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Full-Text Articles in Law

A Theory Of Racialized Judicial Decision-Making, Raquel Muñiz Sep 2023

A Theory Of Racialized Judicial Decision-Making, Raquel Muñiz

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

In this Article, I introduce a theory of racialized judicial decision-making as a framework to explain how judicial decision-making as a system contributes to creating and maintaining the racial hierarchy in the United States. Judicial decision-making, I argue, is itself a racialized systemic process in which judges transpose racially-bounded cognitive schemas as they make decisions. In the process, they assign legal burdens differentially across ethnoracial groups, to the disproportionate detriment of ethnoracial minorities. After presenting this argument, I turn to three mechanisms at play in racialized judicial decision-making: (1) whiteness as capital that increases epistemic advantages in the judicial process, …


Fact-Finding Without Rules: Habermas's Communicative Rationality As A Framework For Judicial Assessments Of Digital Open-Source Information, Matthew Gillett Jun 2023

Fact-Finding Without Rules: Habermas's Communicative Rationality As A Framework For Judicial Assessments Of Digital Open-Source Information, Matthew Gillett

Michigan Journal of International Law

Jürgen Habermas’s theory of “communicative rationality” (also known as “communicative action”) provides a promising conceptual apparatus through which to justify and validate the International Criminal Court’s consideration of the emerging phenomenon of digital open-source information. Because of its process-based and inclusive qualities, Habermas’s communicative rationality is particularly apposite for the dynamic nature of digital open-source information and the heterogenous range of actors and institutions which have relevant experiences and skills to contribute to the generation of norms and determinations regarding its role before the Court. This is important, as the International Criminal Court’s procedural framework is largely silent on digital …


Mooting Unilateral Mootness, Scott T. Macguidwin Feb 2023

Mooting Unilateral Mootness, Scott T. Macguidwin

Michigan Law Review

Several situations cause a case to be moot. These include settlement agreements, party collusion, changes in litigant status, and extrinsic circumstances thwarting the court from granting any relief. The final reason is unilateral mootness—when a defendant ends a lawsuit against a plaintiff’s wishes by giving them everything for which they ask. In practice, this allows defendants to strategically stop lawsuits when it is clear they are not going to win. By doing so, they prevent the court from handing down adverse precedent and preserve the opportunity to engage in similar behavior with impunity. Courts have established a series of mootness …


Litigation, Referendum Or Legislation? The Road To Becoming The First In Asia To Institutionalize Same-Sex Marriage, Tzu-Chiang Huang Dec 2022

Litigation, Referendum Or Legislation? The Road To Becoming The First In Asia To Institutionalize Same-Sex Marriage, Tzu-Chiang Huang

Michigan Journal of Gender & Law

In the pursuit of same-sex marriage, advocates in each country evaluate the appropriate decision-making process for addressing this highly disputed issue—litigation, legislation, or referendum. The choice may be partially based on the institutional advantages of each approach, but more importantly, the choice is also conditioned by the legal and political context of each country, such as the authority of the court, the framing of public opinion, and the dynamics between movement and countermovement. Uniquely, all three decision-making processes are involved in the course of the institutionalization of same-sex marriage in Taiwan. This Article, focusing on the experience in Taiwan, examines …


Catch And Kill Jurisdiction, Zachary D. Clopton Nov 2022

Catch And Kill Jurisdiction, Zachary D. Clopton

Michigan Law Review

In catch and kill journalism, a tabloid buys a story that could be published elsewhere and then deliberately declines to publish it. In catch and kill jurisdiction, a federal court assumes jurisdiction over a case that could be litigated in state court and then declines to hear the merits through a nonmerits dismissal. Catch and kill journalism undermines the free flow of information. Catch and kill jurisdiction undermines the enforcement of substantive rights. And, importantly, because catch and kill jurisdiction relies on jurisdictional and procedural law, it is often able to achieve ends that would be politically unpalatable by other …


Non-Lawyer Judges In Devalued Courts, Maureen Carroll Sep 2022

Non-Lawyer Judges In Devalued Courts, Maureen Carroll

Reviews

Recent legal scholarship has shed needed light on the vast universe of litigation that occurs without lawyers. Large majorities of civil litigants lack representation, even in weighty matters such as eviction and termination of parental rights, raising a host of issues worthy of scholarly attention. For example, one recent article has examined racial and gendered effects of the lack of constitutionally guaranteed counsel in civil matters, and another has shown that judges tend not to reduce the complexity of the proceedings for the benefit of unrepresented parties. In Judging Without a J.D., Sara Greene and Kristen Renberg add an important …


