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Full-Text Articles in Law

Representative Rulemaking, Jim Rossi, Kevin Stack Nov 2023

Representative Rulemaking, Jim Rossi, Kevin Stack

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

The dominant form of lawmaking in the United States today-—notice-and-comment rulemaking—-is not a representative process. Notice-and-comment simply invites public participation, leaving the overall balance of engagement with the proposed regulations to the choices of individuals, public interest groups, trade groups, and regulated businesses. The result is a predictable one: In most rulemakings, industry voices dominate, and in many rulemakings, there is no participation by citizens or public interest groups. This representation deficit must be taken seriously. The basic rationales for a notice-and-comment rulemaking process depend upon some level of representation for those affected. The goal of providing the agency with …


Deplatforming, Ganesh Sitaraman Nov 2023

Deplatforming, Ganesh Sitaraman

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

Deplatforming in the technology sector is hotly debated, and at times may even seem unprecedented. In recent years, scholars, commentators, jurists, and lawmakers have focused on the possibility of treating social-media platforms as common carriers or public utilities, implying that the imposition of a duty to serve the public would restrict them from deplatforming individuals and content.

But, in American law, the duty to serve all comers was never absolute. In fact, the question of whether and how to deplatform-—to exclude content, individuals, or businesses from critical services—- has been commonly and regularly debated throughout American history. In the common …


Bending The Rules Of Evidence, Edward K. Cheng, G. Alexander Nunn, Julia Simon-Kerr Oct 2023

Bending The Rules Of Evidence, Edward K. Cheng, G. Alexander Nunn, Julia Simon-Kerr

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

The evidence rules have well-established, standard textual meanings—meanings that evidence professors teach their law students every year. Yet, despite the rules’ clarity, courts misapply them across a wide array of cases: Judges allow past acts to bypass the propensity prohibition, squeeze hearsay into facially inapplicable exceptions, and poke holes in supposedly ironclad privileges. And that’s just the beginning.

The evidence literature sees these misapplications as mistakes by inept trial judges. This Article takes a very different view. These “mistakes” are often not mistakes at all, but rather instances in which courts are intentionally bending the rules of evidence. Codified evidentiary …


Risk-Seeking Governance, Brian Broughman, Matthew T. Wansley Oct 2023

Risk-Seeking Governance, Brian Broughman, Matthew T. Wansley

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

Venture capitalists (“VCs”) are increasingly abandoning their traditional role as monitors of their portfolio companies. They are giving startup founders more equity and control and promising not to replace them with outside executives. At the same time, startups are taking unprecedented risks—defying regulators, scaling in unsustainable ways, and racking up billion-dollar losses. These trends raise doubts about the dominant model of VC behavior, which claims that VCs actively monitor startups to reduce the risk of moral hazard and adverse selection. We propose a new theory in which VCs use their role in corporate governance to persuade risk-averse founders to pursue …


The National Security Consequences Of The Major Questions Doctrine, Ganesh Sitaraman, Timothy Meyer Oct 2023

The National Security Consequences Of The Major Questions Doctrine, Ganesh Sitaraman, Timothy Meyer

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

The rise of the major questions doctrine—the rule that says that in order to delegate to the executive branch the power to resolve a “question of ‘deep economic and political significance’ that is central to [a] statutory scheme,” Congress must do so expressly—threatens to unmake the modern executive’s authority over foreign affairs, especially in matters of national security and interstate conflict. In the twenty-first century, global conflicts increasingly involve economic warfare, rather than (or in addition to) the force of arms.

In the United States, the executive power to levy economic sanctions and engage in other forms of economic warfare …


The Problematic Forgotten Buyback, Yesha Yadav Sep 2023

The Problematic Forgotten Buyback, Yesha Yadav

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

Totaling in excess of $100 billion dollars in transactions annually, debt buybacks allow a company to repurchase bonds from investors, rewriting bargains and stripping away creditor control rights in the process. This Article shows that regulation systematically underprotects bondholders in the context of debt buybacks. It makes three points. First, bondholders confront information asymmetries that enable issuers to buy back creditor claims cheaply. Regulation imposes near negligible requirements on issuers to disclose information about the transaction. Lacking fiduciary protection, bondholder interests are vulnerable to being extinguished by issuers in the interests of promoting those of shareholders and managers. Second, buybacks …


