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Full-Text Articles in Law

Packing And Unpacking State Courts, Marin K. Levy Jan 2020

Packing And Unpacking State Courts, Marin K. Levy

Faculty Scholarship

When it comes to court packing, questions of “should” and “can” are inextricably intertwined. The conventional wisdom has long been that federal court packing is something the President and Congress simply cannot do. Even though the Constitution’s text does not directly prohibit expanding or contracting the size of courts for political gain, many have argued that there is a longstanding norm against doing so, stemming from a commitment to judicial independence and separation of powers. And so (the argument goes), even though the political branches might otherwise be tempted to add or subtract seats to change the Court’s ...


The Paradoxical Impact Of Scalia's Campaign Against Legislative History, Stuart Minor Benjamin, Kristen M. Renberg Jan 2020

The Paradoxical Impact Of Scalia's Campaign Against Legislative History, Stuart Minor Benjamin, Kristen M. Renberg

Faculty Scholarship

Beginning in 1985, Judge and then Justice Antonin Scalia advocated forcefully against the use of legislative history in statutory interpretation. Justice Scalia’s position, in line with his textualism, was that legislative history was irrelevant and judges should avoid invoking it. Reactions to his attacks among Justices and prominent circuit judges had an ideological quality, with greater support from ideological conservatives. In this Article, we consider the role that political party and timing of judicial nomination played in circuit judges’ use of legislative history. Specifically, we hypothesize that Republican circuit judges were more likely to respond to the attacks on ...


The Empty Chair: Reflections On An Absent Justice, Jennifer L. Behrens Jan 2020

The Empty Chair: Reflections On An Absent Justice, Jennifer L. Behrens

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


Theorizing The Judicialization Of International Relations, Karen J. Alter, Emilie M. Hafner-Burton, Laurence R. Helfer Jan 2019

Theorizing The Judicialization Of International Relations, Karen J. Alter, Emilie M. Hafner-Burton, Laurence R. Helfer

Faculty Scholarship

This article introduces a Thematic Section and theorizes the multiple ways that judicializing international relations shifts power away from national executives and legislatures toward litigants, judges, arbitrators, and other nonstate decision-makers. We identify two preconditions for judicialization to occur—(1) delegation to an adjudicatory body charged with applying designated legal rules, and (2) legal rights-claiming by actors who bring—or threaten to bring—a complaint to one or more of these bodies. We classify the adjudicatory bodies that do and do not contribute to judicializing international relations, including but not limited to international courts. We then explain how rights-claiming initiates ...


Supreme Court As Superweapon: A Response To Epps & Sitaraman, Stephen E. Sachs Jan 2019

Supreme Court As Superweapon: A Response To Epps & Sitaraman, Stephen E. Sachs

Faculty Scholarship

Is the Supreme Court's legitimacy in crisis? Daniel Epps and Ganesh Sitaraman argue that it is. In their Feature, How to Save the Supreme Court, they suggest legally radical reforms to restore a politically moderate Court. Unfortunately, their proposals might destroy the Court's legitimacy in order to save it. And their case that there is any crisis may fail to persuade a reader with different legal or political priors. If the Supreme Court needs saving, it will be saving from itself, and from too broad a conception of its own legal omnipotence. A Court that seems unbound by ...


Finding Law, Stephen E. Sachs Jan 2019

Finding Law, Stephen E. Sachs

Faculty Scholarship

That the judge's task is to find the law, not to make it, was once a commonplace of our legal culture. Today, decades after Erie, the idea of a common law discovered by judges is commonly dismissed -- as a "fallacy," an "illusion," a "brooding omnipresence in the sky." That dismissive view is wrong. Expecting judges to find unwritten law is no childish fiction of the benighted past, but a real and plausible option for a modern legal system.

This Essay seeks to restore the respectability of finding law, in part by responding to two criticisms made by Erie and ...


The Emergence Of The American Constitutional Law Tradition, H. Jefferson Powell Jan 2019

The Emergence Of The American Constitutional Law Tradition, H. Jefferson Powell

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


Stevens, J., Dissenting: The Legacy Of Heller, Joseph Blocher, Darrell A. H. Miller Jan 2019

Stevens, J., Dissenting: The Legacy Of Heller, Joseph Blocher, Darrell A. H. Miller

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


Visiting Judges, Marin K. Levy Jan 2019

Visiting Judges, Marin K. Levy

Faculty Scholarship

Despite the fact that Article III judges hold particular seats on particular courts, the federal system rests on judicial interchangeability. Hundreds of judges “visit” other courts each year and collectively help decide thousands of appeals. Anyone from a retired Supreme Court Justice to a judge from the U.S. Court of International Trade to a district judge from out of circuit may come and hear cases on a given court of appeals. Although much has been written about the structure of the federal courts and the nature of Article III judgeships, little attention has been paid to the phenomenon of ...


