles

This article makes four principal claims. The first is that the justices of the Hughes Court often changed their positions in major cases between the time that they cast their votes in conference and their final votes on the merits. The second is that the Court achieved comparatively high rates of unanimity even during its most turbulent Terms because justices who had served on earlier Courts had internalized a norm counseling those who lost at the conference vote to acquiesce in the judgment of the majority. The third is that the justices who most frequently did so in this period ...


Inside The 'Constitutional Revolution' Of 1937, Barry Cushman Jan 2017

Inside The 'Constitutional Revolution' Of 1937, Barry Cushman

Journal Articles

The nature and sources of the New Deal Constitutional Revolution are among the most discussed and debated subjects in constitutional historiography. Scholars have reached significantly divergent conclusions concerning how best to understand the meaning and the causes of constitutional decisions rendered by the Supreme Court under Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes. Though recent years have witnessed certain refinements in scholarly understandings of various dimensions of the phenomenon, the relevant documentary record seemed to have been rather thoroughly explored. Recently, however, a remarkably instructive set of primary sources has become available. For many years, the docket books kept by a number ...


Multiple Chancellors: Reforming The National Injunction, Samuel L. Bray Jan 2017

Multiple Chancellors: Reforming The National Injunction, Samuel L. Bray

Journal Articles

In several recent high-profile cases, federal district judges have issued injunctions that apply across the nation, controlling the defendants’ behavior with respect to nonparties. This Article analyzes the scope of injunctions to restrain the enforcement of a federal statute, regulation, or order. This analysis shows the consequences of the national injunction: more forum shopping, worse judicial decisionmaking, a risk of conflicting injunctions, and tension with other doctrines and practices of the federal courts.

This Article shows that the national injunction is a recent development in the history of equity. There was a structural shift at the Founding from a single-chancellor ...


The English Fire Courts And The American Right To Civil Jury Trial, Jay Tidmarsh Oct 2016

The English Fire Courts And The American Right To Civil Jury Trial, Jay Tidmarsh

Journal Articles

This Article uncovers the history of a long-forgotten English court system, the “fire courts,” which Parliament established to resolve dispute between landlords and tenants in urban areas destroyed in catastrophic fires. One of the fire courts’ remarkable features was the delegation of authority to judges to adjudicate disputes without juries. Because the Seventh Amendment’s right to a federal civil jury trial depends in part on the historical practice of English courts in 1791, this delegation bears directly on the present power of Congress to abrogate the use of juries in federal civil litigation.

Parliament enacted fire-courts legislation on eight ...


Inside The Taft Court: Lessons From The Docket Books, Barry Cushman Jan 2016

Inside The Taft Court: Lessons From The Docket Books, Barry Cushman

Journal Articles

For many years, the docket books kept by certain of the Taft Court Justices have been held by the Office of the Curator of the Supreme Court. Though the existence of these docket books had been brought to the attention of the scholarly community, access to them was highly restricted. In April of 2014, however, the Court adopted new guidelines designed to increase access to the docket books for researchers. This article offers a report and analysis based on a review of all of the Taft Court docket books held by the Office of the Curator, which are the only ...


Congressional Originalism, John Copeland` Nagle, Amy Coney Barrett Jan 2016

Congressional Originalism, John Copeland` Nagle, Amy Coney Barrett

Journal Articles

Precedent poses a notoriously difficult problem for originalists. Some decisions – so-called super precedents – are so well baked into government that reversing them would wreak havoc. Originalists have been pressed to either acknowledge that their theory could generate major disruption or identify a principled exception to their insistence that judges are bound to enforce the Constitution’s original public meaning. The problem is especially acute for an originalist member of Congress. While the stylized process of adjudication narrows the questions presented to the Court, in Congress the question of a measure’s constitutionality is always on the table. And because framing ...


Resurrecting Trial By Statistics, Jay Tidmarsh Apr 2015

Resurrecting Trial By Statistics, Jay Tidmarsh

Journal Articles

“Trial by statistics” was a means by which a court could resolve a large number of aggregated claims: a court could try a random sample of claim, and extrapolate the average result to the remainder. In Wal-Mart, Inc. v. Dukes, the Supreme Court seemingly ended the practice at the federal level, thus removing from judges a tool that made mass aggregation more feasible. After examining the benefits and drawbacks of trial by statistics, this Article suggests an alternative that harnesses many of the positive features of the technique while avoiding its major difficulties. The technique is the “presumptive judgment”: a ...


