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Finding Law, Stephen E. Sachs 2019 Duke Law School

Finding Law, Stephen E. Sachs

Faculty Scholarship

That the judge's task is to find the law, not to make it, was once a commonplace of our legal culture. Today, decades after Erie, the idea of a common law discovered by judges is commonly dismissed -- as a "fallacy," an "illusion," a "brooding omnipresence in the sky." That dismissive view is wrong. Expecting judges to find unwritten law is no childish fiction of the benighted past, but a real and plausible option for a modern legal system.

This Essay seeks to restore the respectability of finding law, in part by responding to two criticisms made by Erie and ...


Principles Of Risk Imposition And The Priority Of Avoiding Harm, Gregory C. Keating 2018 University of Southern California

Principles Of Risk Imposition And The Priority Of Avoiding Harm, Gregory C. Keating

University of Southern California Legal Studies Working Paper Series

Standards which prescribe more than efficient precaution against physical harm and health injury are commonplace in American environmental, health and safety regulation. The “safe level” standard, for example, requires the elimination of all significant risks. The “feasibility” standard requires the elimination of significant risks to the extent insofar as it is possible to do so without impairing the long run survival of the activities which give rise to the risks. These standards reach back more than a generation to the founding of the Environmental Protection and Occupational Health and Safety Agencies. You might expect them to be too well-entrenched to ...


A Dollar For Your Thoughts: Determining Whether Nominal Damages Prevent An Otherwise Moot Case From Being An Advisory Opinion, Maura B. Grealish 2018 Fordham University School of Law

A Dollar For Your Thoughts: Determining Whether Nominal Damages Prevent An Otherwise Moot Case From Being An Advisory Opinion, Maura B. Grealish

Fordham Law Review

This Note examines whether nominal damages should sustain an otherwise moot constitutional claim. A majority of circuit courts have held that a lone claim for nominal damages is sufficient. A minority of circuit courts have determined that nominal damages are insufficient because there is no practical effect in determining such a case. The courts in the minority analogize nominal damages to declaratory judgments and justify their rulings on the basis of judicial economy. This Note proposes that the minority rule is impermissible under current precedent from the U.S. Supreme Court. However, this Note also proposes that the majority rule ...


Cracking Down On Cages: Feminist And Prison Abolitionist Considerations For Litigating Solitary Confinement In Canada, Winnie Phillips-Osei 2018 Western University

Cracking Down On Cages: Feminist And Prison Abolitionist Considerations For Litigating Solitary Confinement In Canada, Winnie Phillips-Osei

Master of Laws Research Papers Repository

Guided by prison abolition ethic and intersectional feminism, my key argument is that Charter section 15 is the ideal means of eradicating solitary confinement and its adverse impact on women who are Aboriginal, racialized, mentally ill, or immigration detainees. I utilize a provincial superior court’s failing in exploring a discrimination analysis concerning Aboriginal women, to illustrate my key argument. However, because of the piecemeal fashion in which courts can effect developments in the law, the abolition of solitary confinement may very well occur through a series of ‘little wins’. In Chapter 11, I provide a constitutional analysis, arguing that ...


Originalism And Congressional Power To Enforce The Fourteenth Amendment, Christopher W. Schmidt 2018 Chicago-Kent College of Law

Originalism And Congressional Power To Enforce The Fourteenth Amendment, Christopher W. Schmidt

Washington and Lee Law Review Online

In this Essay, I argue that originalism conflicts with the Supreme Court’s current jurisprudence defining the scope of Congress’ power to enforce the Fourteenth Amendment. Under the standard established in Boerne v. Flores, the Court limits congressional power under Section 5 of the Fourteenth Amendment to statutory remedies premised on judicially defined interpretations of Fourteenth Amendment rights. A commitment to originalism as a method of judicial constitutional interpretation challenges the premise of judicial interpretive supremacy in Section 5 jurisprudence in two ways. First, as a matter of history, an originalist reading of Section 5 provides support for broad judicial ...


Change, Creation, And Unpredictability In Statutory Interpretation: Interpretive Canon Use In The Roberts Court's First Decade, Nina A. Mendelson 2018 University of Michigan Law School

Change, Creation, And Unpredictability In Statutory Interpretation: Interpretive Canon Use In The Roberts Court's First Decade, Nina A. Mendelson

Michigan Law Review

In resolving questions of statutory meaning, the lion’s share of Roberts Court opinions considers and applies at least one interpretive canon, whether the rule against surplusage or the presumption against state law preemption. This is part of a decades-long turn toward textualist statutory interpretation in the Supreme Court. Commentators have debated how to justify canons, since they are judicially created rules that reside outside the statutory text. Earlier studies have cast substantial doubt on whether these canons can be justified as capturing congressional practices or preferences; commentators have accordingly turned toward second-order justifications, arguing that canons usefully make interpretation ...


State Action And The Constitution's Middle Band, Louis Michael Seidman 2018 Georgetown University Law Center

State Action And The Constitution's Middle Band, Louis Michael Seidman

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

On conventional accounts, the state action doctrine is dichotomous. When the government acts, constitutional limits take hold and the government action is invalid if those limits are exceeded. When the government fails to act, the state action doctrine leaves decisions to individuals, who are permitted to violate what would otherwise be constitutional constraints.

