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Supreme Court

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Full-Text Articles in Legal History

A Painful History : Symbols Of The Confederacy: A Conversation About The Tension Between Preserving History And Declaring Contemporary Values 1-19-2018, Michael M. Bowden Jan 2018

A Painful History : Symbols Of The Confederacy: A Conversation About The Tension Between Preserving History And Declaring Contemporary Values 1-19-2018, Michael M. Bowden

School of Law Conferences, Lectures & Events

No abstract provided.


What Changes In American Constitutional Law And What Does Not, Edward A. Purcell Jr. Jan 2017

What Changes In American Constitutional Law And What Does Not, Edward A. Purcell Jr.

Articles & Chapters

No abstract provided.


The Judicial Legacy Of Louis Brandeis And The Nature Of American Constitutionalism, Edward A. Purcell Jr. Jan 2017

The Judicial Legacy Of Louis Brandeis And The Nature Of American Constitutionalism, Edward A. Purcell Jr.

Articles & Chapters

No abstract provided.


The Modern Class Action Rule: Its Civil Rights Roots And Relevance Today, Suzette M. Malveaux Jan 2017

The Modern Class Action Rule: Its Civil Rights Roots And Relevance Today, Suzette M. Malveaux

Articles

The modern class action rule recently turned fifty years old — a golden anniversary. However, this milestone is marred by an increase in hate crimes, violence and discrimination. Ironically, the rule is marking its anniversary within a similarly tumultuous environment as its birth — the civil rights movement of the 1960’s. This irony calls into question whether this critical aggregation device is functioning as the drafters intended. This article makes three contributions.

First, the article unearths the rule’s rich history, revealing how the rule was designed in 1966 to enable structural reform and broad injunctive relief in civil rights cases ...


Preemption In The Rehnquist And Roberts Courts: An Empirical Analysis, Michael Greve, Jonathan Klick, Michael A. Petrino, J. P. Sevilla Jan 2016

Preemption In The Rehnquist And Roberts Courts: An Empirical Analysis, Michael Greve, Jonathan Klick, Michael A. Petrino, J. P. Sevilla

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This article presents an empirical analysis of the Rehnquist Court’s and the Roberts Court’s decisions on the federal (statutory) preemption of state law. In addition to raw outcomes for or against preemption, we examine cases by subject-matter, level of judicial consensus, tort versus regulatory preemption, party constellation, and origin in state or federal court. We present additional data and analysis on the role of state amici and of the U.S. Solicitor General in preemption cases, and we examine individual justices’ voting records. Among our findings, one stands out: over time and especially under the Roberts Court, lawyerly ...


Courtroom To Classroom: Judicial Policymaking And Affirmative Action, Dylan Britton Saul Apr 2015

Courtroom To Classroom: Judicial Policymaking And Affirmative Action, Dylan Britton Saul

Political Science Honors Projects

The judicial branch, by exercising judicial review, can replace public policies with ones of their own creation. To test the hypothesis that judicial policymaking is desirable only when courts possess high capacity and necessity, I propose an original model incorporating six variables: generalism, bi-polarity, minimalism, legitimization, structural impediments, and public support. Applying the model to a comparative case study of court-sanctioned affirmative action policies in higher education and K-12 public schools, I find that a lack of structural impediments and bi-polarity limits the desirability of judicial race-based remedies in education. Courts must restrain themselves when engaging in such policymaking.


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

All Faculty Scholarship

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 ...


Overrides: The Super-Study, Victoria Nourse Jan 2014

Overrides: The Super-Study, Victoria Nourse

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Overrides should be of interest to a far larger group of scholars than statutory interpretation enthusiasts. We have, in overrides, open inter branch encounters between Congress and the Courts far more typically found in the shadows of everyday Washington politics. Interestingly, Christiansen and Eskridge posit the court-congress relationship as more triadic than dyadic given the role played by agencies. One of their more interesting conclusions is that agencie are the big winners in the override game: agencies were present in seventy percent of the override cases and the agency view prevailed with Congress and against the Supreme Court in three-quarters ...


