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Full-Text Articles in Law

Legitimate Interpretation – Or Legitimate Adjudication?, Thomas W. Merrill Jan 2020

Legitimate Interpretation – Or Legitimate Adjudication?, Thomas W. Merrill

Faculty Scholarship

Current debate about the legitimacy of lawmaking by courts focuses on what constitutes legitimate interpretation. The debate has reached an impasse in that originalism and textualism appear to have the stronger case as a matter of theory while living constitutionalism and dynamic interpretation provide much account of actual practice. This Article argues that if we refocus the debate by asking what constitutes legitimate adjudication, as determined by the social practice of the parties and their lawyers who take part in adjudication, it is possible to develop an account of legitimacy that produces a much better fit between theory and practice ...


War Powers: Congress, The President, And The Courts – A Model Casebook Section, Stephen M. Griffin, Matthew C. Waxman Jan 2020

War Powers: Congress, The President, And The Courts – A Model Casebook Section, Stephen M. Griffin, Matthew C. Waxman

Faculty Scholarship

This model casebook section is concerned with the constitutional law of war powers as developed by the executive and legislative branches, with a limited look at relevant statutes and federal court cases. It is intended for use in Constitutional Law I classes that cover separation of powers. It could also be used for courses in National Security Law or Foreign Relations Law, or for graduate courses in U.S. foreign policy. This is designed to be the reading for one to two classes, and it can supplement or replace standard casebook sections on war powers that are shorter and offer ...


Covid, Crisis And Courts, Colleen F. Shanahan, Alyx Mark, Jessica K. Steinberg, Anna E. Carpenter Jan 2020

Covid, Crisis And Courts, Colleen F. Shanahan, Alyx Mark, Jessica K. Steinberg, Anna E. Carpenter

Faculty Scholarship

Our country is in crisis. The inequality and oppression that lies deep in the roots and is woven in the branches of our lives has been laid bare by a virus. Relentless state violence against black people has pushed protestors to the streets. We hope that the legislative and executive branches will respond with policy change for those who struggle the most among us: rental assistance, affordable housing, quality public education, comprehensive health and mental health care. We fear that the crisis will fade and we will return to more of the same. Whatever lies on the other side of ...


Reforming Institutions: The Judicial Function In Bankruptcy And Public Law Litigation, William H. Simon, Kathleen G. Noonan, Jonathan C. Lipson Jan 2019

Reforming Institutions: The Judicial Function In Bankruptcy And Public Law Litigation, William H. Simon, Kathleen G. Noonan, Jonathan C. Lipson

Faculty Scholarship

Public law litigation (PLL) is among the most important and controversial types of dispute that courts face. These civil class actions seek to reform public agencies such as police departments, prison systems, and child welfare agencies that have failed to meet basic statutory or constitutional obligations. They are controversial because critics assume that judicial intervention is categorically undemocratic or beyond judicial expertise.

This Article reveals flaws in these criticisms by comparing the judicial function in PLL to that in corporate bankruptcy, where the value and legitimacy of judicial intervention are better understood and more accepted. Our comparison shows that judicial ...


Simplified Courts Can't Solve Inequality, Colleen F. Shanahan, Anna E. Carpenter Jan 2019

Simplified Courts Can't Solve Inequality, Colleen F. Shanahan, Anna E. Carpenter

Faculty Scholarship

State civil courts struggle to handle the volume of cases before them. Litigants in these courts, most of whom are unrepresented, struggle to navigate the courts to solve their problems. This access-to-justice crisis has led to a range of reform efforts and solutions. One type of reform, court simplification, strives to reduce the complexity of procedures and information used by courts to help unrepresented litigants navigate the judicial system. These reforms mitigate but do not solve the symptoms of the larger underlying problem: state civil courts are struggling because they have been stuck with legal cases that arise from the ...


