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Supreme Court of the United States

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The Perennial Eclipse: Race, Immigration, And How Latinx Count In American Politics, Rachel F. Moran May 2024

The Perennial Eclipse: Race, Immigration, And How Latinx Count In American Politics, Rachel F. Moran

Faculty Scholarship

In 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court decided Evenwel v. Abbott, a case challenging the use of total population in state legislative apportionment as a violation of the Equal Protection Clause. The plaintiffs sued Texas, alleging that the State impermissibly diluted their voting power because they lived in areas with a high proportion of voting-age citizens. When total population was used to draw district lines, the plaintiffs had to compete with more voters to get their desired electoral outcomes than was true for voters in districts with low proportions of voting-age citizens. The Court rejected the argument, finding that states enjoy …


Charging Abortion, Milan Markovic Mar 2024

Charging Abortion, Milan Markovic

Faculty Scholarship

As long as Roe v. Wade remained good law, prosecutors could largely avoid the question of abortion. The Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization has now placed prosecutors at the forefront of the abortion wars. Some chief prosecutors in antiabortion states have pledged to not enforce antiabortion laws, whereas others are targeting even out-of-state providers. This post-Dobbs reality, wherein the ability to obtain an abortion depends not only on the politics of one’s state but also the policies of one’s local district attorney, has received minimal scrutiny from legal scholars.

Prosecutors have broad charging discretion, …


Do Public Accommodations Laws Compel “What Shall Be Orthodox”?: The Role Of Barnette In 303 Creative Llc V. Eleni, Linda C. Mcclain Jan 2024

Do Public Accommodations Laws Compel “What Shall Be Orthodox”?: The Role Of Barnette In 303 Creative Llc V. Eleni, Linda C. Mcclain

Faculty Scholarship

This article addresses the U.S. Supreme Court’s embrace, in 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis, of a First Amendment objection to state public accommodations laws that the Court avoided in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission: such laws compel governmental orthodoxy. These objections invoke West Virginia Board of Education v. Barnette’s celebrated language: “If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein.” They also …


The Major Questions Doctrine At The Boundaries Of Interpretive Law, Daniel E. Walters Jan 2024

The Major Questions Doctrine At The Boundaries Of Interpretive Law, Daniel E. Walters

Faculty Scholarship

The Supreme Court’s apparent transformation of the major questions doctrine into a clear statement rule demanding clear congressional authorization for “major” agency actions has already had, and will continue to have, wide-ranging impacts on American public law. Not the least of these is the impact it will have on the enterprise of statutory interpretation. Indeed, while it is easy to focus on the policy repercussions of a newly constrained Congress and newly hamstrung administrative state, this Article argues that equally important is the novel precedent that is set in this particular formulation of a clear statement rule, which stands almost …


The Foreshadow Docket, Bert I. Huang Jan 2024

The Foreshadow Docket, Bert I. Huang

Faculty Scholarship

Imagine the Supreme Court issuing an emergency order that signals interest in departing from precedent, as if foreshadowing a change in the law. Seeing this, should the lower courts start ruling in ways that also anticipate the law of the future? They need not do so in their merits rulings. That much is clear. Such a signal does not create new binding precedent. Rather, it reflects the Justices’ guess about the future of the law — and what if that guess is wrong?

Yet for a lower court ruling on a temporary stay or injunction, the task seems to call …


Social Costs Of Dobbs' Pro-Adoption Agenda, Malinda L. Seymore Dec 2023

Social Costs Of Dobbs' Pro-Adoption Agenda, Malinda L. Seymore

Faculty Scholarship

Abortion opponents have long claimed that women denied access to abortion can simply give their children up for adoption. Justice Alito repeated this argument in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health. Of course, this claim assumes away the burdens of the pregnancy itself, which can result in economic strife, domestic violence, health risks, and potentially death in childbirth. But even on its own terms, the argument that adoption is an adequate substitute for abortion access makes normative assumptions about adoption as a social good in and of itself, ignoring the social costs of adoption for birth parents and adoptees. Idealizing adoption …


Reply Brief For Petitioner, Ferguson V. America, Brian Wolfman, Madeline H. Meth Nov 2023

