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Local Power, Alexandra B. Klass, Rebecca Wilton Jan 2022

Local Power, Alexandra B. Klass, Rebecca Wilton

Vanderbilt Law Review

This Article is about “local power.” We use that term in two distinct but complementary ways. First, local power describes the authority of local governments to enact regulatory policies in the interests of their citizens. Second, local power describes the authority of local governments to exercise proprietary control over the sources and delivery of electric power to their citizens. This dual meaning of local power is particularly important today, as an increasing number of local governments are seriously considering “municipalizing”--taking control of local electric power systems-—at the same time that, outside the electric power sector, many states are constraining local …


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 …


Interstate Commerce In Cannabis, Robert Mikos Jan 2021

Interstate Commerce In Cannabis, Robert Mikos

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

By the end of 2020, more than thirty states had legalized cannabis containing tetrahydrocannabinol ("THC") for at least some purposes.' Each of these states has authorized firms to produce and sell cannabis within its borders. In 2019, those state-licensed firms did a brisk business, selling more than $13 billion worth of cannabis.

However, none of that $13 billion of cannabis is now being sold (legally) across state lines. Instead, each legalization state now has its own, hermetically sealed local cannabis market, supplied entirely by cannabis cultivated and processed inside the state. For example, the $1.75 billion worth of cannabis that …


"White Men's Roads Through Black Men's Homes": Advancing Racial Equity Through Highway Reconstruction, Deborah N. Archer Oct 2020

"White Men's Roads Through Black Men's Homes": Advancing Racial Equity Through Highway Reconstruction, Deborah N. Archer

Vanderbilt Law Review

Racial and economic segregation in urban communities is often understood as a natural consequence of poor choices by individuals. In reality, racially and economically segregated cities are the result of many factors, including the nation’s interstate highway system. In states around the country, highway construction displaced Black households and cut the heart and soul out of thriving Black communities as homes, churches, schools, and businesses were destroyed. In other communities, the highway system was a tool of a segregationist agenda, erecting a wall that separated White and Black communities and protected White people from Black migration. In these ways, construction …


Proposed Reforms To Texas Judicial Selection: Panelist Remarks, Brian T. Fitzpatrick Jan 2019

Proposed Reforms To Texas Judicial Selection: Panelist Remarks, Brian T. Fitzpatrick

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

I am going to set the stage by providing a little background about the various methods that States around the country use to select their judges. I am also going to remind us of many of the considerations that we like to think about when we are deciding which of these methods is best. And I am going to push upon you a new consideration that is sometimes not thought about in these discussions as well as share some data regarding this last consideration. But let’s start with some background about the selection methods.

There are basically four different ways …


Symposium: The Least Understood Branch: The Demands And Challenges Of The State Judiciary: Introduction, Alex Carver, Susanna Rychlak Nov 2017

Symposium: The Least Understood Branch: The Demands And Challenges Of The State Judiciary: Introduction, Alex Carver, Susanna Rychlak

Vanderbilt Law Review

On March 31, 2017, the Vanderbilt Law Review, in conjunction with the American Constitution Society, hosted a Symposium at Vanderbilt Law School entitled The Least Understood Branch: The Demands and Challenges of the State Judiciary. This Symposium began five months earlier at Emory University School of Law, where the Symposium's contributors gathered to discuss the importance and difficulties of studying state courts. This theme is reflected in the articles published in this Symposium issue. The importance of state courts to the American system of justice can hardly be overstated. As Professors Tracey George and Albert Yoon recognize, "The work of …


Introduction: The Effects Of Selection Method On Public Officials, Clayton J. Masterman Nov 2017

Introduction: The Effects Of Selection Method On Public Officials, Clayton J. Masterman

Vanderbilt Law Review

State and local governments have long struggled to design optimal mechanisms for selecting public officials. Centuries of experimentation have left us with several techniques: election (partisan or otherwise), political appointment, or selection by some kind of technocratic commission. Despite our extensive experience with these systems, no consensus has emerged as to which system is best under what circumstances. Several questions remain unclear: What effect does selection method have on the quality of services that public officials provide? Does selection method systematically affect the ideological composition of officials? If so, does that effect matter? And what determines whether a jurisdiction adopts …


