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Full-Text Articles in Legal History

Judicial Activism: An (Un)Expected Result Of Legal Interpretation In Complex Societies?, Fabio P L Almeida Mr, Alexandre A. Costa Dr Dec 2013

Judicial Activism: An (Un)Expected Result Of Legal Interpretation In Complex Societies?, Fabio P L Almeida Mr, Alexandre A. Costa Dr

Fabio P L Almeida

Judicial activism has been accused of being an undue activity of judges, who should restrict themselves to the interpretation of the law. In this article, we argue that this conception is wrong: judicial activism does not imply a distortion in political and judicial structures, but it should be understood as an expected feature of legal interpretation in complex political systems. In contemporary liberal democracies, legislation cannot regulate all situations, and thus the only way to affirm its universality is through flexible interpretation, which grants to society the ability to adapt its legal system to new circumstances without the need to ...


The Commons, Capitalism, And The Constitution, George Skouras Oct 2013

The Commons, Capitalism, And The Constitution, George Skouras

George Skouras

Thesis Summary: the erosion of the Commons in the United States has contributed to the deterioration of community and uprooting of people in order to meet the dynamic demands of capitalism. This article suggests countervailing measures to help remedy the situation.


Legalized Lynch Mobs In The 21st Century: Racial Improprieties In The Death Penalty, Betsy A. Daniller Oct 2013

Legalized Lynch Mobs In The 21st Century: Racial Improprieties In The Death Penalty, Betsy A. Daniller

Betsy A Daniller

No abstract provided.


Taming A Dragon: Legislative History In Legal Analysis, Mark Deforrest Aug 2013

Taming A Dragon: Legislative History In Legal Analysis, Mark Deforrest

Mark DeForrest

ARTICLE ABSTRACT

TAMING A DRAGON:

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY IN LEGAL ANALYSIS

Mark DeForrest

The use of legislative history in statutory interpretation and analysis has been an area of intensive inquiry since the 1980’s. The debate has been vigorous and has led to the development of sophisticated arguments by both the advocates of the use of legislative history and textualists critical of its use. While the debate has been ongoing, changes in technology have made it easier than ever to access detailed legislative history for both state and federal statutes. This article discusses the impact of both the debate and the ...


The Legacy Of Social Darwinism: From Railroads To The 'Reinvention' Of Regulation, Yair Sagy Jun 2013

The Legacy Of Social Darwinism: From Railroads To The 'Reinvention' Of Regulation, Yair Sagy

Yair Sagy

According to accepted wisdom, new paradigms of regulation are upon us. This Article challenges this conception. It revisits the work of the leading regulator and theoretician of regulation in post-Civil War U.S., Charles Francis Adams, Jr., and argues that contemporary regulation reverts to Adams' theory of regulation, rather than introducing a revolutionary chapter to the intellectual history of regulation in the United States. The Article operates on three levels. On one level, it offers a new interpretation of Adams' seminal theory by revealing the hold that Herbert Spencer and Social Darwinism had on his work. On another level, the ...


"Health Care For All:" The Gap Between Rhetoric And Reality In The Affordable Care Act, Vinita Andrapalliyal Apr 2013

"Health Care For All:" The Gap Between Rhetoric And Reality In The Affordable Care Act, Vinita Andrapalliyal

Vinita Andrapalliyal

The rhetoric of “universal health care” and “health care for all” that pervaded the health care debate which culminated in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA)’s passage. However, the ACA offers reduced to no protections for certain noncitizen groups, specifically: 1) recently-arrived legal permanent residents, 2) nonimmigrants, and 3) the undocumented. This Article explores how the Act fails to ensure “health care for all,” demonstrates the gap between rhetoric and reality by parsing the ACA’s legislative history, and posits reasons for the gap. The ACA’s legislative history suggests that legislators’ biases towards these noncitizen groups ...


Holmes And The Common Law: A Jury's Duty, Matthew P. Cline Mar 2013

Holmes And The Common Law: A Jury's Duty, Matthew P. Cline

Matthew P Cline

The notion of a small group of peers whose responsibility it is to play a part in determining the outcome of a trial is central to the common conception of the American legal system. Memorialized in the Constitution of the United States as a fundamental right, and in the national consciousness as the proud, if begrudged, duty of all citizens, juries are often discussed, but perhaps not always understood. Whatever misunderstandings have come to be, certainly many of them sprang from the juxtaposition of jury and judge. Why do we have both? How are their responsibilities divided? Who truly decides ...


At&T V. Concepcion: The Problem Of A False Majority, Lisa Tripp, Evan R. Hanson Mar 2013

At&T V. Concepcion: The Problem Of A False Majority, Lisa Tripp, Evan R. Hanson

Lisa Tripp

The Supreme Court’s 2011 decision in AT&T v. Concepcion is the first case where the Supreme Court explores the interplay between state law unconscionability doctrine and the vast preemptive power of the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA). Although it is considered by many to be a landmark decision which has the potential for greatly expanding the already impressive preemptive power of the FAA, something is amiss with Concepcion.

