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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 ...


When Guns Threaten The Public Sphere: A New Account Of Public Safety Regulation Under Heller, Joseph Blocher, Reva B. Siegel Jan 2021

When Guns Threaten The Public Sphere: A New Account Of Public Safety Regulation Under Heller, Joseph Blocher, Reva B. Siegel

Faculty Scholarship

Government regulates guns, it is widely assumed, because of the death and injuries guns can inflict. This standard account is radically incomplete—and in ways that dramatically skew constitutional analysis of gun rights. As we show in an account of the armed protesters who invaded the Michigan legislature in 2020, guns can be used not only to injure but also to intimidate. The government must regulate guns to prevent physical injuries and weapons threats in order to protect public safety and the public sphere on which a constitutional democracy depends.

For centuries the Anglo-American common law has regulated weapons not ...


Tainted Precedent, Darrell A. H. Miller Jan 2021

Tainted Precedent, Darrell A. H. Miller

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


Litigation As Education: The Role Of Public Health To Prevent Weaponizing Second Amendment Rights, Michael R. Ulrich Jan 2021

Litigation As Education: The Role Of Public Health To Prevent Weaponizing Second Amendment Rights, Michael R. Ulrich

Faculty Scholarship

Tobacco litigation was unquestionably successful, but it is dangerous to expect that it can be easily duplicated. An unrealistic reliance on litigation as a regulatory measure can blind public health advocates to other mechanisms of change. And that includes litigation as a means of enabling actual regulation. Firearms and the gun violence epidemic provides a useful case study. The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA) essentially bars litigation as a regulatory tool for firearms. This legislation means every time someone pulls the trigger, they become the party to blame. Soto v. Bushmaster Firearms presents a rare exception based ...


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 ...


Mccleary V. State And The Washington State Supreme Court's Retention Of Jurisdiction—A Success Story For Washington Public Schools?, Jessica R. Burns Jul 2020

Mccleary V. State And The Washington State Supreme Court's Retention Of Jurisdiction—A Success Story For Washington Public Schools?, Jessica R. Burns

Seattle University Law Review SUpra

No abstract provided.


The Poverty Law Education Of Charles Reich, Felicia Kornbluh, Karen Tani Jan 2020

The Poverty Law Education Of Charles Reich, Felicia Kornbluh, Karen Tani

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This essay, written for a symposium on the life and legacy of Charles Reich, explores how Reich came to be interested in the field of poverty law and, specifically, the constitutional rights of welfare recipients. The essay emphasizes the influence of two older women in Reich’s life: Justine Wise Polier, the famous New York City family court judge and the mother of one of Reich’s childhood friends, and Elizabeth Wickenden, a contemporary of Polier’s who was a prominent voice in social welfare policymaking and a confidante of high-level federal social welfare administrators. Together, Polier and Wickenden helped ...


Reproducing Dignity: Race, Disability, And Reproductive Controls, Mary Crossley Jan 2020

Reproducing Dignity: Race, Disability, And Reproductive Controls, Mary Crossley

Articles

Human rights treaties and American constitutional law recognize decisions about reproduction as central to human dignity. Historically and today, Black women and women with disabilities have endured numerous impairments of their freedom to form and maintain families. Other scholars have examined these barriers to motherhood. Unexplored, however, are parallels among the experiences of women in these two groups or the women for whom Blackness and disability are overlapping identities. This Article fills that void. The disturbing legacy of the Eugenics movement is manifest in many settings. Black and disabled women undergo sterilizations at disproportionately high rates. Public benefit programs discourage ...


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 ...


The Shrinking Constitution Of Settlement, David E. Pozen Jan 2020

The Shrinking Constitution Of Settlement, David E. Pozen

Faculty Scholarship

Professor Sanford Levinson has famously distinguished between the "Constitution of Settlement" and the "Constitution of Conversation." The former comprises those aspects of the Constitution that are clear, well established, and resistant to creative interpretation. The latter comprises those aspects that are subject to ongoing litigation and debate. Although Americans tend to fixate on the Constitution of Conversation, Levinson argues that much of what ails our republic is attributable, at least in part, to the grossly undemocratic and "decidedly nonadaptive" Constitution of Settlement.

This Article, prepared for a symposium on Levinson's coauthored book Democracy and Dysfunction, explains that the Constitution ...


