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Suspect Spheres, Not Enumerated Powers: A Guide For Leaving The Lamppost, Richard Primus, Roderick M. Hills Jr. May 2021

Suspect Spheres, Not Enumerated Powers: A Guide For Leaving The Lamppost, Richard Primus, Roderick M. Hills Jr.

Michigan Law Review

Despite longstanding orthodoxy, the Constitution’s enumeration of congressional powers does virtually nothing to limit federal lawmaking. That’s not because of some bizarrely persistent judicial failure to read the Constitution correctly. It’s because the enumeration of congressional powers is not a well-designed technology for limiting federal legislation. Rather than trying to make the enumeration do work that it will not do, decisionmakers should find better ways of thinking about what lawmaking should be done locally rather than nationally. This Article suggests such a rubric, one that asks not whether Congress has permission to do a certain thing but ...


The Meaning Of Sex: Dynamic Words, Novel Applications, And Original Public Meaning, William N. Eskridge Jr., Brian G. Slocum, Stefan Th. Gries May 2021

The Meaning Of Sex: Dynamic Words, Novel Applications, And Original Public Meaning, William N. Eskridge Jr., Brian G. Slocum, Stefan Th. Gries

Michigan Law Review

The meaning of sex matters. The interpretive methodology by which the meaning of sex is determined matters Both of these were at issue in the Supreme Court’s recent landmark decision in Bostock v. Clayton County, where the Court held that Title VII protects lesbians, gay men, transgender persons, and other sexual and gender minorities against workplace discrimination. Despite unanimously agreeing that Title VII should be interpreted in accordance with its original public meaning in 1964, the opinions in Bostock failed to properly define sex or offer a coherent theory of how long-standing statutes like Title VII should be interpreted ...


The Rule Of Five Guys, Lisa Heinzerling Apr 2021

The Rule Of Five Guys, Lisa Heinzerling

Michigan Law Review

A Review of The Rule of Five: Making Climate History at the Supreme Court. by Richard J. Lazarus.


Racial Revisionism, Shaun Ossei-Owusu Apr 2021

Racial Revisionism, Shaun Ossei-Owusu

Michigan Law Review

A Review of The Enigma of Clarence Thomas. by Corey Robin.


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 Passion Of John Paul Stevens, Linda Greenhouse May 2020

The Passion Of John Paul Stevens, Linda Greenhouse

Michigan Law Review

Review of John Paul Stevens' The Making of a Justice: Reflections on My First 94 Years.


Translating The Constitution, Jack M. Balkin May 2020

Translating The Constitution, Jack M. Balkin

Michigan Law Review

Review of Lawrence Lessig's Fidelity and Constraint: How the Supreme Court Has Read the American Constitution.


Textualism For Realists, Ian Samuel Jan 2019

Textualism For Realists, Ian Samuel

Michigan Law Review

Review of Richard L. Hasen's The Justice of Contradictions: Antonin Scalia and the Politics of Disruption.


Carpenter's Legacy: Limiting The Scope Of The Electronic Private Search Doctrine, Sarah A. Mezera Jan 2019

Carpenter's Legacy: Limiting The Scope Of The Electronic Private Search Doctrine, Sarah A. Mezera

Michigan Law Review

One of the most significant challenges confronting courts and legal scholars in the twenty-first century is the application of Fourth Amendment doctrine to new technology. The circuit split over the application of the private search doctrine to electronic devices exemplifies how courts struggle to apply old doctrines to new circumstances. Some courts take the position that the old doctrine should apply consistently in the new context. Other courts have changed the scope of the old doctrine in order to account for the change in circumstances. The Supreme Court took the latter position in Carpenter v. United States and held that ...


