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Full-Text Articles in Jurisprudence

Our Principled Constitution, Mitchell N. Berman Jan 2018

Our Principled Constitution, Mitchell N. Berman

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Suppose that one of us contends, and the other denies, that transgender persons have constitutional rights to be treated in accord with their gender identity. It appears that we are disagreeing about “what the law is.” And, most probably, we disagree about what the law is on this matter because we disagree about what generally makes it the case that our constitutional law is this rather than that.

Constitutional theory should provide guidance. It should endeavor to explain what gives our constitutional rules the contents that they have, or what makes true constitutional propositions true. Call any such account a ...


The Scope Of Precedent, Randy J. Kozel Aug 2016

The Scope Of Precedent, Randy J. Kozel

Randy J Kozel

The scope of Supreme Court precedent is capacious. Justices of the Court commonly defer to sweeping rationales and elaborate doctrinal frameworks articulated by their predecessors. This practice infuses judicial precedent with the prescriptive power of enacted constitutional and statutory text. The lower federal courts follow suit, regularly abiding by the Supreme Court's broad pronouncements. These phenomena cannot be explained by—and, indeed, oftentimes subvert—the classic distinction between binding holdings and dispensable dicta.

This Article connects the scope of precedent with recurring and foundational debates about the proper ends of judicial interpretation. A precedent's forward-looking effect should not ...


Precedent And Legal Authority: A Critical History, Charles W. Collier Aug 2015

Precedent And Legal Authority: A Critical History, Charles W. Collier

Charles W. Collier

In this Article, Professor Charles Collier traces out a general theory of precedential authority through historical sources. The Article focuses on three particularly influential views of precedent: Wambaugh's concept of dictum, Oliphant's concept of stare decisis, and Goodhart's concept of ratio decidendi. These views illustrate an underlying tension between two distinct doctrines of precedential authority. The first doctrine, derived from humanistic thought, restricts-legal authority as narrowly as possible to the express terms of an original text. The second doctrine draws on the broad, generalizing tendencies of the empirical sciences and their corresponding conceptions of scientific authority. The ...


The Demise Of Habeas Corpus And The Rise Of Qualified Immunity: The Court's Ever Increasing Limitations On The Development And Enforcement Of Constitutional Rights And Some Particularly Unfortunate Consequences, Stephen R. Reinhardt May 2015

The Demise Of Habeas Corpus And The Rise Of Qualified Immunity: The Court's Ever Increasing Limitations On The Development And Enforcement Of Constitutional Rights And Some Particularly Unfortunate Consequences, Stephen R. Reinhardt

Michigan Law Review

The collapse of habeas corpus as a remedy for even the most glaring of constitutional violations ranks among the greater wrongs of our legal era. Once hailed as the Great Writ, and still feted with all the standard rhetorical flourishes, habeas corpus has been transformed over the past two decades from a vital guarantor of liberty into an instrument for ratifying the power of state courts to disregard the protections of the Constitution. Along with so many other judicial tools meant to safeguard the powerless, enforce constitutional rights, and hold the government accountable, habeas has been slowly eroded by a ...


The Scope Of Precedent, Randy J. Kozel Nov 2014

The Scope Of Precedent, Randy J. Kozel

Journal Articles

The scope of Supreme Court precedent is capacious. Justices of the Court commonly defer to sweeping rationales and elaborate doctrinal frameworks articulated by their predecessors. This practice infuses judicial precedent with the prescriptive power of enacted constitutional and statutory text. The lower federal courts follow suit, regularly abiding by the Supreme Court's broad pronouncements. These phenomena cannot be explained by—and, indeed, oftentimes subvert—the classic distinction between binding holdings and dispensable dicta.

This Article connects the scope of precedent with recurring and foundational debates about the proper ends of judicial interpretation. A precedent's forward-looking effect should not ...


Overruling Precedent: "A Derelict In The Stream Of The Law", Michael Leroy Jul 2013

Overruling Precedent: "A Derelict In The Stream Of The Law", Michael Leroy

Michael H LeRoy

Will the Supreme Court overrule Hoffman Plastic Compounds v. N.L.R.B., 535 U.S. 137 (2002), its precedent that treats unlawful alien workers as criminals and denies them backpay for a violation of a labor law? More generally, what are the statistical indicators of a precedent that the Supreme Court overrules— and how well does Hoffman Plastic fit that profile? To answer these research questions, I analyze two unique databases— 128 federal and state rulings from 2002-2012 that involved Hoffman Plastic’s remedy issue, and a sample of 154 Supreme Court pairings of an overruled precedent, and the ...


Precedent: What It Is And What It Isn't; When Do We Kiss It And When Do We Kill It?, Ruggero J. Aldisert Jan 2013

Precedent: What It Is And What It Isn't; When Do We Kiss It And When Do We Kill It?, Ruggero J. Aldisert

Pepperdine Law Review

No abstract provided.


Introduction, Ronald F. Phillips Jan 2013

Introduction, Ronald F. Phillips

Pepperdine Law Review

No abstract provided.


The Impact Of Codification On The Judicial Development Of Copyright, Christopher S. Yoo Jan 2013

The Impact Of Codification On The Judicial Development Of Copyright, Christopher S. Yoo

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Despite the Supreme Court’s rejection of common law copyright in Wheaton v. Peters and the more specific codification by the Copyright Act of 1976, courts have continued to play an active role in determining the scope of copyright. Four areas of continuing judicial innovation include fair use, misuse, third-party liability, and the first sale doctrine. Some commentators have advocated broad judicial power to revise and overturn statutes. Such sweeping judicial power is hard to reconcile with the democratic commitment to legislative supremacy. At the other extreme are those that view codification as completely displacing courts’ authority to develop legal ...


