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Full-Text Articles in Law

An Attack On Local Authority, Richard Briffault, Kim Haddow Jan 2022

An Attack On Local Authority, Richard Briffault, Kim Haddow

Faculty Scholarship

In the 2021 legislative sessions, Republican state lawmakers introduced a glut of preemption bills aimed at giving states more power over the administration of local government operations, signifying a new, deeper level of state interference into the inner workings of cities and counties. . . . Entering the 2021 legislative sessions, Republican state lawmakers used their power to respond to the events of 2020 – the pandemic, the racial justice movement, the presidential election, and what they perceived to be local government overreach (Brownstein 2021) – by introducing a surge of preemption bills aimed at appropriating the machinery of local …


A Theory Of Constitutional Norms, Ashraf Ahmed Jan 2022

A Theory Of Constitutional Norms, Ashraf Ahmed

Faculty Scholarship

The political convulsions of the past decade have fueled acute interest in constitutional norms or “conventions.” Despite intense scholarly attention, existing accounts are incomplete and do not answer at least one or more of three major questions: (1) What must all constitutional norms do? (2) What makes them conventional? (3) And why are they constitutional?

This Article advances an original theory of constitutional norms that answers these questions. First, it defines them and explains their general character: they are normative, contingent, and arbitrary practices that implement constitutional text and principle. Most scholars have foregone examining how norms are conventional or …


Getting From Ideas To Reality: Building Political Support To Translate Good Ideas Into Actual Practice, Columbia Center On Sustainable Investment, Leila Kazemi Sep 2021

Getting From Ideas To Reality: Building Political Support To Translate Good Ideas Into Actual Practice, Columbia Center On Sustainable Investment, Leila Kazemi

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

Land-based investment in agriculture, forestry, renewable energy, mining, and other natural resources can contribute to sustainable development, but positive outcomes are neither inevitable nor easy to achieve. Responsible land-based investment (RLBI) requires good governance (through laws and policies) as well as good practice. This document focuses on how government officials can improve the governance and practice of RLBI by building stronger political support.

Government officials confront complicated political realities on a daily basis. In many places, obstacles to RLBI are not due to a lack of technical expertise or resources, but rather are linked to low levels of commitment from …


The Democracy Principle In State Constitutions, Jessica Bulman-Pozen, Miriam Seifter Jan 2021

The Democracy Principle In State Constitutions, Jessica Bulman-Pozen, Miriam Seifter

Faculty Scholarship

In recent years, antidemocratic behavior has rippled across the nation. Lame-duck state legislatures have stripped popularly elected governors of their powers; extreme partisan gerrymanders have warped representative institutions; state officials have nullified popularly adopted initiatives. The federal constitution offers few resources to address these problems, and ballot-box solutions cannot work when antidemocratic actions undermine elections themselves. Commentators increasingly decry the rule of the many by the few.

This Article argues that a vital response has been neglected. State constitutions embody a deep commitment to democracy. Unlike the federal constitution, they were drafted – and have been repeatedly rewritten and amended …


Delegating Or Divesting?, Philip A. Hamburger Jan 2021

Delegating Or Divesting?, Philip A. Hamburger

Faculty Scholarship

A gratifying feature of recent scholarship on administrative power is the resurgence of interest in the Founding. Even the defenders of administrative power hark back to the Constitution’s early history – most frequently to justify delegations of legislative power. But the past offers cold comfort for such delegation.

A case in point is Delegation at the Founding by Professors Julian Davis Mortenson and Nicholas Bagley. Not content to defend the Supreme Court’s current nondelegation doctrine, the article employs history to challenge the doctrine – arguing that the Constitution does not limit Congress’s delegation of legislative power. But the article’s most …


The Puzzles And Possibilities Of Article V, David E. Pozen, Thomas P. Schmidt Jan 2021

The Puzzles And Possibilities Of Article V, David E. Pozen, Thomas P. Schmidt

Faculty Scholarship

Legal scholars describe Article V of the U.S. Constitution, which sets forth rules for amending the document, as an uncommonly stringent and specific constitutional provision. A unanimous Supreme Court has said that a “mere reading demonstrates” that “Article V is clear in statement and in meaning, contains no ambiguity, and calls for no resort to rules of construction.” Although it is familiar that a small set of amendments, most notably the Reconstruction Amendments, elicited credible challenges to their validity, these episodes are seen as anomalous and unrepresentative. Americans are accustomed to disagreeing over the meaning of the constitutional text, but …