A Constitution For The Age Of Demagogues: Using The Twenty-Fifth Amendment To Remove An Unfit President, Paul F. Campos Jan 2019

A Constitution For The Age Of Demagogues: Using The Twenty-Fifth Amendment To Remove An Unfit President, Paul F. Campos

Articles

This Article argues that, properly understood, the 25th Amendment is designed to allow the executive and legislative branches, working together, to remove a president from office when it becomes evident that the person elevated to that office by the electoral process is manifestly unsuited for what can, without exaggeration, be described as the most important job in the world.

It argues further that the first two years of Donald Trump’s presidency have provided a great deal of evidence for the proposition that President Trump has in fact demonstrated the requisite level of fundamental unfitness for the office that would ...


Reconsidering Judicial Independence: Forty-Five Years In The Trenches And In The Tower, Stephen B. Burbank Jan 2019

Reconsidering Judicial Independence: Forty-Five Years In The Trenches And In The Tower, Stephen B. Burbank

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Trusting in the integrity of our institutions when they are not under stress, we focus attention on them both when they are under stress or when we need them to protect us against other institutions. In the case of the federal judiciary, the two conditions often coincide. In this essay, I use personal experience to provide practical context for some of the important lessons about judicial independence to be learned from the periods of stress for the federal judiciary I have observed as a lawyer and concerned citizen, and to provide theoretical context for lessons I have deemed significant as ...


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

Response: Rights As Trumps Of What?, Joseph Blocher

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


Foreword: Abolition Constitutionalism, Dorothy E. Roberts Jan 2019

Foreword: Abolition Constitutionalism, Dorothy E. Roberts

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

In this Foreword, I make the case for an abolition constitutionalism that attends to the theorizing of prison abolitionists. In Part I, I provide a summary of prison abolition theory and highlight its foundational tenets that engage with the institution of slavery and its eradication. I discuss how abolition theorists view the current prison industrial complex as originating in, though distinct from, racialized chattel slavery and the racial capitalist regime that relied on and sustained it, and their movement as completing the “unfinished liberation” sought by slavery abolitionists in the past. Part II considers whether the U.S. Constitution is ...


Preserving Life By Ranking Rights, John William Draper Dec 2018

Preserving Life By Ranking Rights, John William Draper

Librarian Scholarship at Penn Law

Border walls, abortion, and the death penalty are the current battlegrounds of the right to life. We will visit each topic and more in this paper, as we consider ranking groups of constitutional rights.

The enumerated rights of the Due Process Clauses of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments—life, liberty, and property—merit special treatment. They have a deeper and richer history that involves ranking. Ranking life in lexical priority over liberty and property rights protects life first and maximizes safe liberty and property rights in the absence of a significant risk to life. This is not new law; aspects ...


Qui Tam Litigation Against Government Officials: Constitutional Implications Of A Neglected History, Randy Beck Jan 2018

Qui Tam Litigation Against Government Officials: Constitutional Implications Of A Neglected History, Randy Beck

Scholarly Works

The Supreme Court concluded twenty-five years ago, in Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, that uninjured private plaintiffs may not litigate “generalized grievances” about the legality of executive branch conduct. According to the Lujan Court, Congress lacked power to authorize suit by a plaintiff who could not establish some “particularized” injury from the challenged conduct. The Court believed litigation to require executive branch legal compliance, brought by an uninjured private party, is not a “case” or “controversy” within the Article III judicial power and impermissibly reassigns the President’s Article II responsibility to “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed ...


Terry Stops And Frisks: The Troubling Use Of Common Sense In A World Of Empirical Data, David Rudovsky, David A. Harris Jan 2018

Terry Stops And Frisks: The Troubling Use Of Common Sense In A World Of Empirical Data, David Rudovsky, David A. Harris

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The investigative detention doctrine first announced in Terry v. Ohio and amplified over the past fifty years has been much analyzed, praised, and criticized from a number of perspectives. Significantly, however, over this time period commentators have only occasionally questioned the Supreme Court’s “common sense” judgments regarding the factors sufficient to establish reasonable suspicion for stops and frisks. For years, the Court has provided no empirical basis for its judgments, due in large part to the lack of reliable data. Now, with the emergence of comprehensive data on these police practices, much can be learned about the predictive power ...


The Loving Story: Using A Documentary To Reconsider The Status Of An Iconic Interracial Married Couple, Regina Austin Jan 2018

The Loving Story: Using A Documentary To Reconsider The Status Of An Iconic Interracial Married Couple, Regina Austin

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The Loving Story (Augusta Films 2011), directed by Nancy Buirski, tells the backstory of the groundbreaking U.S. Supreme Court case, Loving v. Virginia, that overturned state laws barring interracial marriage. The article looks to the documentary to explain why the Lovings should be considered icons of racial and ethnic civil rights, however much they might be associated with marriage equality today. The film shows the Lovings to be ordinary people who took their nearly decade long struggle against white supremacy to the nation’s highest court out of a genuine commitment to each other and a determination to live ...