Adjudicating Death: Professionals Or Politicians?, Stephen J. Choi, Mitu Gulati Nov 2017

Adjudicating Death: Professionals Or Politicians?, Stephen J. Choi, Mitu Gulati

Vanderbilt Law Review

Given that there is significant variation across the states in terms of whether death examination offices are run by trained professionals or local politicians, we should, in theory, be able to empirically test the question of whether professionals or politicians do a better job of adjudicating death. It turns out that, although there are strong opinions about what the answer surely is, there has been little in the way of serious empirical work addressing this question. Our Article takes a first cut at looking at how one might do that analysis.


Introduction: The Power Of New Data And Technology, Laura E. Dolbow Nov 2017

Introduction: The Power Of New Data And Technology, Laura E. Dolbow

Vanderbilt Law Review

Modern technology has revolutionized the law. Computers drastically expanded the scope and speed of access to legal information. Unlike the days when lawyers had to climb ladders in the stacks to find specific statutes or cases in printed reporters, Westlaw brings up thousands of resources at the touch of a fingertip. Beyond transforming legal research, new data and technology have transformed the law in two other powerful ways: they have made the law more accessible to nonlawyers, and they have made it possible for lawyers to gather information about how the law is being executed. The articles in this Section …


Introduction: Perceived Legitimacy And The State Judiciary, G. Alexander Nunn Nov 2017

Introduction: Perceived Legitimacy And The State Judiciary, G. Alexander Nunn

Vanderbilt Law Review

By and large, judicial authority is a product of perceived validity. Judges lack an independent means of enforcement; they wield "no influence over either the sword or the purse," "neither force nor will." Rather, the judicial branch operates under the auspices of its legitimacy, "a product of substance and perception that shows itself in the people's acceptance of the Judiciary as fit to determine what the Nation's law means and to declare what it demands." When the public sees the judiciary as legitimate, it accepts and adheres to its rulings even when it may perceive certain decisions to be ideologically …


Measuring Justice In State Courts: The Demographics Of The State Judiciary, Tracey E. George, Albert H. Yoon Nov 2017

Measuring Justice In State Courts: The Demographics Of The State Judiciary, Tracey E. George, Albert H. Yoon

Vanderbilt Law Review

For most individuals and organizations, state courts--especially state trial courts-are the "law" for all effective purposes. State courts are America's courts. But, we know surprisingly little about state court judges despite their central and powerful role in lawmaking and dispute resolution. This lack of information is especially significant because judges' backgrounds have important implications for the work of courts. The characteristics of those who sit in judgment affect the internal workings of courts as well as the external perception of those courts and judges. The background of judges will influence how they make decisions and can impact the public's acceptance …


Improving Access To Justice In State Courts With Platform Technology, J.J. Prescott Nov 2017

Improving Access To Justice In State Courts With Platform Technology, J.J. Prescott

Vanderbilt Law Review

Access to justice often equates to access to state courts, and for millions of Americans, using state courts to resolve their disputes-often with the government-is a real challenge. Reforms are regularly proposed in the hopes of improving the situation (e.g., better legal aid), but until recently a significant part of the problem has been structural. Using state courts today for all but the simplest of legal transactions entails at the very least traveling to a courthouse and meeting with a decision maker in person and in a one-on-one setting. Even minimally effective access, therefore, requires time, transportation, and very often …


The New Antitrust Federalism, Rebecca Haw Allensworth Jan 2016

The New Antitrust Federalism, Rebecca Haw Allensworth

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

"Antitrust federalism, " or the rule that state regulation is not subject to federal antitrust law, does as much as-and perhaps more than-its constitutional cousin to insulate state regulation from wholesale invalidation by the federal government. For most of the last century, the Court quietly tinkered away with the contours of this federalism, struggling to draw a formal boundary between state action (immune from antitrust suits) and private cartels (not). But with the Court's last three antitrust cases, the tinkering has given way to reformation. What used to be a doctrine with deep roots in constitutional federalism is now a …


Inferiority Complex: Should State Courts Follow Lower Federal Court Precedent On The Meaning Of Federal Law?, Amanda Frost Jan 2015

