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States’ Duty Under The Federal Elections Clause And A Federal Right To Education, Evan Caminker Dec 2023

States’ Duty Under The Federal Elections Clause And A Federal Right To Education, Evan Caminker

Articles

Fifty years ago, in San Antonio Independent School District v. Rodriguez, the Supreme Court failed to address one of the preeminent civil rights issues of our generation—substandard and inequitable public education—by holding that the federal Constitution does not protect a general right to education. The Court didn’t completely close the door on a narrower argument that the Constitution guarantees “an opportunity to acquire the basic minimal skills necessary for the enjoyment of the rights of speech and of full participation in the political process.” Both litigants and scholars have been trying ever since to push that door open, pressing …


Due Process And Equal Protection In Michigan Anishinaabe Courts, Matthew Fletcher Jan 2023

Due Process And Equal Protection In Michigan Anishinaabe Courts, Matthew Fletcher

Articles

In 1968, largely because the United States Constitution does not apply to tribal government activity, Congress enacted the Indian Civil Rights Act–a federal law that requires tribal governments to guarantee due process and equal protection to persons under tribal jurisdiction. In 1978, the Supreme Court held that persons seeking to enforce those federal rights may do so in tribal forums only; federal and state courts are unavailable. Moreover, the Court held that tribes may choose to interpret the meanings of “due process” and “equal protection” in line with tribal laws, including customary laws. Since the advent of the self-determination era …


Constitutional Review Of Federal Tax Legislation, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah, Yoseph M. Edrey Jan 2023

Constitutional Review Of Federal Tax Legislation, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah, Yoseph M. Edrey

Articles

What does the Constitution mean when it says that “The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States” (U.S. Const. Article I, Section 8, Clause 1)?

The definition of “tax” for constitutional purposes has become important considering the Supreme Court’s 2012 decision in National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius (“NFIB”), in which Chief Justice Roberts for the Court upheld the constitutionality of the individual mandate of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) under the taxing …


The Not-So-Standard Model: Reconsidering Agency-Head Review Of Administrative Adjudication Decisions, Rebecca S. Eisenberg, Nina A. Mendelson Jan 2023

The Not-So-Standard Model: Reconsidering Agency-Head Review Of Administrative Adjudication Decisions, Rebecca S. Eisenberg, Nina A. Mendelson

Articles

The Supreme Court has invalidated multiple legislative design choices for independent agency structures in recent years, citing Article II and the need for political accountability through presidential control of agencies. In United States v. Arthrex, Inc., the Court turned to administrative adjudication, finding an Appointments Clause violation in the assignment of certain final patent adjudication decisions to appellate panels of unconfirmed administrative patent judges. As a remedy, a different majority declared unenforceable a statutory provision that had insulated Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) administrative adjudication decisions from political review for almost a century. The Court thereby enabled the politically appointed …


Responding To The New Major Questions Doctrine, Christopher J. Walker Jan 2023

Responding To The New Major Questions Doctrine, Christopher J. Walker

Articles

The new major questions doctrine has been a focal point in administrative law scholarship and litigation over the past year. One overarching theme is that the doctrine is a deregulatory judicial power grab from both the executive and legislative branches. It limits the president’s ability to pursue a major policy agenda through regulation. And in the current era of political polarization, Congress is unlikely to have the capacity to pass legislation to provide the judicially required clear authorization for agencies to regulate major questions. Especially considering the various “vetogates” imposed by Senate and House rules, it is fair to conclude …


Delegation At The Founding: A Response To Critics, Julian Davis Mortenson, Nicholas Bagley Dec 2022

Delegation At The Founding: A Response To Critics, Julian Davis Mortenson, Nicholas Bagley

Articles

This essay responds to the wide range of commentary on Delegation at the Founding, published previously in the Columbia Law Review. The critics’ arguments deserve thoughtful consideration and a careful response. We’re happy to supply both. As a matter of eighteenth-century legal and political theory, “rulemaking” could not be neatly described as either legislative or executive based on analysis of its scope, subject, or substantive effect. To the contrary: Depending on the relationships you chose to emphasize, a given act could properly be classified as both legislative (from the perspective of the immediate actor) and also executive (from the perspective …


