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Constitutional Skepticism And Local Facts, Louis Michael Seidman Jan 2021

Constitutional Skepticism And Local Facts, Louis Michael Seidman

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Are written constitutions evil? In his new book, Constitutional Idolatry and Democracy, Brian Christoper Jones argues that they are. He claims that written constitutions fail to unite societies, degrade democratic engagement, and obstruct necessary constitutional maintenance. This review of his book argues that he is mostly right about the effects of the American Constitution, but that the effects of other constitutions will vary depending upon local facts.


The Freedmen’S Memorial To Lincoln: A Postscript To Stone Monuments And Flexible Laws, J. Peter Byrne Aug 2020

The Freedmen’S Memorial To Lincoln: A Postscript To Stone Monuments And Flexible Laws, J. Peter Byrne

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

In a recent essay in the Florida Law Review Online, I argued that historic preservation law poses no significant barrier to removal of Confederate monuments and even provides a useful process within which a community can study and debate the fate of specific statues. The cultural and legal issues surrounding the removal of Confederate monuments are presented in a surprising and paradoxical form in the controversy surrounding the 1876 Freedmen’s Memorial to Abraham Lincoln. Addressing these issues provides an interesting postscript to the seemingly easier questions raised by the removal of monuments to the Lost Cause. I argue that ...


Access To Justice In Furtherance Of Health, Yael Cannon Jul 2020

Access To Justice In Furtherance Of Health, Yael Cannon

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

The health justice framework envisions the leveraging of law and policy to advance racial and socioeconomic health equity. Health justice scholars have examined structures in need of legislative and policy reforms, both within healthcare and with regards to the social determinants of health. My article argues that access to justice is an under-examined and critical component of health justice.

This country is plagued by a massive civil "justice gap," documented extensively by the American Bar Association and just recently in a report by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, through which individuals marginalized by virtue of race and socioeconomic ...


Stone Monuments And Flexible Laws: Removing Confederate Monuments Through Historic Preservation Laws, J. Peter Byrne Jan 2020

Stone Monuments And Flexible Laws: Removing Confederate Monuments Through Historic Preservation Laws, J. Peter Byrne

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

This essay is a comment on an article by Jess Phelps and Jessica Owley, Etched in Stone: Historic Preservation Law and Confederate Monuments, published last year by the Florida Law Review. Contrary to their claims, historic preservation law does not seriously impede the removal or contextualization of Confederate memorials. The tangled and toxic heritage they signify does. The law rather creates the context within which parties contend about the meaning and continuing value of these monuments. Preservation law is not so much “etched in stone,” as a living requirement that we collectively, carefully address what remnants of the past to ...


Brief Of Amici Curiae 116 Law Librarians And 5 Law Library Organizations In Support Of Respondent, Georgia V. Public.Resource.Org, Inc., No. 18-1150 (U.S. Oct. 16, 2019), Michelle M. Wu Oct 2019

Brief Of Amici Curiae 116 Law Librarians And 5 Law Library Organizations In Support Of Respondent, Georgia V. Public.Resource.Org, Inc., No. 18-1150 (U.S. Oct. 16, 2019), Michelle M. Wu

U.S. Supreme Court Briefs

Due process and the rule of law require that the public has meaningful access to “the law.” Every major modern society since the Greeks has recognized the importance of this principle. Roscoe Pound, Theories of the Law, 22 Yale L.J. 114, 117 (1912).

In the United States, “the law” largely comes from appellate courts, legislatures, and administrative agencies who have been granted rule-making authority. As every first year law student learns, those law-making bodies have developed highly specific methods for communicating their pronouncements of law through official publications, such as the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (“OCGA”).

Those specific ...


Originalist Theory And Precedent: A Public Meaning Approach, Lawrence B. Solum Oct 2018

Originalist Theory And Precedent: A Public Meaning Approach, Lawrence B. Solum

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Much ink has already been spilled on the relationship of constitutional originalism to precedent (or, more specifically, the doctrine of stare decisis). The debate includes contributions from Randy Barnett, Steven Calabresi, Kurt Lash, Gary Lawson, John McGinnis with Michael Rappaport, Michael Paulsen, and Lee Strang, not to mention Justice Antonin Scalia—all representing originalism in some form. Living constitutionalism has also been represented both implicitly and explicitly, with important contributions from Phillip Bobbitt, Ronald Dworkin, Michael Gerhardt, Randy Kozel, and David Strauss. Some writers are more difficult to classify; Akhil Amar comes to mind. And there are many other contributions ...


