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Constitutional Law

Legal History

Boston College Law School

Articles 1 - 13 of 13

Full-Text Articles in Law

Cosmopolitanism And Constitutional Self-Government, Vlad F. Perju Jan 2010

Cosmopolitanism And Constitutional Self-Government, Vlad F. Perju

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

This paper, which was selected for presentation at the 2010 Yale/Stanford Junior Faculty Forum, articulates the theoretical steps by which self-government in a free community of equals leads constitutional analysis outside the boundaries of that political community. Openness to the experiences in self-government of other peoples is commonly assumed to undermine political legitimacy by loosing citizens’ control over their political fate. But is it possible that such openness might in fact render that control more effective? Could it actually enhance political and constitutional legitimacy? This paper articulates and defends the following claims: 1) The legitimacy of a political order ...


Colonial Constitutionalism And Constitutional Law, Mary Sarah Bilder Sep 2008

Colonial Constitutionalism And Constitutional Law, Mary Sarah Bilder

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

This essay reconsiders the transformation of colonial constitutionalism to Constitutional Law. The transformation of constitutional law does not map neatly onto the 1776 - 90 period. This essay argues that the transformation was less the result of the admittedly important invention of a written constitution than of three less apparent transformations. A first essential transformation in constitutionalism occurred long before 1776 when seventeenth-century colonists created a new conception of the written and published charter as the location of authority and liberties. A second essential transformation occurred only after 1790 when appeals in judicial cases began to be publicly reported in print ...


Idea Or Practice: A Brief Historiography Of Judicial Review, Mary Sarah Bilder May 2008

Idea Or Practice: A Brief Historiography Of Judicial Review, Mary Sarah Bilder

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

Judicial review may be the most publicly contested aspect of American constitutionalism. The conventional beliefs that judicial review should be understood as an idea and American constitutionalism studied as a new rationalistic, political science are largely due to the influential scholarship of Edward Corwin. This brief essay recovers the pre-Corwin discussion about the origins of judicial review to demonstrate the way in which the approach to judicial review as an idea has been, itself, historically constructed by scholarly inclination, disciplinary identification, and the availability of historical materials.


Why We Have Judicial Review, Mary Sarah Bilder Apr 2007

Why We Have Judicial Review, Mary Sarah Bilder

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

This paper accompanies Mary Sarah Bilder, The Corporate Origins of Judicial Review , 116 Yale L.J. 502 (2006), in which the author argues that the origins of judicial review lie not in the expansion of judicial power but rather in the prior practice of commitment to limited legislative authority.


Pedagogy Of The Suppressed: A Class On Race And The Death Penalty, Phyllis Goldfarb Mar 2007

Pedagogy Of The Suppressed: A Class On Race And The Death Penalty, Phyllis Goldfarb

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

What does it mean to contextualize legal doctrine and how does contextualization matter? This essay explores a general pedagogy of contextualization within the particular context of a class on race and the death penalty. Teaching the Supreme Court's infamous 1987 opinion in the case of McCleskey v. Kemp within its historical, doctrinal, cultural, and human contexts--rather than as a self-explanatory pronouncement--provides a deeper understanding of America's death penalty system, its connection to America's racial caste system, and the Supreme Court's role in each. These multiple contexts provide a foundation for comprehension and critique of values served ...


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 ...


The Common Law As An Iterative Process: A Preliminary Inquiry, Lawrence A. Cunningham Jun 2006

The Common Law As An Iterative Process: A Preliminary Inquiry, Lawrence A. Cunningham

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

The common law often is casually referred to as an iterative process without much attention given to the detailed attributes such processes exhibit. This Article explores this characterization, uncovering how common law as an iterative process is one of endless repetition that is simultaneously stable and dynamic, self-similar but evolving, complex yet simple. These attributes constrain the systemic significance of judicial discretion and also confirm the wisdom of traditional approaches to studying and learning law. As an iterative system, common law exhibits what physicists call sensitive dependence on initial conditions. This generates a path dependency from which it may be ...