Is Corporate Law Nonpartisan?, Ofer Eldar, Gabriel V. Rauterberg Jun 2022

Is Corporate Law Nonpartisan?, Ofer Eldar, Gabriel V. Rauterberg

Articles

Only rarely does the United States Supreme Court hear a case with fundamental implications for corporate law. In Carney v. Adams, however, the Supreme Court had the opportunity to address whether the State of Delaware’s requirement of partisan balance for its judiciary violates the First Amendment. Although the Court disposed of the case on other grounds, Justice Sotomayor acknowledged that the issue “will likely be raised again.” The stakes are high because most large businesses are incorporated in Delaware and thus are governed by its corporate law. Former Delaware governors and chief justices lined up to defend the state’s “nonpartisan” …


Textualism, Judicial Supremacy, And The Independent State Legislature Theory, Leah Litman, Katherine Shaw Jan 2022

Textualism, Judicial Supremacy, And The Independent State Legislature Theory, Leah Litman, Katherine Shaw

Articles

This piece offers an extended critique of one aspect of the so-called “independent state legislature” theory. That theory, in brief, holds that the federal Constitution gives state legislatures, and withholds from any other state entity, the power to regulate federal elections. Proponents ground their theory in two provisions of the federal Constitution: Article I’s Elections Clause, which provides that “[t]he Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof,” and Article II’s Presidential Electors Clause, which provides that “[e]ach State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature …


Not A Suicide Pact: Urgent Strategic Recommendations For Reducing Domestic Terrorism In The United States, Barbara L. Mcquade Jan 2022

Not A Suicide Pact: Urgent Strategic Recommendations For Reducing Domestic Terrorism In The United States, Barbara L. Mcquade

Articles

America’s Bill of Rights protects U.S. citizens’ rights to free speech, to bear arms, and to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures, among other things. But, as the Supreme Court has consistently held, no right is absolute. All rights must be balanced against other societal needs, including and especially public safety. As the threat of domestic terrorism metastasizes in the United States, Americans need to use the practical wisdom that Justice Robert L. Jackson advised in 1949 to ensure the survival of the republic.

In recognition of this growing threat, the Biden administration issued the nation’s first National Strategy …


Reframing Article I, Section 8, Richard Primus Apr 2021

Reframing Article I, Section 8, Richard Primus

Articles

Constitutional lawyers usually think of the Constitution's enumeration of congressional powers as a device for limiting the federal government's legislative jurisdiction. And there's something to that. But considered from the point of view of the Constitution's drafters, it makes more sense to think of the enumeration of congressional powers as primarily a device for empowering Congress, not limiting it. The Framers wanted both to empower and to limit the general government, and the Constitution's enumeration of congressional powers makes more sense as a means of empowerment than as a means of limitation. The major exception--that is, the one significant way …


The Federalist Constitution: Foreword, David S. Schwartz, Jonathan Gienapp, John Mikhail, Richard A. Primus Apr 2021

The Federalist Constitution: Foreword, David S. Schwartz, Jonathan Gienapp, John Mikhail, Richard A. Primus

Articles

Over the past twenty years, constitutional law has taken a decidedly historical turn, both in academia and in the courts. The U.S. Supreme Court’s constitutional decisions are increasingly filled with extended historical inquiries, and not just by self-described originalists. Yet much of this historical inquiry is severely distorted. Twenty-first-century lawyers and judges enjoy improved and ever-widening access to a rich array of primary sources from the founding era and the early republic, but the ability of modern interpreters to make sense of these materials is pervasively affected by present biases. Many of these biases stem directly from long-standing received narratives …


Delegation At The Founding, Julian Davis Mortenson, Nicholas Bagley Mar 2021

Delegation At The Founding, Julian Davis Mortenson, Nicholas Bagley

Articles

This article refutes the claim that the Constitution was originally understood to contain a nondelegation doctrine. The founding generation didn’t share anything remotely approaching a belief that the constitutional settlement imposed restrictions on the delegation of legislative power---let alone by empowering the judiciary to police legalized limits. To the contrary, the overwhelming majority of Founders didn’t see anything wrong with delegations as a matter of legal theory. The formal account just wasn’t that complicated: Any particular use of coercive rulemaking authority could readily be characterized as the exercise of either executive or legislative power, and was thus formally valid regardless …


Understanding National Remedies And The Principle Of National Procedural Autonomy: A Constitutional Approach, Daniel H. Halberstam Jan 2021