Is Using The Public Trust Doctrine To Protect Public Parkland From Visual Pollution Justifiable Doctrinal Creep?, Hope M. Babcock Jan 2015

Is Using The Public Trust Doctrine To Protect Public Parkland From Visual Pollution Justifiable Doctrinal Creep?, Hope M. Babcock

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

This Article asks whether the public trust doctrine should be applied to stop the construction of a multistory commercial building that will tower over the tree line of Palisades Interstate Park. The building, which received a variance from a local New Jersey zoning commission, will ruin views of the Park, particularly from scenic overlooks across the Hudson River in New York, like the Metropolitan Museum’s Cloisters and the George Washington Bridge. To make this argument, the author draws on the work of renowned public trust scholars, Professors Joseph Sax and Carol Rose, among others. Based on the doctrine’s ...


Disappearing Claims And The Erosion Of Substantive Law, J. Maria Glover Jan 2015

Disappearing Claims And The Erosion Of Substantive Law, J. Maria Glover

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

The Supreme Court’s arbitration jurisprudence from the last five years represents the culmination of a three-decade-long expansion of the use of private arbitration as an alternative to court adjudication in the resolution of disputes of virtually every type of justiciable claim. Because privatizing disputes that would otherwise be public may well erode public confidence in public institutions and the judicial process, many observers have linked this decades-long privatization of dispute resolution to an erosion of the public realm. Here, I argue that the Court’s recent arbitration jurisprudence undermines the substantive law itself.

While this shift from dispute resolution ...


Community Lawyering: Introductory Thoughts On Theory And Practice, Michael R. Diamond Jan 2015

Community Lawyering: Introductory Thoughts On Theory And Practice, Michael R. Diamond

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

There are several fundamental questions that one might ask in seeking the meaning of the term "community lawyer." Albeit somewhat theoretical, the most basic questions involve delving into exactly what is meant by the term "community." For what, exactly, is the community-lawyer lawyering? Further, once a client has been identified, questions will arise about how the lawyer should relate to that client and about the role the lawyer ought to play in assisting the client to achieve its goals. There is a long and rich literature concerning the latter question but a fairly sparse body of legal writing on the ...


Constitutional Skepticism: A Recovery And Preliminary Evaluation, Louis Michael Seidman Jan 2014

Constitutional Skepticism: A Recovery And Preliminary Evaluation, Louis Michael Seidman

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

The aim of this article is to recover and reevaluate the American tradition of constitutional skepticism. Part I consists of a brief history of skepticism running from before the founding to the modern period. My aim here is not to provide anything like a complete description of the historical actors, texts, and events that I discuss. Instead, I link together familiar episodes and arguments that stretch across our history so as to demonstrate that they are part of a common narrative that has been crucial to our self-identity. Part II disentangles the various strands of skeptical argument. I argue that ...


A Tale Of Two Rights, Robin West Jan 2014

A Tale Of Two Rights, Robin West

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

In part I of this article the author identifies and criticizes a cluster of constitutional rights, which she argues does tremendous and generally unreckoned harm to civil society, and does so for reasons poorly articulated in earlier critiques. At the heart of the new paradigm of constitutional rights that the author believes these rights exemplify is a “right to exit.” On this conception of individual rights, a constitutional right is a right to “opt out” of some central public or civic project. This understanding of what it means to have a constitutional right hit the scene a good two decades ...


Natalie Stoljar’S Wishful Thinking And One Step Beyond: What Should Conceptual Legal Analysis Become?, Imer Flores Jan 2013

Natalie Stoljar’S Wishful Thinking And One Step Beyond: What Should Conceptual Legal Analysis Become?, Imer Flores

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Praising wishful thinking is a serious risk that the author is willing to run not only in this article commenting of Natalie Stoljar’s work but also elsewhere in his scholarship. The author will analyze her claims and will agree mostly with them, he will also criticize her for stopping one step short adopting the desirability or weaker claim, when in it is not merely possible but necessary to go one step beyond arguing for the necessity or stronger claim. The author intends to present further grounds for endorsing “conceptual (legal) analysis pluralism” by distinguishing the three different inquiry or ...


