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Full-Text Articles in Jurisprudence

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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


Pliva V. Mensing And Its Implications, Brian Wolfman, Dena Feldman Sep 2011

Pliva V. Mensing And Its Implications, Brian Wolfman, Dena Feldman

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

The U.S. Supreme Court ruling in PLIVA Inc. v. Mensing will immunize generic drug manufacturers facing failure-to-warn claims from state-law liability, and may also have implications for preemption jurisprudence more generally, says attorney Brian Wolfman and co-author Dena Feldman in this BNA Insight. The authors analyze the ruling, and offer their views on the questions that PLIVA raises about the ongoing vitality of the presumption against preemption, the standard for determining ‘‘impossibility’’ preemption, and the propriety of deference to an agency’s views on preemption.


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 ...


Neutralizing Grutter, Girardeau A. Spann Jan 2005

Neutralizing Grutter, Girardeau A. Spann

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Part I of this article argues that the Supreme Court lacks the institutional competence to formulate racial policy for the nation, and highlights the tension that exists between the Court's abstract preference for race neutrality and the concrete reality of contemporary race relations, in which dedicated efforts to promote racial balance offer the only meaningful hope of eliminating systemic discrimination. Part II discusses moderate strategies that can be used to deflect the impact of Grutter’s prohibition on racial balance, suggesting that racial balancing can be restructured in ways that the Supreme Court may view as constitutional. Part III ...


Constitutionalization, Girardeau A. Spann Jan 2005

Constitutionalization, Girardeau A. Spann

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Students of constitutional law tend to suspect pretty early on that the Constitution simply means whatever the Supreme Court says that it means. Rather than fight that intuition, I think it is best to treat the student insight as one of the basic starting assumptions when teaching a course in Constitutional Law. The goal then becomes to help students figure out how best to maneuver and feel comfortable in a legal universe where the Constitution has only contingent meaning.

What the Supreme Court does when it clothes its political policy preferences in the garb of constitutional law can be described ...


The Dark Side Of Grutter, Girardeau A. Spann Jan 2004

The Dark Side Of Grutter, Girardeau A. Spann

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Liberals have generally cheered the Supreme Court's decision in Grutter v. Bollinger as validating the continued use of affirmative action in the struggle against racial injustice. But the Supreme Court's modern race cases rest on a misunderstanding of the nature of contemporary racial discrimination. From Brown, to Bakke, to Grutter, the Court has advanced a colorblind conception of racial equality that treats race-conscious affirmative action as constitutionally suspect, because it deviates from an aspirational baseline of race neutrality that lies at the core of the equal protection clause. However, race neutrality is a hopelessly artificial concept in a ...


The Effect Of The Supreme Court's Eleventh Amendment Jurisprudence On Environmental Citizen Suits: Gotcha!, Hope M. Babcock Jan 2003

The Effect Of The Supreme Court's Eleventh Amendment Jurisprudence On Environmental Citizen Suits: Gotcha!, Hope M. Babcock

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

The current Supreme Court has substantially expanded the scope of protection from lawsuits accorded to states by the Eleventh Amendment and narrowed the exceptions to its application. As a result, many people are finding they are unable to vindicate federal rights in any court when the defendant is a state or a state agency. The most recent example of this is the Court's decision in South Carolina State Ports Authority v. Federal Maritime Commission, in which the Court extended the reach of the Eleventh Amendment to private administrative enforcement actions against states, thus forsaking completely any connection to the ...


Treaties And The Eleventh Amendment, Carlos Manuel Vázquez Jan 2002

Treaties And The Eleventh Amendment, Carlos Manuel Vázquez

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

The Supreme Court's recent invigoration of federalism doctrine has revived a question that had long lain dormant in constitutional law: whether and to what extent federalism limits apply to exercises of the Treaty Power. In the days before the famous switch in time that saved nine, the Court in Missouri v. Holland upheld a statute passed by Congress to implement a treaty even though it assumed that the statute would exceed Congress's legislative power under Article I in the absence of the treaty. The significance of this holding abated considerably when the Court embraced a broader interpretation of ...


Understanding Mahon In Historical Context, William Michael Treanor Jan 1998

Understanding Mahon In Historical Context, William Michael Treanor

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Despite its enormous influence on constitutional law, Pennsylvania Coal Co. v. Mahon is just such an opinion; the primary purpose of the author’s article Jam for Justice Holmes: Reassessing the Significance of Mahon is to clarify Holmes's intent by placing the opinion in historical context and in the context of Holmes's other opinions. While other scholars have also sought to place Mahon in context, his account differs in large part because of its recognition, as part of the background of Mahon, of a separate line of cases involving businesses affected with a public interest.

The author argues ...


Making Constitutional Doctrine In A Realist Age, Victoria Nourse Jan 1997

Making Constitutional Doctrine In A Realist Age, Victoria Nourse

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

In this article the author considers three examples of modern constitutional doctrine that show how judges have stolen bits and pieces from popularized skepticisms about the job of judging and have molded this stolen rhetoric into doctrine. In the first example, she asks whether constitutional law's recent penchant for doctrinal rules based on "clear law" could have existed without the modern age's obsession with legal uncertainty. In the second, the author considers whether our contemporary rhetoric of constitutional "interests" and "expectations" reflects modern critiques of doctrine as failing to address social needs. In the third, she asks how ...


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 ...


Taking The Framers Seriously, William Michael Treanor Jan 1988

Taking The Framers Seriously, William Michael Treanor

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

This article reviews Taking the Constitution Seriously by Walter Berns (1987).

This review focuses on three of the key historical points that Walter Berns makes: his arguments that the Declaration of Independence is a Lockean document; that the Constitution encapsulates the political philosophy of the Declaration; and that the framers viewed the commercialization of society as a salutary development and were unambivalent champions of the right to property. Examination of these issues suggests that the ideological universe of the framers was far more complex than Berns indicates. While the revolutionary era witnessed a new concern with individual rights and a ...