Discharge Discrimination, Nicole Langston Aug 2023

Discharge Discrimination, Nicole Langston

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

Although the Bankruptcy Code is facially neutral, the consumer bankruptcy discharge provisions produce anomalies that run counter to bankruptcy's internal principles of not forgiving debt that is based on misconduct or that implicates a public policy concern. For example, the discharge provisions allow some individuals to discharge debt that stems from civil rights violations or tortious discrimination. In contrast, the Bankruptcy Code precludes some debtors from debt relief based on narrow views of misconduct or misconceptions about moral hazards. These individuals who file for bankruptcy owe debts that generally cannot be forgiven, like civil and criminal fees and fines and …


Creating A People-First Court Data Framework, Lauren Sudeall, Charlotte S. Alexander Jul 2023

Creating A People-First Court Data Framework, Lauren Sudeall, Charlotte S. Alexander

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

Most court data are maintained--and most empirical court research is conducted--from the institutional vantage point of the courts. Using the case as the common unit of measurement, data-driven court research typically focuses on metrics such as the size of court dockets, the speed of case processing, judicial decision-making within cases, and the frequency of case events occurring within or resulting from the court system.

This Article sets forth a methodological framework for reconceptualizing and restructuring court data as "people-first"-centered not on the perspective of courts as institutions but on the people who interact with the court system. We reorganize case-level …


(E)Racing Speech In School, Francesca I. Procaccini Jul 2023

(E)Racing Speech In School, Francesca I. Procaccini

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

Speech on race and racism in our nation’s public schools is under attack for partisan gain. The Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment teaches a lot about the wisdom and legality of laws that chill such speech in the classroom. But more importantly, a First Amendment analysis of these laws reveals profound insights about the health and meaning of our free speech doctrine.

Through a First Amendment analysis of “anti-critical race theory” laws, this essay illuminates the first principles of free speech law. Specifically, it shows that the First Amendment offers little refuge to teachers or parents looking to …


Climate Damages, Globalism, And Federal Regulation, Arthur Fraas, John D. Graham, Kerry Krutilla, Randall Lutter, Jason Shogren, W. Kip Viscusi Jul 2023

Climate Damages, Globalism, And Federal Regulation, Arthur Fraas, John D. Graham, Kerry Krutilla, Randall Lutter, Jason Shogren, W. Kip Viscusi

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently proposed for public comment new higher estimates of damages from greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The estimates, called the social cost of carbon (SCC), are "the monetary value of the net harm to society of emitting a metric ton of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere in a given year." Ranging from $120 to $340 per metric ton of carbon dioxide (C02) emitted for 2020, these estimates represent harm to everyone on earth from a metric ton of C02 emissions, and therein lies a key issue. Recent administrations have split on whether the U.S. government should …


Gender, Race, And Job Satisfaction Of Law Graduates, Joni Hersch Jun 2023

Gender, Race, And Job Satisfaction Of Law Graduates, Joni Hersch

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

Studies typically find that lawyers have high job satisfaction and that women are not less satisfied than are men. But racial differences as well as gender differences by race or ethnicity in satisfaction may be masked because most lawyers identify as racially White. To examine whether job satisfaction differs by race and whether gender and race/ethnicity have an intersectional relation to job satisfaction, I use data on nearly 13,000 law graduates drawn from six waves of the National Survey of College Graduates (NSCG) conducted between 2003 and 2019. The NSCG uniquely provides a large enough sample to examine intersectionality in …


Book Review: Grease Or Grit?, Rebecca H. Allensworth May 2023

Book Review: Grease Or Grit?, Rebecca H. Allensworth

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

Grease or Grit? International Case Studies of Occupational Licensing and Its Effects on Efficiency and Quality. Edited by Morris M. Kleiner and Maria Koumenta. Kalamazoo, MI: W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, 2022. 174 pp. ISBN 9780880996860, $20 (paperback); ISBN 9780880996877, $9.99 (e-book).

Occupational licensing remains poorly understood. This is true even after decades of illuminating empirical work by Morris Kleiner, one of the authors of Grease or Grit? International Case Studies of Occupational Licensing and Its Effects on Efficiency and Quality, showing that licensing—a government-granted right to perform a particular service—raises prices to consumers, restricts entry into an occupation, …


Directed Trusts And The Conflict Of Laws, Jeffrey Schoenblum May 2023

Directed Trusts And The Conflict Of Laws, Jeffrey Schoenblum

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

Directed trusts are an extremely important development in trust law, indeed truly transformative, because they challenge what was presumed to be the "irreducible core" of the trust.' That is, the trustee owes certain nonwaivable fiduciary obligations to the beneficiaries with regard to the management of the trust estate and also with respect to distributions.