Political And Constitutional Obligation, Louis Michael Seidman Jan 2013

Political And Constitutional Obligation, Louis Michael Seidman

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

In his provocative, courageous, and original new book, "Against Obligation: The Multiple Sources of Authority in a Liberal Democracy," Abner Greene argues that there is “no successful general case for a presumptive (or ‘prima facie’) moral duty to obey the law.” In my own book, "On Constitutional Disobedience," I argue that there is no moral duty to obey our foundational law–the Constitution of the United States. This brief article, prepared for a symposium on the two books to be published by the Boston University Law Review, I address three issues related to these claims. First, I discuss what seem ...


Why Jeremy Waldron Really Agrees With Me, Louis Michael Seidman Jan 2013

Why Jeremy Waldron Really Agrees With Me, Louis Michael Seidman

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Herewith a response to Jeremy Waldron's review of my book, On Constitutional Disobedience. I conclude that Waldron actually agrees with all of my key claims.


Liberal Responsibilities, Robin West Jan 2013

Liberal Responsibilities, Robin West

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

This essay is a review of When the State Speaks, What Should it Say?: How Democracies can Protect Expression and Promote Equality by Corey Brettschneider (2012) and Ordered Liberty: Rights, Responsibilities, and Virtues by James E. Fleming & Linda C. McClain (2013).

In a parallel fashion, Fleming and McClain articulate and then defend a general conception of “constitutional liberalism” and its core individual rights against various critics, including communitarians such as Mary Ann Glendon and Michael Sandel, and “minimalists” such as Cass Sunstein and Jeremy Waldron, who argue that for various reasons those individual rights have undermined either civic society or democratic processes or both. But they too have some sympathy for the criticism, and their defense is likewise quite different from the traditional. Unlike most defenders of liberal constitutionalism, they insist that constitutional liberalism should be explicitly committed to promoting the responsibility of citizens for formulating their own conception of the good and their own theories of justice, which in turn will jointly contribute to responsible democratic and personal self-government. Constitutional liberalism does not undermine civic responsibilities, but it can and should make the grounds of its support of them far more explicit. Accordingly, for Fleming and McClain, various substantive due process rights, such as the right to abortion, the right to marry and to sexual expression, and to educate one’s children, cannot be faulted for creating virtue-free zones of reckless license, so long as it is understood, as the Court has sometimes—but fitfully—tried to do in the dozens of cases it canvases; that those rights are justified, largely or in part, by their tendency not only to protect liberty, but also to form the basis for the development of responsible citizens. These citizens, by virtue of their rights, are more capable of occupying a space in the political order in an informed and responsible way and of formulating and following through on a conception of ...


Interpretation And Construction In Altering Rules, Gregory Klass Oct 2012

Interpretation And Construction In Altering Rules, Gregory Klass

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

This essay is a response to Ian Ayres's, "Regulating Opt-Out: An Economic Theory of Altering Rules," 121 Yale L.J. 2032 (2012). Ayres identifies an important question: How does the law decide when parties have opted-out of a contractual default? Unfortunately, his article tells only half of the story about such altering rules. Ayres cares about rules designed to instruct parties on how to get the terms that they want. By focusing on such rules he ignores altering rules designed instead to interpret the nonlegal meaning of the parties' acts or agreement. This limited vision is characteristic of economic ...


Foreword: Academic Influence On The Court, Neal K. Katyal Oct 2012

Foreword: Academic Influence On The Court, Neal K. Katyal

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

The months leading up to the Supreme Court’s blockbuster decision on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) were characterized by a prodigious amount of media coverage that purported to analyze how the legal challenge to Obamacare went mainstream. The nation’s major newspapers each had a prominent story describing how conservative academics, led by Professor Randy Barnett, had a long-term strategy to make the case appear credible. In the first weeks after the ACA’s passage, the storyline went, the lawsuit’s prospects of success were thought to be virtually nil. Professor (and former Solicitor General) Charles Fried stated that ...


Chief Justices Marshall And Roberts And The Non-Self-Execution Of Treaties, Carlos Manuel Vázquez May 2012

Chief Justices Marshall And Roberts And The Non-Self-Execution Of Treaties, Carlos Manuel Vázquez

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

This article is a response to David L. Sloss, Executing Foster v. Neilson: The Two-Step Approach to Analyzing Self-Executing Treaties, 53 Harv. Int'l L L.J. 135 (2012).

