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Full-Text Articles in 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 …


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 liberal …


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 …


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 …


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 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 a …


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.


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 …


Constitutional Expectations, Richard A. Primus Jan 2010

Constitutional Expectations, Richard A. Primus

Articles

The inauguration of Barack Obama was marred by one of the smallest constitutional crises in American history. As we all remember, the President did not quite recite his oath as it appears in the Constitution. The error bothered enough people that the White House redid the ceremony a day later, taking care to get the constitutional text exactly right. Or that, at least, is what everyone thinks happened. What actually happened is more interesting. The second time through, the President again departed from the Constitution's text. But the second time, nobody minded. Or even noticed. In that unremarked feature of …


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 when …


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 the …


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 unimportant, in part because …


Limits Of Interpretivism, Richard A. Primus Jan 2009

Limits Of Interpretivism, Richard A. Primus

Articles

Justice Stephen Markman sits on the Supreme Court of my home state of Michigan. In that capacity, he says, he is involved in a struggle between two kinds of judging. On one side are judges like him. They follow the rules. On the other side are unconstrained judges who decide cases on the basis of what they think the law ought to be. This picture is relatively simple, and Justice Markman apparently approves of its simplicity. But matters may in fact be a good deal more complex.


When Should Original Meanings Matter?, Richard A. Primus Jan 2008

When Should Original Meanings Matter?, Richard A. Primus

Articles

Constitutional theory lacks an account of when each of the familiar sources of authority-text, original meaning, precedent, and so on-should be given weight. The dominant tendency is to regard all sources as potentially applicable in every case. In contrast, this Article proposes that each source of authority is pertinent in some categories of cases but not in others, much as a physical tool is appropriate for some but not all kinds of household tasks. The Article then applies this approach to identify the categories of cases in which original meaning is, or is not, a valid factor in constitutional decisionmaking.


Federalism And The Commerce Clause: A Comparative Perspective, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah Jan 2007

Federalism And The Commerce Clause: A Comparative Perspective, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah

Articles

The U.S. Supreme Court has on numerous occasions addressed the constitutionality of state taxes under the U.S. Constitution (most often under the Commerce Clause, but sometimes under the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses). In general, the Supreme Court has granted wide leeway to the states to adopt any tax system they wish, only striking down the most egregious cases of discrimination against out-of-state residents. Thus, for example, the Court has generally refused to intervene against state tax competition to attract business into the state. It has twice upheld a method of calculating how much income of a multinational enterprise …


The Riddle Of Hiram Revels, Richard A. Primus Jan 2006

The Riddle Of Hiram Revels, Richard A. Primus

Articles

In 1870, a black man named Hiram Revels was named to represent Mississippi in the Senate. Senate Democrats objected to seating him and pointed out that the Constitution specifies that no person may be a senator who has not been a citizen of the United States for at least nine years. Before the ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment in 1868, the Democrats argued, Revels had not been a citizen on account of the Supreme Court's 1857 decision in Dred Scott v. Sandford. Thus, even if Revels were a citizen in 1870, he had held that status for only two years. …


Judicial Power And Mobilizable History, Richard A. Primus Jan 2006

Judicial Power And Mobilizable History, Richard A. Primus

Articles

One contribution that law professors can make to constitutional discourse, I suggest, is the nurturing of new mobilizable histories. A "mobilizable history," as I will use the term, is a narrative, image, or other historical source that is sufficiently well-known to the community of constitutional decisionmakers so as to be able to support a credible argument in the discourse of constitutional law. It draws upon materials that are within the collective memory of constitutional interpreters; indeed, a necessary step in nurturing a new mobilizable history is to introduce new information into that collective memory or to raise the prominence of …


A Government Of Limited Powers, Carl E. Schneider Jul 2005

A Government Of Limited Powers, Carl E. Schneider

Articles

Roscoe C. Filburn owned a small farm in Ohio where he raised poultry, dairy cows, and a modest acreage of winter wheat. Some wheat he fed his animals, some he sold, and some he kept for his family's daily bread. The Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1938 limited the wheat Mr. Filburn could grow without incurring penalties, but his 1941 crop exceeded those limits. Mr. Filburn sued. He said Claude Wickard, the Secretary of Agriculture, could not enforce the AAI's limits because Congress lacked authority to regulate wheat grown for one's own use. He reasoned: In our federal system, the states …


'Bush' V. 'Gore': What Was The Supreme Court Thinking?, Richard D. Friedman Jan 2001

'Bush' V. 'Gore': What Was The Supreme Court Thinking?, Richard D. Friedman

Articles

One of the most astonishing episodes in American political history ended last month with perhaps the most imperial decision ever by the United States Supreme Court. In one stroke, the Court exercised power that belonged to Congress, the legislature of Florida, Florida's courts and administrators, and, most importantly, the people of the state.