Yates V. United States: A Case Study In Overcriminalization, Stephen F. Smith Nov 2014

Yates V. United States: A Case Study In Overcriminalization, Stephen F. Smith

Journal Articles

In Yates v. United States, the Supreme Court will decide whether tossing undersized fish overboard can be prosecuted under the Sarbanes–Oxley Act of 2002, a law aimed at preventing massive frauds of the sort that led to the collapse of Enron and sent shock waves throughout the economy. Although the legal issue is narrow, the case has far-reaching significance. The Yates prosecution is a case study in the dangers posed by “overcriminalization”: the existence of multitudinous, often overlapping criminal laws that are so poorly defined that they sweep within their ambit conduct far afield from their intended target.

The ...


The Scope Of Precedent, Randy J. Kozel Nov 2014

The Scope Of Precedent, Randy J. Kozel

Journal Articles

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 not ...


Second Thoughts About The First Amendment, Randy J. Kozel Jan 2014

Second Thoughts About The First Amendment, Randy J. Kozel

Journal Articles

The U.S. Supreme Court has shown a notable willingness to reconsider — and depart from — its First Amendment precedents. In recent years the Court has marginalized its prior statements regarding the constitutional value of false speech. It has revamped its process for identifying categorical exceptions to First Amendment protection. It has rejected its past decisions on corporate electioneering and aggregate campaign contributions. And it has revised its earlier positions on union financing, abortion protesting, and commercial speech. Under the conventional view of constitutional adjudication, dubious precedents enjoy a presumption of validity through the doctrine of stare decisis. This Article contends ...


The Clerks Of The Four Horsemen, Barry Cushman Jan 2014

The Clerks Of The Four Horsemen, Barry Cushman

Journal Articles

The names of Holmes clerks such as Tommy Corcoran and Francis Biddle, of Brandeis clerks such as Dean Acheson and Henry Friendly, and of Stone clerks such as Harold Leventhal and Herbert Wechsler ring down the pages of history. But how much do we really know about Carlyle Baer, Tench Marye, or Milton Musser? This article follows the interesting and often surprising lives and careers of the men who clerked for the Four Horsemen - Justices Van Devanter, McReynolds, Sutherland, and Butler. These biographical sketches confound easy stereotypes, and prove the adage that law, like politics, can make for strange bedfellows.


The Jurisprudence Of The Hughes Court: The Recent Literature, Barry Cushman Jan 2014

The Jurisprudence Of The Hughes Court: The Recent Literature, Barry Cushman

Journal Articles

The balance of this Article is devoted, after a fashion, to an exploration of the extent to which the recent literature on the Hughes Court seeks to incorporate the internal point of view. In Part I, I seek to identify the historiographical premises undergirding each author’s treatment of the subject. In Part II, I explore how those historiographical premises are reflected in each author’s treatment of the substantive development of constitutional doctrine during the period. In Part III, I examine the ways in which those historiographical premises inform each author’s analysis of the causal forces driving that ...


Statutes In Common Law Courts, Jeffrey Pojanowski Feb 2013

Statutes In Common Law Courts, Jeffrey Pojanowski

Journal Articles

The Supreme Court teaches that federal courts, unlike their counterparts in the states, are not general common law courts. Nevertheless, a perennial point of contention among federal law scholars is whether and how a court’s common law powers affect its treatment of statutes. Textualists point to federal courts’ lack of common law powers to reject purposivist statutory interpretation. Critics of textualism challenge this characterization of federal courts’ powers, leveraging a more robust notion of the judicial power to support purposivist or dynamic interpretation. This disagreement has become more important in recent years with the emergence of a refreshing movement ...


The Confident Court, Jennifer Mason Mcaward Jan 2013

The Confident Court, Jennifer Mason Mcaward

Journal Articles

Despite longstanding rules regarding judicial deference, the Supreme Court’s decisions in its October 2012 Term show that a majority of the Court is increasingly willing to supplant both the prudential and legal judgments of various institutional actors, including Congress, federal agencies, and state universities. Whatever the motivation for such a shift, this Essay simply suggests that today’s Supreme Court is a confident one. A core group of justices has an increasingly self-assured view of the judiciary’s ability to conduct an independent assessment of both the legal and factual aspects of the cases that come before the Court ...


The Court-Packing Plan As Symptom, Casualty, And Cause Of Gridlock, Barry Cushman Jan 2013

The Court-Packing Plan As Symptom, Casualty, And Cause Of Gridlock, Barry Cushman

Journal Articles

This essay, prepared for the Notre Dame Law Review's Symposium, “The American Congress: Legal Implications of Gridlock,” considers three ways in which President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s 1937 Court-packing bill was related to the phenomenon of gridlock in the 1930s. First, as FDR's public remarks on the subject demonstrate, he believed that the early New Deal was a victim of partisan gridlock between the Democrat-controlled political branches and the Republican-controlled judiciary. Moreover, he did not believe that the impasse could be overcome through an amendment to the Constitution, for he regarded Article V's supermajority requirements as virtually ...


