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Dying Constitutionalism And The Fourteenth Amendment, Ernest A. Young Jan 2019

Dying Constitutionalism And The Fourteenth Amendment, Ernest A. Young

Faculty Scholarship

The notion of a “living Constitution” often rests on an implicit assumption that important constitutional values will “grow” in such a way as to make the Constitution more attractive over time. But there are no guarantees: What can grow can also wither and die. This essay, presented as the 2018 Robert F. Boden Lecture at Marquette University Law School, marks the sesquicentennial of the Fourteenth Amendment’s ratification as a powerful charter of liberty and equality for black Americans. But for much of its early history, the Fourteenth Amendment’s meaning moved in reverse, overwhelmed by the end of Reconstruction ...


Grounding Originalism, William Baude, Stephen E. Sachs Jan 2019

Grounding Originalism, William Baude, Stephen E. Sachs

Faculty Scholarship

How should we interpret the Constitution? The “positive turn” in legal scholarship treats constitutional interpretation, like the interpretation of statutes or contracts, as governed by legal rules grounded in actual practice. In our legal system, that practice requires a certain form of originalism: our system’s official story is that we follow the law of the Founding, plus all lawful changes made since.

Or so we’ve argued. Yet this answer produces its own set of questions. How can practice solve our problems, when there are so many theories of law, each giving practice a different role? Why look to ...


Response: Rights As Trumps Of What?, Joseph Blocher Jan 2019

Response: Rights As Trumps Of What?, Joseph Blocher

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


Historical Gloss, Madisonian Liquidation, And The Originalism Debate, Curtis A. Bradley, Neil S. Siegel Jan 2019

Historical Gloss, Madisonian Liquidation, And The Originalism Debate, Curtis A. Bradley, Neil S. Siegel

Faculty Scholarship

The U.S. Constitution is old, relatively brief, and very difficult to amend. In its original form, the Constitution was primarily a framework for a new national government, and for 230 years the national government has operated under that framework even as conditions have changed in ways beyond the Founders’ conceivable imaginations. The framework has survived in no small part because government institutions have themselves played an important role in helping to fill in and clarify the framework through their practices and interactions, informed by the realities of governance. Courts, the political branches, and academic commentators commonly give weight to ...


Originalism And The Law Of The Past, William Baude, Stephen E. Sachs Jan 2019

Originalism And The Law Of The Past, William Baude, Stephen E. Sachs

Faculty Scholarship

Originalism has long been criticized for its “law office history” and other historical sins. But a recent “positive turn” in originalist thought may help make peace between history and law. On this theory, originalism is best understood as a claim about our modern law — which borrows many of its rules, constitutional or otherwise, from the law of the past. Our law happens to be the Founders’ law, unless lawfully changed.

This theory has three important implications for the role of history in law. First, whether and how past law matters today is a question of current law, not of history ...


The Rights Of Marriage: Obergefell, Din, And The Future Of Constitutional Family Law, Kerry Abrams Jan 2018

The Rights Of Marriage: Obergefell, Din, And The Future Of Constitutional Family Law, Kerry Abrams

Faculty Scholarship

In the summer of 2015 the United States Supreme Court handed down two groundbreaking constitutional family law decisions. One decision became famous overnight Obergefell v. Hodges declared that same-sex couples have the constitutional right to marry. The other, Kerry v. Din, went largely overlooked. That later case concerned not the right to marry but the rights of marriage. In particular, it asked whether a person has a constitutional liberty interest in living with his or her spouse. This case is suddenly of paramount importance: executive orders targeting particular groups of immigrants implicate directly this right to family reunification.

This Article ...


Puerto Rico And The Right Of Accession, Joseph Blocher, Mitu Gulati Jan 2018

Puerto Rico And The Right Of Accession, Joseph Blocher, Mitu Gulati

Faculty Scholarship

On June 11, 2017, Puerto Rico held a referendum on its legal status. Although turnout was low, 97% of ballots favored statehood, rather than independence or the status quo. The federal government, however, has financial and political reasons to resist this preference: Puerto Rico would bring with it a massive, unpayable debt, and the potential to swing the current balance of power in Congress.

The tension between Puerto Rico’s possible desire to pull closer to the mainland and Congress’s presumptive desire to hold it at arm’s length raises at least two important legal questions. Could Congress expel ...