It turns out though that the modern state action doctrine creates three rather than two domains. There is indeed a private, inner band where there is thought to be insufficient government action to trigger constitutional constraints, but often there is also a public, outer band where there ...


The Love In Loving: Overcoming Artificial Racial Barriers, Justice Leah Ward Sears (Ret.), Sasha N. Greenberg 2018 Smith, Gambrell & Russell, LLP

The Love In Loving: Overcoming Artificial Racial Barriers, Justice Leah Ward Sears (Ret.), Sasha N. Greenberg

Notre Dame Law Review Online

The rewritten opinion of Loving v. Virginia in Feminist Judgments: Rewritten Opinions of the United States Supreme Court is in stark contrast to the original. Professor Teri McMurtry-Chubb’s judgment for the court “unmasks—and renders unavoidable— the link between America’s history of White supremacy and patriarchy and America’s legal structures for regulating marriage and families.” The feminist opinion relies almost entirely on legal, social, and cultural history, in particular the history of marriage and family relationships among and between Blacks and Whites during the colonial, antebellum, and postbellum eras in the American South.

For the authors of ...


Looking To The Litigant: Reaction Essay To Feminist Judgments: Rewritten Opinions Of The United States Supreme Court, Claire B. Wofford 2018 College of Charleston

Looking To The Litigant: Reaction Essay To Feminist Judgments: Rewritten Opinions Of The United States Supreme Court, Claire B. Wofford

Notre Dame Law Review Online

Feminist Judgments’s focus on jurists alone is not unusual. My own discipline has devoted a great deal of study to understanding why and how the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court make the decisions they do. Some of the scholarship has even examined whether women judges might operate differently than their male counterparts, though the findings have been mixed at best. The emphasis, moreover, is understandable and laudable, as it is jurists who have the final say on the content of law.

Emphasizing judicial behavior, however, unfortunately overlooks the fundamental passivity of the courts. As much as they ...


Extending The Critical Rereading Project, Gabrielle Appleby, Rosalind Dixon 2018 University of New South Wales Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law

Extending The Critical Rereading Project, Gabrielle Appleby, Rosalind Dixon

Notre Dame Law Review Online

In this reflection, we want to explain a project in Australia that extends the feminist judgments project and adapts it specifically for the purpose of teaching critical theory, critical legal thinking, and the assumptions inherent in the legal method.


Feminist Judgments And The Future Of Reproductive Justice, Sarah Weddington 2018 Notre Dame Law School

Feminist Judgments And The Future Of Reproductive Justice, Sarah Weddington

Notre Dame Law Review Online

Roe v. Wade is one of the twenty-five Supreme Court cases that has been rewritten from a feminist perspective by an imaginative group of law professors and lawyers. This Essay is based on remarks made by Ms. Weddington at a panel discussion held at Temple University Beasley School of Law on November 13, 2017.


Feminist Judgments & #Metoo, Margaret E. Johnson 2018 University of Baltimore School of Law

Feminist Judgments & #Metoo, Margaret E. Johnson

Notre Dame Law Review Online

The Feminist Judgments book series and the #MeToo movement share the feminist method of narrative. Feminist Judgments is a scholarly project of rewriting judicial opinions using feminist legal theory. #MeToo is a narrative movement by people, primarily women, telling their stories of sexual harassment or assault. Both Feminist Judgments and #MeToo bring to the surface stories that have been silenced, untold, or overlooked. These narrative collections can and do effectuate genderjustice change by empowering people, changing perspectives, opening up new learning, and affecting future legal and nonlegal outcomes.


Rewriting Judicial Opinions And The Feminist Scholarly Project, Linda L. Berger, Kathryn M. Stanchi, Bridget J. Crawford 2018 University of Nevada, Las Vegas, William S. Boyd School of Law

Rewriting Judicial Opinions And The Feminist Scholarly Project, Linda L. Berger, Kathryn M. Stanchi, Bridget J. Crawford

Notre Dame Law Review Online

In 1995, the authors of a law review article examining “feminist judging” focused on the existing social science data concerning women judges and compared the voting records and opinions of the only female Justices on the U.S. Supreme Court: Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sandra Day O’Connor. Based on this review, the authors concluded that appointing more women as judges would make little difference to judicial outcomes or processes. The authors accused those who advocated for more women on the bench of having a hidden feminist agenda and bluntly concluded that “[b]y any measure, feminist judges fit very ...


Feminist Judgments And Women's Rights At Work, Gillian Thomas 2018 ACLU Women’s Rights Project

Feminist Judgments And Women's Rights At Work, Gillian Thomas

Notre Dame Law Review Online

The history of the law’s treatment of working women is largely a history of the law’s treatment of women’s bodies. Overwhelmingly created by male judges, that jurisprudence considers women from a remove—their physicality, their reproductive capacity, their stature, their sexuality—eclipsing meaningful consideration of their lived experience, on or off the job. As vividly illustrated by so many of the alternative rulings contained in Feminist Judgments, that erasure resulted in Supreme Court decisions that—even when they came out the “right” way, that is, in favor of the female litigant—squandered opportunities for advancing sex equality ...


