Open Access. Powered by Scholars. Published by Universities.®

Jurisprudence Commons

Open Access. Powered by Scholars. Published by Universities.®

Articles 1 - 13 of 13

Full-Text Articles in Jurisprudence

Pluralism And Its Perils: Navigating The Tension Between Gay Rights And Religious Expression, Nan D. Hunter Jan 2015

Pluralism And Its Perils: Navigating The Tension Between Gay Rights And Religious Expression, Nan D. Hunter

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

The conflict between gay equality claims and religious liberty claims permeates debates over marriage equality and LGBT civil rights. Using as its centerpiece a decision that forced Georgetown University to provide benefits for a gay student organization, this article examines both the doctrinal underpinnings of how courts resolve the tension between gay rights and religion and the principles of pluralism that are at stake.

The Georgetown case is rightly understood as an exemplar of judicial minimalism. This article argues that the values of learning things undecided, while real, may be outweighed by lost opportunities for advancing principles that also foster ...


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 ...


The Triumph Of Gay Marriage And The Failure Of Constitutional Law, Louis Michael Seidman Jan 2015

The Triumph Of Gay Marriage And The Failure Of Constitutional Law, Louis Michael Seidman

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

The Supreme Court's much anticipated invalidation of gay marriage bans improved the personal lives of millions of ordinary Americans. It made the country a more decent place. Even Chief Justice Roberts, at the conclusion of his otherwise scathing dissent, acknowledged that the decision was a cause for many Americans to celebrate.

But although the Chief Justice thought that advocates of gay marriage should "by all means celebrate today's decision," he admonished them "not [to] celebrate the Constitution." The Constitution, he said, "had nothing to do with it".

Part I of this article quarrels with the Chief Justice's ...


Toward A Jurisprudence Of The Civil Rights Acts, Robin West Jan 2014

Toward A Jurisprudence Of The Civil Rights Acts, Robin West

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

What is the nature of the “rights,” jurisprudentially, that the 1964 Civil Rights Act legally prescribed? And, more generally, what is a “civil right”? Today, lawyers tend to think of civil rights and particularly those that originated in the 1964 Act, as antidiscrimination rights: our “civil rights,” on this understanding, are our rights not to be discriminated against, by employers, schools, landlords, property vendors, hoteliers, restaurant owners, and providers of public transportation, no less than by states and state actors, on the basis of race, gender, ethnicity, age, sexuality or disability. Contemporary civil rights scholarship overwhelmingly reflects the same conception ...


Civil Rights For The Twenty-First Century: Lessons From Justice Thurgood Marshall's Race-Transcending Jurisprudence, Sheryll Cashin Jan 2013

Civil Rights For The Twenty-First Century: Lessons From Justice Thurgood Marshall's Race-Transcending Jurisprudence, Sheryll Cashin

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

This Essay pays tribute to justice Thurgood Marshall's race-transcending vision of universal human dignity, and explores the importance of building cross-racial alliances to modern civil rights advocacy. justice Marshall's role as a "Race Man" is evident in much of his jurisprudence, where he fought for years to promote equal opportunity and equal justice. As an advocate for all marginalized people, justice Marshall viewed equal justice as transcending race, and this Essay suggests that the multi-racial coalition that supported President Obama aligns with Marshall's vision. The Essay evaluates the civil rights movement through the lens of Justice Marshall ...


Tragic Rights: The Rights Critique In The Age Of Obama, Robin West Jan 2011

Tragic Rights: The Rights Critique In The Age Of Obama, Robin West

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

This article discusses the absence of the Rights Critique in the modern era, and its impact on the current formulation of rights in America. The three-pronged rights critique-–that U.S. constitutional rights politically insulate and valorize subordination, legitimate and thus perpetrate greater injustices than they address, and socially alienate us from community--was nearly ubiquitous in the 1980s. Since that time, it has largely disappeared, which in this author’s view is an unfortunate development.

The rights critique continues to be relevant today, because Obama-era rights continue to subordinate, legitimate, and alienate. However, these rights do more than just exaggerate ...


Disparate Impact, Girardeau A. Spann Jan 2010

Disparate Impact, Girardeau A. Spann

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

There has been a lot of talk about post-racialism since the 2008 election of Barack Obama as the first black President of the United States. Some have argued that the Obama election illustrates the evolution of the United States from its unfortunate racist past to a more admirable post-racial present in which the problem of invidious racial discrimination has largely been overcome. Others have argued that the Obama election illustrates only that an extraordinarily gifted, mixed-race, multiple Ivy League graduate, Harvard Law Review President was able to overcome the persistent discriminatory racial practices that continue to disadvantage the bulk of ...