The Constitutionality Of A National Wealth Tax, Dawn Johnsen, Walter Dellinger Jan 2018

The Constitutionality Of A National Wealth Tax, Dawn Johnsen, Walter Dellinger

Faculty Scholarship

Economic inequality threatens America’s constitutional democracy. Beyond obvious harms to our nation’s social fabric and people’s lives, soaring economic inequality translates into political inequality and corrodes democratic institutions and values. The coincident, relentless rise of money in politics exacerbates the problem. As elected officials and candidates meet skyrocketing campaign costs by devoting more and more time to political fundraising—and independent expenditures mushroom—Americans lose faith and withdraw from a system widely perceived as beholden to wealthy individuals and corporate interests.

The United States needs innovative approaches to help rebuild foundational, shared understandings of American democracy, the ...


Sustaining Collective Self-Governance And Collective Action: A Constitutional Role Morality For Presidents And Members Of Congress, Neil S. Siegel Jan 2018

Sustaining Collective Self-Governance And Collective Action: A Constitutional Role Morality For Presidents And Members Of Congress, Neil S. Siegel

Faculty Scholarship

In the United States today, the behavior of the political branches is generally viewed as more damaging to the American constitutional system than is the behavior of the federal courts. Yet constitutional law scholarship continues to focus primarily on judges and judging. This Article suggests that such scholarship should develop for presidents and members of Congress what it has long advocated for judges: a role morality that imposes normative limits on the exercise of official discretion over and above strictly legal limits. The Article first grounds a role morality for federal elected officials in two purposes of the U.S ...


Political Norms, Constitutional Conventions, And President Donald Trump, Neil S. Siegel Jan 2018

Political Norms, Constitutional Conventions, And President Donald Trump, Neil S. Siegel

Faculty Scholarship

This symposium Essay argues that what is most troubling about the conduct of President Trump during and since the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign is not any potential violations of the U.S. Constitution or federal law. There likely have been some such violations, and there may be more. But what is most troubling about President Trump is his disregard of political norms that had previously constrained presidential candidates and Presidents, and his flouting of nonlegal but obligatory “constitutional conventions” that had previously guided and disciplined occupants of the White House. These norms and conventions, although not “in” the Constitution ...


The Constitutionality Of A National Wealth Tax, Dawn Johnsen, Walter E. Dellinger Iii Jan 2018

The Constitutionality Of A National Wealth Tax, Dawn Johnsen, Walter E. Dellinger Iii

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


Precedent And The Semblance Of Law, Stephen E. Sachs Jan 2018

Precedent And The Semblance Of Law, Stephen E. Sachs

Faculty Scholarship

Like its author, Randy Kozel's *Settled Versus Right* is insightful, thoughtful, and kind, deeply committed to improving the world that it sees. But despite its upbeat tone, the book paints a dark picture of current law and the current Court. It depicts a society whose judges are, in a positive sense, *lawless* -- not because they disregard the law, but because they are without law, because they have no shared law to guide them. What they do share is an institution, a Court, whose commands are generally accepted. So *Settled Versus Right* makes the best of what we've got ...


Puerto Rico And The Netherworld Of Sovereign Debt Restructuring, Mitu Gulati, Robert K. Rasmussen Jan 2017

Puerto Rico And The Netherworld Of Sovereign Debt Restructuring, Mitu Gulati, Robert K. Rasmussen

Faculty Scholarship

Puerto Rico has incurred debt well beyond its ability to repay. It attempted to address its fiscal woes through legislation allowing the restructuring of some its debt. The Supreme Court put a stop to this effort, holding that Congress in the Bankruptcy Code barred the Commonwealth from enacting its own restructuring regime. Yet all agreed that the Bankruptcy Code did not provide anything in its place. While Congress quickly enacted PROMESA in an attempt to address the Puerto Rico’s fiscal ills, we explore in this paper whether Congress has the power to bar Puerto Rico from enacting a restructuring ...


Originalism Without Text, Stephen E. Sachs Jan 2017

Originalism Without Text, Stephen E. Sachs

Faculty Scholarship

Originalism is not about the text. Though the theory is often treated as a way to read the Constitution’s words, that conventional view is misleading. A society can be recognizably originalist without any words to interpret: without a written constitution, written statutes, or any writing at all. If texts aren’t fundamental to originalism, then originalism isn’t fundamentally about texts. Avoiding that error helps us see what originalism generally is about: namely, our present constitutional law, and its dependence on a crucial moment in the past.


