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The Mob Lawyer's Constitution, Sara Mayeux Oct 2023

The Mob Lawyer's Constitution, Sara Mayeux

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

This article reconstructs the constitutional rhetoric of mob lawyers, as well as drug lawyers and other icons of the high-priced criminal defense bar, from the 1970s through the 1990s-the heyday of federal organized crime prosecutions and thus, of the lawyers who defended against them. Drawing upon pop-culture sources including archival television footage, magazine features, newspaper coverage, and ghost-written mass-market memoirs, the article pieces together the constellation of soundbites through which mob lawyers disseminated their views. As the subjects of frequent media coverage, these lawyers advanced a coherent and distinctive (if crude) set of ideas about the proper relationship between individuals, …


(E)Racing Speech In School, Francesca I. Procaccini Jul 2023

(E)Racing Speech In School, Francesca I. Procaccini

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

Speech on race and racism in our nation’s public schools is under attack for partisan gain. The Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment teaches a lot about the wisdom and legality of laws that chill such speech in the classroom. But more importantly, a First Amendment analysis of these laws reveals profound insights about the health and meaning of our free speech doctrine.

Through a First Amendment analysis of “anti-critical race theory” laws, this essay illuminates the first principles of free speech law. Specifically, it shows that the First Amendment offers little refuge to teachers or parents looking to …


Against Political Theory In Constitutional Interpretation, Christopher S. Havasy, Joshua C. Macey, Brian Richardson Apr 2023

Against Political Theory In Constitutional Interpretation, Christopher S. Havasy, Joshua C. Macey, Brian Richardson

Vanderbilt Law Review

Judges and academics have long relied on the work of a small number of Enlightenment political theorists-—particularly Locke, Montesquieu, and Blackstone—-to discern meaning from vague and ambiguous constitutional provisions. This Essay cautions that Enlightenment political theory should rarely, if ever, be cited as an authoritative source of constitutional meaning. There are three principal problems with constitutional interpretation based on eighteenth-century political theory. First, Enlightenment thinkers developed distinct and incompatible theories about how to structure a republican form of government. That makes it difficult to decide which among the conflicting theories should possess constitutional significance. Second, the Framers did not write …


Reliance Interests In Statutory And Constitutional Interpretation, William N. Eskridge Jr., John Garver Professor Of Jurisprudence Apr 2023

Reliance Interests In Statutory And Constitutional Interpretation, William N. Eskridge Jr., John Garver Professor Of Jurisprudence

Vanderbilt Law Review

People and companies rely on public law when they plan their activities; society relies on legal entitlements when it adapts to new technology, economic conditions, and social groups; legislators, administrators, and judges rely on settled law when they pass, implement, and interpret statutes (respectively). Such private, societal, and public “reliance interests” are the “dark matter” of America’s law of interpretation. They underwrite most interpretive doctrine, and their perceived force broadly and deeply affects the application of doctrine.

Reliance interests anchor the constitutional bias in favor of interpretive continuity, and they provide guardrails for the leading theories of interpretation-—namely-—textualism or original …


Notes On Continental Constitutional Identities, Benjamen F. Gussen Jan 2023

Notes On Continental Constitutional Identities, Benjamen F. Gussen

Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law

Geo-constitutional analysis examines the reciprocal effect of geography on constitutions. Within this analysis, a continental constitutional identity focuses on the intersection between institutional geographies and institutional identities, where constitutions are understood as meta-institutions. In some constitutions, belonging to a continent is part of the national identity, while other constitutions only signal a non-geographic, usually an ethnic, identity. The US Constitution is an example of the former. The quintessential example of a non-geographic constitution is the Constitution of the Russian Federation. A similar disregard of continental identities can be found in Israel and the Arab League countries east of the Sinai …


The Rise And Fall Of The Horseracing Integrity And Safety Act: How Congress Could Save The “Sport Of Kings”, Lucy Mcafee Jan 2023

The Rise And Fall Of The Horseracing Integrity And Safety Act: How Congress Could Save The “Sport Of Kings”, Lucy Mcafee

