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Civil rights

Constitutional Law

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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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


Tainted Precedent, Darrell A. H. Miller Jan 2021

Tainted Precedent, Darrell A. H. Miller

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


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

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

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 ...


The Expansive Reach Of Pretrial Detention, Paul Heaton Feb 2020

The Expansive Reach Of Pretrial Detention, Paul Heaton

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

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 ...


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

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

Articles

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.


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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


An Intersectional Critique Of Tiers Of Scrutiny: Beyond “Either/Or” Approaches To Equal Protection, Devon W. Carbado, Kimberlé W. Crenshaw Jan 2020

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 ...


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

Articles

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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


Doctrinal Dynamism, Borrowing, And The Relationship Between Rules And Rights, Joseph Blocher, Luke Morgan Jan 2019

Doctrinal Dynamism, Borrowing, And The Relationship Between Rules And Rights, Joseph Blocher, Luke Morgan

Faculty Scholarship

The study of "Rights Dynamism," exemplified in Timothy Zick' s new book on the First Amendment's relationship with the rest of the Bill of Rights, can enrich our understanding of constitutional rights. It also opens a door to another potentially fruitful arena: what we call "Doctrinal Dynamism." Constitutional rights often interact and generate new meanings and applications by way of importing and exporting one another's doctrinal rules, even when the rights themselves do not intersect directly in the context of a single case. Focusing on these doctrinal exchanges can illuminate the strengths and weaknesses of various rules, the ...


Bans, Joseph Blocher Jan 2019

Bans, Joseph Blocher

Faculty Scholarship

In the universe of legal restrictions subject to judicial review, those characterized as fully denying some aspect of a constitutional right—bans—are often subject to per se rules of invalidity. Whether the subject of the restriction is a medium of expression, the valuable use of property, or a class of weapons, courts in such cases will often short-circuit the standard doctrinal machinery and strike down the law, even if it might have survived heightened scrutiny. Identifying laws as bans can thus provide an end run around the tiers of scrutiny and other familiar forms of means-ends analysis.

And yet ...


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.


Response: Rights As Trumps Of What?, Joseph Blocher Jan 2019

Response: Rights As Trumps Of What?, Joseph Blocher

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


Constitutional Conflict And Sensitive Places, Darrell A. H. Miller Jan 2019

Constitutional Conflict And Sensitive Places, Darrell A. H. Miller

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


Immigration Unilateralism And American Ethnonationalism, Robert L. Tsai Jan 2019

Immigration Unilateralism And American Ethnonationalism, Robert L. Tsai

Faculty Scholarship

This paper arose from an invited symposium on "Democracy in America: The Promise and the Perils," held at Loyola University Chicago School of Law in Spring 2019. The essay places the Trump administration’s immigration and refugee policy in the context of a resurgent ethnonationalist movement in America as well as the constitutional politics of the past. In particular, it argues that Trumpism’s suspicion of foreigners who are Hispanic or Muslim, its move toward indefinite detention and separation of families, and its disdain for so-called “chain migration” are best understood as part of an assault on the political settlement ...


The Middle-Class Constitution: A Response, Ganesh Sitaraman Jan 2018

The Middle-Class Constitution: A Response, Ganesh Sitaraman

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

I am very grateful to the Boston University Law Review for bringing together such a terrific group of scholars to engage with my book, The Crisis of the Middle-Class Constitution: Why Economic Inequality Threatens Our Republic. It is a testament to the work and excellence of the Boston University Law Review that they pulled together such an intellectually engaging group of commentators. My deepest thanks also to Professors Markovits, Rahman, Lyons, Epstein, and Somin for taking the time to read the book and comment on it.


Preclusion Law As A Model For National Injunctions, Suzette M. Malveaux Jan 2018

Preclusion Law As A Model For National Injunctions, Suzette M. Malveaux

Articles

No abstract provided.


Martin, Ghana, And Global Legal Studies, H. Timothy Lovelace Jr. Jan 2018

Martin, Ghana, And Global Legal Studies, H. Timothy Lovelace Jr.

Faculty Scholarship

This brief essay uses global legal studies to reconsider Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s activism after Gayle v. Browder. During this undertheorized portion of King's career, the civil rights leader traveled the world and gained a greater appreciation for comparative legal and political analysis. This essay explores King's first trip abroad and demonstrates how King's close study of Kwame Nkrumah's approaches to law reform helped to lay the foundation for watershed moments in King's own life.

In To Redeem the Soul of America: The Southern Christian Leadership Conference and Martin Luther King, Jr., renowned ...


The Rights Of Marriage: Obergefell, Din, And The Future Of Constitutional Family Law, Kerry Abrams Jan 2018

The Rights Of Marriage: Obergefell, Din, And The Future Of Constitutional Family Law, Kerry Abrams

Faculty Scholarship

In the summer of 2015 the United States Supreme Court handed down two groundbreaking constitutional family law decisions. One decision became famous overnight Obergefell v. Hodges declared that same-sex couples have the constitutional right to marry. The other, Kerry v. Din, went largely overlooked. That later case concerned not the right to marry but the rights of marriage. In particular, it asked whether a person has a constitutional liberty interest in living with his or her spouse. This case is suddenly of paramount importance: executive orders targeting particular groups of immigrants implicate directly this right to family reunification.

This Article ...


Race And Representation Revisited: The New Racial Gerrymandering Cases And Section 2 Of The Vra, Guy-Uriel Charles, Luis Fuentes-Rohwer Jan 2018

Race And Representation Revisited: The New Racial Gerrymandering Cases And Section 2 Of The Vra, Guy-Uriel Charles, Luis Fuentes-Rohwer

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


The Technologies Of Race: Big Data, Privacy And The New Racial Bioethics, Christian Sundquist Jan 2018

The Technologies Of Race: Big Data, Privacy And The New Racial Bioethics, Christian Sundquist

Articles

Advancements in genetic technology have resurrected long discarded conceptualizations of “race” as a biological reality. The rise of modern biological race thinking – as evidenced in health disparity research, personal genomics, DNA criminal forensics, and bio-databanking - not only is scientifically unsound but portends the future normalization of racial inequality. This Article articulates a constitutional theory of shared humanity, rooted in the substantive due process doctrine and Ninth Amendment, to counter the socio-legal acceptance of modern genetic racial differentiation. It argues that state actions that rely on biological racial distinctions undermine the essential personhood of individuals subjected to such taxonomies, thus violating ...