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Anti-Transgender Constitutional Law, Katie Eyer May 2024

Anti-Transgender Constitutional Law, Katie Eyer

Vanderbilt Law Review

Over the course of the last three decades, gender identity anti-discrimination protections and other transgender-supportive government policies have increased, as government entities have sought to protect and support the transgender community. But constitutional litigation by opponents of transgender equality has also proliferated, seeking to limit or eliminate such trans-protective measures. Such litigation has attacked as unconstitutional everything from laws prohibiting anti-transgender employment discrimination to the efforts of individual public school teachers to support transgender teens.

This Article provides the first systematic account of the phenomenon of anti-transgender constitutional litigation. As described herein, such litigation is surprisingly novel: while trans-protective measures …


Against Political Theory In Constitutional Interpretation, Christopher S. Havasy, Joshua C. Macey, Brian Richardson Apr 2023

Against Political Theory In Constitutional Interpretation, Christopher S. Havasy, Joshua C. Macey, Brian Richardson

Vanderbilt Law Review

Judges and academics have long relied on the work of a small number of Enlightenment political theorists-—particularly Locke, Montesquieu, and Blackstone—-to discern meaning from vague and ambiguous constitutional provisions. This Essay cautions that Enlightenment political theory should rarely, if ever, be cited as an authoritative source of constitutional meaning. There are three principal problems with constitutional interpretation based on eighteenth-century political theory. First, Enlightenment thinkers developed distinct and incompatible theories about how to structure a republican form of government. That makes it difficult to decide which among the conflicting theories should possess constitutional significance. Second, the Framers did not write …


Reliance Interests In Statutory And Constitutional Interpretation, William N. Eskridge Jr., John Garver Professor Of Jurisprudence Apr 2023

Reliance Interests In Statutory And Constitutional Interpretation, William N. Eskridge Jr., John Garver Professor Of Jurisprudence

Vanderbilt Law Review

People and companies rely on public law when they plan their activities; society relies on legal entitlements when it adapts to new technology, economic conditions, and social groups; legislators, administrators, and judges rely on settled law when they pass, implement, and interpret statutes (respectively). Such private, societal, and public “reliance interests” are the “dark matter” of America’s law of interpretation. They underwrite most interpretive doctrine, and their perceived force broadly and deeply affects the application of doctrine.

Reliance interests anchor the constitutional bias in favor of interpretive continuity, and they provide guardrails for the leading theories of interpretation-—namely-—textualism or original …


Notes On Continental Constitutional Identities, Benjamen F. Gussen Jan 2023

Notes On Continental Constitutional Identities, Benjamen F. Gussen

Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law

Geo-constitutional analysis examines the reciprocal effect of geography on constitutions. Within this analysis, a continental constitutional identity focuses on the intersection between institutional geographies and institutional identities, where constitutions are understood as meta-institutions. In some constitutions, belonging to a continent is part of the national identity, while other constitutions only signal a non-geographic, usually an ethnic, identity. The US Constitution is an example of the former. The quintessential example of a non-geographic constitution is the Constitution of the Russian Federation. A similar disregard of continental identities can be found in Israel and the Arab League countries east of the Sinai …


The Rise And Fall Of The Horseracing Integrity And Safety Act: How Congress Could Save The “Sport Of Kings”, Lucy Mcafee Jan 2023

The Rise And Fall Of The Horseracing Integrity And Safety Act: How Congress Could Save The “Sport Of Kings”, Lucy Mcafee

Vanderbilt Journal of Entertainment & Technology Law

The Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA) has undergone several unsuccessful changes over the past decade in an effort to change how horseracing is regulated. After Congress successfully passed HISA in 2020, several lawsuits were filed to stop HISA from going into effect. Congress quickly passed an amendment to HISA—which the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit upheld—seemingly stopping such litigation, but it is clear from opponents’ statements that this is just the beginning. This Note will examine the constitutional arguments’ strengths and weaknesses through precedent to determine whether the long-awaited act, as amended, can stand the test …


Constitutional Limits On The Imposition And Revocation Of Probation, Parole, And Supervised Release After Haymond, Nancy J. King Jan 2023

Constitutional Limits On The Imposition And Revocation Of Probation, Parole, And Supervised Release After Haymond, Nancy J. King

Vanderbilt Law Review

In its Apprendi line of cases, the Supreme Court has held that any fact found at sentencing (other than prior conviction) that aggravates the punishment range otherwise authorized by the conviction is an “element” that must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt to a jury. Whether Apprendi controls factfinding for the imposition and revocation of probation, parole, and supervised release is critically important. Seven of ten adults under correctional control in the United States are serving terms of state probation and post-confinement supervision, and roughly half of all prison admissions result from revocations of such terms. But scholars have yet …


