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Due process

Supreme Court of the United States

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Fifty Years Before Brady, Colin Starger May 2013

Fifty Years Before Brady, Colin Starger

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In marking the fiftieth anniversary of Brady v. Maryland, a fitting way to appreciate the historic significance of Justice Douglas’ opinion for the Court is to turn back the pages another fifty years. Brady’s profound contribution to our criminal justice system becomes apparent by considering the impoverished state of the Supreme Court’s due process doctrine as it stood a century ago. In the fifty years that led up to Brady, the Court confronted a series of racially and politically charged cases that forced constitutional soul searching about due process in the face of rank injustice. The story of the Court’s …


The Virtue Of Obscurity, Colin Starger Jan 2013

The Virtue Of Obscurity, Colin Starger

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The critics have panned Justice Kennedy’s majority opinion in United States v. Windsor. Supporters and opponents of same-sex marriage have together bemoaned what may be called Kennedy’s “doctrinal obscurity” in Windsor. Doctrinal obscurity describes the opinion’s failure to justify striking down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) using any discernable accepted test for substantive due process or equal protection. Specifically, Kennedy does not ask whether DOMA burdens a right “deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition,” nor does he identify sexual orientation as a suspect or semi-suspect classification, nor does he subject DOMA to explicit rational …


Expanding Stare Decisis: The Role Of Precedent In The Unfolding Dialectic Of Brady V. Maryland, Colin Starger Oct 2012

Expanding Stare Decisis: The Role Of Precedent In The Unfolding Dialectic Of Brady V. Maryland, Colin Starger

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Does stare decisis constrain the expansion of constitutional doctrine? Does existing precedent preclude the Supreme Court from expanding a criminal defendant’s right to exculpatory evidence? While commentators frequently clash on when stare decisis should prevent the Court from overruling its own precedents, the question of when fidelity to precedent should inhibit doctrinal expansion is surprisingly under-theorized. This Article begins to fill this gap through an in-depth case study of stare decisis and the expansion of criminal due process doctrine.

This Article analyzes the longstanding constitutional dialectic between procedural and substantive schools of criminal due process. Focus is on Brady v. …


The Irrational Supreme Court, Michael I. Meyerson Jan 2005

The Irrational Supreme Court, Michael I. Meyerson

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Rationality is prized by lawyers. The 'rational review' test provides the constitutional minimum for due process and equal protection analysis. Unfortunately, even in an idealized world populated by perfectly rational people not all causes of irrational decision-making can be avoided. The basic nature of group decision-making inevitably creates the possibility of certain kinds of irrationality. The core of the problem is that, while deciding which party prevails is a binary decision [either one side or the other wins], there are often multiple issues that need to be decided in any particular case. The task of creating a system for selecting …