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Full-Text Articles in Law

Judges In Lawyerless Courts, Anna E. Carpenter, Colleen F. Shanahan, Jessica K. Steinberg, Alyx Mark Jan 2022

Judges In Lawyerless Courts, Anna E. Carpenter, Colleen F. Shanahan, Jessica K. Steinberg, Alyx Mark

Faculty Scholarship

The typical American civil trial court is lawyerless. In response, access to justice reformers have embraced a key intervention: changing the judge’s traditional role. The prevailing vision for judicial role reform calls on trial judges to offer a range of accommodation, assistance, and process simplification to people without legal representation.

Until now, we have known little about whether and how judges are implementing role reform recommendations or how judges behave in lawyerless courts as a general matter. Our lack of knowledge stands in stark contrast to the responsibility civil trial judges bear – and the discretionary power they wield – …


Judicial Minimalism In Lower Courts, Thomas P. Schmidt Jan 2022

Judicial Minimalism In Lower Courts, Thomas P. Schmidt

Faculty Scholarship

Debate about the virtues and vices of “judicial minimalism” is evergreen. But as is often the case in public law, that debate so far has centered on the Supreme Court. Minimalism arose and has been defended as a theory about how Justices should judge. This Article considers judicial minimalism as an approach for lower courts, which have become conspicuous and powerful actors on the public law scene. It begins by offering a framework that disentangles the three basic meanings of the term “judicial minimalism”: decisional minimalism, which counsels judges to decide cases on narrow and shallow grounds; prudential minimalism, which …


The Institutional Mismatch Of State Civil Courts, Colleen F. Shanahan, Jessica K. Steinberg, Alyx Mark, Anna E. Carpenter Jan 2022

The Institutional Mismatch Of State Civil Courts, Colleen F. Shanahan, Jessica K. Steinberg, Alyx Mark, Anna E. Carpenter

Faculty Scholarship

State civil courts are central institutions in American democracy. Though designed for dispute resolution, these courts function as emergency rooms for social needs in the face of the failure of the legislative and executive branches to disrupt or mitigate inequality. We reconsider national case data to analyze the presence of social needs in state civil cases. We then use original data from courtroom observation and interviews to theorize how state civil courts grapple with the mismatch between the social needs people bring to these courts and their institutional design. This institutional mismatch leads to two roles of state civil courts …


Rbg: Nonprofit Entrepreneur, David M. Schizer Jan 2021

Rbg: Nonprofit Entrepreneur, David M. Schizer

Faculty Scholarship

It is exceedingly rare for one person to change the world almost single-handedly, but Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was one of those people. Even before her distinguished judicial career, RBG was a trailblazing advocate for women’s rights during the 1970s. She persuaded the Supreme Court that gender discrimination violates the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution, winning five of the six cases she argued there. To lead this historic effort, RBG served as general counsel of the ACLU and as co-founder and the first director of its Women’s Rights Project from 1972 until she became a judge in 1980. …


Legitimate Interpretation – Or Legitimate Adjudication?, Thomas W. Merrill Jan 2020

Legitimate Interpretation – Or Legitimate Adjudication?, Thomas W. Merrill

Faculty Scholarship

Current debate about the legitimacy of lawmaking by courts focuses on what constitutes legitimate interpretation. The debate has reached an impasse in that originalism and textualism appear to have the stronger case as a matter of theory while living constitutionalism and dynamic interpretation provide much account of actual practice. This Article argues that if we refocus the debate by asking what constitutes legitimate adjudication, as determined by the social practice of the parties and their lawyers who take part in adjudication, it is possible to develop an account of legitimacy that produces a much better fit between theory and practice. …


Complexity, Judgment, And Restraint, Gerard E. Lynch Jan 2020

Complexity, Judgment, And Restraint, Gerard E. Lynch

Faculty Scholarship

I am honored to have been asked to give this year’s James Madison Lecture. I hesitate to single out any of my extraordinary predecessors at this podium – there are too many great judges to list, and too much risk of slighting any. So I will note only that the list includes both judges for whom I clerked more than forty years ago, Justice William J. Brennan, Jr., and Chief Judge Wilfred Feinberg, of the court on which I now serve. That long-ago law clerk could not have dreamed of being someday in a position once occupied by those two …


Coordinating Injunctions, Bert I. Huang Jan 2020

Coordinating Injunctions, Bert I. Huang

Faculty Scholarship

Consider this scenario: Two judges with parallel cases are each ready to issue an injunction. But their injunctions may clash, ordering incompatible actions by the defendant. Each judge has written an opinion justifying her own intended relief, but the need to avoid conflicting injunctions presses her to make a further choice – “Should I issue the injunction or should I stay it for now?” Each must make this decision in anticipation of what the other will do.