Separation Of Powers In Comparative Perspective: How Much Protection For The Rule Of Law?, Peter L. Strauss Jan 2018

Separation Of Powers In Comparative Perspective: How Much Protection For The Rule Of Law?, Peter L. Strauss

Faculty Scholarship

Writing about separation of powers with particular attention to the contrasting American and British views at the time of Trump and Brexit has been challenging and illuminating. The essay takes as its third framework the constrained parliamentarianism Prof. Bruce Ackerman celebrated in his essay, The New Separation of Powers, 113 Harv. L. Rev. 633 (2000), and briefly considers its relative success in Australia, France, and Germany, and failure in Hungary and Poland, in achieving “separation of powers” universally understood ends, the prevention of autocracy and preservation of human freedoms. That courts and judges would not be political actors, that governments ...


Studying The "New" Civil Judges, Anna E. Carpenter, Jessica K. Steinberg, Colleen F. Shanahan, Alyx Mark Jan 2018

Studying The "New" Civil Judges, Anna E. Carpenter, Jessica K. Steinberg, Colleen F. Shanahan, Alyx Mark

Faculty Scholarship

We know very little about the people and institutions that make up the bulk of the United States civil justice system: state judges and state courts. Our understanding of civil justice is based primarily on federal litigation and the decisions of appellate judges. Staggeringly little legal scholarship focuses on state courts and judges. We simply do not know what most judges are doing in their day-to-day courtroom roles or in their roles as institutional actors and managers of civil justice infrastructure. We know little about the factors that shape and influence judicial practices, let alone the consequences of those practices ...


Comparative Approaches To Constitutional History, Jamal Greene, Yvonne Tew Jan 2018

Comparative Approaches To Constitutional History, Jamal Greene, Yvonne Tew

Faculty Scholarship

An historical approach to constitutional interpretation draws upon original intentions or understandings of the meaning or application of a constitutional provision. Comparing the ways in which courts in different jurisdictions use history is a complex exercise. In recent years, academic and judicial discussion of “originalism” has obscured both the global prevalence of resorting to historical materials as an interpretive resource and the impressive diversity of approaches courts may take to deploying those materials. This chapter seeks, in Section B, to develop a basic taxonomy of historical approaches. Section C explores in greater depth the practices of eight jurisdictions with constitutional ...


Finance In The Courtroom: Appraising Its Growing Pains, Eric L. Talley Jan 2017

Finance In The Courtroom: Appraising Its Growing Pains, Eric L. Talley

Faculty Scholarship

This short essay provides an overview of the current state of finance in corporate law, emphasizing its role in a series of pending appraisal cases at the Delaware Supreme Court.


Democratic Experimentalism, Charles F. Sabel, William H. Simon Jan 2017

Democratic Experimentalism, Charles F. Sabel, William H. Simon

Faculty Scholarship

This essay, written for a volume surveying “contemporary legal thought”, provides an overview of Democratic Experimentalism, a perspective that draws on both pragmatist social theory and recent practical innovations in private and public organization. Normatively, Democratic Experimentalism aligns with process theories that emphasize the role of courts in vindicating entitlements through inducing, collaborating with, and policing institutions, rather than vindicating them directly through interpretive or policy-engineering techniques. It departs from some such theories, however, in emphasizing that practice must often take the form of continuous investigation and revision, rather than the adoption of definitive solutions already known to at least ...


Family Defense And The Disappearing Problem-Solving Court, Jane M. Spinak Jan 2016

Family Defense And The Disappearing Problem-Solving Court, Jane M. Spinak

Faculty Scholarship

Problem-solving courts began to flourish in the early 1990s, most notably as drug treatment courts. Family Court Treatment Parts (FCTPs) were developed in the late 1990s in New York State, fully embracing the three key components of the problem-solving drug court model: (1) an activist judge who helps to fashion, and then closely monitor, dispositions; (2) a team of lawyers, social workers, and court personnel who try to identify and then work toward commons goals with the family; and (3) frequent and meaningful court appearances by relevant parties. This team model has challenged attorneys for the parents (and sometimes the ...