Constructing Countervailing Power: Law And Organizing In An Era Of Political Inequality, Kate Andrias Jan 2021

Constructing Countervailing Power: Law And Organizing In An Era Of Political Inequality, Kate Andrias

Faculty Scholarship

This Article proposes an innovative approach to remedying the crisis of political inequality: using law to facilitate organizing by the poor and working class, not only as workers, but also as tenants, debtors, welfare beneficiaries, and others. The piece draws on the social-movements literature, and the successes and failures of labor law, to show how law can supplement the deficient regimes of campaign finance and lobbying reform and enable lower-income groups to build organizations capable of countervailing the political power of the wealthy. As such, the Article offers a new direction forward for the public-law literature on political power and …


Anti-Modalities, David E. Pozen, Adam Samaha Jan 2021

Anti-Modalities, David E. Pozen, Adam Samaha

Faculty Scholarship

Constitutional argument runs on the rails of “modalities.” These are the accepted categories of reasoning used to make claims about the content of supreme law. Some of the modalities, such as ethical and prudential arguments, seem strikingly open ended at first sight. Their contours come into clearer view, however, when we attend to the kinds of claims that are not made by constitutional interpreters – the analytical and rhetorical moves that are familiar in debates over public policy and political morality but are considered out of bounds in debates over constitutional meaning. In this Article, we seek to identify the …


Power Transitions In A Troubled Democracy, Peter L. Strauss, Gillian E. Metzger Jan 2021

Power Transitions In A Troubled Democracy, Peter L. Strauss, Gillian E. Metzger

Faculty Scholarship

Written as our contribution to a festschrift for the noted Italian administrative law scholar Marco D’Alberti, this essay addresses transition between Presidents Trump and Biden, in the context of political power transitions in the United States more generally. Although the Trump-Biden transition was marked by extraordinary behaviors and events, we thought even the transition’s mundane elements might prove interesting to those for whom transitions occur in a parliamentary context. There, succession can happen quickly once an election’s results are known, and happens with the new political government immediately formed and in office. The layer of a new administration’s political leadership …


How The Administrative State Got To This Challenging Place, Peter L. Strauss Jan 2021

How The Administrative State Got To This Challenging Place, Peter L. Strauss

Faculty Scholarship

Written for a dispersed agrarian population using hand tools in a local economy, our Constitution now controls an American government orders of magnitude larger that has had to respond to profound changes in transportation, communication, technology, economy, and scientific understanding. How did our government get to this place? The agencies Congress has created to meet these changes now face profound new challenges: transition from the paper to the digital age; the increasing centralization in an opaque, political presidency of decisions that Congress has assigned to diverse, relatively expert and transparent bodies; the thickening, as well, of the political layer within …


Getting The Most Out Of Extractive Industries Transparency: How A More Explicit Treatment Of Political Considerations Could Strengthen The Impact Of Transparency Efforts, Columbia Center On Sustainable Investment Sep 2020

Getting The Most Out Of Extractive Industries Transparency: How A More Explicit Treatment Of Political Considerations Could Strengthen The Impact Of Transparency Efforts, Columbia Center On Sustainable Investment

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

Work on transparency in the extractive industries (EI) has achieved important successes over the last two decades. For example, significant commitments to disclosure have been secured, the volume of publicly available information about critical activities has increased considerably, and norms around certain information being in the public domain have been established. There is also a growing library of use cases for this information. Nonetheless, important work remains to be done to translate these efforts into impact.

Political context is crucial to determining the fate of transparency efforts. Therefore, grappling with political context more effectively will also be key to unlocking …


Strengthening The U.S.-Japan Alliance: Pathways For Bridging Law And Policy, Columbia Law School, 2020, Nobuhisa Ishizuka, Masahiro Kurosaki, Matthew C. Waxman Jan 2020

Strengthening The U.S.-Japan Alliance: Pathways For Bridging Law And Policy, Columbia Law School, 2020, Nobuhisa Ishizuka, Masahiro Kurosaki, Matthew C. Waxman

Faculty Scholarship

During the three years leading up to this year ’s 60th anniversary of the signing of the 1960 U.S.-Japan Security Treaty, a series of workshops were held under the joint sponsorship of Columbia Law School’s Center for Japanese Legal Studies and the National Defense Academy of Japan’s Center for Global Security. Bringing together experts in international law and political science primarily from the United States and Japan, the workshops examined how differing approaches to use of force and understandings of individual and collective self-defense in the two countries might adversely affect their alliance.

