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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 …


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 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 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 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, …


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 …


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 …


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 …


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. …


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 …


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 …


Standing For Nothing, Robert Mikos May 2019

Standing For Nothing, Robert Mikos

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

A growing number of courts and commentators have suggested that states have Article III standing to protect state law. Proponents of such "protective" standing argue that states must be given access to federal court whenever their laws are threatened. Absent such access, they claim, many state laws might prove toothless, thereby undermining the value of the states in our federal system. Furthermore, proponents insist that this form of special solicitude is very limited-that it opens the doors to the federal courthouses a crack but does not swing them wide open. This Essay, however, contests both of these claims, and thus, …


The Due Process And Other Constitutional Rights Of Foreign Nations, Ingrid Wuerth Jan 2019

The Due Process And Other Constitutional Rights Of Foreign Nations, Ingrid Wuerth

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

The rights of foreign states under the U.S. Constitution are becoming more important as the actions of foreign states and foreign 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 of powers nor by due process. As a matter of policy, 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 …


The Imaginary Constitution, Suzanna Sherry Jan 2019

The Imaginary Constitution, Suzanna Sherry

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

How many ways can conservatives spin an originalist tale to support their deregulatory, small-government vision? The answer is apparently infinite. In a new book, Gary Lawson and Guy Seidman are the latest in a long line of scholars who insist that the real original meaning of the Constitution demands unwinding the regulatory state and substantially limiting the power of the federal government. They argue that the Constitution is a fiduciary instrument, specifically a power of attorney. After summarizing the book, this essay turns to three of its most important failings, each of which serves to make the book a work …


Still In Exile? The Current Status Of The Contract Clause, James W. Ely Jan 2019

Still In Exile? The Current Status Of The Contract Clause, James W. Ely

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

The Contract Clause is no longer the subject of much judicial solicitude or academic interest.' Since the 1930s the once potent Contract Clause has been largely relegated to the outer reaches of constitutional law.2 This, of course, was not always the case. On the contrary, throughout the nineteenth century the Contract Clause was one of the most litigated provisions of the Constitution. In 1896, Justice George Shiras astutely commented: "No provision of the constitution of the United States has received more frequent consideration by this court than that which provides that no state shall pass any law impairing the obligation …


The Enacted Purposes Canon, Kevin M. Stack Jan 2019

The Enacted Purposes Canon, Kevin M. Stack

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

This Article argues that the principle relied upon in King v. Burwell that courts "cannot interpret statutes to negate their stated purposes"-the enacted purposes canon-is and should be viewed as a bedrock element of statutory interpretation. The Supreme Court has relied upon this principle for decades, but it has done so in ways that do not call attention to this interpretive choice. As a result, the scope and patterns of the Court's reliance are easy to miss. After reconstructing the Court's practice, this Article defends this principle of interpretation on analytic, normative, and pragmatic grounds. Building on jurisprudence showing that …


The Middle-Class Constitution: A Response, Ganesh Sitaraman Jan 2018

The Middle-Class Constitution: A Response, Ganesh Sitaraman

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

I am very grateful to the Boston University Law Review for bringing together such a terrific group of scholars to engage with my book, The Crisis of the Middle-Class Constitution: Why Economic Inequality Threatens Our Republic. It is a testament to the work and excellence of the Boston University Law Review that they pulled together such an intellectually engaging group of commentators. My deepest thanks also to Professors Markovits, Rahman, Lyons, Epstein, and Somin for taking the time to read the book and comment on it.


Debating The Past's Authority In Alabama, Sara Mayeux Jan 2018

Debating The Past's Authority In Alabama, Sara Mayeux

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

With some exceptions, the major project of civil rights litigators today is not forward movement but the work of preserving as much as possible the gains of the 1960s against legal and political battering.29 Meanwhile, and ironically, the rise of conservative progress metanarratives reflects the achievement of both liberal and radical scholars of forcing into mainstream discourse greater recognition of the evils of slavery and Jim Crow. Respectable conservatives now join in denouncing the most flagrant forms of racial terror running through the American past (pace certain allies of the Trump Administration). But doing so places them in a bind, …


The Inference From Authority To Interpretive Method In Constitutional And Statutory Domains, Kevin M. Stack Jan 2017

The Inference From Authority To Interpretive Method In Constitutional And Statutory Domains, Kevin M. Stack

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

Should courts interpret the Constitution as they interpret statutes? This question has been answered in a wide variety of ways. On the one hand, many scholars and jurists understand constitutional and statutory interpretation as largely overlapping, continuous, or converging. For some, this overlap follows directly from the Constitution's status as a form of legislated law. In this way of thinking, because the Constitution, like a statute, was bargained over and formally adopted, it should be interpreted in accordance with general principles applicable to legislated law. Proponents of this view argue that if constitutional interpretation appears distinctive in practice, that is …


The Constitutional Ratchet Effect, Kevin M. Stack Jan 2017

The Constitutional Ratchet Effect, Kevin M. Stack

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

No abstract provided.


