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Full-Text Articles in Law

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 or …


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 …


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 ...


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 …


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 …


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 …