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Confrontation's Multi-Analyst Problem, Paul F. Rothstein, Ronald J. Coleman Apr 2021

Confrontation's Multi-Analyst Problem, Paul F. Rothstein, Ronald J. Coleman

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

The Confrontation Clause in the Sixth Amendment affords the “accused” in “criminal prosecutions” the right “to be confronted with the witnesses against” them. A particular challenge for courts over at least the last decade-plus has been the degree to which the Confrontation Clause applies to forensic reports, such as those presenting the results of a DNA, toxicology, or other CSI-type analysis. Should use of forensic reports entitle criminal defendants to confront purportedly “objective” analysts from the lab producing the report? If so, which analyst or analysts? For forensic processes which require multiple analysts, should the prosecution be required to produce ...


Testa, Crain, And The Constitutional Right To Collateral Relief, Carlos Manuel Vázquez, Stephen I. Vladeck Jan 2021

Testa, Crain, And The Constitutional Right To Collateral Relief, Carlos Manuel Vázquez, Stephen I. Vladeck

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

In Montgomery v. Louisiana, the U.S. Supreme Court held that state prisoners have a constitutional right to relief from continued imprisonment if the prisoner’s conviction or sentence contravenes a new substantive rule of constitutional law. Specifically, the Court held that prisoners with such claims are constitutionally entitled to collateral relief in state court—at least if the state courts are open to other claims for collateral relief on the ground that their continued imprisonment is unlawful. In our article, The Constitutional Right to Collateral Post-Conviction Relief, we argued that, under two lines of Supreme Court decisions interpreting the ...


The Evolution And Jurisprudence Of The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court And Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court Of Review, Laura K. Donohue Jan 2021

The Evolution And Jurisprudence Of The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court And Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court Of Review, Laura K. Donohue

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

The past eight years have witnessed an explosion in the number of publicly-available opinions and orders issued by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court and Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review. From only six opinions in the public domain 1978–2012, by early 2021, eighty-eight opinions had been released. The sharp departure is even more pronounced in relation to orders: from only one order declassified during 1978–2012, since 2013, 288 have been formally released. These documents highlight how the courts’s roles have evolved since 2004 and reveal four key areas that dominate the courts’ jurisprudence: its position as a ...


Constitutional Skepticism And Local Facts, Louis Michael Seidman Jan 2021

Constitutional Skepticism And Local Facts, Louis Michael Seidman

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Are written constitutions evil? In his new book, Constitutional Idolatry and Democracy, Brian Christoper Jones argues that they are. He claims that written constitutions fail to unite societies, degrade democratic engagement, and obstruct necessary constitutional maintenance. This review of his book argues that he is mostly right about the effects of the American Constitution, but that the effects of other constitutions will vary depending upon local facts.


Bivens And The Ancien Régime, Carlos Manuel Vázquez Jan 2021

Bivens And The Ancien Régime, Carlos Manuel Vázquez

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

In its most recent decision narrowly construing Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Federal Bureau of Narcotics, the Supreme Court derided Bivens as the product of an “‘ancien regime,’ ... [in which] the Court assumed it to be a proper judicial function to ‘provide such remedies as are necessary to make effective’ a statute’s purpose.” This Essay considers the relevance for Bivens claims of the Court’s shift to a nouveau régime to address the implication of private rights of action under statutes. It first describes and assesses the Court’s reasons for shifting to the nouveau ...


Correlation And Constitutional Rights, Laura K. Donohue Aug 2020

Correlation And Constitutional Rights, Laura K. Donohue

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Skepticism among American scholars about the value of analytic legal positivism stems in part from the pervasiveness of private law in analytic jurisprudence. Wesley Hohfeld’s influential framework proves little different: although he claims that the jural relations apply to constitutional entitlements, he relies on private law for their exposition. Matthew Kramer’s scholarship clarifies and develops Hohfeld’s framework and draws greater attention to its application in the public realm. This chapter advances the discussion by examining the application of the Hohfeld-Kramer framing to constitutional law in particular, demonstrating the weaknesses in assuming that the private law model can ...


