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Is There Anything Left In The Fight Against Partisan Gerrymandering? Congressional Redistricting Commissions And The “Independent State Legislature Theory”, Derek A. Zeigler, Jose Urteaga Dec 2023

Is There Anything Left In The Fight Against Partisan Gerrymandering? Congressional Redistricting Commissions And The “Independent State Legislature Theory”, Derek A. Zeigler, Jose Urteaga

Michigan Law Review

Partisan gerrymandering is a scourge on our democracy. Instead of voters choosing their representatives, representatives choose their voters. Historically, individuals and states could pursue multiple paths to challenge partisan gerrymandering. One way was to bring claims in federal court. The Supreme Court shut this door in Rucho v. Common Cause. States can also resist partisan gerrymandering by establishing congressional redistricting commissions. However, the power of these commissions to draw congressional districts is at risk. In Moore v. Harper, a case decided in the Supreme Court’s 2022-2023 Term, the petitioners asked the Court to embrace the “Independent State Legislature …


The Impact Of Post-Dobbs Abortion Bans On Prenatal Tort Claims, Aviva K. Diamond Jan 2023

The Impact Of Post-Dobbs Abortion Bans On Prenatal Tort Claims, Aviva K. Diamond

Michigan Law Review

In June 2022, the Supreme Court revoked Americans’ fundamental right to abortion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. However, the Court said nothing about how its decision would impact tort claims related to reproductive care. Many states have since adopted near-total or early-gestational- age abortion bans, which has not only diminished access to reproductive care, but has also incidentally impaired the ability of plaintiffs to bring long-recognized prenatal tort claims. Prenatal tort claims—wrongful pregnancy, birth, and life—allow victims to recover when a medical professional negligently performs reproductive or prenatal care. This Note identifies the impact that post-Dobbs …


Status Manipulation In Chae Chan Ping V. United States, Sam Erman Jan 2023

Status Manipulation In Chae Chan Ping V. United States, Sam Erman

Michigan Law Review

A Review of Chae Chan Ping v. United States. By Rose Cuison-Villazor in Critical Race Judgments: Rewritten U.S. Court Opinions on Race and the Law 74, 84. Edited by Bennett Capers, Devon W. Carbado, R.A. Lenhardt and Angela Onwuachi-Willig.


Allow Me To Transform: A Black Guy’S Guide To A New Constitution, Brandon Hasbrouck Jan 2023

Allow Me To Transform: A Black Guy’S Guide To A New Constitution, Brandon Hasbrouck

Michigan Law Review

A Review of Allow Me to Retort: A Black Guy’s Guide to the Constitution. By Elie Mystal.


Akhil Amar’S Unusable Past, Gregory Ablavsky Jan 2023

Akhil Amar’S Unusable Past, Gregory Ablavsky

Michigan Law Review

A Review of The Words That Made Us: America’s Constitutional Conversation, 1760–1840. By Akhil Reed Amar.


Federal Pleading Standards In State Court, Marcus Gadson Dec 2022

Federal Pleading Standards In State Court, Marcus Gadson

Michigan Law Review

Most state courts cannot follow both their state constitutions and federal pleading standards. Even if they could, policy considerations unique to states compel state courts to reject federal pleading standards. This is because federal courts have changed pleading standards to allow judges to make factual determinations on a motion to dismiss and to require more factual detail in complaints. While scholars have vigorously debated whether these changes are wise, just, and permissible under the federal rules and the Constitution, they have ignored the even more important questions of whether state courts can and should adopt those pleading standards. The oversight …


Territoriality In American Criminal Law, Emma Kaufman Dec 2022

Territoriality In American Criminal Law, Emma Kaufman

Michigan Law Review

It is a bedrock principle of American criminal law that the authority to try and punish someone for a crime arises from the crime’s connection to a particular place. Thus, we assume that a person who commits a crime in some location— say, Philadelphia—can be arrested by Philadelphia police for conduct deemed criminal by the Pennsylvania legislature, prosecuted in a Philadelphia court, and punished in a Pennsylvania prison. The idea that criminal law is tied to geography in this way is called the territoriality principle. This idea is so familiar that it usually goes unstated.