Reply Brief For Petitioner, Ferguson V. America, Brian Wolfman, Madeline H. Meth

Faculty Scholarship

The Government concedes that the circuits are divided over whether 28 U.S.C. § 2255 limits a district court’s discretion in reviewing 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(1)(A) motions. And because it cannot dispute that this issue is cleanly presented, unaffected by the Sentencing Commission’s policy statement, and exceptionally important, it instead rewrites the question presented. The Government’s effort to replace a question about the relationship (if any) between Section 3582(c)(1)(A) and Section 2255 with one about whether the district court abused its discretion should be rejected, and with it the Government’s attempt to gloss over the intractable circuit split, its misguided argument …


Reply Brief For Petitioner, Muldrow V. City Of St. Louis, Madeline H. Meth, Brian Wolfman Nov 2023

Reply Brief For Petitioner, Muldrow V. City Of St. Louis, Madeline H. Meth, Brian Wolfman

Faculty Scholarship

Section 703(a)(1) is straightforward: It prohibits all discrimination against an employee “with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin[.]” 42 U.S.C. § 2000e2(a)(1). The Department does not dispute that job transfers concern “terms and conditions” of employment. See Resp. Br. 1, 35. So, if the statute’s words are honored, and Jatonya Muldrow can show that the Department’s transfer decisions were imposed “because of” her sex, the Department is liable.

Yet the Department maintains that some discriminatory job transfers escape Title VII’s reach. It relies nearly exclusively …


Roberts's Revisions: A Narratological Reading Of The Affirmative Action Cases, Angela Onwuachi-Willig Nov 2023

Roberts's Revisions: A Narratological Reading Of The Affirmative Action Cases, Angela Onwuachi-Willig

Faculty Scholarship

In a seminal article published nearly twenty years ago in the Yale Journal of Law and the Humanities, Professor Peter Brooks posed a critical yet underexplored question: "Does the [flaw [n]eed a [n]arratology?"5 In essence, he asked whether law as a field should have a framework for deconstructing and understanding how and why a legal opinion, including the events that the opinion is centered on, has been crafted and presented in a particular way.6 After highlighting that "how a story is told can make a difference in legal outcomes," Brooks encouraged legal actors to "talk narrative talk" …


Legal Clutter: How Concurring Opinions Create Unnecessary Confusion And Encourage Litigation, Meg Penrose Aug 2023

Legal Clutter: How Concurring Opinions Create Unnecessary Confusion And Encourage Litigation, Meg Penrose

Faculty Scholarship

Good judges are clear writers. And clear writers avoid legal clutter. Legal clutter occurs when judges publish multiple individually written opinions that are neither useful nor necessary. This essay argues that concurring opinions are the worst form of legal clutter. Unlike majority opinions, concurring opinions are legal asides, musings of sorts—often by a single judge—that add length and confusion to an opinion often without adding meaningful value. Concurring opinions do not change the outcome of a case. Unlike dissenting opinions, they do not claim disagreement with the ultimate decision. Instead, concurring opinions merely offer an idea or viewpoint that failed …


Brief For Petitioner, Muldrow V. City Of St. Louis, Missouri, Madeline H. Meth, Brian Wolfman Aug 2023

Brief For Petitioner, Muldrow V. City Of St. Louis, Missouri, Madeline H. Meth, Brian Wolfman

Faculty Scholarship

Title VII prohibits an employer from discriminating against an employee because of her race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. Its core antidiscrimination provision, Section 703(a)(1), protects individuals not only from discriminatory hiring, firing, or compensation but also from discrimination with respect to their “terms, conditions, or privileges” of employment. 42 U.S.C. § 2000e2(a)(1). Petitioner Jatonya Clayborn Muldrow maintains that her employer, the City of St. Louis Police Department, discriminated against her in the terms, conditions, or privileges of her employment when, because of her sex, it transferred her out of the Department’s Intelligence Division to an entirely different job, …


Personhood, Property, And Public Education: The Case Of Plyler V. Doe, Rachel F. Moran Jun 2023

Personhood, Property, And Public Education: The Case Of Plyler V. Doe, Rachel F. Moran

Faculty Scholarship

Property law is having a moment, one that is getting education scholars’ attention. Progressive scholars are retooling the concepts of ownership and entitlement to incorporate norms of equality and inclusion. Some argue that property law can even secure access to public education despite the U.S. Supreme Court’s longstanding refusal to recog- nize a right to basic schooling. Others worry that property doctrine is inherently exclusionary. In their view, property-based concepts like resi- dency have produced opportunity hoarding in schools that serve affluent, predominantly white neighborhoods. Many advocates therefore believe that equity will be achieved only by moving beyond property-based claims, …


