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The Need For An Established Senate Rule On Election-Year And Lame Duck Session Supreme Court Nominations, Jacob R. Weaver May 2021

The Need For An Established Senate Rule On Election-Year And Lame Duck Session Supreme Court Nominations, Jacob R. Weaver

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform Caveat

In 2016, the Republican-held Senate refused to hold a hearing on President Barack Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland, sparking outrage among the Democratic Party. Then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell justified his party’s actions based on what became known as the “McConnell Rule.” This controversial rule holds that during years of presidential elections, when the president and the Senate majority are of different parties, the Senate is not expected to confirm the president’s Supreme Court nominees; but, when the president and Senate majority are of the same party, vacancies may be filled.

When the Senate applied this rule in 2020, the …


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 whether a certain …


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 over …


How The Supreme Court Can Improve Educational Opportunities For African American And Hispanic Students By Ruling Against Harvard College’S Use Of Race Data, Genevieve Kelly Apr 2021

How The Supreme Court Can Improve Educational Opportunities For African American And Hispanic Students By Ruling Against Harvard College’S Use Of Race Data, Genevieve Kelly

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform Caveat

Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard has not only exposed ways in which Harvard College’s admissions office unfairly assesses Asian American applicants, but it has also revealed that Harvard’s fixation on race per se can disadvantage the very African American and Hispanic students best positioned to bring instructive and underrepresented perspectives to the college. The facts show that Harvard’s “tips” and “one-pager” system values African American and Hispanic students for their ability to boost Harvard’s racial profile more than for their actual experiences confronting racial discrimination. This Comment explains how, by ruling against Harvard (and without overruling Grutter or Fisher …


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 Economics Of Class Action Waivers, Albert H. Choi, Kathryn E. Spier Mar 2021

The Economics Of Class Action Waivers, Albert H. Choi, Kathryn E. Spier

Articles

Many firms require consumers, employees, and suppliers to sign class action waivers as a condition of doing business with the firm, and the U.S. Supreme Court has endorsed companies’ ability to block class actions through mandatory individual arbitration clauses. Are class action waivers serving the interests of society or are they facilitating socially harmful business practices? This paper synthesizes and extends the existing law and economics literature by analyzing the firms’ incentive to impose class action waivers. While in many settings the firms’ incentive to block class actions may be aligned with maximizing social welfare, in many other settings it …


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 …


Rethinking The Reasonable Response: Safeguarding The Promise Of Kingsley For Conditions Of Confinement, Hanna Rutkowski Feb 2021

Rethinking The Reasonable Response: Safeguarding The Promise Of Kingsley For Conditions Of Confinement, Hanna Rutkowski

Michigan Law Review

Nearly five million individuals are admitted to America’s jails each year, and at any given time, two-thirds of those held in jail have not been convicted of a crime. Under current Supreme Court doctrine, these pretrial detainees are functionally protected by the same standard as convicted prisoners, despite the fact that they are formally protected by different constitutional amendments. A 2015 decision, Kingsley v. Hendrickson, declared that a different standard would apply to pretrial detainees and convicted prisoners in the context of use of force: consistent with the Constitution’s mandate that they not be punished at all, pretrial detainees …


Predicting Supreme Court Behavior In Indian Law Cases, Grant Christensen Feb 2021

Predicting Supreme Court Behavior In Indian Law Cases, Grant Christensen

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

This piece builds upon Matthew Fletcher’s call for additional empirical work in Indian law by creating a new dataset of Indian law opinions. The piece takes every Indian law case decided by the Supreme Court from the beginning of the Warren Court until the end of the 2019-2020 term. The scholarship first produces an Indian law scorecard that measures how often each Justice voted for the “pro- Indian” outcome. It then compares those results to the Justice’s political ideology to suggest that while there is a general trend that a more “liberal” Justice is more likely to favor the pro-Indian …