This Article foregrounds and questions …


Most Favored Racial Hierarchy: The Ever-Evolving Ways Of The Supreme Court’S Superordination Of Whiteness, David Simson Jun 2022

Most Favored Racial Hierarchy: The Ever-Evolving Ways Of The Supreme Court’S Superordination Of Whiteness, David Simson

Michigan Law Review

This Article engages in a critical comparative analysis of the recent history and likely future trajectory of the Supreme Court’s constitutional jurisprudence in matters of race and religion to uncover new aspects of the racial project that Reggie Oh has recently called the “racial superordination” of whiteness—the reinforcing of the superior status of whites in American society by, among other things, prioritizing their interests in structuring constitutional doctrine. This analysis shows that the Court is increasingly widening the gap between conceptions of, and levels of protection provided for, equality in the contexts of race and religion in ways that prioritize …


The Politics Of Proportionality, Nelson Tebbe, Micah Schwartzman Apr 2022

The Politics Of Proportionality, Nelson Tebbe, Micah Schwartzman

Michigan Law Review

A Review of How Rights Went Wrong: Why Our Obsession With Rights Is Tearing America Apart. By Jamal Greene.


Securing Gun Rights By Statute: The Right To Keep And Bear Arms Outside The Constitution, Jacob D. Charles Feb 2022

Securing Gun Rights By Statute: The Right To Keep And Bear Arms Outside The Constitution, Jacob D. Charles

Michigan Law Review

In popular and professional discourse, debate about the right to keep and bear arms most often revolves around the Second Amendment. But that narrow reference ignores a vast and expansive nonconstitutional legal regime privileging guns and their owners. This collection of nonconstitutional gun rights confers broad powers and immunities on gun owners that go far beyond those required by the Constitution, like rights to bring guns on private property against an owner’s wishes and to carry a concealed firearm in public with no training or background check. This Article catalogues this set of expansive laws and critically assesses them. Unlike …


A Theory Of Constitutional Norms, Ashraf Ahmed Jan 2022

A Theory Of Constitutional Norms, Ashraf Ahmed

Michigan Law Review

The political convulsions of the past decade have fueled acute interest in constitutional norms or “conventions.” Despite intense scholarly attention, existing accounts are incomplete and do not answer at least one or more of three major questions: (1) What must all constitutional norms do? (2) What makes them conventional? (3) And why are they constitutional?

This Article advances an original theory of constitutional norms that answers these questions. First, it defines them and explains their general character: they are normative, contingent, and arbitrary practices that implement constitutional text and principle. Most scholars have foregone examining how norms are conventional or …


Disparate Discrimination, Leah M. Litman Jan 2022

Disparate Discrimination, Leah M. Litman

Michigan Law Review

This Article explains and analyzes a recent trend in the Supreme Court’s cases regarding unintentional discrimination, where the argument is that a law has the effect of producing a disadvantage on members of a particular group. In religious discrimination cases, the Court has held that a law is presumptively unconstitutional if the law results in a comparable secular activity being treated more favorably than religious activity. Yet in racial discrimination cases, the Court has said the mere fact that a law more severely disadvantages racial minorities as a group does not suffice to establish unlawful discrimination.

The two tracks for …


Through A Glass, Darkly: Systemic Racism, Affirmative Action, And Disproportionate Minority Contact, Robin Walker Sterling Dec 2021

Through A Glass, Darkly: Systemic Racism, Affirmative Action, And Disproportionate Minority Contact, Robin Walker Sterling

Michigan Law Review

This Article is the first to describe how systemic racism persists in a society that openly denounces racism and racist behaviors, using affirmative action and disproportionate minority contact as contrasting examples. Affirmative action and disproportionate minority contact are two sides of the same coin. Far from being distinct, these two social institutions function as two sides of the same ideology, sharing a common historical nucleus rooted in the mythologies that sustained chattel slavery in the United States. The effects of these narratives continue to operate in race-related jurisprudence and in the criminal legal system, sending normative messages about race and …


The Case Of The Dishonest Scrivener: Gouverneur Morris And The Creation Of The Federalist Constitution, William Michael Treanor Oct 2021

The Case Of The Dishonest Scrivener: Gouverneur Morris And The Creation Of The Federalist Constitution, William Michael Treanor

Michigan Law Review

At the end of the Constitutional Convention, the delegates appointed the Committee of Style and Arrangement to bring together the textual provisions that the Convention had previously agreed to and to prepare a final constitution. Pennsylvania delegate Gouverneur Morris drafted the document for the Committee, and, with few revisions and little debate, the Convention adopted Morris’s draft. For more than two hundred years, questions have been raised as to whether Morris covertly altered the text in order to advance his constitutional vision, but modern legal scholars and historians studying the Convention have either ignored the issue or concluded that Morris …


Suspect Spheres, Not Enumerated Powers: A Guide For Leaving The Lamppost, Richard Primus, Roderick M. Hills Jr. May 2021

Suspect Spheres, Not Enumerated Powers: A Guide For Leaving The Lamppost, Richard Primus, Roderick M. Hills Jr.

