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Judicial review

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The Constitution And Legislative History, Victoria Nourse Jan 2014

The Constitution And Legislative History, Victoria Nourse

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

In this article, the author provides an extended analysis of the constitutional claims against legislative history, arguing that, under textualists’ own preference for constitutional text, the use of legislative history should be constitutional to the extent it is supported by Congress’s rulemaking power, a constitutionally enumerated power.

This article has five parts. In part I, the author explains the importance of this question, considering the vast range of cases to which this claim of unconstitutionality could possibly apply—after all, statutory interpretation cases are the vast bulk of the work of the federal courts. She also explains why these claims should …


Advisory Adjudication, Girardeau A. Spann Jan 2012

Advisory Adjudication, Girardeau A. Spann

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

The Supreme Court decision in Camreta v. Greene is revealing. The Court first issues an opinion authorizing appeals by prevailing parties in qualified immunity cases, even though doing so entails the issuance of an advisory opinion that is not necessary to resolution of the dispute between the parties. And the Court then declines to reach the merits of the underlying constitutional claim in the case, because doing so would entail the issuance of an advisory opinion that was not necessary to the resolution of the dispute between the parties. The Court's decision, therefore, has the paradoxical effect of both honoring …


Epic Considerations: The Speech That The Supreme Court Would Not Hear In Snyder V. Phelps, Jeffrey Shulman Jan 2011

Epic Considerations: The Speech That The Supreme Court Would Not Hear In Snyder V. Phelps, Jeffrey Shulman

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

In declining to consider the “epic” posted by the Westboro Baptist Church on its web site, the Supreme Court took most (but not quite all) of the good constitutional stuff out of Snyder v. Phelps. The Court may have sought to make this an easy case by considering only the contents of the church’s picketing placards. For the Court, the placards highlighted such issues of public import as “the political and moral conduct of the United States and its citizens, the fate of our nation, homosexuality in the military, and scandals involving the Catholic clergy.” On grounds that we …


“To Remand, Or Not To Remand”: Ventura’S Ordinary Remand Rule And The Evolving Jurisprudence Of Futility, Patrick J. Glen Jan 2010

“To Remand, Or Not To Remand”: Ventura’S Ordinary Remand Rule And The Evolving Jurisprudence Of Futility, Patrick J. Glen

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

It is a foundational principle of administrative law that a reviewing court should not dispose of a petition for review or appeal on grounds not relied upon by the agency, and should not reach issues in the first instance not addressed administratively. In such circumstances, there is a strong presumption that the reviewing court should remand the case to the agency for further proceedings rather than reach out to decide the disputed issues. The United States Supreme Court explicitly extended operation of the “ordinary remand rule” to the immigration context in its 2002 decision in INS v. Ventura. Notwithstanding subsequent …


The Right To Bear Arms: A Uniquely American Entitlement, Lawrence O. Gostin Jan 2010

The Right To Bear Arms: A Uniquely American Entitlement, Lawrence O. Gostin

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

In District of Columbia v. Heller the Supreme Court held that individuals have a constitutional right to own firearms, notably to keep a loaded handgun at home for self-protection. The historic shift announced by Heller was the recognition of a personal right, rather than a collective right tied to state militias. In McDonald v. Chicago, the Supreme Court – in a familiar 5-4 ideological split – held that the 2nd Amendment applies not only to the federal government, but also to state and local gun control laws. In his dissent, Justice Stevens predicted that “the consequences could prove far more …


Against Textualism, William Michael Treanor Jan 2009

Against Textualism, William Michael Treanor

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Modern textualists have assumed that careful attention to constitutional text is the key to the recovery of the Constitution's original public meaning. This article challenges that assumption by showing the importance of nontextual factors in early constitutional interpretation. The Founding generation consistently relied on structural concerns, policy, ratifiers' and drafters' intent, and broad principles of government. To exclude such nontextual factors from constitutional interpretation is to depart from original public meaning because the Founders gave these factors great weight in ascertaining meaning. Moreover, for a modern judge seeking to apply original public meaning, the threshold question is not simply; "How …


