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Constitutional Law

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Precedent And Constitutional Structure, Randy J. Kozel Jan 2018

Precedent And Constitutional Structure, Randy J. Kozel

Journal Articles

The Constitution does not talk about precedent, at least not explicitly, but several of its features suggest a place for deference to prior decisions. It isolates the judicial function and insulates federal courts from official and electoral control, promoting a vision of impersonality and continuity. It charges courts with applying a charter that is vague and ambiguous in important respects. And it was enacted at a time when prominent thinkers were already discussing the use of precedent to channel judicial discretion. Taken in combination, these features make deference to precedent a sound inference from the Constitution’s structure, text, and historical …


Multiple Chancellors: Reforming The National Injunction, Samuel L. Bray Jan 2017

Multiple Chancellors: Reforming The National Injunction, Samuel L. Bray

Journal Articles

In several recent high-profile cases, federal district judges have issued injunctions that apply across the nation, controlling the defendants’ behavior with respect to nonparties. This Article analyzes the scope of injunctions to restrain the enforcement of a federal statute, regulation, or order. This analysis shows the consequences of the national injunction: more forum shopping, worse judicial decisionmaking, a risk of conflicting injunctions, and tension with other doctrines and practices of the federal courts.

This Article shows that the national injunction is a recent development in the history of equity. There was a structural shift at the Founding from a single-chancellor …


Original Meaning And The Precedent Fallback, Randy J. Kozel Jan 2015

Original Meaning And The Precedent Fallback, Randy J. Kozel

Journal Articles

There is longstanding tension between originalism and judicial precedent. With its resolute focus on deciphering the enacted Constitution, the originalist methodology raises questions about whether judges can legitimately defer to their own pronouncements. Numerous scholars have responded by debating whether and when the Constitution’s original meaning should yield to contrary precedent.

This Article considers the role of judicial precedent not when it conflicts with the Constitution’s original meaning but rather when the consultation of text and historical evidence is insufficient to resolve a case. In those situations, deference to precedent can serve as a fallback rule of constitutional adjudication. The …


The Law Of Nations As Constitutional Law, Anthony J. Bellia, Bradford R. Clark Jan 2012

The Law Of Nations As Constitutional Law, Anthony J. Bellia, Bradford R. Clark

Journal Articles

Courts and scholars continue to debate the status of customary international law in U.S. courts, but have paid insufficient attention to the role that such law plays in interpreting and upholding several specific provisions of the Constitution. The modern position argues that courts should treat customary international law as federal common law. The revisionist position contends that customary international law applies only to the extent that positive federal or state law has adopted it. Neither approach adequately takes account of the Constitution’s allocation of powers to the federal political branches in Articles I and II or the effect of these …


Re-Examining Customary International Law And The Federal Courts: An Introduction, Anthony J. Bellia Dec 2010

Re-Examining Customary International Law And The Federal Courts: An Introduction, Anthony J. Bellia

Journal Articles

Legal scholars have debated intensely the role of customary international law in the American federal system. The debate involves serious questions surrounding the United States's constitutional structure, foreign relations, and human rights. Despite an impressive body of scholarship, the debate has stood at an impasse in recent years, without either side garnering a consensus. This symposium–Re-examining Customary International Law and the Federal Courts–aspires to help advance the debate over the status of customary international law in the federal courts.

The symposium received thoughtful and constructive contributions from Professors Curtis A. Bradley, Bradford R. Clark, Andrew Kent, Carlos M. Vizquez, and …


The Origins Of Article Iii "Arising Under" Jurisdiction, Anthony J. Bellia Jan 2007

The Origins Of Article Iii "Arising Under" Jurisdiction, Anthony J. Bellia

Journal Articles

Article III of the Constitution provides that the judicial Power of the United States extends to all cases arising under the Constitution, laws, and treaties of the United States. What the phrase arising under imports in Article III has long confounded courts and scholars. This Article examines the historical origins of Article III arising under jurisdiction. First, it describes English legal principles that governed the jurisdiction of courts of general and limited jurisdiction--principles that animated early American jurisprudence regarding the scope of arising under jurisdiction. Second, it explains how participants in the framing and ratification of the Constitution understood arising …