Inferiority Complex: Should State Courts Follow Lower Federal Court Precedent On The Meaning Of Federal Law?, Amanda Frost

Vanderbilt Law Review

The conventional wisdom is that state courts need not follow lower federal court precedent when interpreting federal law. Upon closer inspection, however, the question of how state courts should treat lower federal court precedent is not so clear. Although most state courts now take the conventional approach, a few contend that they are obligated to follow the lower federal courts, and two federal courts of appeals have declared that their decisions are binding on state courts. The Constitution's text and structure send mixed messages about the relationship between state and lower federal courts, and the Supreme Court has never squarely …


Federal Visions Of Private Family Support, Laura A. Rosenbury Nov 2014

Federal Visions Of Private Family Support, Laura A. Rosenbury

Vanderbilt Law Review

The individual states have long played a primary role in defining the legal family in the United States, with states often determining who does and does not enjoy the legal status of spouse, parent, and child. Two recent U.S. Supreme Court cases, Astrue v. Capatol and United States v. Windsor,2 acknowledged and affirmed the diverse definitions of family that flow from this federalist approach. Yet these cases do not solidify the states' place in defining family for purposes of marriage, parentage, divorce, and death. Instead, they foreshadow an increasingly federal conception of family status-a conception that values private family support …


Is Finra A State Actor? A Question That Exposes The Flaws Of The State Action Doctrine And Suggests A Way To Redeem It, Michael Deshmukh May 2014

Is Finra A State Actor? A Question That Exposes The Flaws Of The State Action Doctrine And Suggests A Way To Redeem It, Michael Deshmukh

Vanderbilt Law Review

For over seventy years, the National Association of Securities Dealers ("NASD") was the principal self-regulatory organization ("SRO") responsible for the regulation and oversight of the U.S. securities market.' In 2000, working with the Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") and the New York Stock Exchange ("NYSE"), the NASD initiated a joint investigation into twelve investment firms that were allegedly "spinning" initial public, offerings. This sort of regulatory interplay between the NASD and the NYSE governed the industry until 2008, when self-regulatory power was further consolidated by a merger between the NASD and the regulatory arm of the NYSE. The resulting organization, …


Policing Public Companies: An Empirical Examination Of The Enforcement Landscape And The Role Played By State Securities Regulators, Amanda Rose, Larry J. Leblanc Jan 2013

Policing Public Companies: An Empirical Examination Of The Enforcement Landscape And The Role Played By State Securities Regulators, Amanda Rose, Larry J. Leblanc

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

Multiple different securities law enforcers can pursue U.S. public companies for the same misconduct. These enforcers include a variety of federal agencies, class action attorneys, and derivative litigation attorneys, as well as fifty separate state regulators. Scholars and policy makers have increasingly questioned whether the benefits of this multienforcer approach are worth the costs, or whether a more coordinated and streamlined securities enforcement regime might lead to efficiency gains. How serious are these concerns? And what role do state regulators play in the enforcement mix? Whereas the enforcement efforts of the Securities and Exchange Commission and class action lawyers have …


The Immunity Of State Officials Under The Un Convention On Jurisdictional Immunities Of States And Their Property, David P. Stewart Jan 2011

The Immunity Of State Officials Under The Un Convention On Jurisdictional Immunities Of States And Their Property, David P. Stewart

Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law

The U.S. Supreme Court decided in Samantar v. Yousuf that claims of immunity by individual foreign officials in U.S. courts will be determined not under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act but instead under the common law, drawing on principles of international law. The 2004 UN Convention on the Jurisdictional Immunities of States and Their Properties represents the most recent and comprehensive international thinking on the question of jurisdictional immunities of foreign states and their officials in foreign courts. Under the Convention, individual representatives of a state acting in that capacity are entitled to the same immunities as the state itself. …


Assessing The State Of State Constitutionalism, Jim Rossi Jan 2011

Assessing The State Of State Constitutionalism, Jim Rossi

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

State constitutions are terribly important legal documents, but their interpretation is remarkably understudied (and, of course, highly undertheorized) in the academic literature. This review essay discusses Robert Williams’s welcome new book, The Law of American State Constitutions (Oxford University Press, 2009). After summarizing the content of Williams’s book, it discusses the normative significance of his work, focusing especially on his discussion of independent state constitutions and the positive theory of interpretation he advances. The essay concludes by highlighting some areas where the field of state constitutional law is in need of further advancement, including research that positions state constitutions within …


