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Full-Text Articles in Law

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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


The Constitutional Constant, Richard A. Primus Sep 2017

The Constitutional Constant, Richard A. Primus

Articles

According to a conventional view of the Constitution as a precommitment strategy, constitutional rules must remain fixed over time in order for the Constitution to do its work. In practice, however, constitutional rules regularly change over time, even without formal amendment. What is actually constant over time in the American constitutional system is not the content of constitutional law: it is the correspondence between the content of constitutional law and the American people’s (or at least the decision-making class’s) most powerful intuitions about issues of structure and ethos in American government. At any given time, constitutional law reflects ...


The Gibbons Fallacy, Richard A. Primus Mar 2017

The Gibbons Fallacy, Richard A. Primus

Articles

In Gibbons v. Ogden, Chief Justice John Marshall famously wrote that "the enumeration presupposes something not enumerated." Modern courts use that phrase to mean that the Constitutions enumeration of congressional powers indicates that those powers are, as a whole, less than a grant of general legislative authority. But Marshall wasn't saying that. He wasn't talking about the Constitution's overall enumeration of congressional powers at all. He was writing about a different enumeration - the enumeration of three classes of commerce within the Commerce Clause. And Marshall's analysis of the Commerce Clause in Gibbons does not imply that ...


What Bankruptcy Law Can And Cannot Do For Puerto Rico, John A. E. Pottow Jun 2016

What Bankruptcy Law Can And Cannot Do For Puerto Rico, John A. E. Pottow

Articles

This article is based on a February 2016 keynote address given at the University of Puerto Rico Law Review Symposium “Public Debt and the Future of Puerto Rico.” Thus, much of it remains written in the first person, and so the reader may imagine the joy of being in the audience. (Citations and footnotes have been inserted before publication ‒ sidebars that no reasonable person would ever have inflicted upon a live audience, even one interested in bankruptcy law. Rhetorical accuracy thus yields to scholarly pedantics.) The analysis explains how bankruptcy law not only can but will be required to remedy ...


Taking Care Of Federal Law, Leah Litman Sep 2015

Taking Care Of Federal Law, Leah Litman

Articles

Article II of the Constitution vests the “executive power” in the President and directs the President to “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.” But do these provisions mean that only the President may execute federal law? Two lines of Supreme Court precedent suggest conflicting answers to that question. In several prominent separation-of-powers cases, the Court has suggested that only the President may execute federal law: “The Constitution requires that a President chosen by the entire Nation oversee the execution of the laws.” Therefore, the Court has reasoned, Congress may not create private rights of action that allow nonexecutive ...


Reflections On Comity In The Law Of American Federalism, Gil Seinfeld Apr 2015

Reflections On Comity In The Law Of American Federalism, Gil Seinfeld

Articles

Comity is a nebulous concept familiar to us from the law of international relations. Roughly speaking, it describes a set of reciprocal norms among nations that call for one state to recognize, and sometimes defer to, the laws, judgments, or interests of another. Comity also features prominently in the law of American federalism, but in that context, it operates within limits that have received almost no attention from scholarly commentators. Specifically, although courts routinely describe duties that run from one state to another, or from the federal government to the states, as exercises in comity, they almost never rely on ...


The Limits Of Enumeration, Richard A. Primus Dec 2014

The Limits Of Enumeration, Richard A. Primus

Articles

According to a well-known principle of constitutional interpretation here identified as the “internal-limits canon,” the powers of Congress must always be construed as authorizing less legislation than a general police power would. This Article argues that the internallimits canon is unsound. Whether the powers of Congress would in practice authorize any legislation that a police power would authorize is a matter of contingency: it depends on the relationship between the powers and the social world at a given time. There is no reason why, at a given time, the powers cannot turn out to authorize any legislation that a police ...


Enacted Legislative Findings And The Deference Problem, Daniel A. Crane Mar 2014

Enacted Legislative Findings And The Deference Problem, Daniel A. Crane

Articles

The constitutionality of federal legislation sometimes turns on the presence and sufficiency of congressional findings of predicate facts, such as the effects of conduct on interstate commerce, state discrimination justifying the abrogation of sovereign immunity, or market failures justifying intrusions on free speech. Sometimes a congressional committee makes these findings in legislative history. Other times, Congress recites its findings in a statutory preamble, thus enacting its findings as law. Surprisingly, the Supreme Court has not distinguished between enacted and unenacted findings in deciding how much deference to accord congressional findings. This is striking because the difference between enactedness and unenactedness ...


The Puzzling Presumption Of Reviewability, Nicholas Bagley Mar 2014

The Puzzling Presumption Of Reviewability, Nicholas Bagley

Articles

The presumption in favor of judicial review of agency action is a cornerstone of administrative law, accepted by courts and commentators alike as both legally appropriate and obviously desirable. Yet the presumption is puzzling. As with any canon of statutory construction that serves a substantive end, it should find a source in history, positive law, the Constitution, or sound policy considerations. None of these, however, offers a plausible justification for the presumption. As for history, the sort of judicial review that the presumption favors - appellate-style arbitrariness review - was not only unheard of prior to the twentieth century, but was commonly ...


