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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 ...


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 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 ...


H. L. A. Hart’S Moderate Indeterminacy Thesis Reconsidered: In Between Scylla And Charybdis?, Imer Flores Jan 2011

H. L. A. Hart’S Moderate Indeterminacy Thesis Reconsidered: In Between Scylla And Charybdis?, Imer Flores

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

In this article, in the context of the fiftieth anniversary of H. L. A. Hart’s The Concept of Law, The author reconsiders the moderate indeterminacy of law thesis, which derives from the open texture of language. For that purpose, the author intends: first, to analyze Hart’s moderate indeterminacy thesis, i.e. determinacy in “easy cases” and indeterminacy in “hard cases,” which resembles Aristotle’s “doctrine of the mean”; second, to criticize his thesis as failing to embody the virtues of a center in between the vices of the extremes, by insisting that the exercise of discretion required constitutes ...


The Supreme Constitutional Court Of Egypt: The Limits Of Liberal Political Science And Cls Analysis Of Law Elsewhere, Lama Abu-Odeh Jan 2011

The Supreme Constitutional Court Of Egypt: The Limits Of Liberal Political Science And Cls Analysis Of Law Elsewhere, Lama Abu-Odeh

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

On January 25th 2011, following a popular uprising, president Hosni Mubarak of Egypt was forced to relinquish power after thirty years of continuous rule. The popular uprising came to be known as the Egyptian revolution of January 25th marking the first time in the modern history of Egypt an authoritarian ruler is forced out of power through the mobilization of Egyptian masses. The popular mobilization came at the heels of several years of “wildcat” workers' strikes affecting various sectors of the economy, public and private, as well as recurring demonstrations spearheaded by the youth of the Egyptian middle class demanding ...


The Secret Life Of The Political Question Doctrine, Louis Michael Seidman Jan 2004

The Secret Life Of The Political Question Doctrine, Louis Michael Seidman

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

"Questions, in their nature political, or which are, by the constitution and laws, submitted to the executive, can never be made in this court."

The irony, of course, is that Marbury v. Madison, itself, "made" a political question, and the answer the Court gave was deeply political as well. As everyone reading this essay knows, the case arose out of a bitter political controversy, and the opinion for the Court was a carefully crafted political document - "a masterwork of indirection," according to Robert McCloskey's well-known characterization, "a brilliant example of Chief Justice Marshall's capacity to sidestep danger while ...


The Moral Foundations Of Modern Libertarianism, Randy E. Barnett Jan 2004

The Moral Foundations Of Modern Libertarianism, Randy E. Barnett

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Libertarians no longer argue, as they once did in the 1970s, about whether libertarianism must be grounded on moral rights or on consequences; they no longer act as though they must choose between these two moral views. In this paper, the author contends that libertarians need not choose between moral rights and consequences because theirs is a political, not a moral, philosophy, one that can be shown to be compatible with various moral theories, which is one source of its appeal.

Moral theories based on either moral rights or on consequentialism purport to be comprehensive, insofar as they apply to ...


Alarmism Versus Moderation In Responding To The Rehnquist Court, Mark V. Tushnet Jan 2003

Alarmism Versus Moderation In Responding To The Rehnquist Court, Mark V. Tushnet

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

I begin in Part I by offering a description of the Supreme Court's recent decisions as a less substantial repudiation of prior principles than many think them to be, and as leaving Congress with the means to achieve a quite substantial proportion of the policy goals it pursued in the statutes the Court invalidated. Part II explains why Congress is unlikely to do so, in light of our apparent commitment to divided government, and parties that are organized around distinctive ideologies because of divided government. Part III turns to the prospect for continued policy transformation, identifying the conditions under ...


