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Full-Text Articles in Law

The Exoskeleton Of Environmental Law: Why The Breadth, Depth And Longevity Of Environmental Law Matters For Judicial Review, Sanne H. Knudsen Jan 2023

The Exoskeleton Of Environmental Law: Why The Breadth, Depth And Longevity Of Environmental Law Matters For Judicial Review, Sanne H. Knudsen

Articles

Environmental law is pragmatic, inevitable, and intentional. In the aggregate, the numerous federal environmental statutes are not simply a patchwork of ad hoc responses or momentary political breakthroughs to isolated public health problems and resource concerns. Together, they are a group of repeated, legislatively-backed commitments to embrace self-restraint for self-preservation.

Self-restraint and discipline are the essence of environmental law. Indeed, if one studies the patterns and repeated choices in environmental law 's many statutory texts, one can start to appreciate environmental law 's indispensable role in society: it serves as an enduring "exoskeleton," a sort of protective armor created over …


The Antiregulatory Arsenal, Antidemocratic Can(N)Ons, And The Waters Wars, William W. Buzbee Dec 2022

The Antiregulatory Arsenal, Antidemocratic Can(N)Ons, And The Waters Wars, William W. Buzbee

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

The Clean Water Act has become a centerpiece in an enduring multifront battle against both environmental regulation and federal regulatory power in all of its settings. This Article focuses on the emergence, elements, and linked uses of an antiregulatory arsenal now central to battles over what are federally protected “waters of the United States.” This is the key jurisdictional hook for CWA jurisdiction, and hence, logically, has become the heart of CWA contestation. The multi-decade battle over Waters protections has both drawn on emergent antiregulatory moves and generated new weapons in this increasingly prevalent and powerful antiregulatory arsenal. This array …


Interpreting State Statutes In Federal Court, Aaron-Andrew P. Bruhl Nov 2022

Interpreting State Statutes In Federal Court, Aaron-Andrew P. Bruhl

Notre Dame Law Review

This Article addresses a problem that potentially arises whenever a federal court encounters a state statute. When interpreting the state statute, should the federal court use the state’s methods of statutory interpretation—the state’s canons of construction, its rules about the use of legislative history, and the like—or should the court instead use federal methods of statutory interpretation? The question is interesting as a matter of theory, and it is practically significant because different jurisdictions have somewhat different interpretive approaches. In addressing itself to this problem, the Article makes two contributions. First, it shows, as a normative matter, that federal courts …


Solving The Congressional Review Act’S Conundrum, Cary Coglianese Sep 2022

Solving The Congressional Review Act’S Conundrum, Cary Coglianese

All Faculty Scholarship

Congress routinely enacts statutes that require federal agencies to adopt specific regulations. When Congress passed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act in 2010, for example, it mandated that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) adopt an anti-corruption regulation requiring energy companies to disclose payments they make to foreign governments. Although the Dodd-Frank Act specifically required the SEC to adopt this disclosure requirement, the agency’s eventual regulation was also, like other administrative rules, subject to disapproval by Congress under a process outlined in a separate statute known as the Congressional Review Act (CRA).

After the SEC issued its …


Congressional Rules Of Interpretation, Jarrod Shobe May 2022

Congressional Rules Of Interpretation, Jarrod Shobe

William & Mary Law Review

Many scholars argue that Congress should adopt federal rules of statutory interpretation to guide judicial interpretation. This Article uses a novel dataset to show that Congress has long used enacted rules of interpretation and has increasingly done so in recent decades. However, it has chosen to do so on a statute-by-statute basis in a way that has gone mostly unnoticed by scholars and judges. We developed a dataset by using computer code to search the U.S. Code dating back to 1946 for specific phrases indicating a rule of interpretation, then manually checked and classified each rule. These rules not only …


Whither The Lofty Goals Of The Environmental Laws?: Can Statutory Directives Restore Purposivism When We Are All Textualists Now?, Stephen M. Johnson Mar 2022

Whither The Lofty Goals Of The Environmental Laws?: Can Statutory Directives Restore Purposivism When We Are All Textualists Now?, Stephen M. Johnson

Pepperdine Law Review

Congress set ambitious goals to protect public health and the environment when it enacted the federal environmental laws through bipartisan efforts in the 1970s. For many years, the federal courts interpreted the environmental laws to carry out those enacted purposes. Over time, however, courts greatly reduced their focus on the environmental and public health purposes of the environmental laws when interpreting those statutes due to the rise in textualism, the declining influence of the Chevron doctrine, and the increasing willingness of courts to defer to agency underenforcement of statutory responsibilities across all regulatory statutes. In 2020, the Environmental Protection Network, …


