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Keeping Our Distinctions Straight: A Response To “Originalism: Standard And Procedure”, Mitchell N. Berman Jan 2022

Keeping Our Distinctions Straight: A Response To “Originalism: Standard And Procedure”, Mitchell N. Berman

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For half a century, moral philosophers have distinguished between a “standard” that makes acts right and a “decision procedure” by which agents can determine whether any given contemplated act is right, which is to say whether it satisfies the standard. In “Originalism: Standard and Procedure,” Stephen Sachs argues that the same distinction applies to the constitutional domain and that clear grasp of the difference strengthens the case for originalism because theorists who emphasize the infirmities of originalism as a decision procedure frequently but mistakenly infer that those flaws also cast doubt on originalism as a standard. This invited response agrees …


How Practices Make Principles, And How Principles Make Rules, Mitchell N. Berman Jan 2022

How Practices Make Principles, And How Principles Make Rules, Mitchell N. Berman

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The most fundamental question in general jurisprudence concerns what makes it the case that the law has the content that it does. This article offers a novel answer. According to the theory it christens “principled positivism,” legal practices ground legal principles, and legal principles determine legal rules. This two-level account of the determination of legal content differs from Hart’s celebrated theory in two essential respects: in relaxing Hart’s requirement that fundamental legal notions depend for their existence on judicial consensus; and in assigning weighted contributory legal norms—“principles”—an essential role in the determination of legal rights, duties, powers, and permissions. Drawing …


Racial Revisionism, Shaun Ossei-Owusu Jan 2021

Racial Revisionism, Shaun Ossei-Owusu

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Review of Corey Robin, The Enigma of Clarence Thomas (New York: Metropolitan Books, 2019).


Mirror, Mirror, On The Wall: Disney Princesses’ Reflections Of Equal Protection, Kermit Roosevelt Iii, Abigail Tootell Jan 2021

Mirror, Mirror, On The Wall: Disney Princesses’ Reflections Of Equal Protection, Kermit Roosevelt Iii, Abigail Tootell

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Constitutional doctrine and public opinion often move in tandem, particularly in the area of equal protection decisions. The Supreme Court tends to use the clause to invalidate unreasonable or oppressive discrimination, where what is unreasonable or oppressive is determined not by the values of 1868 but by those of contemporary America. This Article offers a microstudy in applied constitutional theory by juxtaposing the development of the Supreme Court's sex discrimination jurisprudence and the evolution of Disney Princesses. The analysis expands beyond confirming that prevailing cultural norms inform Supreme Court decisions; it also offers insight into the limitations of constitutional sex …


Kennedy's Legacy: A Principled Justice, Mitchell N. Berman, David Peters Jan 2019

Kennedy's Legacy: A Principled Justice, Mitchell N. Berman, David Peters

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After three decades on the Court, Justice Anthony Kennedy remains its most widely maligned member. Concentrating on his constitutional jurisprudence, critics from across the ideological spectrum have derided Justice Kennedy as “a self-aggrandizing turncoat,” “an unprincipled weathervane,” and, succinctly, “America’s worst Justice.” We believe that Kennedy is not as bereft of a constitutional theory as common wisdom maintains. To the contrary, this Article argues, his constitutional decisionmaking reflects a genuine grasp (less than perfect, more than rudimentary) of a coherent and, we think, compelling theory of constitutional law—the account, more or less, that one of has introduced in other work …


Certainty Versus Flexibility In The Conflict Of Laws, Kermit Roosevelt Iii Jan 2019

Certainty Versus Flexibility In The Conflict Of Laws, Kermit Roosevelt Iii

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Traditional choice of law theory conceives of certainty and flexibility as opposed values: increase one, and you inevitably decrease the other. This article challenges the received wisdom by reconceptualizing the distinction. Rather than caring about certainty or flexibility for their own sake, it suggests, we care about them because each makes it easier to promote a certain cluster of values. And while there may be a necessary tradeoff between certainty and flexibility, there is no necessary tradeoff between the clusters of values. It is possible to improve a choice of law system with regard to both of them. The article …


Rethinking Copyright And Personhood, Christopher S. Yoo Jan 2019

Rethinking Copyright And Personhood, Christopher S. Yoo

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One of the primary theoretical justifications for copyright is the role that creative works play in helping develop an individual’s sense of personhood and self-actualization. Typically ascribed to the writings of Immanuel Kant and Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, personhood-based theories of copyright serve as the foundation for the moral rights prominent in European copyright law and mandated by the leading intellectual property treaty, which give authors inalienable control over aspects of their works after they have been created. The conventional wisdom about the relationship between personhood and copyright suffers from two fatal flaws that have gone largely unappreciated. First, in …


