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Arguing With Friends, William Baude, Ryan D. Doerfler Nov 2018

Arguing With Friends, William Baude, Ryan D. Doerfler

Michigan Law Review

Judges sometimes disagree about the best way to resolve a case. But the conventional wisdom is that they should not be too swayed by such disagreement and should do their best to decide the case by their own lights. An emerging critique questions this view, arguing instead for widespread humility. In the face of disagreement, the argument goes, judges should generally concede ambiguity and uncertainty in almost all contested cases.

Both positions are wrong. Drawing on the philosophical concepts of “peer disagreement” and “epistemic peerhood,” we argue for a different approach: A judge ought to give significant weight to the ...


The Rhetorical Canons Of Construction: New Textualism's Rhetoric Problem, Charlie D. Stewart Jun 2018

The Rhetorical Canons Of Construction: New Textualism's Rhetoric Problem, Charlie D. Stewart

Michigan Law Review

New Textualism is ascendant. Elevated to prominence by the late Justice Antonin Scalia and championed by others like Justice Neil Gorsuch, the method of interpretation occupies an increasingly dominant place in American jurisprudence. Yet, this Comment argues the proponents of New Textualism acted unfairly to reach this lofty perch. To reach this conclusion, this Comment develops and applies a framework to evaluate the rhetoric behind New Textualism: the rhetorical canons of construction. Through the rhetorical canons, this Comment demonstrates that proponents of New Textualism advance specious arguments, declare other methods illegitimate hypocritically, refuse to engage with the merits of their ...


Justice Scalia And The Idea Of Judicial Restraint, John F. Manning Apr 2017

Justice Scalia And The Idea Of Judicial Restraint, John F. Manning

Michigan Law Review

Review of A Matter of Interpretation: Federal Courts and the Law by Antonin Scalia .


Is Theocracy Our Politics? Thoughts On William Baude's 'Is Originalism Our Law?', Richard A. Primus Jan 2016

Is Theocracy Our Politics? Thoughts On William Baude's 'Is Originalism Our Law?', Richard A. Primus

Articles

In Is Originalism Our Law?, William Baude has made a good kind of argument in favor of originalism. Rather than contending that originalism is the only coherent theory for interpreting a constitution, he makes the more modest claim that it happens to be the way that American judges interpret our Constitution. If he is right—if originalism is our law—then judges deciding constitutional cases ought to be originalists. But what exactly would the content of that obligation be? Calling some interpretive method “our law” might suggest that judges have an obligation to decide cases by reference to that method ...


Judge Posner's Simple Law, Mitchell N. Berman Apr 2015

Judge Posner's Simple Law, Mitchell N. Berman

Michigan Law Review

The world is complex, Richard Posner observes in his most recent book, Reflections on Judging. It follows that, for judges to achieve “sensible” resolutions of real-world disputes—by which Judge Posner means “in a way that can be explained in ordinary language and justified as consistent with the expectations of normal people” (p. 354)—they must be able to navigate the world’s complexity successfully. To apply legal rules correctly and (where judicial lawmaking is called for) to formulate legal rules prudently, judges must understand the causal mechanisms and processes that undergird complex systems, and they must be able to ...


Text(Plus-Other-Stuff)Ualism:Textualists' Perplexing Use Of The Attorney General's Manual On The Administrative Procedure Act, K. M. Lewis Jan 2012

Text(Plus-Other-Stuff)Ualism:Textualists' Perplexing Use Of The Attorney General's Manual On The Administrative Procedure Act, K. M. Lewis

Michigan Journal of Environmental & Administrative Law

Textualist judges, such as U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, are well known for their outspoken, adamant refusal to consult legislative history and its analogues when interpreting ambiguous provisions of statutory terms. Nevertheless, in administrative law cases, textualist judges regularly quote the Attorney General’s Manual on the Administrative Procedure Act, an unenacted Department of Justice document that shares all the characteristics of legislative history that textualists find odious: unreliability, bias, and failure to pass through the bicameralism and presentment processes mandated by the U.S. Constitution. As a result, judges that rely on the Manual in administrative law ...