Strategic Publication, Ben Grunwald Jan 2018

Strategic Publication, Ben Grunwald

Faculty Scholarship

Under the standard account of judicial behavior when a panel of appellate court judges cannot agree on the outcome of a case, the panel has two options. First, it can publish a divided decision with a majority opinion and a dissent. Panels usually do not take this route because a dissent dramatically increases the probability of reversal. The second and more common option is for the panel to bargain and compromise over the reasoning of the decision and then publish a unanimous opinion.

This Article argues that a divided panel has a third option: strategic publication. The panel can choose ...


Panel Assignment In The Federal Courts Of Appeals, Marin K. Levy Jan 2017

Panel Assignment In The Federal Courts Of Appeals, Marin K. Levy

Faculty Scholarship

It is common knowledge that the federal courts of appeals typically hear cases in panels of three judges and that the composition of the panel can have significant consequences for case outcomes and for legal doctrine more generally. Yet neither legal scholars nor social scientists have focused on the question of how judges are selected for their panels. Instead, a substantial body of scholarship simply assumes that panel assignment is random. This Article provides what, up until this point, has been a missing account of panel assignment. Drawing on a multiyear qualitative study of five circuit courts, including in-depth interviews ...


Judicial Retirements And The Staying Power Of U.S. Supreme Court Decisions, Stuart M. Benjamin, Georg Vanberg Jan 2016

Judicial Retirements And The Staying Power Of U.S. Supreme Court Decisions, Stuart M. Benjamin, Georg Vanberg

Faculty Scholarship

The influence of U.S. Supreme Court majority opinions depends critically on how these opinions are received and treated by lower courts, which decide the vast majority of legal disputes. We argue that the retirement of Justices on the Supreme Court serves as a simple heuristic device for lower court judges in deciding how much deference to show to Supreme Court precedent. Using a unique dataset of the treatment of all Supreme Court majority opinions in the courts of appeals from 1953 to 2012, we find that negative treatments of Supreme Court opinions increase, and positive treatments decrease, as the ...


Practice And Precedent In Historical Gloss Games, Joseph Blocher, Margaret H. Lemos Jan 2016

Practice And Precedent In Historical Gloss Games, Joseph Blocher, Margaret H. Lemos

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


Backlash Against International Courts In West, East And Southern Africa: Causes And Consequences, Karen J. Alter, James T. Gathii, Laurence R. Helfer Jan 2016

Backlash Against International Courts In West, East And Southern Africa: Causes And Consequences, Karen J. Alter, James T. Gathii, Laurence R. Helfer

Faculty Scholarship

This paper discusses three credible attempts by African governments to restrict the jurisdiction of three similarly-situated sub-regional courts in response to politically controversial rulings. In West Africa, when the ECOWAS Court upheld allegations of torture by opposition journalists in the Gambia, that country’s political leaders sought to restrict the Court’s power to review human rights complaints. The other member states ultimately defeated the Gambia’s proposal. In East Africa, Kenya failed in its efforts to eliminate the EACJ and to remove some of its judges after a decision challenging an election to a sub-regional legislature. However, the member ...


The Distinctive Role Of Justice Samuel Alito: From A Politics Of Restoration To A Politics Of Dissent, Neil S. Siegel Jan 2016

The Distinctive Role Of Justice Samuel Alito: From A Politics Of Restoration To A Politics Of Dissent, Neil S. Siegel

Faculty Scholarship

Justice Samuel Alito is regarded by both his champions and his critics as the most consistently conservative member of the current Supreme Court. Both groups seem to agree that he has become the most important conservative voice on the Court. Chief Justice John Roberts has a Court to lead; Justice Antonin Scalia and his particular brand of originalism have passed on; Justice Clarence Thomas is a stricter originalist and so writes opinions that other Justices do not join; and Justice Anthony Kennedy can be ideologically unreliable. Justice Alito, by contrast, is unburdened by the perceived responsibilities of being Chief Justice ...