This Article analyzes such a judicial coordination problem, drawing on recent examples including the DACA cases and the “sanctuary cities” cases. It then …


What Do Lawyers Contribute To Law & Economics?, Robert E. Scott, George G. Triantis Jan 2020

What Do Lawyers Contribute To Law & Economics?, Robert E. Scott, George G. Triantis

Faculty Scholarship

The law-and-economics movement has transformed the analysis of private law in the United States and, increasingly, around the world. As the field developed from 1970 to the early 2000s, scholars have developed countless insights about the operation and effects of law and legal institutions. Throughout this period, the discipline of law-and-economics has benefited from a partnership among trained economists and academic lawyers. Yet the tools that are used derive primarily from economics and not law. A logical question thus demands attention: what role do academic lawyers play in law-and-economics scholarship? In this Essay, we offer an interpretive theory of the …


Judicial Credibility, Bert I. Huang Jan 2020

Judicial Credibility, Bert I. Huang

Faculty Scholarship

Do people believe a federal court when it rules against the government? And does such judicial credibility depend on the perceived political affiliation of the judge? This study presents a survey experiment addressing these questions, based on a set of recent cases in which both a judge appointed by President George W. Bush and a judge appointed by President Bill Clinton declared the same Trump Administration action to be unlawful. The findings offer evidence that, in a politically salient case, the partisan identification of the judge – here, as a “Bush judge” or “Clinton judge” – can influence the credibility …


Covid, Crisis And Courts, Colleen F. Shanahan, Alyx Mark, Jessica K. Steinberg, Anna E. Carpenter Jan 2020

Covid, Crisis And Courts, Colleen F. Shanahan, Alyx Mark, Jessica K. Steinberg, Anna E. Carpenter

Faculty Scholarship

Our country is in crisis. The inequality and oppression that lies deep in the roots and is woven in the branches of our lives has been laid bare by a virus. Relentless state violence against black people has pushed protestors to the streets. We hope that the legislative and executive branches will respond with policy change for those who struggle the most among us: rental assistance, affordable housing, quality public education, comprehensive health and mental health care. We fear that the crisis will fade and we will return to more of the same. Whatever lies on the other side of …


Conference On Best Practices For Managing Daubert Questions, Daniel J. Capra, David G. Campbell, Debra A. Livingston, James P. Bassett, Shelly Dick, Traci L. Lovitt, Thomas Marten, Kathryn N. Nester, Thomas D. Schroeder, Elizabeth J. Shapiro, Timothy Lau, Vince Chhabria, John Z. Lee, William H. Orrick Iii, Edmund A. Sargus Jr., Sarah A. Vance, Edward K. Cheng Jan 2020

Conference On Best Practices For Managing Daubert Questions, Daniel J. Capra, David G. Campbell, Debra A. Livingston, James P. Bassett, Shelly Dick, Traci L. Lovitt, Thomas Marten, Kathryn N. Nester, Thomas D. Schroeder, Elizabeth J. Shapiro, Timothy Lau, Vince Chhabria, John Z. Lee, William H. Orrick Iii, Edmund A. Sargus Jr., Sarah A. Vance, Edward K. Cheng

Faculty Scholarship

This article is a transcript of the Philip D. Reed Lecture Series Conference on Best Practices for Managing Daubert Questions, held on October 25, 2019, at Vanderbilt Law School under the sponsorship of the Judicial Conference Advisory Committee on Evidence Rules. The transcript has been lightly edited and represents the panelists’ individual views only and in no way reflects those of their affiliated firms, organizations, law schools, or the judiciary.


