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

Jurisprudence Commons

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

Articles 1 - 30 of 72

Full-Text Articles in Jurisprudence

The Declaration Of Independence And The American Theory Of Government: “First Come Rights, And Then Comes Government”, Randy E. Barnett Jan 2019

The Declaration Of Independence And The American Theory Of Government: “First Come Rights, And Then Comes Government”, Randy E. Barnett

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

The topic of this panel is the Declaration of Independence, to which I devoted a chapter of my recent book, Our Republican Constitution. I want to draw on that book to make five points.


The Canon Wars, Anita S. Krishnakumar, Victoria Nourse Nov 2018

The Canon Wars, Anita S. Krishnakumar, Victoria Nourse

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Canons are taking their turn down the academic runway in ways that no one would have foretold just a decade ago. Affection for canons of construction has taken center stage in recent Supreme Court cases and in constitutional theory. Harvard Dean John Manning and originalists Will Baude and Stephen Sachs have all suggested that principles of “ordinary interpretation” including canons should inform constitutional interpretation. Given this newfound enthusiasm for canons, and their convergence in both constitutional and statutory law, it is not surprising that we now have two competing book-length treatments of the canons—one by Justice Scalia and Bryan ...


State Action And The Constitution's Middle Band, Louis Michael Seidman Oct 2018

State Action And The Constitution's Middle Band, Louis Michael Seidman

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

On conventional accounts, the state action doctrine is dichotomous. When the government acts, constitutional limits take hold and the government action is invalid if those limits are exceeded. When the government fails to act, the state action doctrine leaves decisions to individuals, who are permitted to violate what would otherwise be constitutional constraints.

It turns out though that the modern state action doctrine creates three rather than two domains. There is indeed a private, inner band where there is thought to be insufficient government action to trigger constitutional constraints, but often there is also a public, outer band where there ...


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 ...


Disappearing Claims And The Erosion Of Substantive Law, J. Maria Glover Jan 2015

Disappearing Claims And The Erosion Of Substantive Law, J. Maria Glover

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

The Supreme Court’s arbitration jurisprudence from the last five years represents the culmination of a three-decade-long expansion of the use of private arbitration as an alternative to court adjudication in the resolution of disputes of virtually every type of justiciable claim. Because privatizing disputes that would otherwise be public may well erode public confidence in public institutions and the judicial process, many observers have linked this decades-long privatization of dispute resolution to an erosion of the public realm. Here, I argue that the Court’s recent arbitration jurisprudence undermines the substantive law itself.

While this shift from dispute resolution ...


Two Excursions Into Current U.S. Supreme Court Opinion-Writing, Paul F. Rothstein Jan 2015

Two Excursions Into Current U.S. Supreme Court Opinion-Writing, Paul F. Rothstein

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

In the last weeks in June, 2015, as the present term of the U.S. Supreme Court drew to a close, many controversial and important decisions were handed down by the Court. The substance of the decisions has been written about extensively. Two of the decisions in particular, though, caught my eye as a teacher of legal techniques, not for the importance of the subject of the particular decision, but for what they may illustrate in a teachable fashion about at least some opinion writing. The two cases are Ohio v. Clark (June 18, 2015) interpreting the Confrontation Clause of ...


Ambiguous-Purpose Statements Of Children And Other Victims Of Abuse Under The Confrontation Clause, Paul F. Rothstein Jan 2015

Ambiguous-Purpose Statements Of Children And Other Victims Of Abuse Under The Confrontation Clause, Paul F. Rothstein

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

The author examines in this paper two kinds of ambiguous-purpose out-of-court statements that are especially problematic under current Confrontation law--problematic in ways that we hope will be solved directly or indirectly by the Supreme Court when it renders its decision in Ohio v. Clark. The statements he examines are:

(1) Statements made by abused children concerning their abuse, for example to police, physicians, teachers, welfare workers, baby sitters, or family members, some of whom may be under a legal duty to report suspected abuse to legal authorities. At least some of these statements will be directly addressed by the Court ...


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 ...