The workshop participants explored the underlying causes …


Considering Legitimacy, Gillian E. Metzger Jan 2020

Considering Legitimacy, Gillian E. Metzger

Faculty Scholarship

This Article on Richard Fallon’s Law and Legitimacy in the Supreme Court focuses on public acceptance of the Supreme Court’s authority, what Fallon calls sociological legitimacy. After setting out Fallon’s accounts of legitimacy and constitutional argumentation, the Article looks at public opinion data and political science scholarship on the extent to which the Court’s decisions affect public acceptance of the Court. It then turns to the normative question of whether, even if the Court’s decisions may undermine its sociological legitimacy, that impact is a legally legitimate factor for the Court to consider. The Article argues that strategic consideration of the …


Fixing America's Founding, Maeve Glass Jan 2020

Fixing America's Founding, Maeve Glass

Faculty Scholarship

The forty-fifth presidency of the United States has sent lawyers reaching once more for the Founders’ dictionaries and legal treatises. In courtrooms, law schools, and media outlets across the country, the original meanings of the words etched into the U.S. Constitution in 1787 have become the staging ground for debates ranging from the power of a president to trademark his name in China to the rights of a legal permanent resident facing deportation. And yet, in this age when big data promises to solve potential challenges of interpretation and judges have for the most part agreed that original meaning should …


Corporate Control, Dual Class, And The Limits Of Judicial Review, Zohar Goshen, Assaf Hamdani Jan 2020

Corporate Control, Dual Class, And The Limits Of Judicial Review, Zohar Goshen, Assaf Hamdani

Faculty Scholarship

Companies with a dual-class structure have increasingly been involved in high-profile battles over the reallocation of control rights. Google, for instance, sought to entrench its founders’ control by recapital­izing from a dual-class into a triple-class structure. The CBS board, in contrast, attempted to dilute its controlling shareholder by distributing a voting stock dividend that would empower minority shareholders to block a merger it perceived to be harmful. These cases raise a fundamental question at the heart of corporate law: What is the proper judicial response to self-dealing claims regarding reallocations of corporate control rights?

This Article shows that the reallocation …


Antitrust & Corruption: Overruling Noerr, Tim Wu Jan 2020

Antitrust & Corruption: Overruling Noerr, Tim Wu

Faculty Scholarship

We live in a time when concerns about influence over the American political process by powerful private interests have reached an apogee, both on the left and the right. Among the laws originally intended to fight excessive private influence over republican institutions were the antitrust laws, whose sponsors were concerned not just with monopoly, but also its influence over legislatures and politicians. While no one would claim that the antitrust laws were meant to be comprehensive anti-corruption laws, there can be little question that they were passed with concerns about the political influence of powerful firms and industry cartels.

Since …


Political Wine In A Judicial Bottle: Justice Sotomayor's Surprising Concurrence In Aurelius, Christina D. Ponsa-Kraus Jan 2020

Political Wine In A Judicial Bottle: Justice Sotomayor's Surprising Concurrence In Aurelius, Christina D. Ponsa-Kraus

Faculty Scholarship

For seventy years, Puerto Ricans have been bitterly divided over how to decolonize the island, a U.S. territory. Many favor Puerto Rico’s admission into statehood. But many others support a different kind of relationship with the United States: they believe that in 1952, Puerto Rico entered into a “compact” with the United States that transformed it from a territory into a “commonwealth,” and they insist that “commonwealth” status made Puerto Rico a separate sovereign in permanent union with the United States. Statehood supporters argue that there is no compact, nor should there be: it is neither constitutionally possible, nor desirable …


For Coöperation And The Abolition Of Capital, Or, How To Get Beyond Our Extractive Punitive Society And Achieve A Just Society, Bernard E. Harcourt Jan 2020

For Coöperation And The Abolition Of Capital, Or, How To Get Beyond Our Extractive Punitive Society And Achieve A Just Society, Bernard E. Harcourt

Faculty Scholarship

In hindsight, the term "capitalism" was always a misnomer, coined paradoxically by its critics in the nineteenth century. The term misleadingly suggests that the existence of capital produces a unique economic system or that capital itself is governed by economic laws. But that's an illusion. In truth, we do not live today in a system in which capital dictates our economic circumstances. Instead, we live under the tyranny of what I would call "tournament dirigisme": a type of state-directed gladiator sport where our political leaders bestow spoils on the wealthy, privileged elite.

