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Full-Text Articles in Jurisprudence

Autonomy, Gideon Parchomovsky, Alex Stein May 2019

Autonomy, Gideon Parchomovsky, Alex Stein

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Personal autonomy is a constitutive element of all rights. It confers upon a rightholder the power to decide whether, and under what circumstances, to exercise her right. Every right infringement thus invariably involves a violation of its holder’s autonomy. The autonomy violation consists of the deprivation of a rightholder of a choice that was rightfully hers — the choice as to how to go about her life.

Harms resulting from the right’s infringement and from the autonomy violation are often readily distinguishable, as is the case when someone uses the property of a rightholder without securing her permission or ...


Reconsidering Judicial Independence: Forty-Five Years In The Trenches And In The Tower, Stephen B. Burbank Jan 2019

Reconsidering Judicial Independence: Forty-Five Years In The Trenches And In The Tower, Stephen B. Burbank

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Trusting in the integrity of our institutions when they are not under stress, we focus attention on them both when they are under stress or when we need them to protect us against other institutions. In the case of the federal judiciary, the two conditions often coincide. In this essay, I use personal experience to provide practical context for some of the important lessons about judicial independence to be learned from the periods of stress for the federal judiciary I have observed as a lawyer and concerned citizen, and to provide theoretical context for lessons I have deemed significant as ...


Certainty Vs. Flexibility In The Conflict Of Laws, Kermit Roosevelt Iii Dec 2018

Certainty Vs. Flexibility In The Conflict Of Laws, Kermit Roosevelt Iii

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Traditional choice of law theory conceives of certainty and flexibility as opposed values: increase one, and you inevitably decrease the other. This article challenges the received wisdom by reconceptualizing the distinction. Rather than caring about certainty or flexibility for their own sake, it suggests, we care about them because each makes it easier to promote a certain cluster of values. And while there may be a necessary tradeoff between certainty and flexibility, there is no necessary tradeoff between the clusters of values. It is possible to improve a choice of law system with regard to both of them. The article ...


Teva And The Process Of Claim Construction, Lee Petherbridge Ph.D., R. Polk Wagner Jan 2018

Teva And The Process Of Claim Construction, Lee Petherbridge Ph.D., R. Polk Wagner

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

In Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc. v. Sandoz, Inc., the Supreme Court addressed an oft-discussed jurisprudential disconnect between itself and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit: whether patent claim construction was “legal” or “factual” in nature, and how much deference is due to district court decisionmaking in this area. In this Article, we closely examine the Teva opinion and situate it within modern claim construction jurisprudence. Our thesis is that the Teva holding is likely to have only very modest effects on the incidence of deference to district court claim construction but that for unexpected reasons the ...


Still Living After Fifty Years: A Census Of Judicial Review Under The Pennsylvania Constitution Of 1968, Seth F. Kreimer Jan 2018

Still Living After Fifty Years: A Census Of Judicial Review Under The Pennsylvania Constitution Of 1968, Seth F. Kreimer

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The year 2018 marked the fiftieth anniversary of the Pennsylvania Constitution of 1968. The time seems ripe, therefore, to explore the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s exercise of judicial review under the 1968 Pennsylvania Constitution. This Article constitutes the first such comprehensive exploration.

The Article begins with an historical overview of the evolution of the Pennsylvania Constitution, culminating in the Constitution of 1968. It then presents a census of the 372 cases in which the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has vindicated distinctive Pennsylvania Constitutional rights under the Constitution of 1968.

Analysis of these cases leads to three conclusions:

1. Exercise of independent ...


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 ...


High-Stakes Interpretation, Ryan D. Doerfler Mar 2017

High-Stakes Interpretation, Ryan D. Doerfler

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Courts look at text differently in high-stakes cases. Statutory language that would otherwise be ‘unambiguous’ suddenly becomes ‘less than clear.’ This, in turn, frees up courts to sidestep constitutional conflicts, avoid dramatic policy changes, and, more generally, get around undesirable outcomes. The standard account of this behavior is that courts’ failure to recognize ‘clear’ or ‘unambiguous’ meanings in such cases is motivated or disingenuous, and, at best, justified on instrumentalist grounds.