The Ghost Of John Hart Ely, Ryan D. Doerfler, Samuel Moyn Apr 2022

The Ghost Of John Hart Ely, Ryan D. Doerfler, Samuel Moyn

Vanderbilt Law Review

The ghost of John Hart Ely haunts the American liberal constitutional imagination. Despite the failure long ago of any progressive constitutional vision in an increasingly conservative Supreme Court, Ely’s conjectures about the superiority of judges relative to legislatures in the protection of minorities and the policing of the democratic process remain second nature. Indeed, they have been credible enough among liberals to underwrite an anxious or even hostile attitude toward judicial reform. In order to exorcise Ely’s ghost and lay it to rest, this Article challenges his twin conjectures. First, the Article argues that there is little historical and no …


Nonparty Jurisdiction, Aaron D. Simowitz, Linda J. Silberman Mar 2022

Nonparty Jurisdiction, Aaron D. Simowitz, Linda J. Silberman

Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law

The Supreme Court's recent decisions on personal jurisdiction, including its 2021 decision in Ford Motor Co. v. Montana Eighth Judicial District Court, have all focused on the adjudication of plenary claims. In seven years, the Court has decided six major cases on personal jurisdiction in that context. However, these precedents also appear to guide lower courts in areas outside the traditional focus of personal jurisdiction doctrine but where personal jurisdiction is nonetheless necessary. For example, a court must have personal jurisdiction over a nonparty witness in order to compel the witness to testify or to produce documents. A court must …


Quilombo Land Rights, Brazilian Constitutionalism, And Racial Capitalism, Karen Engle, Lucas Lixinski Oct 2021

Quilombo Land Rights, Brazilian Constitutionalism, And Racial Capitalism, Karen Engle, Lucas Lixinski

Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law

The 1988 Brazilian Constitution, the first in a wave of new democratic and multicultural constitutions in Latin America, contains a transitory provision guaranteeing collective land rights to quilombo communities. These communities are composed of quilombolas, primarily descendants of formerly enslaved Africans, many of whom had escaped slavery. A 2003 executive decree to implement the land title provision became the subject of a constitutional challenge lasting over fifteen years. When the Brazilian constitutional court eventually upheld the decree in 2018, it relied heavily on the work of US political theorist Nancy Fraser to justify quilombo land title as both recognition and …


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, this scholarship discusses China's …


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 …


The Perfect Match: Solving The Due Process Problem Of Signature Matching With Federal Agency Regulation, Rachel Blumenstein Jan 2021

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 can …


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 under …


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 important values …


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.

This …


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 would …


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 …


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 situate popular constitutional argument within …


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 the Supreme …


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 …


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.


Do Your Job: Judicial Review Of Occupational Licensing In The Face Of Economic Protectionism, Nicole A. Weeks Oct 2017

Do Your Job: Judicial Review Of Occupational Licensing In The Face Of Economic Protectionism, Nicole A. Weeks

Vanderbilt Law Review

Despite efforts to challenge certain occupational licensing schemes as impermissibly driven by naked economic protectionism, federal appellate courts disagree on the legitimacy owed to the protectionist motivations that commonly prompt these regulations. To eliminate the current confusion, this Note advocates for the application of rational-basis-with-judicial-engagement review. The Supreme Court has demonstrated a willingness to engage in such analysis before-in both its animus jurisprudence over the past decades and more recently in its meticulous cost-benefit inquiry in Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt-thereby weakening its claims of incompetence in evaluating the motivations of lawmakers. To avoid hindering the economic well being of …


Reverse Political Process Theory, Aaron Tang Oct 2017

Reverse Political Process Theory, Aaron Tang

Vanderbilt Law Review

Despite occasional suggestions to the contrary, the Supreme Court has long since stopped interpreting the Constitution to afford special protection to certain groups on the ground that they are powerless to defend their own interests in the political process. From a series of decisions reviewing laws that burden whites under the same strict scrutiny as laws that burden racial minorities, to the more recent same-sex marriage decision based principally on the fundamental nature of marriage (rather than the political status of gays and lesbians), it is now an uncontroversial observation that when it comes to applying the open-textured provisions of …


"Plausible Cause": Explanatory Standards In The Age Of Powerful Machines, Kiel Brennan-Marquez May 2017

"Plausible Cause": Explanatory Standards In The Age Of Powerful Machines, Kiel Brennan-Marquez

Vanderbilt Law Review

Much scholarship in law and political science has long understood the U.S. Supreme Court to be the "apex" court in the federal judicial system, and so to relate hierarchically to "lower" federal courts. On that top-down view, exemplified by the work of Alexander Bickel and many subsequent scholars, the Court is the principal, and lower federal courts are its faithful agents. Other scholarship takes a bottom-up approach, viewing lower federal courts as faithless agents or analyzing the "percolation" of issues in those courts before the Court decides. This Article identifies circumstances in which the relationship between the Court and other …