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Full-Text Articles in Legal History

Our Administered Constitution: Administrative Constitutionalism From The Founding To The Present, Sophia Z. Lee Sep 2019

Our Administered Constitution: Administrative Constitutionalism From The Founding To The Present, Sophia Z. Lee

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This article argues that administrative agencies have been primary interpreters and implementers of the federal Constitution throughout the history of the United States, although the scale and scope of this "administrative constitutionalism" has changed significantly over time as the balance of opportunities and constraints has shifted. Courts have nonetheless cast an increasingly long shadow over the administered Constitution. In part, this is because of the well-known expansion of judicial review in the 20th century. But the shift has as much to do with changes in the legal profession, legal theory, and lawyers’ roles in agency administration. The result is that ...


Intersectionality And The Constitution Of Family Status, Serena Mayeri Jan 2017

Intersectionality And The Constitution Of Family Status, Serena Mayeri

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Marital supremacy—the legal privileging of marriage—is, and always has been, deeply intertwined with inequalities of race, class, gender, and region. Many if not most of the plaintiffs who challenged legal discrimination based on family status in the 1960s and 1970s were impoverished women, men, and children of color who made constitutional equality claims. Yet the constitutional law of the family is largely silent about the status-based impact of laws that prefer marriage and disadvantage non-marital families. While some lower courts engaged with race-, sex-, and wealth-based discrimination arguments in family status cases, the Supreme Court largely avoided recognizing ...


Marriage (In)Equality And The Historical Legacies Of Feminism, Serena Mayeri Nov 2015

Marriage (In)Equality And The Historical Legacies Of Feminism, Serena Mayeri

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

In this essay, I measure the majority’s opinion in Obergefell v. Hodges against two legacies of second-wave feminist legal advocacy: the largely successful campaign to make civil marriage formally gender-neutral; and the lesser-known struggle against laws and practices that penalized women who lived their lives outside of marriage. Obergefell obliquely acknowledges marriage equality’s debt to the first legacy without explicitly adopting sex equality arguments against same-sex marriage bans. The legacy of feminist campaigns for nonmarital equality, by contrast, is absent from Obergefell’s reasoning and belied by rhetoric that both glorifies marriage and implicitly disparages nonmarriage. Even so ...


A Revolution At War With Itself? Preserving Employment Preferences From Weber To Ricci, Sophia Z. Lee Jun 2014

A Revolution At War With Itself? Preserving Employment Preferences From Weber To Ricci, Sophia Z. Lee

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Two aspects of the constitutional transformation Bruce Ackerman describes in The Civil Rights Revolution were on a collision course, one whose trajectory has implications for Ackerman’s account and for his broader theory of constitutional change. Ackerman makes a compelling case that what he terms “reverse state action” (the targeting of private actors) and “government by numbers” (the use of statistics to identify and remedy violations of civil rights laws) defined the civil rights revolution. Together they “requir[ed] private actors, as well as state officials, to . . . realize the principles of constitutional equality” and allowed the federal government to “actually ...


Introduction To The Workplace Constitution From The New Deal To The New Right, Sophia Z. Lee Jan 2014

Introduction To The Workplace Constitution From The New Deal To The New Right, Sophia Z. Lee

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Today, most American workers do not have constitutional rights on the job. As The Workplace Constitution shows, this outcome was far from inevitable. Instead, American workers have a long history of fighting for such rights. Beginning in the 1930s, civil rights advocates sought constitutional protections against racial discrimination by employers and unions. At the same time, a conservative right-to-work movement argued that the Constitution protected workers from having to join or support unions. Those two movements, with their shared aim of extending constitutional protections to American workers, were a potentially powerful combination. But they sought to use those protections to ...