Furman'S Legacy: New Challenges To The Overbreadth Of Capital Punishment, Jeffrey A. Fagan Jan 2020

Furman'S Legacy: New Challenges To The Overbreadth Of Capital Punishment, Jeffrey A. Fagan

Faculty Scholarship

A 2018 decision in the Arizona Supreme Court raised new strong claims that the death penalty in the U.S. has become a "fatal lottery," with critical implications for its constitutionality and its future in American criminal law. In the case, Hidalgo v. Arizona, the defense provided preliminary evidence that over the past twenty years, nearly 98% of all first- and second-degree murder defendants in Maricopa County-the state's largest county and location of the nation's fifth largest city-were death-eligible. The Arizona Supreme Court conceded this point even as it rejected Mr. Hidalgo's appeal. What the Arizona Supreme Court conceded, and what …


One Of The Good Guys: The Making Of A Justice – Reflections On My First 94 Years, Jamal Greene Jan 2019

One Of The Good Guys: The Making Of A Justice – Reflections On My First 94 Years, Jamal Greene

Faculty Scholarship

John Paul Stevens’s first published judicial opinion was a Dissent. He joined the Seventh Circuit a few days after the court issued its opinion in Groppi v. Leslie, and dissented soon afterward when the court upheld that decision on rehearing. Wilbur Pell, who until Stevens joined was the only Republican among the Seventh Circuit’s seven active judges, wrote both Groppi opinions. Yet Stevens, brand new to the court, dissented from Pell’s opinion on rehearing.

There was no reason to think Father Groppi, who was arrested for leading a demonstration that interrupted the Wisconsin Assembly’s work, was innocent of legislative …


On Posner On Copyright, Tim Wu Jan 2019

On Posner On Copyright, Tim Wu

Faculty Scholarship

The judiciary are different than you and me, not just because they have life tenure, but because they spend years being petitioned by real people. A judge therefore does not face problems as a logistician or an academic does but instead faces a demand to do something for someone, based on events preceding. The resulting posture of decision tends to bring something out, something Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes once described as “the secret root from which the law draws all the juices of life.”

We can learn more about this “secret root” of the common law decision-making from Richard Posner’s …


Hardball And/As Anti-Hardball, David E. Pozen Jan 2019

Hardball And/As Anti-Hardball, David E. Pozen

Faculty Scholarship

Talk of constitutional hardball is in the air. Ever since Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court, liberal commentators have been pondering tactics such as impeachment, jurisdiction stripping, and especially “packing the court” to a degree that would have been unthinkable a few years ago. Senate Republicans have played vigorous hardball on Supreme Court appointments in the past two Congresses, most obviously by refusing to consider Merrick Garland’s nomination, and there is a strong desire among many Democrats to respond with equal or greater vigor.


Judges And Judgment: In Praise Of Instigators, Kathryn Judge Jan 2019

Judges And Judgment: In Praise Of Instigators, Kathryn Judge

Faculty Scholarship

This Essay is about mutual funds. Because of that, it may put many to sleep long before we get to the heart of the matter. I encourage you right now to stay awake, or at least keep one eye propped open. For embedded in this story about mutual funds, rent seeking, the challenge of separating the good and the bad, and the even greater challenge of respecting autonomy in an environment where so many choices seem to be bad ones, is the story of a judge. That judge is the Honorable Richard A. Posner, aka RAP, Dick, Professor Posner, the …


Is Korematsu Good Law?, Jamal Greene Jan 2019

Is Korematsu Good Law?, Jamal Greene

Faculty Scholarship

In Trump v. Hawaii, the Supreme Court claimed to overrule its infamous Korematsu decision. This Essay argues that this claim is both empty and grotesque. It is empty because a decision to overrule a prior case is not meaningful unless it specifies which propositions the Court is disavowing. Korematsu stands for many propositions, not all of which are agreed upon, but the Hawaii Court underspecifies what it meant to overrule. The Court’s claim of overruling Korematsu is grotesque because its emptiness means to conceal its disturbing affinity with that case.