The Tragedy Of Justice Scalia, Mitchell N. Berman Jan 2017

The Tragedy Of Justice Scalia, Mitchell N. Berman

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Justice Antonin Scalia was, by the time of his death last February, the Supreme Court’s best known and most influential member. He was also its most polarizing, a jurist whom most students of American law either love or hate. This essay, styled as a twenty-year retrospective on A Matter of Interpretation, Scalia’s Tanner lectures on statutory and constitutional interpretation, aims to prod partisans on both sides of our central legal and political divisions to better appreciate at least some of what their opponents see—the other side of Scalia’s legacy. Along the way, it critically assesses Scalia’s particular brand of …


Chevron's Interstitial Steps, Cary Coglianese Jan 2017

Chevron's Interstitial Steps, Cary Coglianese

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The Chevron doctrine’s apparent simplicity has long captivated judges, lawyers, and scholars. According to the standard formulation, Chevron involves just two straightforward steps: (1) Is a statute clear? (2) If not, is the agency’s interpretation of the statute reasonable? Despite the influence of this two-step framework, Chevron has come under fire in recent years. Some critics bemoan what they perceive as the Supreme Court’s incoherent application of the Chevron framework over time. Others argue that Chevron’s second step, which calls for courts to defer to reasonable agency interpretations of ambiguous statutory provisions, amounts to an abdication of judicial responsibility. …


Justice Scalia’S Originalism And Formalism: The Rule Of Criminal Law As A Law Of Rules, Stephanos Bibas Aug 2016

Justice Scalia’S Originalism And Formalism: The Rule Of Criminal Law As A Law Of Rules, Stephanos Bibas

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Far too many reporters and pundits collapse law into politics, assuming that the left–right divide between Democratic and Republican appointees neatly explains politically liberal versus politically conservative outcomes at the Supreme Court. The late Justice Antonin Scalia defied such caricatures. His consistent judicial philosophy made him the leading exponent of originalism, textualism, and formalism in American law, and over the course of his three decades on the Court, he changed the terms of judicial debate. Now, as a result, supporters and critics alike start with the plain meaning of the statutory or constitutional text rather than loose appeals to legislative …


The Fight For Equal Protection: Reconstruction-Redemption Redux, Kermit Roosevelt Iii, Patricia Stottlemyer Jan 2016

The Fight For Equal Protection: Reconstruction-Redemption Redux, Kermit Roosevelt Iii, Patricia Stottlemyer

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With Justice Scalia gone, and Justices Ginsburg and Kennedy in their late seventies, there is the possibility of significant movement on the Supreme Court in the next several years. A two-justice shift could upend almost any area of constitutional law, but the possible movement in race-based equal protection jurisprudence provides a particularly revealing window into the larger trends at work. In the battle over equal protection, two strongly opposed visions of the Constitution contend against each other, and a change in the Court’s composition may determine the outcome of that struggle. In this essay, we set out the current state …


Judge Posner’S Simple Law, Mitchell N. Berman Jan 2015

Judge Posner’S Simple Law, Mitchell N. Berman

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The world is complex, Richard Posner observes in his most recent book, Reflections on Judging. It follows that, to resolve real-world disputes sensibly, judges must be astute students of the world’s complexity. The problem, he says, is that, thanks to disposition, training, and professional incentives, they aren’t. Worse than that, the legal system generates its own complexity precisely to enable judges “to avoid rather than meet and overcome the challenge of complexity” that the world delivers. Reflections concerns how judges needlessly complexify inherently simple law, and how this complexification can be corrected.

Posner’s diagnoses and prescriptions range widely—from the Bluebook …


Introduction To The Workplace Constitution From The New Deal To The New Right, Sophia Z. Lee Jan 2014

Introduction To The Workplace Constitution From The New Deal To The New Right, Sophia Z. Lee

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Today, most American workers do not have constitutional rights on the job. As The Workplace Constitution shows, this outcome was far from inevitable. Instead, American workers have a long history of fighting for such rights. Beginning in the 1930s, civil rights advocates sought constitutional protections against racial discrimination by employers and unions. At the same time, a conservative right-to-work movement argued that the Constitution protected workers from having to join or support unions. Those two movements, with their shared aim of extending constitutional protections to American workers, were a potentially powerful combination. But they sought to use those protections to …


Privacy Law: Positive Theory And Normative Practice, Anita L. Allen Jan 2013

Privacy Law: Positive Theory And Normative Practice, Anita L. Allen

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No abstract provided.


