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Articles 1 - 11 of 11

Full-Text Articles in Jurisprudence

The Chief Prosecutor, Sai Prakash Jun 2005

The Chief Prosecutor, Sai Prakash

University of San Diego Public Law and Legal Theory Research Paper Series

Since Watergate, legal scholars have participated in a larger debate about the President’s constitutional relationship to prosecutions. In particular, many legal scholars sought to debunk the received wisdom that prosecution was an executive function subject to presidential control. Revisionist scholars cited early statutes and practices meant to demonstrate that early presidents lacked control over prosecution. Among other things, scholars asserted that early presidents could not control either the federal district attorneys or the popular prosecutors who brought qui tam suits to enforce federal law. In fact, many of the revisionist claims are wrong and others are beside the point ...


The Iceberg Of Religious Freedom: Subsurface Levels Of Nonestablishment Discourse, Steve D. Smith Nov 2004

The Iceberg Of Religious Freedom: Subsurface Levels Of Nonestablishment Discourse, Steve D. Smith

University of San Diego Public Law and Legal Theory Research Paper Series

This article discusses three levels of disagreement in establishment clause discourse– or what may be called the “lawyerly,” the “constitutive” (or “culture wars”), and the “philosophical” (or perhaps the “theological”) levels. Disagreement at the first of these levels is everywhere apparent in the way lawyers and justices and scholars write and argue; disagreement at the second level is somewhat less obtrusive but still easily discernible; disagreement at the third level is almost wholly beneath the surface.

The manifest indeterminacy of lawyerly arguments suggests that in this area, premises are more likely to be derived from favored conclusions, not the other ...


Mental Disorder And The Civil/Criminal Distinction, Grant H. Morris Sep 2004

Mental Disorder And The Civil/Criminal Distinction, Grant H. Morris

University of San Diego Public Law and Legal Theory Research Paper Series

This essay, written as part of a symposium issue to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the University of San Diego Law School, discusses the evaporating distinction between sentence-serving convicts and mentally disordered nonconvicts who are involved in, or who were involved in, the criminal process–people we label as both bad and mad. By examining one Supreme Court case from each of the decades that follow the opening of the University of San Diego School of Law, the essay demonstrates how the promise that nonconvict mentally disordered persons would be treated equally with other civilly committed mental patients was made ...


Generic Constitutional Law, David S. Law Sep 2004

Generic Constitutional Law, David S. Law

University of San Diego Public Law and Legal Theory Research Paper Series

This paper seeks to articulate and explore the emerging phenomenon of generic constitutional law, here and in other countries. Several explanations are offered for this development. First, constitutional courts face common normative concerns pertaining to countermajoritarianism and, as a result, experience a common need to justify judicial review. These concerns, and the stock responses that courts have developed, amount to a body of generic constitutional theory. Second, courts employ common problem-solving skills in constitutional cases. The use of these skills constitutes what might be called generic constitutional analysis. Third, courts face overlapping influences, largely not of their own making, that ...


The Hollowness Of The Harm Principle, Steven D. Smith Sep 2004

The Hollowness Of The Harm Principle, Steven D. Smith

University of San Diego Public Law and Legal Theory Research Paper Series

Among the various instruments in the toolbox of liberalism, the so-called “harm principle,” presented as the central thesis of John Stuart Mill’s classic On Liberty, has been one of the most popular. The harm principle has been widely embraced and invoked in both academic and popular debate about a variety of issues ranging from obscenity to drug regulation to abortion to same-sex marriage, and its influence is discernible in legal arguments and judicial opinions as well. Despite the principle’s apparent irresistibility, this essay argues that the principle is hollow. It is an empty vessel, alluring but without any ...


Supermajority Rules And The Judicial Confirmation Process, Michael B. Rappaport, John O. Mcginnis Sep 2004

Supermajority Rules And The Judicial Confirmation Process, Michael B. Rappaport, John O. Mcginnis

University of San Diego Public Law and Legal Theory Research Paper Series

In this paper we assess the effect of possible supermajority rules on the now contentious Senate confirmation process for judges. We deploy a formula for evaluating supermajority rules that we have developed in other papers. First, we consider a sixty-vote rule in the Senate for the confirmation of federal judges–an explicit version of the supermajority norm that may be emerging from the filibuster. While we briefly discuss how such a rule would affect the project of maximizing the number of originalist judges, for the most part we evaluate the rule on the realist assumption that judges will pursue their ...