Vanderbilt Journal of Entertainment & Technology Law

The Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA) has undergone several unsuccessful changes over the past decade in an effort to change how horseracing is regulated. After Congress successfully passed HISA in 2020, several lawsuits were filed to stop HISA from going into effect. Congress quickly passed an amendment to HISA—which the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit upheld—seemingly stopping such litigation, but it is clear from opponents’ statements that this is just the beginning. This Note will examine the constitutional arguments’ strengths and weaknesses through precedent to determine whether the long-awaited act, as amended, can stand the test …


Constitutional Limits On The Imposition And Revocation Of Probation, Parole, And Supervised Release After Haymond, Nancy J. King Jan 2023

Constitutional Limits On The Imposition And Revocation Of Probation, Parole, And Supervised Release After Haymond, Nancy J. King

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

In its Apprendi line of cases, the Supreme Court has held that any fact found at sentencing (other than prior conviction) that aggravates the punishment range otherwise authorized by the conviction is an "element" that must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt to a jury. Whether Apprendi controls factfinding for the imposition and revocation of probation, parole, and supervised release is critically important. Seven of ten adults under correctional control in the United States are serving terms of state probation and post-confinement supervision, and roughly half of all prison admissions result from revocations of such terms. But scholars have yet …


The Perils Of Asian-American Erasure, Matthew P. Shaw Jan 2023

The Perils Of Asian-American Erasure, Matthew P. Shaw

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

Affirmative action, particularly its most well-known variant, race-conscious college admissions practices, has long occupied a precarious position in constitutional jurisprudence of equal protection and statutory antidiscrimination law. As a policy matter, affirmative action practices are necessary to reduce the impact of durable structural barriers to opportunity that have been imposed on members of identifiable racial groups because of their race. Legally, they’re on far less secure footing.

As a constitutional matter, these measures have been summarily divorced from any reparative purpose since the “diversity rationale” emerged from Regents of the University of California v. Bakke as the only compelling interest …


Constitutional Limits On The Imposition And Revocation Of Probation, Parole, And Supervised Release After Haymond, Nancy J. King Jan 2023

Constitutional Limits On The Imposition And Revocation Of Probation, Parole, And Supervised Release After Haymond, Nancy J. King

Vanderbilt Law Review

In its Apprendi line of cases, the Supreme Court has held that any fact found at sentencing (other than prior conviction) that aggravates the punishment range otherwise authorized by the conviction is an “element” that must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt to a jury. Whether Apprendi controls factfinding for the imposition and revocation of probation, parole, and supervised release is critically important. Seven of ten adults under correctional control in the United States are serving terms of state probation and post-confinement supervision, and roughly half of all prison admissions result from revocations of such terms. But scholars have yet …


Surveillance Technologies And Constitutional Law, Christopher Slobogin, Sarah Brayne Jan 2023

Surveillance Technologies And Constitutional Law, Christopher Slobogin, Sarah Brayne

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

This review focuses on government use of technology to observe, collect, or record potential criminal activity in real-time, as contrasted with “transaction surveillance” that involves government efforts to access already-existing records and exploit Big Data, topics that have been the focus of previous reviews (Brayne 2018, Ridgeway 2018). Even so limited, surveillance technologies come in many guises, including closed-circuit television, automated license plate and facial readers, aerial cameras, and GPS tracking. Also classifiable as surveillance technology are devices such as thermal and electromagnetic imagers that can “see” through walls and clothing. Finally, surveillance includes wiretapping and other forms of communication …


The Ghost Of John Hart Ely, Ryan D. Doerfler, Samuel Moyn Apr 2022

The Ghost Of John Hart Ely, Ryan D. Doerfler, Samuel Moyn

Vanderbilt Law Review

The ghost of John Hart Ely haunts the American liberal constitutional imagination. Despite the failure long ago of any progressive constitutional vision in an increasingly conservative Supreme Court, Ely’s conjectures about the superiority of judges relative to legislatures in the protection of minorities and the policing of the democratic process remain second nature. Indeed, they have been credible enough among liberals to underwrite an anxious or even hostile attitude toward judicial reform. In order to exorcise Ely’s ghost and lay it to rest, this Article challenges his twin conjectures. First, the Article argues that there is little historical and no …