We need to displace this tournament dirigisme with …


Investment Treaties, Investor-State Dispute Settlement, And Inequality: How International Investment Treaties Exacerbate Domestic Disparities, Lise Johnson, Lisa E. Sachs Jan 2019

Investment Treaties, Investor-State Dispute Settlement, And Inequality: How International Investment Treaties Exacerbate Domestic Disparities, Lise Johnson, Lisa E. Sachs

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

Over roughly the past four decades, government officials from around the world have been erecting a framework of economic governance with major – but under-appreciated – implications for intra-national inequality. The components of this framework are thousands of bilateral and multilateral treaties designed to protect international investment. In many jurisdictions, the treaties have been concluded without public awareness or scrutiny or even much discussion or analysis by government officials – including those officials responsible for negotiating the agreements(Poulsen 2015) – and without an adequate understanding of how these agreements could affect intra-national inequality. Long imperceptible, the size and power of …


Evaluating Constitutional Hardball: Two Fallacies And A Research Agenda, Joseph Fishkin, David E. Pozen Jan 2019

Evaluating Constitutional Hardball: Two Fallacies And A Research Agenda, Joseph Fishkin, David E. Pozen

Faculty Scholarship

This Reply addresses the responses by Professors David Bernstein and Jed Shugerman to our essay Asymmetric Constitutional Hardball. Bernstein's response, we argue, commits the common fallacy of equating reciprocity with symmetry: assuming that because constitutional hardball often "takes two" to play, both sides must be playing it in a similar manner. Shugerman's response, on the other hand, helps combat the common fallacy of equating aggressiveness with wrongfulness: assuming that because all acts of constitutional hardball strain norms of governance, all are similarly damaging to democracy. We suggest that whereas Bernstein's approach would set back the burgeoning effort to study constitutional …


Edward Snowden, National Security Whistleblowing, And Civil Disobedience, David E. Pozen Jan 2019

Edward Snowden, National Security Whistleblowing, And Civil Disobedience, David E. Pozen

Faculty Scholarship

No recent whistleblower has been more lionized or vilified than Edward Snowden. He has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize and denounced as a "total traitor" deserving of the death penalty. In these debates, Snowden's defenders tend to portray him as a civil disobedient. Yet for a range of reasons, Snowden's situation does not map neatly onto traditional theories of civil disobedience. The same holds true for most cases of national security whistleblowing.

The contradictory and confused responses that these cases provoke, this essay suggests, are not just the product of polarized politics or insufficient information. Rather, they reflect …


The Last Refuge Of Scoundrels: The Problem Of Truth In A Time Of Lying, Bernard E. Harcourt Jan 2019

The Last Refuge Of Scoundrels: The Problem Of Truth In A Time Of Lying, Bernard E. Harcourt

Faculty Scholarship

This essay addresses the problem of truth today in light of the common belief, especially among progressives, that we have entered a post-truth age, as well as of the frequent claim that our post-truth society is the fault of postmodernists and their challenge to the objectivity of truth. The essay does not resolve the strategic question whether the post-truth argument is, as a purely tactical political matter, an effective approach to respond to the onslaught of misrepresentations and lies by President Donald Trump and the New Right. Instead, it explores the post-truth argument from a more synoptic perspective regarding the …


Constitutional Reform In Japan: Prospects, Process, And Implications, Nobuhisa Ishizuka Jan 2019

Constitutional Reform In Japan: Prospects, Process, And Implications, Nobuhisa Ishizuka

Faculty Scholarship

Japan's constitution has remained unchanged for over 70 years since its adoption. With Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's re-election as the leader of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party of Japan (LDP) in 2018, the issue of constitutional revision has gained renewed attention. On March 13, 2019 the Center for Japanese Legal Studies at Columbia Law School co-hosted, with the Council on Foreign Relations, a full-day conference on "Constitutional Reform in Japan: Prospect, Process, and Implications." Three panels of distinguished experts examined the domestic political landscape in Japan, provided comparative legal perspectives, and considered the political, strategic, and social implications of proposed …


Constitutional Reform In Japan, Nobuhisa Ishizuka Jan 2019

Constitutional Reform In Japan, Nobuhisa Ishizuka

Faculty Scholarship

Over seventy years ago it would have seemed inconceivable in the aftermath of a calamitous war that a complete reorientation of Japan into a pacifist society, modeled on Western principles of individual rights and democracy, would succeed in upending a deeply entrenched political order with roots dating back centuries.

