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Full-Text Articles in Law

Feed: State Transparency Amidst Informational Surplus, Mark Fenster Dec 2018

Feed: State Transparency Amidst Informational Surplus, Mark Fenster

Mark Fenster

An email arrives, promising inside information about the perfidious forces that secretly rule the nation. A Twitter feed from a prominent insider at an establishment think-tank announces the latest disclosure about the president’s secret role in the Russian conspiracy to manipulate the election that elevated him with the blast of toy cannon. Meanwhile, the President’s tweets serve to annoy, distract, humor, or comfort those who see them, and they above all announce some truth about his presidency. 

Debates about government transparency presume that the state controls an informational spigot, which can be made to allow information to flow ...


Disclosure's Effects: Wikileaks And Transparency, Mark Fenster Feb 2012

Disclosure's Effects: Wikileaks And Transparency, Mark Fenster

Mark Fenster

Constitutional, criminal, and administrative laws regulating government transparency, and the theories that support them, rest on the assumption that the disclosure of information has transformative effects: disclosure can inform, enlighten, and energize the public, or it can create great harm or stymie government operations. To resolve disputes over difficult cases, transparency laws and theories typically balance disclosure’s beneficial effects against its harmful ones. WikiLeaks and its vigilante approach to massive document leaks challenge the underlying assumption about disclosure’s effects in two ways. First, WikiLeaks’s ability to receive and distribute leaked information cheaply, quickly, and seemingly unstoppably enables ...


Excerpt From Conspiracy Theories: Secrecy And Power In American Culture (Revised And Updated Edition), Mark Fenster Dec 2007

Excerpt From Conspiracy Theories: Secrecy And Power In American Culture (Revised And Updated Edition), Mark Fenster

Mark Fenster

This is the introduction to the revised and updated edition of Conspiracy Theories: Secrecy and Power in American Culture (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, forthcoming 2008). The book challenges the dominant academic and popular approach to conspiracy theories, which views them as a paranoid, extremist expression of marginal groups and individuals that pathologically challenges the basic assumptions of American history and the pluralistic political system of the United States. The book is premised on the contrary proposition that the prevalence of conspiracy theories is neither necessarily pernicious nor external to American politics and culture but instead an integral aspect of ...


Coolhunting The Law, Mark Fenster Dec 2006

Coolhunting The Law, Mark Fenster

Mark Fenster

This symposium essay, offers a small critique of Victor Fleischer's interesting and valuable work on branding as part of an initial public offering strategy (e.g., the Google and MasterCard IPOs). It seeks to complicate both the idea of the "brand" both as a mysterious means of communication and the notion that an attorney can and should, in his professional role as legal counsel, attempt to assist a client to create "brand" value in its regulatory compliance.


Regulating Land Use In A Constitutional Shadow: The Institutional Contexts Of Exactions, Mark Fenster Dec 2006

Regulating Land Use In A Constitutional Shadow: The Institutional Contexts Of Exactions, Mark Fenster

Mark Fenster

In a refreshingly clear and comprehensive decision issued towards the end of its 2004 Term, the Supreme Court explained in Lingle v. Chevron (2005) that the Takings Clause requires compensation only for the effects of a regulation on an individual’s property rights. Under the substantive due process doctrine, by contrast, courts engage in a deferential inquiry into both a regulation’s validity and the means by which the regulation attempts to meet the government’s objective. Lingle’s explanation appeared to cast doubt on the doctrinal foundation and reach of Nollan v. California Coastal Commission (1987) and Dolan v ...


The Takings Clause, Version 2005: The Legal Process Of Constitutional Property Rights, Mark Fenster Dec 2006

The Takings Clause, Version 2005: The Legal Process Of Constitutional Property Rights, Mark Fenster

Mark Fenster

The three takings decisions that the Supreme Court issued at the end of its October 2004 Term marked a stunning reversal of the Court’s efforts the past three decades to use the Takings Clause to define a set of constitutional property rights. The regulatory takings doctrine, which once loomed as a significant threat to the modern regulatory state, now appears after Lingle v. Chevron to be a relatively tame, if complicated, check on exceptional instances of regulatory abuse. At the same time, the Public Use Clause, formerly an inconsequential limitation on the state’s eminent domain authority, now appears ...


The Opacity Of Transparency, Mark Fenster Dec 2004

The Opacity Of Transparency, Mark Fenster

Mark Fenster

The normative concept of transparency, along with the open government laws that purport to create a transparent public system of governance promise the world—a democratic and accountable state above all, and a peaceful, prosperous, and efficient one as well. But transparency, in its role as the theoretical justification for a set of legal commands, frustrates all parties affected by its ambiguities and abstractions. The public’s engagement with transparency in practice yields denials of reasonable requests for essential government information, as well as government meetings that occur behind closed doors. Meanwhile, state officials bemoan the significantly impaired decision-making processes ...


Takings Formalism And Regulatory Formulas: Exactions And The Consequences Of Clarity, Mark Fenster Dec 2003

Takings Formalism And Regulatory Formulas: Exactions And The Consequences Of Clarity, Mark Fenster

Mark Fenster

A vocal minority of the U.S. Supreme Court recently announced its suspicion that lower courts and state and local administrative agencies are systematically ignoring constitutional rules intended to limit, through heightened judicial review, exactions as a land use regulatory tool. Exactions are the concessions local governments require of property owners as conditions for the issuance of the entitlements that enable the intensified use of real property. In two cases decided over the past two decades, Nollan v. California Coastal Commission (1987) and Dolan v. City of Tigard (1994), the Court has established under the Takings Clause a logic and ...


The Birth Of A "Logical System": Thurman Arnold And The Making Of Modern Administrative Law, Mark Fenster Dec 2003

The Birth Of A "Logical System": Thurman Arnold And The Making Of Modern Administrative Law, Mark Fenster

Mark Fenster

Much of what we recognize as contemporary administrative law emerged during the 1920s and 1930s, a period when a group of legal academics attempted to aid Progressive Era and New Deal regulatory efforts by crafting a legitimating system for the federal administrative state. Their system assigned competent, expert institutions—most notably administrative agencies and the judiciary—well-defined roles: Agencies would utilize their vast, specialized knowledge and abilities to correct market failures, while courts would provide a limited but crucial oversight of agency operations. This Article focuses both on this first generation of administrative law scholarship, which included most prominently Felix ...