Court-Packing And Compromise, Barry Cushman Jan 2013

Court-Packing And Compromise, Barry Cushman

Journal Articles

President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s 1937 Court-packing bill would have permitted him to appoint six additional justices to the Supreme Court, thereby expanding its membership to fifteen immediately. Throughout the ultimately unsuccessful campaign to enact the measure, Roosevelt was presented with numerous opportunities to compromise for a measure authorizing the appointment of fewer additional justices. The President rejected each of these proposals, and his refusal to compromise often has been attributed to stubbornness, overconfidence, or hubris. Yet an examination of the papers of Attorney General Homer S. Cummings reveals why FDR and his advisors believed that he required no fewer ...


General Law In Federal Court, Bradford R. Clark, Anthony J. Bellia Jan 2013

General Law In Federal Court, Bradford R. Clark, Anthony J. Bellia

Journal Articles

Conventional wisdom maintains that the Supreme Court banished general law from federal courts in 1938 in Erie Railroad Co. v. Tompkins when the Court overruled Swift v. Tyson. The narrative asserts that Swift viewed the common law as a “brooding omnipresence,” and authorized federal courts to disregard state common law in favor of general common law of their own choosing. The narrative continues that Erie constrained such judicial lawmaking by banishing general law from federal courts. Contrary to this account, Swift and Erie represent compatible conceptions of federal judicial power when each decision is understood in historical context. At the ...


(Dys)Functionality, Mark Mckenna Jan 2012

(Dys)Functionality, Mark Mckenna

Journal Articles

The functionality doctrine serves a unique role in trademark law: unlike virtually every other doctrine, functionality can trump consumer confusion (or so it seems, at least in mechanical-functionality cases). In this sense, functionality may be the only doctrine in trademark law that can truly be considered a defense. But despite its potential power, the functionality doctrine is quite inconsistently applied. This is true of mechanical functionality cases because courts differ over the extent to which the doctrine focuses on competitors’ right to copy unpatented features as opposed to their need to copy. And aesthetic functionality cases are even more scattered ...


Procedure, Substance, And Erie, Jay Tidmarsh Apr 2011

Procedure, Substance, And Erie, Jay Tidmarsh

Journal Articles

This Article examines the relationship between procedure and substance, and the way in which that relationship affects Erie questions. It first suggests that "procedure" should be understood in terms of process-in other words, in terms of the way that it changes the substance of the law and the value of legal claims. It then argues that the traditional view that the definitions of "procedure" and "substance" change with the context-a pillar on which present Erie analysis is based-is wrong. Finally, it suggests a single process based principle that reconciles all of the Supreme Court's "procedural Erie" cases: that federal ...


Administrative Change, Randy J. Kozel, Jeffrey Pojanowski Jan 2011

Administrative Change, Randy J. Kozel, Jeffrey Pojanowski

Journal Articles

Determining the standard of review for administrative actions has commanded judicial and scholarly interest like few other topics. Notwithstanding the extensive debates, far less consideration has been given to the unique features of agencies’ deviations from their own precedents. In this article we examine this puzzle of administrative change. By change, we mean a reversal of the agency’s former views about the best way to implement and interpret its regulatory mandate. We trace the lineage of administrative change at the Supreme Court and analyze features that distinguish agency reversals from other administrative actions. In particular, we contend that because ...


Stare Decisis As Judicial Doctrine, Randy J. Kozel Jan 2010

Stare Decisis As Judicial Doctrine, Randy J. Kozel

Journal Articles

Stare decisis has been called many things, among them a principle of policy, a series of prudential and pragmatic considerations, and simply the preferred course. Often overlooked is the fact that stare decisis is also a judicial doctrine, an analytical system used to guide the rules of decision for resolving concrete disputes that come before the courts.

This Article examines stare decisis as applied by the U.S. Supreme Court, our nation’s highest doctrinal authority. A review of the Court’s jurisprudence yields two principal lessons about the modern doctrine of stare decisis. First, the doctrine is comprised largely ...


Substantive Canons And Faithful Agency, Amy Coney Barrett Jan 2010

Substantive Canons And Faithful Agency, Amy Coney Barrett

Journal Articles

Federal courts have long employed substantive canons of construction in the interpretation of statutes. For example, they apply the rule of lenity, which directs that ambiguous criminal statutes be interpreted in favor of the defendant, and the avoidance canon, which directs that statutes be interpreted in a manner that prevents the court from having to address serious constitutional questions. They also apply so-called “clear statement” rules — for example, absent a clear statement from Congress, a federal court will not interpret a statute to abrogate state sovereign immunity. While some commentators have attempted to rationalize these and other substantive canons as ...