Constitutional Clichés, Randy E. Barnett Jan 2008

Constitutional Clichés, Randy E. Barnett

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Popular discourse on constitutional interpretation and judicial review tend to employ a series of catch phrases that have become constitutional clichés. Phrases such as “judicial activism,” “judicial restraint,” “strict construction,” “not legislating from the bench,” “Framers’ intent,” the “dead hand of the past,” and “stare decisis” so dominate public commentary on the Constitution and the courts that quite often that is all one hears. Unfortunately, even law professors are not immune. There was a time when each of these catch phrases meant something and, although each could mean something again, in current debates all have become trite and largely devoid …


No Reason To Believe: Radical Skepticism, Emergency Power, And Constitutional Constraint, David Cole Jan 2008

No Reason To Believe: Radical Skepticism, Emergency Power, And Constitutional Constraint, David Cole

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

This essay reviews Eric Posner and Adrian Vermeule’s Terror in the Balance: Security, Liberty, and the Courts, which I consider the most serious, sustained, and thoughtful effort to defend the Bush administration’s aggressive tactics in the war on terror yet written. That the book is ultimately deeply flawed only underscores the failure of the Bush administration’s approach.

Where most historians view with regret the excesses of past security crises, from the criminalization of speech during World War I to the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, Posner and Vermeule advance the contrarian view that the system worked exactly …


Taking Text Too Seriously: Modern Textualism, Original Meaning, And The Case Of Amar's Bill Of Rights, William Michael Treanor Jan 2007

Taking Text Too Seriously: Modern Textualism, Original Meaning, And The Case Of Amar's Bill Of Rights, William Michael Treanor

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Championed on the Supreme Court by Justices Scalia and Thomas and championed in academia most prominently by Professor Akhil Amar, textualism has in the past twenty years emerged as a leading school of constitutional interpretation. Textualists argue that the Constitution should be interpreted in accordance with its original public meaning and, in seeking that meaning, they closely parse the Constitution's words and grammar and the placement of clauses in the document. They have assumed that this close parsing recaptures original meaning, but, perhaps because it seems obviously correct, that assumption has neither been defended nor challenged. This article uses Professor …


Process Theory, Majoritarianism, And The Original Understanding, William Michael Treanor Jan 2007

Process Theory, Majoritarianism, And The Original Understanding, William Michael Treanor

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

In Radicals in Robes, Cass Sunstein posits that there are four primary approaches to constitutional interpretation: perfectionism, majoritarianism, minimalism, and fundamentalism.' The purpose of his eloquent and compelling book is twofold: Sunstein argues for minimalism, an approach that he contends makes most sense for America today; and with even greater force, Sunstein argues against fundamentalism, which he finds "wrong, dangerous, radical, and occasionally hypocritical."' The "Radicals in Robes" who are the targets of Sunstein's book are judges who embrace fundamentalism, which, in his view, embodies "the views of the extreme wing of [the] Republican Party."'

In Securing Constitutional Democracy: The …


Due Process Land Use Claims After Lingle, J. Peter Byrne Jan 2007

Due Process Land Use Claims After Lingle, J. Peter Byrne

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

The Supreme Court held in Lingle v. Chevron U.S.A. Inc. that challenges to the validity of land use regulations for failing to advance governmental interests must be brought under the Due Process Clause, rather than the Takings Clause, and must be evaluated under a deferential standard. This Article analyzes and evaluates the probable course of such judicial review, and concludes that federal courts will resist due process review of land use decisions for good reasons but not always with an adequate doctrinal explanation. However, state courts can use due process review to provide state level supervision of local land use …


Original Understanding And The Whether, Why, And How Of Judicial Review, William Michael Treanor Jan 2007

Original Understanding And The Whether, Why, And How Of Judicial Review, William Michael Treanor

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

For more than one hundred years, legal scholars have endlessly and heatedly debated whether judicial review of federal legislation was part of the original understanding of the Constitution. The stakes of the debate are high. If judicial review was part of the original understanding, then there is a strong argument that the practice is grounded in the majority’s will, just as the Founders’ Constitution is. But if it is not—if, as Alexander Bickel and others have claimed, judicial review was a sleight-of-hand creation of Chief Justice Marshall in Marbury v. Madison—then judicial review is either counter-majoritarian or else must …