The Problem Is The Court, Not The Constitution, Jonathan Feingold Apr 2023

The Problem Is The Court, Not The Constitution, Jonathan Feingold

Faculty Scholarship

“But first, we must believe.” So concludes The Antiracist Constitution, where Brandon Hasbrouck confronts an uneasy question: In the quest for racial justice, is the Constitution friend or foe? Even the casual observer knows that constitutional law is no friend to racial justice. In the nineteenth century, Plessy v. Ferguson blessed Jim Crow. In the twentieth century, Washington v. Davis insulated practices that reproduce Jim Crow. Now in the twenty-first century, pending affirmative action litigation invites the Supreme Court to outlaw efforts to remedy Jim Crow.


Replacing Notorious: Barret, Ginsburg, And Postfeminist Positioning, Calvin R. Coker Apr 2023

Replacing Notorious: Barret, Ginsburg, And Postfeminist Positioning, Calvin R. Coker

Faculty Scholarship

This essay offers a rhetorical reading of Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation hearings to make sense of how widespread outrage over replacing the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg with a conservative idealogue was resolved through the invocation of postfeminist motherhood. I argue that GOP Senators and Barrett herself positioned her nomination as the achievement of feminist goals, justified through rhetorics of choice and the idealization of (white) motherhood. These strategies cement Barrett as the logical and defensible successor to both Ginsburg’s seat and her legacy of feminist work. I conclude with the implications of this circulation of postfeminist motherhood, with focus on …


Against The Chenery Ii "Doctrine", Gary S. Lawson, Joseph Postell Mar 2023

Against The Chenery Ii "Doctrine", Gary S. Lawson, Joseph Postell

Faculty Scholarship

The Supreme Court’s 1947 decision in SEC v. Chenery Corp. (“Chenery II”) is generally taken as blanket authorization for agencies to make law through either adjudication or rulemaking if their organic statutes permit both modes. We think this is an overreading of the doctrine. The decision in Chenery II need not be read so broadly, and there are good reasons to read it more narrowly. The most important reason is that agency lawmaking through adjudication presents serious constitutional concerns involving due process of law and subdelegation of legislative power, at least if the agency action deprives people of life, liberty, …


Justices Citing Justices, Jay D. Wexler Jan 2023

Justices Citing Justices, Jay D. Wexler

Faculty Scholarship

Scholars have long paid attention to how often and for what reasons Supreme Court justices cite law review articles and academic books in their opinions. More recently, a new area of scholarship has begun to look at how Justices create their own lines of “personal precedent” through not only their prior opinions but also their academic writings. At the intersection of these two areas of inquiry lies questions of how often and for what reasons Supreme Court justices cite the journal articles and books of the various justices sitting on the Court, including their own. With the exception of one …


The Ghosts Of Chevron Present And Future, Gary S. Lawson Jan 2023

The Ghosts Of Chevron Present And Future, Gary S. Lawson

Faculty Scholarship

In the October 2021 term, the Supreme Court decided six cases involving federal agency interpretations of statutes, at least five of which seemingly implicated the Chevron doctrine and several of which explicitly turned on applications of Chevron in the lower courts. But while the Chevron doctrine has dominated federal administrative law for nearly four decades, not a single majority opinion during the term even cited Chevron. Three of those cases formalized the so-called “major questions” doctrine, which functions essentially as an anti-Chevron doctrine by requiring clear congressional statements of authority to justify agency action on matters of great legal and …


Ordered Liberty After Dobbs, Linda C. Mcclain, James E. Fleming Jan 2023

Ordered Liberty After Dobbs, Linda C. Mcclain, James E. Fleming

Faculty Scholarship

This Essay explores the implications of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization for the future of substantive due process (SDP) liberties protecting personal autonomy, bodily integrity, familial relationships (including marriage), sexuality, and reproduction. We situate Dobbs in the context of prior battles on the Supreme Court over the proper interpretive approach to deciding what basic liberties the Due Process Clause (DPC) protects. As a framing device, we refer to two competing approaches as “the party of [Justice] Harlan or Casey” versus “the party of Glucksberg.” In Dobbs, the dissent co-authored by Justices Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan represents the party of …


