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Advisory Opinions And The Problem Of Legal Authority, Christian R. Burset Apr 2021

Advisory Opinions And The Problem Of Legal Authority, Christian R. Burset

Vanderbilt Law Review

The prohibition against advisory opinions is fundamental to our understanding of federal judicial power, but we have misunderstood its origins. Discussions of the doctrine begin not with a constitutional text or even a court case, but a letter in which the Jay Court rejected President Washington’s request for legal advice. Courts and scholars have offered a variety of explanations for the Jay Court’s behavior. But they all depict the earliest Justices as responding to uniquely American concerns about advisory opinions.

This Article offers a different explanation. Drawing on previously untapped archival sources, it shows that judges throughout the ...


Measuring Semantic Relatedness: A Proposal For A New Textual Tool, Katherine A. Cohen Mar 2021

Measuring Semantic Relatedness: A Proposal For A New Textual Tool, Katherine A. Cohen

Vanderbilt Law Review

Judicial decisions, statutes, constitutions, sentencing guidelines, and ERISA-related documents have at least one thing in common: at a molecular level, the laws are all composed of words. The scientific study of linguistics, particularly the field of semantics, analyzes what words mean and how they are connected with each other. And yet, thus far, the legal field has taken little notice of academic and technological breakthroughs in the field of linguistic semantics. This Note seeks to highlight the potential utility of linguistic semantic tools in interpreting legal texts. Specifically, applying algorithms to a free online lexical database allows anyone with a ...


Supreme Court Reform And American Democracy, Ganesh Sitaraman, D. Epps Jan 2021

Supreme Court Reform And American Democracy, Ganesh Sitaraman, D. Epps

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

In How to Save the Supreme Court, we identified the legitimacy challenge facing the Court, traced it to a set of structural flaws, and proposed novel reforms. Little more than a year later, the conversation around Supreme Court reform has only grown louder and more urgent. In this Essay, we continue that conversation by engaging with critics of our approach. The current crisis of the Supreme Court is, we argue, inextricable from the question of the Supreme Court’s proper role in our democracy. For those interested in reform, there are three distinct strategies for ensuring the Supreme Court maintains ...


The Image Of European Union Law In Bilateral Relations, Sharon Pardo, Lior Zemer Jan 2021

The Image Of European Union Law In Bilateral Relations, Sharon Pardo, Lior Zemer

Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law

The impact of foreign law on the development of national laws has been analyzed and vindicated in numerous studies in comparative legal literature. These studies typically focus on the two most prominent legal systems--common law (the Anglo-American system) and civil law (the Continental system). The historical reasons for this are clear, emanating from the fact that the world's legal systems are based on these legal regimes and are amended in the spirit of changes made to them. Over the years, however, with the many effects of legal and economic globalization, legal systems have become a diverse mosaic which has ...


Beyond Samuel Moyn's Countermajoritarian Difficulty As A Model Of Global Judicial Review, James T. Gathii Jan 2019

Beyond Samuel Moyn's Countermajoritarian Difficulty As A Model Of Global Judicial Review, James T. Gathii

Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law

This Article responds to Samuel Moyn's critique of judicial review and his endorsement of judicial modesty as an alternative. By invoking the countermajoritarian difficulty, Moyn argues that judicial overreach has become an unwelcome global phenomenon that should be reexamined and curbed. I reject Moyn's claim that this kind of judicial modesty should define the role of courts for all time. By applying the countermajoritarian difficulty beyond its United States origins, Moyn assumes it is an unproblematic baseline against which to measure the role of courts globally. Moyn's vision says nothing about when it would be appropriate for ...


Efficiency Run Amok: Challenging The Authority Of Magistrate Judges To Hear And Accept Felony Guilty Pleas, Tomi Mendel Nov 2015

Efficiency Run Amok: Challenging The Authority Of Magistrate Judges To Hear And Accept Felony Guilty Pleas, Tomi Mendel

Vanderbilt Law Review

In an ideal world, a trial would never be unreasonably delayed or cut short. Judges would never need to juggle multiple difficult trials or drown in administrative tasks that distract from the fair adjudication of cases, and lawyers and litigants could be reassured that each judgment was arrived at fairly and after proper reflection. Congress created the magistrate system in an attempt to move the federal judiciary closer to this ideal state of affairs.' The purpose of this Article I judicial system is to facilitate the resolution of less significant disputes and speed the administration of procedural tasks. When district ...