Federalism, Convergence, And Divergence In Constitutional Property, Gerald S. Dickinson Jan 2018

Federalism, Convergence, And Divergence In Constitutional Property, Gerald S. Dickinson

Articles

Federal law exerts a gravitational force on state actors, resulting in widespread conformity to federal law and doctrine at the state level. This has been well recognized in the literature, but scholars have paid little attention to this phenomenon in the context of constitutional property. Traditionally, state takings jurisprudence—in both eminent domain and regulatory takings—has strongly gravitated towards the Supreme Court’s takings doctrine. This long history of federal-state convergence, however, was disrupted by the Court’s controversial public use decision in Kelo v. City of New London. In the wake of Kelo, states resisted the Court’s ...


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 ...


Terry Stops And Frisks: The Troubling Use Of Common Sense In A World Of Empirical Data, David A. Harris, David Rudovsky Jan 2018

Terry Stops And Frisks: The Troubling Use Of Common Sense In A World Of Empirical Data, David A. Harris, David Rudovsky

Articles

The investigative detention doctrine first announced in Terry v. Ohio and amplified over the past fifty years has been much analyzed, praised, and criticized from a number of perspectives. Significantly, however, over this time period commentators have only occasionally questioned the Supreme Court’s “common sense” judgments regarding the factors sufficient to establish reasonable suspicion for stops and frisks. For years, the Court has provided no empirical basis for its judgments, due in large part to the lack of reliable data. Now, with the emergence of comprehensive data on these police practices, much can be learned about the predictive power ...


Intersectionality And The Constitution Of Family Status, Serena Mayeri Jan 2017

Intersectionality And The Constitution Of Family Status, Serena Mayeri

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Marital supremacy—the legal privileging of marriage—is, and always has been, deeply intertwined with inequalities of race, class, gender, and region. Many if not most of the plaintiffs who challenged legal discrimination based on family status in the 1960s and 1970s were impoverished women, men, and children of color who made constitutional equality claims. Yet the constitutional law of the family is largely silent about the status-based impact of laws that prefer marriage and disadvantage non-marital families. While some lower courts engaged with race-, sex-, and wealth-based discrimination arguments in family status cases, the Supreme Court largely avoided recognizing ...


Inclusionary Takings Legislation, Gerald S. Dickinson Jan 2017

Inclusionary Takings Legislation, Gerald S. Dickinson

Articles

This Article proposes an alternative post-Kelo legislative reform effort called “inclusionary takings.” Like inclusionary zoning legislation, inclusionary takings legislation would trigger remedial affordable housing action to mitigate the phenomenon of exclusionary condemnations in dense urban areas and declining suburban localities. An inclusionary takings statute would also mandate that local municipalities and private developers provide affordable housing in new developments benefiting from eminent domain takings. Such a statute may ameliorate the phenomenon of exclusionary condemnations in dense urban areas that displaces low-income families from urban neighborhoods. An inclusionary taking, like inclusionary zoning, in other words, requires affordable housing contributions from developers ...


Seizing Family Homes From The Innocent: Can The Eighth Amendment Protect Minorities And The Poor From Excessive Punishment In Civil Forfeiture?, Louis S. Rulli Jan 2017

Seizing Family Homes From The Innocent: Can The Eighth Amendment Protect Minorities And The Poor From Excessive Punishment In Civil Forfeiture?, Louis S. Rulli

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Civil forfeiture laws permit the government to seize and forfeit private property that has allegedly facilitated a crime without ever charging the owner with any criminal offense. The government extracts payment in kind—property—and gives nothing to the owner in return, based upon a legal fiction that the property has done wrong. As such, the government’s taking of property through civil forfeiture is punitive in nature and constrained by the Eighth Amendment’s Excessive Fines Clause, which is intended to curb abusive punishments.

The Supreme Court’s failure to announce a definitive test for determining the constitutional excessiveness ...