Learned Hand On Statutory Interpretation: Theory And Practice, Thomas W. Merrill Jan 2018

Learned Hand On Statutory Interpretation: Theory And Practice, Thomas W. Merrill

Faculty Scholarship

It is a great honor to take part in the celebration of the Second Circuit’s 125th anniversary and in particular to present the Hands Lecture. The Second Circuit in the 1930s and 1940s came to be called the “Hand Court,” and during those years it established its reputation as the most admired of the U.S. circuit courts of appeals. It was called the Hand Court because two of its judges, who often formed the majority on three-judge panels, bore the surname Hand. They were cousins. Augustus Hand was a few years older than Learned Hand but was appointed to the …


Studying The "New" Civil Judges, Anna E. Carpenter, Jessica K. Steinberg, Colleen F. Shanahan, Alyx Mark Jan 2018

Studying The "New" Civil Judges, Anna E. Carpenter, Jessica K. Steinberg, Colleen F. Shanahan, Alyx Mark

Faculty Scholarship

We know very little about the people and institutions that make up the bulk of the United States civil justice system: state judges and state courts. Our understanding of civil justice is based primarily on federal litigation and the decisions of appellate judges. Staggeringly little legal scholarship focuses on state courts and judges. We simply do not know what most judges are doing in their day-to-day courtroom roles or in their roles as institutional actors and managers of civil justice infrastructure. We know little about the factors that shape and influence judicial practices, let alone the consequences of those practices …


The Keys To The Kingdom: Judges, Pre-Hearing Procedure, And Access To Justice, Colleen F. Shanahan Jan 2018

The Keys To The Kingdom: Judges, Pre-Hearing Procedure, And Access To Justice, Colleen F. Shanahan

Faculty Scholarship

Judges see themselves as – and many reforming voices urge them to be – facilitators of access to justice for pro se parties in our state civil and administrative courts. Judges’ roles in pro se access to justice are inextricably linked with procedures and substantive law, yet our understanding of this relationship is limited. Do we change the rules, judicial behavior, or both to help self-represented parties? We have begun to examine this nuanced question in the courtroom, but we have not examined it in a potentially more promising context: pre-hearing motions made outside the courtroom. Outside the courtroom, judges …


Studying The "New" Civil Judges, Anna E. Carpenter, Jessica K. Steinberg, Colleen F. Shanahan, Alyx Mark Jan 2018

Studying The "New" Civil Judges, Anna E. Carpenter, Jessica K. Steinberg, Colleen F. Shanahan, Alyx Mark

Faculty Scholarship

We know very little about the people and institutions that make up the bulk of the United States civil justice system: state judges and state courts. Our understanding of civil justice is based primarily on federal litigation and the decisions of appellate judges. Staggeringly little legal scholarship focuses on state courts and judges. We simply do not know what most judges are doing in their day-to-day courtroom roles or in their roles as institutional actors and managers of civil justice infrastructure. We know little about the factors that shape and influence judicial practices, let alone the consequences of those practices …


Constitutional Rhetoric, Jamal Greene Jan 2016

Constitutional Rhetoric, Jamal Greene

Faculty Scholarship

For close to a century, students of judicial behavior have suggested that what judges think is not altogether the same as what they say. Within the legal academy, this claim has long been associated with legal realists who have argued that the formal legal rules explicated in judicial opinions are at least partly epiphenomenal, masking the influence that the personal characteristics and dispositions of adjudicators exercise over legal outcomes. Political scientists have argued, variously, that such outcomes are determined by ideology, social background, or political, professional, or other institutional constraints.

The notion that at least some “extralegal” factors influence judicial …


Chevron Bias, Philip A. Hamburger Jan 2016

Chevron Bias, Philip A. Hamburger

Faculty Scholarship

This Article takes a fresh approach to Chevron deference. Chevron requires judges to defer to agency interpretations of statutes and justifies this on a theory of statutory authorization for agencies. This Article, however, points to a pair of constitutional questions about the role of judges – questions that have not yet been adequately asked, let alone answered.

One question concerns independent judgment. Judges have a constitutional office or duty of independent judgment, under which they must exercise their own independent judgment about what the law is. Accordingly, when they defer to agency interpretations of the law, it must be asked …


The Constraint Of Legal Doctrine, Shyamkrishna Balganesh Jan 2015

The Constraint Of Legal Doctrine, Shyamkrishna Balganesh

Faculty Scholarship

As the dominant approach to legal analysis in the United States today, Legal Realism is firmly ensconced in the way scholars discuss and debate legal issues and problems. The phrase “we are all realists now” is treated as cliché precisely because it is in some ways taken to state an obvious reality about the mindset of American legal scholars. While Legal Realism came to represent a variety of different views, all of these views embodied a common theme, namely, the belief that legal doctrine is “more malleable, less determinate, and less causal of judicial outcomes” than is traditionally presumed. Judges …


