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Full-Text Articles in Law

Neglecting Nationalism, Gil Seinfeld May 2019

Neglecting Nationalism, Gil Seinfeld

Articles

Federalism is a system of government that calls for the division of power between a central authority and member states. It is designed to secure benefits that flow from centralization and from devolution, as well as benefits that accrue from a simultaneous commitment to both. A student of modern American federalism, however, might have a very different impression, for significant swaths of the case law and scholarly commentary on the subject neglect the centralizing, nationalist side of the federal balance. This claim may come as a surprise, since it is obviously the case that our national government has become immensely ...


Originalist Theory And Precedent: A Public Meaning Approach, Lawrence B. Solum Oct 2018

Originalist Theory And Precedent: A Public Meaning Approach, Lawrence B. Solum

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Much ink has already been spilled on the relationship of constitutional originalism to precedent (or, more specifically, the doctrine of stare decisis). The debate includes contributions from Randy Barnett, Steven Calabresi, Kurt Lash, Gary Lawson, John McGinnis with Michael Rappaport, Michael Paulsen, and Lee Strang, not to mention Justice Antonin Scalia—all representing originalism in some form. Living constitutionalism has also been represented both implicitly and explicitly, with important contributions from Phillip Bobbitt, Ronald Dworkin, Michael Gerhardt, Randy Kozel, and David Strauss. Some writers are more difficult to classify; Akhil Amar comes to mind. And there are many other contributions ...


A Study In Sovereignty: Federalism, Political Culture, And The Future Of Conservatism, Clint Hamilton Apr 2018

A Study In Sovereignty: Federalism, Political Culture, And The Future Of Conservatism, Clint Hamilton

Senior Honors Theses

This thesis confronts symptoms of an issue which is eroding at the principles of conservative advocacy, specifically those dealing with federalism. It contrasts modern definitions of federalism with those which existed in the late 1700s, and then attempts to determine the cause of the change. Concluding that the change was caused by a shift in American political identity, the author argues that the conservative movement must begin a conversation on how best to adapt to the change to prevent further drifting away from conservative principles.


Reflections On Comity In The Law Of American Federalism, Gil Seinfeld Apr 2015

Reflections On Comity In The Law Of American Federalism, Gil Seinfeld

Articles

Comity is a nebulous concept familiar to us from the law of international relations. Roughly speaking, it describes a set of reciprocal norms among nations that call for one state to recognize, and sometimes defer to, the laws, judgments, or interests of another. Comity also features prominently in the law of American federalism, but in that context, it operates within limits that have received almost no attention from scholarly commentators. Specifically, although courts routinely describe duties that run from one state to another, or from the federal government to the states, as exercises in comity, they almost never rely on ...


The Limits Of Enumeration, Richard A. Primus Dec 2014

The Limits Of Enumeration, Richard A. Primus

Articles

According to a well-known principle of constitutional interpretation here identified as the “internal-limits canon,” the powers of Congress must always be construed as authorizing less legislation than a general police power would. This Article argues that the internallimits canon is unsound. Whether the powers of Congress would in practice authorize any legislation that a police power would authorize is a matter of contingency: it depends on the relationship between the powers and the social world at a given time. There is no reason why, at a given time, the powers cannot turn out to authorize any legislation that a police ...


One(?) Nation Over-Extended, Gary Lawson Jan 2014

One(?) Nation Over-Extended, Gary Lawson

Faculty Scholarship

The conventional wisdom prior to the founding was that republics needed to be small. The conventional wisdom today is that James Madison, and the example of the United States, proves this to be mistaken. But what if Madison was actually wrong and Montesquieu was right? In this article, I consider whether the United States has gotten too big for its Constitution, whether this massive size contributes to political dysfunction, and what might be done to remedy the problem if there is indeed a problem. I suggest that size can increase rather than decrease the dangers of faction because the increased ...


Constitutional Skepticism: A Recovery And Preliminary Evaluation, Louis Michael Seidman Jan 2014

Constitutional Skepticism: A Recovery And Preliminary Evaluation, Louis Michael Seidman

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

The aim of this article is to recover and reevaluate the American tradition of constitutional skepticism. Part I consists of a brief history of skepticism running from before the founding to the modern period. My aim here is not to provide anything like a complete description of the historical actors, texts, and events that I discuss. Instead, I link together familiar episodes and arguments that stretch across our history so as to demonstrate that they are part of a common narrative that has been crucial to our self-identity. Part II disentangles the various strands of skeptical argument. I argue that ...