Constitutional Skepticism: A Recovery And Preliminary Evaluation, Louis Michael Seidman Jan 2014

Constitutional Skepticism: A Recovery And Preliminary Evaluation, Louis Michael Seidman

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

The aim of this article is to recover and reevaluate the American tradition of constitutional skepticism. Part I consists of a brief history of skepticism running from before the founding to the modern period. My aim here is not to provide anything like a complete description of the historical actors, texts, and events that I discuss. Instead, I link together familiar episodes and arguments that stretch across our history so as to demonstrate that they are part of a common narrative that has been crucial to our self-identity. Part II disentangles the various strands of skeptical argument. I argue that ...


The Trickle-Down War, Rosa Brooks Jan 2014

The Trickle-Down War, Rosa Brooks

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

The history of the European nation-state, wrote political sociologist Charles Tilly, is inextricably bound up with the history of warfare. To oversimplify Tilly’s nuanced and complex arguments, the story goes something like this: As power-holders (originally bandits and local strongmen) sought to expand their power, they needed capital to pay for weapons, soldiers and supplies. The need for capital and new recruits drove the creation of taxation systems and census mechanisms, and the need for more effective systems of taxation and recruitment necessitated better roads, better communications and better record keeping. This in turn enabled the creation of larger ...


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 ...


Communicative Content And Legal Content, Lawrence B. Solum Jan 2013

Communicative Content And Legal Content, Lawrence B. Solum

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

This essay investigates a familiar set of questions about the relationship between legal texts (e.g., constitutions, statutes, opinions, orders, and contracts) and the content of the law (e.g., norms, rules, standards, doctrines, and mandates). Is the original meaning of the constitutional text binding on the Supreme Court when it develops doctrines of constitutional law? Should statutes be given their plain meaning or should judges devise statutory constructions that depart from the text to serve a purpose? What role should default rules play in the interpretation and construction of contracts? This essay makes two moves that can help lawyers ...


Bond V. United States: Can The President Increase Congress's Legislative Power By Entering Into A Treaty?, Nicholas Quinn Rosenkranz Jan 2013

Bond V. United States: Can The President Increase Congress's Legislative Power By Entering Into A Treaty?, Nicholas Quinn Rosenkranz

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

The proposition that treaties can increase the power of Congress is inconsistent with the text of the Treaty Clause, the Necessary and Proper Clause, and the Tenth Amendment. It is inconsistent with the fundamental structural principle that "[t]he powers of the legislature are defined, and limited."S It implies, insidiously, that that the President and the Senate can increase their own power by treaty. And it implies, bizarrely, that the President alone--or a foreign government alone--can decrease Congress's power and render federal statutes unconstitutional. Finally, it creates a doubly perverse incentive: an incentive to enter into foreign entanglements ...


Law, Liberty And The Rule Of Law (In A Constitutional Democracy), Imer Flores Jan 2013

Law, Liberty And The Rule Of Law (In A Constitutional Democracy), Imer Flores

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

In the hunt for a better--and more substantial--awareness of the “law,” The author intends to analyze the different notions related to the “rule of law” and to criticize the conceptions that equate it either to the sum of “law” and “rule” or to the formal assertion that “law rules,” regardless of its relationship to certain principles, including both “negative” and “positive” liberties. Instead, he pretends to scrutinize the principles of the “rule of law,” in general, and in a “constitutional democracy,” in particular, to conclude that the tendency to reduce the “democratic principle” to the “majority rule” (or “majority principle ...


The Problem Of Democracy In Contexts Of Polarization, Imer Flores Jan 2013

The Problem Of Democracy In Contexts Of Polarization, Imer Flores

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

In this paper I argue that contemporary democracies all over the world are more polarized than ever and intend to analyze not only the conditions of possibility of a democracy, in general, and in contexts of polarization, in particular, but also the relationship between democracy and polarization. My claim is that polarization, if certain conditions are met, more than a problem it is a great opportunity to democracy and a greater democratization. Hence, I bring to mind that it was Ronald Dworkin, who recently asked about the conditions of possibility of a democracy and its relationship with polarization by developing ...


