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Series

SSRN

Columbia Law School

Public Law and Legal Theory

2019

Articles 1 - 17 of 17

Full-Text Articles in Law

Choice Theory: A Restatement, Michael A. Heller, Hanoch Dagan Jan 2019

Choice Theory: A Restatement, Michael A. Heller, Hanoch Dagan

Faculty Scholarship

This chapter restates choice theory, which advances a liberal approach to contract law. First, we refine the concept of autonomy for contract. Then we address range, limit, and floor, three principles that together justify contract law in a liberal society. The first concerns the state’s obligation to be proactive in facilitating the availability of a multiplicity of contract types. The second refers to the respect contract law owes to the autonomy of a party’s future self, that is, to the ability to re-write the story of one’s life. The final principle concerns relational justice, the baseline for ...


A Better Financing System? The Death – And Possible Rebirth – Of The Presidential Nomination Public Financing Program, Richard Briffault Jan 2019

A Better Financing System? The Death – And Possible Rebirth – Of The Presidential Nomination Public Financing Program, Richard Briffault

Faculty Scholarship

In 1974 Congress authorized public funding for presidential nomination campaigns. Public funding was crucial to Jimmy Carter’s nomination in 1976 and to Ronald Reagan’s nearly successful campaign the same year, and continued to be an important factor in presidential nomination contests for more than two decades after that. But no major candidate has used the program since 2004. Due the program’s built-in limitations, changes in the nomination process, and campaign finance developments, the program is completely irrelevant today.

It has been argued that the program isn’t really needed. Although one argument for public funding is that ...


Foucault’S Keystone: Confessions Of The Flesh – How The Fourth And Final Volume Of The History Of Sexuality Completes Foucault’S Critique Of Modern Western Societies, Bernard E. Harcourt Jan 2019

Foucault’S Keystone: Confessions Of The Flesh – How The Fourth And Final Volume Of The History Of Sexuality Completes Foucault’S Critique Of Modern Western Societies, Bernard E. Harcourt

Faculty Scholarship

In the final pages of the now-final volume of The History of Sexuality, Volume 4: Les aveux de la chair (“Confessions of the Flesh”), Foucault’s intellectual project comes full circle and achieves its long-awaited completion. In those final pages, dedicated to Augustine’s treatment of marital sexual relations, Foucault reveals the heretofore missing link that now binds his ancient history of sexual relations to his critique of contemporary forms of neoliberal goverance: Foucault discovers in Augustine’s writings the moment of the birth of the modern legal subject and of the juridification of social relations. Like the final piece ...


Unjust Cities? Gentrification, Integration, And The Fair Housing Act, Olatunde C.A. Johnson Jan 2019

Unjust Cities? Gentrification, Integration, And The Fair Housing Act, Olatunde C.A. Johnson

Faculty Scholarship

What does gentrification mean for fair housing? This article considers the possibility that gentrification should be celebrated as a form of integration alongside a darker narrative that sees gentrification as necessarily unstable and leading to inequality or displacement of lower-income, predominantly of color, residents. Given evidence of both possibilities, this article considers how the Fair Housing Act might be deployed to minimize gentrification’s harms while harnessing some of the benefits that might attend integration and movement of higher-income residents to cities. Ultimately, the article urges building on the fair housing approach but employing a broader set of tools to ...


Normative Powers (Revised), Joseph Raz Jan 2019

Normative Powers (Revised), Joseph Raz

Faculty Scholarship

The paper provides an analysis of normative powers as the ability to change a normative condition, and distinguishes and analyse several kinds of such powers. The revision affects mainly the analysis of such types. The main theses of the paper concern the distinction between basic from chained powers and the account of the relations between the normative powers and the values which explain and justify their existence. It ends by showing the connection between the thesis that values depend on human nature and culture and the dependence of normative powers on justifying reasons.