Feminist Judgments And The Rewritten Price Waterhouse, Sandra Sperino 2018 University of Cincinnati College of Law

Feminist Judgments And The Rewritten Price Waterhouse, Sandra Sperino

Notre Dame Law Review Online

In Feminist Judgments, Professor Martha Chamallas reimagines the canonical case of Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins. In that case, the Supreme Court recognized that a plaintiff can prevail on a Title VII claim by showing that a protected trait was a motivating factor in a negative employment outcome. In that case, the Court noted that plaintiffs in discrimination cases should not be required to prove but-for cause to prevail.

The introduction to the Professor Chamallas concurrence correctly notes many of the rewritten opinion’s strengths. Professor Chamallas provides richer detail about the facts underlying the case and the context in which ...


Revisiting Roe To Advance Reproductive Justice For Childbearing Women, Elizabeth Kukura 2018 Drexel University Thomas R. Kline School of Law

Revisiting Roe To Advance Reproductive Justice For Childbearing Women, Elizabeth Kukura

Notre Dame Law Review Online

The rewritten opinions that comprise Feminist Judgments together provide a powerful critique of judicial decisionmaking that renders certain women’s experiences invisible. By reimagining key Supreme Court decisions, the opinion writers unmask various ways that gendered conceptions of social roles are deeply entrenched in the rulings and reasoning of the highest court of the United States. The authors also show, through their alternative texts, that opinions which are celebrated as women’s rights victories can nevertheless impede progress toward equality and liberty.

Kimberly Mutcherson’s rewritten concurrence in Roe v. Wade illustrates the missed opportunities and unintended consequences that have ...


How Is Sex Harassment Discriminatory?, Noa Ben-Asher 2018 Pace University Elisabeth Haub School of Law

How Is Sex Harassment Discriminatory?, Noa Ben-Asher

Notre Dame Law Review Online

Feminist Judgments takes us to a key moment in the history of sexual harassment law. In Meritor Savings Bank v. Vinson, the Supreme Court recognized for the first time that both quid pro quo and hostile environment sexual harassment violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It also held that to be actionable under Title VII, sexual advances must be (1) “unwelcome” and (2) “sufficiently severe or pervasive ‘to alter the conditions of [the victim’s] employment and create an abusive working environment.’” The latter part of the test (“sufficiently severe or pervasive”) fits well into the ...


Recalibrating Cy Pres Settlements To Restore The Equilibrium, Michael J. Slobom 2018 Penn State Dickinson Law

Recalibrating Cy Pres Settlements To Restore The Equilibrium, Michael J. Slobom

Dickinson Law Review

Class action settlement funds become “non-distributable” when class members fail to claim their share of the settlement or the cost of distribution exceeds the value of individual claims. Before 1974, parties had two options for disposing of non-distributable funds: escheatment to the state or reversion to the defendant. Both options undermine unique objectives of the class action—namely, compensating small individual harms and deterring misconduct.

To balance the undermining effects of escheatment and reversion, courts incorporated the charitable trust doctrine of cy pres into the class action settlements context. Cy pres distributions direct non-distributable settlement funds to charities whose work ...


The Uncertain Status Of The Manifest Disregard Standard One Decade After Hall Street, Stuart M. Boyarsky 2018 Penn State Dickinson Law

The Uncertain Status Of The Manifest Disregard Standard One Decade After Hall Street, Stuart M. Boyarsky

Dickinson Law Review

The Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) enables parties to obtain quick and final resolution to disputes without incurring the costs, delays, and occasional publicity of litigation. Indeed, section 10 of the FAA enumerates four specific grounds on which courts may vacate arbitral awards: corruption, fraud, impartiality, and misconduct or incompetence. Yet over the past 60 years, a debate has raged over the existence of an additional ground: the arbitrator’s manifest disregard of the law.

The Supreme Court first enounced this standard in dicta in its 1953 decision in Wilko v. Swan. Over next four decades, every federal circuit court slowly ...


Still Living After Fifty Years: A Census Of Judicial Review Under The Pennsylvania Constitution Of 1968, Seth F. Kreimer 2018 University of Pennsylvania Law School

Still Living After Fifty Years: A Census Of Judicial Review Under The Pennsylvania Constitution Of 1968, Seth F. Kreimer

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The year 2018 marked the fiftieth anniversary of the Pennsylvania Constitution of 1968. The time seems ripe, therefore, to explore the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s exercise of judicial review under the 1968 Pennsylvania Constitution. This Article constitutes the first such comprehensive exploration.

The Article begins with an historical overview of the evolution of the Pennsylvania Constitution, culminating in the Constitution of 1968. It then presents a census of the 372 cases in which the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has vindicated distinctive Pennsylvania Constitutional rights under the Constitution of 1968.

Analysis of these cases leads to three conclusions:

1. Exercise of independent ...


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