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Articles 1 - 19 of 19

Full-Text Articles in Jurisprudence

Short-Circuiting The New Major Questions Doctrine, Kent H. Barnett, Christopher J. Walker Jan 2017

Short-Circuiting The New Major Questions Doctrine, Kent H. Barnett, Christopher J. Walker

Scholarly Works

In Minor Courts, Major Questions, Michael Coenen and Seth Davis advance perhaps the most provocative proposal to date to address the new major questions doctrine articulated in King v. Burwell. They argue that the Supreme Court alone should identify “major questions” that deprive agencies of interpretive primacy, prohibiting the doctrine’s use in the lower courts. Although we agree that the Court provided little guidance about the doctrine’s scope in King v. Burwell, we are unpersuaded that the solution to this lack of guidance is to limit its doctrinal development to one court that hears fewer than eighty cases ...


Superfund Chaos Theory: What Happens When The Lower Federal Courts Don't Follow The Supreme Court, Steven Ferrey Oct 2016

Superfund Chaos Theory: What Happens When The Lower Federal Courts Don't Follow The Supreme Court, Steven Ferrey

Michigan Journal of Environmental & Administrative Law

There is legal chaos in the national Superfund. The Supreme Court reversed decisions of eleven federal circuit courts in United States v. Atlantic Research Corp. There is no instance in modern Supreme Court history where the Court reversed every federal circuit court in the country, as it did in Atlantic Research. The Supreme Court’s reversal was through a unanimous decision. This was extraordinary: It not only reversed the entire legal interpretation of one of America’s most critical statutes, but also re-allocated billions of dollars among private parties.

The Supreme Court, when it rendered its decision, seemed to be ...


The Scrivener’S Error, Ryan D. Doerfler Jun 2016

The Scrivener’S Error, Ryan D. Doerfler

Northwestern University Law Review

It is widely accepted that courts may correct legislative drafting mistakes, i.e., so-called scrivener’s errors, if and only if such mistakes are “absolutely clear.” The rationale is that if a court were to recognize a less clear error, it might be “rewriting” the statute rather than correcting a technical mistake.

This Article argues that the standard is much too strict. The current rationale ignores that courts can “rewrite,” i.e., misinterpret, a statute both by recognizing an error and by failing to do so. Accordingly, because the current doctrine is designed to protect against one type of mistake ...


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 ...


A Jurisprudential Divide In U.S. V. Wong & U.S. V. June, Richard J. Peltz-Steele Jan 2015

A Jurisprudential Divide In U.S. V. Wong & U.S. V. June, Richard J. Peltz-Steele

Faculty Publications

In spring 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court decided two consolidated cases construing the Federal Tort Claims Act, U.S. v. Kwai Fun Wong and U.S. v June, Conservator. The Court majority, 5-4, per Justice Kagan, ruled in favor of the claimants and against the Government in both cases. On the face of the majority opinions, Wong and June come off as straightforward matters of statutory construction. But under the surface, the cases gave the Court a chance to wrestle with fundamental questions of statutory interpretation. The divide in Wong and June concerns the role of the courts vis-à-vis ...


The Dumbing Down Of Statutory Interpretation, Glen Staszewski Jan 2015

The Dumbing Down Of Statutory Interpretation, Glen Staszewski

Faculty Publications

No abstract provided.


The Puzzling Presumption Of Reviewability, Nicholas Bagley Mar 2014

The Puzzling Presumption Of Reviewability, Nicholas Bagley

Articles

The presumption in favor of judicial review of agency action is a cornerstone of administrative law, accepted by courts and commentators alike as both legally appropriate and obviously desirable. Yet the presumption is puzzling. As with any canon of statutory construction that serves a substantive end, it should find a source in history, positive law, the Constitution, or sound policy considerations. None of these, however, offers a plausible justification for the presumption. As for history, the sort of judicial review that the presumption favors - appellate-style arbitrariness review - was not only unheard of prior to the twentieth century, but was commonly ...


Formalism And Employer Liability Under Title Vii, Samuel R. Bagenstos Jan 2014

Formalism And Employer Liability Under Title Vii, Samuel R. Bagenstos

Articles

Most lawyers, law professors, and judges are familiar with two standard critiques of formalism in legal reasoning. One is the unacknowledged-policymaking critique. This critique argues that formalist reasoning purports to be above judicial policymaking but instead simply hides the policy decisions offstage. The other is the false-determinacy critique. This critique observes that formalist reasoning purports to reduce decision costs in the run of cases by sorting cases into defined categories, but argues that instead of going away the difficult questions of application migrate to the choice of the category in which to place a particular case.


The Mask Of Virtue: Theories Of Aretaic Legislation In A Public Choice Perspective, Donald J. Kochan Dec 2013

The Mask Of Virtue: Theories Of Aretaic Legislation In A Public Choice Perspective, Donald J. Kochan

Donald J. Kochan

This Article is a first-of-its-kind application of public choice theory to recently developing theories of virtue jurisprudence. Particularly, this Article focuses on not-yet-developed theories of aretaic (or virtue-centered) legislation. This Article speculates what the contours of such theories might be and analyzes the production of such legislation through a public choice lens. Any virtue jurisprudence theory as applied to legislation would likely demand that the proper ends of legislation be deemed as “the promotion of human flourishing” and the same would constitute the test by which we would determine the legitimacy of any legislation. As noble as virtuous behavior, virtuous ...