Judges As Guardian Angels: The German Practice Of Hints And Feedback, Robert W. Emerson Jan 2015

Judges As Guardian Angels: The German Practice Of Hints And Feedback, Robert W. Emerson

Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law

The German practice of Richterliche Hinweispflicht is a judicial duty to give hints and feedback. In a very proactive position, the German judge asks questions of the parties designed to clarify and sharpen the key facts and issues and to give the parties a chance to correct matters that may be grounds for disposition. German judges also must ensure that the parties understand all matters that could affect the outcome of the case. In effect, the German judge's roles may be viewed as civil servant, teacher, and activist, rather than as umpire and overseer, as in the United States ...


Making Or Breaking Your Billion Dollar Case: U.S. Judicial Assistance To Private International Arbitration Under 28 U.S.C. 1732(A), Laura E. Malament May 2014

Making Or Breaking Your Billion Dollar Case: U.S. Judicial Assistance To Private International Arbitration Under 28 U.S.C. 1732(A), Laura E. Malament

Vanderbilt Law Review

With the increasingly globalized economy, arbitration is becoming a popular mechanism for resolving disputes. The total value of international arbitration claims grew over one hundred percent in 2012, from $96 billion in 2011 to $206 billion in 2012. The principal users of international arbitration are corporations. In fact, for the shipping, energy, oil and gas, and insurance industries, international arbitration of multi-billion dollar disputes is the "default resolution mechanism." Across all industries, approximately ninety percent of international contracts include an arbitration clause. Importantly, seventy-four percent of international arbitration proceedings involve exclusively private parties-no state entities are parties to the dispute.


Ineffective Assistance Of Counsel Before "Powell V. Alabama": Lessons From History For The Future Of The Right To Counsel, Sara Mayeux Jan 2014

Ineffective Assistance Of Counsel Before "Powell V. Alabama": Lessons From History For The Future Of The Right To Counsel, Sara Mayeux

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

In the first Part of this Essay, I outline the common law agency rule that precluded reversal of a judgment on the basis of counsel negligence. While this rule was developed in civil litigation, state judges also applied it in criminal appeals. In many states, judges continued to apply the rule strictly through the 1920S or even later.35 However, from the 188os through the 1920s, some state judges moved toward a more flexible application of the rule in criminal cases. Though judges still recited the traditional rule that counsel negligence could not be grounds for a new trial, they ...


From Berne To Beijing: A Critical Perspective, David Lange Jan 2013

From Berne To Beijing: A Critical Perspective, David Lange

Vanderbilt Journal of Entertainment & Technology Law

Remarking on the Beijing Treaty on Audiovisual Performances at the Vanderbilt Journal of Entertainment & Technology Law's Symposium, From Berne to Beijing, Professor Lange expressed general misgivings about exercising the Treaty Power in ways that alter the nature of US copyright law and impinge on other constitutional rights. This edited version of those Remarks explains Professor Lange's preference for legislation grounded squarely in the traditional jurisprudence of the Copyright Clause, the First Amendment, and the public domain, and his preference for contracting around established expectations rather than reworking default rules through treaties. It continues by exploring the particular costs ...


Altering Attention In Adjudication, Chris Guthrie, Jeffrey J. Rachinski, Andrew J. Wistrich Jan 2013

Altering Attention In Adjudication, Chris Guthrie, Jeffrey J. Rachinski, Andrew J. Wistrich

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

Judges decide complex cases in rapid succession but are limited by cognitive constraints. Consequently judges cannot allocate equal attention to every aspect of a case. Case outcomes might thus depend on which aspects of a case are particularly salient to the judge. Put simply, a judge focusing on one aspect of a case might reach a different outcome than a judge focusing on another. In this Article, we report the results of a series of studies exploring various ways in which directing judicial attention can shape judicial outcomes. In the first study, we show that judges impose shorter sentences when ...


Jurisdictional Standards (And Rules), Adam L. Muchmore Jan 2013

Jurisdictional Standards (And Rules), Adam L. Muchmore

Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law

This Article uses the jurisprudential dichotomy between two opposing types of legal requirements--"rules" and "standards"--to examine extraterritorial regulation by the United States. It argues that there is natural push toward standards in extraterritorial regulation because numerous institutional actors either see standards as the best option in extraterritorial regulation or accept standards as a second-best option when their first choice (a rule favorable to their interests or their worldview) is not feasible.