National Injunctions And Preclusion, Zachary D. Clopton Jan 2019

National Injunctions And Preclusion, Zachary D. Clopton

Michigan Law Review

Critics of national injunctions are lining up. Attorney General Jeff Sessions labeled these injunctions “absurd” and “simply unsustainable.” Justice Clarence Thomas called them “legally and historically dubious,” while Justice Neil Gorsuch mockingly referred to them as “cosmic injunctions.” Scholars in leading law reviews have called for their demise. Critics argue that national injunctions encourage forum shopping, unfairly burden the federal government, and depart from the history of equity. They also claim that national injunctions contradict the Supreme Court’s decision in United States v. Mendoza to exempt the federal government from offensive nonmutual issue preclusion—a doctrine that permits nonparties ...


Article Ii And Antidiscrimination Norms, Aziz Z. Huq Jan 2019

Article Ii And Antidiscrimination Norms, Aziz Z. Huq

Michigan Law Review

The Supreme Court’s opinion in Trump v. Hawaii validated a prohibition on entry to the United States from several Muslim-majority countries and at the same time repudiated a longstanding precedent associated with the Japanese American internment of World War II. This Article closely analyzes the relationship of these twin rulings. It uses their dichotomous valences as a lens on the legal scope for discriminatory action by the federal executive. Parsing the various ways in which the internment of the 1940s and the 2017 exclusion order can be reconciled, the Article identifies a tension between the Court’s two holdings ...


The Supreme Court And Public Schools, Erwin Chemerinsky Jan 2019

The Supreme Court And Public Schools, Erwin Chemerinsky

Michigan Law Review

Review of Justin Driver's The Schoolhouse Gate: Public Education, the Supreme Court, and the Battle for the American Mind.


What Corporate Veil?, Joshua C. Macey Jan 2019

What Corporate Veil?, Joshua C. Macey

Michigan Law Review

Review of Adam Winkler's We the Corporations: How American Business Won Their Civil Rights.


Qualified Immunity And Constitutional Structure, Katherine Mims Crocker Jan 2019

Qualified Immunity And Constitutional Structure, Katherine Mims Crocker

Michigan Law Review

A range of scholars has subjected qualified immunity to a wave of criticism— and for good reasons. But the Supreme Court continues to apply the doctrine in ever more aggressive ways. By advancing two claims, this Article seeks to make some sense of this conflict and to suggest some thoughts toward a resolution.

First, while the Court has offered and scholars have rejected several rationales for the doctrine, layering in an account grounded in structural constitutional concerns provides a historically richer and analytically thicker understanding of the current qualified-immunity regime. For suits against federal officials, qualified immunity acts as a ...


Fourth Amendment Textualism, Jeffrey Bellin Jan 2019

Fourth Amendment Textualism, Jeffrey Bellin

Michigan Law Review

The Fourth Amendment’s prohibition of “unreasonable searches” is one of the most storied constitutional commands. Yet after decades of Supreme Court jurisprudence, a coherent definition of the term “search” remains surprisingly elusive. Even the justices know they have a problem. Recent opinions only halfheartedly apply the controlling “reasonable expectation of privacy” test and its wildly unpopular cousin, “third-party doctrine,” with a few justices in open revolt.

These fissures hint at the Court’s openness to a new approach. Unfortunately, no viable alternatives appear on the horizon. The justices themselves offer little in the way of a replacement. And scholars ...


A Post-Spokeo Taxonomy Of Intangible Harms, Jackson Erpenbach Jan 2019

A Post-Spokeo Taxonomy Of Intangible Harms, Jackson Erpenbach

Michigan Law Review

Article III standing is a central requirement in federal litigation. The Supreme Court’s Spokeo decision marked a significant development in the doctrine, dividing the concrete injury-in-fact requirement into two subsets: tangible and intangible harms. While tangible harms are easily cognizable, plaintiffs alleging intangible harms can face a perilous path to court. This raises particular concern for the system of federal consumer protection laws where enforcement relies on consumers vindicating their own rights by filing suit when companies violate federal law. These plaintiffs must often allege intangible harms arising out of their statutorily guaranteed rights. This Note demonstrates that Spokeo ...