A Quiet Revolution: How Judicial Discipline Essentially Eliminated Foster Care And Nearly Went Unnoticed., Melissa Carter, Christopher Church, Vivek Sankaran Jan 2022

A Quiet Revolution: How Judicial Discipline Essentially Eliminated Foster Care And Nearly Went Unnoticed., Melissa Carter, Christopher Church, Vivek Sankaran

Articles

This Article argues that juvenile court judges can safely reduce the number of children entering foster care by faithfully and rigorously applying the law. Judges often fail to perform this core functon when a state child welfare agency separates a child from their family. Judges must perform their role as impartial gatekeeper despite the temptation to be "omnipotent moral busybodies".


Antiracist Remedial Approaches In Judge Gregory’S Jurisprudence, Leah M. Litman Jul 2021

Antiracist Remedial Approaches In Judge Gregory’S Jurisprudence, Leah M. Litman

Articles

This piece uses the idea of antiracism to highlight parallels between school desegregation cases and cases concerning errors in the criminal justice system. There remain stark, pervasive disparities in both school composition and the criminal justice system. Yet even though judicial remedies are an integral part of rooting out systemic inequality and the vestiges of discrimination, courts have been reticent to use the tools at their disposal to adopt proactive remedial approaches to address these disparities. This piece uses two examples from Judge Roger Gregory’s jurisprudence to illustrate how an antiracist approach to judicial remedies might work.


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.


Clerking For Roger J. Traynor, Roland E. Brandel, James E. Krier Jan 2021

Clerking For Roger J. Traynor, Roland E. Brandel, James E. Krier

Book Chapters

Justice Roger J. Traynor was born in Utah in 19001 the son of a miner and drayman. He left after high school to undertake undergraduate and graduate studies at the University of California, Berkeley, eventually earning (simultaneously) a Ph.D. in political science and a law degree from Boalt Hall, the university's law school. He practiced law for just a few months, then returned to the university to teach in its political science department. A year later, in 19301 he joined the law faculty, where he worked until his appointment to the California Supreme Court in 1940. He became chief justice …


Judges Behaving Badly . . . Then Slinking Away, Maureen Carroll Dec 2020

Judges Behaving Badly . . . Then Slinking Away, Maureen Carroll

Reviews

A federal judge is accused of misconduct and an investigation begins. Before the investigation has concluded, though, the judge leaves her post. What happens next? Does it create an accountability gap, and if so, how much should that concern us? These are the questions that Veronica Root Martinez takes up in Avoiding Judicial Discipline.


Politics, Identity, And Class Certification On The U.S. Courts Of Appeals, Stephen B. Burbank, Sean Farhang Nov 2020

Politics, Identity, And Class Certification On The U.S. Courts Of Appeals, Stephen B. Burbank, Sean Farhang

Michigan Law Review

This Article draws on novel data and presents the results of the first empirical analysis of how potentially salient characteristics of Court of Appeals judges influence class certification under Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. We find that the ideological composition of the panel (measured by the party of the appointing president) has a very strong association with certification outcomes, with all-Democratic panels having dramatically higher rates of procertification outcomes than all-Republican panels—nearly triple in about the past twenty years. We also find that the presence of one African American on a panel, and the presence of …


In Defense Of (Circuit) Court-Packing, Xiao Wang Oct 2020

In Defense Of (Circuit) Court-Packing, Xiao Wang

Michigan Law Review Online

Proposals to pack the Supreme Court have gained steam recently. Presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg endorsed a court-packing plan at the start of his campaign, and several other candidates also indicated a willingness to consider such a plan, including Senators Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar. Legal scholars have similarly called upon Congress to increase the size of the Supreme Court, particularly following the heated confirmations of Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh. These suggestions for Court reform have only gotten more pronounced with the recent passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the subsequent nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett, and the …


On Sexual Harassment In The Judiciary, Leah Litman, Deeva Shah Oct 2020

On Sexual Harassment In The Judiciary, Leah Litman, Deeva Shah

Articles

This Essay examines the legal profession’s role in sexual harassment, particularly in the federal courts. It argues that individuals in the profession have both an individual and collective responsibility for the professional norms that have allowed harassment to happen with little recourse for the people subject to the harassment. It suggests that the legal profession should engage in a sustained, public reflection about how our words, actions, attitudes, and institutional arrangements allow harassment to happen, and about the many different ways that we can prevent and address harassment.


