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Full-Text Articles in Jurisprudence

A Deer In Headlights: The Supreme Court, Lgbt Rights, And Equal Protection, Nan D. Hunter Jan 2015

A Deer In Headlights: The Supreme Court, Lgbt Rights, And Equal Protection, Nan D. Hunter

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

In this essay, I argue that the problems with how courts apply Equal Protection principles to classifications not already recognized as suspect reach beyond the most immediate example of sexual orientation. Three structural weaknesses drive the juridical reluctance to bring coherence to this body of law: two doctrinal and one theoretical. The first doctrinal problem is that the socio-political assumptions that the 1938 Supreme Court relied on in United States v. Carolene Products, Inc. to justify strict scrutiny for “discrete and insular minorities” have lost their validity. In part because of Roe v. Wade-induced PTSD, the courts have not ...


Two Excursions Into Current U.S. Supreme Court Opinion-Writing, Paul F. Rothstein Jan 2015

Two Excursions Into Current U.S. Supreme Court Opinion-Writing, Paul F. Rothstein

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

In the last weeks in June, 2015, as the present term of the U.S. Supreme Court drew to a close, many controversial and important decisions were handed down by the Court. The substance of the decisions has been written about extensively. Two of the decisions in particular, though, caught my eye as a teacher of legal techniques, not for the importance of the subject of the particular decision, but for what they may illustrate in a teachable fashion about at least some opinion writing. The two cases are Ohio v. Clark (June 18, 2015) interpreting the Confrontation Clause of ...


Disappearing Claims And The Erosion Of Substantive Law, J. Maria Glover Jan 2015

Disappearing Claims And The Erosion Of Substantive Law, J. Maria Glover

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

The Supreme Court’s arbitration jurisprudence from the last five years represents the culmination of a three-decade-long expansion of the use of private arbitration as an alternative to court adjudication in the resolution of disputes of virtually every type of justiciable claim. Because privatizing disputes that would otherwise be public may well erode public confidence in public institutions and the judicial process, many observers have linked this decades-long privatization of dispute resolution to an erosion of the public realm. Here, I argue that the Court’s recent arbitration jurisprudence undermines the substantive law itself.

While this shift from dispute resolution ...


Decision Theory And Babbitt V. Sweet Home: Skepticism About Norms, Discretion, And The Virtues Of Purposivism, Victoria Nourse May 2013

Decision Theory And Babbitt V. Sweet Home: Skepticism About Norms, Discretion, And The Virtues Of Purposivism, Victoria Nourse

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

In this writing, the author applies a “decision theory” of statutory interpretation, elaborated recently in the Yale Law Journal, to Professor William Eskridge’s illustrative case, Babbitt v. Sweet Home Chapter of Communities for a Great Oregon. In the course of this application, she takes issue with the conventional wisdom that purposivism, as a method of statutory interpretation, is inevitably a more virtuous model of statutory interpretation. First, the author questions whether we have a clear enough jurisprudential picture both of judicial discretion and legal as opposed to political normativity. Second, she argues that, under decision theory, Sweet Home is ...


The Distinctiveness Of Appellate Adjudication, Heidi Li Feldman Jan 2012

The Distinctiveness Of Appellate Adjudication, Heidi Li Feldman

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

This paper concerns two topics which, I hope to show, are vitally connected. One is the distinctive importance of appellate adjudication in the legal system of United States. The other is the workings of entangled concepts in the law. That appellate adjudication is important in some sense may seem obvious to everybody (to a few it will seem obvious that appellate adjudication is unimportant). My point will be that via appellate adjudication courts engineer entangled legal concepts, and it is this aspect of appellate adjudication that is both crucial and unique to it, at least in the U.S. legal ...


Decarceration Courts: Possibilities And Perils Of A Shifting Criminal Law, Allegra M. Mcleod Jan 2012

Decarceration Courts: Possibilities And Perils Of A Shifting Criminal Law, Allegra M. Mcleod

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

A widely decried crisis confronts U.S. criminal law. Jails and prisons are overcrowded and violence plagued. Additional causes for alarm include the rate of increase of incarcerated populations, their historically and internationally unprecedented size, their racial disproportionality, and exorbitant associated costs. Although disagreement remains over the precise degree by which incarceration ought to be reduced, there is a growing consensus that some measure of decarceration is desirable.

With hopes of reducing reliance on conventional criminal supervision and incarceration, specialized criminal courts proliferated dramatically over the past two decades. There are approximately 3,000 specialized criminal courts in the United ...


Could Specialized Criminal Courts Help Contain The Crises Of Overcriminalization And Overincarceration?, Allegra M. Mcleod Jan 2012

Could Specialized Criminal Courts Help Contain The Crises Of Overcriminalization And Overincarceration?, Allegra M. Mcleod

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

In contrast to the existing scholarly commentary on specialized criminal courts, which is largely trapped in the mode of advocacy—alternately celebratory or disparaging, and insufficiently attentive to the remarkable variation between different specialized criminal courts—this article introduces an analytic framework and critical theoretical account of four contending criminal law reformist models at work in specialized criminal courts. These four criminal law reformist models include:

(1) a therapeutic jurisprudence model,

(2) a judicial monitoring model,

(3) an order maintenance model, and

(4) a decarceration model.