The House Of Windsor: Accentuating The Heteronormativity In The Tax Incentives For Procreation, Anthony C. Infanti Jan 2014

The House Of Windsor: Accentuating The Heteronormativity In The Tax Incentives For Procreation, Anthony C. Infanti

Articles

Following the Supreme Court’s decision in United States v. Windsor, many seem to believe that the fight for marriage equality at the federal level is over and that any remaining work in this area is at the state level. Belying this conventional wisdom, this essay continues my work plumbing the gap between the promise of Windsor and the reality that heteronormativity has been one of the core building blocks of our federal tax system. Eradicating embedded heteronormativity will take far more than a single court decision (or even revenue ruling); it will take years of work uncovering the subtle ...


The Jurisprudence Of Union, Gil Seinfeld Jan 2014

The Jurisprudence Of Union, Gil Seinfeld

Articles

The primary goal of this Article is to demonstrate that the interest in national unity does important, independent work in the law of vertical federalism. We have long been accustomed to treating union as a constitutionally operative value in cases involving the duties states owe one another (i.e. horizontal federalism cases), but in cases involving the relationship between the federal government and the states, the interest in union is routinely ignored. This Article shows that, across a wide range of cases relating to the allocation of power between the federal government and the states, the states are constrained by ...


Election Law's Lochnerian Turn, Ellen D. Katz Jan 2014

Election Law's Lochnerian Turn, Ellen D. Katz

Articles

This panel has been asked to consider whether "the Constitution [is] responsible for electoral dysfunction."' My answer is no. The electoral process undeniably falls well short of our aspirations, but it strikes me that we should look to the Supreme Court for an accounting before blaming the Constitution for the deeply unsatisfactory condition in which we find ourselves.


Designing Islamic Constitutions: Past Trends And Options For A Democratic Future, Clark B. Lombardi Jan 2013

Designing Islamic Constitutions: Past Trends And Options For A Democratic Future, Clark B. Lombardi

Articles

In recent years a growing number of countries have adopted constitutional provisions requiring that state law respect Islamic law (sharia). Muslims today are deeply divided, however, about what types of state action are consistent with sharia. Thus, the impact of a "Sharia Guarantee Clause" depends to a large degree on questions of constitutional design -- on who is given the power to interpret and apply the provision and on what procedures that they follow when making their decisions. This article explores the trends that gave rise to SGCs and provides a history of their incorporation into national constitutions. It then surveys ...


Constitutional Provisions Making Sharia “A” Or “The” Chief Source Of Legislation: Where Did They Come From? What Do They Mean? Do They Matter?, Clark B. Lombardi Jan 2013

Constitutional Provisions Making Sharia “A” Or “The” Chief Source Of Legislation: Where Did They Come From? What Do They Mean? Do They Matter?, Clark B. Lombardi

Articles

The constitutions of many Arab countries provide that Islamic law ("shari'a") is a "source" of national law. Indeed, some make shari'a norms "a chief source," of state law. Other stronger provisions even declare them to be "the chief source" or "the only source" of legislation. There has been surprisingly little historical scholarship about these clauses, either in Arabic or in Western languages. There has also been almost no systematic comparative scholarship looking at the way that these clauses have been interpreted in different countries. In both Western scholarship and in popular Arab discourse one finds considerable confusion about ...


Congress Underestimated: The Case Of The World Bank, Kristina Daugirdas Jan 2013

Congress Underestimated: The Case Of The World Bank, Kristina Daugirdas

Articles

This article challenges the oft-repeated claim that international organizations undermine democracy by marginalizing national legislatures. Over the past forty years, Congress has established itself as a key player in setting U.S. policy toward the World Bank. Congress has done far more than restrain executive branch action with which it disagrees; it has affirmatively shaped the United States’ day-to-day participation in this key international organization and successfully defended its constitutional authority to do so.


The President's Enforcement Power, Kate Andrias Jan 2013

The President's Enforcement Power, Kate Andrias

Articles

Enforcement of law is at the core of the President’s constitutional duty to “take Care” that the laws are faithfully executed, and it is a primary mechanism for effecting national regulatory policy. Yet questions about how presidents oversee agency enforcement activity have received surprisingly little scholarly attention. This Article provides a positive account of the President’s role in administrative enforcement, explores why presidential enforcement has taken the shape it has, and examines the bounds of the President’s enforcement power. It demonstrates that presidential involvement in agency enforcement, though extensive, has been ad hoc, crisis-driven, and frequently opaque ...