Law And Prudence In The Law Of Justiciability: The Transformation And Disappearance Of The Political Question Doctrine, Mark V. Tushnet Jan 2002

Law And Prudence In The Law Of Justiciability: The Transformation And Disappearance Of The Political Question Doctrine, Mark V. Tushnet

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

This Essay develops the foregoing argument by examining, in Section I, the transformation of the political question doctrine from Baker v. Carr through Walter Nixon v. United States. Section II charts a similar, perhaps even more dramatic transformation of the law of standing. Section I then examines Bush v. Gore, explaining how older doctrines of standing and political questions might have been thought relevant there. It argues as well that the very fact that those doctrines went unmentioned by the Court shows why we must take a historically grounded view of justiciability doctrines. Section IV sketches the historical settings in ...


The Limits Of Being "Present At The Creation", Roy A. Schotland Jan 2002

The Limits Of Being "Present At The Creation", Roy A. Schotland

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Having been invited late to this Symposium and having read fewer than all essays, I offer, (with deep appreciation for the invitation), only mini-comments on three of the many valuable contributions: the essays by Professors Persily, Hasen, and Gerken. But first, at risk of pedantry, may I suggest changing the Symposium's title to something like "Baker and its Progeny .... (or "Baker, doughnuts, and holes"?). Most of the treatment seems to be about the progeny, as surely it should be. While of course everyone knows how far Baker went, what Reynolds did, and what was not done until after Reynolds ...


The Vertical Separation Of Powers, Victoria Nourse Jan 1999

The Vertical Separation Of Powers, Victoria Nourse

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Standard understandings of the separation of powers begin with the concept of function. The author argues that function alone cannot predict important changes in structural incentives and thus serves as a poor proxy for assessing real risks to governmental structure. To illustrate this point, the article returns to proposals considered at the Constitutional Convention and considers difficult contemporary cases such as Morrison v. Olson, Clinton v. Jones, and the Supreme Court's more recent federalism decisions. In each instance, function appears to steer us wrong because it fails to understand separation of powers questions as ones of structural incentive and ...


The Meaning Of Equality And The Interpretive Turn, Robin West Jan 1990

The Meaning Of Equality And The Interpretive Turn, Robin West

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

The turn to hermeneutics and interpretation in contemporary legal theory has contributed at least two central ideas to modern jurisprudential thought: first, that the "meaning" of a text is invariably indeterminate -- what might be called the indeterminacy claim -- and second, that the unavoidably malleable essence of texts -- their essential inessentiality -- entails that interpreting a text is a necessary part of the process of creating the text's meaning. These insights have generated both considerable angst, and considerable excitement among traditional constitutional scholars, primarily because at least on first blush these two claims seem to inescapably imply a third: that the ...


Progressive And Conservative Constitutionalism, Robin West Jan 1990

Progressive And Conservative Constitutionalism, Robin West

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

American constitutional law in general, and fourteenth amendment jurisprudence in particular, is in a state of profound transformation. The "liberal-legalist" and purportedly politically neutral understanding of constitutional guarantees that dominated constitutional law and theory during the fifties, sixties, and seventies, is waning, both in the courts and in the academy. What is beginning to replace liberal legalism in the academy, and what has clearly replaced it on the Supreme Court, is a very different conception - a new paradigm - of the role of constitutionalism, constitutional adjudication, and constitutional guarantees in a democratic state. Unlike the liberal-legal paradigm it is replacing, the ...


Equality Theory, Marital Rape, And The Promise Of The Fourteenth Amendment, Robin West Jan 1990

Equality Theory, Marital Rape, And The Promise Of The Fourteenth Amendment, Robin West

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

During the 1980s a handful of state judges either held or opined in dicta what must be incontrovertible to the feminist community, as well as to most progressive legal advocates and academics: the so-called marital rape exemption, whether statutory or common law in origin, constitutes a denial of a married woman's constitutional right to equal protection under the law. Indeed, a more obvious denial of equal protection is difficult to imagine: the marital rape exemption denies married women protection against violent crime solely on the basis of gender and marital status. What possibly could be less rational than a ...