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Full-Text Articles in Law

James Wilson And The Moral Foundations Of Popular Sovereignty, Ian C. Bartrum Apr 2016

James Wilson And The Moral Foundations Of Popular Sovereignty, Ian C. Bartrum

Ian C Bartrum

This paper explores the moral philosophy underlying the constitutional doctrine of popular sovereignty. In particular, it focuses on the Scottish sentimentalism that informed James Wilson’s understanding of that doctrine. Wilson, a transplanted Scotsman, was perhaps the nation’s preeminent lawyer in the middle 1780s. He was one of the most important delegates to the Constitutional Convention, one of the nation’s first law professors, and served as Associate Justice on the first Supreme Court. In these capacities, he developed the most sophisticated and coherent account of popular sovereignty among the founding generation. My initial effort is to enrich our ...


The Ministerial Exception And The Limits Of Religious Sovereignty, Ian C. Bartrum Jul 2012

The Ministerial Exception And The Limits Of Religious Sovereignty, Ian C. Bartrum

Ian C Bartrum

This paper explores the scope of independent religious sovereignty in the context of the ministerial exception.


The Modalities Of Constitutional Argument: A Primer, Ian C. Bartrum Jan 2012

The Modalities Of Constitutional Argument: A Primer, Ian C. Bartrum

Ian C Bartrum

This piece is a contribution to Linda Edwards upcoming book Readings In Persuasion: Briefs That Changed the World (forthcoming Wolters Kluwer). In it I offer a short primer on the modalities of constitutional argument, as Philip Bobbitt has described them. As someone who teaches Constitutional Law with the primary goal of educating future practitioners, I have always brought Bobbitt’s very practical (while also very theoretical) work into my classroom discussions. I have regularly used the first chapter of Bobbitt’s Constitutional Interpretation as introductory text on the subject, but I have sometimes found the reading to be too long ...


Constitutional Value Judgments And Interpretive Theory Choice, Ian C. Bartrum Jan 2012

Constitutional Value Judgments And Interpretive Theory Choice, Ian C. Bartrum

Ian C Bartrum

Philip Bobbitt’s remarkable work describing the ‘modalities’ of constitutional argument is an immense contribution to the study of constitutional law. He describes a typology of six forms of argument alive in our interpretive practice, and offers a limited account of how these modalities interact, and sometimes conflict, in actual constitutional decisions. One of the persistent puzzles Bobbitt’s description leaves open, however, is how we should account for the choice between conflicting modalities in cases where that choice is likely outcome-determinative. Because the modalities are ‘incommensurable’—a term’s meaning in one modality may not be fully translatable into ...


Nonpublic Reasons And Political Paradigm Change, Ian C. Bartrum Jan 2011

Nonpublic Reasons And Political Paradigm Change, Ian C. Bartrum

Ian C Bartrum

This article was a contribution to the 2010 Religious Legal Theory symposium held at St. John's Law School.

John Rawls famously argued that citizens in a just democracy have a moral duty to ensure that “the principles and policies they advocate and vote for can be supported by the political values of public reason.” This so-called “duty of civility” obligates us to cast our votes on “constitutional questions and matters of basic justice” for reasons that we can explain in terms of the public good and the “ideals and principles expressed by society’s conception of political justice.” Rawls ...


Constitutional Rights And Judicial Independence: Lessons From Iowa, Ian C. Bartrum Jan 2011

Constitutional Rights And Judicial Independence: Lessons From Iowa, Ian C. Bartrum

Ian C Bartrum

Iowa held its 2010 judicial retention elections in the shadow of Varnum v. Brien, the 2009 Supreme Court opinion recognizing same sex marriage. As the result of highly politicized campaign, three talented jurists lost their seats on the Court.

This commentary examines that election and offers a structural solution that might better protect constitutional rights against majoritarian intimidation.


Religion And Race: The Ministerial Exception Reexamined, Ian C. Bartrum Jan 2011

Religion And Race: The Ministerial Exception Reexamined, Ian C. Bartrum

Ian C Bartrum

This Colloquy piece explores the constitutional relationship between religious exercise and racial discrimination in the context of the "ministerial exception" and the Court's decision to hear arguments in Hosanna-Tabor v. EEOC.


Salazar V. Buono: Sacred Symbolism And The Secular State, Ian C. Bartrum Sep 2010

Salazar V. Buono: Sacred Symbolism And The Secular State, Ian C. Bartrum

Ian C Bartrum

This short piece discusses some doctrinal and theoretical implications of the Court's recent decision.


