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2021

University at Buffalo School of Law

Series

Articles 1 - 30 of 31

Full-Text Articles in Law

Judicial Populism, Anya Bernstein, Glen Staszewski Nov 2021

Judicial Populism, Anya Bernstein, Glen Staszewski

Journal Articles

Populism has taken center stage in discussions of contemporary politics. This Article details a judicial populism that resonates with political populism’s tropes, mirrors its traits, and enables its practices. Like political populism, judicial populism insists there are clear, correct answers to complex, debatable problems, treating reasonable disagreement as illegitimate. It disparages the institutions that mediate divergent interests in a republican democracy, claiming special access to the law’s clear objective meaning. And it imagines a pure, unified people locked in battle with a subversive elite.

While commentators have recognized political populism as fundamentally undemocratic, judicial populism has largely escaped recognition and …


The Ostensible (And, At Times, Actual) Virtue Of Deference, Anthony O'Rourke Nov 2021

The Ostensible (And, At Times, Actual) Virtue Of Deference, Anthony O'Rourke

Journal Articles

In Rethinking Police Expertise, Anna Lvovsky exposes how litigators leverage judicial understandings of police expertise against the government. The article is rich not only with descriptive insights, but also with normative potential. By rigorously analyzing the relationship between expertise and authority in specific cases, Professor Lvovsky offers guidance as to how judges and lawyers should factor a police officer’s expertise into an assessment of whether the officer’s conduct is lawful. This Response argues, however, that Rethinking Police Expertise’s normative potential is weakened by the sharp conceptual distinction it draws between judicial understandings of expertise as a “professional virtue” (which it …


Federalism And The Limits Of Subnational Political Heterogeneity, James A. Gardner Nov 2021

Federalism And The Limits Of Subnational Political Heterogeneity, James A. Gardner

Journal Articles

With an epidemic of democratic backsliding now afflicting many of the world’s democracies, including the United States, some scholars have suggested that federalism might serve as a useful defense for liberal democracy by impeding the ability of an authoritarian central government to stamp it out at the subnational level. In this Essay, I dispute that contention. An examination of both federal theory on one hand and the behavior and tactics of central control employed by ancient and early modern empires on the other leads to the conclusion that the protective value of federalism against the effects of national authoritarianism is …


Legal Corpus Linguistics And The Half-Empirical Attitude, Anya Bernstein Nov 2021

Legal Corpus Linguistics And The Half-Empirical Attitude, Anya Bernstein

Journal Articles

Legal writers have recently turned to corpus linguistics to interpret legal texts. Corpus linguistics, a social-science methodology, provides a sophisticated way to analyze large data sets of language use. Legal proponents have touted it as giving empirical grounding to claims about ordinary language, which pervade legal interpretation. But legal corpus linguistics cannot deliver on that promise because it ignores the crucial contexts in which legal language is produced, interpreted, and deployed.

First, legal corpus linguistics neglects the relevant legal context—the conditions that give legal language authority. Because of this, legal corpus studies’ evidence about language use perversely obscures and misstates …


The Illiberalization Of American Election Law: A Study In Democratic Deconsolidation, James A. Gardner Nov 2021

The Illiberalization Of American Election Law: A Study In Democratic Deconsolidation, James A. Gardner

Journal Articles

For many years, the dominant view among American election law scholars has been that the U.S. Supreme Court’s constitutional jurisprudence of democratic practice got off to a promising start during the mid-twentieth century but has since then slowly deteriorated into incoherence. In light of the United States’ recent turn toward populist authoritarianism, that view needs to be substantially revised. With the benefit of hindsight, it now appears that the Supreme Court has functioned, in its management of the constitutional jurisprudence of democracy, as a vector of infection—a kind of super-spreader of populist authoritarianism.

There is, sadly, nothing unusual these days …


What Counts As Data?, Anya Bernstein Oct 2021

What Counts As Data?, Anya Bernstein

Journal Articles

We live in an age of information. But whether information counts as data depends on the questions we put to it. The same bit of information can constitute important data for some questions, but be irrelevant to others. And even when relevant, the same bit of data can speak to one aspect of our question while having little to say about another. Knowing what counts as data, and what it is data of, makes or breaks a data-driven approach. Yet that need for clarity sometimes gets ignored or assumed away. In this essay, I examine what counts as data in …


The Constitutionalization Of Parole: Fulfilling The Promise Of Meaningful Review, Alexandra Harrington Sep 2021

The Constitutionalization Of Parole: Fulfilling The Promise Of Meaningful Review, Alexandra Harrington

Journal Articles

Almost 12,000 people in the United States are serving life sentences for crimes that occurred when they were children. For most of these people, a parole board will determine how long they will actually spend in prison. Recent Supreme Court decisions have endorsed parole as a mechanism to ensure that people who committed crimes as children are serving constitutionally proportionate sentences with a meaningful opportunity for release. Yet, in many states across the country, parole is an opaque process with few guarantees. Parole decisions are considered “acts of grace” often left to the unreviewable discretion of the parole board.