Mapping The Iceberg: The Impact Of Data Sources On The Study Of District Courts, Christina L. Boyd, Pauline T. Kim, Margo Schlanger Aug 2020

Mapping The Iceberg: The Impact Of Data Sources On The Study Of District Courts, Christina L. Boyd, Pauline T. Kim, Margo Schlanger

Articles

Three decades ago, Siegelman and Donohue aptly characterized research about courts and litigation that relied only on published opinions as “studying the iceberg from its tip.” They implored researchers to view published district court opinions “with greater sensitivity to the ways in which such cases are unrepresentative of all cases”. The dynamic, multistage nature of trial court litigation makes a focus solely on published opinions particularly ill-suited to the study of federal district courts. Expanded electronic access to court documents now allows more pre-cise analysis of the ways in which published cases are unrepresentative and what differences that makes for …


Resolving Alj Removal Protections Problem Following Lucia, Spencer Davenport May 2020

Resolving Alj Removal Protections Problem Following Lucia, Spencer Davenport

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

When the Supreme Court decided Lucia v. SEC and held that administrative law judges (ALJs) are Officers under the Constitution, the Court opened a flood of constitutional issues around the status of ALJs and related government positions. One central issue relates to ALJs’ removal protections. ALJs currently have two layers of protection between them and the President. In an earlier Supreme Court decision, the Court held that two layers of tenure protection between an “Officer of the United States” and the President was unconstitutional as it deprived the President the power to hold his officers accountable. As impartial adjudicators, ALJs …


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.


Muted Justice, Leah Litman Jan 2020

Muted Justice, Leah Litman

Articles

The Chief Justice of the United States possesses significant power. His position as the senior most Justice on the U.S. Supreme Court allows him to assign opinions to other Justices and to coordinate scheduling the Court’s cases for argument. And after Justice Kennedy retired in June 2018, Chief Justice Roberts was the median Justice on the Court, whose vote often determined the outcome in a case. Even after Justice Barrett’s confirmation changed that state of affairs, the Chief remains an important Justice to watch.


Dignity And Civility, Reconsidered, Leah Litman May 2019

Dignity And Civility, Reconsidered, Leah Litman

Articles

People often talk about the Chief Justice, Justice Kagan, and Justice Breyer as the institutionalists on the modern Supreme Court. And that’s true, they are. Those Justices care about the Court as an institution and the Court’s reputation. They do not want people to look at the Court as a set of politicians in robes; and they do not want people to see judges as having ideological or partisan agendas. That is how they think of themselves, and they are willing to make compromises to maintain that image of the Court, and to set aside their personal beliefs in order …


The Most Revealing Word In The United States Report, Richard Primus Jan 2019

The Most Revealing Word In The United States Report, Richard Primus

Articles

The most prominent issue in NFIB v. Sebelius was whether Congress’s regulatory power under the Commerce Clause stops at a point marked by a distinction between “activity” and “inactivity.” According to the law’s challengers, prior decisions about the scope of the commerce power already reflected the importance of the distinction between action and inaction. In all of the previous cases in which exercises of the commerce power had been sustained, the challengers argued, that power had been used to regulate activity. Never had Congress tried to regulate mere inactivity. In NFIB, four Justices rejected that contention, writing that such …


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.


Comment On 'Judicial Compensation And Performance', J.J. Prescott Dec 2018

Comment On 'Judicial Compensation And Performance', J.J. Prescott

Articles

The most significant challenges to better understanding judicial behavior are lack of data and the absence of plausible exogenous variation in judicial environments. The random assignment of judges to cases has admittedly been helpful in gaining traction on the effects of judicial decisions (e.g., Dobbie, Goldin, and Yang 2018). Yet developing a full empirical account of “what judges maximize” (Posner 1993) would require a setting in which judges are randomly subjected to a wide variety of (real-world) environments with different costs, constraints, and rewards. This prospect remains pie in the sky, but that does not mean that we have not …


Cardozo On The Supreme Court: Meeting High Expectations, Richard D. Friedman Oct 2018