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 ...


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 ...


The Anti-Messiness Principle In Statutory Interpretation, Anita S. Krishnakumar Jan 2012

The Anti-Messiness Principle In Statutory Interpretation, Anita S. Krishnakumar

Faculty Publications

Many of the Supreme Court's statutory interpretation opinions reflect a juisprudential aversion to interpreting statutes in a manner that will prove "messy" for implementing courts to administer. Yet the practice of construing statutes to avoid "messiness" has gone largely unnoticed in the statutory interpretation literature. This Article seeks to illuminate the Court's use of "anti-messiness" arguments to interpret statutes and to bring theoretical attention to the principle of "messiness" avoidance. The Article begins by defining the concept of anti-messiness and providing a typology of common anti-messiness arguments used by the Supreme Court. It then considers some dangers inherent ...


The Hidden Legacy Of Holy Trinity Church: The Unique National Institution Canon, Anita S. Krishnakumar Jan 2009

The Hidden Legacy Of Holy Trinity Church: The Unique National Institution Canon, Anita S. Krishnakumar

Faculty Publications

This Article explores an underappreciated legacy of the Supreme Court's (in)famous decision in Church of the Holy Trinity v. United States. Although Holy Trinity has been much discussed in the academic literature and in judicial opinions, the discussion thus far has focused almost exclusively on the first half of the Court's opinion—which declares that the "spirit" of a statute should trump its "letter"—and relies on legislative history to help divine that spirit. Scholars and jurists have paid little, if any, attention to the opinion's lengthy second half. In that second half, the Court tells ...


Review Essay: Using All Available Information, Max Huffman May 2006

Review Essay: Using All Available Information, Max Huffman

ExpressO

This is a review essay entitled “Using All Available Information,” in which I review and comment on Justice Stephen Breyer’s new book, Active Liberty: Interpreting Our Democratic Constitution, published in September 2005. Justice Breyer’s book, adapted from the Tanner Lectures given in 2005 at Harvard Law School, serves partly as a response to Justice Scalia’s 1997 volume A Matter of Interpretation: Federal Courts and the Law. I review Justice Breyer’s book in part by comparison to and contrast with Justice Scalia’s. I propose that much about Justice Breyer’s interpretive philosophy, which centers on determining ...


The Role Of Purposivism In The Delegation Of Rulemaking Authority To The Courts, Michael Rosensaft Mar 2004

The Role Of Purposivism In The Delegation Of Rulemaking Authority To The Courts, Michael Rosensaft

ExpressO

The courts are often used by Congress as a “political lightning rod,” when Congress cannot decide how to resolve an issue. Congress relies on administrative agencies for their expertise, and it also makes sense for Congress to delegate some rulemaking authority to the courts, relying on a court’s expertise in developing caselaw in an incremental basis. However, this authority should not be lightly implied. A court can tell that Congress has delegated rulemaking authority to it when the purpose of the statute is clear and the text is broadly worded. It thus makes sense in these cases that purposivism ...


Tools, Not Rules: The Heuristic Nature Of Statutory Interpretation, Morell E. Mullins Sr. Jan 2004

Tools, Not Rules: The Heuristic Nature Of Statutory Interpretation, Morell E. Mullins Sr.

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


Communis Opinio And The Methods Of Statutory Interpretation: Interpreting Law Or Changing Law, Michael P. Healy Dec 2001

Communis Opinio And The Methods Of Statutory Interpretation: Interpreting Law Or Changing Law, Michael P. Healy

Law Faculty Scholarly Articles

Interpretive methodology lies at the core of the Supreme Court's persistent modern debate about statutory interpretation. Supreme Court Justices have applied two fundamentally different methods of interpretation. One is the formalist method, which seeks to promote rule-of-law values and purports to constrain the discretion of judges by limiting them to the autonomous legal text. The second is the nonformalist or antiformalist method, which may consider the legislature's intent or purpose or other evidence as context for understanding the statutory text. The debate within the current Court is commonly framed and advanced by Justices Stevens and Scalia. Justice Scalia ...


Things Judges Do: State Statutory Interpretation, Judith S. Kaye Jan 1997

Things Judges Do: State Statutory Interpretation, Judith S. Kaye

Touro Law Review

No abstract provided.


The Stare Decisis "Exception" To The Chevron Deference Rule, Rebecca White Dec 1992

The Stare Decisis "Exception" To The Chevron Deference Rule, Rebecca White

Scholarly Works

In this article, the author discusses how Chevron intersects with one important competing norm - stare decisis. Stare decisis counsels the Court to adhere to its own decisions, particularly statutory ones, absent substantial justification for departure. To what extent should stare decisis apply when an agency's interpretation of a statute, otherwise deserving of deference under Chevron, conflicts with a prior interpretation of the statute by the Supreme Court?

This article suggests the following answer: If the Court's prior opinion upheld the agency's interpretation as one reasonable reading of the statute, but not the only one possible, and the ...