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Full-Text Articles in Jurisprudence

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 ...


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 ...


Sunsetting Judicial Opinions, Neal K. Katyal Jan 2004

Sunsetting Judicial Opinions, Neal K. Katyal

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Contemporary constitutional law, in its quest for judicial restraint, has primarily focused on "the how" of judging - what interpretive methods will constrain the decisionmaker? This Article, by contrast, focuses on the "when"- if there are reasons to think that today's judicial decisions might later prove to be problematic, then are there methods that alter the timing of those decisions' impact to produce better outcomes? This Article outlines one new method for judicial decisionmaking in the post-9/11 world. Informed by pervasive legislative practices, I contend that the Supreme Court should prospectively declare that some of its national security opinions ...


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 ...


Constitutional Legitimacy, Randy E. Barnett Jan 2003

Constitutional Legitimacy, Randy E. Barnett

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

The problem of constitutional legitimacy is to establish why anyone should obey the command of a constitutionally-valid law. A lawmaking system is legitimate if there is a prima facie duty to obey the laws it makes. Neither "consent of the governed" nor "benefits received" justifies obedience. Rather, a prima facie duty of obedience exists either (a) if there is actual unanimous consent to the jurisdiction of the lawmaker or, in the absence of consent, (b) f laws are made by procedures which assure that they are not unjust. In the absence of unanimous consent, a written constitution should be assessed ...


Eleventh Amendment Schizophrenia, Carlos Manuel Vázquez Jan 2000

Eleventh Amendment Schizophrenia, Carlos Manuel Vázquez

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

This article argues that conflicting analytical strains run through the Supreme Court's recent majority opinions in the area of state sovereign immunity. The "supremacy" strain stresses that, despite the Eleventh Amendment, the states remain obligated to comply with federal law, and that the Constitution envisions the "necessary judicial means" to enforce these obligations against the state. These means include suits by the federal government, private suits for injunctive relief, and suits seeking damages from state officials in their individual capacities. Thus, according to the supremacy strain, state sovereign immunity is unimportant because it merely bars unnecessary means of enforcing ...


Integrity And Universality: A Comment On Dworkin's Freedom's Law, Robin West Jan 1997

Integrity And Universality: A Comment On Dworkin's Freedom's Law, Robin West

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Ronald Dworkin has done more than any other constitutional lawyer, past or present, to impress upon us the importance of integrity to constitutional law, and hence to our shared public life. Far from being merely a private virtue, Dworkin has shown that integrity imposes constraints upon and provides guidance to the work of judges in constitutional cases: Every constitutional case that comes before a court must be decided by recourse to the same moral principles that have dictated results in relevant similar cases in the past. Any group or individual challenging the constitutionality of legislation which adversely affects his or ...


Constitutional Scepticism, Robin West Jan 1992

Constitutional Scepticism, Robin West

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Interpretive constitutional debate over the last few decades has centered on two apparently linked questions: whether the Constitution can be given a determinate meaning, and whether the institution of judicial review can be justified within the basic assumptions of liberalism. Two groups of scholars have generated answers to these questions. The "constitutional faithful" argue that meaning can indeed be determinately affixed to constitutional clauses, by reference to the plain meaning of the document, the original intent of the drafters, evolving political and moral norms of the community, or the best political or moral philosophical theory available and that, because of ...


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 ...