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Articles 1 - 15 of 15

Full-Text Articles in Legal History

Overrides: The Super-Study, Victoria Nourse Jan 2014

Overrides: The Super-Study, Victoria Nourse

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Overrides should be of interest to a far larger group of scholars than statutory interpretation enthusiasts. We have, in overrides, open inter branch encounters between Congress and the Courts far more typically found in the shadows of everyday Washington politics. Interestingly, Christiansen and Eskridge posit the court-congress relationship as more triadic than dyadic given the role played by agencies. One of their more interesting conclusions is that agencie are the big winners in the override game: agencies were present in seventy percent of the override cases and the agency view prevailed with Congress and against the Supreme Court in three-quarters ...


Elementary Statutory Interpretation: Rethinking Legislative Intent And History, Victoria Nourse Jan 2014

Elementary Statutory Interpretation: Rethinking Legislative Intent And History, Victoria Nourse

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

This article argues that theorists and practitioners of statutory interpretation should rethink two very basic concepts—legislative intent and legislative history. Textualists urge that to look to legislative history is to seek an intent that does not exist. This article argues we should put this objection to bed because, even if groups do not have minds, they have the functional equivalent of intent: they plan by using internal sequential procedures allowing them to project their collective actions forward in time. What we should mean by legislative “intent” is legislative “context.” For a group, context includes how groups act—their procedures ...


The Constitution And Legislative History, Victoria Nourse Jan 2014

The Constitution And Legislative History, Victoria Nourse

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

In this article, the author provides an extended analysis of the constitutional claims against legislative history, arguing that, under textualists’ own preference for constitutional text, the use of legislative history should be constitutional to the extent it is supported by Congress’s rulemaking power, a constitutionally enumerated power.

This article has five parts. In part I, the author explains the importance of this question, considering the vast range of cases to which this claim of unconstitutionality could possibly apply—after all, statutory interpretation cases are the vast bulk of the work of the federal courts. She also explains why these ...


How Nfib V. Sebelius Affects The Constitutional Gestalt, Lawrence B. Solum Jun 2013

How Nfib V. Sebelius Affects The Constitutional Gestalt, Lawrence B. Solum

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

The thesis of this essay is that the most important legal effects of the Supreme Court's decision in NFIB v. Sebelius are likely to be indirect. Sebelius marks a possible shift in what we can call the “constitutional gestalt” regarding the meaning and implications of the so-called “New Deal Settlement.” Before Sebelius, the consensus understanding was that New Deal and Warren Court cases had established a constitutional regime of plenary and virtually unlimited national legislative power under the Commerce Clause (which might be subject to narrow and limited carve outs protective of the core of state sovereignty).

After Sebelius ...


The Borrower's Tale: A History Of Poor Debtors In Lochner Era New York City, Anne Fleming Nov 2012

The Borrower's Tale: A History Of Poor Debtors In Lochner Era New York City, Anne Fleming

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

This study adds to the recent scholarship on Progressivism in practice—fine-grained, place-based studies of reform at the local level—but focuses closely on the relationships among reformers, industry, and the law that an earlier generation of historians studied at the national level and outlined in broad brushstrokes. This study also builds upon the creditor-centered work of historians such as Mark H. Haller and John V. Alviti, but moves beyond their reliance upon distinctions and categories, such as those separating profit making credit providers from philanthropic credit providers, which were less important to borrowers than they have been for historians ...


Chief Justices Marshall And Roberts And The Non-Self-Execution Of Treaties, Carlos Manuel Vázquez May 2012

Chief Justices Marshall And Roberts And The Non-Self-Execution Of Treaties, Carlos Manuel Vázquez

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

This article is a response to David L. Sloss, Executing Foster v. Neilson: The Two-Step Approach to Analyzing Self-Executing Treaties, 53 Harv. Int'l L L.J. 135 (2012).

David Sloss’s article, Executing Foster v. Neilson, is an important contribution to the literature on the judicial enforcement of treaties. The author agrees with much of it, as he agrees with much of Professor Sloss’ other writing on treaties. In particular, the author agrees that the two-step approach to treaty enforcement that Professor Sloss proposes is generally the right approach, and he agrees that the “intent-based” approach to the self-execution ...


A Decision Theory Of Statutory Interpretation: Legislative History By The Rules, Victoria Nourse Jan 2012

A Decision Theory Of Statutory Interpretation: Legislative History By The Rules, Victoria Nourse

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

We have a law of civil procedure, criminal procedure, and administrative procedure, but we have no law of legislative procedure. This failure has serious consequences in the field of statutory interpretation. Using simple rules garnered from Congress itself, this Article argues that those rules are capable of transforming the field of statutory interpretation. Addressing canonical cases in the field, from Holy Trinity to Bock Laundry, from Weber to Public Citizen, this article shows how cases studied by vast numbers of law students are made substantially more manageable, and in some cases quite simple, through knowledge of congressional procedure. No longer ...