Based on a multi-method approach consisting of site visits, and an analysis of archived ...


Pliva V. Mensing And Its Implications, Brian Wolfman, Dena Feldman Sep 2011

Pliva V. Mensing And Its Implications, Brian Wolfman, Dena Feldman

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

The U.S. Supreme Court ruling in PLIVA Inc. v. Mensing will immunize generic drug manufacturers facing failure-to-warn claims from state-law liability, and may also have implications for preemption jurisprudence more generally, says attorney Brian Wolfman and co-author Dena Feldman in this BNA Insight. The authors analyze the ruling, and offer their views on the questions that PLIVA raises about the ongoing vitality of the presumption against preemption, the standard for determining ‘‘impossibility’’ preemption, and the propriety of deference to an agency’s views on preemption.


Franz Kafka, Lawrence Joseph, And The Possibilities Of Jurisprudential Literature, Patrick J. Glen Jan 2011

Franz Kafka, Lawrence Joseph, And The Possibilities Of Jurisprudential Literature, Patrick J. Glen

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

The purpose of this article is twofold. First, it offers a complementary reading of Franz Kafka’s writings on the law and Lawrence Joseph’s novel Lawyerland. This reading focuses on the distinct perspectives offered by these authors. Whereas Kafka approaches the law from the perspective of the litigant or accused, Joseph’s perspective, through the eyes of his lawyers and judges, is that of the consummate insider. The importance of perspective rests with the fact that although law might constitute an objective system, its experience is inevitably subjective. The absurd malevolence of law in Kafka can thus be rationalized ...


Grabbing The Bullcoming By The Horns: How The Supreme Court Could Have Used Bullcoming V. New Mexico To Clarify Confrontation Clause Requirements For Csi-Type Reports, Paul F. Rothstein, Ronald J. Coleman Jan 2011

Grabbing The Bullcoming By The Horns: How The Supreme Court Could Have Used Bullcoming V. New Mexico To Clarify Confrontation Clause Requirements For Csi-Type Reports, Paul F. Rothstein, Ronald J. Coleman

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

In the pilot episode of the hit television show CSI, Grissom says to Warrick: "Concentrate on what cannot lie. The evidence." Although Grissom is a beloved figure in U.S. popular culture, the U.S. is currently unwilling to accept that evidence never lies. In stark contrast to Grissom's statement, the common law has a long history of allowing criminal defendants to cross-examine and question witnesses providing evidence against them. The right to confront an accusatory witness is reflected in the historical legal documents of Great Britain, in Shakespearean writing, and even in the Bible. In the United States ...


H. L. A. Hart’S Moderate Indeterminacy Thesis Reconsidered: In Between Scylla And Charybdis?, Imer Flores Jan 2011

H. L. A. Hart’S Moderate Indeterminacy Thesis Reconsidered: In Between Scylla And Charybdis?, Imer Flores

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

In this article, in the context of the fiftieth anniversary of H. L. A. Hart’s The Concept of Law, The author reconsiders the moderate indeterminacy of law thesis, which derives from the open texture of language. For that purpose, the author intends: first, to analyze Hart’s moderate indeterminacy thesis, i.e. determinacy in “easy cases” and indeterminacy in “hard cases,” which resembles Aristotle’s “doctrine of the mean”; second, to criticize his thesis as failing to embody the virtues of a center in between the vices of the extremes, by insisting that the exercise of discretion required constitutes ...


Climate Change In The Supreme Court, Lisa Heinzerling Jan 2008

Climate Change In The Supreme Court, Lisa Heinzerling

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

In Massachusetts v. Environmental Protection Agency, the Supreme Court confronted the issue of climate change for the first time. The Court held that the Clean Air Act gives the Environmental Protection Agency the authority to regulate greenhouse gases and that the agency may not decline to exercise this authority based either on factors not present in the statute or inconclusive gestures toward uncertainty in the science of climate change. I had the privilege of serving as the lead author of the winning briefs in this case. This Article provides an insider's perspective on the choices that went into bringing ...


The Supreme Court In Bondage: Constitutional Stare Decisis, Legal Formalism, And The Future Of Unenumerated Rights, Lawrence B. Solum Jan 2006

The Supreme Court In Bondage: Constitutional Stare Decisis, Legal Formalism, And The Future Of Unenumerated Rights, Lawrence B. Solum

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

This essay advances a formalist conception of constitutional stare decisis. The author argues that instrumentalist accounts of precedent are inherently unsatisfying and that the Supreme Court should abandon adherence to the doctrine that it is free to overrule its own prior decisions. These moves are embedded in a larger theoretical framework--a revival of formalist ideas in legal theory that he calls "neoformalism" to distinguish his view from the so-called "formalism" caricatured by the legal realists (and from some other views that are called "formalist").

In Part II, The Critique of Unenumerated Constitutional Rights, the author sets the stage by briefly ...