Nonparty Jurisdiction, Aaron D. Simowitz, Linda J. Silberman Mar 2022

Nonparty Jurisdiction, Aaron D. Simowitz, Linda J. Silberman

Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law

The Supreme Court's recent decisions on personal jurisdiction, including its 2021 decision in Ford Motor Co. v. Montana Eighth Judicial District Court, have all focused on the adjudication of plenary claims. In seven years, the Court has decided six major cases on personal jurisdiction in that context. However, these precedents also appear to guide lower courts in areas outside the traditional focus of personal jurisdiction doctrine but where personal jurisdiction is nonetheless necessary. For example, a court must have personal jurisdiction over a nonparty witness in order to compel the witness to testify or to produce documents. A court must …


The False Allure Of The Anti-Accumulation Principle, Kevin Stack, Michael Herz Jan 2022

The False Allure Of The Anti-Accumulation Principle, Kevin Stack, Michael Herz

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

Today the executive branch is generally seen as the most dangerous branch. Many worry that the executive branch now defies or subsumes the separation of powers. In response, several Supreme Court Justices and prominent scholars assert that the very separation-of-powers principles that determine the structure of the federal government as a whole apply with full force within the executive branch. In particular, they argue that constitutional law prohibits the accumulation of more than one type of power-—legislative, executive, and judicial—-in the same executive official or government entity. We refer to this as the anti-accumulation principle. The consequences of this principle, …


Quilombo Land Rights, Brazilian Constitutionalism, And Racial Capitalism, Karen Engle, Lucas Lixinski Oct 2021

Quilombo Land Rights, Brazilian Constitutionalism, And Racial Capitalism, Karen Engle, Lucas Lixinski

Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law

The 1988 Brazilian Constitution, the first in a wave of new democratic and multicultural constitutions in Latin America, contains a transitory provision guaranteeing collective land rights to quilombo communities. These communities are composed of quilombolas, primarily descendants of formerly enslaved Africans, many of whom had escaped slavery. A 2003 executive decree to implement the land title provision became the subject of a constitutional challenge lasting over fifteen years. When the Brazilian constitutional court eventually upheld the decree in 2018, it relied heavily on the work of US political theorist Nancy Fraser to justify quilombo land title as both recognition and …


China's Comparative Constitution, Bui Ngoc Son Jan 2021

China's Comparative Constitution, Bui Ngoc Son

Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law

The academic field of comparative constitutional law has recently had greater engagements with China's constitution. This Article explains the modes, conditions, and factors of these engagements. The country-studies of China's constitution echo and complicate recent comparative debates on transnational constitution making and the varieties of constitutionalism. Comparative constitutional scholarship formulates new concepts, such as constitutional entrepreneurship and constitutional dissonance, to understand China's constitution. Additionally, it explains China's constitutional divergence from the most similar case, namely Vietnam, and its unexpected constitutional similarities with the most different cases, such as the United States and the United Kingdom. Finally, this scholarship discusses China's …


Judicial Deference To Administrative Interpretation Of Statutes From A Comparative Perspective, Vincent Martenet Jan 2021

Judicial Deference To Administrative Interpretation Of Statutes From A Comparative Perspective, Vincent Martenet

Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law

This Article examines, from a comparative perspective, how judicial deference to administrative interpretation of statutes takes place and whether it is constitutionally admissible. Since constitutions and statutes rarely deal expressly with this issue, courts may have to determine whether or not such deference is permitted, and, if so, whether generally or in certain cases only. The constitutional, legal, and judicial context prevailing in each country is particularly important in this regard. Nevertheless, it may provide courts with little, if any, guidance on the specific issue of deference to administrative statutory interpretation. In this respect, a nuanced approach along all or …


The Perfect Match: Solving The Due Process Problem Of Signature Matching With Federal Agency Regulation, Rachel Blumenstein Jan 2021

The Perfect Match: Solving The Due Process Problem Of Signature Matching With Federal Agency Regulation, Rachel Blumenstein

Vanderbilt Journal of Entertainment & Technology Law

Local election commissions in the United States disenfranchise Americans when they erroneously reject voters’ mail-in ballots for failed signature matches. Disenfranchisement is not only problematic because it is dangerous to the health of American democracy, but also because signature matching violates the procedural due process protections voters are entitled to when they exercise their right to vote. Furthermore, the practice of signature matching is one of many ballot access restrictions that disproportionately impact minority voters under the guise of voter fraud prevention. Expanding the Election Assistance Commission’s mandate to allow it to develop more accurate methods of ballot verification can …


