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Full-Text Articles in Law

Originalism's Implementation Problem, Michael L. Smith, Alexander S. Hiland Jan 2022

Originalism's Implementation Problem, Michael L. Smith, Alexander S. Hiland

Faculty Articles

Originalism has received a great deal of recent, mainstream attention. President Donald Trump's nomination of three justices to the Supreme Court amplified discussions of their judicial philosophies during and following their confirmation proceedings. Supporters of these nominations highlighted the nominees' originalist credentials, arguing that originalism was the dominant approach to constitutional interpretation.

In the academic sphere, volumes of articles and books set forth originalist theories and methodology. Its academic proponents also refer to it as the dominant form of constitutional interpretation—often asserting that opponents of originalism have failed to enunciate a coherent alternative theory. Some argue that originalism (at least, …


Media Paratext And Constitutional Interpretation, Benjamin J. Priester Dec 2021

Media Paratext And Constitutional Interpretation, Benjamin J. Priester

Faculty Articles

In the fields of media studies and fan studies, the concept of paratext is an analytical paradigm for understanding how audiences consume and interpret media texts, such as a novel or movie. Amid today's media-rich society, it is all but impossible to encounter a media text in isolation. Rather, we also invariably interact with a wide variety of associated paratexts, from official materials like trailers or marketing to unofficial materials like reviews or fan reactions, which play a role in shaping our interpretation of the core media text. This concept of media paratext provides a compelling analogy for constitutional interpretation. …


The Executive Branch Anticanon, Deborah Pearlstein Nov 2020

The Executive Branch Anticanon, Deborah Pearlstein

Faculty Articles

Donald Trump’s presidency has given rise to a raft of concerns not just about the wisdom of particular policy decisions but also about the prospect that executive actions might have troubling longer term “precedential” effects. While critics tend to leave undefined what “precedent” in this context means, existing constitutional structures provide multiple mechanisms by which presidential practice can influence future executive branch conduct: judicial actors rely on practice as gloss on constitutional meaning, executive branch officials rely on past practice in guiding institutional norms of behavior, and elected officials outside the executive branch and the people themselves draw on past …


Governmental Power Versus Individual Liberty, Vincent R. Johnson Jan 2015

Governmental Power Versus Individual Liberty, Vincent R. Johnson

Faculty Articles

Father, Son, and Constitution by Alexander Wohl is a major contribution to legal scholarship. This dual biography focuses on two public figures, each of whom played a leading role in addressing the most challenging legal questions of their day. The subjects of the book are Supreme Court Justice Tom C. Clark and his son Ramsey Clark, the most liberal attorney general in American history. The Clarks’ stories are told against a backdrop of the continuing American struggle to find the proper balance between governmental power and individual liberty.

The public careers of Tom and Ramsey Clark were largely sequential, but …


Derridoz Law Written In Our Heart/Land: “The Powers Retained By The People”, Emily A. Hartigan Jan 1993

Derridoz Law Written In Our Heart/Land: “The Powers Retained By The People”, Emily A. Hartigan

Faculty Articles

Section 26 of the Nebraska Constitution, much like everything affirmative that humans do, is immediately flawed. The flaw sits literally right below this heartfelt declaration of the people’s sovereignty, in an annotation provided for section 26 in the Revised Statutes of Nebraska. This annotation cites State v. Moores, but recites also that the case was overruled, which is wrong for a number of reasons. First, not only does this conflict with other annotations to the same Bill of Rights citing the very same case, but it also ignores the inadequacy of the supposed “overruling” and the existence of an explicit …


Constitutional Law And The Myth Of The Great Judge, Michael S. Ariens Jan 1993

Constitutional Law And The Myth Of The Great Judge, Michael S. Ariens

Faculty Articles

One of the enduring myths of American history, including constitutional history, is that of the “Great Man” or “Great Woman.” The idea is that, to understand the history of America, one needs to understand the impact made by Great Men and Women whose actions affected the course of history. In political history, one assays the development of the United States through the lives of great Americans, from the “Founders” to Abraham Lincoln to John F. Kennedy. Similarly, in constitutional history, the story is told through key figures, the “Great Judges,” from John Marshall to Oliver Wendell Holmes to Earl Warren. …


Ordinary Sacraments, Emily A. Hartigan Jan 1993

Ordinary Sacraments, Emily A. Hartigan

Faculty Articles

Richard Parker is a true force in constitutional thought, and his Populist commitment finds fertile landscape. However, there is something missing from his account of populism—the role of reflection and the fear of God in human affairs. Parker never deals with the fact that “the people” believe in God. Despite the intellectualist drive to separate God from politics, most Americans do not maintain such a wall. Whether under a stultifying separationist doctrine or in a more open pluralism, the people are God-fearing in an increasingly fractured and fascinating way—they are recognizably, fundamentally religious. Parker advocates being in touch with what …


On The Road Of Good Intentions: Justice Brennan And The Religion Clauses, Michael S. Ariens Jan 1991

On The Road Of Good Intentions: Justice Brennan And The Religion Clauses, Michael S. Ariens

Faculty Articles

Associate Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan took the oath of office on October 16, 1956. At the time of Justice Brennan’s appointment to the Supreme Court, the Court had decided only a few cases involving the religion clauses of the first amendment, and judicial interpretation of the religion clauses had been sparing.

In the thirty-four years of Justice Brennan’s tenure, the Court worked several revolutions in religion clause jurisprudence—revolutions guided by a sense of the needs of a changing society. Justice Brennan was one of several architects of a new order in establishment clause interpretation, and was the architect …


Raborn V. Davis—Paycheck In Employee’S Possession: A Limitation Of The Current Wage Exemption In Texas, Richard E. Flint Jan 1990

Raborn V. Davis—Paycheck In Employee’S Possession: A Limitation Of The Current Wage Exemption In Texas, Richard E. Flint

Faculty Articles

Extensions of credit generally help both the debtor and creditor. However, a result of our credit-based economy is that individuals are free to make poor economic decisions, and that they should suffer the consequences of these poor decisions. Although legal rules have had a role in ensuring that debtors are protected from overzealous creditors, commercial transactions can only exist if obligations of debtors are legally enforceable. The role of government, therefore, is to set parameters for procedures to enforce these obligations, while also setting a floor of protected or exempt assets so that debtors will not become wards of the …


Law And Mystery: Calling The Letter To Life Through The Spirit Of The Law Of State Constitutions, Emily A. Hartigan Jan 1988

Law And Mystery: Calling The Letter To Life Through The Spirit Of The Law Of State Constitutions, Emily A. Hartigan

Faculty Articles

If law is anything today, it is dispirited. It lacks life, vitality, enchantment, and vision. Neither law nor its practitioners sing—or even hum. However, there is something more, already present in America’s state constitutions if practitioners dare turn to hear it. It is the voice of the spirit of the laws of the land. It sings of a vision.

There is a strain of constitutional law, anchored by actual judicial language about the spirit of law, which participates in the discourse identified in two key law review articles—Suzanna Sherry’s “The Founders’ Unwritten Constitution,” and Thomas Grey’s “Origins of the Unwritten …