Because Of Bostock, Noelle N. Wyman Jan 2021

Because Of Bostock, Noelle N. Wyman

Michigan Law Review Online

On a below-freezing January morning, Jennifer Chavez, an automobile technician, sat in a car that she was repairing to keep warm while waiting for delayed auto parts to arrive. Without intending to, she nodded off. Her employer promptly fired her for sleeping on the job. At least, that is the justification her employer gave. But Chavez had reason to believe that her coming out as transgender motivated the termination. In the months leading up to the January incident, Chavez’s supervisor had told her to “tone things down” when she talked about her gender transition. The repair-shop owner said that the …


Association For Molecular Pathology V. Myriad Genetics: A Critical Reassessment, Jorge L. Contreras Jan 2021

Association For Molecular Pathology V. Myriad Genetics: A Critical Reassessment, Jorge L. Contreras

Michigan Technology Law Review

The Supreme Court’s 2013 decision in Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics is an essential piece of the Court’s recent quartet of patent eligibility decisions, which also includes Bilski v. Kappos, Mayo v. Prometheus, and Alice v. CLS Bank. Each of these decisions has significantly shaped the contours of patent eligibility under Section 101 of the Patent Act in ways that have been both applauded and criticized. The Myriad case, however, was significant beyond its impact on Section 101 jurisprudence. It was seen, and litigated, as a case impacting patient rights, access to healthcare, scientific freedom, …


Seamen, Railroad Employees, And Uber Drivers: Applying The Section 1 Exemption In The Federal Arbitration Ace To Rideshare Drivers, Conor Bradley Jan 2021

Seamen, Railroad Employees, And Uber Drivers: Applying The Section 1 Exemption In The Federal Arbitration Ace To Rideshare Drivers, Conor Bradley

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

Section 1 of the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA or the Act) exempts “seamen, railroad employees, [and] any other class of workers engaged in foreign or interstate commerce” from arbitration. In 2019, the Supreme Court held in New Prime Inc. v. Oliveira that this provision exempted independent contractors as well as employees. This decision expanded the reach of the section 1 exemption and may affect the relationship between ridesharing companies, such as Uber, and their drivers. Previously, ridesharing companies argued that courts must enforce the arbitration clauses in their employment contracts because their workers were independent contractors and, therefore, section 1 …


The Role Of Trust Law Principles In Defining Public Trust Duties For Natural Resources, John C. Dernbach Jan 2021

The Role Of Trust Law Principles In Defining Public Trust Duties For Natural Resources, John C. Dernbach

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

Public trusts for natural resources incorporate both limits and duties on governments in their stewardship of those natural resources. They exist in every state in the United States—in constitutional provisions, statutes, and in common law. Yet the law recognizing public trusts for natural resources may contain only the most basic provisions—often just a sentence or two. The purpose and terms of these public trusts certainly answer some questions about the limits and duties of trustees, but they do not answer all questions. When questions arise that the body of law creating or recognizing a public trust for natural resources does …


Sovereign Immunity And Interstate Government Tort, Louise Weinberg Jan 2021

Sovereign Immunity And Interstate Government Tort, Louise Weinberg

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

This paper argues that the Supreme Court made a serious mistake last term, when, in a case of interstate government tort, it tore up useful options that should be available to each state for the rare cases in which they would be of service. In seeking to insulate a state from liability when its employee intrudes on a sister state’s territory and causes injury there, the Court stripped every state of power, in cases of interstate government tort, to try injuries occurring on its own territory to its own residents—an unprecedented disregard of a state’s acknowledged traditional interests. Indeed, the …


