Open Access. Powered by Scholars. Published by Universities.®

Law Commons

Open Access. Powered by Scholars. Published by Universities.®

Articles 1 - 30 of 407

Full-Text Articles in Law

The Perfect Match: Solving The Due Process Problem Of Signature Matching With Federal Agency Regulation, Rachel Blumenstein Jan 2022

The Perfect Match: Solving The Due Process Problem Of Signature Matching With Federal Agency Regulation, Rachel Blumenstein

Vanderbilt Journal of Entertainment & Technology Law

Local election commissions in the United States disenfranchise Americans when they erroneously reject voters’ mail-in ballots for failed signature matches. Disenfranchisement is not only problematic because it is dangerous to the health of American democracy, but also because signature matching violates the procedural due process protections voters are entitled to when they exercise their right to vote. Furthermore, the practice of signature matching is one of many ballot access restrictions that disproportionately impact minority voters under the guise of voter fraud prevention. Expanding the Election Assistance Commission’s mandate to allow it to develop more accurate methods of ballot verification ...


The False Allure Of The Anti-Accumulation Principle, Kevin Stack, Michael Herz Jan 2022

The False Allure Of The Anti-Accumulation Principle, Kevin Stack, Michael Herz

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

Today the executive branch is generally seen as the most dangerous branch. Many worry that the executive branch now defies or subsumes the separation of powers. In response, several Supreme Court Justices and prominent scholars assert that the very separation-of-powers principles that determine the structure of the federal government as a whole apply with full force within the executive branch. In particular, they argue that constitutional law prohibits the accumulation of more than one type of power-—legislative, executive, and judicial—-in the same executive official or government entity. We refer to this as the anti-accumulation principle. The consequences of ...


Rethinking Swing Voters, Jonathan S. Gould Jan 2021

Rethinking Swing Voters, Jonathan S. Gould

Vanderbilt Law Review

In recent decades, swing voters in courts and legislatures have made many of the United States’ most important decisions of law and policy. It would be easy to conclude from the recent history of the Supreme Court and Congress that democracy or majority rule inevitably entails placing many of a society’s most important decisions in the hands of swing voters. Far from being inevitable, however, swing voters result from a highly contingent set of circumstances, both ideological and institutional.

This Article probes these contingencies, describing and evaluating swing voters and the power they hold. It first explains the conditions ...


Checks And Balances In The Criminal Law, Daniel Epps Jan 2021

Checks And Balances In The Criminal Law, Daniel Epps

Vanderbilt Law Review

The separation of powers is considered essential in the criminal law, where liberty and even life are at stake. Yet the reasons for separating criminal powers are surprisingly opaque, and the “separation of powers” is often used to refer to distinct, and sometimes contradictory, concepts.

This Article reexamines the justifications for the separation of powers in criminal law. It asks what is important about separating criminal powers and what values such separation serves. It concludes that in criminal justice, the traditional Madisonian approach of separating powers between functionally differentiated political institutions—legislature, executive, and judiciary—bears no necessary connection to ...


Judicial Deference To Administrative Interpretation Of Statutes From A Comparative Perspective, Vincent Martenet Jan 2021

Judicial Deference To Administrative Interpretation Of Statutes From A Comparative Perspective, Vincent Martenet

Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law

This Article examines, from a comparative perspective, how judicial deference to administrative interpretation of statutes takes place and whether it is constitutionally admissible. Since constitutions and statutes rarely deal expressly with this issue, courts may have to determine whether or not such deference is permitted, and, if so, whether generally or in certain cases only. The constitutional, legal, and judicial context prevailing in each country is particularly important in this regard. Nevertheless, it may provide courts with little, if any, guidance on the specific issue of deference to administrative statutory interpretation. In this respect, a nuanced approach along all or ...