Courts Of Good And Ill Repute: Garoupa And Ginsburg’S Judicial Reputation: A Comparative Theory, Tracey E. George, G. Mitu Gulati Jan 2016

Courts Of Good And Ill Repute: Garoupa And Ginsburg’S Judicial Reputation: A Comparative Theory, Tracey E. George, G. Mitu Gulati

Faculty Scholarship

Nuno Garoupa and Tom Ginsburg have published an ambitious book that seeks to account for the great diversity of judicial systems based, in part, on how courts are designed to marshal the power of a high public opinion of the judiciary. Judges, the book posits, care deeply about their reputations both inside and outside the courts. Courts are designed to capitalize on judges’ desire to maximize their reputation, and judges’ existing stock of reputation can affect the design of the courts which they serve. We find much to like in this book, ranging from its intriguing and ambitious positive claims ...


Joseph Story, Ralf Michaels Jan 2016

Joseph Story, Ralf Michaels

Faculty Scholarship

Joseph Story (1779-1845) was one of the greatest and most influential American lawyers of all time. Both as a Supreme Court Justice and as a professor at Harvard Law School, his work and thought were, and still are, of great importance. Today’s private international law would look different without him, both in the United States and in the rest of the world. At the same time, his approach to the field cannot be properly understood unless placed within his broader work on law, and the specific American background against which it was developed.


How Bayesian Are Judges?, Jack Knight, Mitu Gulati, David F. Levi Jan 2016

How Bayesian Are Judges?, Jack Knight, Mitu Gulati, David F. Levi

Faculty Scholarship

Richard Posner famously modeled judges as Bayesians in his book, How Judges Think? A key element of being Bayesian is that one constantly updates with new information. This model of the judge who is constantly learning and updating, particularly about local conditions, also is one of the reasons why the factual determinations of trial judges are given deference on appeal. But do judges in fact act like Bayesian updaters? Judicial evaluations of search warrant requests for probable cause provides an ideal setting to examine this question because the judges in this context have access to information on how well they ...


The Management Of Staff By Federal Court Of Appeals Judges, Mitu Gulati, Richard A. Posner Jan 2016

The Management Of Staff By Federal Court Of Appeals Judges, Mitu Gulati, Richard A. Posner

Faculty Scholarship

Federal court of appeals judges have staffs consisting usually of a secretary and four law clerks; some judges have externs as well (law students working part time without pay). These staffs are essential, given judicial workloads and judges’ limitations. Yet not much is known about how the judges manage their staffs. Each judge knows, of course, but judges rarely exchange information about staff management. Nor is there, to our knowledge, a literature that attempts to compare and evaluate the varieties of staff management techniques employed by federal court of appeals judges. This Essay aims to fill that gap. It is ...


Coming Into The Anthropocene, Jedediah Purdy Jan 2015

Coming Into The Anthropocene, Jedediah Purdy

Faculty Scholarship

This essay reviews Professor Jonathan Cannon’s Environment in the Balance. Cannon’s book admirably analyzes the Supreme Court’s uptake of, or refusal of, the key commitments of the environmental-law revolution of the early 1970s. In some areas the Court has adapted old doctrines, such as Standing and Commerce, to accommodate ecological insights; in other areas, such as Property, it has used older doctrines to restrain the transformative effects of environmental law. After surveying Cannon’s argument, this review diagnoses the historical moment that has made the ideological division that Cannon surveys especially salient: a time of stalled legislation ...


Barriers To Entry And Justice Ginsburg’S Criminal Procedure Jurisprudence, Lisa Kern Griffin Jan 2015

Barriers To Entry And Justice Ginsburg’S Criminal Procedure Jurisprudence, Lisa Kern Griffin

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


Challenging The Randomness Of Panel Assignment In The Federal Courts Of Appeals, Adam S. Chilton, Marin K. Levy Jan 2015

Challenging The Randomness Of Panel Assignment In The Federal Courts Of Appeals, Adam S. Chilton, Marin K. Levy

Faculty Scholarship

A fundamental academic assumption about the federal courts of appeals is that the three-judge panels that hear cases have been randomly configured. Scores of scholarly articles have noted this “fact,” and it has been relied on heavily by empirical researchers. Even though there are practical reasons to doubt that judges would always be randomly assigned to panels, this assumption has never been tested. This Article fill this void by doing so.

To determine whether the circuit courts utilize random assignment, we have created what we believe to be the largest dataset of panel assignments of those courts constructed to date ...