Constitutional Culture Or Ordinary Politics: A Reply To Reva Siegel, Robin West Jan 2006

Constitutional Culture Or Ordinary Politics: A Reply To Reva Siegel, Robin West

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Reva Siegel's lecture, ‘Constitutional Culture, Social Movement Conflict and Constitutional Change: The Case of the de Facto ERA,’ explores the interaction between the courts and social movements in creating constitutional meaning. In the primary part of this response I focus my comments on Siegel's three major contributions: First, the historical explanation of the source of the Court's authority in the development of the so-called de facto ERA; second, the articulation of a general, jurisprudential thesis regarding social contestation as a source of constitutional authority apart from text, history, and principle; and third, the quasi-sociological descriptive account of the form social …


Popular Constitutionalism As Political Law, Mark V. Tushnet Jan 2006

Popular Constitutionalism As Political Law, Mark V. Tushnet

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

This Article addresses some of the critical reviews of ‘The People Themselves’, focusing on how they respond to the proposition, which I believe to be correct and made in ‘The People Themselves’, that constitutional law is a distinctive or special kind of law. I call that kind of law political law. Both parts of the formulation are equally important. Constitutional law is law, what is sometimes described as "hard" law. As law, it sometimes induces decision-makers to make decisions that are inconsistent with their "pure" preferences, that is, those they would hold in the absence of law. My aim is …


Beyond Coercion: Justice Kennedy's Aversion To Animus, Steven Goldberg Jan 2006

Beyond Coercion: Justice Kennedy's Aversion To Animus, Steven Goldberg

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

In evaluating the constitutionality of religious displays, Justice Kennedy adheres to the coercion test. A crèche on the courthouse steps is acceptable because it does not coerce anyone to support or participate in a religious exercise. He rejects the endorsement test, which asks whether the display makes reasonable nonadherents feel like outsiders, finding it to be “flawed in its fundamentals and unworkable in practice.” Yet in the free exercise context, Kennedy has focused on whether a community shows hostility to minority faiths, and his opinions in Romer and Lawrence stress that legislatures acted unconstitutionally in showing animus to gays. Suppose …


Political Power And Judicial Power: Some Observations On Their Relation, Mark V. Tushnet Jan 2006

Political Power And Judicial Power: Some Observations On Their Relation, Mark V. Tushnet

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

This Essay summarizes and perhaps extends slightly some important recent work, mostly by political scientists, on the structural relation between the array of political power in a nation's nonjudicial branch or branches and the way in which judicial review is exercised in relatively stable democracies. Robert Dahl's classic article identified one such relation. According to Dahl, "[e]xcept for short-lived transitional periods when the old alliance is disintegrating and the new one is struggling to take control of political institutions, the Supreme Court is inevitably a part of the dominant national alliance." What, though, if there is no "dominant" national political …


Constitutions As "Living Trees"? Comparative Constitutional Law And Interpretive Metaphors, Vicki C. Jackson Jan 2006

Constitutions As "Living Trees"? Comparative Constitutional Law And Interpretive Metaphors, Vicki C. Jackson

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Part I below explores the interpretive approaches of three other high national courts that have engaged in constitutional review over a long period of time, identifying two respects in which they may bear on this debate. First, their jurisprudence relies on interpretive approaches that depend on multiple sources and forms of argument-what some call an "eclectic" method, and others might call common law constitutionalism. Second, the jurisprudence of other significant national courts acknowledges the possibility that interpretive understandings will change. Indeed, in those countries with continuity of rights-protecting constitutional regimes and with high courts vested with the power of judicial …


When Is Knowing Less Better Than Knowing More? Unpacking The Controversy Over Supreme Court Reference To Non-U.S. Law, Mark V. Tushnet Jan 2006

When Is Knowing Less Better Than Knowing More? Unpacking The Controversy Over Supreme Court Reference To Non-U.S. Law, Mark V. Tushnet