Misunderstanding Congress: Statutory Interpretation, The Supermajoritarian Difficulty, And The Separation Of Powers, Victoria Nourse Jan 2011

Misunderstanding Congress: Statutory Interpretation, The Supermajoritarian Difficulty, And The Separation Of Powers, Victoria Nourse

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Every lawyer's theory of statutory interpretation carries with it an idea of Congress, and every idea of Congress, in turn, carries with it an idea of the separation of powers. In this article, the author critiques three dominant academic theories of statutory interpretation--textualism, purposivism, and game theory--for their assumptions about Congress and the separation of powers. She argues that each academic theory fails to account for Congress's dominant institutional features: "the electoral connection," the "supermajoritarian difficulty," and the "principle of structure-induced ambiguity." This critique yields surprising conclusions, rejecting both standard liberal and conservative views on statutory interpretation.

"Plain ...


Taking Text Too Seriously: Modern Textualism, Original Meaning, And The Case Of Amar's Bill Of Rights, William Michael Treanor Jan 2007

Taking Text Too Seriously: Modern Textualism, Original Meaning, And The Case Of Amar's Bill Of Rights, William Michael Treanor

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Championed on the Supreme Court by Justices Scalia and Thomas and championed in academia most prominently by Professor Akhil Amar, textualism has in the past twenty years emerged as a leading school of constitutional interpretation. Textualists argue that the Constitution should be interpreted in accordance with its original public meaning and, in seeking that meaning, they closely parse the Constitution's words and grammar and the placement of clauses in the document. They have assumed that this close parsing recaptures original meaning, but, perhaps because it seems obviously correct, that assumption has neither been defended nor challenged. This article uses ...


Judicial Review Before Marbury, William Michael Treanor Jan 2005

Judicial Review Before Marbury, William Michael Treanor

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

While scholars have long probed the original understanding of judicial review and the early judicial review case law, this article presents a study of the judicial review case law in the United States before Marbury v. Madison that is dramatically more complete than prior work and that challenges previous scholarship on the original understanding of judicial review on the two most critical dimensions: how well judicial review was established at the time of the Founding and when it was exercised. Where prior work argues that judicial review was rarely exercised before Marbury (or that it was created in Marbury), this ...


Rethinking Crime Legislation: History And Harshness, Victoria Nourse Jan 2004

Rethinking Crime Legislation: History And Harshness, Victoria Nourse

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

There is a truth about the criminal law that scholars evade as much as they criticize: the criminal law is produced by legislators (rather than the experts). The author states she does not know of any way to make law in a democracy other than through the voters' representatives. And, yet, it is the standard pose of the criminal law scholar to denigrate legislatures and politicians as vindictive, hysterical, or stupid. All of these things may be true but name-calling is a poor substitute for analysis. As in constitutional law, so too in criminal law, it is time to put ...


Necessary And Proper, Randy E. Barnett Jan 1997

Necessary And Proper, Randy E. Barnett

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

In this article, the author maintains that, if the courts are to hold Congress to the exercise of its enumerated powers, then they must come to grips with the congressional power: "To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof." While the Necessary and Proper Clause has long been used to greatly expand congressional power, he argues that, to the contrary, it provides a two-part standard against which all national ...


Toward A "Due Foundation" For The Separation Of Powers: The Federalist Papers As Political Narrative, Victoria Nourse Feb 1996

Toward A "Due Foundation" For The Separation Of Powers: The Federalist Papers As Political Narrative, Victoria Nourse

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

During the past quarter century, lawyers have become strangely comfortable with descriptions of our government's structure that would, to an untutored ear, speak contradiction. We are quite satisfied to say that governmental powers are separate and shared, departments distinct and overlapping, functions autonomous and interdependent. We have settled into these contradictions as we would a roomy chair: talking this way is no longer controversial but taken for granted, uttered with a knowing wink, perceived as the starting point of sophisticated analysis. A not "entirely separate," but "entirely free," set of departments is the only way we can think about ...


Prospective Overruling And The Revival Of ‘Unconstitutional' Statutes, William Michael Treanor, Gene B. Sperling Jan 1993

Prospective Overruling And The Revival Of ‘Unconstitutional' Statutes, William Michael Treanor, Gene B. Sperling

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

The Supreme Court's decision in Planned Parenthood v. Casey reshaped the law of abortion in this country. The Court overturned two of its previous decisions invalidating state restrictions on abortions, Thornburgh v. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and Akron v. Akron Center for Reproductive Health, and it abandoned the trimester analytic framework established in Roe v. Wade. At the time Casey was handed down, twenty states had restrictive abortion statutes on the books that were in conflict with Akron or Thornburgh and which were unenforced. In six of these states, courts had held the statutes unconstitutional. Almost as ...


The Aspirational Constitution, Robin West Jan 1993

The Aspirational Constitution, Robin West

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Firmly embedded in every theory of judicial decisionmaking lies an important set of assumptions about the way government is supposed to work. Sometimes these theories about government are made explicit. More often they are not. Moreover, deeply embedded in every theory of government is a theory of human nature. Although these assumptions about human nature generally remain latent within the larger theory, because they provide the underpinnings for our ideas about the way government is supposed to work, they drive our notions about judicial decisionmaking. For example, the theory of government reflected in the United States Constitution reveals what one ...