Why Jeremy Waldron Really Agrees With Me, Louis Michael Seidman Jan 2013

Why Jeremy Waldron Really Agrees With Me, Louis Michael Seidman

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Herewith a response to Jeremy Waldron's review of my book, On Constitutional Disobedience. I conclude that Waldron actually agrees with all of my key claims.


Political And Constitutional Obligation, Louis Michael Seidman Jan 2013

Political And Constitutional Obligation, Louis Michael Seidman

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

In his provocative, courageous, and original new book, "Against Obligation: The Multiple Sources of Authority in a Liberal Democracy," Abner Greene argues that there is “no successful general case for a presumptive (or ‘prima facie’) moral duty to obey the law.” In my own book, "On Constitutional Disobedience," I argue that there is no moral duty to obey our foundational law–the Constitution of the United States. This brief article, prepared for a symposium on the two books to be published by the Boston University Law Review, I address three issues related to these claims. First, I discuss what seem ...


Unbundling Constitutionality, Richard A. Primus Jan 2013

Unbundling Constitutionality, Richard A. Primus

Articles

Constitutional theory features a persistent controversy over the source or sources of constitutional status, that is, over the criteria that qualify some rules as constitutional rules. This Article contends that no single criterion characterizes all of the rules that American law treats as constitutional, such that it is a mistake to think of constitutionality as a status with necessary conditions. It is better to think of constitutionality on a bundle-of-sticks model: different attributes associated with constitutionality might or might not be present in any constitutional rule. Analysts should often direct their attention more to the separate substantive properties that are ...


Biological Metaphors For Whiteness: Beyond Merit And Malice, Brant T. Lee Jan 2011

Biological Metaphors For Whiteness: Beyond Merit And Malice, Brant T. Lee

Akron Law Publications

The problem of persistent racial inequality is grounded in a failure of imagination. The general mainstream conception is that unfair racial inequality occurs only when there is intentional racism. Absent conscious racial malice, no racism is seen to exist. The only generally available alternative explanation for racial inequality is the meritocratic system. Viewing the distribution of resources as a product of a generally fair meritocratic system provides a defense against any charge of racism, and justifies the status quo.

But in economics, business, computer science, and even biology, observers of complexity are coming to understand how dominant systems can prevail ...


Iftikhar Chaudhry’S Options: Can The Courts Remake Pakistani Democracy?, Shubhankar Dam Oct 2010

Iftikhar Chaudhry’S Options: Can The Courts Remake Pakistani Democracy?, Shubhankar Dam

Research Collection School Of Law

No abstract provided.


Limits Of Interpretivism, Richard A. Primus Jan 2009

Limits Of Interpretivism, Richard A. Primus

Articles

Justice Stephen Markman sits on the Supreme Court of my home state of Michigan. In that capacity, he says, he is involved in a struggle between two kinds of judging. On one side are judges like him. They follow the rules. On the other side are unconstrained judges who decide cases on the basis of what they think the law ought to be. This picture is relatively simple, and Justice Markman apparently approves of its simplicity. But matters may in fact be a good deal more complex.


The Perils Of Theory, Peter L. Strauss Jan 2008

The Perils Of Theory, Peter L. Strauss

Faculty Scholarship

As I recall, Professor Clark had more sense than to be my student at Columbia, but I heard a lot about him from admiring colleagues. Clearly he has fulfilled the promise they saw, and this remarkable Symposium is only one indicator of that. The article to which our attention is properly drawn, more than two and a quarter centuries into our nation's history, has an originalist base, tightly and persuasively focused on original understandings of the Supremacy Clause. Professor Clark lays out a cogent account of the Clause's politics and the centrality of its language to the most ...


When Should Original Meanings Matter?, Richard A. Primus Jan 2008

When Should Original Meanings Matter?, Richard A. Primus

Articles

Constitutional theory lacks an account of when each of the familiar sources of authority-text, original meaning, precedent, and so on-should be given weight. The dominant tendency is to regard all sources as potentially applicable in every case. In contrast, this Article proposes that each source of authority is pertinent in some categories of cases but not in others, much as a physical tool is appropriate for some but not all kinds of household tasks. The Article then applies this approach to identify the categories of cases in which original meaning is, or is not, a valid factor in constitutional decisionmaking.