Cardozo On The Supreme Court: Meeting High Expectations, Richard D. Friedman

Articles

President Trump announced his nomination of Neil Gorsuch — the sixth most senior judge on a federal appellate court in the hinterland—for a seat on the Supreme Court in a formal, nationally televised ceremony. Judge Gorsuch squeezed the shoulder of his wife, a gesture that signaled not only his thrill at the nomination but his joy at being able to share it with her. There followed a bitterly partisan process, featuring hearings at which the nominee testified and deflected questions about his substantive views. A change in the Senate rules, ending the possibility of a filibuster, was necessary to bring …


The Rhetorical Canons Of Construction: New Textualism's Rhetoric Problem, Charlie D. Stewart Jun 2018

The Rhetorical Canons Of Construction: New Textualism's Rhetoric Problem, Charlie D. Stewart

Michigan Law Review

New Textualism is ascendant. Elevated to prominence by the late Justice Antonin Scalia and championed by others like Justice Neil Gorsuch, the method of interpretation occupies an increasingly dominant place in American jurisprudence. Yet, this Comment argues the proponents of New Textualism acted unfairly to reach this lofty perch. To reach this conclusion, this Comment develops and applies a framework to evaluate the rhetoric behind New Textualism: the rhetorical canons of construction. Through the rhetorical canons, this Comment demonstrates that proponents of New Textualism advance specious arguments, declare other methods illegitimate hypocritically, refuse to engage with the merits of their …


Both Sides Of The Rock: Justice Gorsuch And The Seminole Rock Deference Doctrine, Kevin O. Leske May 2018

Both Sides Of The Rock: Justice Gorsuch And The Seminole Rock Deference Doctrine, Kevin O. Leske

Michigan Journal of Environmental & Administrative Law

Despite being early in his tenure on the U.S. Supreme Court, Justice Neil Gorsuch has already made his presence known. His October 16, 2017 statement respecting the denial of certiorari in Scenic America, Inc. v. Department of Transportation garnered significant attention within the legal community. Joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito, Justice Gorsuch questioned whether the Court’s bedrock 2-part test from Chevron, U.S.A. v. NRDC—whereby courts must defer to an agency’s reasonable interpretation of an ambiguous statutory term—should apply in the case.

Justice Gorsuch’s criticism of the Chevron doctrine was not a surprise. In the …


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.


The Pragmatism Of Interpretation: A Review Of Richard A. Posner, The Federal Judiciary, Amul R. Thapar, Benjamin Beaton Apr 2018

The Pragmatism Of Interpretation: A Review Of Richard A. Posner, The Federal Judiciary, Amul R. Thapar, Benjamin Beaton

Michigan Law Review

A review of Richard A. Posner, The Federal Judiciary.


Draft Of A Letter Of Recommendation To The Honorable Alex Kozinski, Which I Guess I'M Not Going To Send Now, Yxta Maya Murray Jan 2018

Draft Of A Letter Of Recommendation To The Honorable Alex Kozinski, Which I Guess I'M Not Going To Send Now, Yxta Maya Murray

Michigan Journal of Gender & Law

This legal-literary essay engages the current social and jurisprudential moment, encapsulated by the hashtag #metoo. It focuses on the allegations, made in the first week of December 2017, that Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Alex Kozinski verbally sexually harassed former law clerks Emily Murphy and Heidi Bond. I wrote the lioness’s share of the piece during December 10–11—that is, in the days before news outlets reported that other women complained of Kozinski touching them on the thigh or breast while propositioning them for sex or discussing recent sexual encounters—and concluded that Kozinski was unlikely to face impeachment or meaningful …


International Judicial Practices: Opening The "Black Box" Of International Courts, Jeffrey L. Dunoff, Mark A. Pollack Jan 2018

International Judicial Practices: Opening The "Black Box" Of International Courts, Jeffrey L. Dunoff, Mark A. Pollack

Michigan Journal of International Law

This paper utilizes “practice theory” to identify and analyze the everyday practices of international judges, with particular focus on practices associated with judicial decision-making. Examining judicial practices illuminates a wide range of otherwise hidden activities that shape international judicial opinions; provides a pathway toward uncovering the subjective understandings that international judges attach to their own behaviors; and reveals underlying causal processes and mechanisms that influence tribunal decisions. By opening the “black box” of international courts, the practice turn permits us to shed light on their inner workings, and thereby enrich our understanding of these increasingly important bodies.


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 …