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Articles 31 - 60 of 130

Full-Text Articles in Legal History

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 ...


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 ...


Construction And Constraint: Discussion Of Living Originalism, Lawrence B. Solum Mar 2013

Construction And Constraint: Discussion Of Living Originalism, Lawrence B. Solum

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Jack Balkin's Living Originalism raises many important questions about contemporary constitutional theory. Can and should liberals and progressives embrace originalism? Can the New Deal expansion of national legislative power be given originalist foundations? Is there a plausible originalist case for a right to reproductive autonomy and hence for the Court's decision in Roe v. Wade? Is the fact of theoretical disagreement among originalists evidence for the thesis that the originalist project is in disarray?


A Thought Experiment, Louis Michael Seidman Jan 2013

A Thought Experiment, Louis Michael Seidman

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Herewith, Justice Antonin Scalia's long lost dissenting opinion in Brown v. Board of Education.


Originalism And The Unwritten Constitution, Lawrence B. Solum Jan 2013

Originalism And The Unwritten Constitution, Lawrence B. Solum

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

In his book, America’s Unwritten Constitution, Akhil Reed Amar contends that to properly engage the written Constitution, scholars and laymen alike must look to extratextual sources: among them America’s founding documents, institutional practices, and ethos, all of which constitute Amar’s “unwritten Constitution.” In this article, the author argues that contemporary originalist constitutional theory is consistent with reliance on extraconstitutional sources in certain circumstances. He establishes a framework for revaluating the use of extratextual sources. That framework categorizes extratextual sources and explains their relevance to constitutional interpretation (the meaning of the text) and constitutional construction (elaboration of constitutional ...


Originalism And Constitutional Construction, Lawrence B. Solum Jan 2013

Originalism And Constitutional Construction, Lawrence B. Solum

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Constitutional interpretation is the activity that discovers the communicative content or linguistic meaning of the constitutional text. Constitutional construction is the activity that determines the legal effect given the text, including doctrines of constitutional law and decisions of constitutional cases or issues by judges and other officials. The interpretation-construction distinction, frequently invoked by contemporary constitutional theorists and rooted in American legal theory in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, marks the difference between these two activities.

This article advances two central claims about constitutional construction. First, constitutional construction is ubiquitous in constitutional practice. The central warrant for this claim is conceptual ...


State Law, The Westfall Act, And The Nature Of The Bivens Question, Carlos Manuel Vázquez, Stephen I. Vladeck Jan 2013

State Law, The Westfall Act, And The Nature Of The Bivens Question, Carlos Manuel Vázquez, Stephen I. Vladeck

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

In a number of recent cases touching to varying degrees on national security, different courts of appeals have applied a strong presumption against recognition of a Bivens cause of action. In each of these cases, the courts’ approach was based on the belief that the creation of a cause of action is a legislative function and that the courts would be usurping Congress’s role if they recognized a Bivens action without legislative authorization. Thus, faced with a scenario where they believed that the remedial possibilities were either "Bivens or nothing," these courts of appeals chose nothing.

The concerns that ...


Communicative Content And Legal Content, Lawrence B. Solum Jan 2013

Communicative Content And Legal Content, Lawrence B. Solum

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

This essay investigates a familiar set of questions about the relationship between legal texts (e.g., constitutions, statutes, opinions, orders, and contracts) and the content of the law (e.g., norms, rules, standards, doctrines, and mandates). Is the original meaning of the constitutional text binding on the Supreme Court when it develops doctrines of constitutional law? Should statutes be given their plain meaning or should judges devise statutory constructions that depart from the text to serve a purpose? What role should default rules play in the interpretation and construction of contracts? This essay makes two moves that can help lawyers ...