Judges As Rulemakers, Larry A. Alexander, Emily Sherwin Sep 2004

Judges As Rulemakers, Larry A. Alexander, Emily Sherwin

University of San Diego Public Law and Legal Theory Research Paper Series

This essay analyzes and compares different approaches to the problem of legal precedent. If judges reasoned flawlessly, the ideal approach to precedent would give prior judicial opinions only the weight they naturally carry in moral reasoning. Given that judges are not perfect reasoners, the best approach to precedent is one that treats rules established in prior decisions as authoritative for later judges. In comparison to the natural model of precedent, a rule-based model minimizes error. A rule-based model is also superior to several popular attempts at compromise, which call on judges to reason from the results of prior cases or ...


Strategic Judicial Lawmaking: An Empirical Investigation Of Ideology And Publication On The U.S. Court Of Appeals For The Ninth Circuit, David S. Law Sep 2004

Strategic Judicial Lawmaking: An Empirical Investigation Of Ideology And Publication On The U.S. Court Of Appeals For The Ninth Circuit, David S. Law

University of San Diego Public Law and Legal Theory Research Paper Series

Previous studies have demonstrated that, in a number of contexts, federal appeals court judges divide along ideological lines when deciding cases upon the merits. To date, however, researchers have failed to find evidence that circuit judges take advantage of selective publication rules to further their ideological preferences - for example, by voting more ideologically in published cases that have precedential effect than in unpublished cases that lack binding effect upon future panels. This article evaluates the possibility that judges engage in strategic judicial lawmaking by voting more ideologically in published cases than in unpublished cases. To test this hypothesis, all asylum ...


Competency To Stand Trial On Trial, Grant H. Morris, Ansar M. Haroun, David Naimark Sep 2004

Competency To Stand Trial On Trial, Grant H. Morris, Ansar M. Haroun, David Naimark

University of San Diego Public Law and Legal Theory Research Paper Series

This Article considers the legal standards for the determination of competency to stand trial, and whether those standards are understood and applied by psychiatrists and psychologists in the forensic evaluations they perform and in the judgments they make–judgments that are routinely accepted by trial courts as their own judgments. The Article traces the historical development of the competency construct and the development of two competency standards. One standard, used today in eight states that contain 25% of the population of the United States, requires that the defendant be able to assist counsel in the conduct of a defense “in ...


The Tenuous Case For Conscience, Steven D. Smith Sep 2004

The Tenuous Case For Conscience, Steven D. Smith

University of San Diego Public Law and Legal Theory Research Paper Series

If there is any single theme that has provided the foundation of modern liberalism and has infused our more specific constitutional commitments to freedom of religion and freedom of speech, that theme is probably “freedom of conscience.” But some observers also perceive a progressive cheapening of conscience– even a sort of degradation. Such criticisms suggest the need for a contemporary rethinking of conscience. When we reverently invoke “conscience,” do we have any idea what we are talking about? Or are we just exploiting a venerable theme for rhetorical purposes without any clear sense of what “conscience” is or why it ...


Montesquieu's Mistakes And The True Meaning Of Separation, Laurence Claus Sep 2004

Montesquieu's Mistakes And The True Meaning Of Separation, Laurence Claus

University of San Diego Public Law and Legal Theory Research Paper Series

“The political liberty of the subject,” said Montesquieu, “is a tranquility of mind arising from the opinion each person has of his safety. In order to have this liberty, it is requisite the government be so constituted as one man needs not be afraid of another.” The liberty of which Montesquieu spoke is directly promoted by apportioning power among political actors in a way that minimizes opportunities for those actors to determine conclusively the reach of their own powers. Montesquieu’s constitution of liberty is the constitution that most plausibly establishes the rule of law. Montesquieu concluded that this constitution ...