Judicial Priorities, Bert I. Huang, Tejas N. Narechania Jan 2015

Judicial Priorities, Bert I. Huang, Tejas N. Narechania

Faculty Scholarship

In an unprecedented move, the Illinois Supreme Court in the mid-1990s imposed hard caps on the state's appeals courts, drastically reducing the number of opinions they could publish, while also narrowing the formal criteria for opinions to qualify for publication. The high court explained that the amendment's purpose was to reduce the "avalanche of opinions emanating from [the] Appellate Court," which was causing legal research to become "unnecessarily burdensome, difficult and costly." This unusual and sudden policy shift offers the chance to observe the priorities of a common law court in its production of published opinions. The method we introduce …


Trial By Preview, Bert I. Huang Jan 2013

Trial By Preview, Bert I. Huang

Faculty Scholarship

It has been an obsession of modern civil procedure to design ways to reveal more before trial about what will happen during trial. Litigants today, as a matter of course, are made to preview the evidence they will use. This practice is celebrated because standard theory says it should induce the parties to settle; why incur the expenses of trial, if everyone knows what will happen? Rarely noted, however, is one complication: The impact of previewing the evidence is intertwined with how well the parties know their future audience — that is, the judge or the jury who will be …


The Pre-Session Recess, Peter L. Strauss Jan 2013

The Pre-Session Recess, Peter L. Strauss

Faculty Scholarship

In the brief remarks following, I do not address the Burkean argument that practice has established the permissibility of recess appointments during the week-or-more adjournments of Congress that modern transportation modalities permit. We can perhaps let President Eisenhower’s recess appointments of Chief Justice Warren, Justice Brennan, and Justice Stewart stand witness to that understanding. Rather, I want to suggest flaws in the originalist analysis used by the Canning court and in the Senate’s ruse of meeting every three days over the winter period of 2011-12 that many take to place the January 4, 2012 recess appointments President Obama made to …


Litigation Finance: What Do Judges Need To Know?, Bert I. Huang Jan 2012

Litigation Finance: What Do Judges Need To Know?, Bert I. Huang

Faculty Scholarship

The growth of “litigation finance” — the funding of lawsuits by outside investors who are neither parties nor counsel — is being closely watched by academics, the press, and the bar. The practice poses risks of conflicting interests and improper influence; and yet if carefully managed it may in fact enhance party autonomy. What questions, then, should judges be asking when dealing with a case with outside funding? This symposium essay offers judges a starting point: a menu of questions to ask parties who receive such financing. These inquiries aim to pierce simplistic labels such as “loan” or “investment,” in …


Courthouse Iconography And Chayesian Judical Practice, William H. Simon Jan 2012

Courthouse Iconography And Chayesian Judical Practice, William H. Simon

Faculty Scholarship

Judith Resnik and Dennis Curtis emphasize in Representing Justice that the traditional iconography of courthouses is incongruent with the current practices of the institutions that inhabit them. The key elements of traditional iconography – the blindfolded, scale-balancing Justitia and the courtroom configured for the trial – connote adjudication. Yet, the fraction of judicial work that involves deciding cases on the merits or conducting trials has decreased dramatically. Most judicial work today is basically managerial.

We could reduce this incongruity, on the one hand, by reviving the practical adjudicatory focus of the past or, on the other, by revising the iconography …


"Deference" Is Too Confusing – Let's Call Them "Chevron Space" And "Skidmore Weight", Peter L. Strauss Jan 2012

"Deference" Is Too Confusing – Let's Call Them "Chevron Space" And "Skidmore Weight", Peter L. Strauss

Faculty Scholarship

This Essay suggests an underappreciated, appropriate, and conceptually coherent structure to the Chevron relationship of courts to agencies, grounded in the concept of "allocation." Because the term "deference" muddles rather than clarifies the structure's operation, this Essay avoids speaking of "Chevron deference" and "Skidmore deference." Rather, it argues, one could more profitably think in terms of "Chevron space" and "Skidmore weight." "Chevron space" denotes the area within which an administrative agency has been statutorily empowered to act in a manner that creates legal obligations or constraints – that is, its allocated authority. "Skidmore weight" …