The Article explores several reasons for this push toward standards, including: statutory text, statutory interpretation theories, the nonbinary nature of the domestic/foreign characterization, the tendency of ...


Standing On The Edge: Standing Doctrine And The Injury Requirement At The Borders Of Establishment Clause Jurisprudence, Mary A. Myers Apr 2012

Standing On The Edge: Standing Doctrine And The Injury Requirement At The Borders Of Establishment Clause Jurisprudence, Mary A. Myers

Vanderbilt Law Review

The very first line of the Bill of Rights provides that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion." This line, the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, was motivated by the history of religious persecution that drove thousands of adherents of minority faiths in Europe to the New World to seek refuge to practice their own faith, free from the compulsion of state-established religion. The Establishment Clause remains relevant today, and the U.S. Supreme Court has been active in hearing cases involving it. For purposes of determining standing-that is, whether an individual or organization meets certain ...


Patents 101: Patentable Subject Matter And Separation Of Powers, Max S. Oppenheimer Jan 2012

Patents 101: Patentable Subject Matter And Separation Of Powers, Max S. Oppenheimer

Vanderbilt Journal of Entertainment & Technology Law

The definition of statutory subject matter lies at the heart of the patent system. It is the reflection of Congress's policy decision as to what types of inventions one may patent. While the congressional definition of statutory subject matter (in what is now 35 U.S.C. § 101) has remained fundamentally constant since 1790, the Supreme Court has reinterpreted and redefined statutory subject matter several times, leaving lower courts with the frustrating task of trying to develop a coherent jurisprudence against a changing landscape. This inconstancy has introduced uncertainty for inventors who are trying to make the fundamental decision ...


Twombly And Iqbal Reconsidered, Brian T. Fitzpatrick Jan 2012

Twombly And Iqbal Reconsidered, Brian T. Fitzpatrick

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

In Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly and Ashcroft v. Iqbal, the Supreme Court reinterpreted the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure to permit judges to dismiss claims at the very outset of a case whenever they think the claims are implausible. The decisions have been extremely controversial, and they are already on track to become the most cited Supreme Court decisions of all time. Critics contend that the decisions are prime examples of the “conservative judicial activism” widely attributed to the Roberts Court. In particular, critics contend that the decisions circumvented the usual process for promulgating amendments to the Federal Rules ...


The New Old Legal Realsim, Tracey E. George, Mitu Gulati, Ann C. Mcginley Jan 2011

The New Old Legal Realsim, Tracey E. George, Mitu Gulati, Ann C. Mcginley

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

Judges produce opinions for numerous purposes. A judicial opinion decides a case and informs the parties whether they won or lost. But in a common law system, the most important purpose of the opinion, particularly the appellate opinion, is to educate prospective litigants, lawyers, and lower court judges about the law: what it is and how it applies to a specific set of facts. Without this purpose, courts could more quickly and efficiently issue one-sentence rulings rather than set forth reasons. By issuing opinions, courts give actors a means of evaluating whether their actions are within the bounds of law ...


The Political Economy Of Jus Cogens, Paul B. Stephan Jan 2011

The Political Economy Of Jus Cogens, Paul B. Stephan

Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law

This Article examines the basis of an asserted jus cogens exception to sovereign immunity. It demonstrates that the vision of jus cogens one embraces depends on background assumptions about the present and future of the international system. A robust conception of jus cogens assumes: (1) that independent judges and tribunals, informed by the views of non-state actors, can identify core international obligations and manage their tradeoffs with other values pursued by the international legal system, and (2) that the actions of independent judges and tribunals, informed by non-state actors, will influence state behavior. Doubts about the abilities of judges and ...


Elections And Government Formation In Iraq: An Analysis Of The Judiciary's Role, Charles P. Trumbull Iv, Julie B. Martin Jan 2011

Elections And Government Formation In Iraq: An Analysis Of The Judiciary's Role, Charles P. Trumbull Iv, Julie B. Martin

Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law

In 2005, the people of Iraq ratified a permanent Constitution, a significant milestone in the journey from Saddam Hussein's authoritarian rule to democratic governance. Among the Constitution's fundamental guarantees are the separation and balance of powers, the selection of Parliament through regular and periodic popular election, and an independent judiciary empowered as the authority on constitutional interpretation. Iraq's commitment to democracy and the Constitution was put to the test five years later with the first parliamentary election under the new Constitution. The run-up to the elections was marred by political disputes, violence, and legal challenges, as Iraqis ...