AT&T v. Concepcion is ostensibly a 5-4 majority decision with a concurring opinion. However, the differences in the majority and concurring opinions are so profound that it appears that Justice Thomas actually concurred in the judgment only, even though he joined the putative majority opinion. This raises serious philosophical questions about jurisprudence, what is necessary to create a rule of law in the American legal system, and the precedential value of Concepcion itself.

Justice Thomas joined the majority opinion and provided the fifth vote, but wrote a concurring opinion that explicitly rejected the legal reasoning of the majority opinion in its entirety. The putative majority opinion authored by Justice Scalia allows that unconscionability can be a valid defense to the enforcement of an agreement to arbitrate, but in Concepcion, allowing California to apply its unconscionability doctrine (the Discover Bank rule) would frustrate the purposes and objectives of Congress in enacting the FAA. For these reasons the Scalia opinion found the law was preempted.

Justice Thomas, in contrast, does not believe that unconscionability can ever be a basis to invalidate an agreement to arbitrate and he reaffirmed his emphatic position articulated in Wyeth v. Levine that “[t]his Court’s entire body of purposes and objectives preemption jurisprudence is inherently flawed. The cases improperly rely on legislative history, broad atextual notions of congressional purpose, and even congressional inaction in order to pre-empt state law.”

Justice Thomas’s conclusion that the law was preempted turned on the text of the statute which he interprets as not allowing unconscionability-based defenses to preemption. Justice Thomas has reaffirmed his rejection of purposes and objectives preemption in cases decided after Concepcion. This means, looking at the substance of the opinions, that there are but four votes for the deciding rationale articulated in the Scalia opinion and there is not a single common denominator that the Scalia and Thomas opinions share, except that they agree on the result.

The Concepcion Court is, in substance, equally divided. Four members found that California’s unconscionability doctrine frustrated the purposes and objectives of the FAA, four in the dissent thought the law did not frustrate the purposes and objectives of the FAA, and one found that the purposes and objectives of Congress were immaterial to the resolution of the case.

How should lower courts react to an equally divided court in this situation? Does a Justice’s decision to join an opinion create a governing rule of law under these unusual circumstances? Can governing rules of law be created in the absence of a majority for the deciding rationale? Is a Justice’s labeling of an opinion as a regular concurrence dispositive or does its substance dictate the precedential value it is given?

The authors’ argue that the Supreme Court provided the answer to these questions over 100 years ago in Hertz v. Woodman:

Under the precedents of this court, and, as seems justified by reason as well as by authority, an affirmance by an equally divided court is, as between the parties, a conclusive determination and adjudication of the matter adjudged; but the principles of law involved not having been agreed upon by a majority of the court sitting prevents the case from becoming an authority for the determination of other cases, either in this or in inferior courts.

Under any rational reading of the opinions, there can be no doubt that “the principles of law involved [have not] been agreed upon by a majority of the court sitting” and this should “prevent[] the case from becoming authority for the determination of other cases, either in [the Supreme Court] or in inferior courts ...


Three-Dimensional Sovereign Immunity, Sarah L. Brinton Mar 2013

Three-Dimensional Sovereign Immunity, Sarah L. Brinton

Sarah L Brinton

The Supreme Court has erred on sovereign immunity. The current federal immunity doctrine wrongly gives Congress the exclusive authority to waive immunity (“exclusive congressional waiver”), but the Constitution mandates that Congress share the waiver power with the Court. This Article develops the doctrine of a two-way shared waiver and then explores a third possibility: the sharing of the immunity waiver power among all three branches of government.


Introduction To The Theory Of Law: History And The Unity Of Legal Things, John Lunstroth Feb 2013

Introduction To The Theory Of Law: History And The Unity Of Legal Things, John Lunstroth

John Lunstroth

I propose a general theory of the law. I begin with the history of the western legal tradition. When tracing laws, or legal things, over long periods of time it is apparent that the positivist theory is inadequate to describe law. Natural law similarly fails to explain what is seen in the historical record. I suggest an historicist theory best describes the law when seen as a conceptual and historical whole. I then identify a fundamental break in the historical record, the Enlightenment, when the scientific worldview became dominant. The scientific gaze splits nature (including law) into two parts, moral ...


Why Do Europeans Ban Hate Speech? A Debate Between Karl Loewenstein And Robert Post, Robert Kahn Feb 2013

Why Do Europeans Ban Hate Speech? A Debate Between Karl Loewenstein And Robert Post, Robert Kahn

Robert Kahn

European countries restrict hate speech, the United States does not. This much is clear. What explains this difference? Too often the current discussion falls back on a culturally rich but normatively vacant exceptionalism (American or otherwise) or a normatively driven convergence perspective that fails to address historical, cultural and experiential differences that distinguish countries and legal systems. Inspired by the development discourse of historical sociology, this article seeks to record instances where Americans or Europeans have argued their approach to hate speech laws was more “advanced” or “modern.”

To that end this article focuses on two authors whose writing appears ...