Political And Constitutional Obligation, Louis Michael Seidman Jan 2013

Political And Constitutional Obligation, Louis Michael Seidman

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

In his provocative, courageous, and original new book, "Against Obligation: The Multiple Sources of Authority in a Liberal Democracy," Abner Greene argues that there is “no successful general case for a presumptive (or ‘prima facie’) moral duty to obey the law.” In my own book, "On Constitutional Disobedience," I argue that there is no moral duty to obey our foundational law–the Constitution of the United States. This brief article, prepared for a symposium on the two books to be published by the Boston University Law Review, I address three issues related to these claims. First, I discuss what seem ...


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 ...


Grabbing The Bullcoming By The Horns: How The Supreme Court Could Have Used Bullcoming V. New Mexico To Clarify Confrontation Clause Requirements For Csi-Type Reports, Paul F. Rothstein, Ronald J. Coleman Jan 2011

Grabbing The Bullcoming By The Horns: How The Supreme Court Could Have Used Bullcoming V. New Mexico To Clarify Confrontation Clause Requirements For Csi-Type Reports, Paul F. Rothstein, Ronald J. Coleman

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

In the pilot episode of the hit television show CSI, Grissom says to Warrick: "Concentrate on what cannot lie. The evidence." Although Grissom is a beloved figure in U.S. popular culture, the U.S. is currently unwilling to accept that evidence never lies. In stark contrast to Grissom's statement, the common law has a long history of allowing criminal defendants to cross-examine and question witnesses providing evidence against them. The right to confront an accusatory witness is reflected in the historical legal documents of Great Britain, in Shakespearean writing, and even in the Bible. In the United States ...


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 ...


Rights, Harms, And Duties: A Response To Justice For Hedgehogs, Robin West Jan 2010

Rights, Harms, And Duties: A Response To Justice For Hedgehogs, Robin West

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

The author responds to the three jurisprudential positions that Ronald Dworkin discusses in his book--albeit briefly--so as to integrate them into his hedgehoggian program. The first is that we should think of rights as political trumps, such that the individual liberty protected by the right, and hence the behavior protected by the right, trumps in importance and in effect, both in law and in popular imaginings, the various collective goals with which the right might be in conflict. Second, we should think about our collective life, and the principles that should guide it, through the lens of the rights of ...


The Roberts Court Vs. Free Speech, David Cole Jan 2010

The Roberts Court Vs. Free Speech, David Cole

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

No abstract provided.


“To Remand, Or Not To Remand”: Ventura’S Ordinary Remand Rule And The Evolving Jurisprudence Of Futility, Patrick J. Glen Jan 2010

“To Remand, Or Not To Remand”: Ventura’S Ordinary Remand Rule And The Evolving Jurisprudence Of Futility, Patrick J. Glen

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

It is a foundational principle of administrative law that a reviewing court should not dispose of a petition for review or appeal on grounds not relied upon by the agency, and should not reach issues in the first instance not addressed administratively. In such circumstances, there is a strong presumption that the reviewing court should remand the case to the agency for further proceedings rather than reach out to decide the disputed issues. The United States Supreme Court explicitly extended operation of the “ordinary remand rule” to the immigration context in its 2002 decision in INS v. Ventura. Notwithstanding subsequent ...


Ronald Dworkin’S Justice For Hedgehogs And Partnership Conception Of Democracy (With A Comment To Jeremy Waldron’S 'A Majority In The Lifeboat'), Imer Flores Jan 2010

Ronald Dworkin’S Justice For Hedgehogs And Partnership Conception Of Democracy (With A Comment To Jeremy Waldron’S 'A Majority In The Lifeboat'), Imer Flores

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

In this article the author focuses mainly in the last part of Ronald Dworkin´s Justice for Hedgehogs and in his argument for a partnership conception of democracy. For that purpose, first, he recalls some of the main features that Dworkin had advanced in previous but intrinsically related works, about political morality, equality and democracy; second, he reassess the arguments for a partnership conception of democracy; third, he reconsiders the resistance produced by Jeremy Waldron in his “A Majority in the Lifeboat” and the response provided by Dworkin, but since it may appear insufficient, he intends to present an alternative ...