This …


Legal Positivism As A Theory Of Law’S Existence: A Comment On Margaret Martin’S "Judging Positivism", Jorge Luis Fabra-Zamora Sep 2021

Legal Positivism As A Theory Of Law’S Existence: A Comment On Margaret Martin’S "Judging Positivism", Jorge Luis Fabra-Zamora

Journal Articles

This comment critically examines the conception of legal positivism that informs Margaret Martin’s interesting and multilayered challenge against the substance and method of this intellectual tradition. My central claim is that her characterization of the substantive theory of legal positivism sets aside a more fundamental and explanatory prior dimension concerning the positivist’s theory of the existence of legal systems and legal norms. I also argue that her understanding of the positivist’s descriptive methodology as a nonnormative project is too demanding and overlooks both the relationships between law and morality recognized by contemporary legal positivists and the pivotal distinction between internal …


Susan Bartie, Free Hands And Minds: Pioneering Australian Legal Scholars, John Henry Schlegel Aug 2021

Susan Bartie, Free Hands And Minds: Pioneering Australian Legal Scholars, John Henry Schlegel

Book Reviews

No abstract provided.


Edward A. Purcell, Antonin Scalia And American Constitutionalism: The Historical Significance Of A Judicial Icon, Matthew J. Steilen Aug 2021

Edward A. Purcell, Antonin Scalia And American Constitutionalism: The Historical Significance Of A Judicial Icon, Matthew J. Steilen

Book Reviews

No abstract provided.


Judicial Application Of Strict Liability Local Ordinances, Guyora Binder, Brenner Fissell Aug 2021

Judicial Application Of Strict Liability Local Ordinances, Guyora Binder, Brenner Fissell

Journal Articles

No abstract provided.


Protecting Our Spaces Of Memory: Rediscovering The Seneca Nation Settlement Act Through Archives, Rebecca Chapman Jul 2021

Protecting Our Spaces Of Memory: Rediscovering The Seneca Nation Settlement Act Through Archives, Rebecca Chapman

Law Librarian Journal Articles

Archival spaces act as collective memory, and the need to preserve and protect those spaces is critical for understanding historical events. To illustrate the idea of archival space as a space of memory, this article looks at the Seneca Nation Settlement Act, which is more fully understood through the use and interpretation of archival materials.


The Refugees We Are: Solidarity, Asylum, And Critique In The European Constitutional Imagination, Paul Linden-Retek Jun 2021

The Refugees We Are: Solidarity, Asylum, And Critique In The European Constitutional Imagination, Paul Linden-Retek

Journal Articles

This Article aims to reimagine post-national legal solidarity. It does so by bringing debates over Habermasian constitutional theory to bear on the evolving use of mutual recognition and mutual trust in the EU’s Area of Freedom, Security, and Justice (AFSJ), particularly in the context of European asylum law and reforms to the Dublin Regulation. Insofar as critiques of Habermasian “constitutional patriotism” apply to the principle of mutual trust, the Article suggests why post-national solidarity requires fallibilism and dynamic responsiveness that exceed formalized rules of forbearance and respect.

On this revised view, legal solidarity guarantees a particular form of adjudication through …


Our Imperial Federal Courts, Matthew J. Steilen Jun 2021

Our Imperial Federal Courts, Matthew J. Steilen

Journal Articles

This essay is a response to Christian R. Burset, Advisory Opinions and the Problem of Legal Authority, 74VAND.L.REV.621(2021).

