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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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


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 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.


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 ...


Making Preemption Less Palatable: State Poison Pill Legislation, Robert A. Mikos Jan 2017

Making Preemption Less Palatable: State Poison Pill Legislation, Robert A. Mikos

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

Congressional preemption constitutes perhaps the single greatest threat to state power and to the values served thereby. Given the structural incentives now in place, there is little to deter Congress from preempting state law, even when the state interests Congress displaces far exceed its own. The threat of preemption has raised alarms across the political spectrum, but no one has yet devised a satisfactory way to balance state and federal interests in preemption disputes. This Article devises a novel solution: state poison pill legislation. Borrowing a page from corporate law, poison pill legislation would enable the states to make preemption ...


The Constitutional Ratchet Effect, Kevin M. Stack Jan 2017

The Constitutional Ratchet Effect, Kevin M. Stack

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

No abstract provided.


Scalia In The Casebooks, Brian T. Fitzpatrick, Paulson K. Varghese Jan 2017

Scalia In The Casebooks, Brian T. Fitzpatrick, Paulson K. Varghese

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

In the time since Justice Antonin Scalia’s untimely death, much has been written about what his influence has been and what his influence will be. In this Essay, we try to quantify Scalia’s influence in law school constitutional-law curricula by studying how often his ideas are explored in constitutional-law casebooks. In particular, relative to other justices, we look at how often Scalia’s opinions (for the Court, or his separate opinions) are excerpted in the principal cases and how often he is referred to by name in the notes preceding and following the principal cases. We find that ...


The Derivative Nature Of Corporate Constitutional Rights, Margaret M. Blair Jan 2015

The Derivative Nature Of Corporate Constitutional Rights, Margaret M. Blair

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

This Article engages the two hundred year history of corporate constitutional rights jurisprudence to show that the Supreme Court has long accorded rights to corporations based on the rationale that corporations represent associations of people from whom such rights are derived. The Article draws on the history of business corporations in America to argue that the Court’s characterization of corporations as associations made sense throughout most of the nineteenth century. By the late nineteenth century, however, when the Court was deciding several key cases involving corporate rights, this associational view was already becoming a poor fit for some corporations ...


Plea Bargains That Waive Claims Of Ineffective Assistance - Waiving Padilla And Fry, Nancy J. King Jan 2013

Plea Bargains That Waive Claims Of Ineffective Assistance - Waiving Padilla And Fry, Nancy J. King

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

This essay addresses the growing use and enforcement of terms in plea agreements by which a defendant waives his right to attack his plea agreement on the basis of constitutionally deficient representation during negotiations leading to the agreement. Contrary to other commentators and some courts, I argue that the Constitution does not forbid the enforcement of such a waiver, and review steps a judge may have to take in order to ensure that a defendant’s express waiver of the right to effective representation during plea bargaining is knowing and voluntary. I also argue that although the Constitution does not ...


Can The States Keep Secrets From The Federal Government?, Robert A. Mikos Jan 2012

Can The States Keep Secrets From The Federal Government?, Robert A. Mikos

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

States amass troves of information detailing the regulated activities of their citizens, including activities that violate federal law. Not surprisingly, the federal government is keenly interested in this information. It has ordered reluctant state officials to turn over their confidential files concerning medical marijuana, juvenile criminal history, immigration status, tax payments, and employment discrimination, among many other matters, to help enforce federal laws against private citizens. Many states have objected to these demands, citing opposition to federal policies and concerns about the costs of breaching confidences, but the lower courts have uniformly upheld the federal government’s power to commandeer ...


The Constitutionality Of Federal Jurisdiction-Stripping Legislation And The History Of State Judicial Selection And Tenure, Brian T. Fitzpatrick Jan 2012

The Constitutionality Of Federal Jurisdiction-Stripping Legislation And The History Of State Judicial Selection And Tenure, Brian T. Fitzpatrick

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

Few questions in the field of Federal Courts have captivated scholars like the question of whether Congress can simultaneously divest both lower federal courts and the U.S. Supreme Court of jurisdiction to hear federal constitutional claims and thereby leave those claims to be litigated in state courts alone. Such a divestiture is known today as “jurisdiction stripping,” and, despite literally decades of scholarship on the subject, scholars have largely been unable to reconcile two widely held views: jurisdiction stripping should be unconstitutional because it deprives constitutional rights of adjudication by independent judges and jurisdiction stripping is nonetheless perfectly consistent ...