The New Major Questions Doctrine, Daniel Deacon, Leah Litman Jan 2022

The New Major Questions Doctrine, Daniel Deacon, Leah Litman

Law & Economics Working Papers

This article critically analyzes significant recent developments in the major questions doctrine. It highlights important shifts in what role the majorness of an agency policy plays in statutory interpretation, as well as changes in how the Court determines whether an agency policy is major. After the Supreme Court’s October 2021 term, the “new” major questions doctrine operates as a clear statement rule that directs courts not to discern the plain meaning of a statute using the normal tools of statutory interpretation, but to require explicit and specific congressional authorization for certain agency policies. Even broadly worded, otherwise unambiguous statutes do …


Interest-Based Incorporation: Statutory Realism Exploring Federalism, Delegation, And Democratic Design, Sheldon Evans Jan 2022

Interest-Based Incorporation: Statutory Realism Exploring Federalism, Delegation, And Democratic Design, Sheldon Evans

Faculty Publications

Statutory interpretation is a unique legal field that appreciates fiction as much as fact. For years, judges and scholars have acknowledged that canons of interpretation are often based on erudite assumptions of how Congress drafts federal statutes. But a recent surge in legal realism has shown just how erroneous many of these assumptions are. Scholars have created a robust study of congressional practices that challenge many formalist canons of interpretation that are divorced from how Congress thinks about, drafts, and enacts federal statutes. This conversation, however, has yet to confront statutory incorporation, which describes when Congress incorporates state law into …


Statutory Interpretation From The Outside, Kevin Tobia, Brian G. Slocum, Victoria Frances Nourse Jan 2022

Statutory Interpretation From The Outside, Kevin Tobia, Brian G. Slocum, Victoria Frances Nourse

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

How should judges decide which linguistic canons to apply in inter­preting statutes? One important answer looks to the inside of the legisla­tive process: Follow the canons that lawmakers contemplate. A different answer, based on the “ordinary meaning” doctrine, looks to the outside: Follow the canons that guide an ordinary person’s understanding of the legal text. We offer a novel framework for empirically testing linguistic canons “from the outside,” recruiting 4,500 people from the United States and a sample of law students to evaluate hypothetical scenarios that correspond to each canon’s triggering conditions. The empirical findings provide evidence about which traditional …


The Racial Politics Of Fair Use Fetishism, Anjali Vats Jan 2022

The Racial Politics Of Fair Use Fetishism, Anjali Vats

Articles

This short essay argues that the sometimes fetishistic desire on the part of progressive intellectual property scholars to defend fair use is at odds with racial justice. Through a rereading of landmark fair use cases using tools drawing from Critical Race Intellectual Property (“CRTIP”), it contends that scholars, lawyers, judges, practitioners, and activists would be well served by focusing on how fair use remains grounded in whiteness as (intellectual) property. It argues for doing so by rethinking the purpose of the Copyright Act of 1976 to be inclusive of Black, Brown, and Indigenous authors.


Textual Gerrymandering: The Eclipse Of Republican Government In An Era Of Statutory Populism, William N. Eskridge, Victoria Frances Nourse Dec 2021

Textual Gerrymandering: The Eclipse Of Republican Government In An Era Of Statutory Populism, William N. Eskridge, Victoria Frances Nourse

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

We have entered the era dominated by a dogmatic textualism—albeit one that is fracturing, as illustrated by the three warring original public meaning opinions in the blockbuster sexual orientation case, Bostock v. Clayton County. This Article provides conceptual tools that allow lawyers and students to understand the deep analytical problems faced and created by the new textualism advanced by Justice Scalia and his heirs. The key is to think about choice of text—why one piece of text rather than another—and choice of context—what materials are relevant to confirm or clarify textual meaning. Professors Eskridge and Nourse apply these concepts …