Transtemporal Separation Of Powers In The Law Of Precedent, Randy Beck Jan 2012

Transtemporal Separation Of Powers In The Law Of Precedent, Randy Beck

Scholarly Works

The rule of stare decisis creates a presumption that a court’s ruling on a legal question remains binding in later decisions by the same court or hierarchically inferior courts. This presumption promotes stability in the law and protects reliance interests. Decisions that narrowly construe or overrule prior opinions can therefore seem like unprincipled threats to the rule of law.

This article seeks to highlight some countervailing themes in the case law, showing that stability and the protection of reliance interests are not the exclusive concerns underlying the law of precedent. The relevant doctrine attempts to balance these objectives with ...


Contemporary Meaning And Expectations In Statutory Interpretation, Hillel Y. Levin Jan 2012

Contemporary Meaning And Expectations In Statutory Interpretation, Hillel Y. Levin

Scholarly Works

This Article introduces and explores an approach to, or theme within, statutory interpretation, one grounded in contemporary meaning and expectations. This approach posits that judges interpreting ambiguous statutes are and should be constrained by the understanding and expectations of the contemporary public as to the law’s meaning and application. These are developed in response to, and mediated by, the actions and statements of government officials and the broader community. The Article argues that this apparently radical approach is necessary in order for law to maintain its moral force, and further that the principles underlying it are embedded in several ...


Clear As Mud: How The Uncertain Precedential Status Of Unpublished Opinions Muddles Qualified Immunity Determinations, David R. Cleveland Jan 2010

Clear As Mud: How The Uncertain Precedential Status Of Unpublished Opinions Muddles Qualified Immunity Determinations, David R. Cleveland

Law Faculty Publications

No abstract provided.


Structure And Precedent, Jeffrey C. Dobbins Jan 2010

Structure And Precedent, Jeffrey C. Dobbins

Michigan Law Review

The standard model of vertical precedent is part of the deep structure of our legal system. Under this model, we rarely struggle with whether a given decision of a court within a particular hierarchy is potentially binding at all. When Congress or the courts alter the standard structure and process offederal appellate review, however, that standard model of precedent breaks down. This Article examines several of these unusual appellate structures and highlights the difficulties associated with evaluating the precedential effect of decisions issued within them. For instance, when Congress consolidates challenges to agency decision making in a single federal circuit ...


Toward A Theory Of Persuasive Authority, Chad W. Flanders Jan 2009

Toward A Theory Of Persuasive Authority, Chad W. Flanders

Oklahoma Law Review

No abstract provided.


Much Ado About Pluralities: Pride And Precedent Amidst The Cacophy Of Concurrences, And Re-Percolation After Rapanos, Donald J. Kochan, Melissa M. Berry, Matthew J. Parlow Dec 2007

Much Ado About Pluralities: Pride And Precedent Amidst The Cacophy Of Concurrences, And Re-Percolation After Rapanos, Donald J. Kochan, Melissa M. Berry, Matthew J. Parlow

Donald J. Kochan

Conflicts created by concurrences and pluralities in court decisions create confusion in law and lower court interpretation. Rule of law values require that individuals be able to identify controlling legal principles. That task is complicated when pluralities and concurrences contribute to the vagueness or uncertainty that leaves us wondering what the controlling rule is or attempting to predict what it will evolve to become. The rule of law is at least handicapped when continuity or confidence or confusion infuse our understanding of the applicable rules. This Article uses the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision in Rapanos v. United States ...


Much Ado About Pluralities: Pride And Precedent Amidst The Cacophony Of Concurrences, And Re-Percolation After Rapanos, Matthew J. Parlow, Donald J. Kochan Dec 2007

Much Ado About Pluralities: Pride And Precedent Amidst The Cacophony Of Concurrences, And Re-Percolation After Rapanos, Matthew J. Parlow, Donald J. Kochan

Matthew Parlow

Conflicts created by concurrences and pluralities in court decisions create confusion in law and lower court interpretation. Rule of law values require that individuals be able to identify controlling legal principles. That task is complicated when pluralities and concurrences contribute to the vagueness or uncertainty that leaves us wondering what the controlling rule is or attempting to predict what it will evolve to become. The rule of law is at least handicapped when continuity or confidence or confusion infuse our understanding of the applicable rules. This Article uses the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision in Rapanos v. United States ...


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 ...


Precedent And Legal Authority: A Critical History, Charles W. Collier Jan 1988

Precedent And Legal Authority: A Critical History, Charles W. Collier

UF Law Faculty Publications

In this Article, Professor Charles Collier traces out a general theory of precedential authority through historical sources. The Article focuses on three particularly influential views of precedent: Wambaugh's concept of dictum, Oliphant's concept of stare decisis, and Goodhart's concept of ratio decidendi. These views illustrate an underlying tension between two distinct doctrines of precedential authority. The first doctrine, derived from humanistic thought, restricts-legal authority as narrowly as possible to the express terms of an original text. The second doctrine draws on the broad, generalizing tendencies of the empirical sciences and their corresponding conceptions of scientific authority. The ...