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 ...


A "Progressive Contraction Of Jurisdiction": The Making Of The Modern Supreme Court, Carolyn Shapiro Feb 2013

A "Progressive Contraction Of Jurisdiction": The Making Of The Modern Supreme Court, Carolyn Shapiro

125th Anniversary Materials

The Supreme Court in 1888 was in crisis. Its overall structure and responsibilities, created a century earlier by the Judiciary Act of 1789, were no longer adequate or appropriate. The Court had no control over its own docket - at the beginning of the 1888 term, there were 1,563 cases pending - and the justices’ responsibilities, which included circuit riding, were impossible to meet. Shaped as it was by a law almost as old as the country itself, the Supreme Court in 1888 - and the federal judicial system as a whole - would be barely recognizable to many today.

This chapter - which ...


Oasis Or Mirage: The Supreme Court's Thirst For Dictionaries In The Rehnquist And Roberts Eras, James J. Brudney, Lawrence Baum Jan 2013

Oasis Or Mirage: The Supreme Court's Thirst For Dictionaries In The Rehnquist And Roberts Eras, James J. Brudney, Lawrence Baum

Faculty Scholarship

The Supreme Court’s use of dictionaries, virtually non-existent before 1987, has dramatically increased during the Rehnquist and Roberts Court eras to the point where as many as one-third of statutory decisions invoke dictionary definitions. The increase is linked to the rise of textualism and its intense focus on ordinary meaning. This Article explores the Court’s new dictionary culture in depth from empirical and doctrinal perspectives. We find that while textualist justices are heavy dictionary users, purposivist justices invoke dictionary definitions with comparable frequency. Further, dictionary use overall is strikingly ad hoc and subjective. We demonstrate how the Court ...


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 ...


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

All Faculty Scholarship

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 ...


Commandeering And Constitutional Change, Jud Campbell Jan 2013

Commandeering And Constitutional Change, Jud Campbell

Law Faculty Publications

Coming in the midst of the Rehnquist Court’s federalism revolution, Printz v. United States held that federal commandeering of state executive officers is “fundamentally incompatible with our constitutional system of dual sovereignty.” The Printz majority’s discussion of historical evidence, however, inverted Founding-era perspectives. When Federalists such as Alexander Hamilton endorsed commandeering during the ratification debates, they were not seeking to expand federal power. Quite the opposite. The Federalists capitulated to states’ rights advocates who had recently rejected a continental impost tax because Hamilton, among others, insisted on hiring federal collectors rather than commandeering state collectors. The commandeering power ...


The Court-Packing Plan As Symptom, Casualty, And Cause Of Gridlock, Barry Cushman Jan 2013

The Court-Packing Plan As Symptom, Casualty, And Cause Of Gridlock, Barry Cushman

Journal Articles

This essay, prepared for the Notre Dame Law Review's Symposium, “The American Congress: Legal Implications of Gridlock,” considers three ways in which President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s 1937 Court-packing bill was related to the phenomenon of gridlock in the 1930s. First, as FDR's public remarks on the subject demonstrate, he believed that the early New Deal was a victim of partisan gridlock between the Democrat-controlled political branches and the Republican-controlled judiciary. Moreover, he did not believe that the impasse could be overcome through an amendment to the Constitution, for he regarded Article V's supermajority requirements as virtually ...


Court-Packing And Compromise, Barry Cushman Jan 2013

Court-Packing And Compromise, Barry Cushman

Journal Articles

President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s 1937 Court-packing bill would have permitted him to appoint six additional justices to the Supreme Court, thereby expanding its membership to fifteen immediately. Throughout the ultimately unsuccessful campaign to enact the measure, Roosevelt was presented with numerous opportunities to compromise for a measure authorizing the appointment of fewer additional justices. The President rejected each of these proposals, and his refusal to compromise often has been attributed to stubbornness, overconfidence, or hubris. Yet an examination of the papers of Attorney General Homer S. Cummings reveals why FDR and his advisors believed that he required no fewer ...