Chevron As Construction, Lawrence B. Solum, Cass R. Sunstein Jul 2020

Chevron As Construction, Lawrence B. Solum, Cass R. Sunstein

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

In 1984, the Supreme Court declared that courts should uphold agency interpretations of ambiguous statutory provisions, so long as those interpretations are reasonable. The Chevron framework, as it is called, is now under serious pressure. Current debates can be both illuminated and softened with reference to an old distinction between interpretation on the one hand and construction on the other. In cases of interpretation, judges (or agencies) must ascertain the meaning of a statutory term. In cases of construction, judges (or agencies) must develop implementing principles or specify a statutory term. Chevron as construction is supported by powerful arguments; it ...


Issuance Of The Keystone Xl Permit: Presidential Prerogative Or Presidential “Chutzpah”, Hope M. Babcock May 2020

Issuance Of The Keystone Xl Permit: Presidential Prerogative Or Presidential “Chutzpah”, Hope M. Babcock

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

This article uses President Trump's issuance of the Keystone XL Pipeline permit to illustrate the dangers of an imperial presidency, one in which the exercise of discretionary authority, based on neither the text of Article II of the Constitution nor a statute, will in all likelihood be unchecked by Congress, the courts, or popular opinion. To understand the dimensions of this concern, Part I of this article briefly describes the process and requirements for a presidential permit. Part II identifies key facts surrounding issuance of the Keystone XL Pipeline permit, the chronology of its issuance, and commonly given reasons ...


Governmental Public Health Powers During The Covid-19 Pandemic: Stay-At-Home Orders, Business Closures, And Travel Restrictions, Lawrence O. Gostin, Lindsay F. Wiley Apr 2020

Governmental Public Health Powers During The Covid-19 Pandemic: Stay-At-Home Orders, Business Closures, And Travel Restrictions, Lawrence O. Gostin, Lindsay F. Wiley

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

The president and all 50 governors have declared health emergencies to combat the spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), which causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). While researchers race for vaccines, officials are implementing physical distancing, including orders to stay at home, restrict travel, and close non-essential businesses. To limit cross-border spread, a few states have issued mandatory quarantines for interstate travelers. Models suggest physical distancing would have to persist for 3 months to mitigate peak impacts on health systems and could continue on an intermittent basis for 12-18 months. What legal powers do governments have? What is ...


Gerrymandering Justiciability, Girardeau A. Spann Apr 2020

Gerrymandering Justiciability, Girardeau A. Spann

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

As illustrated by its 2019 decision in Rucho v. Common Cause, the Supreme Court has gerrymandered its justiciability doctrines in a way that protects the political power of white voters. Comparing the Court’s willingness to find racial gerrymanders justiciable with its refusal to find partisan gerrymanders justiciable reveals a lack of doctrinal constraint. That gives the Court the discretionary power to uphold or strike down particular gerrymanders by deeming them racial or partisan in nature. Such discretion is problematic because, when the Supreme Court has exercised discretion in a racial context, it has historically done so to protect the ...


New Media, Free Expression, And The Offences Against The State Acts, Laura K. Donohue Mar 2020

New Media, Free Expression, And The Offences Against The State Acts, Laura K. Donohue

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

New media facilitates communication and creates a common, lived experience. It also carries the potential for great harm on an individual and societal scale. Posting integrates information and emotion, with study after study finding that fear and anger transfer most readily online. Isolation follows, with insular groups forming. The result is an increasing bifurcation of society. Scholars also write about rising levels of depression and suicide that stem from online dependence and replacing analogical experience with digital interaction, as well as escalating levels of anxiety that are rooted in the validation expectation of the ‘like’ function. These changes generate instability ...


Confronting Memory Loss, Paul F. Rothstein, Ronald J. Coleman Feb 2020

Confronting Memory Loss, Paul F. Rothstein, Ronald J. Coleman

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

The Confrontation Clause of the Sixth Amendment grants “the accused” in “all criminal prosecutions” a right “to be confronted with the witnesses against him.” A particular problem occurs when there is a gap in time between the testimony that is offered, and the cross-examination of it, as where, pursuant to a hearsay exception or exemption, evidence of a current witness’s prior statement is offered and for some intervening reason her current memory is impaired. Does this fatally affect the opportunity to “confront” the witness? The Supreme Court has, to date, left unclear the extent to which a memory-impaired witness ...