Cumulative Constitutional Rights, Kerry Abrams, Brandon L. Garrett Jan 2017

Cumulative Constitutional Rights, Kerry Abrams, Brandon L. Garrett

Faculty Scholarship

Cumulative constitutional rights are ubiquitous. Plaintiffs litigate multiple constitutional violations, or multiple harms, and judges use multiple constitutional provisions to inform interpretation. Yet judges, litigants, and scholars have often criticized the notion of cumulative rights, including in leading Supreme Court rulings, such as Lawrence v. Texas, Employment Division v. Smith, and Miranda v. Arizona. Recently, the Court attempted to clarify some of this confusion. In its landmark opinion in Obergefell v. Hodges, the Court struck down state bans on same-sex marriage by pointing to several distinct but overlapping protections inherent in the Due Process Clause, including the right to individual ...


Reciprocal Legitimation In The Federal Courts System, Neil S. Siegel Jan 2017

Reciprocal Legitimation In The Federal Courts System, Neil S. Siegel

Faculty Scholarship

Much scholarship in law and political science has long understood the U.S. Supreme Court to be the “apex” court in the federal judicial system, and so to relate hierarchically to “lower” federal courts. On that top-down view, exemplified by the work of Alexander Bickel and many subsequent scholars, the Court is the principal, and lower federal courts are its faithful agents. Other scholarship takes a bottom-up approach, viewing lower federal courts as faithless agents or analyzing the “percolation” of issues in those courts before the Court decides. This Article identifies circumstances in which the relationship between the Court and ...


Brief Of Amicus Curiae Children’S Law Clinic At Duke Law School Advocates For Children’S Services Of Legal Aid Of North Carolina Public Schools First Nc, Jane R. Wettach, Peggy Nicholson, K. Ricky Watson Jr., Celia Pistolis, Aisha Forte, Jennifer Story, Kevin Zhao Jan 2017

Brief Of Amicus Curiae Children’S Law Clinic At Duke Law School Advocates For Children’S Services Of Legal Aid Of North Carolina Public Schools First Nc, Jane R. Wettach, Peggy Nicholson, K. Ricky Watson Jr., Celia Pistolis, Aisha Forte, Jennifer Story, Kevin Zhao

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


Doing Gloss, Curtis A. Bradley Jan 2017

Doing Gloss, Curtis A. Bradley

Faculty Scholarship

It is common for courts, the political branches, and academic commentators to look to historical governmental practices when interpreting the separation of powers. There has been relatively little attention, however, to the proper methodology for invoking such “historical gloss.” This Essay contends that, in order to gain traction on the methodological questions, we need to begin by considering the potential justifications for crediting gloss. For judicial application of gloss, which is this Essay’s principal focus, there are at least four such justifications: deference to the constitutional views of nonjudicial actors; limits on judicial capacity; Burkean consequentialism; and reliance interests ...


What Can Europe Tell Us About The Future Of American Federalism?, Ernest A. Young Jan 2017

What Can Europe Tell Us About The Future Of American Federalism?, Ernest A. Young

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


The Death Penalty And The Fifth Amendment, Joseph Blocher Jan 2016

The Death Penalty And The Fifth Amendment, Joseph Blocher

Faculty Scholarship

Can the Supreme Court find unconstitutional something that the text of the Constitution “contemplates”? If the Bill of Rights mentions a punishment, does that make it a “permissible legislative choice” immune to independent constitutional challenges?

Recent developments have given new hope to those seeking constitutional abolition of the death penalty. But some supporters of the death penalty continue to argue, as they have since Furman v. Georgia, that the death penalty must be constitutional because the Fifth Amendment explicitly contemplates it. The appeal of this argument is obvious, but its strength is largely superficial, and is also mostly irrelevant to ...


The European Union: A Comparative Perspective, Ernest A. Young Jan 2016

The European Union: A Comparative Perspective, Ernest A. Young

Faculty Scholarship

This chapter, to be included in the Oxford Principles of EU Law volume, compares the federalisms of Europe and the United States. It argues that Europe can be sensibly viewed from both federal and intergovernmental perspectives, and that particular aspects of the European Union’s structure fit each model. In particular, the EU is federal—that is, integrated to a comparable degree to the U.S.—with respect to its distribution of competences and the sovereignty attributed to EU law and institutions. But it is intergovernmental—that is, it preserves a center of gravity within the individual member states—with ...