Michigan Law Review

Despite longstanding orthodoxy, the Constitution’s enumeration of congressional powers does virtually nothing to limit federal lawmaking. That’s not because of some bizarrely persistent judicial failure to read the Constitution correctly. It’s because the enumeration of congressional powers is not a well-designed technology for limiting federal legislation. Rather than trying to make the enumeration do work that it will not do, decisionmakers should find better ways of thinking about what lawmaking should be done locally rather than nationally. This Article suggests such a rubric, one that asks not whether Congress has permission to do a certain thing but whether a certain …


Pregnancy And The Carceral State, Khiara M. Bridges Apr 2021

Pregnancy And The Carceral State, Khiara M. Bridges

Michigan Law Review

A Review of Policing the Womb: Invisible Women and the Criminalization of Motherhood. by Michele Goodwin.


A Perfectly Empty Gift, Christina D. Ponsa-Kraus Apr 2021

A Perfectly Empty Gift, Christina D. Ponsa-Kraus

Michigan Law Review

A Review of Almost Citizens: Puerto Rico, the U.S. Constitution, and Empire. by Sam Erman.


The Democracy Principle In State Constitutions, Jessica Bulman-Pozen, Miriam Seifter Mar 2021

The Democracy Principle In State Constitutions, Jessica Bulman-Pozen, Miriam Seifter

Michigan Law Review

In recent years, antidemocratic behavior has rippled across the nation. Lame-duck state legislatures have stripped popularly elected governors of their powers; extreme partisan gerrymanders have warped representative institutions; state officials have nullified popularly adopted initiatives. The federal Constitution offers few resources to address these problems, and ballot-box solutions cannot work when antidemocratic actions undermine elections themselves. Commentators increasingly decry the rule of the many by the few.

This Article argues that a vital response has been neglected. State constitutions embody a deep commitment to democracy. Unlike the federal Constitution, they were drafted—and have been repeatedly rewritten and amended— to empower …


Anti-Modalities, David E. Pozen, Adam M. Samaha Feb 2021

Anti-Modalities, David E. Pozen, Adam M. Samaha

Michigan Law Review

Constitutional argument runs on the rails of “modalities.” These are the accepted categories of reasoning used to make claims about the content of supreme law. Some of the modalities, such as ethical and prudential arguments, seem strikingly open ended at first sight. Their contours come into clearer view, however, when we attend to the kinds of claims that are not made by constitutional interpreters—the analytical and rhetorical moves that are familiar in debates over public policy and political morality but are considered out of bounds in debates over constitutional meaning. In this Article, we seek to identify the “anti-modalities” of …


Rethinking The Reasonable Response: Safeguarding The Promise Of Kingsley For Conditions Of Confinement, Hanna Rutkowski Feb 2021

Rethinking The Reasonable Response: Safeguarding The Promise Of Kingsley For Conditions Of Confinement, Hanna Rutkowski

Michigan Law Review

Nearly five million individuals are admitted to America’s jails each year, and at any given time, two-thirds of those held in jail have not been convicted of a crime. Under current Supreme Court doctrine, these pretrial detainees are functionally protected by the same standard as convicted prisoners, despite the fact that they are formally protected by different constitutional amendments. A 2015 decision, Kingsley v. Hendrickson, declared that a different standard would apply to pretrial detainees and convicted prisoners in the context of use of force: consistent with the Constitution’s mandate that they not be punished at all, pretrial detainees …


Possible Reliance: Protecting Legally Innocent Johnson Claimants, Keagan Potts Nov 2020

Possible Reliance: Protecting Legally Innocent Johnson Claimants, Keagan Potts

Michigan Law Review

The writ of habeas corpus presents the last chance for innocent defendants to obtain relief from invalid convictions and sentences. The writ constitutes a limited exception to the finality of judgments. Given the role finality plays in conserving judicial resources and deterring criminal conduct, exceptions created by habeas must be principally circumscribed. Since the Supreme Court’s invalidation of the Armed Career Criminal Act’s residual clause in Johnson v. United States, the federal courts of appeals have attempted to develop a test that protects the writ from abuse by Johnson claimants.

This Note first contributes a new understanding of the …


United/States: A Revolutionary History Of American Statehood, Craig Green Oct 2020

United/States: A Revolutionary History Of American Statehood, Craig Green

Michigan Law Review

Where did states come from? Almost everyone thinks that states descended immediately, originally, and directly from British colonies, while only afterward joining together as the United States. As a matter of legal history, that is incorrect. States and the United States were created by revolutionary independence, and they developed simultaneously in that context as improvised entities that were profoundly interdependent and mutually constitutive, rather than separate or sequential.

