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

Law Commons

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

Vanderbilt University Law School

Series

Constitutional Law

Constitutional interpretation

Articles 1 - 6 of 6

Full-Text Articles in Law

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 …


The Constitutional Ratchet Effect, Kevin M. Stack Jan 2017

The Constitutional Ratchet Effect, Kevin M. Stack

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

No abstract provided.


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 Use And Abuse Of Foreign Law In Constitutional Interpretation, Ganesh Sitaraman Jan 2009

The Use And Abuse Of Foreign Law In Constitutional Interpretation, Ganesh Sitaraman

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

This article provides an exhaustive typology of the uses of foreign law in order to provide insight into whether foreign law can be appropriately used in constitutional interpretation, when it can be used, and what the stakes and parameters are in each case. In doing so, the article addresses two significant problems in the debate on foreign law. First, much of the commentary has focused on the justifications for using foreign law and the principled or practical arguments against using foreign law. But the focus on the why of foreign law has obscured the more basic question about the ways …


An Originalism For Foreign Affairs, Ingrid Wuerth Oct 2008

An Originalism For Foreign Affairs, Ingrid Wuerth

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

Legal scholarship on foreign affairs frequently focuses on the Constitution's text and original meaning, but generally does not fully engage debates about originalism as a method of modern constitutional interpretation. For its part, much of the scholarship defending originalism as a methodology has said little explicitly about foreign affairs. This short symposium contribution describes three contemporary normative arguments in favor of originalism - those advanced by Randy Barnett, Keith Whittington, and John McGinnis and Michael Rappaport - and then considers their application to foreign affairs. It concludes that these arguments are at best underdeveloped and at worst weak when it …


Textualism And Judgment, Suzanna Sherry Jan 1998

Textualism And Judgment, Suzanna Sherry

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

Textualism, like other foundationalist theories such as originalism, purports to be a grand theory of constitutional interpretation, answering all questions with the same single-minded and narrowly constrained technique. The inevitable result is a diminution of what one might call judgment. Judgment is what judges use to decide cases when the answer is not tightly constrained by some interpretive theory. It is an aspect of what others have called prudence, or pragmatism.' But if one has a theory of constitutional interpretation that is supposed to produce clear answers in a relatively mechanical way, there is little room for the exercise of …