The Supreme Court As A Filter Between International Law And American Constitutionalism, Curtis A. Bradley Jan 2016

The Supreme Court As A Filter Between International Law And American Constitutionalism, Curtis A. Bradley

Faculty Scholarship

As part of a symposium on Justice Stephen Breyer’s book, “The Court and the World,” this essay describes and defends the Supreme Court’s role as a filter between international law and the American constitutional system. In this role, the Court ensures that when international law passes into the U.S. legal system, it does so in a manner consistent with domestic constitutional values. This filtering role is appropriate, the Essay explains, in light of the different processes used to generate international law and domestic law and the different functions served by these bodies of law. The Essay provides ...


Originalism’S Bite, William Baude, Stephen E. Sachs Jan 2016

Originalism’S Bite, William Baude, Stephen E. Sachs

Faculty Scholarship

Is originalism toothless? Richard Posner seems to think so. He writes that repeated theorizing by "intelligent originalists," one of us happily included, has rendered the theory "incoherent" and capable of supporting almost any result. We appreciate the attention, but we fear we've been misunderstood. Our view is that originalism permits arguments from precedent, changed circumstances, or whatever you like, but only to the extent that they lawfully derive from the law of the founding. This kind of originalism, surprisingly common in American legal practice, is catholic in theory but exacting in application. It might look tame, but it has ...


Brief Of Amici Curiae Federal Courts Scholars And Southeastern Legal Foundation In Support Of Respondents, Kimberly S. Hermann, Ernest A. Young Jan 2016

Brief Of Amici Curiae Federal Courts Scholars And Southeastern Legal Foundation In Support Of Respondents, Kimberly S. Hermann, Ernest A. Young

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


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.


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 ...


Presidential War Powers As A Two-Level Dynamic: International Law, Domestic Law, And Practice-Based Legal Change, Curtis A. Bradley, Jean Galbraith Jan 2016

Presidential War Powers As A Two-Level Dynamic: International Law, Domestic Law, And Practice-Based Legal Change, Curtis A. Bradley, Jean Galbraith

Faculty Scholarship

There is a rich literature on the circumstances under which the United Nations Charter or specific Security Council resolutions authorize nations to use force abroad, and there is a rich literature on the circumstances under which the U.S. Constitution and statutory law allows the President to use force abroad. These are largely separate areas of scholarship, addressing what are generally perceived to be two distinct levels of legal doctrine. This Article, by contrast, considers these two levels of doctrine together as they relate to the United States. In doing so, it makes three main contributions. First, it demonstrates striking ...


Our Prescriptive Judicial Power: Constitutive And Entrenchment Effects Of Historical Practice In Federal Courts Law, Ernest A. Young Jan 2016

Our Prescriptive Judicial Power: Constitutive And Entrenchment Effects Of Historical Practice In Federal Courts Law, Ernest A. Young

Faculty Scholarship

Scholars examining the use of historical practice in constitutional adjudication have focused on a few high-profile separation-of-powers disputes, such as the recent decisions in NLRB v. Noel Canning and Zivotofsky v. Kerry. This essay argues that “big cases make bad theory” — that the focus on high-profile cases of this type distorts our understanding of how historical practice figures in constitutional adjudication more generally. I shift focus here to the more prosaic terrain of federal courts law, in which practice plays a pervasive role. That shift reveals two important insights: First, while historical practice plays an important constitutive role, structuring and ...


Second Amendment Traditionalism And Desuetude, Darrell A. H. Miller Jan 2016

Second Amendment Traditionalism And Desuetude, Darrell A. H. Miller

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


That We Are Underlings: The Real Problems In Disciplining Political Spending And The First Amendment, Jedediah Purdy Jan 2015

That We Are Underlings: The Real Problems In Disciplining Political Spending And The First Amendment, Jedediah Purdy

Faculty Scholarship

In the area of money in politics, change at the doctrinal level will follow only from change at the political level. The current doctrine is coherent, intelligible, and profoundly misplaced. Shifting it will take a movement.