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Constitutional Law

Civil rights

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Full-Text Articles in Law

1983, Brandon Hasbrouck Jan 2024

1983, Brandon Hasbrouck

Scholarly Articles

This Piece embraces a fictional narrative to illustrate deep flaws in our legal system. It borrows its basic structure and a few choice lines from George Orwell’s classic novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. Like Orwell’s novel, it is set in the not-too-distant future to comment on problems already emerging in the present. The footnotes largely provide examples of some of those problems and how courts have treated them in a constitutional law context. The title (itself quite close to Orwell’s own title) is a reference to our chief civil rights statute, while the story deals with a critical threat to that …


Institutional Antiracism And Critical Pedagogy: A Quantum Leap Forward For Legal Education And The Legal Academy, Danielle M. Conway Jan 2024

Institutional Antiracism And Critical Pedagogy: A Quantum Leap Forward For Legal Education And The Legal Academy, Danielle M. Conway

Faculty Scholarly Works

A fundamental launchpad for redeeming American society is to look to the historical and contextual goals of the Second Founding—the Reconstruction Amendments—and grasp the lessons about justice and equality for all by focusing on the principles of institutional antiracism. While our nation should deploy teaching and learning strategies at all levels of the American system of education, legal education must be out front leading the way to incorporate institutional antiracism through critical pedagogy.

This article provides the historical context in which legal education developed in the antebellum and postbellum periods and up to what might be deemed the “Third Founding” …


(E)Racing Speech In School, Francesca I. Procaccini Jul 2023

(E)Racing Speech In School, Francesca I. Procaccini

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

Speech on race and racism in our nation’s public schools is under attack for partisan gain. The Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment teaches a lot about the wisdom and legality of laws that chill such speech in the classroom. But more importantly, a First Amendment analysis of these laws reveals profound insights about the health and meaning of our free speech doctrine.

Through a First Amendment analysis of “anti-critical race theory” laws, this essay illuminates the first principles of free speech law. Specifically, it shows that the First Amendment offers little refuge to teachers or parents looking to …


Asymmetric Review Of Qualified Immunity Appeals, Alexander A. Reinert Mar 2023

Asymmetric Review Of Qualified Immunity Appeals, Alexander A. Reinert

Articles

This article presents results from the most comprehensive study to date of the resolution of qualified immunity in the federal courts of appeals and the US Supreme Court. By analyzing more than 4000 appellate decisions issued between 2004 and 2015, this study provides novel insights into how courts of appeals resolve arguments for qualified immunity. Moreover, by conducting an unprecedented analysis of certiorari practice, this study reveals how the US Supreme Court has exercised its discretionary jurisdiction in the area of qualified immunity. The data presented here have significant implications for civil rights enforcement and the uniformity of federal law. …


The Disembodied First Amendment, Nathan Cortez, William M. Sage Feb 2023

The Disembodied First Amendment, Nathan Cortez, William M. Sage

Faculty Scholarship

First Amendment doctrine is becoming disembodied—increasingly detached from human speakers and listeners. Corporations claim that their speech rights limit government regulation of everything from product labeling to marketing to ordinary business licensing. Courts extend protections to commercial speech that ordinarily extended only to core political and religious speech. And now, we are told, automated information generated for cryptocurrencies, robocalling, and social media bots are also protected speech under the Constitution. Where does it end? It begins, no doubt, with corporate and commercial speech. We show, however, that heightened protection for corporate and commercial speech is built on several “artifices” - …


Qualified Immunity’S Flawed Foundation, Alexander A. Reinert Feb 2023

Qualified Immunity’S Flawed Foundation, Alexander A. Reinert

Articles

Qualified immunity has faced trenchant criticism for decades, but recent events have renewed focus on this powerful defense to liability for constitutional violations. This Article takes aim at the roots of the doctrine—fundamental errors that have never been excavated. First, this Article demonstrates that the Supreme Court’s qualified immunity jurisprudence is premised on a flawed application of a dubious canon of statutory construction—namely, that statutes in “derogation” of the common law should be strictly construed. Applying the Derogation Canon, the Court has held that 42 U.S.C. § 1983’s silence regarding immunity should be taken as an implicit adoption of common …