Antitrust Antitextualism, Daniel A. Crane Mar 2021

Antitrust Antitextualism, Daniel A. Crane

Articles

Judges and scholars frequently describe antitrust as a common-law system predicated on open-textured statutes, but that description fails to capture a historically persistent phenomenon:judicial disregard of the plain meaning of the statutory texts and manifest purposes of Congress. This pattern of judicial nullification is not evenly distributed: when the courts have deviated from the plain meaning or congressional purpose, they have uniformly done so to limit the reach of antitrust liability or curtail the labor exemption to the benefit of industrial interests. This phenomenon cannot be explained solely or even primarily as a tug-of-war between a progressive Congress and conservative …


The Doctrine Of Clarifications, Pat Mcdonell Feb 2021

The Doctrine Of Clarifications, Pat Mcdonell

Michigan Law Review

Clarifications are a longstanding but little-studied concept in statutory interpretation. Most courts have found that clarifying amendments to preexisting statutes bypass retroactivity limitations. Therein lies their power. Because clarifications simply restate the law, they do not implicate the presumption against retroactivity that Landgraf v. USI Film Products embedded in civil-statute interpretation. The problem that courts have yet to address is how exactly clarifying legislation can be distinguished from legislation that substantively changes the law. What exactly is a clarification? The courts’ answers implicate many of the entrenched debates in statutory interpretation. This Note offers three primary contributions. First, it summarizes …


The Elastics Of Snap Removal: An Empirical Case Study Of Textualism, Thomas O. Main, Jeffrey W. Stempel, David Mcclure Jan 2021

The Elastics Of Snap Removal: An Empirical Case Study Of Textualism, Thomas O. Main, Jeffrey W. Stempel, David Mcclure

Scholarly Works

This article reports the findings of an empirical study of textualism as applied by federal judges interpreting the statute that permits removal of diversity cases from state to federal court. The “snap removal” provision in the statute is particularly interesting because its application forces judges into one of two interpretive camps—which are fairly extreme versions of textualism and purposivism, respectively. We studied characteristics of cases and judges to find predictors of textualist outcomes. In this article we offer a narrative discussion of key variables and we detail the results of our logistic regression analysis. The most salient predictive variable was …


Clashing Canons And The Contract Clause, T. Leigh Anenson, Jennifer K. Gershberg Jan 2021

Clashing Canons And The Contract Clause, T. Leigh Anenson, Jennifer K. Gershberg

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

This Article is the first in-depth examination of substantive canons that judges use to interpret public pension legislation under the Contract Clause of the U.S. Constitution and state constitutions. The resolution of constitutional controversies concerning pension reform will have a profound influence on government employment. The assessment begins with a general discussion of these interpretive techniques before turning to their operation in public pension litigation. It concentrates on three clashing canons: the remedial (purpose) canon, the “no contract” canon (otherwise known as the unmistakability doctrine), and the constitutional avoidance canon. For these three canons routinely employed in pension law, there …


Seamen, Railroad Employees, And Uber Drivers: Applying The Section 1 Exemption In The Federal Arbitration Ace To Rideshare Drivers, Conor Bradley Jan 2021

Seamen, Railroad Employees, And Uber Drivers: Applying The Section 1 Exemption In The Federal Arbitration Ace To Rideshare Drivers, Conor Bradley

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

Section 1 of the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA or the Act) exempts “seamen, railroad employees, [and] any other class of workers engaged in foreign or interstate commerce” from arbitration. In 2019, the Supreme Court held in New Prime Inc. v. Oliveira that this provision exempted independent contractors as well as employees. This decision expanded the reach of the section 1 exemption and may affect the relationship between ridesharing companies, such as Uber, and their drivers. Previously, ridesharing companies argued that courts must enforce the arbitration clauses in their employment contracts because their workers were independent contractors and, therefore, section 1 …


Taking Appropriations Seriously, Gillian E. Metzger Jan 2021

Taking Appropriations Seriously, Gillian E. Metzger

Faculty Scholarship

Appropriations lie at the core of the administrative state and are be­com­ing increasingly important as deep partisan divides have stymied sub­stan­tive legislation. Both Congress and the President exploit appropria­tions to control government and advance their policy agendas, with the border wall battle being just one of several recent high-profile examples. Yet in public law doctrine, appropriations are ignored, pulled out for spe­cial legal treatment, or subjected to legal frameworks ill-suited for appro­priations realities. This Article documents how appropriations are mar­ginalized in a variety of public law contexts and assesses the reasons for this unjustified treatment. Appro­priations’ doctrinal marginalization does not …


The Support-Or-Advocacy Clauses, Richard Primus, Cameron O. Kistler Oct 2020

The Support-Or-Advocacy Clauses, Richard Primus, Cameron O. Kistler

Articles

Two little known clauses of a Reconstruction-era civil rights statute are potentially powerful weapons for litigators seeking to protect the integrity of federal elections. For the clauses to achieve their potential, however, the courts will need to settle correctly a contested question of statutory interpretation: do the clauses create substantive rights, or do they merely create remedies for substantive rights specified elsewhere? The correct answer is that the clauses create substantive rights.