Unforgiving Of Those Who Trespass Against U.S.: State Laws Criminalizing Immigration, Karla M. Mckanders Jan 2011

Unforgiving Of Those Who Trespass Against U.S.: State Laws Criminalizing Immigration, Karla M. Mckanders

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

Since around 2005, states and localities have been using criminal trespass laws to target undocumented immigrants for unlawful presence. Specifically, in April 2010, Arizona passed SB 1070: Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act. SB 1070 creates crimes involving trespassing by “illegal aliens” and harboring or concealing unlawful aliens. This paper argues that state trespass laws that criminalize unlawful presence of immigrants are unconstitutional regulations of immigration and are a preempted exercise of state power. In evaluating the constitutionality of state trespass laws that criminalize immigration status, this paper proceeds in three parts. The first part of the paper …


Erie And Federal Criminal Courts, Wayne A. Logan Oct 2010

Erie And Federal Criminal Courts, Wayne A. Logan

Vanderbilt Law Review

State and federal courts have long engaged in intersystemic adjudication,' interpreting and applying the constitutions, lawS, and regulations of one another's governments. Perhaps the best known instance in the civil litigation realm occurs with federal diversity jurisdiction, where, as a result of Erie Railroad Co. v. Tompkins, federal courts resolve federal civil claims on the basis of state substantive laws.

With criminal laws, however, the phenomenon has been and remains less apparent. This is in significant part due to the principle that such laws embody sovereign normative preferences, susceptible to neither enforcement nor jurisprudential control by other governments. Nevertheless, some …


Forgive Me, Founding Fathers For I Have Sinned, Carolyn A. Pytynia Jan 2010

Forgive Me, Founding Fathers For I Have Sinned, Carolyn A. Pytynia

Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law

The Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution grants the federal government the authority to make the law of the land and, in turn, preempt state law that is incompatible with the federal government's legislative and treaty making efforts. In addition, other provisions of the Constitution authorize the federal government to participate in matters of foreign affairs, and the Supreme Court has found this authority to be exclusive to the federal government in a number of cases. However, the Constitution is silent on the issue of when federal preemption of state law is appropriate when states seek to legislate in matters …


Abuse Under The Big Top: Seeking Legal Protection For Circus Elephants After Aspca V. Ringling Brothers, Emily A. Beverage Jan 2010

Abuse Under The Big Top: Seeking Legal Protection For Circus Elephants After Aspca V. Ringling Brothers, Emily A. Beverage

Vanderbilt Journal of Entertainment & Technology Law

The Asian elephants featured in the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus are theoretically guaranteed humane treatment by the Animal Welfare Act, which ostensibly protects animals in exhibition, and by the Endangered Species Act, which covers the treatment of animals designated endangered species, including Asian elephants. Nevertheless, circus elephants have suffered extensive abuse because the agencies responsible for implementing the laws--the United States Departments of Agriculture and the Interior, respectively--have not done so aggressively, and because animal advocates have been unable to compel their enforcement or to establish standing to sue private parties. In 2000, animal welfare organizations, including …


Wine Wars: How We Have Painted Ourselves Into A Regulatory Corner, Rachel M. Perkins Jan 2010

Wine Wars: How We Have Painted Ourselves Into A Regulatory Corner, Rachel M. Perkins

Vanderbilt Journal of Entertainment & Technology Law

A private citizen can violate the Constitution in two ways. The first is by enslaving another person, an atrocious act that should be proscribed by the highest law in the land. The second is by transporting alcohol across a state line in violation of the laws of that state. The two actions are hardly of the same magnitude.