Appointments, Innovation, And The Judicial-Political Divide, Gillian E. Metzger Jan 2015

Appointments, Innovation, And The Judicial-Political Divide, Gillian E. Metzger

Faculty Scholarship

The federal appointments process is having its proverbial day in the sun. The appointment and removal of federal officers figured centrally in the Supreme Court’s two major recent separation-of powers decisions, Free Enterprise Fund v. Public Company Accounting Oversight Board and National Labor Relations Board v. Noel Canning. The appointments process has featured even more prominently in the political sphere, figuring in a number of congressional-presidential confrontations. Such simultaneous top billing in the judicial and political spheres is hardly coincidental. After all, it was President Obama’s use of the Recess Appointments Clause in response to pro forma sessions ...


The Judiciary And Fiscal Crises: An Institutional Critique, Peter Conti-Brown, Ronald J. Gilson Jan 2014

The Judiciary And Fiscal Crises: An Institutional Critique, Peter Conti-Brown, Ronald J. Gilson

Faculty Scholarship

Scholars have long debated the role for courts with respect to governmental action that responds to crisis. Most of the crises analyzed, however, are exogenous to the political process; the courts’ role in response to politically endogenous crises has received less attention. We evaluate the role of the judiciary in a subset of those endogenous crises: the judicial treatment of governmental efforts to resolve the crisis facing underfunded public pensions. Assessing institutional competence schematically with reference to an institution’s democratic accountability and fact-finding ability, we argue that, where institutions function properly, judicial intervention in politically endogenous economic crises should ...


Trusting The Courts: Redressing The State Court Funding Crisis, Michael J. Graetz Jan 2014

Trusting The Courts: Redressing The State Court Funding Crisis, Michael J. Graetz

Faculty Scholarship

In recent years, state courts have suffered serious funding reductions that have threatened their ability to resolve criminal and civil cases in a timely fashion. Proposals for addressing this state court funding crisis have emphasized public education and the creation of coalitions to influence state legislatures. These strategies are unlikely to succeed, however, and new institutional arrangements are necessary. Dedicated state trust funds using specific state revenue sources to fund courts offer the most promise for adequate and stable state court funding.


Courthouse Iconography And Chayesian Judical Practice, William H. Simon Jan 2012

Courthouse Iconography And Chayesian Judical Practice, William H. Simon

Faculty Scholarship

This contribution to a symposium on Judith Resnik and Dennis Curtis’s Representing Justice considers what courthouse imagery and design might be appropriate for “Chayesian” judicial practice. The imagery and design that Resnik and Curtis examine largely connotes traditional litigation – lawsuits that are bi-polar, retrospective, and self-contained. However, judicial practice is increasingly Chayesian – concerned with forward-looking efforts to coordinate multipolar problems with sprawling party structures. Traditional iconography is inadequate to Chayesian practice because it celebrates equilibrium and communicates information about cases one-by-one. By contrast, Chayesian intervention often induces productive disequilibrium and it can only be made transparent through expression that ...


Malpractice Mobs: Medical Dispute Resolution In China, Benjamin L. Liebman Jan 2012

Malpractice Mobs: Medical Dispute Resolution In China, Benjamin L. Liebman

Faculty Scholarship

China has experienced a surge in medical disputes in recent years, on the streets and in the courts. Many disputes result in violence. Quantitative and qualitative empirical evidence of medical malpractice litigation and medical disputes in China reveals a dynamic in which the formal legal system operates in the shadow of protest and violence. The threat of violence leads hospitals to settle claims for more than would be available in court and also influences how judges handle cases that do wind up in court. The detailed evidence regarding medical disputes presented in this article adds depth to existing understanding of ...


Lightened Scrutiny, Bert I. Huang Jan 2011

Lightened Scrutiny, Bert I. Huang

Faculty Scholarship

The current anxiety over judicial vacancies is not new. For decades, judges and scholars have debated the difficulties of having too few judges for too many cases in the federal courts. At risk, it is said, are cherished and important process values. Often left unsaid is a further possibility: that not only process, but also the outcomes of cases, might be at stake. This Article advances the conversation by illustrating how judicial overload might entail sacrifices of first-order importance.