Why A Wealth Tax Is Definitely Constitutional, John R. Brooks, David Gamage Jan 2020

Why A Wealth Tax Is Definitely Constitutional, John R. Brooks, David Gamage

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Wealth tax reform proposals are playing a major role in the 2020 presidential campaign. However, some opponents of these wealth tax reform proposals have claimed that a wealth tax would be unconstitutional. Other prominent critics have argued that wealth tax reforms are probably unconstitutional, so that, after review by the courts, the “likeliest outcome is that a wealth tax will raise exactly zero dollars.”

These claims are wrong. More precisely, these claims are wrong conditioned on wealth tax legislation being carefully drafted so as to ensure its constitutionality. As we will explain in this essay, properly drafted, wealth tax reform ...


Three Keys To The Original Meaning Of The Privileges Or Immunities Clause, Randy E. Barnett Jan 2020

Three Keys To The Original Meaning Of The Privileges Or Immunities Clause, Randy E. Barnett

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Establishing the original meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment’s Privileges or Immunities Clause requires a wealth of evidence. But three key data points are crucial to identifying the core of its meaning. First, Supreme Court Justice Washington’s explanation of the meaning of “privileges and immunities” in Corfield v. Coryell; second, the rights protected by the Civil Rights Act of 1866; and third, Michigan Senator Jacob Howard’s speech explaining the content of the Privileges or Immunities Clause when introducing the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Senate in 1866. Any theory of the Privileges or Immunities Clause and its ...


Rucho Is Right – But For The Wrong Reasons, Louis Michael Seidman Jan 2020

Rucho Is Right – But For The Wrong Reasons, Louis Michael Seidman

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

In Rucho v. Common Cause, the Supreme Court ended its long struggle to formulate constitutional standards to regulate political gerrymandering by declaring that it was not up to the job. The Court held that it could come up with no manageable standards governing the controversy and that it therefore posed a nonjusticiable political question.

In this brief comment, I attempt defend this outcome. The task is not easy, and I hope that the reader will at least give me some points for degree of difficulty. There is no denying that partisan gerrymandering is a very serious evil and there is ...


The Ratchet Wreck: Equality’S Leveling Down Problem, Louis Michael Seidman Jan 2020

The Ratchet Wreck: Equality’S Leveling Down Problem, Louis Michael Seidman

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Constitutional equality law has a two-way ratchet problem. When someone demonstrates that a government policy treats her unequally, the injury can be remedied by improving things for the claimant, but it can also be remedied by leaving the claimant’s status unchanged while making things worse for the people advantaged by the policy. If a court chooses the latter option, it diminishes the welfare of some people while arguably not improving welfare of anyone else. Why is that a good idea?

Courts have often attempted to avoid hard questions like these by leveling up – that is by allowing advantaged persons ...


The President And Nuclear Weapons: Authorities, Limits, And Process, Mary B. Derosa, Ashley Nicolas Dec 2019

The President And Nuclear Weapons: Authorities, Limits, And Process, Mary B. Derosa, Ashley Nicolas

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

There is no more consequential decision for a president than ordering a nuclear strike. In the Cold War, the threat of sudden nuclear annihilation necessitated procedures emphasizing speed and efficiency and placing sole decision-making authority in the president’s hands. In today’s changed threat environment, the legal authorities and process a U.S. president would confront when making this grave decision merit reexamination. This paper serves as a resource in the national discussion about a president’s legal authority and the procedures for ordering a nuclear strike, and whether to update them.


Brief Of Amicus Curiae 290 Criminal Law And Mental Health Law Professors In Support Of Petitioner's Request For Reversal And Remand, Kahler V. Kansas, 18-6135 (U.S. June 6, 2019), Paul F. Rothstein Jun 2019

Brief Of Amicus Curiae 290 Criminal Law And Mental Health Law Professors In Support Of Petitioner's Request For Reversal And Remand, Kahler V. Kansas, 18-6135 (U.S. June 6, 2019), Paul F. Rothstein

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Amici curiae are a group of philosophically and politically diverse law school professors and scholars in the fields of criminal law and mental health from a variety of disciplines who have been teaching and writing about the insanity defense and related issues throughout their careers. They include the authors of leading criminal law and mental health law treatises and casebooks and numerous important scholarly books and articles.

