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Full-Text Articles in Law

Our Founding Feelings: Emotion, Commitment, And Imagination In Constitutional Culture, Doni Gewirtzman Jan 2009

Our Founding Feelings: Emotion, Commitment, And Imagination In Constitutional Culture, Doni Gewirtzman

Articles & Chapters

Traditionally, scholars and judges have treated emotion as a destructive force within constitutional culture. This Article uses recent developments in social psychology, neurobiology, and political psychology to challenge this dominant account and reposition emotion as central to our collective constitutional endeavor. It argues that emotion is critical to commitment and imagination, two features of human behavior that are essential to constitutional legitimacy and innovation. Further, emotions shape our perceptions and preferences about constitutional values through their impact on attitude development and moral decision-making. Finally, our increased understanding of emotion's impact on human behavior has the potential to alter the way …


Constitutional Theory And The Future Of The Unitary Executive, Sotirios Barber, James E. Fleming Jan 2009

Constitutional Theory And The Future Of The Unitary Executive, Sotirios Barber, James E. Fleming

Faculty Scholarship

In The Constitution in Wartime: Beyond Alarmism and Complacency, Mark Tushnet distinguishes two voices: "alarmists who see in every action taken by the Bush [A]dministration a portent of gross restrictions on the civil liberties of all Americans, and administration shills who see in those actions entirely reasonable, perhaps even too moderate, accommodations of civil liberties to the new realities of national security."1 Tushnet's volume contains essays, including one by us,2 which he judges to lie "beyond alarmism and complacency" (or perhaps between alarmism and complacency). But critics of the Bush Administration's theory of the unitary executive may be alarmed by …


Selling Originalism, Jamal Greene Jan 2009

Selling Originalism, Jamal Greene

Faculty Scholarship

Justice Scalia has described an originalist approach to interpretation as a prerequisite to faithful application of a written Constitution. If, says he, constitutional judicial review is implicit in the notion that the Constitution is paramount law, as has been settled in this country at least since Marbury v. Madison, then that review must be guided by the ordinary tools of legislative interpretation. In a democracy, serious legislative interpretation requires that judges keep faith with the meaning of the text as understood at the time of enactment, not as desired by those judges or by anyone else who does not, …


The Use And Abuse Of Foreign Law In Constitutional Interpretation, Ganesh Sitaraman Jan 2009

The Use And Abuse Of Foreign Law In Constitutional Interpretation, Ganesh Sitaraman

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

This article provides an exhaustive typology of the uses of foreign law in order to provide insight into whether foreign law can be appropriately used in constitutional interpretation, when it can be used, and what the stakes and parameters are in each case. In doing so, the article addresses two significant problems in the debate on foreign law. First, much of the commentary has focused on the justifications for using foreign law and the principled or practical arguments against using foreign law. But the focus on the why of foreign law has obscured the more basic question about the ways …


Constitutional Theory And The Rule Of Recognition: Toward A Fourth Theory Of Law, Mitchell N. Berman Jan 2009

Constitutional Theory And The Rule Of Recognition: Toward A Fourth Theory Of Law, Mitchell N. Berman

All Faculty Scholarship

This essay, a contribution to a forthcoming edited volume on Hart's rule of recognition and the U.S. Constitution, advances one argument and pitches one proposal. The argument is that Hart's theory of law does not succeed. On Hart's account, legal propositions are what they are - that is, they have the particular content and status that they do - by virtue of their satisfying necessary and sufficient conditions that are themselves established by a special sort of convergent practice among officials. American constitutional theorists are often troubled by this account because it seems to imply that in the "hard cases" …


Deep Secrecy, David E. Pozen Jan 2009

Deep Secrecy, David E. Pozen

Faculty Scholarship

This Article offers a new way of thinking and talking about government secrecy. In the vast literature on the topic, little attention has been paid to the structure of government secrets, as distinct from their substance or function. Yet these secrets differ systematically depending on how many people know of their existence, what sorts of people know, how much they know, and how soon they know. When a small group of similarly situated officials conceals from outsiders the fact that it is concealing something, the result is a deep secret. When members of the general public understand they are being …


District Of Columbia V. Heller And Originalism, Lawrence B. Solum Jan 2009

District Of Columbia V. Heller And Originalism, Lawrence B. Solum

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

On June 26, 2008, the United States Supreme Court handed down its 5-4 decision in District of Columbia v. Heller, striking a District of Columbia statute that prohibits the possession of useable handguns in the home on the ground that it violated the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution. Justice Scalia's majority opinion drew dissents from Justice Stevens and Justice Breyer. Collectively, the opinions in Heller represent the most important and extensive debate on the role of original meaning in constitutional interpretation among the members of the contemporary Supreme Court.

This article investigates the relationship between originalist constitutional …


Is Law? Constitutional Crisis And Existential Anxiety, Alice G. Ristroph Jan 2009

Is Law? Constitutional Crisis And Existential Anxiety, Alice G. Ristroph

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

In the recurring discussions of constitutional crises, one may find three forms of existential anxiety. The first, and most fleeting, is an anxiety about the continued existence of the nation. A second form of anxiety—to my mind, the most interesting form—is an anxiety about the possibility of the rule of law itself. Third, and most solipsistically, references to crisis in constitutional law scholarship could be the product of a kind of professional anxiety in the legal academy. We may be asking ourselves, “Constitutional theory: what is it good for?” and worrying that the answer is, “Absolutely nothing.” And yet, I …


The Missing Jurisprudence Of The Legislated Constitution, Robin West Jan 2009

The Missing Jurisprudence Of The Legislated Constitution, Robin West

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Does the fourteenth Amendment and its Equal Protection Clause — the promise that "no state shall deny equal protection of the laws" — have any relevance to the progressive project of reducing economic inequality in various spheres of life or, more modestly, of ameliorating the multiple vulnerabilities of this country's poor people? The short answer, I believe, is, it depends. It will depend, in 2020, just as it depends now, on what we mean by the Constitution we are expounding: the Constitution as read and interpreted by courts — the adjudicated Constitution — or what I propose to call the …