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Full-Text Articles in Law

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 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 ...


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 ...


To Speak Or Not To Speak, That Is Your Liberty: Janus V. Afscme, David Forte Jan 2018

To Speak Or Not To Speak, That Is Your Liberty: Janus V. Afscme, David Forte

Law Faculty Articles and Essays

Some Supreme Court precedents go through extensive death spasms before being interred. Lochner v. New York, Plessy v. Ferguson, and Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce come to mind. Others like Chisholm v. Georgia and Minersville School District v. Gobitis incurred a swift and summary execution. Still others, overtaken by subsequent cases, remain wraith-like presences among the Court’s past acts: Beauharnais v. Illinois and Buck v. Bell, for example, remain “on the books.”