A Critical Appraisal Of The Department Of Justice's New Approach To Medical Marijuana, Robert A. Mikos Jan 2011

A Critical Appraisal Of The Department Of Justice's New Approach To Medical Marijuana, Robert A. Mikos

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

The Obama Administration has embarked upon a much-heralded shift in federal policy toward medical marijuana. Eschewing the hard-ball tactics favored by earlier Administrations, Attorney General Eric Holder announced in October 2009 that the Department of Justice (DOJ) would stop enforcing the federal marijuana ban against persons who comply with state medical marijuana laws. Given the significance of the medical marijuana issue in both criminal law and federalism circles, this Article sets out to provide the first in-depth analysis of the changes wrought by the DOJ’s new Non Enforcement Policy (NEP). In a nutshell, it suggests that early enthusiasm for ...


The Four Pillars Of Constitutional Doctrine, Suzanna Sherry Jan 2011

The Four Pillars Of Constitutional Doctrine, Suzanna Sherry

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

Constitutional interpretation, and thus constitutional doctrine, is inevitably controversial. Judges, scholars, lawyers, politicians, and the American public all disagree among themselves, not only about the correct constitutional outcome but even about the right approach to constitutional interpretation. We are unlikely to reach consensus on whether we should read the Constitution as a living and evolving document or instead read it in accordance with a fixed original meaning, much less on whether it does or does not protect campaign contributions, reproductive rights, affirmative action policies, gun ownership, or any of the other contested issues that have recently come before the Supreme ...


Constitutional Adjudication In Japan: Context, Structures, And Values, John O. Haley Jan 2011

Constitutional Adjudication In Japan: Context, Structures, And Values, John O. Haley

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

Judges in Japan share the prevailing communitarian orientation of their society, an orientation that rejects Manichean choices and moral or "scientific" absolutes, but instead relies on their collective and individual perceptions of community values, including the global community, shared by peers. They also, I believe, accept an unstated premise that legislative and administrative decisions reflect a consensus among the participants--not a simple majority. The issue remains as to who participates--who sits at the table--but the political and administrative processes do not routinely require merely fifty-one out of a hundred votes. As a consequence, judges are cautiously conservative. They adhere to ...


Originalism And Summary Judgment, Brian T. Fitzpatrick Jan 2010

Originalism And Summary Judgment, Brian T. Fitzpatrick

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

Over the last several years, the Supreme Court has revolutionized modern criminal procedure by invoking the Sixth Amendment right to a jury trial to strike down several sentencing innovations. This revolution has been led by members of the Supreme Court who follow an "originalist" method of constitutional interpretation. Recent work by the legal historian Suja Thomas has raised the question whether a similar "originalist" revolution may be on the horizon in civil cases governed by the Seventh Amendment’s right to a jury trial. In particular, Professor Thomas has argued that the summary judgment device is unconstitutional because it permits ...


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 ...


On The Limits Of Supremacy: Medical Marijuana And The States' Overlooked Power To Legalize Federal Crime, Robert A. Mikos Jan 2009

On The Limits Of Supremacy: Medical Marijuana And The States' Overlooked Power To Legalize Federal Crime, Robert A. Mikos

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

Using the conflict over medical marijuana as a timely case study, this Article explores the overlooked and underappreciated power of states to legalize conduct Congress bans. Though Congress has banned marijuana outright, and though that ban has survived constitutional scrutiny, state laws legalizing medical use of marijuana constitute the de facto governing law in thirteen states. This Article argues that these state laws and (most) related regulations have not been, and, more interestingly, cannot be preempted by Congress, given constraints imposed on Congress's preemption power by the anti-commandeering rule, properly understood. Just as importantly, these state laws matter, in ...


Errors, Omissions, And The Tennessee Plan, Brian T. Fitzpatrick Jan 2008

Errors, Omissions, And The Tennessee Plan, Brian T. Fitzpatrick

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

In the Spring 2008 issue of the Tennessee Law Review, I wrote an essay questioning whether Tennessee's merit system for selecting appellate judges - the Tennessee Plan - satisfies the requirements of the Tennessee Constitution. The Tennessee Constitution requires all judges to be elected by the qualified voters of the state, yet, under the Plan, all appellate judges are initially selected by gubernatorial appointment and then retained in uncontested referenda. I argued that both the appointment and retention features of the Plan are unconstitutional, and I recommended that the legislature refuse to reauthorize the Plan when it expires in June of ...