Resolving "Resolved": Covenants Not To Sue And The Availability Of Cercla Contribution Actions, Jacob Podell Oct 2020

Resolving "Resolved": Covenants Not To Sue And The Availability Of Cercla Contribution Actions, Jacob Podell

Michigan Law Review

The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA)—as part of its dual goals of cleaning up hazardous-waste sites and ensuring that the polluter pays for that cleanup—gives private parties two mutually exclusive causes of action: cost recovery and contribution. Contribution is available in limited circumstances, including if the party has “resolved” its liability with the government. But CERCLA does not define this operative term. Federal courts are split over how the structure of a settlement resolves liability. Several courts follow Bernstein v. Bankert, which held that any conditions precedent and nonadmissions of liability strongly suggest that a party …


Unplanned Obsolescence: Interpreting The Automatic Telephone Dialing System After The Smartphone Epoch, Walter Allison Oct 2020

Unplanned Obsolescence: Interpreting The Automatic Telephone Dialing System After The Smartphone Epoch, Walter Allison

Michigan Law Review

Technology regulations succeed or fail based upon their ability to regulate an idea. Constant innovation forces legislators to draft statutes aimed at prohibiting the idea of a device, rather than a specific device itself, because new devices with new capacities emerge every day. The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) is a federal statute that imposes liability based on the idea of an automatic telephone dialing system (ATDS). But the statute’s definition of the device is ambiguous. The FCC struggles to coherently apply the definition to new technologies, and courts interpret the definition inconsistently. Federal circuit courts have split over these …


Jail By Another Name: Ice Detention Of Immigrant Criminal Defendants On Pretrial Release, Kerry Martin Sep 2020

Jail By Another Name: Ice Detention Of Immigrant Criminal Defendants On Pretrial Release, Kerry Martin

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

This Article assesses the legality of an alarming practice: Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) routinely detains noncitizen criminal defendants soon after they have been released on bail, depriving them of their court-ordered freedom. Since the District of Oregon’s decision in United States v. Trujillo-Alvarez, 900 F. Supp. 2d 1167 (D. Or. 2012), a growing group of federal courts has held that when ICE detains federal criminal defendants released under the Bail Reform Act (BRA), it violates their BRA rights. These courts have ordered that the government either free the defendants from ICE custody or dismiss their criminal charges. This …


Textualism’S Gaze, Matthew L.M. Fletcher Sep 2020

Textualism’S Gaze, Matthew L.M. Fletcher

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

This Article attempts to address why textualism distorts the Supreme Court’s jurisprudence in Indian law. I start with describing textualism in federal public law. I focus on textualism as described by Justice Scalia, as well as Scalia’s justification for textualism and discussion about the role of the judiciary in interpreting texts. The Court is often subject to challenges to its legitimacy rooted in its role as legal interpreter that textualism is designed to combat.


Legitimacy And Agency Implementation Of Title Ix, Samuel R. Bagenstos Sep 2020

Legitimacy And Agency Implementation Of Title Ix, Samuel R. Bagenstos

Articles

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits sex discrimination by programs receiving federal education funding. Primary responsibility for administering that statute lies in the Office for Civil Rights of the Department of Education (OCR). Because Title IX involves a subject that remains highly controversial in our polity (sex roles and interactions among the sexes more generally), and because it targets a highly sensitive area (education), OCR’s administration of the statute has long drawn criticism. The critics have not merely noted disagreements with the legal and policy decisions of the agency, however. Rather, they have attacked the agency’s decisions …


Fee-Shifting Statutes And Compensation For Risk, Maureen S. Carroll Jun 2020

Fee-Shifting Statutes And Compensation For Risk, Maureen S. Carroll

Articles

A law firm that enters into a contingency arrangement provides the client with more than just its attorneys' labor. It also provides a form of financing, because the firm will be paid (if at all) only after the litigation ends; and insurance, because if the litigation results in a low recovery (or no recovery at all), the firm will absorb the direct and indirect costs of the litigation. Courts and markets routinely pay for these types of risk-bearing services through a range of mechanisms, including state fee shifting statutes, contingent percentage fees, common-fund awards, alternative fee arrangements, and third-party litigation …