Creditors And The Feme Covert, James Oldham Jan 2013

Creditors And The Feme Covert, James Oldham

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

As is well-known, the Court of King’s Bench in Marshall v. Rutton (1800), under Chief Justice Lloyd Kenyon, overruled earlier King’s Bench decisions by Lord Mansfield that had allowed creditors to prevail in suits against married women in an expanding set of factual circumstances. As Kenyon confessed in Marshall, he had never been satisfied with the Mansfield decisions, and had wished that a case “should come to take away all the difficulties.” The Marshall case fulfilled his wish. Kenyon, however, was not the powerful leader of King’s Bench that Mansfield had been, and but for fortuities of ...


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 ...


Interpretation And Construction In Altering Rules, Gregory Klass Oct 2012

Interpretation And Construction In Altering Rules, Gregory Klass

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

This essay is a response to Ian Ayres's, "Regulating Opt-Out: An Economic Theory of Altering Rules," 121 Yale L.J. 2032 (2012). Ayres identifies an important question: How does the law decide when parties have opted-out of a contractual default? Unfortunately, his article tells only half of the story about such altering rules. Ayres cares about rules designed to instruct parties on how to get the terms that they want. By focusing on such rules he ignores altering rules designed instead to interpret the nonlegal meaning of the parties' acts or agreement. This limited vision is characteristic of economic ...


Promise Etc., Gregory Klass Jul 2012

Promise Etc., Gregory Klass

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

This Article examines the moral obligations contractual agreements generate. It distinguishes a narrow sense of "promise," central to autonomy theories, according to which to promise is to communicate an intention to undertake an obligation by the very communication of that intention. Not every agreement involves promises in this sense. Yet nonpromissory agreements too commonly generate moral obligations. And even when a party promises to perform, her promise need not be the only reason for her moral obligation to do so. Other possible reasons include reliance, an invitation to trust, implicit or explicit, principles of reciprocity, and the harm that nonperformance ...


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 ...


Misplaced Fidelity, David Luban Jan 2012

Misplaced Fidelity, David Luban

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

This paper is a review essay of W. Bradley Wendel's Lawyers and Fidelity to Law, part of a symposium on Wendel's book. Parts I and II aim to situate Wendel's book within the literature on philosophical or theoretical legal ethics. I focus on two points: Wendel's argument that legal ethics should be examined through the lens of political theory rather than moral philosophy, and his emphasis on the role law plays in setting terms of social coexistence in the midst of moral pluralism. Both of these themes lead him to reject viewing legal ethics as an ...


Meaning, Purpose, And Cause In The Law Of Deception, Gregory Klass Jan 2012

Meaning, Purpose, And Cause In The Law Of Deception, Gregory Klass

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Laws designed to affect the flow of information take many forms: rules against misrepresentation, disclosure requirements, secrecy requirements, rules governing the formatting or packaging of information, and interpretive rules designed to give people new reasons to share information. Together these and similar rules constitute the law of deception: laws that aim to prevent or cure deception. One encounters similar problems of design, function and justification throughout the law of deception. Yet very little has been written about the category as a whole. This article begins to sketch a general theory. It identifies three regulatory approaches. Interpretive laws, such as common ...


Confucian Virtue Jurisprudence, Linghao Wang, Lawrence B. Solum Jan 2012

Confucian Virtue Jurisprudence, Linghao Wang, Lawrence B. Solum

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Virtue jurisprudence is an approach to legal theory that develops the implications of virtue ethics and virtue politics for the law. Recent work on virtue jurisprudence has emphasized a NeoAristotelian approach. This essay develops a virtue jurisprudence in the Confucian tradition. The title of this essay, “Confucian Virtue Jurisprudence,” reflects the central aim of our work, to build a contemporary theory of law that is both virtue-centered and that provides a contemporary reconstruction of the central ideas of the early Confucian intellectual tradition.

This essay provides a sketch of our contemporary version of Confucian virtue jurisprudence, including a view of ...


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 ...