Understanding National Remedies And The Principle Of National Procedural Autonomy: A Constitutional Approach, Daniel H. Halberstam

Articles

This article provides a constitutionally grounded understanding of the vexing principle of ‘national procedural autonomy’ that haunts the vindication of EU law in national court. After identifying tensions and confusion in the debate surrounding this purported principle of ‘autonomy’, the Article turns to the foundational text and structure of Union law to reconstruct the proper constitutional basis for deploying or supplanting national procedures and remedies. It further argues that much of the case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union may be considered through the lens of ‘prudential avoidance’, ie the decision to avoid difficult constitutional questions …


Democracy, Distrust, And Presidential Immunities, Evan H. Caminker Jan 2021

Democracy, Distrust, And Presidential Immunities, Evan H. Caminker

Articles

This Essay sketches how Ely's representation-reinforcement theory of judicial interpretation might frame presidential immunity doctrines and compares that frame to the Court's current approach. To what extent might various forms of presidential immunity, or exceptions thereto, be grounded in principles of democratic accountability rather than presidential efficacy? I conclude that a plausibly constructed Elyan paradigm provides an argument for immunity in many settings but also for exceptions to that immunity in narrow but important circumstances. More specifically: immunity can protect the President's ability to focus on serving her view of the national interest, without being unduly chilled or sidetracked by …


Herein Of 'Herein Granted': Why Article I'S Vesting Clause Does Not Support The Doctrine Of Enumerated Powers, Richard A. Primus Sep 2020

Herein Of 'Herein Granted': Why Article I'S Vesting Clause Does Not Support The Doctrine Of Enumerated Powers, Richard A. Primus

Articles

Article I of the United States Constitution begins as follows: “All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States[.]” That text is sometimes called the Vesting Clause, or, more precisely, the Article I Vesting Clause, because Articles II and III also begin with Vesting Clauses. And there is a feature of those three clauses, when compared, to which twenty-first century constitutional lawyers commonly attribute considerable significance. Although the three Clauses are similar in other ways, the syntax of Article I’s Vesting Clause is not fully parallel to that of the other two. The Vesting …


The Permissibility Of Acting Officials: May The President Work Around Senate Confirmation?, Nina A. Mendelson Sep 2020

The Permissibility Of Acting Officials: May The President Work Around Senate Confirmation?, Nina A. Mendelson

Articles

Recent presidential reliance on acting agency officials, including an acting Attorney General, acting Secretaries of Defense, and an acting Secretary of Homeland Security, as well as numerous below-Cabinet officials, has drawn significant criticism from scholars, the media, and members of Congress. They worry that the President may be pursuing illegitimate goals and seeking to bypass the critical Senate role under the Appointments Clause. But Congress has authorized—and Presidents have called upon—such individuals from the early years of the Republic to the present. Meanwhile, neither formalist approaches to the constitutional issue, which seem to permit no flexibility, nor current Supreme Court …


Discerning A Dignitary Offense: The Concept Of Equal 'Public Rights' During Reconstruction, Rebecca J. Scott Aug 2020

Discerning A Dignitary Offense: The Concept Of Equal 'Public Rights' During Reconstruction, Rebecca J. Scott

Articles

The mountain of modern interpretation to which the language of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution has been subjected tends to overshadow the multiple concepts of antidiscrimination that were actually circulating at the time of its drafting. Moreover, as authors on race and law have pointed out, Congress itself lacked any African American representatives during the 1866–68 moment of transitional justice. The subsequent development of a “state action doctrine” limiting the reach of federal civil rights enforcement, in turn, eclipsed important contemporary understandings of the harms that Reconstruction-era initiatives sought to combat. In contrast to the oblique language …


Thin And Thick Conceptions Of The Nineteenth Amendment Right To Vote And Congress's Power To Enforce It, Richard L. Hasen, Leah M. Litman Jul 2020

Thin And Thick Conceptions Of The Nineteenth Amendment Right To Vote And Congress's Power To Enforce It, Richard L. Hasen, Leah M. Litman