Revisiting Immutability: Competing Frameworks For Adjudicating Asylum Claims Based On Membership In A Particular Social Group, Talia Shiff May 2020

Revisiting Immutability: Competing Frameworks For Adjudicating Asylum Claims Based On Membership In A Particular Social Group, Talia Shiff

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) defines a refugee as any person who has a “well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion.” An emerging issue in U.S. asylum law is how to define the category “membership of a particular social group.” This question has become ever-more pressing in light of the fact that the majority of migrants seeking asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border are claiming persecution on account of their “membership in a particular social group.” The INA does not define the meaning of “particular social group” and …


Uncovering Wholesale Electricity Market Principles, Michael Panfil, Rama Zakaria Mar 2020

Uncovering Wholesale Electricity Market Principles, Michael Panfil, Rama Zakaria

Michigan Journal of Environmental & Administrative Law

This paper examines, enunciates, and makes explicit a set of market principles historically relied upon by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to regulate wholesale electricity markets as required under the Federal Power Act (FPA). These identified competitive market principles are supported by policy and legal foundations that run through a myriad of FERC orders and court decisions. This paper seeks to make that history and those implicit market principles explicit by distilling and organizing Commission Orders and court decisions. It concludes that five market principles, each with multiple subprinciples, can be identified as elemental to how FERC understands and …


Symmetry's Mandate: Constraining The Politicization Of American Administrative Law, Daniel E. Walters Jan 2020

Symmetry's Mandate: Constraining The Politicization Of American Administrative Law, Daniel E. Walters

Michigan Law Review

Recent years have seen the rise of pointed and influential critiques of deference doctrines in administrative law. What many of these critiques have in common is a view that judges, not agencies, should resolve interpretive disputes over the meaning of statutes—disputes the critics take to be purely legal and almost always resolvable using lawyerly tools of statutory construction. In this Article, I take these critiques, and the relatively formalist assumptions behind them, seriously and show that the critics have not acknowledged or advocated the full reform vision implied by their theoretical premises. Specifically, critics have extended their critique of judicial …


Snap Removal: Concept; Cause; Cacophony; And Cure, Jeffrey W. Stempel, Thomas O. Main, David Mcclure Jan 2020

Snap Removal: Concept; Cause; Cacophony; And Cure, Jeffrey W. Stempel, Thomas O. Main, David Mcclure

Scholarly Works

So-called “snap removal” – removal of a case from state to federal court prior to service on a forum state defendant – has divided federal trial courts for 20 years. Recently, panels of the Second, Third and Fifth Circuits have sided with those supporting the tactic even though it conflicts with the general prohibition on removal when the case includes a forum state defendant, a situation historically viewed as eliminating the need to protect the outsider defendant from possible state court hostility.

Consistent with the public policy underlying diversity jurisdiction – availability of a federal forum to protect against defending …


The Audiences Of Statutes, David S. Louk Dec 2019

The Audiences Of Statutes, David S. Louk

Cornell Law Review

Although a maxim of statutory drafting is to identify the relevant audience and draft so that the audience can "get the message," conventional theories of statutory interpretation often overlook important considerations about how statutes communicate and delegate to a diverse range of intended audiences. Statutes exist to change the conduct and behavior of many kinds of intended audiences, including administrative agencies, state and local governments, law enforcement officers, corporations, interest groups, lawyers, and laypeople. Influenced by lessons from the philosophies of law and language, this Article contends that Judicial statutory interpretation serves an important yet underappreciated role in providing a …


The Statutory Interpretation Muddle, Richard H. Fallon, Jr. Oct 2019

The Statutory Interpretation Muddle, Richard H. Fallon, Jr.

Northwestern University Law Review

Debates about statutory interpretation typically proceed on the assumption that statutes have linguistic meanings that we can identify in the same way that we identify the meaning of utterances in ordinary conversation. But that premise is false. We identify the meaning of conversational utterances largely based on inferences about what the speaker intended to communicate. With legislatures, as now is widely recognized, there is no unitary speaker with the sort of communicative intentions that speakers in ordinary conversation possess. One might expect this recognition to trigger abandonment of the model of conversational interpretation as a framework for interpreting statutes. Instead, …