The directed trust in its radical format, as found to a greater or lesser degree in Tennessee, Nevada, South Dakota, and Delaware, represents a fundamental assault on this irreducible core of trust law because, with respect to investments and distributions, new actors, known as trust advisers …


A Game Theoretic Approach To Balance Privacy Risks And Familial Benefits, Ellen W. Clayton, Jia Guo, Murat Kantarcioglu, Et Al. Apr 2023

A Game Theoretic Approach To Balance Privacy Risks And Familial Benefits, Ellen W. Clayton, Jia Guo, Murat Kantarcioglu, Et Al.

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

As recreational genomics continues to grow in its popularity, many people are afforded the opportunity to share their genomes in exchange for various services, including third-party interpretation (TPI) tools, to understand their predisposition to health problems and, based on genome similarity, to find extended family members. At the same time, these services have increasingly been reused by law enforcement to track down potential criminals through family members who disclose their genomic information. While it has been observed that many potential users shy away from such data sharing when they learn that their privacy cannot be assured, it remains unclear how …


The End Externalities Manifesto: Restatement, Loose Ends, And Unfinished Business, J. B. Ruhl Apr 2023

The End Externalities Manifesto: Restatement, Loose Ends, And Unfinished Business, J. B. Ruhl

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

Don Elliott and Dan Esty were among the chief architects of Environmental Law 2.0-the shift that infused so-called command-and- control regulatory regimes with market-based tools in search of cost- effective solutions. The mix of incentives, trading, banking, reporting, bubbles, and other techniques revolutionized the way we think about how to attack environmental problems like pollution and habitat loss.

In their End Environmental Externalities Manifesto ("Manifesto") they are at it again. This time, however, their proposed revolution goes in a different direction. They argue that the guiding light of economic efficiency, which took environmental law far in improving environmental conditions, is …


How Far Does Natural Law Protect Private Property, James W. Ely Jr. Apr 2023

How Far Does Natural Law Protect Private Property, James W. Ely Jr.

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

This Article first explores the ambiguous relationship between natural law and the rights of property owners in American history. It points out that invocation of natural law principles was frequently conflated with English common law guarantees of property rights in the Revolutionary Era. Reliance on natural law as a source of protection for private property faded during the nineteenth century and was largely rejected in the early twentieth century. The Article then considers the extent to which natural law principles are useful in addressing contemporary issues relating to eminent domain and police power regulation of private property. Taking a skeptical …


Developing Inclusive Language Competency In Clinical Teaching, Jennifer Safstrom, Joseph Mead Apr 2023

Developing Inclusive Language Competency In Clinical Teaching, Jennifer Safstrom, Joseph Mead

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

Drawing from legal pedagogy, litigation practice, and teaching experience, this article seeks to compile a set of key considerations for inclusive language decision-making in the clinical setting. Using a multi-factor framework--accuracy, precision, relevance, audience, and respect-this analysis explores the process for deciding on terms to use in practice and the potential implications of those choices on student learning, case outcomes, and attorney-client relationships. In addition, this article explores some current trends and best practices when adopting these principles in the context of specific groups. This article connects these principles to broader academic and practice is- sues, including the American Bar …


Historicizing The War(S) On Drugs Across National (And Disciplanary) Borders, Sara Mayeux Apr 2023

Historicizing The War(S) On Drugs Across National (And Disciplanary) Borders, Sara Mayeux

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

Notwithstanding the title, The War on Drugs: A History, this illuminating book is not "a" history of "the" War on Drugs but an edited collection with a sampling of new research into the intertwined histories of drug regulation and criminalization, deregulation and decriminalization, both in the United States and around the world. To use the parlance of Jotwell, I like this book a lot.