The Normativity Of Copying In Copyright Law, Shyamkrishna Balganesh Nov 2012

The Normativity Of Copying In Copyright Law, Shyamkrishna Balganesh

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Not all copying constitutes copyright infringement. Quite independent of fair use, copyright law requires that an act of copying be qualitatively and quantitatively significant enough or “substantially similar” for it to be actionable. Originating in the nineteenth century, and entirely the creation of courts, copyright’s requirement of “substantial similarity” has thus far received little attention as an independently meaningful normative dimension of the copyright entitlement. This Article offers a novel theory for copyright’s substantial-similarity requirement by placing it firmly at the center of the institution and its various goals and purposes. As a common-law-style device that mirrors the functioning of …


Rights-Based Theories Of Accident Law, Gregory J. Hall Aug 2011

Rights-Based Theories Of Accident Law, Gregory J. Hall

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This article shows that extant rights-based theories of accident law contain a gaping hole. They inadequately address the following question: What justifies using community standards to assign accident costs in tort law?

In the United States, the jury determines negligence for accidental harm by asking whether the defendant met the objective reasonable person standard. However, what determines the content of the reasonable person standard is enigmatic. Some tort theorists say that the content is filled out by juries using cost benefit analysis while others say that juries apply community norms and conventions. I demonstrate that what is missing from this …


Are Institutions And Empiricism Enough? A Review Of Allen Buchanan, Human Rights, Legitimacy, And The Use Of Force, Matthew J. Lister Apr 2011

Are Institutions And Empiricism Enough? A Review Of Allen Buchanan, Human Rights, Legitimacy, And The Use Of Force, Matthew J. Lister

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Legal philosophers have given relatively little attention to international law in comparison to other topics, and philosophers working on international or global justice have not taken international law as a primary focus, either. Allen Buchanan’s recent work is arguably the most important exception to these trends. For over a decade he has devoted significant time and philosophical skill to questions central to international law, and has tied these concerns to related issues of global justice more generally. In what follows I review Buchanan’s new collection of essays, Human Rights, Legitimacy, and the Use of Force, paying special attention to …


Foreseeability And Copyright Incentives, Shyamkrishna Balganesh Apr 2009

Foreseeability And Copyright Incentives, Shyamkrishna Balganesh

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Copyright law’s principal justification today is the economic theory of creator incentives. Central to this theory is the recognition that while copyright’s exclusive rights framework provides creators with an economic incentive to create, it also entails large social costs, and that creators therefore need to be given just enough incentive to create in order to balance the system’s benefits against its costs. Yet, none of copyright’s current doctrines enable courts to circumscribe a creator’s entitlement by reference to limitations inherent in the very idea of incentives. While the common law too relies on providing actors with incentives to behave in …


Social Facts, Constitutional Interpretation, And The Rule Of Recognition, Matthew D. Adler Jan 2009

Social Facts, Constitutional Interpretation, And The Rule Of Recognition, Matthew D. Adler

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This essay is a chapter in a volume that examines constitutional law in the United States through the lens of H.L.A. Hart’s “rule of recognition” model of a legal system. My chapter focuses on a feature of constitutional practice that has been rarely examined: how jurists and scholars argue about interpretive methods. Although a vast body of scholarship provides arguments for or against various interpretive methods --such as textualism, originalism, “living constitutionalism,” structure-and-relationship reasoning, representation-reinforcement, minimalism, and so forth -- very little scholarship shifts to the meta-level and asks: What are the considerations that jurists and scholars bring to bear …


Health Law’S Coherence Anxiety, Theodore Ruger Jan 2008

Health Law’S Coherence Anxiety, Theodore Ruger

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Academic health law is often said to suffer from a "law of the horse" problem, or, more particularly, to lack various dimensions of theoretical coherence. In conventional legal academic discourse, the "coherence" ideal prioritizes a cluster of attributes, all of which health law lacks: sparse conceptual singularity, a reductionist focus on particular legal forms, institutional centralization, and historical determinism and orderly development of a legal field. Health law is a singularly poor fit with this traditional model of field coherence. It is a mishmash of various legal forms, applied by divergent and often colliding institutions, and has developed much more …


Preemption In The Rehnquist Court: A Preliminary Empirical Assessment, Michael S. Greve, Jonathan Klick Jan 2006

Preemption In The Rehnquist Court: A Preliminary Empirical Assessment, Michael S. Greve, Jonathan Klick

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The federal preemption of state law has emerged as a prominent field of study for legal scholars and political scientists. This rise to prominence of a technical and often dull field of jurisprudence is due to a number of developments-increasingly frequent federal statutory preemptions; the states' unprecedented aggressiveness in regulating business transactions, the expansion of corporate liability under state common law and the increased resort of corporate defendants to federal preemption defenses; and, not least, the Rehnquist Court's discovery of federalism and states' rights.

