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Full-Text Articles in Law

Critical Constitutionalism Now, Louis Michael Seidman Jan 2006

Critical Constitutionalism Now, Louis Michael Seidman

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

The starting point for this essay is the claim that if the texts that critical scholars studied are unstable over time, then this must also be true of the studies themselves. There is no reason to suppose that the critical perspective, uniquely among all possible perspectives, reflects timeless and contextless truth. The question I want to ask, then, is what meaning the critical perspective has for us now in our new and dramatically transformed environment. I proceed in four parts. First, I address the meaning that critical scholars attributed to constitutional law in the late twentieth century. Second, I describe ...


Constitutional Texting, Lawrence B. Solum Jan 2006

Constitutional Texting, Lawrence B. Solum

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

"Constitutional Texting" introduces an account of constitutional meaning that draws on Paul Grice's distinction between "speaker's meaning" and "sentence meaning." The constitutional equivalent of speaker's meaning is "framer's meaning," the meaning that the author of the constitutional text intended to convey in light of the author's beliefs about the reader's beliefs about the author's intentions. The constitutional equivalent of sentence meaning is "clause meaning," the meaning that an ordinary reader would attribute to the text at the time of utterance without any beliefs about particular intentions on the part of the author. Clause ...


The Supreme Court In Bondage: Constitutional Stare Decisis, Legal Formalism, And The Future Of Unenumerated Rights, Lawrence B. Solum Jan 2006

The Supreme Court In Bondage: Constitutional Stare Decisis, Legal Formalism, And The Future Of Unenumerated Rights, Lawrence B. Solum

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

This essay advances a formalist conception of constitutional stare decisis. The author argues that instrumentalist accounts of precedent are inherently unsatisfying and that the Supreme Court should abandon adherence to the doctrine that it is free to overrule its own prior decisions. These moves are embedded in a larger theoretical framework--a revival of formalist ideas in legal theory that he calls "neoformalism" to distinguish his view from the so-called "formalism" caricatured by the legal realists (and from some other views that are called "formalist").

In Part II, The Critique of Unenumerated Constitutional Rights, the author sets the stage by briefly ...


Unenumerated Duties, Robin West Jan 2006

Unenumerated Duties, Robin West

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

The article aims to make problematic the relative absence of questions about the affirmative duties of legislators to pass laws to achieve various welfarist ends in liberal constitutional theory. The duty to legislate for the public good is a bedrock of both classical and modern liberal theory, yet there is almost nothing in liberal constitutional theory about the possible constitutional grounding of the moral duties, whether enumerated or unenumerated, of legislators. The full explanation for this absence rests on a set of jurisprudential assumptions that lead moral questions about governance to be understood solely as adjudicative questions of law. Yet ...