Constitutionalization, Girardeau A. Spann Jan 2005

Constitutionalization, Girardeau A. Spann

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Students of constitutional law tend to suspect pretty early on that the Constitution simply means whatever the Supreme Court says that it means. Rather than fight that intuition, I think it is best to treat the student insight as one of the basic starting assumptions when teaching a course in Constitutional Law. The goal then becomes to help students figure out how best to maneuver and feel comfortable in a legal universe where the Constitution has only contingent meaning.

What the Supreme Court does when it clothes its political policy preferences in the garb of constitutional law can be described ...


Treaties And The Eleventh Amendment, Carlos Manuel Vázquez Jan 2002

Treaties And The Eleventh Amendment, Carlos Manuel Vázquez

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

The Supreme Court's recent invigoration of federalism doctrine has revived a question that had long lain dormant in constitutional law: whether and to what extent federalism limits apply to exercises of the Treaty Power. In the days before the famous switch in time that saved nine, the Court in Missouri v. Holland upheld a statute passed by Congress to implement a treaty even though it assumed that the statute would exceed Congress's legislative power under Article I in the absence of the treaty. The significance of this holding abated considerably when the Court embraced a broader interpretation of ...


Is Progressive Constitutionalism Possible?, Robin West Apr 1999

Is Progressive Constitutionalism Possible?, Robin West

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Progressivism is in part a particular moral and political response to the sadness of lesser lives, lives unnecessarily diminished by economic, psychic and physical insecurity in the midst of a society or world that offers plenty. This insecurity is unjust and should end; the suffering should be alleviated, and those lives should be enriched. To do so must be one of the goals of a morally just or justifiable state. Not all suffering and not all lesser lives, of course, give rise to such a response. The suffering attendant to accident, disease, war and happenstance is neither entirely chargeable to ...


Understanding Mahon In Historical Context, William Michael Treanor Jan 1998

Understanding Mahon In Historical Context, William Michael Treanor

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Despite its enormous influence on constitutional law, Pennsylvania Coal Co. v. Mahon is just such an opinion; the primary purpose of the author’s article Jam for Justice Holmes: Reassessing the Significance of Mahon is to clarify Holmes's intent by placing the opinion in historical context and in the context of Holmes's other opinions. While other scholars have also sought to place Mahon in context, his account differs in large part because of its recognition, as part of the background of Mahon, of a separate line of cases involving businesses affected with a public interest.

The author argues ...


Making Constitutional Doctrine In A Realist Age, Victoria Nourse Jan 1997

Making Constitutional Doctrine In A Realist Age, Victoria Nourse

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

In this article the author considers three examples of modern constitutional doctrine that show how judges have stolen bits and pieces from popularized skepticisms about the job of judging and have molded this stolen rhetoric into doctrine. In the first example, she asks whether constitutional law's recent penchant for doctrinal rules based on "clear law" could have existed without the modern age's obsession with legal uncertainty. In the second, the author considers whether our contemporary rhetoric of constitutional "interests" and "expectations" reflects modern critiques of doctrine as failing to address social needs. In the third, she asks how ...


Constitutional Fictions And Meritocratic Success Stories, Robin West Jan 1996

Constitutional Fictions And Meritocratic Success Stories, Robin West

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

L.H. LaRue demonstrates in his book, Constitutional Law as Fiction, that, at least in the realm of constitutional law, there is no simple correspondence between fiction and falsehood, or fact and truth. Partial or fictive accounts of our constitutional history, even when they are riddled with inaccuracies, may state deep truths about our world, and accurate recitations of historical events may be either intentionally or unintentionally misleading in the extreme. According to LaRue, the Supreme Court engages in a form of storytelling or myth-making that goes beyond the inevitably partial narratives of fact and precedent. The Supreme Court also ...


Equality Theory, Marital Rape, And The Promise Of The Fourteenth Amendment, Robin West Jan 1990

Equality Theory, Marital Rape, And The Promise Of The Fourteenth Amendment, Robin West

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

During the 1980s a handful of state judges either held or opined in dicta what must be incontrovertible to the feminist community, as well as to most progressive legal advocates and academics: the so-called marital rape exemption, whether statutory or common law in origin, constitutes a denial of a married woman's constitutional right to equal protection under the law. Indeed, a more obvious denial of equal protection is difficult to imagine: the marital rape exemption denies married women protection against violent crime solely on the basis of gender and marital status. What possibly could be less rational than a ...


Taking The Framers Seriously, William Michael Treanor Jan 1988

Taking The Framers Seriously, William Michael Treanor

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

This article reviews Taking the Constitution Seriously by Walter Berns (1987).

This review focuses on three of the key historical points that Walter Berns makes: his arguments that the Declaration of Independence is a Lockean document; that the Constitution encapsulates the political philosophy of the Declaration; and that the framers viewed the commercialization of society as a salutary development and were unambivalent champions of the right to property. Examination of these issues suggests that the ideological universe of the framers was far more complex than Berns indicates. While the revolutionary era witnessed a new concern with individual rights and a ...