Reconstructing State Republics, Francesca L. Procaccini Jan 2021

Reconstructing State Republics, Francesca L. Procaccini

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

Our national political dysfunction is rooted in constitutionally dysfunctional states. States today are devolving into modern aristocracies through laws that depress popular control, entwine wealth and power, and insulate incumbents from democratic oversight and accountability. These unrepublican states corrupt the entire United States. It is for this reason that the Constitution obligates the United States to restore ailing states to their full republican strength. But how? For all its attention to process, the Constitution is silent on how the United States may exercise its sweeping Article IV power to “guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of …


Rethinking Swing Voters, Jonathan S. Gould Jan 2021

Rethinking Swing Voters, Jonathan S. Gould

Vanderbilt Law Review

In recent decades, swing voters in courts and legislatures have made many of the United States’ most important decisions of law and policy. It would be easy to conclude from the recent history of the Supreme Court and Congress that democracy or majority rule inevitably entails placing many of a society’s most important decisions in the hands of swing voters. Far from being inevitable, however, swing voters result from a highly contingent set of circumstances, both ideological and institutional.

This Article probes these contingencies, describing and evaluating swing voters and the power they hold. It first explains the conditions under …


Checks And Balances In The Criminal Law, Daniel Epps Jan 2021

Checks And Balances In The Criminal Law, Daniel Epps

Vanderbilt Law Review

The separation of powers is considered essential in the criminal law, where liberty and even life are at stake. Yet the reasons for separating criminal powers are surprisingly opaque, and the “separation of powers” is often used to refer to distinct, and sometimes contradictory, concepts.

This Article reexamines the justifications for the separation of powers in criminal law. It asks what is important about separating criminal powers and what values such separation serves. It concludes that in criminal justice, the traditional Madisonian approach of separating powers between functionally differentiated political institutions—legislature, executive, and judiciary—bears no necessary connection to important values …


Oversight Riders, Kevin Stack, Michael P. Vandenbergh Jan 2021

Oversight Riders, Kevin Stack, Michael P. Vandenbergh

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

Congress has a constitutionally critical duty to gather information about how the executive branch implements the powers Congress has granted it and the funds Congress has appropriated. Yet in recent years the executive branch has systematically thwarted Congress’s powers and duties of oversight. Congressional subpoenas for testimony and documents have met with blanket refusals to comply, frequently backed by advice from the Department of Justice that executive privilege justifies withholding the information. Even when Congress holds an official in contempt for failure to comply with a congressional subpoena, the Department of Justice often does not initiate criminal sanctions. As a …


Reconciling Risk And Equality, Christopher Slobogin Jul 2020

Reconciling Risk And Equality, Christopher Slobogin

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

States have increasingly resorted to statistically-derived risk algorithms to determine when diversion from prison should occur, whether sentences should be enhanced, and the level of security and treatment a prisoner requires. The federal government has jumped on the bandwagon in a big way with the First Step Act, which mandated that a risk assessment instrument be developed to determine which prisoners can be released early on parole. Policymakers are turning to these algorithms because they are thought to be more accurate and less biased than judges and correctional officials, making them useful tools for reducing prison populations through identification of …


Federalism And The Military Power Of The United States, Robert Leider May 2020

Federalism And The Military Power Of The United States, Robert Leider

Vanderbilt Law Review

This Article examines the original meaning of the constitutional provisions governing the raising and organization of military forces. It argues that the Framers carefully divided the military between the federal and state governments. This division provided structural checks against the misuse of military power and made it more difficult to use offensive military force. These structural checks have been compromised by the creation of the U.S. Army Reserve, the dual enlistment of National Guard officers and soldiers, and the acceptance of conscription into the national army, all of which have enhanced federal military power beyond its original constitutional limits.

