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Full-Text Articles in Legal History

The High Price Of Poverty: A Study Of How The Majority Of Current Court System Procedures For Collecting Court Costs And Fees, As Well As Fines, Have Failed To Adhere To Established Precedent And The Constitutional Guarantees They Advocate., Trevor J. Calligan Jul 2015

The High Price Of Poverty: A Study Of How The Majority Of Current Court System Procedures For Collecting Court Costs And Fees, As Well As Fines, Have Failed To Adhere To Established Precedent And The Constitutional Guarantees They Advocate., Trevor J. Calligan

Trevor J Calligan

No abstract provided.


The Hypocrisy Of "Equal But Separate" In The Courtroom: A Lens For The Civil Rights Era, Jaimie K. Mcfarlin Apr 2015

The Hypocrisy Of "Equal But Separate" In The Courtroom: A Lens For The Civil Rights Era, Jaimie K. Mcfarlin

Jaimie K. McFarlin

This article serves to examine the role of the courthouse during the Jim Crow Era and the early stages of the Civil Rights Movement, as courthouses fulfilled their dual function of minstreling Plessy’s call for “equality under the law” and orchestrating overt segregation.


Justice-As-Fairness As Judicial Guiding Principle: Remembering John Rawls And The Warren Court, Michael Anthony Lawrence Mar 2015

Justice-As-Fairness As Judicial Guiding Principle: Remembering John Rawls And The Warren Court, Michael Anthony Lawrence

Michael Anthony Lawrence

This Article looks back to the United States Supreme Court’s jurisprudence during the years 1953-1969 when Earl Warren served as Chief Justice, a period marked by numerous landmark rulings in the areas of racial justice, criminal procedure, reproductive autonomy, First Amendment freedom of speech, association and religion, voting rights, and more. The Article further discusses the constitutional bases for the Warren Court’s decisions, principally the Fourteenth Amendment equal protection and due process clauses.

The Article explains that the Warren Court’s equity-based jurisprudence closely resembles, at its root, the “justice-as-fairness” approach promoted in John Rawls’s monumental 1971 ...


Balancing The Scales: Adhuc Sub Judice Li Est Or Trial By Media, Casey J. Cooper Jul 2014

Balancing The Scales: Adhuc Sub Judice Li Est Or Trial By Media, Casey J. Cooper

Casey J Cooper

The right to freedom of expression and free press is recognized under almost all major human rights instruments and domestic legal systems—common and civil—in the world. However, what do you do when a fundamental right conflicts with another equally fundamental right, like the right to a fair trial? In the United States, the freedom of speech, encompassing the freedom of the press, goes nearly unfettered: the case is not the same for other common law countries. In light of cultural and historic facts, institutional factors, modern realities, and case-law, this Article contends that current American jurisprudence does not ...


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 ...


Fashion, Sexism, And The United States Federal Judiciary, Charles E. Colman Oct 2013

Fashion, Sexism, And The United States Federal Judiciary, Charles E. Colman

Charles E. Colman

The U.S. federal judiciary has frequently displayed a dismissive attitude toward "fashion," while simultaneously recognizing the great economic importance of clothing. As fashion was, from the formation of the United States until at least the late 1960s, associated primarily with the female sex, while judges during this time period were almost exclusively male, one naturally wonders whether the power dynamics of gender shaped the development of the law pertaining to fashion. There is good reason to believe that this has indeed been the case.


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 ...


Cause Judging, Justin Hansford Mar 2013

Cause Judging, Justin Hansford

Justin Hansford

Building on the framework of “cause lawyering” scholarship, this Article explores the fact that, in a similar tradition as a “cause lawyering” law practice animated by dedication to a cause, “cause judging” exists as well. This insight has implications for judicial ethics norms. The hyper-partisan nature of modern American life has already cast doubt on the possibility that politically appointed judges can ever truly attain the “appearance of impartiality” demanded by judicial recusal standards. Instead, judicial ethics norms should embrace the fact that judges have moral and political ideals that inform their rulings when they exercise judicial discretion, and that ...


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 ...


Ideological Voting Applied To The School Desegregation Cases In The Federal Courts Of Appeals From The 1960’S And 70’S, Joe Custer Feb 2013

Ideological Voting Applied To The School Desegregation Cases In The Federal Courts Of Appeals From The 1960’S And 70’S, Joe Custer

Joe Custer

This paper considers a research suggestion from Cass Sunstein to analyze segregation cases from the 1960's and 1970's and whether three hypothesis he projected in the article "Ideological Voting on Federal Courts of Appeals: A Preliminary Investigation," 90 Va. L. Rev. 301 (2004), involving various models of judicial ideology, would pertain. My paper considers Sunstein’s three hypotheses in addition to other judicial ideologies to try to empirically determine what was influencing Federal Court of Appeals Judges in regard to Civil Rights issues, specifically school desegregation, in the 1960’s and 1970’s.


“Nixon’S Sabotage”: How Politics Pushed The “Discriminatory Purpose” Requirement Into Equal Protection Law, Danieli Evans Feb 2013

“Nixon’S Sabotage”: How Politics Pushed The “Discriminatory Purpose” Requirement Into Equal Protection Law, Danieli Evans

Danieli Evans

This article describes the way that politics—resistance from the elected branches coupled with President Nixon appointing Chief Justice Burger—shaped the Court’s unanimous decision in Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg, 402 U.S. 1 (1971), a school desegregation case that played a crucial role in limiting the forms of state action considered unconstitutional discrimination. Chief Justice Burger defied longstanding Supreme Court procedure to assign himself the majority opinion even though he disagreed with the majority outcome. Justice Douglas alleged that he did this “in order to write Nixon’s view of freedom of choice into the law.” Justice Burger’s ...


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 ...