"Carhart", Constitutional Rights, And The Psychology Of Regret, Chris Guthrie Jan 2008

"Carhart", Constitutional Rights, And The Psychology Of Regret, Chris Guthrie

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

In "Gonzales v. Carhart", the Supreme Court upheld the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act. In so doing, the Court used the prospect of regret to justify limiting choice. Relying on empirical evidence documenting the four ways in which regret actually operates, this Article argues that the Court's analysis reflects a fundamental misunderstanding of the psychology of regret. By exposing the Court's misunderstanding of this emotion, this article seeks to minimize the most significant risk posed by the Carhart decision: that states will use the prospect of regret to justify additional constraints not only on the abortion right but also ...


Election As Appointment: The Tennessee Plan Reconsidered, Brian T. Fitzpatrick Jan 2008

Election As Appointment: The Tennessee Plan Reconsidered, Brian T. Fitzpatrick

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

Tennessee's merit system for selecting judges - referred to as the Tennessee Plan - has been controversial ever since it was enacted in 1971 to replace contested elections. The greatest controversy has been whether the Plan is even constitutional. The Tennessee constitution states that all judges "shall be elected by the qualified voters" of the state. Yet, under the Tennessee Plan, the governor appoints all appellate judges, and those judges come before the voters only after a period of time on the bench and only in uncontested yes-no retention referenda. In 1977, the people of Tennessee were asked to amend the ...


The Populist Safeguards Of Federalism, Robert A. Mikos Jan 2007

The Populist Safeguards Of Federalism, Robert A. Mikos

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

Extant legal scholarship often portrays citizens as the catalysts of federalization. Scholars say that citizens pressure Congress to impose their morals on people living in other states, to trump home-state laws with which they disagree, or to shift the costs of regulatory programs onto out-of-state taxpayers, all to the demise of states' rights. Since Congress (usually) gives citizens what they want, scholars insist the courts must step in to protect states from federal encroachments. By contrast, this Article proposes a new theory of the populist safeguards of federalism. It develops two distinct but mutually reinforcing reasons why populist demands on ...


Cunningham V. California - Case Comment, Rebecca Haw Allensworth Jan 2007

Cunningham V. California - Case Comment, Rebecca Haw Allensworth

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

Sixth Amendment--Allocation of Fact-finding in Sentencing.--Apprendi v. New Jersey spawned a series of Supreme Court sentencing decisions which, when viewed together, are at best confusing and at worst contradictory. Commentators and courts have struggled to find a coherent governing principle uniting "Apprendi," "Blakely v. Washington," and "United States v. Booker." The holding in "Apprendi," originally described as a bright-line rule, has proved anything but. Last Term, in "Cunningham v. California," the Court added another chapter to the Apprendi saga when it declared unconstitutional California's Determinate Sentencing Law (DSL). Justice Ginsburg authored the majority opinion that overturned the California ...


Getting The Math Right, Paul H. Edelman Jan 2006

Getting The Math Right, Paul H. Edelman

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

Over the last 40 years of one person, one vote jurisprudence, the Supreme Court has distilled a stable and predictable test for resolving the basic numerical issue in equal representation: how much population difference between districts is permissible? Yet there remains one area of representation into which the Court has refused to venture: apportionment of Congress. In its only opinion on the mechanics of the decennial of apportionment, the Court deferred to Congress. It deferred because, unlike districting, it could not find a single workable measure for apportionment. But the reason it could not find such a measure was that ...


Waging War: Japan's Constitutional Constraints, John O. Haley Jan 2005

Waging War: Japan's Constitutional Constraints, John O. Haley

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

Both electoral results and public opinion polls have long revealed what most observers have viewed as a paradox if not a contradiction. By significant majorities, the Japanese people appear to oppose any revision of article 9, but support the SDF and their deployment with legislative sanction. The seemingly antithetical aspects of these views can be reconciled if one accepts the proposition that the public is willing to allow an armed force but only within parameters that are still ill-defined. So long as article 9 remains, the government is constrained by the need for legislative approval and at least potential judicial ...