I present here empirical evidence suggesting a causal link between judicial burdens and the outcomes of appeals. Starting in 2002, a ...


A Conversation About Problem-Solving Courts: Take 2, Jane M. Spinak Jan 2010

A Conversation About Problem-Solving Courts: Take 2, Jane M. Spinak

Faculty Scholarship

The University of Maryland Law Journal of Race, Religion, Gender and Class symposium on problem-solving courts surfaced a wide array of issues on the meaning and practices of these courts. My prepared remarks at the symposium addressed the first issue discussed in this article: the potential disparate impact of problem-solving courts on minority families who are disproportionately affected by these court processes. The second part of the article draws on the discussion during the symposium to reflect on the difficulty supporters and critics of the problem-solving court movement have in talking and listening to each other.


On Uncertainty, Ambiguity, And Contractual Conditions, Eric L. Talley Jan 2009

On Uncertainty, Ambiguity, And Contractual Conditions, Eric L. Talley

Faculty Scholarship

This article uses the recent Delaware Chancery Court case of Hexion v. Huntsman as a template for motivating thoughts about how contract law should interpret contractual conditions in general – and "material adverse event" provisions in particular – within environments of extreme ambiguity (as opposed to risk). Although ambiguity and aversion thereto bear some facial similarities to risk and risk aversion, an optimal contractual allocation of uncertainty does not always track the optimal allocation of risk. After establishing these intuitions as a conceptual proposition, I endeavor to test them empirically, using a unique data set of 528 actual material adverse event provisions ...


Reforming Family Court: Getting It Right Between Rhetoric And Reality, Jane M. Spinak Jan 2009

Reforming Family Court: Getting It Right Between Rhetoric And Reality, Jane M. Spinak

Faculty Scholarship

Family Court reform efforts in recent years have expanded the court’s jurisdiction and supervisory authority while heralding the Family Court judge as the leader of a team of professionals who are solving the problems that bring families to court. This article challenges that reform paradigm by asking a series of questions about the way in which we talk about – rather than analyze – this court reform movement: What do we say about the reform work we do, and to what degree is what we say accurate? How does the way in which we talk about Family Court reform implicate our ...


China's Courts: Restricted Reform, Benjamin L. Liebman Jan 2008

China's Courts: Restricted Reform, Benjamin L. Liebman

Faculty Scholarship

This essay examines the development of China's courts over the past decade. Although court caseloads have increased only modestly, courts have engaged in significant reforms designed to raise the quality of their work. Yet such top-down reforms have been largely technical, and are not designed to alter the power of China's courts. Courts have also encountered new challenges, including rising populist pressures, which may undermine both court authority and popular confidence. The most important changes in China's courts have come from the ground up: some local courts have engaged in significant innovation, and horizontal interaction among judges ...


Romancing The Court, Jane M. Spinak Jan 2008

Romancing The Court, Jane M. Spinak

Faculty Scholarship

Problem-solving courts, created at the end of the 20th century, make court-based solutions central to addressing significant societal problems, such as substance abuse and its impact on criminal activity and family functioning. Yet, lessons gleaned from over 100 years of family court history suggest that court-based solutions to intractable social problems have rarely been effective. This article asks three questions of the problem-solving court movement: What problem are we trying to solve? Is the court the best place to solve the problem? What are the consequences of giving authority to a court for solving the problem? Answering those questions through ...


Courts As Catalysts: Rethinking The Judicial Role In New Governance, Joanne Scott, Susan P. Sturm Jan 2007

Courts As Catalysts: Rethinking The Judicial Role In New Governance, Joanne Scott, Susan P. Sturm

Faculty Scholarship

This Article offers a step forward in developing a theory of judicial role within new governance, drawing on the emerging practice in both the United States and Europe as a basis for this reconceptualization. The traditional conception of the role of the judiciary – as norm elaborators and enforcers – is both descriptively and normatively incomplete, and thus needs to be rethought. There is a significant but limited role for courts as catalysts. In areas of normative uncertainty or complexity, courts prompt and create occasions for normatively motivated and accountable inquiry and remediation by actors involved in new governance processes. Catalysts thus ...