The history of alcohol regulation has been a litany of failed attempts--on both the state and federal levels. Each new layer of legislation created additional problems. Most are familiar with the infamy of Prohibition, the federal ban on the manufacture or sale …


Siting Transmission Lines In A Changed Milieu: Evolving Notions Of The "Public Interest" In Balancing State And Regional Considerations, Jim Rossi, Ashley C. Brown Jan 2010

Siting Transmission Lines In A Changed Milieu: Evolving Notions Of The "Public Interest" In Balancing State And Regional Considerations, Jim Rossi, Ashley C. Brown

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

This Article discusses how state public utility law presents a barrier to the siting of new high voltage transmission lines to serve renewable resources, and how states could approach its evolution in order to preserve a role for state regulators in a new energy economy in which renewable energy will play a significant role. The traditional approach to determining the "public interest" in siting transmission lines is well on its way to obsolescence. Two developments over the past fifteen years have begun to challenge this paradigm. First, policies at the federal level and in many states have encouraged increased competition …


The Politics Of Merit Selection, Brian T. Fitzpatrick Jan 2009

The Politics Of Merit Selection, Brian T. Fitzpatrick

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

In this Article, I undertake an evaluation of a method of judicial selection known as "merit selection." The merit system is distinctive from the other systems of judicial selection in the powerful role it accords lawyers. Proponents of the merit system contend that it is superior to the other forms of judicial selection -- elections or appointment by elected officials -- because lawyers are more likely to select judges on the basis of "merit" and less likely to select judges on the basis of "politics" (i.e., the personal ideological preferences of judicial candidates) than are voters or elected officials. But …


Law Triangle: Arbitrating International Reinsurance Disputes, J. L. Murphy Jan 2008

Law Triangle: Arbitrating International Reinsurance Disputes, J. L. Murphy

Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law

The McCarran-Ferguson Act was enacted to preserve the longstanding prerogative of the States to regulate the insurance industry. States have acted in accordance with this statute to declare arbitration agreements in insurance contracts invalid. However, the Senate has since ratified the New York Convention and appended implementing legislation to the Federal Arbitration Act that obligates domestic courts to recognize arbitration agreements in all international contracts. In an odd convergence of authority, a functional conflict arises between these three bodies of law: the federal law says that state law controls in this area, even over other federal law that might incidentally …


Errors, Omissions, And The Tennessee Plan, Brian T. Fitzpatrick Jan 2008

Errors, Omissions, And The Tennessee Plan, Brian T. Fitzpatrick

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

In the Spring 2008 issue of the Tennessee Law Review, I wrote an essay questioning whether Tennessee's merit system for selecting appellate judges - the Tennessee Plan - satisfies the requirements of the Tennessee Constitution. The Tennessee Constitution requires all judges to be elected by the qualified voters of the state, yet, under the Plan, all appellate judges are initially selected by gubernatorial appointment and then retained in uncontested referenda. I argued that both the appointment and retention features of the Plan are unconstitutional, and I recommended that the legislature refuse to reauthorize the Plan when it expires in June …


Do Citizens Care About Federalism? An Experimental Test, Robert Mikos, Cindy D. Kam Nov 2007

Do Citizens Care About Federalism? An Experimental Test, Robert Mikos, Cindy D. Kam

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

The ongoing debate over the political safeguards of federalism has essentially ignored the role that citizens might play in restraining federal power. Scholars have assumed that citizens care only about policy outcomes and will invariably support congressional legislation that satisfies their substantive policy preferences, no matter the cost to state powers. Scholars thus typically turn to institutions-the courts or institutional features of the political process-to cabin congressional authority. We argue that ignoring citizens is a mistake. We propose a new theory of the political safeguards of federalism in which citizens help to safeguard state authority. We also test our theory …


Constitutional Isolationism And The Limits Of State Separation Of Powers As A Barrier To Interstate Compacts, Jim Rossi Jan 2007

Constitutional Isolationism And The Limits Of State Separation Of Powers As A Barrier To Interstate Compacts, Jim Rossi

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

In this Essay, I address the question of which branch of state government ought to have the authority to negotiate interstate compacts - a question of state separation of powers. Recent case law interpreting state constitutions in the context of Indian gambling compacts provides a particularly fertile ground for exploring this question, as it illustrates how courts are struggling to find a way to allow state executive officials greater autonomy to negotiate interstate compacts. Part I illustrates how traditional notions of separation of powers under state constitutions can be understood to pose a barrier to executive branch negotiation of interstate …