Surveillance Normalization, Christian Sundquist Jan 2023

Surveillance Normalization, Christian Sundquist

Articles

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the government has expanded public surveillance measures in an attempt to combat the spread of the virus. As the pandemic wears on, racialized communities and other marginalized groups are disproportionately affected by this increased level of surveillance. This article argues that increases in public surveillance as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic give rise to the normalization of surveillance in day-to-day life, with serious consequences for racialized communities and other marginalized groups. This article explores the legal and regulatory effects of surveillance normalization, as well as how to protect civil rights and liberties …


Aedpa Repeal, Brandon L. Garrett, Kaitlin Phillips Jan 2022

Aedpa Repeal, Brandon L. Garrett, Kaitlin Phillips

Faculty Scholarship

The Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (“AEDPA”) dramatically altered the scope of federal habeas corpus. Enacted in response to a domestic terrorism attack, followed by a capital prosecution, and after decades of proposals seeking to limit post conviction review of death sentences, and Supreme Court rulings severely limiting federal habeas remedies, AEDPA was ratified with little discussion or deliberation. The law and politics of death penalty litigation, which had been particularly active since the U.S. Supreme Court invalidated all death penalty schemes in its 1972 ruling in Furman v. Georgia, culminated in restrictions for all federal habeas …


Some Objections To Strict Liability For Constitutional Torts, Michael Wells Apr 2021

Some Objections To Strict Liability For Constitutional Torts, Michael Wells

Scholarly Works

Qualified immunity protects officials from damages for constitutional violations unless they have violated "clearly established" rights. Local governments enjoy no immunity, but they may not be sued on a vicarious liability theory for constitutional violations committed by their employees. Critics of the current regime would overturn these rules in order to vindicate constitutional rights and deter violations.

This Article argues that across-the-board abolition of these limits on liability would be unwise as the costs would outweigh the benefits. In some contexts, however, exceptions may be justified. Much of the recent controversy surrounding qualified immunity involves suits in which police officers …


Who Protects Whom: Federal Law As A Floor, Not A Ceiling, To Protect Students From Inappropriate Use Of Force By School Resource Officers, Elsa Haag Mar 2021

Who Protects Whom: Federal Law As A Floor, Not A Ceiling, To Protect Students From Inappropriate Use Of Force By School Resource Officers, Elsa Haag

Duke Journal of Constitutional Law & Public Policy Sidebar

Over the past forty years, students in the U.S. have experienced increasingly strict school discipline policies and increased police presence in schools. Sent into schools with the aim of improving security in the wake of mass shootings, school resource officers (SROs) are sworn law enforcement regularly assigned to schools. But there is a paucity of evidence that SROs are effective in preventing mass shootings or provide other significant benefits. Instead, research shows that the presence of SROs results in students achieving less and experiencing more physical and emotional harm, with long-term implications and costs for individuals and communities. As trained …


The Unconstitutional Police, Brandon Hasbrouck Jan 2021

The Unconstitutional Police, Brandon Hasbrouck

Scholarly Articles

Most Fourth Amendment cases arise under a basic fact pattern. Police decide to do something--say, stop and frisk a suspect. They find some crime--say, a gun or drugs--they arrest the suspect, and the suspect is subsequently charged with a crime. The suspect--who is all too often Black--becomes a defendant and challenges the police officers' initial decision as unconstitutional under the Fourth Amendment. The defendant seeks to suppress the evidence against them or perhaps to recover damages for serious injuries under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The courts subsequently constitutionalize the police officers' initial decision with little or no scrutiny. Effectively, the …


Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Wise Legal Giant, Thomas A. Schweitzer Jan 2021

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Wise Legal Giant, Thomas A. Schweitzer

Scholarly Works

No abstract provided.