The Effectiveness Of International Adjudicators, Laurence R. Helfer Jan 2014

The Effectiveness Of International Adjudicators, Laurence R. Helfer

Faculty Scholarship

This chapter, in the Oxford Handbook of International Adjudication, provides an overview of the burgeoning literature on the effectiveness of international courts and tribunals (ICs). It considers four dimensions of effectiveness that have engendered debates among scholars or received insufficient scrutiny. The first dimension, case-specific effectiveness, evaluates whether the litigants to a specific dispute change their behavior following an IC ruling, an issue closely linked to compliance with IC judgments. The second variant, erga omnes effectiveness, assesses whether IC decisions have systemic precedential effects that influence the behavior of all states subject to a tribunal’s jurisdiction. The third approach ...


Judging Justice On Appeal, Marin K. Levy Jan 2014

Judging Justice On Appeal, Marin K. Levy

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


A Winner’S Curse?: Promotions From The Lower Federal Courts, Stephen J. Choi, Mitu Gulati, Eric A. Posner Jan 2014

A Winner’S Curse?: Promotions From The Lower Federal Courts, Stephen J. Choi, Mitu Gulati, Eric A. Posner

Faculty Scholarship

The standard model of judicial behavior suggests that judges primarily care about deciding cases in ways that further their political ideologies. But judicial behavior seems much more complex. Politicians who nominate people for judgeships do not typically tout their ideology (except sometimes using vague code words), but they always claim that the nominees will be competent judges. Moreover, it stands to reason that voters would support politicians who appoint competent as well as ideologically compatible judges. We test this hypothesis using a dataset consisting of promotions to the federal circuit courts. We find, using a set of objective measures of ...


Gerald Bard Tjoflat: A Profile, Daniel S. Bowling Iii Jan 2014

Gerald Bard Tjoflat: A Profile, Daniel S. Bowling Iii

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


Brief For Amici Curiae Professors Of Law In Support Of Petitioner, Neil Vidmar, Lisa Kern Griffin Jan 2014

Brief For Amici Curiae Professors Of Law In Support Of Petitioner, Neil Vidmar, Lisa Kern Griffin

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


Legitimacy And Lawmaking: A Tale Of Three International Courts, Laurence R. Helfer, Karen J. Alter Jan 2013

Legitimacy And Lawmaking: A Tale Of Three International Courts, Laurence R. Helfer, Karen J. Alter

Faculty Scholarship

This article explores the relationship between the legitimacy of international courts and expansive judicial lawmaking. We compare lawmaking by three regional integration courts — the European Court of Justice (ECJ), the Andean Tribunal of Justice (ATJ), and the ECOWAS Community Court of Justice (ECCJ). These courts have similar jurisdictional grants and access rules, yet each has behaved in a strikingly different way when faced with opportunities to engage in expansive judicial lawmaking. The ECJ is the most activist, but its audacious legal doctrines have been assimilated as part of the court’s legitimate authority. The ATJ and ECOWAS have been more ...


Judicial Attention As A Scarce Resource: A Preliminary Defense Of How Judges Allocate Time Across Cases In The Federal Courts Of Appeals, Marin K. Levy Jan 2013

Judicial Attention As A Scarce Resource: A Preliminary Defense Of How Judges Allocate Time Across Cases In The Federal Courts Of Appeals, Marin K. Levy

Faculty Scholarship

Federal appellate judges no longer have the time to hear argument and draft opinions in all of their cases. The average annual filing per active judgeship now stands at 330 filed cases per year — more than four times what it was sixty years ago. In response, judges have adopted case management strategies that effectively involve spending significantly less time on certain classes of cases than on others. Various scholars have decried this state of affairs, suggesting that the courts have created a “bifurcated” system of justice with “separate and unequal tracks.” These reformers propose altering the relevant constraints of the ...


How Well Do Measures Of Judicial Ability Translate Into Performance?, Mitu Gulati, Stephen J. Choi, Eric A. Posner Jan 2013

How Well Do Measures Of Judicial Ability Translate Into Performance?, Mitu Gulati, Stephen J. Choi, Eric A. Posner

Faculty Scholarship

Diverse measures are used as proxies for judicial ability, ranging from the college and law school a judge attended to the rate at which her decisions are cited by other judges. Yet there has been little serious examination of which of these ability measures is better or worse at predicting the quality of judicial performance—including the management and disposition of cases. In this article, we attempt to evaluate these measures of ability by examining a rich group of performance indicators. Our innovation is to derive performance measures from judicial decisions other than case outcomes (which are inherently difficult to ...