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Full-Text Articles in Legal History

The Original Meaning Of "God": Using The Language Of The Framing Generation To Create A Coherent Establishment Clause Jurisprudence, Michael I. Meyerson Apr 2015

The Original Meaning Of "God": Using The Language Of The Framing Generation To Create A Coherent Establishment Clause Jurisprudence, Michael I. Meyerson

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The Supreme Court’s attempt to create a standard for evaluating whether the Establishment Clause is violated by religious governmental speech, such as the public display of the Ten Commandments or the Pledge of Allegiance, is a total failure. The Court’s Establishment Clause jurisprudence has been termed “convoluted,” “a muddled mess,” and “a polite lie.” Unwilling to either allow all governmental religious speech or ban it entirely, the Court is in need of a coherent standard for distinguishing the permissible from the unconstitutional. Thus far, no Justice has offered such a standard.

A careful reading of the history of ...


The Anomaly Of Executions: The Cruel And Unusual Punishments Clause In The 21st Century, John Bessler Jan 2013

The Anomaly Of Executions: The Cruel And Unusual Punishments Clause In The 21st Century, John Bessler

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This Article describes the anomaly of executions in the context of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Eighth Amendment jurisprudence. While the Supreme Court routinely reads the Cruel and Unusual Punishments Clause to protect prisoners from harm, the Court simultaneously interprets the Eighth Amendment to allow inmates to be executed. Corporal punishments short of death have long been abandoned in America’s penal system, yet executions — at least in a few locales, heavily concentrated in the South — persist. This Article, which seeks a principled and much more consistent interpretation of the Eighth Amendment, argues that executions should be declared unconstitutional ...


Tinkering Around The Edges: The Supreme Court's Death Penalty Jurisprudence, John Bessler Oct 2012

Tinkering Around The Edges: The Supreme Court's Death Penalty Jurisprudence, John Bessler

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This Essay examines America's death penalty forty years after Furman and provides a critique of the Supreme Court's existing Eighth Amendment case law. Part I briefly summarizes how the Court, to date, has approached death sentences, while Part II highlights the incongruous manner in which the Cruel and Unusual Punishments Clause has been read. For instance, Justice Antonin Scalia-one of the Court's most vocal proponents of "originalism" conceded that corporal punishments such as handbranding and public flogging are no longer constitutionally permissible; yet, he (and the Court itself) continues to allow death sentences to be imposed. The ...


Gender Bias: Continuing Challenges And Opportunities, Rebecca Korzec Apr 2003

Gender Bias: Continuing Challenges And Opportunities, Rebecca Korzec

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In 1873 the U.S. Supreme Court denied Myra Bradwell the right to practice law, holding "the paramount destiny and mission of women are to fulfill the noble and benign office of wife and mother." Now, just slightly more a century later, two women sit on the Supreme Court, and almost half of all law students and law school faculty are women.


Passage Of Religious Freedom Act Necessary To Fulfill Maryland's National Leadership Role, Kenneth Lasson Mar 1998

Passage Of Religious Freedom Act Necessary To Fulfill Maryland's National Leadership Role, Kenneth Lasson

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Three hundred sixty-four years ago this month, two tiny sailing ships arrived near what is now St. Mary's City with the first settlers in Maryland. The Ark and the Dove were sent to the New World by Cecil Calvert. Lord Baltimore had founded his small colony as a haven for those persecuted in England because of their religious beliefs.

On numerous occasions since then - from passage of the Act of Toleration in 1649 to the achievement of full civil liberties for Jews in 1825 to landmark Supreme Court decisions involving the state in the 1960s - Maryland has been a ...