The Problem About The Nature Of Law Vis-À-Vis Legal Rationality Revisited: Towards An Integrative Jurisprudence, Imer Flores Jan 2012

The Problem About The Nature Of Law Vis-À-Vis Legal Rationality Revisited: Towards An Integrative Jurisprudence, Imer Flores

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

In this paper the author argues, following Frederick Schauer, that attempting to move theoretically from-the-necessary-to-the-important may hinder our understanding of law. He further argues that attempting to move from-the-important-to-the-necessary may well be a more promising route for advancing our understanding of law as an interpretive practice which is not merely important or valuable but morally important or valuable and even necessary, as Ronald Dworkin has advocated. The authors argument also draws on the insights of Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., who by discussing the important, but apparently neither necessary nor sufficient aspects of legal practice, integrated both logic and experience into ...


Assessing The Impeachment Of President Bill Clinton From A Post 9/11 Perspective, Susan Low Bloch Jan 2012

Assessing The Impeachment Of President Bill Clinton From A Post 9/11 Perspective, Susan Low Bloch

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

The impeachment of President Clinton was more a circus than a serious effort to remove the President of the United States. The reason is simple: Few people--in the Congress or the country--wanted to remove him or believed the impeachment effort would actually result in his removal. Instead, it was a partisan political effort to embarrass Clinton and "send a message" of disapproval. Congress was attaching a "scarlet letter." But this was an indulgence that posed considerable danger that few in Congress considered. In particular, few tried to assess the potential impact this use of the process would have on the ...


A Call To Combine Rhetorical Theory And Practice In The Legal Writing Classroom, Kristen Konrad Robbins-Tiscione Apr 2011

A Call To Combine Rhetorical Theory And Practice In The Legal Writing Classroom, Kristen Konrad Robbins-Tiscione

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

The theory and practice of law have been separated in legal education to their detriment since the turn of the twentieth century. As history teaches us and even the 2007 Carnegie Report perhaps suggests, teaching practice without theory is as inadequate as teaching theory without practice. Just as law students should learn how to draft a simple contract from taking Contracts, they should learn the theory of persuasion from taking a legal writing course. In an economy where law apprenticeship has reverted from employer to educator, legal writing courses should do more than teach analysis, conventional documents, and the social ...


The Limits Of Process, Robin West Jan 2011

The Limits Of Process, Robin West

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

This article presents four major objections to Jeremy Waldron’s claim that for “Rule of Law” to exist it we must move beyond basic formal requirements that laws be general and knowable rules we can all comply with, towards substantive requirements that when the law imposes its censorial and punitive will upon us, it is applied in a way that acknowledges our intelligence and respects our individual dignity. After challenging Waldron’s claim, the author suggests that if Rule of Law theorizing is intended to capture our ideals of law, then the three paradigms of Rule of Law scholarship that ...


What Is Originalism? The Evolution Of Contemporary Originalist Theory, Lawrence B. Solum Jan 2011

What Is Originalism? The Evolution Of Contemporary Originalist Theory, Lawrence B. Solum

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Debates over “originalism” have been a central focus of contemporary constitutional theory for three decades. One of the features of this debate has been disagreement about what “originalism” is. More worrisome is the possibility that the arguments between contemporary originalists and their opponents, the “living constitutionalists”, are confused–-with each side of the debate making erroneous assumptions about the content of their opponent’s theories.

The aim of this chapter is to clarify these debates by providing a history of contemporary originalism and then developing an account of the core or focal content of originalist theory. The history reveals that ...


Carl Schmitt And The Critique Of Lawfare, David Luban Jan 2011

Carl Schmitt And The Critique Of Lawfare, David Luban

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

“Lawfare” is the use of law as a weapon of war against a military adversary. Lawfare critics complain that self-proclaimed “humanitarians” are really engaged in the partisan and political abuse of law—lawfare. This paper turns the mirror on lawfare critics themselves, and argues that the critique of lawfare is no less abusive and political than the alleged lawfare it attacks. Radical lawfare critics view humanitarian law with suspicion, as nothing more than an instrument used by weak adversaries against strong military powers. Casting suspicion on humanitarian law by attacking the motives of humanitarian lawyers, they undermine disinterested argument, and ...