Biden V. Nebraska: The New State Standing And The (Old) Purposive Major Questions Doctrine, Jed Handelsman Shugerman Jan 2023

Biden V. Nebraska: The New State Standing And The (Old) Purposive Major Questions Doctrine, Jed Handelsman Shugerman

Faculty Scholarship

Chief Justice Roberts’s majority opinion in Biden v. Nebraska does not sufficiently explain how Missouri has standing under established Article III doctrine, nor how the Court approaches the major questions doctrine as a method of statutory interpretation. Clarification can come from other opinions, even other cases entirely, in which Justice’s counterarguments are suggestive of the real arguments underlying the decisions.

MOHELA may have faced a concrete injury from the student debt waiver, but there was no evidence that Missouri would – and the majority had no answer for how Missouri had standing without an injury. A debate over special state …


Supreme Court Legitimacy Under Threat? The Role Of Cues In How The Public Responds To Supreme Court Decisions., Laura Moyer, Scott S. Boddery, Jeff Yates, Lindsay Caudill Jan 2023

Supreme Court Legitimacy Under Threat? The Role Of Cues In How The Public Responds To Supreme Court Decisions., Laura Moyer, Scott S. Boddery, Jeff Yates, Lindsay Caudill

Faculty Scholarship

Understanding how the public views the Court and its rulings is crucial to assessing its institutional stability. However, as scholars note, “People are broadly supportive of the court and believe in its ‘legitimacy’—that is, that Supreme Court rulings should be respected and followed. But we don’t know that much about whether people actually agree with the case outcomes themselves.” In this article, we highlight empirical research investigating the factors that affect public agreement with Court decisions, highlighting recent developments from our work. At the onset, it is to note that the public generally hears about the Court’s decisions from media …


Originalism-By-Analogy And Second Amendment Adjudication, Joseph Blocher, Eric Ruben Jan 2023

Originalism-By-Analogy And Second Amendment Adjudication, Joseph Blocher, Eric Ruben

Faculty Scholarship

In New York State Rifle & Pistol Ass’n v. Bruen, the Supreme Court held that the constitutionality of modern gun laws must be evaluated by direct analogy to history, unmediated by familiar doctrinal tests. Bruen’s novel approach to historical decision-making purported to constrain judicial discretion but instead enabled judicial subjectivity, obfuscation, and unpredictability. Those problems are painfully evident in courts’ faltering efforts to apply Bruen to laws regulating 3D-printed guns, assault weapons, large-capacity magazines, obliterated serial numbers, and the possession of guns on subways or by people subject to domestic-violence restraining orders. The Court’s recent grant of certiorari in United …


The Major Questions Doctrine: Right Diagnosis, Wrong Remedy, Thomas W. Merrill Jan 2023

The Major Questions Doctrine: Right Diagnosis, Wrong Remedy, Thomas W. Merrill

Faculty Scholarship

The Supreme Court’s “major questions” doctrine has been attacked as an attempt to revive the nondelegation doctrine. The better view is that this statutory interpretation responds to perceived failings of the Chevron doctrine, which has governed court-agency relations since 1984. This article criticizes the major question doctrine and proposes modifications to the Chevron doctrine that would partially correct its failings while preserving the traditional interpretive role of courts.


Chevron'S Ghost Rides Again, Thomas W. Merrill Jan 2023

Chevron'S Ghost Rides Again, Thomas W. Merrill

Faculty Scholarship

Professor Gary Lawson has offered a remarkable account of the fate of the Chevron doctrine during a recent year in the Supreme Court, from August 2021 to June 2022. When one examines lower court decisions, petitions seeking review of those decisions, briefs filed by the parties, and transcripts of oral arguments, Chevron made frequent appearances during the year. But when one reads the published opinions of the Court, one finds virtually no reference to Chevron. Based on the published opinions of the Court, it was as if the Chevron decision did not exist.