Unfortunately, the preemption debate has been marred by misperceptions and a lack of reliable data. Extravagant …


The Virtues Of Uncertainty In Law: An Experimental Approach, Tom Baker, Alon Harel, Tamar Kugler Jan 2004

The Virtues Of Uncertainty In Law: An Experimental Approach, Tom Baker, Alon Harel, Tamar Kugler

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Predictability in civil and criminal sanctions is generally understood as desirable. Conversely, unpredictability is condemned as a violation of the rule of law. This paper explores predictability in sanctioning from the point of view of efficiency. It is argued that, given a constant expected sanction, deterrence is increased when either the size of the sanction or the probability that it will be imposed is uncertain. This conclusion follows from earlier findings in behavioral decision research and the results of an experiment conducted specifically to examine this hypothesis. The findings suggest that, within an efficiency framework, there are virtues to uncertainty …


Before And After: Temporal Anomalies In Legal Doctrine, Leo Katz Jan 2003

Before And After: Temporal Anomalies In Legal Doctrine, Leo Katz

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Legal doctrine exhibits some striking temporal anomalies, previously not much adverted to. Wrongdoing looked at before it has occurred, and after is has occurred, is apt to look very different. I take up the two key components of wrongdoing seriatim, the harm-portion and the misconduct-portion: the "damage" part and the "liability" part. We tend to look at harm in a harm-agnifying way before it has occurred, and in a harm-inimizing way afterwards. We thus tend to think about negligence and the harm it wreaks in seemingly inconsistent ways. I examine and reject some possible explanations of this. Misconduct too looks …


What Do We Mean By "Judicial Independence"?, Stephen B. Burbank Jan 2003

What Do We Mean By "Judicial Independence"?, Stephen B. Burbank

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In this article, the author argues that the concept of "judicial independence" has served more as an object of rhetoric than it has of sustained study. He views the scholarly literatures that treat it as ships passing in the night, each subject to weaknesses that reflect the needs and fashions of the discipline, but all tending to ignore courts other than the Supreme Court of the United States. Seeking both greater rigor and greater flexibility than one usually finds in public policy debates about, and in the legal and political science literatures on, judicial independence, the author attributes much of …


Shareholder Value And Auditor Independence, William W. Bratton Jan 2003

Shareholder Value And Auditor Independence, William W. Bratton

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This Article questions the practice of framing problems concerning auditors’ professional responsibility inside a principal-agent paradigm. If professional independence is to be achieved, auditors cannot be enmeshed in agency relationships with the shareholders of their audit clients. As agents, the auditors by definition become subject to the principal’s control and cannot act independently. For the same reason, auditors’ duties should be neither articulated in the framework of corporate law fiduciary duty, nor conceived relationally at all. These assertions follow from an inquiry into the operative notion of the shareholder-beneficiary. The Article unpacks the notion of the shareholder and tells a …


The Roles Of Litigation, Stephen B. Burbank Jan 2002

The Roles Of Litigation, Stephen B. Burbank

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No abstract provided.


Method And Principle In Legal Theory, Stephen R. Perry Jan 2002

Method And Principle In Legal Theory, Stephen R. Perry

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No abstract provided.


Mary Joe Frug's Postmodern Feminist Legal Manifesto Ten Years Later: Reflections On The State Of Feminism Today·, Regina Austin, Elizabeth M. Schneider Jan 2001

Mary Joe Frug's Postmodern Feminist Legal Manifesto Ten Years Later: Reflections On The State Of Feminism Today·, Regina Austin, Elizabeth M. Schneider

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No abstract provided.


The Inefficiency Of Mens Rea, Claire Oakes Finkelstein Jan 2000

The Inefficiency Of Mens Rea, Claire Oakes Finkelstein

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No abstract provided.


Positivism And The Notion Of An Offense, Claire Oakes Finkelstein Jan 2000

Positivism And The Notion Of An Offense, Claire Oakes Finkelstein

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While the United States Supreme Court has developed an elaborate constitutional jurisprudence of criminal procedure, it has articulated few constitutional doctrines of the substantive criminal law. The asymmetry between substance and procedure seems natural given the demise of Lochner and the minimalist stance towards due process outside the area of fundamental rights. This Article, however, argues that the "positivistic" approach to defining criminal offenses stands in some tension with other basic principles, both constitutional and moral. In particular, two important constitutional guarantees depend on the notion of an offense: the presumption of innocence and the ban on double jeopardy. Under …