Amici believe this case raises important questions about principles of criminal responsibility, the integral role of the insanity defense in Anglo-American law, and the inadequacy of the “mens rea alternative” to the traditional ...


Customs, Immigration, And Rights: Constitutional Limits On Electronic Border Searches, Laura K. Donohue Apr 2019

Customs, Immigration, And Rights: Constitutional Limits On Electronic Border Searches, Laura K. Donohue

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

The warrantless search of travelers’ electronic devices as they enter and exit the United States is rapidly increasing. While the Supreme Court has long recognized a border-search exception to the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement, it applies to only two interests: promoting the duty regime and preventing contraband from entering the country; and ensuring that individuals are legally admitted. The government’s recent use of the exception goes substantially beyond these matters. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) are using it to search electronic devices, and at times the cloud, for evidence of ...


Originalism Versus Living Constitutionalism: The Conceptual Structure Of The Great Debate, Lawrence B. Solum Apr 2019

Originalism Versus Living Constitutionalism: The Conceptual Structure Of The Great Debate, Lawrence B. Solum

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

This Essay explores the conceptual structure of the great debate about “originalism” and “living constitutionalism.” The core of the great debate is substantive and addresses the normative question, “What is the best theory of constitutional interpretation and construction?” That question leads to others, including questions about the various forms and variations of originalism and living constitutionalism. Originalists argue that the meaning of the constitutional text is fixed and that it should bind constitutional actors. Living constitutionalists contend that constitutional law can and should evolve in response to changing circumstances and values. This Essay advances a metalinguistic proposal for classifying theories ...


No Arbitrary Power: An Originalist Theory Of The Due Process Of Law, Randy E. Barnett, Evan Bernick Apr 2019

No Arbitrary Power: An Originalist Theory Of The Due Process Of Law, Randy E. Barnett, Evan Bernick

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

“Due process of law” is arguably the most controversial and frequently-litigated phrase in the American Constitution. Although the dominant originalist view has long been that Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process of Law Clauses are solely “process” guarantees and don’t constrain the “substance” of legislation at all, originalist scholars have in recent years made fresh inquiries into the historical evidence and concluded that there’s a weighty case for some form of substantive due process. In this Article, we review and critique these findings employing our theory of good-faith originalist interpretation and construction.

We begin by investigating the ...


Texas V United States: The Affordable Care Act Is Constitutional And Will Remain So, Lawrence O. Gostin Jan 2019

Texas V United States: The Affordable Care Act Is Constitutional And Will Remain So, Lawrence O. Gostin

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

On December 14, 2018, in a widely reported decision, a federal judge in Texas ruled that the entire Affordable Care Act (ACA) is unconstitutional. The judge reasoned that since the ACA’s “individual mandate” is unconstitutional, the rest of the law cannot stand without it. However, the ACA will remain in place pending appeal, and it is highly unlikely that this ruling will stand.


The Privileges Or Immunities Clause Abridged: A Critique Of Kurt Lash On The Fourteenth Amendment, Randy E. Barnett, Evan Bernick Jan 2019

The Privileges Or Immunities Clause Abridged: A Critique Of Kurt Lash On The Fourteenth Amendment, Randy E. Barnett, Evan Bernick

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

The Privileges or Immunities Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment was virtually eliminated by the Supreme Court in three cases: The Slaughter-House Cases, Bradwell v. Illinois, and United States v. Cruikshank. Today, most constitutional scholars agree that this was a terrible mistake, the effects of which continue to reverberate through our constitutional law. But, as evidenced by the Court’s decision in McDonald v. City of Chicago, both the “left” and “right” sides of the Court are reluctant to open the “Pandora’s Box” of uncertainty created by the phrase “privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States.” Scholars have ...