The Corporate Origins Of Judicial Review, Mary Sarah Bilder Dec 2006

The Corporate Origins Of Judicial Review, Mary Sarah Bilder

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

This Article argues that the origins of judicial review lie in corporate law. Diverging from standard historical accounts that locate the origins in theories of fundamental law or in the American structure of government, the Article argues that judicial review was the continuation of a longstanding English practice of constraining corporate ordinances by requiring that they be not repugnant to the laws of the nation. This practice of limiting legislation under the standard of repugnancy to the laws of England became applicable to American colonial law. The history of this repugnancy practice explains why the Framers of the Constitution presumed ...


Judicial Power And Mobilizable History, Richard A. Primus Jan 2006

Judicial Power And Mobilizable History, Richard A. Primus

Articles

One contribution that law professors can make to constitutional discourse, I suggest, is the nurturing of new mobilizable histories. A "mobilizable history," as I will use the term, is a narrative, image, or other historical source that is sufficiently well-known to the community of constitutional decisionmakers so as to be able to support a credible argument in the discourse of constitutional law. It draws upon materials that are within the collective memory of constitutional interpreters; indeed, a necessary step in nurturing a new mobilizable history is to introduce new information into that collective memory or to raise the prominence of ...


Copyright And Free Expression: The Convergence Of Conflicting Normative Frameworks, Shyamkrishna Balganesh Jan 2004

Copyright And Free Expression: The Convergence Of Conflicting Normative Frameworks, Shyamkrishna Balganesh

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Recent attempts to expand the domain of copyright law in different parts of the world have necessitated renewed efforts to evaluate the philosophical justifications that are advocated for its existence as an independent institution. Copyright, conceived of as a proprietary institution, reveals an interesting philosophical interaction with other libertarian interests, most notably the right to free expression. This paper seeks to understand the nature of this interaction and the resulting normative decisions. The paper seeks to analyze copyright law and its recent expansions, specifically from the perspective of the human rights discourse. It looks at the historical origins of modern ...


Finding The Constitution: An Economic Analysis Of Tradition's Role In Constitutional Interpretation, Adam C. Pritchard, Todd J. Zywicki Jan 1999

Finding The Constitution: An Economic Analysis Of Tradition's Role In Constitutional Interpretation, Adam C. Pritchard, Todd J. Zywicki

Articles

In this Article, Professor Pritchard and Professor Zywicki examine the role of tradition in constitutional interpretation, a topic that has received significant attention in recent years. After outlining the current debate over the use of tradition, the authors discuss the efficiency purposes of constitutionalism--precommitment and the reduction of agency costs--and demonstrate how the use of tradition in constitutional interpretation can serve these purposes. Rejecting both Justice Scalia's majoritarian model, which focuses on legislative sources of tradition, and Justice Souter's common-law model, which focuses on Supreme Court precedent as a source of tradition, the authors propose an alternative model--the ...


Constitutions And Spontaneous Orders: A Response To Professor Mcginnis, Adam C. Pritchard, Todd J. Zywicki Jan 1999

Constitutions And Spontaneous Orders: A Response To Professor Mcginnis, Adam C. Pritchard, Todd J. Zywicki

Articles

Professor John McGinnis has written a perceptive and provocative comment on our economic analysis of the role of tradition in constitutional interpretation.1 A brief summary of our areas of agreement and disagreement may help set the stage for this response. It appears that Professor McGinnis substantially agrees with the two central propositions of our article. First, he appears to agree with our definition of efficient traditions as those evolving over long periods of time from decentralized processes.2 Second, he explicitly agrees that Justices Scalia and Souter have adopted sub-optimal models of tradition because they rely on sources that ...


Theorists' Belief: A Comment On The Moral Tradition Of American Constitutionalism, Jospeh Vining Jan 1996

Theorists' Belief: A Comment On The Moral Tradition Of American Constitutionalism, Jospeh Vining

Articles

The Moral Tradition of American Constitutionalism is one of those rare works that leads us to face, at the center of law and legal thought, the largest questions about human life and human purpose. There is a special reader's shudder, a certain gestural shift in the chair, reserved for that moment of realizing where one is being led-not to the edge, but to the center, so that the questions become insistent, and whatever we and others say and do in the face of them becomes our response to them.