David Sloss’s article, Executing Foster v. Neilson, is an important contribution to the literature on the judicial enforcement of treaties. The author agrees with much of it, as he agrees with much of Professor Sloss’ other writing on treaties. In particular, the author agrees that the two-step approach to treaty enforcement that Professor Sloss proposes is generally the right approach, and he agrees that the “intent-based” approach to the self-execution ...


Senses Of Sen: Reflections On Amartya Sen’S Ideas Of Justice, César Arjona, Arif A. Jamal, Carrie Menkel-Meadow, Victor V. Ramraj, Francisco Satiro Jan 2012

Senses Of Sen: Reflections On Amartya Sen’S Ideas Of Justice, César Arjona, Arif A. Jamal, Carrie Menkel-Meadow, Victor V. Ramraj, Francisco Satiro

Faculty Papers & Publications

This review essay explores how Amartya Sen’s recent book, The Idea of Justice, is relevant and important for the development and assessment of transnational theories and applications to transnational justice and legal education programs. The essay captures a trans-jural dialogue of multinational scholars and teachers, discussing Sen’s contributions to moral justice theory (criticizing programs for “transcendental institutionalism” (like Rawlsian theory) and instead focusing on “comparative broadening” including empirical, relative, and comparative assessments of programs to ameliorate injustice in the world in its comparative concreteness (as in Indian social justice theory and Adam Smith’s Theory of Moral Sentiments ...


The First Amendment’S Borders: The Place Of Holder V. Humanitarian Law Project In First Amendment Doctrine, David Cole Jan 2012

The First Amendment’S Borders: The Place Of Holder V. Humanitarian Law Project In First Amendment Doctrine, David Cole

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

In Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project, the Supreme Court’s first decision pitting First Amendment rights against national security interests since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the Court appears to have radically departed from some of the First Amendment’s most basic principles, including the maxims that speech may not be penalized because of its viewpoint, that even speech advocating crime deserves protection until it constitutes incitement, and that political association is constitutionally protected absent specific intent to further a group’s illegal ends. These principles lie at the core of our political and democratic freedoms, yet Humanitarian ...


The Anti-Empathic Turn, Robin West Jan 2011

The Anti-Empathic Turn, Robin West

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Justice, according to a broad consensus of our greatest twentieth century judges, requires a particular kind of moral judgment, and that moral judgment requires, among much else, empathy–the ability to understand not just the situation but also the perspective of litigants on warring sides of a lawsuit.

Excellent judging requires empathic excellence. Empathic understanding is, in some measure, an acquired skill as well as, in part, a natural ability. Some people do it well; some, not so well. Again, this has long been understood, and has been long argued, particularly, although not exclusively, by some of our most admired ...


The Siren Song Of History: Originalism And The Religion Clauses, Jeffrey Shulman Jan 2011

The Siren Song Of History: Originalism And The Religion Clauses, Jeffrey Shulman

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

It is hard to foresee much happiness in the lot of those seeking the original meaning of the Religion Clauses. We may acknowledge the opacity of the historical record, the variety of viewpoints held by founders forgotten and non-forgotten, the humanness of the founders who did not always practice what they preached, even the basic indeterminancy of language; still, we are seduced by the siren song of interpretive certainty. But the search for greater clarity is not without its payoff. As the three books under review here illustrate, the more we look for answers in the historical record, the more ...


Against Flexibility, David A. Super Jan 2011

Against Flexibility, David A. Super

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Contemporary legal thinking is in the thrall of a cult of flexibility. We obsess about avoiding decisions without all possible relevant information while ignoring the costs of postponing decisions until that information becomes available. We valorize procrastination and condemn investments of decisional resources in early decisions.

Both public and private law should be understood as a productive activity converting information, norms, and decisional and enforcement capacity into outputs of social value. Optimal timing depends on changes in these inputs’ scarcity and in the value of the decision they produce. Our legal culture tends to overestmate the value of information that ...


Health Insurance Reform And Intimations Of Citizenship, Nan D. Hunter Jan 2011

Health Insurance Reform And Intimations Of Citizenship, Nan D. Hunter

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

This article considers the implications of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) for social meanings of civic belonging in American society and for possible new forms of individual engagement with the health care system. Once fully implemented, PPACA will have many of the governance characteristics of other social insurance systems, in that it will define membership in a collective undertaking, establish a mechanism for collective security against a shared risk, and channel, incentivize and penalize specific behaviors. The article considers the extent to which PPACA has the potential to also produce new narratives and understandings of social solidarity ...