Scalia In The Casebooks, Brian T. Fitzpatrick, Paulson K. Varghese Jan 2017

Scalia In The Casebooks, Brian T. Fitzpatrick, Paulson K. Varghese

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

In the time since Justice Antonin Scalia’s untimely death, much has been written about what his influence has been and what his influence will be. In this Essay, we try to quantify Scalia’s influence in law school constitutional-law curricula by studying how often his ideas are explored in constitutional-law casebooks. In particular, relative to other justices, we look at how often Scalia’s opinions (for the Court, or his separate opinions) are excerpted in the principal cases and how often he is referred to by name in the notes preceding and following the principal cases. We find that Scalia is at …


Making Preemption Less Palatable: State Poison Pill Legislation, Robert A. Mikos Jan 2017

Making Preemption Less Palatable: State Poison Pill Legislation, Robert A. Mikos

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

Congressional preemption constitutes perhaps the single greatest threat to state power and to the values served thereby. Given the structural incentives now in place, there is little to deter Congress from preempting state law, even when the state interests Congress displaces far exceed its own. The threat of preemption has raised alarms across the political spectrum, but no one has yet devised a satisfactory way to balance state and federal interests in preemption disputes. This Article devises a novel solution: state poison pill legislation. Borrowing a page from corporate law, poison pill legislation would enable the states to make preemption …


The Free Exercise Of Religious Identity, Lauren Sudeall Jan 2017

The Free Exercise Of Religious Identity, Lauren Sudeall

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

In recent years, a particular strain of argument has arisen in response to decisions by courts or the government to extend certain rights to others. Grounded in religious freedom, these arguments suggest that individuals have a right to operate businesses or conduct their professional roles in a manner that conforms to their religious identity. For example, as courts and legislatures have extended the right to marry to same-sex couples, court clerks have refused to issue marriage certificates to such couples, claiming that to do so would violate their religious beliefs. Similarly, corporations have refused, for reasons grounded in religious identity, …


Policing As Administration, Christopher Slobogin Dec 2016

Policing As Administration, Christopher Slobogin

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

Police agencies should be governed by the same administrative principles that govern other agencies. This simple precept would have significant implications for regulation of police work, in particular the type of suspicionless, group searches and seizures that have been the subject of the Supreme Court's special needs jurisprudence (practices that this Article calls "panvasive"). Under administrative law principles, when police agencies create statute-like policies that are aimed at largely innocent categories of actors-as they do when administering roadblocks, inspection regimes, drug testing programs, DNA sampling programs, and data collection-they should have to engage in notice-and-comment rulemaking or a similar democratically …


The Puzzling Absence Of Economic Power In Constitutional Theory, Ganesh Sitaraman Sep 2016

The Puzzling Absence Of Economic Power In Constitutional Theory, Ganesh Sitaraman

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

Contemporary constitutional theory needs to be rooted in a more realistic description of the American political process. This Article frst argues that leading debates in constitutional theory have failed to engage with the reality of elite economic domination and that without taking into account the role economic elites play in American politics, these theories have serious limitations even on their own terms. Second, it shows that any attempt to design institutions to account for the influence of economic power will face persistent, pervasive, and perverse problems. A central task of constitutional theory going forward must be to overcome or at …


Dynamic Incorporation Of Federal Law, Jim Rossi Jan 2016

Dynamic Incorporation Of Federal Law, Jim Rossi

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

This Article provides a comprehensive analysis of state constitutional limits on legislative incorporation of dynamic federal law, as occurs when a state legislature incorporates future federal tax, environmental or health laws. Many state judicial decisions draw on the nondelegation doctrine to endorse an ex ante prohibition on state legislative incorporation of dynamic federal law. However, the analysis in this Article shows how bedrock principles related to separation of powers under state constitutions, such as protecting transparency, reinforcing accountability, and protecting against arbitrariness in lawmaking, are not consistent with this approach. Instead, this Article highlights two practices that can make dynamic …


Economic Structure And Constitutional Structure, Ganesh Sitaraman Jan 2016

Economic Structure And Constitutional Structure, Ganesh Sitaraman

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

In the last four decades, the American middle class has been hollowed out, and fears are growing that economic inequality is leading to political inequality. These trends raise a troubling question: Can our constitutional system survive the collapse of the middle class? This question might seem tangential-if not unrelated-to contemporary constitutional theory. But for most of the history ofpolitical thought, one of the central problems of constitutional design was the relationship between the distribution of wealth in society and the structure of government. Two traditions emerged from thinking about this relationship. The first tradition assumed that society would be divided …


Is The Constitution Special?, Christopher Serkin, Nelson Tebbe Jan 2016

Is The Constitution Special?, Christopher Serkin, Nelson Tebbe

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

"[W]e must never forget, that it is a constitution we are expounding.” If there was such a danger when Chief Justice John Marshall wrote those words, there is none today. Americans regularly assume that the Constitution is special, and legal professionals treat it differently from other sources of law. But what if that is wrongheaded? In this Article, we identify and question the professional practice of constitutional exceptionalism. First, we show that standard arguments from text, structure, and history work differently in constitutional law. Second, we examine the possible justifications for such distinctive interpretation among lawyers, and we find them …


Functionally Suspect: Reconceptualizing 'Race' As A Suspect Classification, Lauren Sudeall Apr 2015

Functionally Suspect: Reconceptualizing 'Race' As A Suspect Classification, Lauren Sudeall

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

In the context of equal protection doctrine, race has become untethered from the criteria underlying its demarcation as a classification warranting heightened scrutiny. As a result, it is no longer an effective vehicle for challenging the existing social and political order; instead, its primary purpose under current doctrine is to signal the presence of an impermissible basis for differential treatment. This Symposium Article suggests that, to more effectively serve its underlying normative goals, equal protection should prohibit not discrimination based on race per se, but government actions that implicate the concerns leading to race’s designation as a suspect classification. For …