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Columbia Law School


Harvard Law Review

Constitutional Law

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Full-Text Articles in Law

A Softer Formalism, Peter L. Strauss Jan 2011

A Softer Formalism, Peter L. Strauss

Faculty Scholarship

As our colleagues have often remarked, Professor John Manning's and my views have moved much closer to each other since I wrote the piece he graciously uses as the stalking horse for unmitigated functionalism, and he more recently established himself as the scholarly spokesperson for Scalian textualism and formalism.

I greatly admire the moderate and exquisitely informed voice of Separation of Powers as Ordinary Interpretation, which deserves the important influence it will doubtless have. The brief thoughts that follow are to suggest only that (as scholars often enough do) he somewhat exaggerates the characteristics of the schools that he ...

The Anticanon, Jamal Greene Jan 2011

The Anticanon, Jamal Greene

Faculty Scholarship

Argument from the "anticanon," the set of cases whose central propositions all legitimate decisions must refute, has become a persistent but curious feature of American constitutional law. These cases, Dred Scott v. Sandford, Plessy v. Ferguson, Lochner v. New York, and Korematsu v. United States, are consistently cited in Supreme Court opinions, in constitutional law casebooks, and at confirmation hearings as prime examples of weak constitutional analysis. Upon reflection, however, anticanonical cases do not involve unusually bad reasoning, nor are they uniquely morally repugnant. Rather, these cases are held out as examples for reasons external to conventional constitutional argument. This ...