Defending Korematsu?: Reflections On Civil Liberties In Wartime, Mark V. Tushnet Jan 2003

Defending Korematsu?: Reflections On Civil Liberties In Wartime, Mark V. Tushnet

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

According to Justice William J. Brennan, "After each perceived security crisis ended, the United States has remorsefully realized that the abrogation of civil liberties was unnecessary. But it has proven unable to prevent itself from repeating the error when the next crisis came along." This Article examines that observation, using Korematsu as a vehicle for refining the claim and, I think, reducing it to a more defensible one. Part I opens my discussion, providing some qualifications to the broad claim about threats to civil liberties in wartime. Part II then deals with Korematsu and other historical examples of civil liberties ...


Dignity And Discrimination: Toward A Pluralistic Understanding Of Workplace Harassment, Rosa Ehrenreich Brooks Jan 1999

Dignity And Discrimination: Toward A Pluralistic Understanding Of Workplace Harassment, Rosa Ehrenreich Brooks

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Part I of this article briefly examines some of the drawbacks and inconsistencies of Title VII sexual harassment jurisprudence and shows that Title VII does not provide an adequate framework for understanding many common forms of workplace harassment. Title VII is unquestionably a critical means of fighting against workplace discrimination; however, by emphasizing discrimination at the expense of dignity, the Title VII workplace harassment paradigm provides an incomplete understanding of the wrongs of workplace harassment.

Part II of this article asserts the importance of an approach to sexual harassment that distinguishes between the nature of the harm of workplace sexual ...


Universalism, Liberal Theory, And The Problem Of Gay Marriage, Robin West Jan 1998

Universalism, Liberal Theory, And The Problem Of Gay Marriage, Robin West

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Liberalism, both contemporary and classical, rests at heart on a theory of human nature, and at the center of that theory lies one core commitment: all human beings, qua human beings, are essentially rational. There are two equally important implications. The first we might call the "universalist" assumption: all human beings, not just some, are rational -- not just white people, men, freemen, property owners, aristocrats, or citizens, but all of us. In this central, defining respect, then, we are all the same: we all share in this universal, natural, human trait. The second implication, we might call the "individualist" assumption ...


Reconstructing Liberty, Robin West Jan 1992

Reconstructing Liberty, Robin West

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

It is commonly and rightly understood in this country that our constitutional system ensures, or seeks to ensure, that individuals are accorded the greatest degree of personal, political, social, and economic liberty possible, consistent with a like amount of liberty given to others, the duty and right of the community to establish the conditions for a moral and secure collective life, and the responsibility of the state to provide for the common defense of the community against outside aggression. Our distinctive cultural and constitutional commitment to individual liberty places very real restraints on what our elected representatives can do, even ...


Toward An Abolitionist Interpretation Of The Fourteenth Amendment, Robin West Jan 1991

Toward An Abolitionist Interpretation Of The Fourteenth Amendment, Robin West

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

It is by now an open secret that current interpretations of the meaning of the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, and of its relevance and mandate for contemporary problems of racial, gender, and economic justice, are deeply and, in a sense, hopelessly conflicted. The conflict, simply stated, is this: to the current Supreme Court, and to a sizeable and influential number of constitutional theorists, the "equal protection of the laws" guaranteed by the Constitution is essentially a guarantee that the categories delineated by legal rules will be "rational" and will be rationally related to legitimate state ends. To ...


The Ideal Of Liberty: A Comment On Michael H. V. Gerald D., Robin West Jan 1991

The Ideal Of Liberty: A Comment On Michael H. V. Gerald D., Robin West

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

What is the meaning and content of the "liberty" protected by the due process clause of the fourteenth amendment? In Michael H. v. Gerald D. Justices Brennan and Scalia spelled out what at first blush appear to be sharply contrasting understandings of the meaning of liberty and of the substantive limits liberty imposes on state action. Justice Scalia argued that the "liberty" protected by a substantive interpretation of due process is only the liberty to engage in activities historically protected against state intervention by firmly entrenched societal traditions. I will sometimes call this the "traditionalist" interpretation of liberty. Justice Brennan ...