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Constitutional Law

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St. Mary's University School of Law

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Originalism And The Meaning Of "Twenty Dollars", Michael L. Smith Jan 2023

Originalism And The Meaning Of "Twenty Dollars", Michael L. Smith

Faculty Articles

Originalism claims to provide answers, or at least assistance, for those hoping to interpret a Constitution filled with wide-ranging, morally loaded terminology. Originalists claim that looking to the original public meaning of the Constitution will constrain interpreters, maintain consistency and predictability in judicial decisions, and is faithful to ideals like democratic legitimacy. This essay responds with the inevitable, tough question: whether originalism can tell interpreters what the Seventh Amendment's reference to "twenty dollars" means--both as a matter of original meaning and for interpreters today.

While this appears to be an easy question, I demonstrate that rather than telling modern legal …


The Trump Travel Ban: Rhetoric Vs Reality, Jeffrey F. Addicott Jul 2019

The Trump Travel Ban: Rhetoric Vs Reality, Jeffrey F. Addicott

Faculty Articles

President Trump's "Muslim ban" set the nation afire with debate. Opponents to the ban were motivated by the President's underlying motivations. Three iterations of the travel ban were struck down by lower courts. Before the Supreme Court, however, the travel ban was upheld. First, the plain language of § 1182(f) granted broad discretion to the President. Second, it did not violate the prohibition of discrimination against selected categories in § 1152(a)(1)(A). Finally, it failed to violate the Establishment Clause because it is facially legitimate, satisfying rational basis review. The Court found no facial evidence demonstrating discriminatory bias.


Reshaping American Jurisprudence In The Trump Era - The Rise Of Originalist Judges, Jeffrey F. Addicott Apr 2019

Reshaping American Jurisprudence In The Trump Era - The Rise Of Originalist Judges, Jeffrey F. Addicott

Faculty Articles

One of the factors that is often cited as a key reason why President Donald J. Trump was elected as the forty-fifth president, was his pledge to the American people to "make America great again" by appointing "conservative judges" to the bench, particularly when it came to filling any vacancies that might open on the United States Supreme Court. Since the never ending fight for securing an ideological majority on the Supreme Court is always viewed with great concern by both political parties, many wondered whether then candidate Trump was simply telling potential voters what they wanted to hear, or …


Rules To Impeach By - What It Takes To Remove A President, David Dittfurth Mar 2019

Rules To Impeach By - What It Takes To Remove A President, David Dittfurth

Faculty Articles

Professor David Dittfurth explains the steps that must be taken by Congress to impeach a president or other official.


Constitutional Shapeshifting: Giving The Fourth Amendment Substance In The Technology Driven World Of Criminal Investigation, Gerald S. Reamey Jun 2018

Constitutional Shapeshifting: Giving The Fourth Amendment Substance In The Technology Driven World Of Criminal Investigation, Gerald S. Reamey

Faculty Articles

For the first hundred years of the Fourth Amendment's life, gains in the technology of surveillance were modest. With the advent of miniaturization and ever-increasing sophistication and capability of surveillance and detection devices, the Supreme Court has struggled to adapt its understanding of "search" to the constantly evolving devices and methods that challenge contemporary understanding of privacy. In response to surveillance innovations, the Court has taken varying positions, focusing first on property-based intrusions by government, then shifting to privacy expectations, and, more recently, resurrecting the view that a trespass to property can define search.

This article surveys this constitutional odyssey, …


The (Mis)Application Of Rule 404(B) Heuristics, Dora W. Klein Apr 2018

The (Mis)Application Of Rule 404(B) Heuristics, Dora W. Klein

Faculty Articles

In all of the federal circuit courts of appeals, application of Rule 404(b) of the Federal Rules of Evidence has been distorted by judicially-created "tests" that, while intended to assist trial courts in properly admitting or excluding evidence, do not actually test for the kind of evidence prohibited by this rule. Rule 404(b) prohibits evidence of "crimes, wrongs, or other acts" if the purpose for admitting the evidence is to prove action in accordance with a character trait. This evidence is commonly referred to as "propensity" evidence, or "once a drug dealer, always a drug dealer" evidence.

This Article examines …


Political Ripples Ahead For Supreme Court Confirmation, Michael S. Ariens Feb 2017

Political Ripples Ahead For Supreme Court Confirmation, Michael S. Ariens

Faculty Articles

No abstract provided.


Exemplary And Exceptional Confusion Under The Federal Rules Of Evidence, Dora W. Klein Jan 2017

Exemplary And Exceptional Confusion Under The Federal Rules Of Evidence, Dora W. Klein

Faculty Articles

This Article proposes that the final provisions of Rule 407 and 411, which provide a list of examples of permitted purposes for which a court may admit evidence, are asking for trouble--specifically, the trouble that courts will interpret the list not as examples, but as a specially enumerated, exhaustive list of exceptions.


The Development Of Chinese Constitutionalism, Chenglin Liu Jan 2016

The Development Of Chinese Constitutionalism, Chenglin Liu

Faculty Articles

Since the establishment of the People's Republic of China (PRC) in 1949, the country has enacted four constitutions. This Article provides a historical analysis of how the Communist Party of China (the Party) and its paramount leaders shaped each constitution, influenced the public perception of the law, and determined the method individual constitutional rights should be permitted. Through examining leading incidents that defined the PRC's history, this Article provides a detailed examination of how the Party used a constitutional framework to achieve its specific agenda of the time.


Catholicism And Constitutional Law: More Than Privacy In The Penumbras, Bill Piatt Jan 2010

Catholicism And Constitutional Law: More Than Privacy In The Penumbras, Bill Piatt

Faculty Articles

No abstract provided.


Church-State Constitutional Issues: Making Sense Of The Establishment Clause And That Godless Court?: Supreme Court Decision On Church-State Relationships (Book Reviews), Michael Ariens Jan 2001

Church-State Constitutional Issues: Making Sense Of The Establishment Clause And That Godless Court?: Supreme Court Decision On Church-State Relationships (Book Reviews), Michael Ariens

Faculty Articles

No abstract provided.


Constitutional Law And The Myth Of The Great Judge, Michael S. Ariens Jan 1993

Constitutional Law And The Myth Of The Great Judge, Michael S. Ariens

Faculty Articles

One of the enduring myths of American history, including constitutional history, is that of the “Great Man” or “Great Woman.” The idea is that, to understand the history of America, one needs to understand the impact made by Great Men and Women whose actions affected the course of history. In political history, one assays the development of the United States through the lives of great Americans, from the “Founders” to Abraham Lincoln to John F. Kennedy. Similarly, in constitutional history, the story is told through key figures, the “Great Judges,” from John Marshall to Oliver Wendell Holmes to Earl Warren. …


When “Special Needs” Meet Probable Cause: Denying The Devil Benefit Of Law, Gerald S. Reamey Jan 1992

When “Special Needs” Meet Probable Cause: Denying The Devil Benefit Of Law, Gerald S. Reamey

Faculty Articles

Removing laws to pursue the lawbreaker may be well intentioned, but the result is that society is susceptible to the evils those laws protect against. The traditional Fourth Amendment safeguards--probable cause and warrants--have been abandoned due to the development of a reasonableness standard because of the presence of “special needs” that were used to justify searches. The adoption of this alternative approach to Fourth Amendment interpretation was signalled by the truly landmark case of Terry v. Ohio.

By adopting the “reasonableness” analysis, the Supreme Court altered the impact of the exclusionary rule without directly modifying the rule. After Griffin v. …