Resolving Cases On The Merits, Jay Tidmarsh Jan 2010

Resolving Cases On The Merits, Jay Tidmarsh

Journal Articles

Prepared for a Symposium on Civil Justice Reform, this essay examines the role of the “on the merits” principle in modern American procedure. After surveying the possible meanings of the phrase, the essay critiques its most common understanding due to its economic inefficiency and its lack of strong philosophical support. Relying on the recent work of Amartya Sen, the essay proposes that the principle be replaced with a “fair outcome” principle that melds both “procedural” and “substantive” concerns.


Introduction, Amy Coney Barrett Jan 2008

Introduction, Amy Coney Barrett

Journal Articles

This essay is as an introduction to a symposium on stare decisis and nonjudicial actors. It frames the questions explored in the symposium by pausing to reflect upon the variety of ways in which nonjudicial actors have, over time, registered their disagreement with decisions of the United States Supreme Court. Both public officials and private citizens have battled the Court on any number of occasions since its inception, and historically, they have employed a diverse range of tactics in doing so. They have resisted Supreme Court judgments. They have denied the binding effect of Supreme Court opinions. They have sought ...


Congress's Power To Block Enforcement Of Federal Court Orders, Jennifer Mason Mcaward Jan 2008

Congress's Power To Block Enforcement Of Federal Court Orders, Jennifer Mason Mcaward

Journal Articles

This Article considers the constitutionality and propriety of recent appropriations riders passed by the House of Representatives in response to controversial federal court rulings. The riders prohibit the use of any federal funds for the enforcement of court orders issued in specified cases. These enforcement-blocking provisions raise significant separation-of-powers concerns as between Congress and both coordinate branches of the federal government.

The Article begins by looking at the controversial First Amendment rulings that triggered the enforcement-blocking riders, and the Congressional debates over the proper way to respond to the rulings. The riders are not merely symbolic protests, but could have ...


What's On Your Mind? Imputing Motive In A Title Vii Case, An Analysis Of Bci Coca-Cola Bottling Co. V. Eeoc, Barbara J. Fick Jan 2007

What's On Your Mind? Imputing Motive In A Title Vii Case, An Analysis Of Bci Coca-Cola Bottling Co. V. Eeoc, Barbara J. Fick

Journal Articles

This article examines the case E.E.O.C. v. BCI Coca-Cola Bottling Co. of Los Angeles, which was scheduled for argument before the Supreme Court, but was dismissed before that argument occurred.


The Origins Of Article Iii "Arising Under" Jurisdiction, Anthony J. Bellia Jan 2007

The Origins Of Article Iii "Arising Under" Jurisdiction, Anthony J. Bellia

Journal Articles

Article III of the Constitution provides that the judicial Power of the United States extends to all cases arising under the Constitution, laws, and treaties of the United States. What the phrase arising under imports in Article III has long confounded courts and scholars. This Article examines the historical origins of Article III arising under jurisdiction. First, it describes English legal principles that governed the jurisdiction of courts of general and limited jurisdiction--principles that animated early American jurisprudence regarding the scope of arising under jurisdiction. Second, it explains how participants in the framing and ratification of the Constitution understood arising ...


Federalism Doctrines And Abortion Cases: A Response To Professor Fallon, Anthony J. Bellia Jan 2007

Federalism Doctrines And Abortion Cases: A Response To Professor Fallon, Anthony J. Bellia

Journal Articles

This Essay is a response to Professor Richard Fallon's article, If Roe Were Overruled: Abortion and the Constitution in a Post-Roe World. In that article, Professor Fallon argues that if the Supreme Court were to overrule Roe v. Wade, courts might well remain in the abortion-umpiring business. This Essay proposes a refinement on that analysis. It argues that in a post-Roe world courts would not necessarily subject questions involving abortion to the same kind of constitutional analysis in which the Court has engaged in Roe and its progeny, that is, balancing a state's interest in protecting life against ...


The Supervisory Power Of The Supreme Court, Amy Coney Barrett Jan 2006

The Supervisory Power Of The Supreme Court, Amy Coney Barrett

Journal Articles

Relying on something it calls supervisory power or supervisory authority, the Supreme Court regularly prescribes rules of procedure and evidence for inferior courts. Both scholars and the Court have treated the Court's exercises of this authority as unexceptional exercises of the inherent authority that Article III grants every federal court to regulate procedure in the course of adjudication. Article III's grant of inherent authority, however, is conventionally understood as permitting a federal court to regulate its own proceedings. When the Supreme Court exercises supervisory power, it regulates the proceedings of other federal courts. More than a reference to ...