The Last Refuge Of Scoundrels: The Problem Of Truth In A Time Of Lying, Bernard E. Harcourt Jan 2019

The Last Refuge Of Scoundrels: The Problem Of Truth In A Time Of Lying, Bernard E. Harcourt

Faculty Scholarship

This essay addresses the problem of truth today in light of the common belief, especially among progressives, that we have entered a post-truth age, as well as of the frequent claim that our post-truth society is the fault of postmodernists and their challenge to the objectivity of truth. The essay does not resolve the strategic question whether the post-truth argument is, as a purely tactical political matter, an effective approach to respond to the onslaught of misrepresentations and lies by President Donald Trump and the New Right. Instead, it explores the post-truth argument from a more synoptic perspective regarding the ...


Revising Boilerplate: A Comparison Of Private And Public Company Transactions, Stephen J. Choi, Robert E. Scott, G. Mitu Gulati Jan 2019

Revising Boilerplate: A Comparison Of Private And Public Company Transactions, Stephen J. Choi, Robert E. Scott, G. Mitu Gulati

Faculty Scholarship

The phenomenon of “sticky boilerplate” causing inefficient contract terms to persist exists across a variety of commercial contract types. One explanation for this failure to revise suboptimal terms is that the key agents on these transactions, including attorneys and investment bankers, are short sighted; their incentives are to get the deal done rather than ensure that they are using the best terms possible for their clients. Moreover, these agents face a first mover disadvantage that deters unilateral revisions to inefficient terms. If agency costs are indeed driving the stickiness phenomenon, we expect that the pace of revision will vary across ...


Constitutional Law And The Presidential Nomination Process, Richard Briffault Jan 2019

Constitutional Law And The Presidential Nomination Process, Richard Briffault

Faculty Scholarship

The Constitution says nothing about the presidential nominating process and has had little direct role in its evolution from congressional caucuses to party national conventions to our current primary-dominated system. Yet, constitutional law is a factor in empowering and constraining the principal actors in the nomination process and in shaping the framework for potential future changes.

The constitutional law of the presidential nomination process operates along two axes: government-party, and state-national. The government-party dimension focuses on the tension between the states and the federal government in writing the rules for and administering the electoral process – which may include the primary ...


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 ...


Evaluating Constitutional Hardball: Two Fallacies And A Research Agenda, Joseph Fishkin, David E. Pozen Jan 2019

Evaluating Constitutional Hardball: Two Fallacies And A Research Agenda, Joseph Fishkin, David E. Pozen

Faculty Scholarship

This Reply addresses the responses by Professors David Bernstein and Jed Shugerman to our essay Asymmetric Constitutional Hardball. Bernstein's response, we argue, commits the common fallacy of equating reciprocity with symmetry: assuming that because constitutional hardball often "takes two" to play, both sides must be playing it in a similar manner. Shugerman's response, on the other hand, helps combat the common fallacy of equating aggressiveness with wrongfulness: assuming that because all acts of constitutional hardball strain norms of governance, all are similarly damaging to democracy. We suggest that whereas Bernstein's approach would set back the burgeoning effort ...


The Single-Subject Rule: A State Constitutional Dilemma, Richard Briffault Jan 2019

The Single-Subject Rule: A State Constitutional Dilemma, Richard Briffault

Faculty Scholarship

Critics of the proliferation of omnibus legislation in Congress have suggested that state constitutions offer a potential solution. Forty-three state constitutions include some sort of “single-subject” rule, that is, the requirement that each act of the legislature be limited to a single subject. Many of these provisions date back to the early and mid-nineteenth century, and, collectively, they have been the subject of literally thousands of court decisions. Nor is the rule a relic from a bygone era. In the last two decades, state courts have used single-subject rules to invalidate laws dealing with, inter alia, firearms regulation, abortion, tort ...