Reflections On From Slaves To Citizens Bondage, Freedom And The Constitution: The New Slavery Scholarship And Its Impact On Law And Legal Historiography, Robert J. Kaczorowski Jan 1995

Reflections On From Slaves To Citizens Bondage, Freedom And The Constitution: The New Slavery Scholarship And Its Impact On Law And Legal Historiography, Robert J. Kaczorowski

Faculty Scholarship

The thesis of Professor Donald Nieman's paper, "From Slaves to Citizens: African-Americans, Rights Consciousness, and Reconstruction," is that the nation experienced a revolution in the United States Constitution and in the consciousness of African Americans. According to Professor Nieman, the Reconstruction Amendments represented "a dramatic departure from antebellum constitutional principles,"' because the Thirteenth Amendment reversed the pre-Civil War constitutional guarantee of slavery and "abolish[ed] slavery by federal authority." The Fourteenth Amendment rejected the Supreme Court's "racially-based definition of citizenship [in Dred Scott v. Sandford4], clearly establishing a color-blind citizenship” and the Fifteenth Amendment "wrote the principle of ...


Our Peculiar Security: The Written Constitution And Limited Government, Gary L. Mcdowell Jan 1993

Our Peculiar Security: The Written Constitution And Limited Government, Gary L. Mcdowell

Law Faculty Publications

The essays contained in this volume begin with the assumption that it is significant that ours is a written constitution. In this way, the collection is more at home with the political thought of Thomas Jefferson and John Marshall than with much of contemporary scholarship. For, like Marshall in Marbury v. Madison (1803), the authors here believe that a written constitution is one of the greatest improvements on political institutions.


The Aspirational Constitution, Robin West Jan 1993

The Aspirational Constitution, Robin West

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Firmly embedded in every theory of judicial decisionmaking lies an important set of assumptions about the way government is supposed to work. Sometimes these theories about government are made explicit. More often they are not. Moreover, deeply embedded in every theory of government is a theory of human nature. Although these assumptions about human nature generally remain latent within the larger theory, because they provide the underpinnings for our ideas about the way government is supposed to work, they drive our notions about judicial decisionmaking. For example, the theory of government reflected in the United States Constitution reveals what one ...


Law, Literature, And The Celebration Of Authority, Robin West Jan 1989

Law, Literature, And The Celebration Of Authority, Robin West

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Richard Posner's new book, Law and Literature: A Misunderstood Relation, is a defense of “liberal legalism” against a group of modern critics who have only one thing in common: their use of either particular pieces of literature or literary theory to mount legal critiques. Perhaps for that reason, it is very hard to discern a unified thesis within Posner's book regarding the relationship between law and literature. In part, Posner is complaining about a pollution of literature by its use and abuse in political and legal argument; thus, the “misunderstood relation” to which the title refers. At times ...


Constitutional Interpretation, Terrance Sandalow Jan 1981

Constitutional Interpretation, Terrance Sandalow

Articles

"[We] must never forget," Chief Justice Marshall admonished us in a statement pregnant with more than one meaning, "that it is a constitution we are expounding."' Marshall meant that the Constitution should be read as a document "intended to endure for ages.to come, and, consequently, to be adapted to the various crises of human affairs."'2 But he meant also that the construction placed upon the document must have regard for its "great outlines" and "important objects."'3 Limits are implied by the very nature of the task. There is not the same freedom in construing the Constitution as ...


International Pecuniary Claims Against Mexico, Edwin Borchard Jan 1917

International Pecuniary Claims Against Mexico, Edwin Borchard

Faculty Scholarship Series

The Claims Commission which will ultimately be established to adjudicate upon claims of citizens of the United States and other countries against Mexico will have to decide some of the most interesting and practical questions of international law. Not the least important of these are the fundamental questions of the liability of the Carranza government for its own acts while a revolutionary faction (the Constitutionalists) and for those of the Huerta government it has displaced. An examination of these questions in the light of international law and precedents may not prove without interest. Assuming that the Carranza government will maintain ...