Changing The International Law Of Sovereign Immunity Through National Decisions, Lori F. Damrosch Jan 2011

Changing The International Law Of Sovereign Immunity Through National Decisions, Lori F. Damrosch

Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law

The international law of sovereign immunity derives from state practice embodied in national judicial decisions and legislation. Although some U.S. Supreme Court decisions refer to this body of law using terms like "grace and comity," the customary international law of sovereign immunity is law, which national courts should consider when arriving at immunity decisions. While it would be possible for a widely followed international treaty to work changes in customary international law, the UN Convention on Jurisdictional Immunities of States and Their Property has not done so yet. National legislation such as the U.S. Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act ...


The Islamic Rule Of Lenity: Judicial Discretion And Legal Canons, Intisar A. Rabb Jan 2011

The Islamic Rule Of Lenity: Judicial Discretion And Legal Canons, Intisar A. Rabb

Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law

This Article explores an area of close parallel between legal doctrines in the contexts of Islamic law and American legal theory. In criminal law, both traditions espouse a type of "rule of lenity" that curious common law rule that instructs judges not to impose criminal sanctions in cases of doubt. The rule is curious because criminal law is a peremptory expression of legislative will. However, the rule of lenity would seem to encourage courts to disregard one of the most fundamental principles of Islamic and American legislation and adjudication: judicial deference to legislative supremacy. In the Islamic context, such a ...


Merging In The Shadow Of The Law: The Case For Consistent Judicial Efficiency Analysis, Jamie H. Moffitt Nov 2010

Merging In The Shadow Of The Law: The Case For Consistent Judicial Efficiency Analysis, Jamie H. Moffitt

Vanderbilt Law Review

This Article examines current judicial interpretation of Section 7 of the Clayton Act through the lens of negotiation theory. The research exposes a gap between how courts state they are analyzing efficiency claims in Section 7 Clayton Act enforcement actions and what they are actually doing. During periods of lax antitrust enforcement, this pattern is not readily visible, since almost all proposed merger and acquisition ("M&A") deals are approved. With a shift to more aggressive antitrust policy, however, it is critical that merger review include appropriate weighing of transaction-generated efficiencies-something missing from courts' current antitrust analysis. Although only a ...


The Quasi-Class Action Method Of Managing Multi-District Litigations: Problems And A Proposal, Charles Silver, Geoffrey P. Miller Jan 2010

The Quasi-Class Action Method Of Managing Multi-District Litigations: Problems And A Proposal, Charles Silver, Geoffrey P. Miller

Vanderbilt Law Review

This Article uses three recent multi-district litigations ("MDLs") that produced massive settlements-Guidant ($240 million), Vioxx ($4.85 billion), and Zyprexa ($700 million)-to study the emerging quasi-class action approach to MDL management. This approach has four components: (1) judicial selection of lead attorneys, (2) judicial control of lead attorneys' compensation, (3) forced fee transfers from non-lead lawyers to cover lead attorneys' fees, and (4) judicial reduction of non-lead lawyers' fees to save claimants money. These procedures have serious downsides. They make lawyers financially dependent on judges and, therefore, loyal to judges rather than clients. They compromise judges' independence by involving ...


A Foothold For Real Democracy In Eastern Europe, Elizabeth R. Sheyn Jan 2010

A Foothold For Real Democracy In Eastern Europe, Elizabeth R. Sheyn

Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law

Ukraine has never had a criminal or civil jury trial despite the fact that the right to a criminal jury trial is guaranteed by Ukraine's Constitution. The lack of jury trials is one of the factors likely contributing to the corruption and deficiencies inherent in Ukraine's judicial system. This Article argues that Ukraine can and should make room for juries in its judicial system and proposes a framework for both criminal and civil jury trials. Although the use of juries will not remedy all of the problems plaguing Ukraine, it could bring the country closer to achieving a ...


Judicial Review Under A British War Powers Act, David Jenkins Jan 2010

Judicial Review Under A British War Powers Act, David Jenkins

Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law

This Article considers how U.K courts might exercise review under a hypothetical British "war powers act," in the event that the current Labour Government or an incoming Tory one responds to calls to reform the Royal War Prerogative and Parliament passes such a statute. The Article undertakes a comparative study, analyzing how U.S. courts apply the political question doctrine in war powers cases. It suggests that they apply the doctrine in a way that assesses the justiciability of the particular subject matter of a case, thereby supporting deference to the political branches in most war powers cases without ...