Unbundling Constitutionality, Richard A. Primus Jan 2013

Unbundling Constitutionality, Richard A. Primus

Articles

Constitutional theory features a persistent controversy over the source or sources of constitutional status, that is, over the criteria that qualify some rules as constitutional rules. This Article contends that no single criterion characterizes all of the rules that American law treats as constitutional, such that it is a mistake to think of constitutionality as a status with necessary conditions. It is better to think of constitutionality on a bundle-of-sticks model: different attributes associated with constitutionality might or might not be present in any constitutional rule. Analysts should often direct their attention more to the separate substantive properties that are ...


How The Gun-Free School Zones Act Saved The Individual Mandate, Richard A. Primus Jan 2012

How The Gun-Free School Zones Act Saved The Individual Mandate, Richard A. Primus

Articles

For all the drama surrounding the Commerce Clause challenge to the in-dividual mandate provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“PPACA”), the doctrinal question presented is simple. Under existing doctrine, the provision is as valid as can be. To be sure, the Supreme Court could alter existing doctrine, and many interesting things could be written about the dynamics that sometimes prompt judges to strike out in new directions under the pressures of cases like this one. But it is not my intention to pursue that possibility here. My own suspicion, for what it is worth, is that the ...


Taxing Civil Rights Gains, Anthony C. Infanti Jan 2010

Taxing Civil Rights Gains, Anthony C. Infanti

Articles

In this article, I take a novel approach to the question of what constitutes a "tax." I argue that the unique burdens placed on same-sex couples by the federal and state "defense of marriage" acts (the DOMAs) constitute a tax on gay and lesbian families.

Classifying the DOMAs as a "tax" has important substantive and rhetorical consequences. As a tax, the DOMAs are subject to the same constitutional restrictions as other taxes. This opens them to challenge under the federal constitution's direct tax clauses and the uniformity clauses present in many state constitutions. Where such constitutional challenges are unavailable ...


The Basic Law At 60 - Introduction To The Special Issue, Susanne Baer, Christian Boulanger, Alexander Klose, Rosemarie Will Jan 2010

The Basic Law At 60 - Introduction To The Special Issue, Susanne Baer, Christian Boulanger, Alexander Klose, Rosemarie Will

Articles

For Germany 2009 was a year of constitutional anniversaries: the first democratic constitution (Paulskirchenverfassung of 1849) was promulgated 160 years ago; the 1919 Weimar Constitution would have turned 90; and finally, the country celebrated 60 years of the Basic Law, which was proclaimed and signed in Bonn on 23 May 1949. Despite its birth in the midst of economic and political turmoil and widespread disillusion with politics, the Basic Law has come to be regarded as a "success story." As is well known, it was never meant to last - the very term "Grundgesetz" (basic law) indicated that it was intended ...


The Functions Of Ethical Originalism, Richard A. Primus Jan 2010

The Functions Of Ethical Originalism, Richard A. Primus

Articles

Supreme Court Justices frequently divide on questions of original meaning, and the divisions have a way of mapping what we might suspect are the Justices’ leanings about the merits of cases irrespective of originalist considerations. The same is true for law professors and other participants in constitutional discourse: people’s views of original constitutional meaning tend to align well with their (nonoriginalist) preferences for how present constitutional controversies should be resolved. To be sure, there are exceptions. Some people are better than others at suspending presentist considerations when examining historical materials, and some people are better than others at recognizing ...


Public Consensus As Constitutional Authority, Richard A. Primus Jan 2010

Public Consensus As Constitutional Authority, Richard A. Primus

Articles

Barry Friedman's new book The Will of the People attempts to dissolve constitutional law's countermajoritariand ifficulty by showing that, in practice,t he Supreme Court does only what the public will tolerate. His account succeeds if "the countermajoritarian difficulty" refers to the threat that courts will run the country in ways that contravene majority preference, but not if the "the countermajoritarian difficulty" refers to the need to explain the legitimate sources of judicial authority in cases where decisions do contravene majority preference. Friedman's book does not pursue the second possibility, and may suggest that doing so is ...


Two Masters, Carl E. Schneider Jan 2010

Two Masters, Carl E. Schneider

Articles

American government rests on the principle of distrust of government. Not only is power within the federal government checked and balanced. Power is divided between the federal government and the state governments. So what if a state law conflicts with a federal law? The Constitution says that the "Constitution, and the Laws of the United States ... shall be the supreme Law of the Land; ... any Thing in the ... Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding." Sometimes the conflict between federal and state law is obvious and the Supremacy Clause is easily applied. But sometimes ...


Article I, Article Iii, And The Limits Of Enumeration, Gil Seinfeld Jan 2010

Article I, Article Iii, And The Limits Of Enumeration, Gil Seinfeld

Articles

Article I, Section 8 and Article Ill, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution deploy parallel strategies for constraining the power of the federal government. They enumerate powers that the national legislature and judiciary, respectively, are permitted to exercise and thereby implicitly prohibit these two branches of government from exercising powers not enumerated. According to conventional thinking, this strategy has failed in connection with Article I and succeeded in connection with Article III. That is, it is widely acknowledged that Congress routinely exercises powers that are difficult to square with the Article I enumeration; but it is commonly thought that ...