A Podcast Of One’S Own, Leah M. Litman, Melissa Murray, Katherine Shaw Jan 2021

A Podcast Of One’S Own, Leah M. Litman, Melissa Murray, Katherine Shaw

Michigan Journal of Gender & Law

In this short Essay, we discuss the lack of racial and gender diversity on and around the Supreme Court. As we note, the ranks of the Court’s Justices and its clerks historically have been dominated by white men. But this homogeneity is not limited to the Court’s members or its clerks. As we explain, much of the Court’s broader ecosystem suffers from this same lack of diversity. The advocates who argue before the Court are primarily white men; the experts cited in the Court’s opinions, as well as the experts on whom Court commentators rely in interpreting those opinions, are …


Possible Reliance: Protecting Legally Innocent Johnson Claimants, Keagan Potts Nov 2020

Possible Reliance: Protecting Legally Innocent Johnson Claimants, Keagan Potts

Michigan Law Review

The writ of habeas corpus presents the last chance for innocent defendants to obtain relief from invalid convictions and sentences. The writ constitutes a limited exception to the finality of judgments. Given the role finality plays in conserving judicial resources and deterring criminal conduct, exceptions created by habeas must be principally circumscribed. Since the Supreme Court’s invalidation of the Armed Career Criminal Act’s residual clause in Johnson v. United States, the federal courts of appeals have attempted to develop a test that protects the writ from abuse by Johnson claimants.

This Note first contributes a new understanding of the …


The Sacred Fourth Amendment Text, Christopher Slobogin Oct 2020

The Sacred Fourth Amendment Text, Christopher Slobogin

Michigan Law Review Online

The Supreme Court’s jurisprudence governing the Fourth Amendment’s “threshold”—a word meant to refer to the types of police actions that trigger the amendment’s warrant and reasonableness requirements—has confounded scholars and students alike since Katz v. United States. Before that 1967 decision, the Court’s decisions on the topic were fairly straightforward, based primarily on whether the police trespassed on the target’s property or property over which the target had control. After that decision—which has come to stand for the proposition that a Fourth Amendment search occurs if police infringe an expectation of privacy that society is prepared to recognize as …


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 …


How Definitive Is Fourth Amendment Textualism?, Evan H. Caminker Oct 2020

How Definitive Is Fourth Amendment Textualism?, Evan H. Caminker

Michigan Law Review Online

Professor Jeffrey Bellin’s excellent article advances a comprehensive and straightforward textual approach to determining what policing activities constitute “searches” triggering the protections of the Fourth Amendment. Bellin’s thesis is that a text-based approach to interpreting the Amendment is superior to the Supreme Court’s current approach, which ever since Katz v. United States has defined “search” primarily by reference to a non-textual “reasonable expectation of privacy” standard. After soundly criticizing the ungrounded and highly subjective nature of the Katz test, Bellin declares that the Court should instead simply follow where the text leads: the Amendment protects people from a search, meaning …


Textualism’S Gaze, Matthew L.M. Fletcher Sep 2020

Textualism’S Gaze, Matthew L.M. Fletcher

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

This Article attempts to address why textualism distorts the Supreme Court’s jurisprudence in Indian law. I start with describing textualism in federal public law. I focus on textualism as described by Justice Scalia, as well as Scalia’s justification for textualism and discussion about the role of the judiciary in interpreting texts. The Court is often subject to challenges to its legitimacy rooted in its role as legal interpreter that textualism is designed to combat.


A Small But Mighty Docket: Select Criminal Law And Procedure Cases From The Supreme Court's 2019-20 Term, Eve Brensike Primus, Jeremy Shur Sep 2020

A Small But Mighty Docket: Select Criminal Law And Procedure Cases From The Supreme Court's 2019-20 Term, Eve Brensike Primus, Jeremy Shur

Articles

With its 2019-20 Term disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Supreme Court released just 53 signed decisions, the fewest decisions in a Term since the Civil War. But the Court's lighter docket still featured important criminal law and procedure cases touching on what constitutes reasonable individualized suspicion, the necessity of jury unanimity, and the proper form of the insanity defense.