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

My goal in this Essay is simply to lay out the criticisms of the use of non-U.S. law in constitutional interpretation, so as to identify what might be correct (not much, in the end) in those criticisms. I discuss criticisms based on theories of interpretation, on the claim that reference to non-U.S. law is merely decoration playing no role in generating outcomes, on the role the Constitution has in expressing distinctively American values, and on the proposition that judges are unlikely to do a good job in understanding - and therefore in referring to - non-U.S. law. This last "quality-control" …


It's A Bird, It's A Plane, No, It's Super Precedent: A Response To Faber And Gerhardt, Randy E. Barnett Jan 2006

It's A Bird, It's A Plane, No, It's Super Precedent: A Response To Faber And Gerhardt, Randy E. Barnett

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

The normative case for originalism is based, in large measure, on the superiority of the enacted text over the opinions of members of the government whom it is supposed to govern and limit-including members of the Supreme Court. The author does not see how an originalist can accept that the Supreme Court could change the meaning of the text from what it meant as enacted and still remain an originalist. In other words, once it becomes appropriate for the Supreme Court to discard original meaning and the original meaning of the text is thereby reduced to a factor among many …


"A Decent Respect To The Opinions Of Mankind": Referring To Foreign Law To Express American Nationhood, Mark V. Tushnet Jan 2006

"A Decent Respect To The Opinions Of Mankind": Referring To Foreign Law To Express American Nationhood, Mark V. Tushnet

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Why might a court refer to non-U.S. law? Justice Stephen Breyer's pragmatic defense of the practice is probably the most widely known, as are its defects. Here, I want to sketch a counterintuitive explanation for the practice. Referring to non-U.S. law in Supreme Court opinions might be a way in which Supreme Court Justices participate in the dissemination of a distinctively American self-understanding. By this I do not mean that Justices who refer to non-U.S. law necessarily endorse the (reasonable) interpretive theory that the U.S. Constitution instantiates universally true propositions of political morality. Rather, I mean that references to non-U.S. …


Referring To Foreign Law In Constitutional Interpretation: An Episode In The Culture Wars, Mark V. Tushnet Jan 2006

Referring To Foreign Law In Constitutional Interpretation: An Episode In The Culture Wars, Mark V. Tushnet

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

As Judge Messitte's essay demonstrates, recent references in Supreme Court decisions to non-U.S. legal materials have generated a great deal of controversy. Those who make such references say that doing so is no big deal. I have called the controversy a tempest in a teapot. My topic here is the disjuncture between the perception on one side that something important and troubling has happened - or, as I will argue, may be about to happen - and the perception on the other that there is nothing to be concerned about. After describing in Section I the practice that has given …


Weak-Form Judicial Review And "Core" Civil Liberties, Mark V. Tushnet Jan 2006

Weak-Form Judicial Review And "Core" Civil Liberties, Mark V. Tushnet

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

In this Essay, I want to unearth some subordinated strands in the Rehnquist Court's free speech jurisprudence. For example, the Rehnquist Court allowed Congress to regulate campaign finance in ways subject to credible First Amendment objections, and to impose obligations on cable television systems that would almost certainly be unconstitutional were they imposed on newspapers. These decisions, I suggest, do not rest simply on the kind of deference to legislative judgment that fits comfortably into a system of strong-form review. Rather, they represent what I call a managerial model of the First Amendment, which accords legislatures a large role in …


Constitutionalization, Girardeau A. Spann Jan 2005

Constitutionalization, Girardeau A. Spann

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Students of constitutional law tend to suspect pretty early on that the Constitution simply means whatever the Supreme Court says that it means. Rather than fight that intuition, I think it is best to treat the student insight as one of the basic starting assumptions when teaching a course in Constitutional Law. The goal then becomes to help students figure out how best to maneuver and feel comfortable in a legal universe where the Constitution has only contingent meaning.