Originalism From The Soft Southern Strategy To The New Right: The Constitutional Politics Of Sam Ervin Jr, Logan E. Sawyer Iii Jan 2021

Originalism From The Soft Southern Strategy To The New Right: The Constitutional Politics Of Sam Ervin Jr, Logan E. Sawyer Iii

Scholarly Works

Although originalism’s emergence as an important theory of constitutional interpretation is usually attributed to efforts by the Reagan administration, the role the theory played in the South’s determined resistance to civil rights legislation in the 1960s actually helped create the Reagan coalition in the first place. North Carolina Senator Sam Ervin Jr., the constitutional theorist of the Southern Caucus, developed and deployed originalism because he saw its potential to stymie civil rights legislation and stabilize a Democratic coalition under significant stress. Ervin failed in those efforts, but his turn to originalism had lasting effects. The theory helped Ervin and other …


Tainted Precedent, Darrell A. H. Miller Jan 2021

Tainted Precedent, Darrell A. H. Miller

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


Lawyers For White People?, Jessie Allen Jan 2021

Lawyers For White People?, Jessie Allen

Articles

This article investigates an anomalous legal ethics rule, and in the process exposes how current equal protection doctrine distorts civil rights regulation. When in 2016 the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct finally adopted its first ever rule forbidding discrimination in the practice of law, the rule carried a strange exemption: it does not apply to lawyers’ acceptance or rejection of clients. The exemption for client selection seems wrong. It contradicts the common understanding that in the U.S. today businesses may not refuse service on discriminatory grounds. It sends a message that lawyers enjoy a professional prerogative to discriminate against …


The Second Founding And The First Amendment, William M. Carter Jr. Jan 2021

The Second Founding And The First Amendment, William M. Carter Jr.

Articles

Constitutional doctrine generally proceeds from the premise that the original intent and public understanding of pre-Civil War constitutional provisions carries forward unchanged from the colonial Founding era. This premise is flawed because it ignores the Nation’s Second Founding: i.e., the constitutional moment culminating in the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments and the civil rights statutes enacted pursuant thereto. The Second Founding, in addition to providing specific new individual rights and federal powers, also represented a fundamental shift in our constitutional order. The Second Founding’s constitutional regime provided that the underlying systemic rules and norms of the First Founding’s Constitution …


Towards A Law Of Inclusive Planning: A Response To “Fair Housing For A Non-Sexist City”, Olatunde C.A. Johnson Jan 2021

Towards A Law Of Inclusive Planning: A Response To “Fair Housing For A Non-Sexist City”, Olatunde C.A. Johnson

Faculty Scholarship

Noah Kazis’s important article, Fair Housing for a Non-sexist City, shows how law shapes the contours of neighborhoods and embeds forms of inequality, and how fair housing law can provide a remedy. Kazis surfaces two dimensions of housing that generate inequality and that are sometimes invisible. Kazis highlights the role of planning and design rules – the seemingly identity-neutral zoning, code enforcement, and land-use decisions that act as a form of law. Kazis also reveals how gendered norms underlie those rules and policies. These aspects of Kazis’s project link to commentary on the often invisible, gendered norms that shape …


Pursuing Diversity: From Education To Employment, Amy L. Wax Oct 2020

Pursuing Diversity: From Education To Employment, Amy L. Wax

All Faculty Scholarship

A central pillar of the Supreme Court’s educational affirmative-action jurisprudence is that the pedagogical benefits of being educated with students from diverse backgrounds are sufficiently “compelling” to justify some degree of race-conscious selection in university admissions.