Certiorari, Universality, And A Patent Puzzle, Tejas N. Narechania Jun 2018

Certiorari, Universality, And A Patent Puzzle, Tejas N. Narechania

Michigan Law Review

The most important determinant of a case’s chances for Supreme Court review is a circuit split: If two courts of appeals have decided the same issue differently, review is substantially more likely. But practically every appeal in a patent case makes its way to a single court—the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. How, then, does the Supreme Court decide whether to grant certiorari in a patent case?

The petitions for certiorari in the Court’s patent docket suggest an answer: The Supreme Court looks for splits anyway. These splits, however, are of a different sort. Rather ...


Sex And Religion: Unholy Bedfellows, Mary-Rose Papandrea Apr 2018

Sex And Religion: Unholy Bedfellows, Mary-Rose Papandrea

Michigan Law Review

A review of Geoffrey R. Stone, Sex and the Constitution: Sex, Religion, and Law from America's Origins to the Twenty-First Century.


All Bathwater, No Baby: Expressive Theories Of Punishment And The Death Penalty, Susan A. Bandes Apr 2018

All Bathwater, No Baby: Expressive Theories Of Punishment And The Death Penalty, Susan A. Bandes

Michigan Law Review

A review of Carol S. Steiker and Jordan M. Steiker, Courting Death: The Supreme Court and Capital Punishment.


Why The Burger Court Mattered, David A. Strauss Apr 2018

Why The Burger Court Mattered, David A. Strauss

Michigan Law Review

A review of Michael J. Graetz and Linda Greenhouse, The Burger Court and the Rise of the Judicial Right.


Precedent And Disagreement, Glen Staszewski Apr 2018

Precedent And Disagreement, Glen Staszewski

Michigan Law Review

A review of Randy J. Kozel, Settled Versus Right: A Theory of Precedent.


The Lottery Docket, Daniel Epps, William Ortman Mar 2018

The Lottery Docket, Daniel Epps, William Ortman

Michigan Law Review

We propose supplementing the Supreme Court’s caseload with a “lottery docket” of cases selected at random from final judgments of the circuit courts. The Court currently possesses almost unfettered authority to set its own agenda through its certiorari jurisdiction. By rule and custom, the Court exercises that discretion by selecting cases that it sees as important, in a narrow sense of that term. The Court’s free hand in agenda setting has obvious benefits, but it has drawbacks as well. It deprives the Court of critical information about how the law operates in ordinary cases. It signals to circuit ...


The First Queer Right, Scott Skinner-Thompson Jan 2018

The First Queer Right, Scott Skinner-Thompson

Michigan Law Review

A review of Carlos A. Ball, The First Amendment and LGBT Equality: A Contentious History.


State Action And The Constitution's Middle Band, Louis Michael Seidman Jan 2018

State Action And The Constitution's Middle Band, Louis Michael Seidman

Michigan Law Review

On conventional accounts, the state action doctrine is dichotomous. When the government acts, constitutional limits take hold and the government action is invalid if those limits are exceeded. When the government fails to act, the state action doctrine leaves decisions to individuals, who are permitted to violate what would otherwise be constitutional constraints.

It turns out though that the modern state action doctrine creates three rather than two domains. There is indeed a private, inner band where there is thought to be insufficient government action to trigger constitutional constraints, but often there is also a public, outer band where there ...


Arguing With Friends, William Baude, Ryan D. Doerfler Jan 2018

Arguing With Friends, William Baude, Ryan D. Doerfler

Michigan Law Review

Judges sometimes disagree about the best way to resolve a case. But the conventional wisdom is that they should not be too swayed by such disagreement and should do their best to decide the case by their own lights. An emerging critique questions this view, arguing instead for widespread humility. In the face of disagreement, the argument goes, judges should generally concede ambiguity and uncertainty in almost all contested cases.

Both positions are wrong. Drawing on the philosophical concepts of “peer disagreement” and “epistemic peerhood,” we argue for a different approach: A judge ought to give significant weight to the ...