But I am also writing this Jot because I worry that the title may mislead legal scholars into thinking that this is only a book for historians of criminal law or scholars of the "carceral state." …


A Balanced Prescription For More Effective Environmental Regulations, W. Kip Viscusi Apr 2023

A Balanced Prescription For More Effective Environmental Regulations, W. Kip Viscusi

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

Government agencies increasingly base the structure and approval of environmental regulations on a benefit-cost test. For regulations that pass this test, total benefits exceed total costs. Under a benefit-cost framework, the degree of regulatory stringency is set at an economically efficient level whereby the tightness of the regulation is increased up to the point where the incremental benefits equal the incremental costs. Setting regulatory standards to achieve the efficient degree of pollution control does not fully discourage entry into polluting industries, provide compensation to those harmed by pollution, or establish meaningful incentives for effective enforcement. This article proposes that the …


Adapting Private Law For Climate Change Adaptation, Jim Rossi, J. B. Ruhl Apr 2023

Adapting Private Law For Climate Change Adaptation, Jim Rossi, J. B. Ruhl

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

The private law of torts, property, and contracts will and should play an important role in resolving disputes regarding how private individuals and entities respond to and manage the harms of climate change that cannot be avoided through mitigation (known in climate change policy dialogue as “adaptation”). While adaptation is commonly presented as a problem needing legislative solutions, this Article presents a novel and overdue case for private law to take climate adaptation seriously.

To date, the role of private law is a significant blind spot in scholarly discussions of climate adaptation. Litigation invoking common-law doctrines in climate adaption disputes …


The Charter School Network (Almost) No One Wants, Joni Hersch, Colton Cronin Apr 2023

The Charter School Network (Almost) No One Wants, Joni Hersch, Colton Cronin

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

Publicly funded, independently operated charter schools entered the public sector three decades ago with the promise of innovating public education to better serve students in underperforming schools. Despite limited evidence of improved educational outcomes, charter schools are now an established part of the education system, with around 7,800 charter schools serving more than seven percent of public, school students.

Although charter schools have long been associated with the controversial school choice movement, a recent entrant into the charter school arena has created new and urgent concerns. Hillsdale College, through its affiliate Barney Charter School Initiative, has been making escalating inroads …


The Future Of Natural Property Law: Comments On Eric Claeys's Natural Property Rights, Christopher Serkin Apr 2023

The Future Of Natural Property Law: Comments On Eric Claeys's Natural Property Rights, Christopher Serkin

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

Professor Eric Claeys is among the most thoughtful modern proponents of natural property rights. His new book, provided to conference participants in draft form, is typical of his rigorously analytical approach. It is an impressive articulation of a natural rights-based account of property. It significantly advances the debate over natural rights and should be taken seriously even by those who do not find it entirely convincing.

There are real-world political stakes in abstract-seeming questions of property theory because natural rights are often deployed to limit government regulation of property. Natural rights contrast with positivist accounts that locate the content of …


Presumptive Use Of Pretrial Risk Assessment Instruments, Christopher Slobogin Apr 2023

Presumptive Use Of Pretrial Risk Assessment Instruments, Christopher Slobogin

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

One proposed reform of the pretrial detention system is the adoption of risk assessment instruments to assist courts in determining who is at risk of reoffending or a flight risk. This Response to Professor Melissa Hamilton's Article, Modelling Pretrial Detention, proposes that under most circumstances the results of well-validated instruments should not only inform pretrial outcomes but should dictate them, on the ground that such results are more likely to be accurate than judicial decision-making. The Response also provides evidence that this reform would significantly reduce pretrial detention rates and, consistent with Professor Hamilton's findings, avoid producing racially disparate results.


Disaster Discordance: Local Court Implementation Of State And Federal Eviction Prevention Policies During The Covid-19 Pandemic, Lauren Sudeall, Elora Lee Raymond, Philip M.E. Garboden Apr 2023

Disaster Discordance: Local Court Implementation Of State And Federal Eviction Prevention Policies During The Covid-19 Pandemic, Lauren Sudeall, Elora Lee Raymond, Philip M.E. Garboden

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

Eviction sits at the nexus of property rights and the basic human need for shelter—the former benefits from a strong framework of legal protection while the latter does not. In most eviction courts across the country, therefore, the right to housing is unrecognized, while landlords’ economic interests in property are consistently vindicated.

