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Full-Text Articles in Jurisprudence

What Do We Worry About When We Worry About Price Discrimination? The Law And Ethics Of Using Personal Information For Pricing, Akiva A. Miller Nov 2013

What Do We Worry About When We Worry About Price Discrimination? The Law And Ethics Of Using Personal Information For Pricing, Akiva A. Miller

Akiva A Miller

New information technologies have dramatically increased sellers’ ability to engage in retail price discrimination. Debates over using personal information for price discrimination frequently treat it as a single problem, and are not sufficiently sensitive to the variety of price discrimination practices, the different kinds of information they require in order to succeed, and the different ethical concerns they raise. This paper explores the ethical and legal debate over regulating price discrimination facilitated by consumers’ personal information. Various kinds of “privacy remedies”—self-regulation, technological fixes, state regulation, and legislating private causes of legal action—each have their place. By drawing distinctions ...


The Commons, Capitalism, And The Constitution, George Skouras Oct 2013

The Commons, Capitalism, And The Constitution, George Skouras

George Skouras

Thesis Summary: the erosion of the Commons in the United States has contributed to the deterioration of community and uprooting of people in order to meet the dynamic demands of capitalism. This article suggests countervailing measures to help remedy the situation.


Valuing Our Discordant Constitutional Discourse: Autonomous-Text Constitutionalism And The Jewish Legal Tradition, Shlomo C. Pill Aug 2013

Valuing Our Discordant Constitutional Discourse: Autonomous-Text Constitutionalism And The Jewish Legal Tradition, Shlomo C. Pill

Shlomo C. Pill

This paper considers the viability of autonomous-text constitutionalism, a constitutional interpretive and adjudicative theory based on Hans Georg-Gadamer’s philosophical hermeneutics. As the paper explains, this theory is premised on the subjectivity of all interpretive activity; it admits the legitimacy of a wide spectrum of reasonable interpretations of the Constitution, each given their unique character by the dialectical merging of experiential horizons between the fixed text and individual interpreter. This theory embraces a plurality of constitutional meanings in theory, limited by the need for unity in national spheres of constitutional practice. Such practical certainty is achieved by our empowering judicial ...


Visual Gut Punch: Persuasion, Emotion, And The Constitutional Meaning Of Graphic Disclosure, Ellen P. Goodman Aug 2013

Visual Gut Punch: Persuasion, Emotion, And The Constitutional Meaning Of Graphic Disclosure, Ellen P. Goodman

ellen p. goodman

The ability of government to “nudge” with information mandates, or merely to inform consumers of risks, is circumscribed by First Amendment interests that have been poorly articulated in the relevant law and commentary. New graphic cigarette warning labels supplied courts with the first opportunity to assess the informational interests attending novel forms of product disclosures. The D.C. Circuit enjoined them as unconstitutional, compelled by a narrative that the graphic labels converted government from objective informer to ideological persuader, shouting its warning to manipulate consumer decisions. This interpretation will leave little room for graphic disclosure and is already being used ...


Critical Tax Policy: A Pathway To Reform?, Nancy J. Knauer Apr 2013

Critical Tax Policy: A Pathway To Reform?, Nancy J. Knauer

Nancy J. Knauer

The Global Recession of 2008 and ensuing austerity measures have renewed the urgency surrounding the call for fundamental tax reform. Before embarking on fundamental tax reform, this Article proposes adding a critical lens to existing US tax policy to ensure that any proposals for change are informed, transparent, and responsive to the needs (and abilities) of individual taxpayers. This Article makes the case for a specific method of inquiry – Critical Tax Policy – that is built on the articulation of difference rather than false assumptions of sameness. Critical Tax Policy incorporates the insights of a growing international tax equity movement that ...


At&T V. Concepcion: The Problem Of A False Majority, Lisa Tripp, Evan R. Hanson Mar 2013

At&T V. Concepcion: The Problem Of A False Majority, Lisa Tripp, Evan R. Hanson

Lisa Tripp

The Supreme Court’s 2011 decision in AT&T v. Concepcion is the first case where the Supreme Court explores the interplay between state law unconscionability doctrine and the vast preemptive power of the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA). Although it is considered by many to be a landmark decision which has the potential for greatly expanding the already impressive preemptive power of the FAA, something is amiss with Concepcion.

AT&T v. Concepcion is ostensibly a 5-4 majority decision with a concurring opinion. However, the differences in the majority and concurring opinions are so profound that it appears that Justice Thomas actually concurred in the judgment only, even though he joined the putative majority opinion. This raises serious philosophical questions about jurisprudence, what is necessary to create a rule of law in the American legal system, and the precedential value of Concepcion itself.

Justice Thomas joined the majority opinion and provided the fifth vote, but wrote a concurring opinion that explicitly rejected the legal reasoning of the majority opinion in its entirety. The putative majority opinion authored by Justice Scalia allows that unconscionability can be a valid defense to the enforcement of an agreement to arbitrate, but in Concepcion, allowing California to apply its unconscionability doctrine (the Discover Bank rule) would frustrate the purposes and objectives of Congress in enacting the FAA. For these reasons the Scalia opinion found the law was preempted.