Emotional Common Sense As Constitutional Law, Terry A. Maroney Apr 2009

Emotional Common Sense As Constitutional Law, Terry A. Maroney

Vanderbilt Law Review

n Gonzales v. Carhart the Supreme Court invoked post- abortion regret to justify a ban on a particular abortion procedure. The Court was proudly folk-psychological, representing its observations about women's emotional experiences as "self-evident." That such observations could drive critical legal determinations was, apparently, even more self-evident, as it received no mention at all. Far from being sui generis, Carhart reflects a previously unidentified norm permeating constitutional jurisprudence: reliance on what this Article coins "emotional common sense." Emotional common sense is what one unreflectively thinks she knows about emotions. A species of common sense, it seems obvious and universal ...


Emotional Common Sense As Constitutional Law, Terry A. Maroney Jan 2009

Emotional Common Sense As Constitutional Law, Terry A. Maroney

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

In Gonzales v. Carhart the Supreme Court invoked post-abortion regret to justify a ban on a particular abortion procedure. The Court was proudly folk-psychological, representing its observations about women's emotional experiences as "self-evident." That such observations could drive critical legal determinations was, apparently, even more self-evident, as it received no mention at all. Far from being sui generis, Carhart reflects a previously unidentified norm permeating constitutional jurisprudence: reliance on what this Article coins "emotional common sense." Emotional common sense is what one unreflectively thinks she knows about the emotions. A species of common sense, it seems obvious and universal ...


Chevron's Mistake, Lisa Schultz Bressman Jan 2009

Chevron's Mistake, Lisa Schultz Bressman

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

"Chevron U.S.A. Inc. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc." asks courts to determine whether Congress has delegated to administrative agencies the authority to resolve questions about the meaning of statutes that those agencies implement, but the decision does not give courts the tools for providing a proper answer. Chevron directs courts to construe statutory text by applying the traditional theories of statutory interpretation-whether intentionalism, purposivism, or textualism-and to infer a delegation of agency interpretive authority only if they fail to find a relatively specific meaning. But the traditional theories, despite their differences, all invite courts to construe statutory ...


Mr. Sunstein's Neighborhood: Won't You Be Our Co-Author?, Tracey E. George, Paul H. Edelman Jan 2009

Mr. Sunstein's Neighborhood: Won't You Be Our Co-Author?, Tracey E. George, Paul H. Edelman

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

In Six Degrees of Cass Sunstein: Collaboration Networks in Legal Scholarship (11 Green Bag 2d 19 (2007)) we began the study of the collaboration network in legal academia. We concluded that the central figure in the network was Professor Cass Sunstein of Harvard Law School and proceeded to catalogue all of his myriad co-authors (so-called Sunstein 1's) and their co-authors (Sunstein 2's). In this small note we update that catalogue as of August 2008 and take the opportunity to reflect on this project and its methodology.


Remaking The United States Supreme Court In The Courts' Of Appeals Image, Tracey E. George, Chris Guthrie Jan 2009

Remaking The United States Supreme Court In The Courts' Of Appeals Image, Tracey E. George, Chris Guthrie

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

We argue that Congress should remake the United States Supreme Court in the U.S. courts' of appeals image by increasing the size of the Court's membership, authorizing panel decision making, and retaining an en banc procedure for select cases. In so doing, Congress would expand the Court's capacity to decide cases, facilitating enhanced clarity and consistency in the law as well as heightened monitoring of lower courts and the other branches. Remaking the Court in this way would not only expand the Court's decision making capacity but also improve the Court's composition, competence, and functioning.


Chief Judges: The Limits Of Attitudinal Theory And Possible Paradox Of Managerial Judging, Tracey E. George, Albert H. Yoon Jan 2008

Chief Judges: The Limits Of Attitudinal Theory And Possible Paradox Of Managerial Judging, Tracey E. George, Albert H. Yoon

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

Chief judges wield power. Among other things, they control judicial assignments, circulate petitions to their colleagues, and manage internal requests and disputes. When exercising this power, do chiefs seek to serve as impartial court administrators or do they attempt to manufacture case outcomes that reflect their political beliefs? Because chiefs exercise their power almost entirely outside public view, no one knows. No one sees the chief judge change the composition of a panel before it is announced or delay consideration of a petition for en banc review or favor the requests of some colleagues while ignoring those of others. Chiefs ...