Heights Of Justice (Introduction And Front Matter), Lawrence A. Cunningham Dec 2005

Heights Of Justice (Introduction And Front Matter), Lawrence A. Cunningham

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

In this pioneering book, Boston College Law School’s Academic Dean, Lawrence Cunningham, arranges selected contributions of his faculty’s scholarship into a meditation upon justice. The book weaves a combination of theory and practice to articulate moral and ethical values that facilitate rational application of law. It envisions legal arrangements imbued with commitments of the Jesuit tradition, including the dignity of persons, the common good and compassion for the poor. This reflective collection of inquiry evokes a signature motif of the BC Law faculty in dozens of different legal subjects. Materials downloadable from this abstract consist of: Table of ...


The Transatlantic Constitution: Colonial Legal Culture And The Empire (Excerpt), Mary Sarah Bilder Mar 2005

The Transatlantic Constitution: Colonial Legal Culture And The Empire (Excerpt), Mary Sarah Bilder

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

Departing from traditional approaches to colonial legal history, Mary Sarah Bilder argues that American law and legal culture developed within the framework of an evolving, unwritten transatlantic constitution that lawyers, legislators, and litigants on both sides of the Atlantic understood. The central tenet of this constitution--that colonial laws and customs could not be repugnant to the laws of England but could diverge for local circumstances--shaped the legal development of the colonial world. Focusing on practices rather than doctrines, Bilder describes how the pragmatic and flexible conversation about this constitution shaped colonial law: the development of the legal profession; the place ...


Baker V. State And The Promise Of The New Judicial Federalism, Charles H. Baron, Lawrence Friedman Dec 2001

Baker V. State And The Promise Of The New Judicial Federalism, Charles H. Baron, Lawrence Friedman

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

In Baker v. State, the Supreme Court of Vermont ruled that the state constitution’s Common Benefits Clause prohibits the exclusion of same-sex couples from the benefits and protections of marriage. Baker has been praised by constitutional scholars as a prototypical example of the New Judicial Federalism. The authors agree, asserting that the decision sets a standard for constitutional discourse by dint of the manner in which each of the opinions connects and responds to the others, pulls together arguments from other state and federal constitutional authorities, and provides a clear basis for subsequent development of constitutional principle. This Article ...


Putting Watergate Behind Us: Salinas, Sun-Diamond, And Two Views Of The Anticorruption Model, George D. Brown Feb 2000

Putting Watergate Behind Us: Salinas, Sun-Diamond, And Two Views Of The Anticorruption Model, George D. Brown

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

A central question in the ongoing debate over the future of the American political system is how to deal with public corruption. This Article first examines the dominant theme of the last thirty years: a relatively hard-line approach that Professor Brown refers to as the post-watergate concensus. In recent years, however, this approach has been subject to growing criminalization of government ethics; Professor Brown then turns to what can be viewed as the counterrevolutionary critique. Against this background, he considers the United States Supreme Court's contribution to the debate. Starting with the recent Sun-Diamond and Salinas cases, and drawing ...


Rule 11 Studies And Civil Rights Cases: An Inquiry Into The Neutrality Of Procedural Rules, Mark Spiegel Jan 1999

Rule 11 Studies And Civil Rights Cases: An Inquiry Into The Neutrality Of Procedural Rules, Mark Spiegel

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

In this article the author discusses the impact of the 1983 amendments of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure to Rule 11. The Article explores the claim that the 1983 amendments had a disproportionate impact upon civil rights cases, thereby violating the norm of procedural neutrality. In Section I, the author argues that one of the central meanings of procedural neutrality is closely related to the argument that procedural rules should be apolitical. In Section II, the author examines what the studies of Rule 11 reveal about the effect of the 1983 version upon civil rights claims. The author then ...


Through The Looking Glass Of Eminent Domain: Exploring The "Arbitrary And Capricious" Test And Substantive Rationality Review Of Governmental Decisions, Zygmunt J.B. Plater Jan 1989

Through The Looking Glass Of Eminent Domain: Exploring The "Arbitrary And Capricious" Test And Substantive Rationality Review Of Governmental Decisions, Zygmunt J.B. Plater

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

The day-to-day realities of different systems of government can be discerned in the way they handle, in theory and practice, clashes between the individual and the collective will. The structure of contemporary American democracy is no exception. It is comprised of a variegated assortment of judicial formulae for balancing the interests of the individual and the state, most of these formulae tracing back with differing degrees of directness to textual bases in the first nine amendments to the federal Constitution or their state constitutional equivalents. One of these basic structural balancings, encountered early on by every student of American law ...