Oversight Riders, Kevin Stack, Michael P. Vandenbergh Jan 2021

Oversight Riders, Kevin Stack, Michael P. Vandenbergh

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

Congress has a constitutionally critical duty to gather information about how the executive branch implements the powers Congress has granted it and the funds Congress has appropriated. Yet in recent years the executive branch has systematically thwarted Congress’s powers and duties of oversight. Congressional subpoenas for testimony and documents have met with blanket refusals to comply, frequently backed by advice from the Department of Justice that executive privilege justifies withholding the information. Even when Congress holds an official in contempt for failure to comply with a congressional subpoena, the Department of Justice often does not initiate criminal sanctions. As ...


China's Comparative Constitution, Bui Ngoc Son Jan 2021

China's Comparative Constitution, Bui Ngoc Son

Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law

The academic field of comparative constitutional law has recently had greater engagements with China's constitution. This Article explains the modes, conditions, and factors of these engagements. The country-studies of China's constitution echo and complicate recent comparative debates on transnational constitution making and the varieties of constitutionalism. Comparative constitutional scholarship formulates new concepts, such as constitutional entrepreneurship and constitutional dissonance, to understand China's constitution. Additionally, it explains China's constitutional divergence from the most similar case, namely Vietnam, and its unexpected constitutional similarities with the most different cases, such as the United States and the United Kingdom. Finally ...


Reconciling Risk And Equality, Christopher Slobogin Jul 2020

Reconciling Risk And Equality, Christopher Slobogin

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

States have increasingly resorted to statistically-derived risk algorithms to determine when diversion from prison should occur, whether sentences should be enhanced, and the level of security and treatment a prisoner requires. The federal government has jumped on the bandwagon in a big way with the First Step Act, which mandated that a risk assessment instrument be developed to determine which prisoners can be released early on parole. Policymakers are turning to these algorithms because they are thought to be more accurate and less biased than judges and correctional officials, making them useful tools for reducing prison populations through identification of ...


Federalism And The Military Power Of The United States, Robert Leider May 2020

Federalism And The Military Power Of The United States, Robert Leider

Vanderbilt Law Review

This Article examines the original meaning of the constitutional provisions governing the raising and organization of military forces. It argues that the Framers carefully divided the military between the federal and state governments. This division provided structural checks against the misuse of military power and made it more difficult to use offensive military force. These structural checks have been compromised by the creation of the U.S. Army Reserve, the dual enlistment of National Guard officers and soldiers, and the acceptance of conscription into the national army, all of which have enhanced federal military power beyond its original constitutional limits ...


Reconstructing The Congressional Guarantee Of Republican Government, David S. Louk Apr 2020

Reconstructing The Congressional Guarantee Of Republican Government, David S. Louk

Vanderbilt Law Review

This Article considers whether the Clause might serve as an additional constitutional basis for federal legislation and explores the interpretive arguments Congress might raise to justify the power to reform electoral processes in the states under the Clause. This Article also questions the prevailing view that the Supreme Court has always treated the Clause as functionally nonjusticiable. It argues that even following established precedents, the contemporary Court might well engage with the merits of legislation and litigation commenced under the Clause, given the Court’s recent penchant for enhanced scrutiny of congressional enforcement powers under the Reconstruction Amendments. Such challenges ...


Putting The Constitution In Its Place, Edward L. Rubin Jan 2020

Putting The Constitution In Its Place, Edward L. Rubin

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

The fact that Donald Trump became President in 2016, despite losing the popular vote by a substantial margin, has brought renewed attention to the Electoral College system. In "Forging the American Nation," Shlomo Slonim provides an illuminating account of the process that led to this bizarre method of determining the outcome of presidential elections. But Professor Slonim's book also provides insights into the origins of many other structural features of our constitutional system that are of questionable value in a modern democracy, such as elections by state for the Senate, the Senate's exclusive exercise of legislative authority for ...


Popular Constitutional Argument, Tom Donnelly Jan 2020

Popular Constitutional Argument, Tom Donnelly

Vanderbilt Law Review

Critics have long attacked popular constitutionalists for offering few clues about how their theory might work in practice—-especially inside the courts. These critics are right. Popular constitutionalism—as a matter of both theory and practice—remains a work in progress. In this Article, I take up the challenge of developing an account of (what I call) popular constitutional argument. Briefly stated, popular constitutional argument is a form of argument that draws on the American people’s considered judgments as a source of constitutional authority—akin to traditional sources like text, history, structure, and doctrine. Turning to constitutional theory, I ...