Articles

This Article, prepared for a Georgetown Law Journal symposium on the Nineteenth Amendment’s one-hundred-year anniversary, explores and defends a “thick” conception of the Nineteenth Amendment right to vote and Congress’s power to enforce it. A “thin” conception of the Nineteenth Amendment maintains that the Amendment merely prohibits states from enacting laws that prohibit women from voting once the state decides to hold an election. And a “thin” conception of Congress’s power to enforce the Nineteenth Amendment maintains that Congress may only supply remedies for official acts that violate the Amendment’s substantive guarantees. This Article argues the Nineteenth Amendment does more. …


Disaggregating Ineffective Assistance Of Counsel Doctrine: Four Forms Of Constitutional Ineffectiveness, Eve Brensike Primus Jun 2020

Disaggregating Ineffective Assistance Of Counsel Doctrine: Four Forms Of Constitutional Ineffectiveness, Eve Brensike Primus

Articles

For years, experts have blamed Strickland v. Washington’s lax standard for assessing trial attorney effectiveness for many of the criminal justice system’s problems. But the conventional understanding of Strickland as a problem for ineffectiveness claims gives the decision too much prominence because it treats Strickland as the test for all such claims. That is a mistake. Properly understood, the Supreme Court has recognized four different constitutional forms of trial attorney ineffectiveness, and Strickland’s two pronged test applies to only one of the four. If litigants and courts would notice this complexity and relegate Strickland to its proper place, it would …


Is Obamacare Really Unconstitutional?, Nicholas Bagley Jan 2020

Is Obamacare Really Unconstitutional?, Nicholas Bagley

Articles

On December 18, 2019, just 3 days after the close of open enrollment on the exchanges and on the same day the House of Representatives impeached President Donald Trump, a conservative appeals court handed the President a major victory in his crusade against the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Over a stern dissent, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit declared that the law’s individual mandate is unconstitutional and that the entire rest of the law might therefore be invalid.


Article Ii Vests Executive Power, Not The Royal Prerogative, Julian Davis Mortenson Jun 2019

Article Ii Vests Executive Power, Not The Royal Prerogative, Julian Davis Mortenson

Articles

Article II of the United States Constitution vests “the executive power” in the President. For more than two hundred years, advocates of presidential power have claimed that this phrase was originally understood to include a bundle of national security and foreign affairs authorities. Their efforts have been highly successful. Among constitutional originalists, this so-called “Vesting Clause Thesis” is now conventional wisdom. But it is also demonstrably wrong. Based on an exhaustive review of the eighteenth-century bookshelf, this Article shows that the ordinary meaning of “executive power” referred unambiguously to a single, discrete, and potent authority: the power to execute law. …


Scrutinizing Anticompetitive State Regulations Through Constitutional And Antitrust Lenses, Daniel A. Crane May 2019

Scrutinizing Anticompetitive State Regulations Through Constitutional And Antitrust Lenses, Daniel A. Crane

Articles

State and local regulations that anticompetitively favor certain producers to the detriment of consumers are a pervasive problem in our economy. Their existence is explicable by a variety of structural features—including asymmetry between consumer and producer interests, cost externalization, and institutional and political factors entrenching incumbent technologies. Formulating legal tools to combat such economic parochialism is challenging in the post-Lochner world, where any move toward heightened judicial review of economic regulation poses the perceived threat of a return to economic substantive due process. This Article considers and compares two potential tools for reviewing such regulations—a constitutional principle against anticompetitive parochialism …


Neglecting Nationalism, Gil Seinfeld May 2019

Neglecting Nationalism, Gil Seinfeld

Articles

Federalism is a system of government that calls for the division of power between a central authority and member states. It is designed to secure benefits that flow from centralization and from devolution, as well as benefits that accrue from a simultaneous commitment to both. A student of modern American federalism, however, might have a very different impression, for significant swaths of the case law and scholarly commentary on the subject neglect the centralizing, nationalist side of the federal balance. This claim may come as a surprise, since it is obviously the case that our national government has become immensely …


Equitable Gateways: Toward Expanded Federal Habeas Corpus Review Of State Court Criminal Convictions, Eve Brensike Primus Apr 2019

Equitable Gateways: Toward Expanded Federal Habeas Corpus Review Of State Court Criminal Convictions, Eve Brensike Primus

Articles

State prisoners who file federal habeas corpus petitions face a maze of procedural and substantive restrictions that effectively prevent almost all prisoners from obtaining meaningful review of their convictions. But it is a mistake to think that habeas litigation is just a Kafkaesque nightmare with no constructive potential. Federal courts do sometimes cut through the doctrinal morass to consider state prisoners’ claims, relying on what this Articleterms "equitable gateways" to federal habeas relief. Litigants and courts generally underestimate the potential these gateways offer, with the result that habeas litigation does not focus on them as often as it should. Here …