Limits Of Interpretivism, Richard A. Primus Jan 2009

Limits Of Interpretivism, Richard A. Primus

Articles

Justice Stephen Markman sits on the Supreme Court of my home state of Michigan. In that capacity, he says, he is involved in a struggle between two kinds of judging. On one side are judges like him. They follow the rules. On the other side are unconstrained judges who decide cases on the basis of what they think the law ought to be. This picture is relatively simple, and Justice Markman apparently approves of its simplicity. But matters may in fact be a good deal more complex.


When Should Original Meanings Matter?, Richard A. Primus Jan 2008

When Should Original Meanings Matter?, Richard A. Primus

Articles

Constitutional theory lacks an account of when each of the familiar sources of authority-text, original meaning, precedent, and so on-should be given weight. The dominant tendency is to regard all sources as potentially applicable in every case. In contrast, this Article proposes that each source of authority is pertinent in some categories of cases but not in others, much as a physical tool is appropriate for some but not all kinds of household tasks. The Article then applies this approach to identify the categories of cases in which original meaning is, or is not, a valid factor in constitutional decisionmaking.


Against Dictionaries: Using Analogical Reasoning To Achieve A More Restrained Textualism, Jason Weinstein Apr 2005

Against Dictionaries: Using Analogical Reasoning To Achieve A More Restrained Textualism, Jason Weinstein

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

This Note argues that new textualists should abandon dictionaries as a source for legal interpretation. Textualists believe in restricting judges to the intent discernible from the words of a statute and contend that legislative history is unacceptable as a source of this intention. Both of these sentiments lead textualists to dictionaries as the intuitively correct solution for ambiguities in a text. The author argues, however, that dictionaries by their very nature cannot help discern between reasonable definitions at the margins of meaning. The use of dictionaries in these situations allows for a sham formalism, unrestrictive in result and unrevealing of ...


Interpretation And Institutions, Cass R. Sunstein, Adrian Vermeule Feb 2003

Interpretation And Institutions, Cass R. Sunstein, Adrian Vermeule

Michigan Law Review

Suppose that a statute, enacted several decades ago, bans the introduction of any color additive in food if that additive "causes cancer" in human beings or animals. Suppose that new technologies, able to detect low-level carcinogens, have shown that many potential additives cause cancer, even though the statistical risk is often tiny - akin to the risk of eating two peanuts with governmentally-permitted levels of aflatoxins. Suppose, finally, that a company seeks to introduce a certain color additive into food, acknowledging that the additive causes cancer, but urging that the risk is infinitesimal, and that if the statutory barrier were applied ...


Medicaid And The Unconstitutional Dimensions Of Prior Authorization, Jagan Nicholas Ranjan Nov 2002

Medicaid And The Unconstitutional Dimensions Of Prior Authorization, Jagan Nicholas Ranjan

Michigan Law Review

The political outcry over prescription drug costs has been one of the most vociferous in recent memory. From tales depicting renegade seniors sneaking cheap prescriptions of Vioxx out of Tijuana across the border, to the promises of reduced prices made by front-runners during the 2000 Presidential election, the calls for lower drug prices have been forceful and demanding. This war for lower-priced pharmaceuticals fought by consumers, interest groups and politicians against the pharmaceutical industry itself has recently developed yet another front. The latest battle is over Medicaid. The new victims are the poor. Presently, federal statutory provisions in the Medicaid ...


Textualism, The Unknown Ideal?, William N. Eskridge Jr. May 1998

Textualism, The Unknown Ideal?, William N. Eskridge Jr.

Michigan Law Review

In May 1997, the New York Knickerbockers basketball team was poised to reach the finals of its division in the National Basketball Association (NBA). The Knicks led the rival Miami Heat by three games to two and needed one more victory to win the best-of seven semifinal playoff series. Game six would be in New York; with their star center, Patrick Ewing, playing well, victory seemed assured for the Knicks. A fracas during game five changed the odds. During a fight under the basket between Knicks and Heat players, Ewing left the bench and paced in the middle of the ...