This Article challenges that account. It argues instead that, as a purely epistemic matter, it is more difficult to ‘know’ what a text means—and, hence, more difficult to ...


“Spooky Action At A Distance”: Intangible Injury In Fact In The Information Age, Seth F. Kreimer Feb 2016

“Spooky Action At A Distance”: Intangible Injury In Fact In The Information Age, Seth F. Kreimer

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Two decades after Justice Douglas coined “injury in fact” as the token of admission to federal court under Article III, Justice Scalia sealed it into the constitutional canon in Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife. In the two decades since Lujan, Justice Scalia has thrown increasingly pointed barbs at the permissive standing doctrine of the Warren Court, maintaining it is founded on impermissible recognition of “Psychic Injury.” Justice Scalia and his acolytes take the position that Article III requires a tough minded, common sense and practical approach. Injuries in fact must be "tangible" "direct" "concrete" "de facto" realities in time and ...


The Questionable Origins Of The Copyright Infringement Analysis, Shyamkrishna Balganesh Jan 2016

The Questionable Origins Of The Copyright Infringement Analysis, Shyamkrishna Balganesh

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Central to modern copyright law is its test for determining infringement, famously developed by Judge Jerome Frank in the landmark case of Arnstein v. Porter. The “Arnstein test,” which courts continue to apply, demands that the analysis be divided into two components, actual copying — the question whether the defendant did in fact copy, and improper appropriation — the question whether such copying, if it did exist, was unlawful. Somewhat counter-intuitively though, the test treats both components as pure questions of fact, requiring that even the question of improper appropriation go to a jury. This jury-centric approach continues to influence modern copyright ...


The Scrivener's Error, Ryan David Doerfler Jan 2016

The Scrivener's Error, Ryan David Doerfler

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

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 Essay 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. In turn, because the current doctrine is designed to protect against one type of ...


Scott V. Harris And The Future Of Summary Judgment, Tobias Barrington Wolff Jul 2015

Scott V. Harris And The Future Of Summary Judgment, Tobias Barrington Wolff

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The Supreme Court’s decision in Scott v. Harris has quickly become a staple in many Civil Procedure courses, and small wonder. The cinematic high-speed car chase complete with dash-cam video and the Court’s controversial treatment of that video evidence seem tailor-made for classroom discussion. As is often true with instant classics, however, splashy first impressions can mask a more complex state of affairs. At the heart of Scott v. Harris lies the potential for a radical doctrinal reformation: a shift in the core summary judgment standard undertaken to justify a massive expansion of interlocutory appellate jurisdiction in qualified ...


The Opening Of American Law: Neoclassical Legal Thought, 1870-1970: Epilogue, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Feb 2015

The Opening Of American Law: Neoclassical Legal Thought, 1870-1970: Epilogue, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The Opening of American Law examines changes in American legal thought that began during Reconstruction and the Gilded Age, and extending through the Kennedy/Johnson eras. During this period American judges and legal writers embraced various conceptions of legal "science," although they differed about what that science entailed. Beginning in the Gilded Age, the principal sources were Darwinism in the biological and social sciences, marginalism in economics and psychology, and legal historicism. The impact on judicial, legislative, and later administrative law making is difficult to exaggerate. Among the changes were vastly greater use of behavioral or deterrence based theories of ...


Equity's Unstated Domain: The Role Of Equity In Shaping Copyright Law, Shyamkrishna Balganesh, Gideon Parchomovsky Jan 2015

Equity's Unstated Domain: The Role Of Equity In Shaping Copyright Law, Shyamkrishna Balganesh, Gideon Parchomovsky

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

As used today, the term “equity” connotes a variety of related, but nonetheless distinct, ideas. In most contexts, equity refers to the body of rules and doctrines that emerged in parallel with the common law, and which merged with the common law by the late nineteenth century. At a purely conceptual level, some trace the term back to Aristotle's notion of epieikeia, or the process of infusing the law with sufficient flexibility to avoid injustice. Lastly, at a largely practical level, a few treat equity as synonymous with a set of remedies that courts can authorize, all of which ...