Unraveling Williams V. Illinois, Edward K. Cheng, Cara C. Mannion Jan 2020

Unraveling Williams V. Illinois, Edward K. Cheng, Cara C. Mannion

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

This Essay addresses one of the key evidentiary problems facing courts today: the treatment of forensic reports under the Confrontation Clause. Forensics are a staple of modern criminal trials, yet what restrictions the Confrontation Clause places on forensic reports is entirely unclear. The Supreme Court’s latest decision on the issue, Williams v. Illinois, sowed widespread confusion among lower courts and commentators, and during the 2018 Term, Justices Gorsuch and Kagan dissented to the denial of certiorari in Stuart v. Alabama, a case that would have revisited (and hopefully clarified) Williams.

Our Essay dispels the confusion in Williams v. Illinois ...


Identity Federalism In Europe And The United States, Vlad Perju Jan 2020

Identity Federalism In Europe And The United States, Vlad Perju

Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law

The turn to identity is reshaping federalism. Opposition to the policies of the Trump administration, from the travel ban to sanctuary cities and the rollback of environmental protections, has led progressives to explore more fluid and contingent forms of state identity. Conservatives, too, have sought to shift federalism away from the jurisdictional focus on limited and enumerated powers and have argued for a revival of the political safeguards of federalism, including state-based identities. This Article draws on comparative law to study identity as a political safeguard of federalism and its transformation from constitutional discourse to interpretative processes and, eventually, constitutional ...


The Constitutional Logic Of The Common Law, Douglas E. Edlin Jan 2020

The Constitutional Logic Of The Common Law, Douglas E. Edlin

Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law

This Article uses two concepts from philosophical logic, the transitive property and syllogistic reasoning, to examine the history and theory of the common law. More specifically, the Article uses the transitive property to challenge the claims of sovereignty theorists that parliamentary supremacy is truly the most fundamental historical and theoretical basis of the British constitution. Instead, the transitive property helps show that the history and theory of the common law tradition has long provided a role for independent courts in maintaining the rule of law as a foundational principle of the British constitution. The Article then closely analyzes the reasoning ...


Standing For Nothing, Robert Mikos May 2019

Standing For Nothing, Robert Mikos

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

A growing number of courts and commentators have suggested that states have Article III standing to protect state law. Proponents of such "protective" standing argue that states must be given access to federal court whenever their laws are threatened. Absent such access, they claim, many state laws might prove toothless, thereby undermining the value of the states in our federal system. Furthermore, proponents insist that this form of special solicitude is very limited-that it opens the doors to the federal courthouses a crack but does not swing them wide open. This Essay, however, contests both of these claims, and thus ...


The Imaginary Constitution, Suzanna Sherry Jan 2019

The Imaginary Constitution, Suzanna Sherry

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

How many ways can conservatives spin an originalist tale to support their deregulatory, small-government vision? The answer is apparently infinite. In a new book, Gary Lawson and Guy Seidman are the latest in a long line of scholars who insist that the real original meaning of the Constitution demands unwinding the regulatory state and substantially limiting the power of the federal government. They argue that the Constitution is a fiduciary instrument, specifically a power of attorney. After summarizing the book, this essay turns to three of its most important failings, each of which serves to make the book a work ...


The Due Process And Other Constitutional Rights Of Foreign Nations, Ingrid Wuerth Jan 2019

The Due Process And Other Constitutional Rights Of Foreign Nations, Ingrid Wuerth

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

The rights of foreign states under the U.S. Constitution are becoming more important as the actions of foreign states and foreign state-owned enterprises expand in scope and the legislative protections to which they are entitled contract. Conventional wisdom and lower court cases hold that foreign states are outside our constitutional order and that they are protected neither by separation of powers nor by due process. As a matter of policy, however, it makes little sense to afford litigation-related constitutional protections to foreign corporations and individuals but to deny categorically such protections to foreign states.

Careful analysis shows that the ...