This …


Reconstructing The Congressional Guarantee Of Republican Government, David S. Louk Apr 2020

Reconstructing The Congressional Guarantee Of Republican Government, David S. Louk

Vanderbilt Law Review

This Article considers whether the Clause might serve as an additional constitutional basis for federal legislation and explores the interpretive arguments Congress might raise to justify the power to reform electoral processes in the states under the Clause. This Article also questions the prevailing view that the Supreme Court has always treated the Clause as functionally nonjusticiable. It argues that even following established precedents, the contemporary Court might well engage with the merits of legislation and litigation commenced under the Clause, given the Court’s recent penchant for enhanced scrutiny of congressional enforcement powers under the Reconstruction Amendments. Such challenges would …


Identity Federalism In Europe And The United States, Vlad Perju Jan 2020

Identity Federalism In Europe And The United States, Vlad Perju

Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law

The turn to identity is reshaping federalism. Opposition to the policies of the Trump administration, from the travel ban to sanctuary cities and the rollback of environmental protections, has led progressives to explore more fluid and contingent forms of state identity. Conservatives, too, have sought to shift federalism away from the jurisdictional focus on limited and enumerated powers and have argued for a revival of the political safeguards of federalism, including state-based identities. This Article draws on comparative law to study identity as a political safeguard of federalism and its transformation from constitutional discourse to interpretative processes and, eventually, constitutional …


The Constitutional Logic Of The Common Law, Douglas E. Edlin Jan 2020

The Constitutional Logic Of The Common Law, Douglas E. Edlin

Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law

This Article uses two concepts from philosophical logic, the transitive property and syllogistic reasoning, to examine the history and theory of the common law. More specifically, the Article uses the transitive property to challenge the claims of sovereignty theorists that parliamentary supremacy is truly the most fundamental historical and theoretical basis of the British constitution. Instead, the transitive property helps show that the history and theory of the common law tradition has long provided a role for independent courts in maintaining the rule of law as a foundational principle of the British constitution. The Article then closely analyzes the reasoning …


Putting The Constitution In Its Place, Edward L. Rubin Jan 2020

Putting The Constitution In Its Place, Edward L. Rubin

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

The fact that Donald Trump became President in 2016, despite losing the popular vote by a substantial margin, has brought renewed attention to the Electoral College system. In "Forging the American Nation," Shlomo Slonim provides an illuminating account of the process that led to this bizarre method of determining the outcome of presidential elections. But Professor Slonim's book also provides insights into the origins of many other structural features of our constitutional system that are of questionable value in a modern democracy, such as elections by state for the Senate, the Senate's exclusive exercise of legislative authority for treaties and …


Unraveling Williams V. Illinois, Edward K. Cheng, Cara C. Mannion Jan 2020

Unraveling Williams V. Illinois, Edward K. Cheng, Cara C. Mannion

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

This Essay addresses one of the key evidentiary problems facing courts today: the treatment of forensic reports under the Confrontation Clause. Forensics are a staple of modern criminal trials, yet what restrictions the Confrontation Clause places on forensic reports is entirely unclear. The Supreme Court’s latest decision on the issue, Williams v. Illinois, sowed widespread confusion among lower courts and commentators, and during the 2018 Term, Justices Gorsuch and Kagan dissented to the denial of certiorari in Stuart v. Alabama, a case that would have revisited (and hopefully clarified) Williams.

Our Essay dispels the confusion in Williams v. Illinois. …


Popular Constitutional Argument, Tom Donnelly Jan 2020

Popular Constitutional Argument, Tom Donnelly

Vanderbilt Law Review

Critics have long attacked popular constitutionalists for offering few clues about how their theory might work in practice—-especially inside the courts. These critics are right. Popular constitutionalism—as a matter of both theory and practice—remains a work in progress. In this Article, I take up the challenge of developing an account of (what I call) popular constitutional argument. Briefly stated, popular constitutional argument is a form of argument that draws on the American people’s considered judgments as a source of constitutional authority—akin to traditional sources like text, history, structure, and doctrine. Turning to constitutional theory, I situate popular constitutional argument within …


The Due Process And Other Constitutional Rights Of Foreign States, Ingrid W. Brunk Nov 2019

The Due Process And Other Constitutional Rights Of Foreign States, Ingrid W. Brunk

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

The rights offoreign states under the US. Constitution are becoming more important as the actions offoreign states andforeign state-owned enterprises expand in scope and the legislative protections to which they are entitled contract. Conventional wisdom and lower court cases hold that foreign states are outside our constitutional order and that they are protected neither by separation ofpowers nor by due process. As a matter ofpolicy, however, it makes little sense to afford litigation-related constitutional protections to foreign corporations and individuals but to deny categorically such protections to foreign states. Careful analysis shows that the conventional wisdom and lower court cases …