Justice Thomas, in contrast, does not believe that unconscionability can ever be a basis to invalidate an agreement to arbitrate and he reaffirmed his emphatic position articulated in Wyeth v. Levine that “[t]his Court’s entire body of purposes and objectives preemption jurisprudence is inherently flawed. The cases improperly rely on legislative history, broad atextual notions of congressional purpose, and even congressional inaction in order to pre-empt state law.”

Justice Thomas’s conclusion that the law was preempted turned on the text of the statute which he interprets as not allowing unconscionability-based defenses to preemption. Justice Thomas has reaffirmed his rejection of purposes and objectives preemption in cases decided after Concepcion. This means, looking at the substance of the opinions, that there are but four votes for the deciding rationale articulated in the Scalia opinion and there is not a single common denominator that the Scalia and Thomas opinions share, except that they agree on the result.

The Concepcion Court is, in substance, equally divided. Four members found that California’s unconscionability doctrine frustrated the purposes and objectives of the FAA, four in the dissent thought the law did not frustrate the purposes and objectives of the FAA, and one found that the purposes and objectives of Congress were immaterial to the resolution of the case.

How should lower courts react to an equally divided court in this situation? Does a Justice’s decision to join an opinion create a governing rule of law under these unusual circumstances? Can governing rules of law be created in the absence of a majority for the deciding rationale? Is a Justice’s labeling of an opinion as a regular concurrence dispositive or does its substance dictate the precedential value it is given?

The authors’ argue that the Supreme Court provided the answer to these questions over 100 years ago in Hertz v. Woodman:

Under the precedents of this court, and, as seems justified by reason as well as by authority, an affirmance by an equally divided court is, as between the parties, a conclusive determination and adjudication of the matter adjudged; but the principles of law involved not having been agreed upon by a majority of the court sitting prevents the case from becoming an authority for the determination of other cases, either in this or in inferior courts.

Under any rational reading of the opinions, there can be no doubt that “the principles of law involved [have not] been agreed upon by a majority of the court sitting” and this should “prevent[] the case from becoming authority for the determination of other cases, either in [the Supreme Court] or in inferior courts ...


Deciding Who Decides: Searching For A Deference Standard When Agencies Preempt State Law, John R. Ablan Mar 2013

Deciding Who Decides: Searching For A Deference Standard When Agencies Preempt State Law, John R. Ablan

John R Ablan

When a federal agency determines that the statute that it administers or regulations it has promulgated preempt state law, how much deference must a federal court give to that determination? In Wyeth v. Levine, the Supreme Court expressly declined to decide what standard of deference courts should apply when an agency makes a preemption determination pursuant to a specific congressional delegation to do so. Under this circumstance, this Article counsels against applying any single deference standard to an agency’s entire determination. Instead, it observes that preemption determinations are a complex inquiry involving questions of federal law, state law, and ...


Introduction To The Theory Of Law: History And The Unity Of Legal Things, John Lunstroth Feb 2013

Introduction To The Theory Of Law: History And The Unity Of Legal Things, John Lunstroth

John Lunstroth

I propose a general theory of the law. I begin with the history of the western legal tradition. When tracing laws, or legal things, over long periods of time it is apparent that the positivist theory is inadequate to describe law. Natural law similarly fails to explain what is seen in the historical record. I suggest an historicist theory best describes the law when seen as a conceptual and historical whole. I then identify a fundamental break in the historical record, the Enlightenment, when the scientific worldview became dominant. The scientific gaze splits nature (including law) into two parts, moral ...


Timeless Trial Strategies And Tactics: Lessons From The Classic Claus Von Bülow Case, Daniel M. Braun Feb 2013

Timeless Trial Strategies And Tactics: Lessons From The Classic Claus Von Bülow Case, Daniel M. Braun

Daniel M Braun

In this new Millennium -- an era of increasingly complex cases -- it is critical that lawyers keep a keen eye on trial strategy and tactics. Although scientific evidence today is more sophisticated than ever, the art of effectively engaging people and personalities remains prime. Scientific data must be contextualized and presented in absorbable ways, and attorneys need to ensure not only that they correctly understand jurors, judges, witnesses, and accused persons, but also that they find the means to make their arguments truly resonate if they are to formulate an effective case and ultimately realize justice. A decades-old case is highly ...


The Risky Interplay Of Tort And Criminal Law: Punitive Damages, Daniel M. Braun Jan 2013

The Risky Interplay Of Tort And Criminal Law: Punitive Damages, Daniel M. Braun

Daniel M Braun

The rise of modern mass tort litigation in the U.S. has transformed punitive damages into something of a “hot button” issue. Since the size of punitive damage awards grew so dramatically in the past half century, this private law remedy has begun to involve issues of constitutional rights that traditionally pertained to criminal proceedings. This has created a risky interplay between tort and criminal law, and courts have thus been trying to find ways to properly manage punitive damage awards. The once rapidly expanding universe of punitive damages is therefore beginning to contract. There remain, however, very serious difficulties ...