The Enacted Purposes Canon, Kevin M. Stack Jan 2019

The Enacted Purposes Canon, Kevin M. Stack

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

This Article argues that the principle relied upon in King v. Burwell that courts "cannot interpret statutes to negate their stated purposes"-the enacted purposes canon-is and should be viewed as a bedrock element of statutory interpretation. The Supreme Court has relied upon this principle for decades, but it has done so in ways that do not call attention to this interpretive choice. As a result, the scope and patterns of the Court's reliance are easy to miss. After reconstructing the Court's practice, this Article defends this principle of interpretation on analytic, normative, and pragmatic grounds. Building on ...


Still In Exile? The Current Status Of The Contract Clause, James W. Ely Jan 2019

Still In Exile? The Current Status Of The Contract Clause, James W. Ely

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

The Contract Clause is no longer the subject of much judicial solicitude or academic interest.' Since the 1930s the once potent Contract Clause has been largely relegated to the outer reaches of constitutional law.2 This, of course, was not always the case. On the contrary, throughout the nineteenth century the Contract Clause was one of the most litigated provisions of the Constitution. In 1896, Justice George Shiras astutely commented: "No provision of the constitution of the United States has received more frequent consideration by this court than that which provides that no state shall pass any law impairing the ...


The Soft Power Of Dissent: The Impact Of Dissenting Opinions From The Russian Constitutional Court, Alexandra V. Orlova Jan 2019

The Soft Power Of Dissent: The Impact Of Dissenting Opinions From The Russian Constitutional Court, Alexandra V. Orlova

Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law

This Article poses a question regarding the importance of judicial dissents emanating from constitutional courts. It examines the power of dissents emanating from the Russian Constitutional Court, given the fact that the Russian government has invested a significant effort in suppressing dissenting voices. The very presence of dissents in the Russian Constitutional Court poses an interesting question regarding their impact on democracy, consensus building, and civil society. This Article argues that while dissents coming from the Russian Constitutional Court may not be binding, they carry a great deal of "soft power." Judicial dissents aid in challenging commonly espoused consensus both ...


Discovery Cost Allocation, Due Process, And The Constitution's Role In Civil Litigation, Martin H. Redish Nov 2018

Discovery Cost Allocation, Due Process, And The Constitution's Role In Civil Litigation, Martin H. Redish

Vanderbilt Law Review

The issue of discovery cost allocation, long ignored by both courts and scholars, has become something of a cause celebre in the last few years. An article which I coauthored on the subject was part of that renewed interest.' In 2011, my former student, Colleen McNamara, and I wrote an article urging a dramatic change not only in the manner of how discovery costs are allocated, but an entirely new way of understanding the concept of discovery costs. 2 Since the original promulgation of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure in 1938, it has been universally assumed that discovery costs ...


Consenting To Adjudication Outside The Article Iii Courts, F. Andrew Hessick Apr 2018

Consenting To Adjudication Outside The Article Iii Courts, F. Andrew Hessick

Vanderbilt Law Review

Article III confers the judicial power on the federal courts, and it provides the judges of those courts with life tenure and salary guarantees to ensure that they decide disputes according to law instead of popular pressure. Despite this careful arrangement, the Supreme Court has not restricted the judicial power to the Article III courts. Instead, it has held that Article I tribunals-whose judges do not enjoy the salary and tenure guarantees provided by Article III-may adjudicate disputes if the parties consent to the tribunals' jurisdiction. This consent exception provides the basis for thousands of adjudications by Article I judges ...


The Constitutional Case For "Chevron" Deference, Jonathan R. Siegel Apr 2018

The Constitutional Case For "Chevron" Deference, Jonathan R. Siegel

Vanderbilt Law Review

An icon of administrative law is under attack. Prominent figures in the legal world are attacking Chevron. The critics could hardly have gone after a bigger target. Chevron is the most-cited administrative law case of all time. Every law student who has taken a basic course in administrative law is familiar with the principle of "Chevron deference," under which courts must defer to an executive agency's reasonable interpretation of an ambiguous provision of a statute the agency administers. The current attack on Chevron does not merely suggest that courts should limit the case's application. It is true that ...