Change, Creation, And Unpredictability In Statutory Interpretation: Interpretive Canon Use In The Roberts Court's First Decade, Nina A. Mendelson Jan 2018

Change, Creation, And Unpredictability In Statutory Interpretation: Interpretive Canon Use In The Roberts Court's First Decade, Nina A. Mendelson

Michigan Law Review

In resolving questions of statutory meaning, the lion’s share of Roberts Court opinions considers and applies at least one interpretive canon, whether the rule against surplusage or the presumption against state law preemption. This is part of a decades-long turn toward textualist statutory interpretation in the Supreme Court. Commentators have debated how to justify canons, since they are judicially created rules that reside outside the statutory text. Earlier studies have cast substantial doubt on whether these canons can be justified as capturing congressional practices or preferences; commentators have accordingly turned toward second-order justifications, arguing that canons usefully make interpretation ...


Gerrymandering And The Constitutional Norm Against Government Partisanship, Michael S. Kang Dec 2017

Gerrymandering And The Constitutional Norm Against Government Partisanship, Michael S. Kang

Michigan Law Review

This Article challenges the basic premise in the law of gerrymandering that partisanship is a constitutional government purpose at all. The central problem, Justice Scalia once explained in Vieth v. Jubilerer, is that partisan gerrymandering becomes unconstitutional only when it “has gone too far,” giving rise to the intractable inquiry into “how much is too much.” But the premise that partisanship is an ordinary and lawful purpose, articulated confidently as settled law and widely understood as such, is largely wrong as constitutional doctrine. The Article surveys constitutional law to demonstrate the vitality of an important, if implicit norm against government ...


Understanding Nautilus's Reasonable-Certainty Standard: Requirements For Linguistic And Physical Definiteness Of Patent Claims, Gary M. Fox Nov 2017

Understanding Nautilus's Reasonable-Certainty Standard: Requirements For Linguistic And Physical Definiteness Of Patent Claims, Gary M. Fox

Michigan Law Review

Patent applicants must satisfy a variety of requirements to obtain a patent from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The definiteness requirement forces applicants to describe their inventions in unambiguous terms so that other inventors will understand the scope of granted patent rights. Although the statutory provision for the definiteness requirement has been stable for many years, the Supreme Court’s decision in Nautilus v. Biosig Instruments altered the doctrine. The Court abrogated the Federal Circuit’s insoluble-ambiguity standard and replaced it with a new reasonable-certainty standard. Various district courts have applied the new standard in different ways ...


Chevron In The Circuit Courts, Kent Barnett, Christopher J. Walker Oct 2017

Chevron In The Circuit Courts, Kent Barnett, Christopher J. Walker

Michigan Law Review

This Article presents findings from the most comprehensive empirical study to date on how the federal courts of appeals have applied Chevrondeference— the doctrine under which courts defer to a federal agency’s reasonable interpretation of an ambiguous statute that it administers. Based on 1,558 agency interpretations the circuit courts reviewed from 2003 through 2013 (where they cited Chevron), we found that the circuit courts overall upheld 71% of interpretations and applied Chevrondeference 77% of the time. But there was nearly a twenty-five-percentage-point difference in agency-win rates when the circuit courts applied Chevrondeference than when they ...


The New Unconstitutionality Of Juvenile Sex Offender Registration: Suspending The Presumption Of Constitutionality For Laws That Burden Juvenile Offenders, Spencer Klein Jun 2017

The New Unconstitutionality Of Juvenile Sex Offender Registration: Suspending The Presumption Of Constitutionality For Laws That Burden Juvenile Offenders, Spencer Klein

Michigan Law Review

In Smith v. Doe, the Supreme Court held that Alaska’s sex offender registration and notification statute did not constitute punishment and was therefore not susceptible to challenge under the Ex Post Facto Clause. In reaching that conclusion, the Court looked to the seven factors articulated in Kennedy v. Mendoza-Martinez. To evaluate those factors, the Court applied a presumption of constitutionality, conducting the sort of narrow factual inquiry characteristic of rational basis review. Since Smith, courts have disagreed as to whether sex offender laws are punitive when applied to juveniles, and the Supreme Court has not yet addressed the issue ...