The post-war Japanese constitution lies at the heart of this transformation. Drafted, negotiated and promulgated a mere fourteen months after Japan's formal surrender, it has remained a model of stability amidst transformational changes in the domestic and international political landscape. In the seventy-plus years since its adoption, it has not been …


Seeing Transparency More Clearly, David E. Pozen Jan 2019

Seeing Transparency More Clearly, David E. Pozen

Faculty Scholarship

In recent years, transparency has been proposed as the solution to, and the cause of, a remarkable range of public problems. The proliferation of seemingly contradictory claims about transparency becomes less puzzling, this essay argues, when one appreciates that transparency is not, in itself, a coherent normative ideal. Nor does it have a straightforward instrumental relationship to any primary goals of governance. To gain greater purchase on how transparency policies operate, scholars must therefore move beyond abstract assumptions and drill down into the specific legal, institutional, historical, political, and cultural contexts in which these policies are crafted and implemented. The …


Activist Directors And Agency Costs: What Happens When An Activist Director Goes On The Board?, John C. Coffee Jr., Robert J. Jackson Jr., Joshua Mitts, Robert Bishop Jan 2019

Activist Directors And Agency Costs: What Happens When An Activist Director Goes On The Board?, John C. Coffee Jr., Robert J. Jackson Jr., Joshua Mitts, Robert Bishop

Faculty Scholarship

We develop and apply a new and more rigorous methodology by which to measure and understand both insider trading and the agency costs of hedge fund activism. We use quantitative data to show a systematic relationship between the appointment of a hedge fund nominated director to a corporate board and an increase in informed trading in that corporation’s stock (with the relationship being most pronounced when the fund’s slate of directors includes a hedge fund employee). This finding is important from two different perspectives. First, from a governance perspective, activist hedge funds represent a new and potent force in corporate …


An American Approach To Social Democracy: The Forgotten Promise Of The Fair Labor Standards Act, Kate Andrias Jan 2019

An American Approach To Social Democracy: The Forgotten Promise Of The Fair Labor Standards Act, Kate Andrias

Faculty Scholarship

There is a growing consensus among scholars and public policy experts that fundamental labor law reform is necessary in order to reduce the nation’s growing wealth gap. According to conventional wisdom, however, a social democratic approach to labor relations is uniquely un-American – in deep conflict with our traditions and our governing legal regime. This Article calls into question that conventional account. It details a largely forgotten moment in American history: when the early Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) established industry committees of unions, business associations, and the public to set wages on an industry-by-industry basis. Alongside the National Labor …


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.


Critique & Praxis: A Pure Theory Of Illusions, Values, And Tactics, And An Answer To The Question: "What Is To Be Done?", Bernard E. Harcourt Jan 2018

Critique & Praxis: A Pure Theory Of Illusions, Values, And Tactics, And An Answer To The Question: "What Is To Be Done?", Bernard E. Harcourt

Faculty Scholarship

We are going through an unprecedented period of political instability. With the rise of the alt-right and of xenophobic sentiment, and the fallout of neoliberal government policies, our political future is at stake. These times call for the type of critical theory and praxis that gave rise to the Frankfurt School in the 1920s and to the critical ferment of the 1970s. Yet, in the face of our crises today, contemporary critical theory seems disarmed.

Critical theory is in disarray because of a wave of anti-foundational challenges in the 1960s that shattered the epistemological foundations of the Frankfurt School. The …


The Search For An Egalitarian First Amendment, Jeremy K. Kessler, David E. Pozen Jan 2018

The Search For An Egalitarian First Amendment, Jeremy K. Kessler, David E. Pozen

Faculty Scholarship

Over the past decade, the Roberts Court has handed down a series of rulings that demonstrate the degree to which the First Amendment can be used to thwart economic and social welfare regulation – generating widespread accusations that the Court has created a "new Lochner." This introduction to the Columbia Law Review's Symposium on Free Expression in an Age of Inequality takes up three questions raised by these developments: Why has First Amendment law become such a prominent site for struggles over socioeconomic inequality? Does the First Amendment tradition contain egalitarian elements that could be recovered? And what might a …