Interpreting An Unamendable Text, Thomas W. Merrill Mar 2018

Interpreting An Unamendable Text, Thomas W. Merrill

Vanderbilt Law Review

Many of the most important legal texts in the United States are highly unamendable. This applies not only to the Constitution, which has not been amended in over forty years, but also to many framework statutes, like the Administrative Procedure Act and the Sherman Antitrust Act. The problem is becoming increasingly severe, as political polarization makes amendment of these texts even more unlikely. This Article considers how interpreters should respond to highly unamendable texts. Unamendable texts have a number of pathologies, such as excluding the people and their representatives from any direct participation in legal change. They also pose an ...


Debating The Past's Authority In Alabama, Sara Mayeux Jan 2018

Debating The Past's Authority In Alabama, Sara Mayeux

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

With some exceptions, the major project of civil rights litigators today is not forward movement but the work of preserving as much as possible the gains of the 1960s against legal and political battering.29 Meanwhile, and ironically, the rise of conservative progress metanarratives reflects the achievement of both liberal and radical scholars of forcing into mainstream discourse greater recognition of the evils of slavery and Jim Crow. Respectable conservatives now join in denouncing the most flagrant forms of racial terror running through the American past (pace certain allies of the Trump Administration). But doing so places them in a ...


Equal Protection For Equal Play: A Constitutional Solution To Gender Discrimination In International Sports, Jenna N. Rowan Jan 2018

Equal Protection For Equal Play: A Constitutional Solution To Gender Discrimination In International Sports, Jenna N. Rowan

Vanderbilt Journal of Entertainment & Technology Law

This Note considers the extent of gender discrimination in international sports, providing an overview of gender discrimination in sports and detailing the inadequacies of current statutory remedies. Additionally, this Note describes why constitutional remedies are unavailable for these athletes, highlighting a 1987 Supreme Court case holding that sports governing bodies are not state actors. This Note proposes overruling that case to hold instead that international sports governing bodies are state actors and are, therefore, subject to the provisions in the US Constitution. Under this solution, international athletes could bring gender discrimination claims against these bodies under an equal protection rationale.


Restore, Revert, Repeat: Examining The Decompensation Cycle And The Due Process Limitations On The Treatment Of Incompetent Defendants, Margaret W. Smith Jan 2018

Restore, Revert, Repeat: Examining The Decompensation Cycle And The Due Process Limitations On The Treatment Of Incompetent Defendants, Margaret W. Smith

Vanderbilt Law Review

Though correctional facilities are one of the largest providers of mental health care in the country, the treatment provided often fails to address the needs of many mentally ill inmates. Indeed, after receiving treatment at a state mental health facility, many pretrial detainees who have been recently restored to competency revert to an incompetent state-or decompensate-upon their return to jail, at which point they must return to the state treatment facility to be restored to competency once again. This Note is the first to explore this "decompensation cycle," highlighting the significance of the problem and demonstrating how mental health treatment ...


Funding Restrictions And Separation Of Powers, Zachary S. Price Jan 2018

Funding Restrictions And Separation Of Powers, Zachary S. Price

Vanderbilt Law Review

Congress's "power of the purse"-its authority to deny access to public funds-is one of its most essential constitutional authorities. A central mechanism through which English parliaments clawed liberty from reluctant monarchs, it remains a crucial check on executive overreaching. It may provide power to stop a president in his tracks. And yet, two centuries after the founding, the scope of this congressional power and its relationship with constitutional executive authorities remains both contested and inadequately theorized.


The Middle-Class Constitution: A Response, Ganesh Sitaraman Jan 2018

The Middle-Class Constitution: A Response, Ganesh Sitaraman

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

I am very grateful to the Boston University Law Review for bringing together such a terrific group of scholars to engage with my book, The Crisis of the Middle-Class Constitution: Why Economic Inequality Threatens Our Republic. It is a testament to the work and excellence of the Boston University Law Review that they pulled together such an intellectually engaging group of commentators. My deepest thanks also to Professors Markovits, Rahman, Lyons, Epstein, and Somin for taking the time to read the book and comment on it.