The public health crisis unleashed by COVID-19 temporarily upended that (im)balance. Emergency federal and state eviction prevention policies issued in response to COVID-19 prioritized public health—-and the need for shelter to prevent the spread of disease—-over typically dominant property rights. In doing so, they presented courts with an …


Comment, Francesca Procaccini Apr 2023

Comment, Francesca Procaccini

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

Let's start with the antecedent question that both the theme of this conference and all three papers in this session present. That is, before we ask how law schools might better advance the freedom of expression on campus, and even before asking what role law schools play in protecting or suppressing free speech more generally, we must ask the first order question: whether freedom of expression at U.S. law schools is indeed imperiled?

There is an underlying assumption in all three papers that something is amiss, that things are not quite at their optimal, that improve- ment is needed. And …


Human-Centered Design To Address Biases In Artificial Intelligence, Ellen W. Clayton, You Chen, Laurie L. Novak, Shilo Anders, Bradley Malin Feb 2023

Human-Centered Design To Address Biases In Artificial Intelligence, Ellen W. Clayton, You Chen, Laurie L. Novak, Shilo Anders, Bradley Malin

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

The potential of artificial intelligence (AI) to reduce health care disparities and inequities is recognized, but it can also exacerbate these issues if not implemented in an equitable manner. This perspective identifies potential biases in each stage of the AI life cycle, including data collection, annotation, machine learning model development, evaluation, deployment, operationalization, monitoring, and feedback integration. To mitigate these biases, we suggest involving a diverse group of stakeholders, using human-centered AI principles. Human-centered AI can help ensure that AI systems are designed and used in a way that benefits patients and society, which can reduce health disparities and inequities. …


Embracing Deference, Edward K. Cheng, Elodie O. Currier, Payton B. Hampton Feb 2023

Embracing Deference, Edward K. Cheng, Elodie O. Currier, Payton B. Hampton

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

A fundamental conceptual problem has long dogged discussions about scientific and other expert evidence in the courtroom. In American law, the problem was most famously posed by Judge Learned Hand, who asked: "[H]ow can the jury judge between two statements each founded upon an experience confessedly foreign in kind to their own? It is just because they are incompetent for such a task that the expert is necessary at all." This puzzle, sometimes known as the "expert paradox," is quite general. It applies not only to the jury as factfinder, but also to the judge as gate- keeper under the …


Patent Forfeiture, Sean B. Seymore Feb 2023

Patent Forfeiture, Sean B. Seymore

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

Patent law doesn't look kindly on patent owners who engage in wrongdoing involving the patent. The U.S. Supreme Court and lower courts have refused to enforce patents tainted with inequitableness, fraud, or bad faith. This issue typically arises in patent litigation when an accused infringer asserts that the patent should be unenforceable if the patentee engaged in one of four proscribed activities: inequitable conduct (deliberate misrepresentations or omissions of material information from the Patent Office); patent misuse (anticompetitive licensing practices); unclean hands (business or litigation misconduct); or waiver/estoppel (a lack of candor before a standard-setting organization). This seems right--a patentee …


Using An Evolutionary Approach To Improve Predictive Ability In Social Sciences: Property, The Endowment Effect, And Law, Owen D. Jones, Sarah F. Brosnan Feb 2023

Using An Evolutionary Approach To Improve Predictive Ability In Social Sciences: Property, The Endowment Effect, And Law, Owen D. Jones, Sarah F. Brosnan

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

From the perspective of other disciplines, evolutionary approaches more often provide explanation and coherence than they help to solve discrete problems. We believe that more examples of the latter sort will help both with disciplinary synthesis and with the advance of knowledge. Here we describe a 20-year arc of research to demonstrate the problem-solving utility of an evolutionary perspective by focusing, as a case study, on a particular cognitive bias – the endowment effect – that has implications for law. Legal systems often assume that humans make decisions that are substantively rational, consistent, and aimed at maximizing their own wellbeing. …


A Major Answer To The Major Questions Doctrine, Edward L. Rubin Jan 2023

A Major Answer To The Major Questions Doctrine, Edward L. Rubin

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

The Supreme Court’s use of the major questions doctrine in West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency to invalidate the agency’s regulation of greenhouse gas emission has elicited widespread criticism from commentators. David Driesen’s contribution to this chorus of condemnation goes to the heart of the issue, focusing on the role that the Supreme Court has arrogated to itself in reaching this decision.

The Court’s based its decision on the relationship between Congress and the Executive, speaking at length about the structural roles of these two institutions. What it forgot, as Professor Driesen notes, is that the Court is also an …