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Full-Text Articles in Law

Educational Gerrymandering: Money, Motives, And Constitutional Rights, Derek Black Dec 2019

Educational Gerrymandering: Money, Motives, And Constitutional Rights, Derek Black

Faculty Publications

Public school funding plummeted following the Great Recession and failed to recover over the next decade, prompting strikes and protests across the nation. Courts did almost nothing to stop the decline. While a majority of state supreme courts recognize a constitutional right to an adequate or equal education, they increasingly struggle to enforce the right. That right could be approaching a tipping point. Either it evolves, or risks becoming irrelevant.

In the past, courts have focused almost exclusively on the adequacy and equity of funding for at-risk students, demanding that states provide more resources. Courts have failed to ask the …


Sffa V. Harvard: How Affirmative Action Myths Mask White Bonus, Jonathan Feingold Apr 2019

Sffa V. Harvard: How Affirmative Action Myths Mask White Bonus, Jonathan Feingold

Faculty Scholarship

In the ongoing litigation of Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard College, Harvard faces allegations that its once-heralded admissions process discriminates against Asian Americans. Public discourse has revealed a dominant narrative: affirmative action is viewed as the presumptive cause of Harvard’s alleged “Asian penalty.” Yet this narrative misrepresents the plaintiff’s own theory of discrimination. Rather than implicating affirmative action, the underlying allegations portray the phenomenon of “negative action” — that is, an admissions regime in which White applicants take the seats of their more qualified Asian-American counterparts. Nonetheless, we are witnessing a broad failure to see this case for what …


Equal Protection Design Defects, Jonathan Feingold Apr 2019

Equal Protection Design Defects, Jonathan Feingold

Faculty Scholarship

One can understand constitutional doctrine as a tool designed to effectuate the Constitution and its various provisions. Equal protection doctrine, in turn, comprises a set of Justice-made rules designed to realize the promise of equal protection under the law. The substance of that promise remains a topic of deep contestation. Nonetheless, more than forty years of constitutional jurisprudence have entrenched a vision of constitutional equality that privileges what I refer to herein as the “right to compete.” Simply put, the Supreme Court has repeatedly embraced the view that the Equal Protection Clause mandates the government to allocate public benefits — …


Second Redemption, Third Reconstruction, Richard A. Primus Jan 2019

Second Redemption, Third Reconstruction, Richard A. Primus

Articles

In The Accumulation of Advantages, the picture that Professor Owen Fiss paints about equality during and since the Second Reconstruction is largely a picture in black and white. That makes some sense. The black/white experience is probably the most important throughline in the story of equal protection. It was the central theme of both the First and Second Reconstructions. In keeping with that orientation, the picture of disadvantage described by Fiss’s theory of cumulative responsibility is largely drawn from the black/white experience. Important as it is, however, the black/white experience does not exhaust the subject of constitutional equality. So in …


Transgender Tropes & Constitutional Review, Jennifer Levi, Kevin M. Barry Jan 2019

Transgender Tropes & Constitutional Review, Jennifer Levi, Kevin M. Barry

Faculty Scholarship

The Trump administration is aggressively and systematically rolling back policies that protect transgender people. History teaches that these governmental attacks are not new, but instead represent the latest salvo in a long but losing battle to disparage transgender people, who have been ruthlessly depicted as criminals, deviants, and selfish iconoclasts. Notwithstanding the current administration's open hostility toward transgender people, constitutional protections endure. This Article discusses the evolution of government discrimination against transgender people-from laws that criminalized the violation of gender norms in the late twentieth century to the present-day exclusion of transgender people from the U.S. military-and transgender people's continued …


Equal Protection And The Male Gaze: An Approach To New Hampshire V. Lilley, Nicholas Mignanelli Jan 2019

Equal Protection And The Male Gaze: An Approach To New Hampshire V. Lilley, Nicholas Mignanelli

Articles

This Article uses New Hampshire v. Lilley, a case recently decided by the New Hampshire Supreme Court, as a starting point for an equal protection analysis of indecent exposure laws that distinguish between women and men. After discussing contemporary equal protection jurisprudence and historicizing these laws, this Article uses the film theorist Laura Mulvey's concept of the "male gaze" to demonstrate how overbroad generalizations about sex and sexuality serve as the foundation for this legal distinction. This Article concludes by emphasizing that municipalities and states may continue to enact and enforce indecent exposure laws that reflect community standards, so …


Hidden In Plain Sight: A More Compelling Case For Diversity, Jonathan Feingold Jan 2019

Hidden In Plain Sight: A More Compelling Case For Diversity, Jonathan Feingold

Faculty Scholarship

For four decades, the diversity rationale has offered a lifeline to affirmative action in higher education. Yet even after forty years, this critical feature of equal protection doctrine remains constitutionally insecure and politically fraught. Legal challenges persist, the Justice Department has launched a new assault on race-conscious admissions, and an impending shift on the Supreme Court could usher in an era of increased hostility toward the concept of diversity itself. The future of race-conscious admissions arguably hangs in the balance.

In this Article, I argue that the diversity rationale’s present fragility rests, in part, on its defenders’ failure to center …


Quiet-Revolution Rulings In Constitutional Law, Dan T. Coenen Jan 2019

Quiet-Revolution Rulings In Constitutional Law, Dan T. Coenen

Scholarly Works

The Supreme Court ordinarily supports its establishment of major constitutional principles with detailed justifications in its opinions. On occasion, however, the Court proceeds in a very different way, issuing landmark pronouncements without giving any supportive reasons at all. This Article documents the recurring character and deep importance of these “quietrevolution rulings” in constitutional law. It shows that—however surprising it might seem—rulings of this sort have played key roles in shaping incorporation; reverse incorporation; congressional power; federal courts; and freedom-ofspeech, freedom-of-religion, and equal-protection law. According to the synthesis offered here, these rulings fall into two categories. One set of cases involves …


Animus And Its Alternatives: Constitutional Principle And Judicial Prudence, Daniel O. Conkle Jan 2019

Animus And Its Alternatives: Constitutional Principle And Judicial Prudence, Daniel O. Conkle

Articles by Maurer Faculty

In a series of cases addressing sexual orientation and other issues, the Supreme Court has ruled that animus-based lawmaking is constitutionally impermissible. The Court treats animus as an independent and sufficient basis for invalidation. Moreover, it appears to regard animus as a doctrine of first resort, to be utilized even when an alternative constitutional rationale, such as declaring a challenged classification suspect or quasi-suspect, would readily justify the same result. Responding especially to Professor William D. Araiza’s elaboration and defense of the Court’s animus doctrine, I agree that this doctrine is sound, indeed compelling, as a matter of constitutional principle. …


The Present Crisis In American Bail, Kellen R. Funk Jan 2019

The Present Crisis In American Bail, Kellen R. Funk

Faculty Scholarship

More than fifty years after a predicted coming federal courts crisis in bail, district courts have begun granting major systemic injunctions against money bail systems. This Essay surveys the constitutional theories and circuit splits that are forming through these litigations. The major point of controversy is the level of federal court scrutiny triggered by allegedly unconstitutional bail regimes, an inquiry complicated by ambiguous Supreme Court precedents on (1) post-conviction fines, (2) preventive detention at the federal level, and (3) the adequacy of probable cause hearings. The Essay argues that the application of strict scrutiny makes the best sense of these …


An Intersectional Critique Of Tiers Of Scrutiny: Beyond “Either/Or” Approaches To Equal Protection, Devon W. Carbado, Kimberlé W. Crenshaw Jan 2019

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 hypothetical of a …