The Rise And Fall Of Clean Air Act Climate Policy, Nathan Richardson Sep 2020

The Rise And Fall Of Clean Air Act Climate Policy, Nathan Richardson

Michigan Journal of Environmental & Administrative Law

The Clean Air Act has proven to be one of the most successful and durable statutes in American law. After the Supreme Court’s 2008 decision in Massachusetts v. EPA, there was great hope that the Act could be brought to bear on climate change, the most pressing current environmental challenge of our time. Massachusetts was fêted as the most important environmental case ever decided, and, upon it, the Environmental Protection Agency under President Obama built a sweeping program of greenhouse gas regulations, aimed first at emissions from road vehicles, and later at fossil fuel power plants. It was the most …


Consent, Coercion, And Employment Law, Samuel R. Bagenstos Jul 2020

Consent, Coercion, And Employment Law, Samuel R. Bagenstos

Articles

The Roberts Court has recently handed several high-profile wins in labor and employment law cases to anti-labor and pro-employer forces. This paper argues that those decisions replicate crucial moves made by some infamous Lochner-era cases — and that those same moves continue to underlie key elements of labor and employment doctrine more generally. In particular, these decisions rest on a contestable understanding of free worker choice. This paper begins by examining the key recent Roberts Court decisions and demonstrates that they appear to invoke at least two distinct and conflicting understandings of employee and employer choice. It then turns to …


Disaggregating Ineffective Assistance Of Counsel Doctrine: Four Forms Of Constitutional Ineffectiveness, Eve Brensike Primus Jun 2020

Disaggregating Ineffective Assistance Of Counsel Doctrine: Four Forms Of Constitutional Ineffectiveness, Eve Brensike Primus

Articles

For years, experts have blamed Strickland v. Washington’s lax standard for assessing trial attorney effectiveness for many of the criminal justice system’s problems. But the conventional understanding of Strickland as a problem for ineffectiveness claims gives the decision too much prominence because it treats Strickland as the test for all such claims. That is a mistake. Properly understood, the Supreme Court has recognized four different constitutional forms of trial attorney ineffectiveness, and Strickland’s two pronged test applies to only one of the four. If litigants and courts would notice this complexity and relegate Strickland to its proper place, it would …


Pub. L. No. 86-272 And The Anti-Commandeering Doctrine: Is This Anachronism Constitutionally Vulnerable After Murphy V. Ncaa?, Matthew A. Melone Jun 2020

Pub. L. No. 86-272 And The Anti-Commandeering Doctrine: Is This Anachronism Constitutionally Vulnerable After Murphy V. Ncaa?, Matthew A. Melone

Michigan Business & Entrepreneurial Law Review

State taxing authority suffers from little of the structural impediments that the Constitution imposes on the federal government’s taxing power but the states’ power to tax is subject to the restrictions imposed on the exercise of any state action by the Constitution. The most significant obstacles to the states’ assertion of their taxing authority have been the Due Process Clause and the Commerce Clause. The Due Process Clause concerns itself with fairness while the Commerce Clause concerns itself with a functioning national economy. Although the two restrictions have different objectives, for quite some time both restrictions shared one attribute—a taxpayer …


A More Perfect Pickering Test: Janus V. Afscme Council 31 And The Problem Of Public Employee Speech, Alexandra J. Gilewicz May 2020

A More Perfect Pickering Test: Janus V. Afscme Council 31 And The Problem Of Public Employee Speech, Alexandra J. Gilewicz

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

In June 2018, the Supreme Court issued its long-awaited—and, for the American labor movement, long-feared—decision in Janus v. AFSCME Council 31. The decision is expected to have a major impact on public sector employee union membership, but could have further impact on public employees’ speech rights in the workplace. Writing for the majority, Justice Samuel Alito’s broad interpretation of whether work-related speech constitutes a “matter of public concern” may have opened the floodgates to substantially more litigation by employees asserting that their employers have violated their First Amendment rights. Claims that would have previously been unequivocally foreclosed may now …


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 …


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.


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.