Functional Equivalence And Residual Rights Post-Carpenter: Framing A Test Consistent With Precedent And Original Meaning, Laura K. Donohue Jan 2019

Functional Equivalence And Residual Rights Post-Carpenter: Framing A Test Consistent With Precedent And Original Meaning, Laura K. Donohue

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

The Carpenter Court held that warrantless access to seven or more days of cell site location information (CSLI) constitutes a violation of the reasonable expectation of privacy that individuals have in the whole of their physical movements. But the grounds on which the Court drew a line characterize all sorts of digital records—including those at issue in Miller and Smith, belying the majority’s claim that the decision leaves third-party doctrine intact. Instead of avoiding Katz’s pitfalls, moreover, the Court emphasized voluntary assumption of risk, doubling down on the subjective nature of judicial determination. The decision will likely ...


Aedpa As Forum Allocation: The Textual And Structural Case For Overruling Williams V. Taylor, Carlos Manuel Vázquez Jan 2019

Aedpa As Forum Allocation: The Textual And Structural Case For Overruling Williams V. Taylor, Carlos Manuel Vázquez

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

In Williams v. Taylor, the Supreme Court read a section of the Anti- Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA) to change the long-prevailing de novo standard of review of federal habeas petitions by state prisoners. In holding that Congress had denied the lower federal courts the power to grant habeas relief to prisoners in custody pursuant to wrong but reasonable state court decisions, the Court departed from the provision’s text and relied instead on its perception of a generalized congressional purpose to cut back on habeas relief and on the non-redundancy canon of statutory construction. On both scores ...


The Declaration Of Independence And The American Theory Of Government: “First Come Rights, And Then Comes Government”, Randy E. Barnett Jan 2019

The Declaration Of Independence And The American Theory Of Government: “First Come Rights, And Then Comes Government”, Randy E. Barnett

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

The topic of this panel is the Declaration of Independence, to which I devoted a chapter of my recent book, Our Republican Constitution. I want to draw on that book to make five points.


On Being Old Codgers: A Conversation About A Half Century In Legal Education, Mark Tushnet, Louis Michael Seidman Jan 2019

On Being Old Codgers: A Conversation About A Half Century In Legal Education, Mark Tushnet, Louis Michael Seidman

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

This conversation, conducted over three evenings, captures some of our thoughts about the last half century of legal education as both of us near retirement. We have edited the conversations so as to eliminate verbal stumbles and present our ideas more coherently, slightly reorganized a small part of the conversation, and added a few explanatory footnotes. However, we have attempted to keep the informal tone of our discussions.


The Difference Narrows: A Reply To Kurt Lash, Randy E. Barnett, Evan Bernick Jan 2019

The Difference Narrows: A Reply To Kurt Lash, Randy E. Barnett, Evan Bernick

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

No abstract provided.


Progressive And Populist Strands In American Constitutionalism, Louis Michael Seidman Jan 2019

Progressive And Populist Strands In American Constitutionalism, Louis Michael Seidman

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Many modern liberals believe that the federal government is captured by a “billionaire party” determined to wield public power for private gain. But many of them also believe in giving the federal government greatly enhanced powers, like administering “Medicare for all.”

There is a history to this contradiction. Modern liberalism is an amalgam of older populist and progressive impulses with deep roots in the country’s past. The populist impulse locates the source of economic oppression in government corruption. The solution to this problem is direct, popular democracy. Progressives tend to locate the source of economic oppression in the malfunction ...


The Case Of The Dishonest Scrivener: Gouverneur Morris And The Creation Of The Federalist Constitution, William M. Treanor Jan 2019

The Case Of The Dishonest Scrivener: Gouverneur Morris And The Creation Of The Federalist Constitution, William M. Treanor

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

At the end of the proceedings of the federal constitutional convention, the delegates appointed the Committee of Style and Arrangement to bring together the textual provisions that the convention had previously agreed to and to prepare a final constitution. Pennsylvania delegate Gouverneur Morris drafted the document for the committee, and, with few revisions and little debate, the convention subsequently adopted the constitution proposed by the Committee. For more than two hundred years, questions have been raised as to whether Morris as drafter covertly made changes to the text in order to advance his constitutional vision, but the legal scholars and ...