Presidential Power, Historical Practice, And Legal Constraint, Curtis A. Bradley, Trevor W. Morrison Jan 2013

Presidential Power, Historical Practice, And Legal Constraint, Curtis A. Bradley, Trevor W. Morrison

Faculty Scholarship

The scope of the President’s legal authority is determined in part by historical practice. This Essay aims to better understand how such practice-based law might operate as a constraint on the presidency. Some scholars have suggested that presidential authority has become “unbounded” by law, and is now governed only or primarily by politics. At the same time, there has been growing skepticism about the ability of the familiar political checks on presidential power to work in any systematic or reliable fashion. Skepticism about law’s potential to constrain in this context is heightened by the customary nature of much ...


More Than Formulaic, Arthur Mitchell Fraas Oct 2012

More Than Formulaic, Arthur Mitchell Fraas

Unique at Penn

Contextual essay about an 18th-century American legal formulary created by Jared Ingersoll.


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

All Faculty Scholarship

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 ...


The Dialectic Of Obscenity, Brian L. Frye Jan 2012

The Dialectic Of Obscenity, Brian L. Frye

Law Faculty Scholarly Articles

Until the 1960s, pornography was obscene, and obscenity prosecutions were relatively common. And until the 1970s, obscenity prosecutions targeted art, as well as pornography. But today, obscenity prosecutions are rare and limited to the most extreme forms of pornography.

So why did obscenity largely disappear? The conventional history of obscenity is doctrinal, holding that the Supreme Court’s redefinition of obscenity in order to protect art inevitably required the protection of pornography as well. In other words, art and literature were the vanguard of pornography.

But the conventional history of obscenity is incomplete. While it accounts for the development of ...


Liberty Of The Exercise Of Religion In The Peace Of Westphalia, Gordon A. Christenson Jan 2012

Liberty Of The Exercise Of Religion In The Peace Of Westphalia, Gordon A. Christenson

Faculty Articles and Other Publications

This essay honors my dear friend of half a century, Burns Weston. In it, I take a fresh look at the backdrop and structure of toleration and religious freedom in the Peace of Westphalia of 1648 and in the American Constitution, with special focus on a recent unanimous Supreme Court decision of first impression. That important decision protects inner church freedoms in ecclesiastical employment, the so-called "ministerial exception" to federal and state employment discrimination laws.

"Of all the great world religions past and present," writes the noted historian Perez Zagorin, "Christianity has been by far the most intolerant." Violence and ...


Cracks In The Wall, A Bulge Under The Carpet: The Singular Story Of Religion, Evolution, And The U.S. Constitution, Susan Haack Jan 2011

Cracks In The Wall, A Bulge Under The Carpet: The Singular Story Of Religion, Evolution, And The U.S. Constitution, Susan Haack

Articles

No abstract provided.


American Needle And The Boundaries Of The Firm In Antitrust Law, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Aug 2010

American Needle And The Boundaries Of The Firm In Antitrust Law, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

In American Needle the Supreme Court unanimously held that for the practice at issue the NFL should be treated as a “combination” of its teams rather than a single entity. However, the arrangement must be assessed under the rule of reason. The opinion, written by Justice Stevens, was almost certainly his last opinion for the Court in an antitrust case; Justice Stevens had been a dissenter in the Supreme Court’s Copperweld decision 25 years earlier, which held that a parent corporation and its wholly owned subsidiary constituted a single “firm” for antitrust purposes. The Sherman Act speaks to this ...


The Unsung Empathy Of Justice Stevens, Sonja R. West, Dahlia Lithwick Apr 2010

The Unsung Empathy Of Justice Stevens, Sonja R. West, Dahlia Lithwick

Popular Media

Justice John Paul Stevens' announcement of his retirement this morning has his many admirers at a loss: Liberals are already bemoaning the absence of a true liberal leader at the court—a man who could still manage to "count to five" to forge a majority on the sometimes fractious center-left of the court.