“States-first” histories have provided foundational support for past and present arguments favoring states’ rights and state sovereignty. This Article gathers preconstitutional evidence about state constitutions, American independence, and territorial boundaries to challenge …


Coin, Currency, And Constitution: Reconsidering The National Bank Precedent, David S. Schwartz May 2020

Coin, Currency, And Constitution: Reconsidering The National Bank Precedent, David S. Schwartz

Michigan Law Review

Review of Eric Lomazoff's Reconstructing the National Bank Controversy: Politics and Law in the Early American Republic.


Fixing America's Founding, Maeve Glass May 2020

Fixing America's Founding, Maeve Glass

Michigan Law Review

Review of Jonathan Gienapp's The Second Creation: Fixing the American Constitution in the Founding Era.


Translating The Constitution, Jack M. Balkin May 2020

Translating The Constitution, Jack M. Balkin

Michigan Law Review

Review of Lawrence Lessig's Fidelity and Constraint: How the Supreme Court Has Read the American Constitution.


The Right To A Well-Rested Jury, Caroline Howe May 2020

The Right To A Well-Rested Jury, Caroline Howe

Michigan Law Review

The vast amount of control that state trial judges exercise over the dynamics of their courtrooms is well established. The length of trial days and jury deliberations, however, has received little scholarly attention. Longstanding research has conclusively established the disruptive effects of sleep deprivation on many of the mental facilities necessary for juries to competently fulfill their duties. By depriving juries of sleep, trial judges may be compromising the fair rights of criminal defendants for the sake of efficiency. This Note argues that trial judges must use their discretion to ensure juries are well-rested, keeping jurors’ needs in mind. Further, …


A Constitutional Wealth Tax, Ari Glogower Apr 2020

A Constitutional Wealth Tax, Ari Glogower

Michigan Law Review

Policymakers and scholars are giving serious consideration to a federal wealth tax. Wealth taxation could address the harms from rising economic inequality, promote equality of social and economic opportunity, and raise the revenue needed to fund critical government programs. These reasons for taxing wealth may not matter, however, if a federal wealth tax is unconstitutional.

Scholars debate whether a tax on a wealth base (a “traditional wealth tax”) would be a “direct tax” subject to apportionment among the states by population. This Article argues, in contrast, that this possible constitutional restriction on a traditional wealth tax may not matter. If …


A Suspended Death Sentence: Habeas Review Of Expedited Removal Decisions, Lauren Schusterman Feb 2020

A Suspended Death Sentence: Habeas Review Of Expedited Removal Decisions, Lauren Schusterman

Michigan Law Review

Expedited removal allows low-level immigration officers to summarily order the deportation of certain noncitizens, frequently with little to no judicial oversight. Noncitizens with legitimate asylum claims should not find themselves in expedited removal. When picked up by immigration authorities, they should be referred for a credible fear interview and then for more thorough proceedings.

Although there is clear congressional intent that asylum seekers not be subjected to expedited removal, mounting evidence suggests that expedited removal fails to identify bona fide asylum seekers. Consequently, many of them are sent back to persecution. Such decisions have weighty consequences, but they have remained …


Qualified Immunity And Constitutional Structure, Katherine Mims Crocker Jan 2019

Qualified Immunity And Constitutional Structure, Katherine Mims Crocker

Michigan Law Review

A range of scholars has subjected qualified immunity to a wave of criticism— and for good reasons. But the Supreme Court continues to apply the doctrine in ever more aggressive ways. By advancing two claims, this Article seeks to make some sense of this conflict and to suggest some thoughts toward a resolution.

First, while the Court has offered and scholars have rejected several rationales for the doctrine, layering in an account grounded in structural constitutional concerns provides a historically richer and analytically thicker understanding of the current qualified-immunity regime. For suits against federal officials, qualified immunity acts as a …


Understanding State Agency Independence, Miriam Seifter Jan 2019

Understanding State Agency Independence, Miriam Seifter

Michigan Law Review

Conflicts about the independence of executive branch officials are brewing across the states. Governors vie with separately elected executive officials for policy control; attorneys general and governors spar over who speaks for the state in litigation, and legislatures seek to alter governors’ influence over independent state commissions. These disputes over intrastate authority have weighty policy implications both within states and beyond them, on topics from election administration and energy markets to healthcare and welfare. The disputes also reveal a blind spot. At the federal level, scholars have long analyzed the meaning and effects of agency independence—a dialogue that has deepened …