Constructing The Constitutional Canon: The Metonymic Evolution Of Federalist 10, Ian C. Bartrum Jan 2010

Constructing The Constitutional Canon: The Metonymic Evolution Of Federalist 10, Ian C. Bartrum

Ian C Bartrum

This paper is part of larger symposium convened for the 2010 AALS annual meeting. In it I adapt some of my earlier constitutional theoretical work to engage the topic of that symposium: the so-called “interpretation/construction distinction”. I make two related criticisms of the distinction: (1) it relies on a flawed conception of linguistic meaning, and (2) while these flaws may be harmless in the “easy” cases of interpretation, they are much more problematic in the difficult cases of most concern. Thus, I doubt the ultimate utility of the distinction as part of a “true and correct” model of constitutional ...


The Constitutional Canon As Argumentative Metonymy, Ian C. Bartrum Jan 2010

The Constitutional Canon As Argumentative Metonymy, Ian C. Bartrum

Ian C Bartrum

This article builds on Philip Bobbitt's Wittgensteinian insights into constitutional argument and law. I examine the way that we interact with canonical texts as we construct arguments in the forms that Bobbitt has described. I contend that these texts serve as metonyms for larger sets of associated principles and values, and that their invocation usually is not meant to point to the literal meaning of the text itself. This conception helps explain how a canonical text's meaning in constitutional argument can evolve over time, and hopefully offers the creative practitioner some insight into the kinds of arguments that ...


The Political Origins Of Secular Public Education: The New York City School Controversy, 1840-1842, Ian C. Bartrum Sep 2008

The Political Origins Of Secular Public Education: The New York City School Controversy, 1840-1842, Ian C. Bartrum

Ian C Bartrum

THE ORIGINS OF SECULAR PUBLIC EDUCATION: THE NEW YORK SCHOOL CONTROVERSY, 1840-1842 As the title suggests, this article explores the historical origins of secular public education, with a particular focus on the controversy surrounding the Catholic petitions for school funding in nineteenth-century New York City. The article first examines the development of Protestant nonsectarian common schools in the northeast, then turns to the New York controversy in detail, and finally explores that controversy’s legacy in state constitutions and the Supreme Court. It is particularly concerned with two ideas generated in New York: (1) Bishop John Hughes’ objection to nonsectarianism ...


Of Historiography And Constitutional Principle: Jefferson's Reply To The Danbury Baptists, Ian C. Bartrum Dec 2007

Of Historiography And Constitutional Principle: Jefferson's Reply To The Danbury Baptists, Ian C. Bartrum

Ian C Bartrum

This article examines the ways that the Supreme Court has used Thomas Jefferson's letter to the Danbury Baptists ("a wall of separation between church and state") as a rhetorical symbol. It finds the letter at the heart of the Court's debate over competing theories of religious neutrality. The article then explores the treatment the letter has received in several leading academic histories, and concludes that professional historians have largely tailored their arguments to match the Supreme Court's ideological divide. The article concludes that, because the goals of historical argument and legal argument are fundamentally different, this "incestual ...


Metaphors And Modalities: Meditations On Bobbitt's Theory Of The Constitution, Ian C. Bartrum Dec 2007

Metaphors And Modalities: Meditations On Bobbitt's Theory Of The Constitution, Ian C. Bartrum

Ian C Bartrum

This article builds on Philip Bobbitt’s remarkable work in constitutional theory, which posits a practice-based constitution based in six accepted “modalities” of argument. I attempt to supplement Bobbitt’s theory—which has a static and exclusive quality to it—with an account of interpretive evolution based in Max Black’s interaction theory of metaphors. I suggest that we can (and do) create constitutional metaphors by deliberately overlapping Bobbitt’s modalities of argument, and that through these creative acts we can grow the practice of American constitutionalism. I then present case studies of this metaphoric process at work in three ...


The Constitutional Structure Of Disestablishment, Ian C. Bartrum Jan 2007

The Constitutional Structure Of Disestablishment, Ian C. Bartrum

Ian C Bartrum

This article proceeds in the structuralist tradition, which Professor Charles Black describes as "the method of inference from the structure and relationships created by the Constitution." The article takes a structural approach to the Establishment Clause: it reexamines the theoretical foundations of disestablishment, and infers a constitutional structure designed to create a dialectical relationship between political institutions and social institutions. The structural thesis requires that our political institutions safeguard individual liberty of conscience by bracketing all religious questions. The antithesis ensures the existence of free and independent social organizations dedicated to building public virtue. The article then applies the structural ...