The status of Chevron as a …


Loper Bright And The Future Of Chevron Deference, Jack M. Beermann Jan 2023

Loper Bright And The Future Of Chevron Deference, Jack M. Beermann

Faculty Scholarship

The question presented in Loper Bright Industries v. Raimondo1 is “[w]hether the Court should overrule Chevron or at least clarify that statutory silence concerning controversial powers expressly but narrowly granted elsewhere in the statute does not constitute an ambiguity requiring deference to the agency.” The Court denied certiorari on another question focused on the merits of the case,2 indicating that at least four of the Justices are anxious to revisit or at least clarify Chevron. It’s about time, although it’s far from certain that the Court will actually follow through with the promise the certiorari grant indicates.3 …


Navigating Between "Politics As Usual" And Sacks Of Cash, Daniel C. Richman Jan 2023

Navigating Between "Politics As Usual" And Sacks Of Cash, Daniel C. Richman

Faculty Scholarship

Like other recent corruption reversals, Percoco was less about statutory text than what the Court deems “normal” politics. As prosecutors take the Court’s suggestions of alternative theories and use a statute it has largely ignored, the Court will have to reconcile its fears of partisan targeting and its textualist commitments


The Anti-Innovation Supreme Court: Major Questions, Delegation, Chevron And More, Jack M. Beermann Jan 2023

The Anti-Innovation Supreme Court: Major Questions, Delegation, Chevron And More, Jack M. Beermann

Faculty Scholarship

The Supreme Court of the United States has generally been a very aggressive enforcer of legal limitations on governmental power. In various periods in its history, the Court has gone far beyond enforcing clearly expressed and easily ascertainable constitutional and statutory provisions and has suppressed innovation by the other branches that do not necessarily transgress widely held social norms. Novel assertions of legislative power, novel interpretations of federal statutes, statutes that are in tension with well-established common law rules and state laws adopted by only a few states are suspect simply because they are novel or rub up against tradition. …


Running On Empty: Ford V. Montana And The Folly Of Minimum Contacts, James P. George Nov 2022

Running On Empty: Ford V. Montana And The Folly Of Minimum Contacts, James P. George

Faculty Scholarship

Jurisdictional contests are in disarray. Criticisms date back to the issuance of International Shoe Co. v. Washington but the breakdown may be best illustrated in two recent Supreme Court opinions, the first rejecting California’s “sliding scale” that mixes general and specific contacts, the second using the discredited sliding scale to hold Ford amenable in states where accidents occurred.

California’s sliding scale is one variety of the contacts-relatedness tests, used in lower courts to have general contacts bolster weaker specific contacts. Some states—Montana and Minnesota for example—use the opposite extreme requiring a causal connection in defendant’s forum contacts, often using foreseeability …


Rewriting Whren V. United States, Jonathan Feingold, Devon Carbado Apr 2022

Rewriting Whren V. United States, Jonathan Feingold, Devon Carbado

Faculty Scholarship

In 1996, the U.S. Supreme Court decided Whren v. United States—a unanimous opinion in which the Court effectively constitutionalized racial profiling. Despite its enduring consequences, Whren remains good law today. This Article rewrites the opinion. We do so, in part, to demonstrate how one might incorporate racial justice concerns into Fourth Amendment jurisprudence, a body of law that has long elided and marginalized the racialized dimensions of policing. A separate aim is to reveal the “false necessity” of the Whren outcome. The fact that Whren was unanimous, and that even progressive Justices signed on, might lead one to conclude that …


The Right To Counsel In A Neoliberal Age, Zohra Ahmed Apr 2022

The Right To Counsel In A Neoliberal Age, Zohra Ahmed

Faculty Scholarship

Legal scholarship tends to obscure how changes in criminal process relate to broader changes in the political and economic terrain. This Article offers a modest corrective to this tendency. By studying the U.S. Supreme Court’s right to counsel jurisprudence, as it has developed since the mid-70s, I show the pervasive impact of the concurrent rise of neoliberalism on relationships between defendants and their attorneys. Since 1975, the Court has emphasized two concerns in its rulings regarding the right to counsel: choice and autonomy. These, of course, are nominally good things for defendants to have. But by paying close attention to …


Seila Law: Is There A There There?, Jack M. Beermann Jan 2022

Seila Law: Is There A There There?, Jack M. Beermann

Faculty Scholarship

In Seila Law LLC v. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Supreme Court, in an opinion by Chief Justice John Roberts, invalidated the provision of the Dodd-Frank Act restricting the president's removal of the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to cases of "inefficiency, neglect of duty, or malfeasance in office." The Court's decision leaves the director subject to removal by the president for any reason or no reason at all.

This Essay on the Seila Law decision makes three points. First, because there is no legal or historical support for the Court's distinction between independent agencies headed …