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

Law Commons

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

Articles 1 - 30 of 75

Full-Text Articles in Law

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

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

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

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


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

Oversight Riders, Kevin Stack, Michael P. Vandenbergh

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

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


Reconstructing State Republics, Francesca L. Procaccini Jan 2021

Reconstructing State Republics, Francesca L. Procaccini

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

Our national political dysfunction is rooted in constitutionally dysfunctional states. States today are devolving into modern aristocracies through laws that depress popular control, entwine wealth and power, and insulate incumbents from democratic oversight and accountability. These unrepublican states corrupt the entire United States. It is for this reason that the Constitution obligates the United States to restore ailing states to their full republican strength. But how? For all its attention to process, the Constitution is silent on how the United States may exercise its sweeping Article IV power to “guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of …


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 treaties and …


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 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 conventional …


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 jurisprudence showing that …


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 obligation …


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 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 bind, …


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 Scalia is at …


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.


The Inference From Authority To Interpretive Method In Constitutional And Statutory Domains, Kevin M. Stack Jan 2017

The Inference From Authority To Interpretive Method In Constitutional And Statutory Domains, Kevin M. Stack

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

Should courts interpret the Constitution as they interpret statutes? This question has been answered in a wide variety of ways. On the one hand, many scholars and jurists understand constitutional and statutory interpretation as largely overlapping, continuous, or converging. For some, this overlap follows directly from the Constitution's status as a form of legislated law. In this way of thinking, because the Constitution, like a statute, was bargained over and formally adopted, it should be interpreted in accordance with general principles applicable to legislated law. Proponents of this view argue that if constitutional interpretation appears distinctive in practice, that is …


Dynamic Incorporation Of Federal Law, Jim Rossi Jan 2016

Dynamic Incorporation Of Federal Law, Jim Rossi

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

This Article provides a comprehensive analysis of state constitutional limits on legislative incorporation of dynamic federal law, as occurs when a state legislature incorporates future federal tax, environmental or health laws. Many state judicial decisions draw on the nondelegation doctrine to endorse an ex ante prohibition on state legislative incorporation of dynamic federal law. However, the analysis in this Article shows how bedrock principles related to separation of powers under state constitutions, such as protecting transparency, reinforcing accountability, and protecting against arbitrariness in lawmaking, are not consistent with this approach. Instead, this Article highlights two practices that can make dynamic …


Economic Structure And Constitutional Structure, Ganesh Sitaraman Jan 2016

Economic Structure And Constitutional Structure, Ganesh Sitaraman

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

In the last four decades, the American middle class has been hollowed out, and fears are growing that economic inequality is leading to political inequality. These trends raise a troubling question: Can our constitutional system survive the collapse of the middle class? This question might seem tangential-if not unrelated-to contemporary constitutional theory. But for most of the history ofpolitical thought, one of the central problems of constitutional design was the relationship between the distribution of wealth in society and the structure of government. Two traditions emerged from thinking about this relationship. The first tradition assumed that society would be divided …


Is The Constitution Special?, Christopher Serkin, Nelson Tebbe Jan 2016

Is The Constitution Special?, Christopher Serkin, Nelson Tebbe

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

"[W]e must never forget, that it is a constitution we are expounding.” If there was such a danger when Chief Justice John Marshall wrote those words, there is none today. Americans regularly assume that the Constitution is special, and legal professionals treat it differently from other sources of law. But what if that is wrongheaded? In this Article, we identify and question the professional practice of constitutional exceptionalism. First, we show that standard arguments from text, structure, and history work differently in constitutional law. Second, we examine the possible justifications for such distinctive interpretation among lawyers, and we find them …


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. The …


The Normalization Of Foreign Relations Law, Ganesh Sitaraman, Ingrid Wuerth Jan 2015

The Normalization Of Foreign Relations Law, Ganesh Sitaraman, Ingrid Wuerth

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

The defining feature of foreign relations law is that it is distinct from domestic law. Courts have recognized that foreign affairs are political by their nature and thus unsuited to adjudication, that state and local involvement is inappropriate in foreign affairs, and that the President has the lead role in foreign policymaking. In other words, they have said that foreign relations are exceptional. But foreign relations exceptionalism, "the belief that legal issues arising from foreign relations are functionally, doctrinally, and even methodologically distinct from those arising in domestic policy,” was not always the prevailing view. In the early twentieth century, …


Behavioral War Powers, Ganesh Sitaraman, David Zionts Jan 2015

Behavioral War Powers, Ganesh Sitaraman, David Zionts

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

A decade of war has meant a decade of writing on war powers. From the authority to start a war, to restrictions on fighting wars, to the authority to end a war, constitutional lawyers and scholars have explored the classic issues (war initiation, prosecution, and termination) through the classic prisms (text, history, and function) for a new generation of national security challenges. Despite the volume of writing on war powers and the urgency of the debates in the context of Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and Syria, war powers debates are widely seen as stagnant. We introduce a new set of perspectives …


Behavioral War Powers, Ganesh Sitaraman, David Zionts Jan 2015

Behavioral War Powers, Ganesh Sitaraman, David Zionts

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

A decade of war has meant a decade of writing on war powers. From the authority to start a war, to restrictions on fighting wars, to the authority to end a war, constitutional lawyers and scholars have explored the classic issues (war initiation, prosecution, and termination) through the classic prisms (text, history, and function) for a new generation of national security challenges. Despite the volume of writing on war powers and the urgency of the debates in the context of Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and Syria, war powers debates are widely seen as stagnant. We introduce a new set of perspectives …


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 prohibit …


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 with …


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 information …


Why Crime Severity Analysis Is Not Reasonable, Christopher Slobogin, Jeffrey Bellin, Et Al. Jan 2012

Why Crime Severity Analysis Is Not Reasonable, Christopher Slobogin, Jeffrey Bellin, Et Al.

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

Jeffrey Bellin’s article, Crime Severity Distinctions and the Fourth Amendment: Reassessing Reasonableness in a Changing World, argues that the severity of the crime under investigation ought to be taken into account in assessing both the reasonableness of searches and whether a government action is a search in the first place. In pursuit of this objective, his article provides the best attempt to date at dealing with the difficult issue of separating serious from not-so serious crimes (he ends up with three categories—grave, serious and minor. He then makes the enticing argument that calibrating the degree of Fourth Amendment protection according …


Making The Most Of United States V. Jones In A Surveillance Society: A Statutory Implementation Of Mosaic Theory, Christopher Slobogin Jan 2012

Making The Most Of United States V. Jones In A Surveillance Society: A Statutory Implementation Of Mosaic Theory, Christopher Slobogin

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

In the Supreme Court's recent decision in United States v. Jones, a majority of the Justices appeared to recognize that under some circumstances aggregation of information about an individual through governmental surveillance can amount to a Fourth Amendment search. If adopted by the Court, this notion sometimes called "mosaic theory"-could bring about a radical change to Fourth Amendment jurisprudence, not just in connection with surveillance of public movements-the issue raised in Jonesbut also with respect to the government's increasingly pervasive record-mining efforts. One reason the Court might avoid the mosaic theory is the perceived difficulty of implementing it. This article …


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 …