This essay argues that the blanket permission to advance educational diversity, defensible or not, should not be extended to employment. The purpose of the workplace is not pedagogical. Rather, employees are hired and paid to do a job, deliver a service, produce a product, and complete specified tasks efficiently and effectively. Whether race-conscious practices for the purpose of creating a more diverse workforce will …


The Expansive Reach Of Pretrial Detention, Paul Heaton Feb 2020

The Expansive Reach Of Pretrial Detention, Paul Heaton

All Faculty Scholarship

Today we know much more about the effects of pretrial detention than we did even five years ago. Multiple empirical studies have emerged that shed new light on the far-reaching impacts of bail decisions made at the earliest stages of the criminal adjudication process. The takeaway from this new generation of studies is that pretrial detention has substantial downstream effects on both the operation of the criminal justice system and on defendants themselves, causally increasing the likelihood of a conviction, the severity of the sentence, and, in some jurisdictions, defendants’ likelihood of future contact with the criminal justice system. Detention …


Rules, Tricks And Emancipation, Jessie Allen Jan 2020

Rules, Tricks And Emancipation, Jessie Allen

Book Chapters

Rules and tricks are generally seen as different things. Rules produce order and control; tricks produce chaos. Rules help us predict how things will work out. Tricks are deceptive and transgressive, built to surprise us and confound our expectations in ways that can be entertaining or devastating. But rules can be tricky. General prohibitions and prescriptions generate surprising results in particular contexts. In some situations, a rule produces results that seem far from what the rule makers expected and antagonistic to the interests the rule is understood to promote. This contradictory aspect of rules is usually framed as a downside …


The Strict Scrutiny Of Black And Blaqueer Life, T. Anansi Wilson Jan 2020

The Strict Scrutiny Of Black And Blaqueer Life, T. Anansi Wilson

Faculty Scholarship

Furtive Blackness: On Blackness and Being (“Furtive Blackness”) and The Strict Scrutiny of Black and BlaQueer Life (“Strict Scrutiny”) take a fresh approach to both criminal law and constitutional law; particularly as they apply to African descended peoples in the United States. This is an intervention as to the description of the terms of Blackness in light of the social order but, also, an exposure of the failures and gaps of law. This is why the categories as we have them are inefficient to account for Black life. The way legal scholars have encountered and understood the language of law …


Furtive Blackness: On Blackness And Being, T. Anansi Wilson Jan 2020

Furtive Blackness: On Blackness And Being, T. Anansi Wilson

Faculty Scholarship

Furtive Blackness: On Blackness and Being (“Furtive Blackness”) and The Strict Scrutiny of Black and BlaQueer Life (“Strict Scrutiny”) take a fresh approach to both criminal law and constitutional law; particularly as they apply to African descended peoples in the United States. This is an intervention as to the description of the terms of Blackness in light of the social order but, also, an exposure of the failures and gaps of law. This is why the categories as we have them are inefficient to account for Black life. The way legal scholars have encountered and understood the language of law …


Race And Reasonableness In Police Killings, Jeffrey A. Fagan, Alexis D. Campbell Jan 2020

Race And Reasonableness In Police Killings, Jeffrey A. Fagan, Alexis D. Campbell

Faculty Scholarship

Police officers in the United States have killed over 1000 civilians each year since 2013. The constitutional landscape that regulates these encounters defaults to the judgments of the reasonable police officer at the time of a civilian encounter based on the officer’s assessment of whether threats to their safety or the safety of others requires deadly force. As many of these killings have begun to occur under similar circumstances, scholars have renewed a contentious debate on whether police disproportionately use deadly force against African Americans and other nonwhite civilians and whether such killings reflect racial bias. We analyze data on …


Misplaced Constitutional Rights, Brandon L. Garrett Jan 2020

Misplaced Constitutional Rights, Brandon L. Garrett

Faculty Scholarship

Constitutional rulings risk an unnoticed type of mission creep: misplacement through adoption in settings that they were not designed to regulate. This Article describes how in a set of important areas—and sometimes despite the Supreme Court’s explicit cautionary language—constitutional rules have taken hold outside of the settings that they were primarily designed to regulate, providing unanticipated additions to rules and practice. Constitutional rights and standards are often context limited to particular government actors, procedural settings, or remedies. Based on the text of the Constitution or precedent, some rights apply only during civil cases, while others apply only during criminal cases; …


Discrimination, The Speech That Enables It, And The First Amendment, Helen Norton Jan 2020

Discrimination, The Speech That Enables It, And The First Amendment, Helen Norton

Publications

Imagine that you’re interviewing for your dream job, only to be asked by the hiring committee whether you’re pregnant. Or HIV positive. Or Muslim. Does the First Amendment protect your interviewers’ inquiries from government regulation? This Article explores that question.