Second Redemption, Third Reconstruction, Richard A. Primus Jan 2019

Second Redemption, Third Reconstruction, Richard A. Primus

Articles

In The Accumulation of Advantages, the picture that Professor Owen Fiss paints about equality during and since the Second Reconstruction is largely a picture in black and white. That makes some sense. The black/white experience is probably the most important throughline in the story of equal protection. It was the central theme of both the First and Second Reconstructions. In keeping with that orientation, the picture of disadvantage described by Fiss’s theory of cumulative responsibility is largely drawn from the black/white experience. Important as it is, however, the black/white experience does not exhaust the subject of constitutional equality. So in …


The Most Revealing Word In The United States Report, Richard Primus Jan 2019

The Most Revealing Word In The United States Report, Richard Primus

Articles

The most prominent issue in NFIB v. Sebelius was whether Congress’s regulatory power under the Commerce Clause stops at a point marked by a distinction between “activity” and “inactivity.” According to the law’s challengers, prior decisions about the scope of the commerce power already reflected the importance of the distinction between action and inaction. In all of the previous cases in which exercises of the commerce power had been sustained, the challengers argued, that power had been used to regulate activity. Never had Congress tried to regulate mere inactivity. In NFIB, four Justices rejected that contention, writing that such …


Wrong Turn On The Ex Post Facto Clause, Paul D. Reingold, Kimberly Thomas Jun 2018

Wrong Turn On The Ex Post Facto Clause, Paul D. Reingold, Kimberly Thomas

Articles

The Ex Post Facto Clause bars any increase in punishment after the commission of a crime. But deciding what constitutes an increase in punishment can be tricky. At the front end of a criminal case, where new or amended criminal laws might lengthen prisoners’ sentences if applied retroactively, courts have routinely struck down such changes under the Ex Post Facto Clause. At the back end, however, where new or amended parole laws or policies might lengthen prisoners’ sentences in exactly the same way if applied retroactively, courts have used a different standard and upheld the changes under the Ex Post …


Section 2 After Section 5: Voting Rights And The Race To The Bottom, Ellen D. Katz Apr 2018

Section 2 After Section 5: Voting Rights And The Race To The Bottom, Ellen D. Katz

Articles

Five years ago, Shelby County v. Holder released nine states and fifty-five smaller jurisdictions from the preclearance obligation set forth in section 5 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA). This obligation mandated that places with a history of discrimination in voting obtain federal approval—known as preclearance—before changing any electoral rule or procedure. Within hours of the Shelby County decision, jurisdictions began moving to reenact measures section 5 had specifically blocked. Others pressed forward with new rules that the VRA would have barred prior to Shelby County.


The Fortification Of Inequality: Constitutional Doctrine And The Political Economy, Kate Andrias Mar 2018

The Fortification Of Inequality: Constitutional Doctrine And The Political Economy, Kate Andrias

Articles

As Parts I and II of this Essay elaborate, the examination yields three observations of relevance to constitutional law more generally: First, judge-made constitutional doctrine, though by no means the primary cause of rising inequality, has played an important role in reinforcing and exacerbating it. Judges have acquiesced to legislatively structured economic inequality, while also restricting the ability of legislatures to remedy it. Second, while economic inequality has become a cause célèbre only in the last few years, much of the constitutional doctrine that has contributed to its flourishing is longstanding. Moreover, for several decades, even the Court’s more liberal …


The Constitutional Law Of Incarceration, Reconfigured, Margo Schlanger Jan 2018

The Constitutional Law Of Incarceration, Reconfigured, Margo Schlanger

Articles

On any given day, about 2.2 million people are confined in U.S. jails and prisons—nearly 0.9% of American men are in prison, and another 0.4% are in jail. This year, 9 or 10 million people will spend time in our prisons and jails; about 5000 of them will die there. A decade into a frustratingly gradual decline in incarceration numbers, the statistics have grown familiar: We have 4.4% of the world’s population but over 20% of its prisoners. Our incarceration rate is 57% higher than Russia’s (our closest major country rival in imprisonment), nearly four times the rate in England, …