Law Enforcement Organization Relationships, Daniel C. Richman Jan 2019

Law Enforcement Organization Relationships, Daniel C. Richman

Faculty Scholarship

Although police departments and prosecutor’s offices must closely collaborate, their organizational roles and networks, and the distinctive perspectives of their personnel, will inevitably and regularly lead to forceful dialogue and disruptive friction. Such friction can occasionally undermine thoughtful deliberation about public safety, the rule of law, and community values. Viewed more broadly, however, these interactions promote just such deliberation, which will become even healthier when the dialogue breaks out of the closed world of criminal justice bureaucracies and includes the public to which these bureaucracies are ultimately responsible


A Skeptical View Of Information Fiduciaries, Lina Khan, David E. Pozen Jan 2019

A Skeptical View Of Information Fiduciaries, Lina Khan, David E. Pozen

Faculty Scholarship

The concept of “information fiduciaries” has surged to the forefront of debates on online-platform regulation. Developed by Professor Jack Balkin, the concept is meant to rebalance the relationship between ordinary individuals and the digital companies that accumulate, analyze, and sell their personal data for profit. Just as the law imposes special duties of care, confidentiality, and loyalty on doctors, lawyers, and accountants vis-à-vis their patients and clients, Balkin argues, so too should it impose special duties on corporations such as Facebook, Google, and Twitter vis-à-vis their end users. Over the past several years, this argument has garnered remarkably broad support ...


The Shrinking Constitution Of Settlement, David E. Pozen Jan 2019

The Shrinking Constitution Of Settlement, David E. Pozen

Faculty Scholarship

Professor Sanford Levinson has famously distinguished between the "Constitution of Settlement" and the "Constitution of Conversation." The former comprises those aspects of the Constitution that are clear, well established, and resistant to creative interpretation. The latter comprises those aspects that are subject to ongoing litigation and debate. Although Americans tend to fixate on the Constitution of Conversation, Levinson argues that much of what ails our republic is attributable, at least in part, to the grossly undemocratic and "decidedly nonadaptive" Constitution of Settlement.

This Article, prepared for a symposium on Levinson's coauthored book Democracy and Dysfunction, explains that the Constitution ...


Seeing Transparency More Clearly, David E. Pozen Jan 2019

Seeing Transparency More Clearly, David E. Pozen

Faculty Scholarship

In recent years, transparency has been proposed as the solution to, and the cause of, a remarkable range of public problems. The proliferation of seemingly contradictory claims about transparency becomes less puzzling, this essay argues, when one appreciates that transparency is not, in itself, a coherent normative ideal. Nor does it have a straightforward instrumental relationship to any primary goals of governance. To gain greater purchase on how transparency policies operate, scholars must therefore move beyond abstract assumptions and drill down into the specific legal, institutional, historical, political, and cultural contexts in which these policies are crafted and implemented. The ...


Lawyering Paradoxes: Making Meaning Of The Contradictions, Susan P. Sturm Jan 2019

Lawyering Paradoxes: Making Meaning Of The Contradictions, Susan P. Sturm

Faculty Scholarship

Effective lawyering requires the ability to manage contradictory yet interdependent practices. In their role as traditionally understood, lawyers must fight, judge, debate, minimize risk, and advance clients’ interests. Yet increasingly, lawyers must ALSO collaborate, build trust, innovate, enable effective risk-taking, and hold clients accountable for adhering to societal values. Law students and lawyers alike struggle, often unproductively, to reconcile these tensions. Law schools often address them as a dilemma requiring a choice or overlook the contradictions that interfere with their integration.

This Article argues instead that these seemingly contradictory practices can be brought together through the theory and action of ...


Judges And Judgment: In Praise Of Instigators, Kathryn Judge Jan 2019

Judges And Judgment: In Praise Of Instigators, Kathryn Judge

Faculty Scholarship

This essay celebrates judicial instigators, and Judge Richard Posner as instigator. It embraces a view of the judicial system as a system, one that can best achieve its myriad aims only if there is some variety in its constituent parts. Having some judges, some of the time, willing to ask hard questions about what the law is and should be is critical to ensuring the law achieves its intended aims. This essay illustrates this point by weaving together a single case about mutual fund fees with personal observations accumulated over a year as a clerk to Judge Posner and Posner ...