Justice Scalia’S Originalism And Formalism: The Rule Of Criminal Law As A Law Of Rules, Stephanos Bibas Aug 2016

Justice Scalia’S Originalism And Formalism: The Rule Of Criminal Law As A Law Of Rules, Stephanos Bibas

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Far too many reporters and pundits collapse law into politics, assuming that the left–right divide between Democratic and Republican appointees neatly explains politically liberal versus politically conservative outcomes at the Supreme Court. The late Justice Antonin Scalia defied such caricatures. His consistent judicial philosophy made him the leading exponent of originalism, textualism, and formalism in American law, and over the course of his three decades on the Court, he changed the terms of judicial debate. Now, as a result, supporters and critics alike start with the plain meaning of the statutory or constitutional text rather than loose appeals to ...


Foundling Fathers: (Non-)Marriage And Parental Rights In The Age Of Equality, Serena Mayeri Jun 2016

Foundling Fathers: (Non-)Marriage And Parental Rights In The Age Of Equality, Serena Mayeri

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The twentieth-century equality revolution established the principle of sex neutrality in the law of marriage and divorce and eased the most severe legal disabilities traditionally imposed upon nonmarital children. Formal equality under the law eluded nonmarital parents, however. Although unwed fathers won unprecedented legal rights and recognition in a series of Supreme Court cases decided in the 1970s and 1980s, they failed to achieve constitutional parity with mothers or with married and divorced fathers. This Article excavates nonmarital fathers’ quest for equal rights, until now a mere footnote in the history of constitutional equality law.

Unmarried fathers lacked a social ...


The Limits Of Liberty: The Crime Of Male Same-Sex Conduct And The Rights To Life And Personal Liberty In Singapore: Lim Meng Suang V Attorney-General [2015] 1 Slr 26, Jack Tsen-Ta Lee May 2016

The Limits Of Liberty: The Crime Of Male Same-Sex Conduct And The Rights To Life And Personal Liberty In Singapore: Lim Meng Suang V Attorney-General [2015] 1 Slr 26, Jack Tsen-Ta Lee

Research Collection School Of Law

In Lim Meng Suang v Attorney-General (2014), the Singapore Court of Appeal held that s 377A of the Penal Code, which criminalises acts of “gross indecency” between men whether occurring in public or private, does not infringe either the rights to equality and equal protection guaranteed by Art 12(1), or the rights to life and personal liberty guaranteed by Art 9(1) of the Constitution. This article examines the analyses of the latter provision by the Court of Appeal in Lim Meng Suang, and by the High Court in Tan Eng Hong v Attorney-General (2013) which was one of ...


Tightening The Ooda Loop: Police Militarization, Race, And Algorithmic Surveillance, Jeffrey L. Vagle Feb 2016

Tightening The Ooda Loop: Police Militarization, Race, And Algorithmic Surveillance, Jeffrey L. Vagle

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This Article examines the role military automated surveillance and intelligence systems and techniques have supported a self-reinforcing racial bias when used by civilian police departments to enhance predictive policing programs. I will focus on two facets of this problem. First, my research will take an inside-out perspective, studying the role played by advanced military technologies and methods within civilian police departments, and how they have enabled a new focus on deterrence and crime prevention by creating a system of structural surveillance where decision support relies increasingly upon algorithms and automated data analysis tools, and which automates de facto penalization and ...


The History, Means, And Effects Of Structural Surveillance, Jeffrey L. Vagle Feb 2016

The History, Means, And Effects Of Structural Surveillance, Jeffrey L. Vagle

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The focus on the technology of surveillance, while important, has had the unfortunate side effect of obscuring the study of surveillance generally, and tends to minimize the exploration of other, less technical means of surveillance that are both ubiquitous and self-reinforcing—what I refer to as structural surveillance— and their effects on marginalized and disenfranchised populations. This Article proposes a theoretical framework for the study of structural surveillance which will act as a foundation for follow-on research in its effects on political participation.


“Spooky Action At A Distance”: Intangible Injury In Fact In The Information Age, Seth F. Kreimer Feb 2016

“Spooky Action At A Distance”: Intangible Injury In Fact In The Information Age, Seth F. Kreimer

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Two decades after Justice Douglas coined “injury in fact” as the token of admission to federal court under Article III, Justice Scalia sealed it into the constitutional canon in Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife. In the two decades since Lujan, Justice Scalia has thrown increasingly pointed barbs at the permissive standing doctrine of the Warren Court, maintaining it is founded on impermissible recognition of “Psychic Injury.” Justice Scalia and his acolytes take the position that Article III requires a tough minded, common sense and practical approach. Injuries in fact must be "tangible" "direct" "concrete" "de facto" realities in time and ...