Bait And Switch: Why United States V. Morrison Is Wrong About Section Five, Kermit Roosevelt Iii Jan 2015

Bait And Switch: Why United States V. Morrison Is Wrong About Section Five, Kermit Roosevelt Iii

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

As the title suggests, the article examines Morrison’s creation of the rule that the Section Five power cannot be used to regulate private individuals. This is one of the most meaningful and, thus far, durable constraints that the Court has placed on federal power. It is the more surprising, then, that it turns out to be based on essentially nothing at all. The Morrison Court asserted that its rule was derived by—indeed, “controlled by”—precedent, but a closer reading of the Reconstruction-era decisions it cites shows that this is simply not the case. An independent evaluation of the ...


Corporate Law Doctrine And The Legacy Of American Legal Realism, Edward B. Rock Jan 2015

Corporate Law Doctrine And The Legacy Of American Legal Realism, Edward B. Rock

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

In this contribution to a symposium on "Legal Realism and Legal Doctrine," I examine the role that jurisprudence plays in corporate law doctrine. Through an examination of paired cases from the United States and United Kingdom, I offer a case study of the contrasting influence on corporate law judging of American Legal Realism versus traditional U.K. Doctrinalism.

Specialist judges in both systems, aided by specialist lawyers, clearly identify and understand the core policy issues involved in a dispute and arrive at sensible results. Adjusting for differences in background law and institutions, it seems likely that the disputes would ultimately ...


Proportionality And The Social Benefits Of Discovery: Out Of Sight And Out Of Mind?, Stephen B. Burbank Jan 2015

Proportionality And The Social Benefits Of Discovery: Out Of Sight And Out Of Mind?, Stephen B. Burbank

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

In this short essay, based on remarks delivered at the 2015 meeting of the AALS Section of Litigation, I use a recent paper by Gelbach and Kobayashi to highlight the risk that, in assessing the proportionality of proposed discovery under the 2015 amendments to Rule 26 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, federal judges will privilege costs over benefits, and private over public interests. The risk arises from the temptation to focus on (1) the interests of those who are present to the detriment of the interests of those who are absent (“the availability heuristic”), and (2) variables that ...


Judge Posner’S Simple Law, Mitchell N. Berman Jan 2015

Judge Posner’S Simple Law, Mitchell N. Berman

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The world is complex, Richard Posner observes in his most recent book, Reflections on Judging. It follows that, to resolve real-world disputes sensibly, judges must be astute students of the world’s complexity. The problem, he says, is that, thanks to disposition, training, and professional incentives, they aren’t. Worse than that, the legal system generates its own complexity precisely to enable judges “to avoid rather than meet and overcome the challenge of complexity” that the world delivers. Reflections concerns how judges needlessly complexify inherently simple law, and how this complexification can be corrected.

Posner’s diagnoses and prescriptions range ...


Progressive Legal Thought, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Jan 2015

Progressive Legal Thought, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

A widely accepted model of American legal history is that "classical" legal thought, which dominated much of the nineteenth century, was displaced by "progressive" legal thought, which survived through the New Deal and in some form to this day. Within its domain, this was a revolution nearly on a par with Copernicus or Newton. This paradigm has been adopted by both progressive liberals who defend this revolution and by classical liberals who lament it.

Classical legal thought is generally identified with efforts to systematize legal rules along lines that had become familiar in the natural sciences. This methodology involved not ...


Catalogs, Gideon Parchomovsky, Alex Stein Mar 2014

Catalogs, Gideon Parchomovsky, Alex Stein

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

It is a virtual axiom in the world of law that legal norms come in two prototypes: rules and standards. The accepted lore suggests that rules should be formulated to regulate recurrent and frequent behaviors, whose contours can be defined with sufficient precision. Standards, by contrast, should be employed to address complex, variegated, behaviors that require the weighing of multiple variables. Rules rely on an ex ante perspective and are therefore considered the domain of the legislator; standards embody a preference for ex post, ad-hoc, analysis and are therefore considered the domain of courts. The rules/standards dichotomy has become ...