What the Supreme Court does when it clothes its political policy preferences in the garb of constitutional law can be described …


Judicial Review Before Marbury, William Michael Treanor Jan 2005

Judicial Review Before Marbury, William Michael Treanor

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

While scholars have long probed the original understanding of judicial review and the early judicial review case law, this article presents a study of the judicial review case law in the United States before Marbury v. Madison that is dramatically more complete than prior work and that challenges previous scholarship on the original understanding of judicial review on the two most critical dimensions: how well judicial review was established at the time of the Founding and when it was exercised. Where prior work argues that judicial review was rarely exercised before Marbury (or that it was created in Marbury), …


Trumping Precedent With Original Meaning: Not As Radical As It Sounds, Randy E. Barnett Jan 2005

Trumping Precedent With Original Meaning: Not As Radical As It Sounds, Randy E. Barnett

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Originalism was thought to be buried in the 1980s with critiques such as those by Paul Brest and Jeff Powell. Brest charged that originalism was unworkable, while Powell maintained that originalism was inconsistent with the original intentions of the Founders. Others raised the moral challenge of why we should be ruled by the "dead hand" of the past. Yet an originalist approach to interpretation has-like a phoenix from the ashes or Dracula from his grave, depending on your point of view-survived into the Twenty-first Century as an intellectual contender. Indeed, it has thrived like no other approach to interpretation.


Why You Should Read My Book Anyhow: A Reply To Trevor Morrison, Randy E. Barnett Jan 2005

Why You Should Read My Book Anyhow: A Reply To Trevor Morrison, Randy E. Barnett

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Authors rarely have the opportunity to respond to their reviewers in the same issue in which the review is published, so I am grateful to the Cornell Law Review for inviting me to do so and to Trevor Morrison for graciously agreeing. I am also appreciative of the respectful tone that Professor Morrison employs in his comments on a book with which he so obviously disagrees. Coming from a critic, the positive qualities he attributes to Restoring the Lost Constitution: The Presumption of Liberty are especially significant. Yet he does disagree with me, which means that I disagree with him, …


The Unfulfilled Promise Of The Constitution In Executive Hands, Cornelia T. Pillard Jan 2005

The Unfulfilled Promise Of The Constitution In Executive Hands, Cornelia T. Pillard

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Many leading constitutional scholars now argue for greater reliance on the political branches to supplement or even supplant judicial enforcement of the Constitution. Responding to our national preoccupation with the judiciary as the mechanism of constitutional enforcement, these scholars stress that the executive and legislature, too, bear responsibility to think about the Constitution for themselves and to take steps to fulfill the Constitution's promise. Joining a debate that goes back at least as far as Marbury v. Madison, current scholars seek to reawaken the political branches to their constitutional potential, and urge the Supreme Court to leave the other branches …


"Meet The New Boss": The New Judicial Center, Mark V. Tushnet Jan 2005

"Meet The New Boss": The New Judicial Center, Mark V. Tushnet

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

A document entitled ‘Guidelines on Constitutional Litigation’ published in 1988 by the Reagan era Department of Justice is the springboard for Professor Tushnet's discussion of the Supreme Court's "new center. " The Guidelines urged Department of Justice litigators to foster a nearly exclusive reliance on original understanding in constitutional interpretation and to resort to legislative history only as a last resort. The Guidelines also advised Department of Justice litigators to seek substantive legal changes including more restrictive standing requirements, an end to the creation of unenumerated individual rights, greater constitutional protection of property rights, and greater limits on congressional power. …


Constitutional Hardball, Mark V. Tushnet Jan 2004

Constitutional Hardball, Mark V. Tushnet

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

For the past several years I have been noticing a phenomenon that seems to me new in my lifetime as a scholar of constitutional law. I call the phenomenon constitutional hardball. This Essay develops the idea that there is such a practice, that there is a sense in which it is new, and that its emergence (or re-emergence) is interesting because it signals that political actors understand that they are in a position to put in place a new set of deep institutional arrangements of a sort I call a constitutional order. A shorthand sketch of constitutional hardball is this: …


Marbury V. Madison Around The World, Mark V. Tushnet Jan 2004

Marbury V. Madison Around The World, Mark V. Tushnet

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

To put the point somewhat strongly for emphasis, the U.S. system of judicial review is now something of an outlier among systems of constitutional review. In this Essay, I consider three aspects of such systems: the structures of review, the theories of review, and the forms of review. My aim is primarily one of description, aiming to highlight the ways in which the U.S. system resembles and differs from the newer systems of judicial review. The U.S. system of judicial review has close-and more distant-relatives in each of these categories. However, the U.S. system remains distinctive in that it combines …