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Full-Text Articles in Law

Statutory Interpretation, Administrative Deference, And The Law Of Stare Decisis, Randy J. Kozel May 2019

Statutory Interpretation, Administrative Deference, And The Law Of Stare Decisis, Randy J. Kozel

Journal Articles

This Article examines three facets of the relationship between statutory interpretation and the law of stare decisis: judicial interpretation, administrative interpretation, and interpretive methodology. In analyzing these issues, I emphasize the role of stare decisis in pursuing balance between past and present. That role admits of no distinction between statutory and constitutional decisions, calling into question the practice of giving superstrong deference to judicial interpretations of statutes. The pursuit of balance also suggests that one Supreme Court cannot bind future Justices to a wide-ranging interpretive methodology. As for rules requiring deference to administrative interpretations of statutes and regulations, they are ...


Special Justifications, Randy J. Kozel Oct 2018

Special Justifications, Randy J. Kozel

Journal Articles

The Supreme Court commonly asks whether there is a “special justification” for departing from precedent. In this Response, which is part of a Constitutional Commentary symposium on Settled Versus Right: A Theory of Precedent, I examine the existing law of special justifications and describe its areas of uncertainty. I also compare the Court’s current doctrine with a revised approach to special justifications designed to separate the question of overruling from deeper disagreements about legal interpretation. The aspiration is to establish precedent as a unifying force that enhances the impersonality of the Court and of the law, promoting values the ...


Precedent And Constitutional Structure, Randy J. Kozel Jan 2018

Precedent And Constitutional Structure, Randy J. Kozel

Journal Articles

The Constitution does not talk about precedent, at least not explicitly, but several of its features suggest a place for deference to prior decisions. It isolates the judicial function and insulates federal courts from official and electoral control, promoting a vision of impersonality and continuity. It charges courts with applying a charter that is vague and ambiguous in important respects. And it was enacted at a time when prominent thinkers were already discussing the use of precedent to channel judicial discretion. Taken in combination, these features make deference to precedent a sound inference from the Constitution’s structure, text, and ...


Precedent And Speech, Randy J. Kozel Feb 2017

Precedent And Speech, Randy J. Kozel

Journal Articles

The U.S. Supreme Court has shown a notable willingness to reconsider its First Amendment precedents. In recent years the Court has departed from 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 changed its position on corporate electioneering and aggregate campaign contributions. In short, it has revised the ground rules of expressive freedom in ways both large and small.

The Court generally describes its past decisions as enjoying a presumption of validity through the doctrine of stare decisis. This Article contends that within ...


Justice Scalia, The Nondelegation Doctrine, And Constitutional Argument, William K. Kelley Jan 2017

Justice Scalia, The Nondelegation Doctrine, And Constitutional Argument, William K. Kelley

Journal Articles

Justice Antonin Scalia wrote two major opinions considering the nondelegation doctrine. In Whitman v. American Trucking Associations, he accepted and applied a very broad, indeed virtually unlimited, view of Congress's power to delegate authority to administrative agencies that was consistent with the Court's precedents since the New Deal. In his dissent in Mistretta v. United States, however, he concluded that the constitutional structure formally barred the delegation of naked rulemaking power to an agency that was untethered to other law execution tasks. This essay analyzes Justice Scalia's nondelegation jurisprudence in light of the general jurisprudential commitments he ...


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

Congressional Originalism, Amy Coney Barrett, John Copeland` Nagle

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. 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 constraints do not narrow the relevant and permissible grounds of decision ...


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 ...


Original Meaning And The Precedent Fallback, Randy J. Kozel Jan 2015

Original Meaning And The Precedent Fallback, Randy J. Kozel

Journal Articles

There is longstanding tension between originalism and judicial precedent. With its resolute focus on deciphering the enacted Constitution, the originalist methodology raises questions about whether judges can legitimately defer to their own pronouncements. Numerous scholars have responded by debating whether and when the Constitution’s original meaning should yield to contrary precedent.

This Article considers the role of judicial precedent not when it conflicts with the Constitution’s original meaning but rather when the consultation of text and historical evidence is insufficient to resolve a case. In those situations, deference to precedent can serve as a fallback rule of constitutional ...


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 ...


Precedent And Jurisprudential Disagreement, Amy Coney Barrett Jan 2013

Precedent And Jurisprudential Disagreement, Amy Coney Barrett

Journal Articles

This Article, a contribution to a symposium on constitutional foundations, maintains that an unappreciated function of stare decisis is that of referee between competing visions of the Constitution. Stare decisis is styled as a doctrine of error-correction, but in controversial cases, "error" is often a stand-in for disagreement about first principles. In these cases, stare decisis functions less to guide the business of correcting mistakes — a conception that oversimplifies the reality of pluralism on the Court — than to mediate intense disputes about the Court’s role in interpreting the Constitution. Identifying this function of stare decisis offers a different perspective ...


Precedent And Reliance, Randy J. Kozel Jan 2013

Precedent And Reliance, Randy J. Kozel

Journal Articles

Among the most prevalent justifications for deference to judicial precedent is the protection of reliance interests. The theory is that when judicial pronouncements have engendered significant reliance, there should be a meaningful presumption against adjudicative change. Yet there remains a fundamental question as to why reliance on precedent warrants judicial protection in the first place.

This Article explores the dynamics and implications of precedential reliance. It contends that the case for protecting reliance on precedent is uncertain. There are several reasons why reliance might potentially be worth protecting, but all are subject to serious limitations or challenges. To bolster the ...


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 And Due Process, Amy Coney Barrett Jan 2003

Stare Decisis And Due Process, Amy Coney Barrett

Journal Articles

In this Article, I argue that the preclusive effect of precedent raises due-process concerns, and, on occasion, slides into unconstitutionality. The Due Process Clause requires that a court give a person notice and an opportunity for a hearing before depriving her of life, liberty or property. Because of this requirement, courts have held in the context of issue preclusion that as a general rule, judicial determinations can bind only parties. The preclusion literature asserts that this parties only requirement does not apply to stare decisis because stare decisis, in contrast to issue preclusion, is a flexible doctrine. Yet stare decisis ...