Mead As (Mostly) Moot: Predictive Interpretation In Administrative Law, Ryan David Doerfler Jan 2014

Mead As (Mostly) Moot: Predictive Interpretation In Administrative Law, Ryan David Doerfler

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

In National Cable & Telecommunications Ass’n v. Brand X Internet Services, the Supreme Court explained that, within the domain of unclear agency-administered statutes, a federal court is subordinate to an administering agency. When an administering agency speaks authoritatively, federal court practice reflects this. When an agency speaks only informally, however, federal court practice does not. Specifically, when construing an agency-administered statute absent an authoritative agency interpretation, a federal court errs, given its subordinate status, when it exercises independent judgment concerning what interpretation is best. Instead, that subordinate status requires a court to predict what authoritative interpretation the administering agency would ...


Discretion In Class Certification, Tobias Barrington Wolff Jan 2014

Discretion In Class Certification, Tobias Barrington Wolff

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

A district court has broad discretion in deciding whether a suit may be maintained as a class action. Variations on this phrase populate the class action jurisprudence of the federal courts. The power of the federal courts to exercise discretion when deciding whether to permit a suit to proceed as a class action has long been treated as an elemental component of a representative proceeding. It is therefore cause for surprise that there is no broad consensus regarding the nature and definition of this judicial discretion in the certification process. The federal courts have not coalesced around a clear or ...


Justice Kennedy's Sixth Amendment Pragmatism, Stephanos Bibas Jan 2013

Justice Kennedy's Sixth Amendment Pragmatism, Stephanos Bibas

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This essay, written as part of a symposium on the evolution of Justice Kennedy’s jurisprudence, surveys three areas of criminal procedure under the Sixth Amendment: sentence enhancements, the admissibility of hearsay, and the regulation of defense counsel’s responsibilities. In each area, Justice Kennedy has been a notable voice of pragmatism, focusing not on bygone analogies to the eighteenth century but on a hard-headed appreciation of the twenty-first. He has shown sensitivity to modern criminal practice, prevailing professional norms, and practical constraints, as befits a Justice who came to the bench with many years of private-practice experience. His touchstone ...


On What Distinguishes New Originalism From Old: A Jurisprudential Take, Mitchell N. Berman Jan 2013

On What Distinguishes New Originalism From Old: A Jurisprudential Take, Mitchell N. Berman

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

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 ...


Alexander's Genius, Mitchell N. Berman Jan 2013

Alexander's Genius, Mitchell N. Berman

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

No abstract provided.


Conditional Spending And The (General) Conditional Offer Puzzle, Mitchell N. Berman Jan 2013

Conditional Spending And The (General) Conditional Offer Puzzle, Mitchell N. Berman

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

No abstract provided.


Coercion, Compulsion, And The Medicaid Expansion: A Study In The Doctrine Of Unconstitutional Conditions, Mitchell N. Berman Jan 2013

Coercion, Compulsion, And The Medicaid Expansion: A Study In The Doctrine Of Unconstitutional Conditions, Mitchell N. Berman

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

No abstract provided.


Institutional Practice, Procedural Uniformity, And As-Applied Challenges Under The Rules Enabling Act, Catherine T. Struve Jan 2011

Institutional Practice, Procedural Uniformity, And As-Applied Challenges Under The Rules Enabling Act, Catherine T. Struve

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

No abstract provided.


Constitutional Constructions And Constitutional Decision Rules: Thoughts On The Carving Of Implementation Space, Mitchell N. Berman Jan 2010

Constitutional Constructions And Constitutional Decision Rules: Thoughts On The Carving Of Implementation Space, Mitchell N. Berman

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

No abstract provided.


The Two Federal Circuits, R. Polk Wagner Jan 2010

The Two Federal Circuits, R. Polk Wagner

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

No abstract provided.