Building A Collaborative Digital Collection: A Necessary Evolution In Libraries, Michelle M. Wu Jan 2011

Building A Collaborative Digital Collection: A Necessary Evolution In Libraries, Michelle M. Wu

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Law libraries are losing ground in the effort to preserve information in the digital age. In part, this is due declining budgets, user needs, and a caution born from the great responsibility libraries feel to ensure future access instead of selecting a form that may not survive. That caution, though, has caused others, such as Google, to fill the silence with their vision. Libraries must stand and contribute actively to the creation of digital collections if we expect a voice in future discussion. This article presents a vision of the start of a collaborative, digital academic law library, one that ...


Tragic Rights: The Rights Critique In The Age Of Obama, Robin West Jan 2011

Tragic Rights: The Rights Critique In The Age Of Obama, Robin West

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

This article discusses the absence of the Rights Critique in the modern era, and its impact on the current formulation of rights in America. The three-pronged rights critique-–that U.S. constitutional rights politically insulate and valorize subordination, legitimate and thus perpetrate greater injustices than they address, and socially alienate us from community--was nearly ubiquitous in the 1980s. Since that time, it has largely disappeared, which in this author’s view is an unfortunate development.

The rights critique continues to be relevant today, because Obama-era rights continue to subordinate, legitimate, and alienate. However, these rights do more than just exaggerate ...


The Interpretation-Construction Distinction, Lawrence B. Solum Jan 2010

The Interpretation-Construction Distinction, Lawrence B. Solum

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

The interpretation-construction distinction, which marks the difference between linguistic meaning and legal effect, is much discussed these days. I shall argue that the distinction is both real and fundamental – that it marks a deep difference in two different stages (or moments) in the way that legal and political actors process legal texts. My account of the distinction will not be precisely the same as some others, but I shall argue that it is the correct account and captures the essential insights of its rivals. This Essay aims to mark the distinction clearly!

The basic idea can be explained by distinguishing ...


Rights, Harms, And Duties: A Response To Justice For Hedgehogs, Robin West Jan 2010

Rights, Harms, And Duties: A Response To Justice For Hedgehogs, Robin West

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

The author responds to the three jurisprudential positions that Ronald Dworkin discusses in his book--albeit briefly--so as to integrate them into his hedgehoggian program. The first is that we should think of rights as political trumps, such that the individual liberty protected by the right, and hence the behavior protected by the right, trumps in importance and in effect, both in law and in popular imaginings, the various collective goals with which the right might be in conflict. Second, we should think about our collective life, and the principles that should guide it, through the lens of the rights of ...


Ronald Dworkin’S Justice For Hedgehogs And Partnership Conception Of Democracy (With A Comment To Jeremy Waldron’S 'A Majority In The Lifeboat'), Imer Flores Jan 2010

Ronald Dworkin’S Justice For Hedgehogs And Partnership Conception Of Democracy (With A Comment To Jeremy Waldron’S 'A Majority In The Lifeboat'), Imer Flores

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

In this article the author focuses mainly in the last part of Ronald Dworkin´s Justice for Hedgehogs and in his argument for a partnership conception of democracy. For that purpose, first, he recalls some of the main features that Dworkin had advanced in previous but intrinsically related works, about political morality, equality and democracy; second, he reassess the arguments for a partnership conception of democracy; third, he reconsiders the resistance produced by Jeremy Waldron in his “A Majority in the Lifeboat” and the response provided by Dworkin, but since it may appear insufficient, he intends to present an alternative ...


Chronicling The Complexification Of Negotiation Theory And Practice, Carrie Menkel-Meadow Nov 2009

Chronicling The Complexification Of Negotiation Theory And Practice, Carrie Menkel-Meadow

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

The essay reviews the content of twenty-five years of the Harvard Program on Negotiation's Negotiation Journal, identifying themes and issues explored on its pages in the past, the current issues challenging the field’s scholars and practitioners, and the issues likely to confront us in the future. It argues that while we in the field hoped for simple, elegant, and universal theories of negotiation and conflict resolution, the last twenty-five years have demonstrated the increasing complexification of negotiation theory and practice, from increased numbers of parties and issues, and dilemmas of intertemporal commitments, ethics, accountability, and relationships of private ...