Open Access. Powered by Scholars. Published by Universities.®

Legal History Commons

Open Access. Powered by Scholars. Published by Universities.®

Articles 1 - 12 of 12

Full-Text Articles in Legal History

Beyond The Written Constitution: A Short Analysis Of Warren Court, Thiago Luis Santos Sombra Jul 2015

Beyond The Written Constitution: A Short Analysis Of Warren Court, Thiago Luis Santos Sombra

Thiago Luís Santos Sombra

This essay propose an analysis about how Warren Court became one of the most particular in American History by confronting Jim Crow law, especially by applying the Bill of Rights. In this essay, we propose an analysis of how complex the unwritten Constitution is. Cases like Brown vs. Board of Education will be analyzed from a different point of view to understand the methods of the Court.


It's The Constitution, Stupid: Two Liberals Pay Tribute To Antonin Scalia's Legacy, Adam Lamparello, Charles E. Maclean May 2014

It's The Constitution, Stupid: Two Liberals Pay Tribute To Antonin Scalia's Legacy, Adam Lamparello, Charles E. Maclean

Adam Lamparello

Living constitutionalism may achieve “good” results, but with each Roe v. Wade, and Bush v. Gore, the Constitution’s vision takes more shallow breaths, and democracy fades into elitism’s shadow. The debate over constitutional interpretation is, in many ways, reducible to this question: if a particular outcome is desirable, and the Constitution’s text is silent or ambiguous, should the United States Supreme Court (or any court) disregard constitutional constraints to achieve that outcome? If the answer is yes, nine unelected judges have the power to choose outcomes that are desirable. If the answer is no, then the focus ...


It's The Constitution, Stupid: Two Liberals Pay Tribute To Antonin Scalia's Legacy, Adam Lamparello, Charles E. Maclean May 2014

It's The Constitution, Stupid: Two Liberals Pay Tribute To Antonin Scalia's Legacy, Adam Lamparello, Charles E. Maclean

Adam Lamparello

Living constitutionalism may achieve “good” results, but with each Roe v. Wade, and Bush v. Gore, the Constitution’s vision takes more shallow breaths, and democracy fades into elitism’s shadow. The debate over constitutional interpretation is, in many ways, reducible to this question: if a particular outcome is desirable, and the Constitution’s text is silent or ambiguous, should the United States Supreme Court (or any court) disregard constitutional constraints to achieve that outcome? If the answer is yes, nine unelected judges have the power to choose outcomes that are desirable. If the answer is no, then the focus ...


The Evolution Of The Digital Millennium Copyright Act; Changing Interpretations Of The Dmca And Future Implications For Copyright Holders, Hillary A. Henderson Jan 2014

The Evolution Of The Digital Millennium Copyright Act; Changing Interpretations Of The Dmca And Future Implications For Copyright Holders, Hillary A. Henderson

Hillary A Henderson

Copyright law rewards an artificial monopoly to individual authors for their creations. This reward is based on the belief that, by granting authors the exclusive right to reproduce their works, they receive an incentive and means to create, which in turn advances the welfare of the general public by “promoting the progress of science and useful arts.” Copyright protection subsists . . . in original works of authorship fixed in any tangible medium of expression, now known or later developed, from which they can be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated, either directly or with the aid of a machine or device . . . . In no ...


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 ...


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.


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 ...


University Of Baltimore Symposium Report: Debut Of “The Matthew Fogg Symposia On The Vitality Of Stare Decisis In America”, Zena D. Crenshaw-Logal Jan 2012

University Of Baltimore Symposium Report: Debut Of “The Matthew Fogg Symposia On The Vitality Of Stare Decisis In America”, Zena D. Crenshaw-Logal

Zena Denise Crenshaw-Logal

On the first of each two day symposium of the Fogg symposia, lawyers representing NGOs in the civil rights, judicial reform, and whistleblower advocacy fields are to share relevant work of featured legal scholars in lay terms; relate the underlying principles to real life cases; and propose appropriate reform efforts. Four (4) of the scholars spend the next day relating their featured articles to views on the vitality of stare decisis. Specifically, the combined panels of public interest attorneys and law professors consider whether compliance with the doctrine is reasonably assured in America given the: 1. considerable discretion vested in ...


Deliberative Democracy And Weak Courts: Constitutional Design In Nascent Democracies, Edsel F. Tupaz Jan 2009

Deliberative Democracy And Weak Courts: Constitutional Design In Nascent Democracies, Edsel F. Tupaz

Edsel F Tupaz

This Article addresses the question of constitutional design in young and transitional democracies. It argues for the adoption of a “weak” form of judicial review, as opposed to “strong” review which typifies much of contemporary adjudication. It briefly describes how the dialogical strain of deliberative democratic theory might well constitute the normative predicate for systems of weak review. In doing so, the Article draws from various judicial practices, from European supranational tribunals to Canadian courts and even Indian jurisprudence. The Article concludes with the suggestion that no judicial apparatus other than the weak structure of judicial review can better incite ...