Free-Standing Due Process And Criminal Procedure: The Supreme Court's Search For Interpretive Guidelines, Jerold H. Israel Jan 2001

Free-Standing Due Process And Criminal Procedure: The Supreme Court's Search For Interpretive Guidelines, Jerold H. Israel

Articles

When I was first introduced to the constitutional regulation of criminal procedure in the mid-1950s, a single issue dominated the field: To what extent did the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment impose upon states the same constitutional restraints that the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and Eighth Amendments imposed upon the federal government? While those Bill of Rights provisions, as even then construed, imposed a broad range of constitutional restraints upon the federal criminal justice system, the federal system was (and still is) minuscule as compared to the combined systems of the fifty states. With the Bill of Rights provisions …


Finding The Constitution: An Economic Analysis Of Tradition's Role In Constitutional Interpretation, Adam C. Pritchard, Todd J. Zywicki Jan 1999

Finding The Constitution: An Economic Analysis Of Tradition's Role In Constitutional Interpretation, Adam C. Pritchard, Todd J. Zywicki

Articles

In this Article, Professor Pritchard and Professor Zywicki examine the role of tradition in constitutional interpretation, a topic that has received significant attention in recent years. After outlining the current debate over the use of tradition, the authors discuss the efficiency purposes of constitutionalism--precommitment and the reduction of agency costs--and demonstrate how the use of tradition in constitutional interpretation can serve these purposes. Rejecting both Justice Scalia's majoritarian model, which focuses on legislative sources of tradition, and Justice Souter's common-law model, which focuses on Supreme Court precedent as a source of tradition, the authors propose an alternative model--the "finding model"-- …


Chief Justice Hughes' Letter On Court-Packing, Richard D. Friedman Jan 1997

Chief Justice Hughes' Letter On Court-Packing, Richard D. Friedman

Articles

After one of the great landslides in American presidential history, Franklin D. Roosevelt took the oath of office for the second time on January 20, 1937. As he had four years before, Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes, like Roosevelt a former governor of New York, administered the oath. Torrents of rain drenched the inauguration, and Hughes’ damp whiskers waved in the biting wind. When the skullcapped Chief Justice reached the promise to defend the Constitution, he “spoke slowly and with special emphasis.” The President responded in kind, though he felt like saying, as he later told his aide Sam Rosenman: …


Art Of Judgement In Planned Parenthood V. Casey, James Boyd White Jan 1995

Art Of Judgement In Planned Parenthood V. Casey, James Boyd White

Articles

This article was excerpted and abridged with permission from a chapter in Professor White's recent book Acts of Hope: Creating Authority in Literature, Law, and Politics. In the book, he explores the nature of authority in various cultural contexts. Here he examines the Joint Opinion in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which has been attacked both from the right, on the grounds that it tried to keep Roe v. Wade alive, and from the left, on the grounds that it significantly weakens the force of that case. Professor White, by contrast, admires it greatly, and in this chapter explains …


State-Interest Analysis In Fourteenth-Amendment "Privacy" Law: An Essay On The Constitutionalization Of Social Issues, Carl E. Schneider Jan 1988

State-Interest Analysis In Fourteenth-Amendment "Privacy" Law: An Essay On The Constitutionalization Of Social Issues, Carl E. Schneider

Articles

Asked to resolve a social issue, Americans today turn readily to rights and to the Constitution that is understood to embody them. Many "vice" issues have long been thought particularly apt for a rights analysis. A constitutional resolution of vice issues is therefore inevitably a possibility, and its wisdom is inevitably a question. In this essay, I want to address that question by investigating an area of the law that has been recently constitutionalized family law. Family law is an example worth studying because rights thinking has won a considerable prominence in it: The Constitution has been used to transform …


The Distrust Of Politics, Terrance Sandalow Jan 1981

The Distrust Of Politics, Terrance Sandalow

Articles

In this Article, Dean Sandalow considers the justifications advanced by those who favor the removal of certain political issues from the political process by extending the reach of judicial review. He begins by examining the distrust of politics in a different context, discussing the proposals made by the Progressives for reforming municipal government, as a vehicle to expose the assumptions underlying the current debate. His comparison of the two historical settings reveals many similarities between the Progressives' reform proposals and the contemporary justiflcations.[or the displacement of politics with constitutional law. Dean Sandalow concludes that the distrust of politics rests not …


Constitutional Interpretation, Terrance Sandalow Jan 1981

Constitutional Interpretation, Terrance Sandalow

Articles

"[We] must never forget," Chief Justice Marshall admonished us in a statement pregnant with more than one meaning, "that it is a constitution we are expounding."' Marshall meant that the Constitution should be read as a document "intended to endure for ages.to come, and, consequently, to be adapted to the various crises of human affairs."'2 But he meant also that the construction placed upon the document must have regard for its "great outlines" and "important objects."'3 Limits are implied by the very nature of the task. There is not the same freedom in construing the Constitution as in constructing a …


Federalism And Social Change, Terrance Sandalow Jan 1980

Federalism And Social Change, Terrance Sandalow

Articles

A familiar passage in Professors Hart and Wechsler's casebook likens the relationship between federal and state law to that which exists between statutes and the common law. The underlying idea is that federal law rests upon a substructure of state law. "It builds upon legal relationships established by the states, altering or supplanting them only so far as necessary for [its] special purpose."' A similar relationship exists between state and federal judicial systems. State courts are courts of general jurisdiction, assumed to have authority to adjudicate controversies unless Congress has displaced them by conferring exclusive jurisdiction on federal courts. Federal …


Judicial Protection Of Minorities, Terrance Sandalow May 1977

Judicial Protection Of Minorities, Terrance Sandalow

Articles

In United States v. Carolene Products Co., Justice Stone suggested by indirection that there "may be narrower scope for operation of the presumption of constitutionality" when courts are called upon to determine the validity "of statutes directed at particular religious . . . or national . . . or racial minorities."' In such cases, he explained, "prejudice against discrete and insular minorities may be a special condition, which tends seriously to curtail the operation of those political processes ordinarily to be relied upon to protect minorities, and which may call for a correspondingly more searching judicial inquiry."' Forty years later, …