The Missing Jurisprudence Of The Legislated Constitution, Robin West Jan 2009

The Missing Jurisprudence Of The Legislated Constitution, Robin West

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Does the fourteenth Amendment and its Equal Protection Clause — the promise that "no state shall deny equal protection of the laws" — have any relevance to the progressive project of reducing economic inequality in various spheres of life or, more modestly, of ameliorating the multiple vulnerabilities of this country's poor people? The short answer, I believe, is, it depends. It will depend, in 2020, just as it depends now, on what we mean by the Constitution we are expounding: the Constitution as read and interpreted by courts — the adjudicated Constitution — or what I propose to call the legislated Constitution, the ...


District Of Columbia V. Heller And Originalism, Lawrence B. Solum Jan 2009

District Of Columbia V. Heller And Originalism, Lawrence B. Solum

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

On June 26, 2008, the United States Supreme Court handed down its 5-4 decision in District of Columbia v. Heller, striking a District of Columbia statute that prohibits the possession of useable handguns in the home on the ground that it violated the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution. Justice Scalia's majority opinion drew dissents from Justice Stevens and Justice Breyer. Collectively, the opinions in Heller represent the most important and extensive debate on the role of original meaning in constitutional interpretation among the members of the contemporary Supreme Court.

This article investigates the relationship between originalist constitutional ...


Process Theory, Majoritarianism, And The Original Understanding, William Michael Treanor Jan 2007

Process Theory, Majoritarianism, And The Original Understanding, William Michael Treanor

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

In Radicals in Robes, Cass Sunstein posits that there are four primary approaches to constitutional interpretation: perfectionism, majoritarianism, minimalism, and fundamentalism.' The purpose of his eloquent and compelling book is twofold: Sunstein argues for minimalism, an approach that he contends makes most sense for America today; and with even greater force, Sunstein argues against fundamentalism, which he finds "wrong, dangerous, radical, and occasionally hypocritical."' The "Radicals in Robes" who are the targets of Sunstein's book are judges who embrace fundamentalism, which, in his view, embodies "the views of the extreme wing of [the] Republican Party."'

In Securing Constitutional Democracy ...


Pluralism And Public Legal Reason, Lawrence B. Solum Jan 2006

Pluralism And Public Legal Reason, Lawrence B. Solum

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

What role does and should religion play in the legal sphere of a modern liberal democracy? Does religion threaten to create divisions that would undermine the stability of the constitutional order? Or is religious disagreement itself a force that works to create consensus on some of the core commitments of constitutionalism--liberty of conscience, toleration, limited government, and the rule of law? This essay explores these questions from the perspectives of contemporary political philosophy and constitutional theory. The thesis of the essay is that pluralism--the diversity of religious and secular conceptions of the good--can and should work as a force for ...


The "Constitution Restoration Act" And Judicial Independence: Some Observations, Mark V. Tushnet Jan 2006

The "Constitution Restoration Act" And Judicial Independence: Some Observations, Mark V. Tushnet

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

This Essay uses the proposed Constitution Restoration Act of 2005 as the vehicle for exploring some aspects of contemporary concerns about judicial independence and the mechanisms available to control what might be perceived as abuses of judicial authority . . . I doubt that the Act has a serious chance of enactment, but its introduction provides an opportunity to examine some difficulties associated with congressional control of judicial decision-making. I begin by treating the Constitution Restoration Act as a real statute, asking what its substantive terms mean. I argue that there is substantial tension between what the Act says and what its sponsors ...


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 ...


Constitutional Culture Or Ordinary Politics: A Reply To Reva Siegel, Robin West Jan 2006

Constitutional Culture Or Ordinary Politics: A Reply To Reva Siegel, Robin West

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Reva Siegel's lecture, ‘Constitutional Culture, Social Movement Conflict and Constitutional Change: The Case of the de Facto ERA,’ explores the interaction between the courts and social movements in creating constitutional meaning. In the primary part of this response I focus my comments on Siegel's three major contributions: First, the historical explanation of the source of the Court's authority in the development of the so-called de facto ERA; second, the articulation of a general, jurisprudential thesis regarding social contestation as a source of constitutional authority apart from text, history, and principle; and third, the quasi-sociological descriptive account of ...