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Full-Text Articles in Law

Uncontrolled Experiments From The Laboratories Of Democracy: Traditional Cash Welfare, Federalism, And Welfare Reform, Jonah B. Gelbach May 2016

Uncontrolled Experiments From The Laboratories Of Democracy: Traditional Cash Welfare, Federalism, And Welfare Reform, Jonah B. Gelbach

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

In this chapter I discuss the history and basic incentive effects of two key U.S. cash assistance programs aimed at families with children. Starting roughly in the 1980s, critics of the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program argued that the program -- designed largely to cut relatively small checks -- failed to end poverty or promote work. After years of federally provided waivers that allowed states to experiment with changes to their AFDC programs, the critics in 1996 won the outright elimination of AFDC. It was replaced by the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program, over which states ...


Is The Philadelphia Wage Tax Unconstitutional? And If It Is, What Can And Should The City Do?, Michael S. Knoll, Ruth Mason Apr 2016

Is The Philadelphia Wage Tax Unconstitutional? And If It Is, What Can And Should The City Do?, Michael S. Knoll, Ruth Mason

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Philadelphia has a complex and antiquated tax system that has long been criticized for driving employers and jobs away from Philadelphia by making it expensive to conduct business in the City. The centerpiece of the Philadelphia tax system is the Philadelphia wage tax, which raised more than $1.6 billion in 2014. That tax has been challenged as unconstitutional in light of the Supreme Court’s 2015 decision in Wynne v. Comptroller of Maryland, which struck down a structurally similar Maryland tax. This Essay explains the constitutional challenge to the City wage tax, argues that the tax is unconstitutional, describes ...


Patent Exhaustion And Federalism: A Historical Note, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Apr 2016

Patent Exhaustion And Federalism: A Historical Note, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This essay, written as a response to John F. Duffy and Richard Hynes, Statutory Domain and the Commercial Law of Intellectual Property, 102 VA. L. REV. 1 (2016), argues that the patent exhaustion (first sale) doctrine developed as a creature of federalism, intended to divide the line between the law of patents, which by that time had become exclusively federal, and the law of patented things, which were governed by the states. Late nineteenth and early twentieth century courts were explicit on the point, in decisions stretching from the 1850s well into the twentieth century.

By the second half of ...


A Two-Step Plan For Puerto Rico, Clayton P. Gillette, David A. Skeel Jr. Mar 2016

A Two-Step Plan For Puerto Rico, Clayton P. Gillette, David A. Skeel Jr.

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Few still believe that Puerto Rico is capable of meeting all of its financial obligations and continuing to provide basic services. The territory is already in default, and conditions are rapidly deteriorating. Is there a way forward? We think there is. In this short article, we outline a two-part plan for correcting Puerto Rico’s most urgent fiscal and financial problems.

The first step is to create an independent financial control board that has authority over Puerto Rico’s budgets and related issues. Notwithstanding concerns that an externally imposed financial control board (FCB) may interfere with the decision making processes ...


A Solution In Search Of A Problem: Kelo Reform Over Ten Years, Wendell Pritchett Jan 2016

A Solution In Search Of A Problem: Kelo Reform Over Ten Years, Wendell Pritchett

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Kelo is NOT Dred Scott. Kelo is not only NOT Dred Scott, it was, as this Essay will argue, the right decision given the facts of the cases and the current state of legal jurisprudence. As an academic who has detailed the historic exploitation of eminent domain to uproot persons of color in this country, I find it interesting, and somewhat troubling, that the case has received so much criticism, much more criticism, I would argue, than other Supreme Court decisions that deserve condemnation. Certainly, eminent domain, like any other government power, must be regulated carefully. But upending the principles ...


Governmental Intervention In An Economic Crisis, Robert K. Rasmussen, David A. Skeel Jr. Jan 2016

Governmental Intervention In An Economic Crisis, Robert K. Rasmussen, David A. Skeel Jr.

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This paper articulates a framework both for assessing the various government bailouts that took place at the onset of Great Recession and for guiding future rescue efforts when they become necessary. The goals for those engineering a bailout should be to be as transparent as possible, to articulate clearly the reason for the intervention, to respect existing priorities among investors, to exercise control only at the top level where such efforts can be seen by the public, and to exit as soon as possible. By these metrics, some of the recent bailouts should be applauded, while others fell short. We ...


Governance Reform And The Judicial Role In Municipal Bankruptcy, Clayton P. Gillette, David A. Skeel Jr. Jan 2016

Governance Reform And The Judicial Role In Municipal Bankruptcy, Clayton P. Gillette, David A. Skeel Jr.

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Recent proceedings involving large municipalities such as Detroit, Stockton, and Vallejo illustrate both the utility and the limitations of using the Bankruptcy Code to adjust municipal debt. In this article, we contend that, to truly resolve the distress of a substantial city, municipal bankruptcy needs to do more than simply provide immediate debt relief. Debt adjustment alone does nothing to remedy the fragmented decision-making and incentives for expanding municipal budgets that underlie municipal distress. Unless bankruptcy also addresses governance dysfunction, the city may slide right back into financial crisis. Governance restructuring has long been an essential element of corporate bankruptcy ...