Costs Of Codification, Dru Stevenson Feb 2013

Costs Of Codification, Dru Stevenson

Dru Stevenson

Between the Civil War and World War II, every state and the federal government shifted toward codified versions of their statutes. Academia has so far ignored the systemic effects of this dramatic change. For example, the consensus view in the academic literature about rules and standards has been that precise rules present higher enactment costs for legislatures than would general standards, while vague standards present higher information costs for courts and citizens than do rules. Systematic codification – featuring hierarchical format and numbering, topical arrangement, and cross-references – inverts this relationship, lowering transaction costs for legislatures and increasing information costs for courts ...


The Risky Interplay Of Tort And Criminal Law: Punitive Damages, Daniel M. Braun Jan 2013

The Risky Interplay Of Tort And Criminal Law: Punitive Damages, Daniel M. Braun

Daniel M Braun

The rise of modern mass tort litigation in the U.S. has transformed punitive damages into something of a “hot button” issue. Since the size of punitive damage awards grew so dramatically in the past half century, this private law remedy has begun to involve issues of constitutional rights that traditionally pertained to criminal proceedings. This has created a risky interplay between tort and criminal law, and courts have thus been trying to find ways to properly manage punitive damage awards. The once rapidly expanding universe of punitive damages is therefore beginning to contract. There remain, however, very serious difficulties ...


E Pluribus Unum: Liberalism's March To Be The Singular Influence On Civil Rights At The Supreme Court, Aaron J. Shuler Jan 2013

E Pluribus Unum: Liberalism's March To Be The Singular Influence On Civil Rights At The Supreme Court, Aaron J. Shuler

Aaron J Shuler

Rogers Smith writes that American political culture can best be understood as a blend of liberal, republican and illiberal ascriptive ideologies. The U.S. Supreme Court’s constitutional jurisprudence has largely reflected this thesis. While the Court moved away from permitting laws that explicitly construct hierarchies in the 20th century and made tepid references to egalitarian principles during the Warren Court, liberalism has prevailed in the majority of the Court’s decisions. Gains in civil rights through the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection and Substantive Due Process clauses were achieved primarily through liberal notions of de-regulation, a market economy and ...


Jurisprudence, Interpretation, And Relevance: How Relevant Is Jurisprudence In Modern Practice?, David C. Bell Jan 2013

Jurisprudence, Interpretation, And Relevance: How Relevant Is Jurisprudence In Modern Practice?, David C. Bell

David C Bell

Jurisprudence and statutory interpretation are distained by law school students and in legal circles outside the academic realm, but both are an integral part of the legal process and as such should be included in all law school education in an effort to turn out practice ready lawyers. This paper will look at the different theories of statutory interpretation, breaking down how the individual theories go about interpretation. The different theories to be analyzed include hermeneutics, textualism, purposive interpretation, dynamic interpretation, liberal interpretation, legal process theory, moral theory, and active liberty. Then the paper will analyze parallels between the interpretation ...


International Law And Ungoverned Space, Matthew Hoisington Jan 2013

International Law And Ungoverned Space, Matthew Hoisington

Matthew Hoisington

Ungoverned spaces, strictly defined as “spaces not effectively governed by the state” exist all over the world, presenting particular difficulties to public international law, which is historically premised on sovereignty and state control. Examples of such spaces include cyberspace, south-central Somalia and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas along the Afghan-Pakistan border. These spaces destabilize the international system in novel ways—and they might also be dangerous. Many of the terrorism plots from the late twentieth and early twenty-first century emanated from “safe havens” afforded by ungoverned spaces. The lack of governance over certain spaces also raises concerns over development, including ...


Les Codes De Conduite: Source Du Droit Global?, Gregory Lewkowicz Jan 2013

Les Codes De Conduite: Source Du Droit Global?, Gregory Lewkowicz

Gregory Lewkowicz

La doctrine récente en théorie et en philosophie du droit examine depuis plusieurs années les transformations du droit dans la mondialisation à partir de l’hypothèse de la formation d’un droit global. Les codes de conduites constitueraient un élément typique de ce droit global naissant.

Confrontés au phénomène massif de multiplication des codes de conduite, considéré comme extérieur au droit, selon la théorie et les critères classiques des normes juridiques, mais qui évolue pourtant en interaction sinon en concurrence avec lui, les auteurs examinent dans cette contribution le problème des rapports entre codes de conduite et sources du droit ...


‘Jogalkotási Javaslatok Megfogalmazása A Jogtudományban’ [Policy Proposals And Legal Scholarship], Péter Cserne, György Gajduschek Jan 2013

‘Jogalkotási Javaslatok Megfogalmazása A Jogtudományban’ [Policy Proposals And Legal Scholarship], Péter Cserne, György Gajduschek

Péter Cserne

This is the manuscript of a chapter written for a Hungarian handbook on legal scholarship. It provides an historical overview and a theoretical defense of a policy oriented, in contrast to doctrinal, study of law. The chapter also provides an introduction to the foundations and methodological tools of public policy analysis, including regulatory impact assessment.