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United States Supreme Court

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Sites Of Storytelling: Supreme Court Confirmation Hearings, Patrick Barry Aug 2018

Sites Of Storytelling: Supreme Court Confirmation Hearings, Patrick Barry

Articles

Supreme Court confirmation hearings have an interesting biographical feature: before nominees even say a word, many words are said about them. This feature— which has been on prominent display in the confirmation hearings of Judge Brett Kavanaugh—is a product of how each senator on the confirmation committee is allowed to make an opening statement. Some of these statements are, as Robert Bork remembers from his own confirmation hearing, “lavish in their praise,” some are “lavish in their denunciations,” and some are “lavish in their equivocations.”1 The result is a disorienting kind of biography by committee, one which produces not one …


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 …


Confirmation Bias, Patrick Barry Aug 2017

Confirmation Bias, Patrick Barry

Articles

Supreme Court confirmation hearings are vapid. Supreme Court confirmation hearings are pointless. Supreme Court confirmation hearings are harmful to a citizenry already cynical about government. Sentiments like these have been around for decades and are bound to resurface each time a new nomination is made. This essay, however, takes a different view. It argues that Supreme Court confirmation hearings are a valuable form of cultural expression, one that provides a unique record of as the theater critic Martin Esslin might say, a nation thinking about itself in public.


Predicting The Fallout From King V. Burwell - Exchanges And The Aca, Nicholas Bagley, David K. Jones, Timothy Stoltzfus Jost Jan 2015

Predicting The Fallout From King V. Burwell - Exchanges And The Aca, Nicholas Bagley, David K. Jones, Timothy Stoltzfus Jost

Articles

The U.S. Supreme Court's surprise announcement on November 7 that it would hear King v. Burwell struck fear in the hearts of supporters of the Affordable Cara Act (ACA). At stake is the legality of an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) rule extending tax credits to the 4.5 million people who bought their health plans in the 34 states that declined to establish their own health insurance exchanges under the ACA. The case hinges on enigmatic statutory language that seems to link the amount of tax credits to a health plan purchased "through an Exchange established by the State." According to …


Hobby Lobby And The Pathology Of Citizens United, Ellen D. Katz Jan 2014

Hobby Lobby And The Pathology Of Citizens United, Ellen D. Katz

Articles

Four years ago, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission held that for-profit corporations possess a First Amendment right to make independent campaign expenditures. In so doing, the United States Supreme Court invited speculation that such corporations might possess other First Amendment rights as well. The petitioners in Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Sebelius are now arguing that for-profit corporations are among the intended beneficiaries of the Free Exercise Clause and, along with the respondents in Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, that they also qualify as “persons” under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). Neither suggestion follows inexorably from Citizens United, …


Hollowed-Out Democracy, Kate Andrias Jan 2014

Hollowed-Out Democracy, Kate Andrias

Articles

Professors Joseph Fishkin’s and Heather Gerken’s essay for this symposium, The Two Trends That Matter for Party Politics, along with the larger project of which it is a part, marks a notable turn (or return) in the law-of-democracy field. Unlike much recent scholarship, Fishkin’s and Gerken’s work does not offer a comprehensive theory of corruption or equality, but instead analyzes the relationship between campaign finance law and the actual functioning of political parties in our democracy. In brief, Fishkin and Gerken tell us that our contemporary political parties are at once highly polarized and oddly weak. They claim this is …


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.


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 …


Barack Obama, Margarita Lopez Torres, And The Path To Nomination, Ellen D. Katz Jan 2009

Barack Obama, Margarita Lopez Torres, And The Path To Nomination, Ellen D. Katz

Articles

Operating within these regimes, Obama was able to mount a credible--and ultimately successful--challenge to the leadership's choice for the nomination while Lopez Torres could not. This article offers an explanation why. It argues that Obama succeeded where Lopez Torres failed because the nomination process Obama traversed was more penetrable and more contestable than the one Lopez Torres faced.


Reviving The Right To Vote, Ellen D. Katz Jan 2007

Reviving The Right To Vote, Ellen D. Katz

Articles

Losers in partisan districting battles have long challenged the resulting districting plans under seemingly unrelated legal doctrines. They have filed lawsuits alleging malapportionment, racial gerrymandering, and racial vote dilution, and they periodically prevail. Many election law scholars worry about these lawsuits, claiming that they needlessly "racialize" fundamentally political disputes, distort important legal doctrines designed for other purposes, and provide an inadequate remedy for a fundamentally distinct electoral problem. I am not convinced. This Article argues that the application of distinct doctrines to invalidate or diminish what are indisputably partisan gerrymanders is not necessarily problematic, and that the practice may well …


From Laredo To Fort Worth: Race, Politics And The Texas Redistricting Case, Ellen D. Katz Jan 2006

From Laredo To Fort Worth: Race, Politics And The Texas Redistricting Case, Ellen D. Katz

Articles

LULAC v. Perry held that Texas violated Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act when it displaced nearly 100,000 Latino residents from a congressional district in Laredo to protect the Republican incumbent they refused to support. At the same time, the Justices let stand the dismantling of a so-called “coalition” district in Fort Worth where African-American voters comprising a minority of the district’s population allegedly enjoyed effective control in deciding the district’s representative. Only Justice Kennedy supported the outcome in both Laredo and Fort Worth. His opinion marks the first time that he, or indeed a majority of the Justices, …


Trying To Make Peace With Bush V. Gore (Symposium: Bush V. Gore Issue 2001), Richard D. Friedman Jan 2001

Trying To Make Peace With Bush V. Gore (Symposium: Bush V. Gore Issue 2001), Richard D. Friedman

Articles

The Supreme Court's decision in Bush v. Gore, shutting down the recounts of Florida's vote in the 2000 presidential election and effectively awarding the election to George W. Bush, has struck many observers, including myself, as outrageous.' Decisions of the Supreme Court should be more than mere reflections of ideological or partisan preference thinly camouflaged behind legalistic language. It would therefore be pleasant to be able to believe that they are more than that. Accordingly, Judge Richard Posner's analysis,2 in which he defends the result reached by the Court-though not the path by which it got there-is particularly welcome. Though …


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: …


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 …