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

Law Commons

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

Series

Articles

Legislation

2016

University of Washington School of Law

Articles 1 - 1 of 1

Full-Text Articles in Law

Beyond Severability, Lisa Marshall Manheim Jan 2016

Beyond Severability, Lisa Marshall Manheim

Articles

Severability is a wrecking ball. Even the most cautious use of this doctrine demolishes statutes in contravention of legislative intent and without adequate justification. It does so through the imposition of an artificially restrictive framework: one that requires that courts respond to a statute’s constitutional flaw by disregarding that statute either in whole or in part. In the last few years alone, this framework has flattened the Voting Rights Act, threatened the Bankruptcy Code, and nearly toppled the Affordable Care Act.

Yet courts apply severability reflexively, never demanding justification for its destructive treatment. Scholars, meanwhile, assiduously debate the particulars ...