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Full-Text Articles in Law

The Paradox Of Omnipotence: Courts, Constitutions, And Commitments, David S. Law Jun 2005

The Paradox Of Omnipotence: Courts, Constitutions, And Commitments, David S. Law

University of San Diego Public Law and Legal Theory Research Paper Series

Sovereigns, like individuals, must sometimes make commitments that limit their own freedom of action in order to accomplish their goals. Social scientists have observed that constitutional arrangements can, by restricting a sovereign's power, enable the sovereign to make such commitments. This paper advances several claims about the commitment problems that sovereigns face. First, constitutions do not necessarily solve such problems but can instead aggravate them, by entrenching inalienable governmental powers and immunities. Second, sovereigns and other actors face two distinct varieties of commitment problems - undercommitment and overcommitment - between which they must steer: an actor that can bind itself has ...


Justice Douglas, Justice O'Connor, And George Orwell: Does The Constitution Compel Us To Disown Our Past, Steven D. Smith Jun 2005

Justice Douglas, Justice O'Connor, And George Orwell: Does The Constitution Compel Us To Disown Our Past, Steven D. Smith

University of San Diego Public Law and Legal Theory Research Paper Series

Justice William O. Douglas's majority opinion in Zorach v. Clauson famously asserted that "[w]e are a religious people whose institutions presuppose a Supreme Being." What did Douglas mean, and was he right? More recently, in cases involving the Ten Commandments, the Pledge of Allegiance and other public expressions and symbols, the Supreme Court has said that the Constitution prohibits government from endorsing religion. Can Douglas's "Supreme Being" assertion be reconciled with the "no endorsement" prohibition? And does the more modern doctrine demand that we forget, falsify, or forswear our pervasively religious political heritage? This essay, presented as ...


Pursuing Justice For The Mentally Disabled, Grant H. Morris Jun 2005

Pursuing Justice For The Mentally Disabled, Grant H. Morris

University of San Diego Public Law and Legal Theory Research Paper Series

This article considers whether lawyers act as zealous advocates when they represent mentally disordered, involuntarily committed patients who wish to assert their right to refuse treatment with psychotropic medication. After discussing a study that clearly demonstrates that lawyers do not do so, the article explores the reasons for this inappropriate behavior. Michael Perlin characterizes the problem as “sanism,” which he describes as an irrational prejudice against mentally disabled persons of the same quality and character as other irrational prejudices that cause and are reflected in prevailing social attitudes of racism, sexism, homophobia, and ethnic bigotry. The article critiques Perlin’s ...


Dickerson V. United States: The Case That Disappointed Miranda's Critics--And Then Its Supporters, Yale Kamisar Jun 2005

Dickerson V. United States: The Case That Disappointed Miranda's Critics--And Then Its Supporters, Yale Kamisar

University of San Diego Public Law and Legal Theory Research Paper Series

It is difficult, if not impossible, to discuss Dickerson v. United States intelligently without discussing Miranda, whose constitutional status Dickerson reaffirmed (or, one might say, resuscitated). It is also difficult, if not impossible, to discuss the Dickerson case intelligently without discussing cases the Court has handed down in the five years since Dickerson was decided. The hard truth is that in those five years the reaffirmation of Miranda’s constitutional status has become less and less meaningful.

In this paper I want to focus on the Court’s characterization of statements elicited in violation of the Miranda warnings as not ...


The Chief Prosecutor, Sai Prakash Jun 2005

The Chief Prosecutor, Sai Prakash

University of San Diego Public Law and Legal Theory Research Paper Series

Since Watergate, legal scholars have participated in a larger debate about the President’s constitutional relationship to prosecutions. In particular, many legal scholars sought to debunk the received wisdom that prosecution was an executive function subject to presidential control. Revisionist scholars cited early statutes and practices meant to demonstrate that early presidents lacked control over prosecution. Among other things, scholars asserted that early presidents could not control either the federal district attorneys or the popular prosecutors who brought qui tam suits to enforce federal law. In fact, many of the revisionist claims are wrong and others are beside the point ...