Antidiscrimination laws forbid employers, housing providers, insurers, lenders, and other gatekeepers from relying on certain characteristics in their decision-making. Many of these laws also regulate those actors’ speech by prohibiting them from inquiring about applicants’ protected class characteristics; these provisions seek to stop illegal discrimination before it occurs by preventing gatekeepers from eliciting information that would enable them to discriminate. …


Foreword, National Injunctions: What Does The Future Hold?, Suzette Malveaux Jan 2020

Foreword, National Injunctions: What Does The Future Hold?, Suzette Malveaux

Publications

This Foreword is to the 27th Annual Ira C. Rothgerber Jr. Conference, National Injunctions: What Does the Future Hold?, which was hosted by The Byron R. White Center for the Study of American Constitutional Law at the University of Colorado Law School, on Apr. 5, 2019.


Equality Opportunity And The Schoolhouse Gate, Derek Black, Michelle Adams Jun 2019

Equality Opportunity And The Schoolhouse Gate, Derek Black, Michelle Adams

Faculty Publications

Public schools have generated some of the most far-reaching cases to come before the Supreme Court. They have involved nearly every major civil right and liberty found in the Bill of Rights. The cases are often reflections of larger societal ills and anxieties, from segregation and immigration to religion and civil discourse over war. In that respect, they go to the core of the nation’s values. Yet constitutional law scholars have largely ignored education law as a distinct area of study and importance.

Justin Driver’s book cures that shortcoming, offering a three-dimensional view of how the Court’s education law jurisprudence …


Conditionality And Constitutional Change, Felix B. Chang May 2019

Conditionality And Constitutional Change, Felix B. Chang

Faculty Articles and Other Publications

The burgeoning field of Critical Romani Studies explores the persistent subjugation of Europe’s largest minority, the Roma. Within this field, it has become fashionable to draw parallels to the U.S. Civil Rights Movement. Yet the comparisons are often one-sided; lessons tend to flow from Civil Rights to Roma Rights more than the other way around. It is an all-too-common hagiography of Civil Rights, where our history becomes a blueprint for other movements for racial equality.

To correct this trend, this Essay reveals what American scholars can learn from Roma Rights. Specifically, this Essay argues that the European Union’s Roma integration …


Republicans And The Voting Rights Act, Michael T. Morley Jan 2019

Republicans And The Voting Rights Act, Michael T. Morley

Scholarly Publications

No abstract provided.


An Intersectional Critique Of Tiers Of Scrutiny: Beyond “Either/Or” Approaches To Equal Protection, Devon W. Carbado, Kimberlé W. Crenshaw Jan 2019

An Intersectional Critique Of Tiers Of Scrutiny: Beyond “Either/Or” Approaches To Equal Protection, Devon W. Carbado, Kimberlé W. Crenshaw

Faculty Scholarship

For the past forty years, Justice Powell’s concurring opinion in University of California v. Bakke has been at the center of scholarly debates about affirmative action. Notwithstanding the enormous attention Justice Powell’s concurrence has received, scholars have paid little attention to a passage in that opinion that expressly takes up the issue of gender. Drawing on the theory of intersectionality, this Essay explains several ways in which its reasoning is flawed. The Essay also shows how interrogating Justice Powell’s “single axis” race and gender analysis raises broader questions about tiers of scrutiny for Black women. Through a hypothetical of a …