Law's Visual Afterlife: Violence, Popular Culture, And Translation Theory, Naomi Mezey Jan 2011

Law's Visual Afterlife: Violence, Popular Culture, And Translation Theory, Naomi Mezey

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

In Walter Benjamin’s essay, “The Task of the Translator,” Benjamin argues that translations enable a work’s afterlife. Afterlife is not what happens after death but what allows a work (or event or idea) to go on living and to evolve over time and place and iteration. In its afterlife, the original is transformed and renewed. In this piece I explore film’s visual translation of law and the role film plays in law’s afterlife. Film translates law not by translating from one language to another, but by translating between media and discourses. The cultural-critical lens of translation ...


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 ...


Informal Law-Making In England By The Twelve Judges In The Late 18th And Early 19th Centuries, James Oldham Jan 2011

Informal Law-Making In England By The Twelve Judges In The Late 18th And Early 19th Centuries, James Oldham

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

In 1848, Parliament created the Court for Crown Cases Reserved, in which all of the common law judges heard and decided questions reserved by trial judges in criminal cases. As Sir John Baker explains, this was “a court of record, which would now sit in public and give reasons for its decisions,” even though “the reservation of cases was still at the discretion of the trial judge and the court did not have the powers of the court en banc in civil cases.” The Court for Crown Cases Reserved formalized an off-the-record procedure that had been followed for centuries. When ...


The Anti-Empathic Turn, Robin West Jan 2011

The Anti-Empathic Turn, Robin West

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Justice, according to a broad consensus of our greatest twentieth century judges, requires a particular kind of moral judgment, and that moral judgment requires, among much else, empathy–the ability to understand not just the situation but also the perspective of litigants on warring sides of a lawsuit.

Excellent judging requires empathic excellence. Empathic understanding is, in some measure, an acquired skill as well as, in part, a natural ability. Some people do it well; some, not so well. Again, this has long been understood, and has been long argued, particularly, although not exclusively, by some of our most admired ...


David Luban, Review Of Daniel Markovits, A Modern Legal Ethics: Adversary Advocacy In A Democratic Age, David Luban Jan 2010

David Luban, Review Of Daniel Markovits, A Modern Legal Ethics: Adversary Advocacy In A Democratic Age, David Luban

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Daniel Markovits offers a novel defense of the traditional partisan advocate’s role, based on the demands of personal integrity. Although he insists that the adversary system requires lawyers to lie and cheat (regardless of the particular ethics rules in place), it is possible to redescribe these lawyerly vices as the virtue of fidelity to a client, expressed through what John Keats called “negative capability”—a suppression of the self in order to allow someone else’s story to shine forth. These are first-personal moral ideals, and Markovits argues against the primacy of second- and third-personal moral ideals (such as ...


Narrative, Normativity, And Causation, Lawrence B. Solum Jan 2010

Narrative, Normativity, And Causation, Lawrence B. Solum

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

This essay examines the relationship between constitutional narratives, causation, and normativity in the context of Barry Friedman’s book, The Will of the People: How Public Opinion Has Influenced the Supreme Court and Shaped the Meaning of the Constitution. In his book, Friedman provides a grand narrative of American constitutional history that emphasizes the role of public opinion in the development of American constitutional law. That narrative involves both implicit and explicit claims about the causal forces that shape constitutional doctrine and about normative constitutional theory. The aim of this essay is to identify those claims, excavate their theoretical assumptions ...


How Must A Lawyer Be? A Response To Woolley And Wendel, David Luban Jan 2010

How Must A Lawyer Be? A Response To Woolley And Wendel, David Luban

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

In Legal Ethics and Moral Character, 23 GEO. J. LEGAL Ethics, Alice Woolley and W. Bradley Wendel argue that theories of legal ethics may be evaluated by examining the kind of person a lawyer must be to conform to the normative demands of the theory. In their words, theories of legal ethics musts answer questions not only of what a lawyer must do, but how a lawyer must be. Woolley and Wendel examine three theories of legal ethics—those of Charles Fried, William Simon, and myself—and conclude that the theories they discuss impose demands on agency that are not ...