John Paul Stevens And Equally Impartial Government, Diane Marie Amann Feb 2010

John Paul Stevens And Equally Impartial Government, Diane Marie Amann

Scholarly Works

This article is the second publication arising out of the author's ongoing research respecting Justice John Paul Stevens. It is one of several published by former law clerks and other legal experts in the UC Davis Law Review symposium edition, Volume 43, No. 3, February 2010, "The Honorable John Paul Stevens."

The article posits that Justice Stevens's embrace of race-conscious measures to ensure continued diversity stands in tension with his early rejections of affirmative action programs. The contrast suggests a linear movement toward a progressive interpretation of the Constitution’s equality guarantee; however, examination of Stevens's writings ...


Brown And The Colorblind Constitution, Christopher W. Schmidt Dec 2008

Brown And The Colorblind Constitution, Christopher W. Schmidt

All Faculty Scholarship

This Essay offers the first in-depth examination of the role of colorblind constitutionalism in the history of Brown v. Board of Education. In light of the recent Supreme Court ruling in Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School Dist. No. 1 (2007), such an examination is needed today more than ever. In this case, Chief Justice John Roberts drew on the history of Brown to support his conclusion that racial classifications in school assignment policies are unconstitutional. Particularly controversial was the Chief Justice's use of the words of the NAACP lawyers who argued Brown as evidence for his ...


No Civilized System Of Justice, Book Review: The Day Freedom Died: The Colfax Massacre, The Supreme Court, And The Betrayal Of Reconstruction, Sonja R. West Jul 2008

No Civilized System Of Justice, Book Review: The Day Freedom Died: The Colfax Massacre, The Supreme Court, And The Betrayal Of Reconstruction, Sonja R. West

Scholarly Works


A book review of The Day Freedom Died: The Colfax Massacre, The Supreme Court, and The Betrayal of Reconstruction by Charles Lane (Henry Holt 2008).


Looking Backward: Richard Epstein Ponders The “Progressive” Peril, Michael Allan Wolf Apr 2007

Looking Backward: Richard Epstein Ponders The “Progressive” Peril, Michael Allan Wolf

UF Law Faculty Publications

In "How Progressives Rewrote the Constitution," Richard Epstein bemoans the growth of a dominant big government. How Progressives should receive a warm reception from the audience, lawyers and laypeople alike, who view the New Deal as a mistake of epic proportions. For the rest of us, significant gaps will still remain between, on the one hand, our understanding of the nation’s past and of the complex nature of constitutional lawmaking and, on the other, Epstein’s version of the nature of twentieth-century reform and Progressive jurisprudence.


John Paul Stevens, Human Rights Judge, Diane Marie Amann Mar 2006

John Paul Stevens, Human Rights Judge, Diane Marie Amann

Scholarly Works

This article explores the nature and origins of Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens' engagement with international and foreign law and norms. It first discusses Stevens' pivotal role in the revived use of such norms to aid constitutional interpretation, as well as 1990s opinions testing the extent to which constitutional protections reach beyond the water's edge and 2004 opinions on post-September 11 detention. It then turns to mid-century experiences that appear to have contributed to Stevens' willingness to consult foreign context. The article reveals that as a code breaker Stevens played a role in the downing of the Japanese ...


Institutional Rules, Strategic Behavior And The Legacy Of Chief Justice William Rehnquist: Setting The Record Straight On Dickerson V. United States, Daniel Martin Katz Jan 2006

Institutional Rules, Strategic Behavior And The Legacy Of Chief Justice William Rehnquist: Setting The Record Straight On Dickerson V. United States, Daniel Martin Katz

Faculty Publications

Why did Justice Rehnquist behave the way he did in Dickerson v. United States? As written, many prevailing accounts accept Justice Rehnquist's opinion in Dickerson v. United States at face value and disavow the potential of a strategic explanation. The difficulty with the non-strategic accounts is their failure to outline explicitly the evidence supporting the uniqueness of their theory. Specifically, these explanations largely ignore the alternative set of preferences which could have produced the Chief's decision. This is troubling because prior scholarship demonstrates that a chief justice possesses a unique set of institutional powers which provides significant incentive ...