Overseers Or "The Deciders" – The Courts In Administrative Law, Peter L. Strauss Jan 2007

Overseers Or "The Deciders" – The Courts In Administrative Law, Peter L. Strauss

Faculty Scholarship

The Real World of Arbitrariness Review (q.v.) supplements Professors Miles and Sunsteins' valuable empirical analysis of federal court of appeals Chevron decisions, with a similar analysis of merits review of EPA and NLRB actions they associate with the Court's contemporary decision in State Farm. Their analysis shows political patterns that are perhaps not surprising; one should perhaps celebrate the evidence of effective moderation on mixed panels, although doubting whether measures intended to produce such panels might tend more to legitimize than to cure the politicization of judging.

This brief responsive essay begins by setting out a framework for ...


Foreword: Framing Family Court Through The Lens Of Accountability, Jane M. Spinak Jan 2007

Foreword: Framing Family Court Through The Lens Of Accountability, Jane M. Spinak

Faculty Scholarship

A two-day conference, 'Family Court in New York City in the 21st Century: What Are Its Role and Responsibilities?' was co-hosted by the Justice Center of the New York County Lawyers' Association (NYCLA) and Columbia Law School in October 2006. The conference recommendations and working group reports as well as articles and replies are contained in a symposium issue of the Columbia Journal of Law and Social Problems, for which this foreword was written. The foreword highlights the central concerns explored during the conference and the pervasive theme of accountability that emerged. Based on this theme, the foreword suggests a ...


"You Are Entering A Gay- And Lesbian-Free Zone": On The Radical Dissents Of Justice Scalia And Other (Post-) Queers, Bernard E. Harcourt Jan 2004

"You Are Entering A Gay- And Lesbian-Free Zone": On The Radical Dissents Of Justice Scalia And Other (Post-) Queers, Bernard E. Harcourt

Faculty Scholarship

The most renowned substantive criminal law decision of the October 2002 Term, Lawrence v. Texas, will go down in history as a critical turning point in criminal law debates over the proper scope of the penal sanction. For the first time in the history of American criminal law, the United States Supreme Court has declared that a supermajoritarian moral belief does not necessarily provide a rational basis for criminalizing conventionally deviant conduct. The court's ruling is the coup de grace to legal moralism administered after a prolonged, brutish, tedious, and debilitating struggle against liberal legalism in its various criminal ...


Problem-Solving Courts: From Innovation To Institutionalization – Foreword, Michael C. Dorf, Jeffrey Fagan Jan 2003

Problem-Solving Courts: From Innovation To Institutionalization – Foreword, Michael C. Dorf, Jeffrey Fagan

Faculty Scholarship

The phenomenal growth of drug courts and other forms of 'problem-solving' courts has followed a pattern that is characteristic of many successful innovations: An individual or small group has or stumbles upon a new idea; the idea is put into practice and appears to work; a small number of other actors adopt the innovation and have similar experiences; if there is great demand for the innovation-for example, because it responds to a widely-perceived crisis or satisfies an institutional need and resolves tensions within organizations that adopt it-the innovation rapidly diffuses through the networks in which the early adopters interact. Eventually ...


Courts Or Tribunals? Federal Courts And The Common Law, Peter L. Strauss Jan 2002

Courts Or Tribunals? Federal Courts And The Common Law, Peter L. Strauss

Faculty Scholarship

Every Justice, save perhaps Justice Breyer, has recently subscribed to an opinion raising questions in one or another context about whether federal courts can appropriately exercise common law law-making functions that had, until these questions began to appear, been characteristic of all American courts. To invoke a special class of "federal tribunal" whose actions are not to be confused with those of common law courts suggests broader implications than the long-familiar debates about Erie RR. Co. v. Tompkins, or more recent contentions over when, if ever, it is appropriate to infer privately enforceable judicial remedies in aid of federal statutes ...