“The article is significant for the archival work alone. It is useful, as well, for the impressive synthesis of the existing secondary literature, collected in the footnotes, which makes a convenient reading list for us mere mortals. The argument of the article is ambitious. As the Table of Contents suggests, its structure is complex: the author asks us to visit three different jurisdictions (two British and one American, each thousands of miles apart), in three different decades, in three different political and …


Wild Legalities: Animals And Settler Colonialism In Palestine/Israel, Irus Braverman May 2021

Wild Legalities: Animals And Settler Colonialism In Palestine/Israel, Irus Braverman

Journal Articles

This article examines the underlying biopolitical premises of wildlife management in Palestine/Israel that make, remake, and unmake this region's settler colonial landscape. Drawing on interviews with Israeli nature officials and observations of their work, the article tells several animal stories that illuminate the hierarchies and slippages between wild and domestic, nature and culture, native and settler, and human and nonhuman life in Palestine/Israel. Animal bodies are especially apt technologies of settler colonialism, I show here. They naturalize and normalize settler modes of existence, while criminalizing native livelihoods and relations. Utilizing the terra nullius doctrine, creating biblical landscapes by reintroducing extirpated …


Reframing Law's Domain: Narrative, Rhetoric, And The Forms Of Legal Rules, Stephen Paskey May 2021

Reframing Law's Domain: Narrative, Rhetoric, And The Forms Of Legal Rules, Stephen Paskey

Journal Articles

Legal scholars typically understand law as a system of determinate rules grounded in logic. And in the public sphere, textualist judges and others often claim that judges should not "make" law, arguing instead that a judge's role is simply to find the meaning inherent in law's language. This essay offers a different understanding of both the structure of legal rules and the role of judges. Building on Caroline Levine's claim that texts have multiple ordering principles, the essay argues that legal rules simultaneously have three overlapping forms, none of which is dominant: not only the form of conditional, "if-then" logic, …


Disbanding Police Agencies, Anthony O'Rourke, Rick Su, Guyora Binder May 2021

Disbanding Police Agencies, Anthony O'Rourke, Rick Su, Guyora Binder

Journal Articles

Since the killing of George Floyd, a national consensus has emerged that reforms are needed to prevent discriminatory and violent policing. Calls to defund and abolish the police have provoked pushback, but several cities are considering disbanding or reducing their police forces. This Essay assesses disbanding as a reform strategy from a democratic and institutionalist perspective. Should localities disband their police forces? One reason to do so is that discriminatory police departments are often too insulated from democratic oversight to be reformed. But can localities succeed in disbanding and replacing their forces with something better? Unfortunately, the structural entrenchment of …


Misappropriation Theory: How The World’S Two Largest Economies Regulate Insider Trading, Thomas Hare Apr 2021

Misappropriation Theory: How The World’S Two Largest Economies Regulate Insider Trading, Thomas Hare

Journal Articles

Prior to the government adopting policies of economic reform in the late 1970s, the People’s Republic of China (“the PRC” or “China”) did not have a formal securities market or an accompanying regulatory scheme. For the most part, it was not operationally feasible for a market to develop and flourish in China because the PRC had a centrally planned economy with state-owned enterprises as the primary form of business ownership. However, economic reform brokered conditions where stock trades casually began in markets located in Shanghai, Shenzhen, Chengdu and several other cities in the early 1980s. This informal trading persisted until …


What Is A “Case”?, Lynn M. Mather Apr 2021

What Is A “Case”?, Lynn M. Mather

Journal Articles

This article interrogates the concept of a “case” in court, in an effort to clarify underlying concerns in debates over whether there is “too much” or “too little” litigation. One perspective on litigation takes a bottom-up view, examining the considerations and motives of disputing parties who file civil claims. This perspective includes theories about litigation and social structure, economics, dispute transformation, political participation, and psychology. An alternative top-down view examines litigation from the perspective of government, including its interest in dispute resolution, social control, and institutional capacities of courts. The article reviews and critiques existing literature on these perspectives and …


Environmental Justice, Settler Colonialism, And More-Than-Humans In The Occupied West Bank: An Introduction, Irus Braverman Mar 2021

Environmental Justice, Settler Colonialism, And More-Than-Humans In The Occupied West Bank: An Introduction, Irus Braverman

Journal Articles

Our special issue provides a first-of-its kind attempt to examine environmental injustices in the occupied West Bank through interdisciplinary perspectives, pointing to the broader settler colonial and neoliberal contexts within which they occur and to their more-than-human implications. Specifically, we seek to understand what environmental justice—a movement originating from, and rooted in, the United States—means in the context of Palestine/Israel. Moving beyond the settler-native dialectic, we draw attention to the more-than-human flows that occur in the region—which include water, air, waste, cement, trees, donkeys, watermelons, and insects—to consider the dynamic, and often gradational, meanings of frontier, enclosure, and Indigeneity in …


Fair Housing’S Third Act: American Tragedy Or Triumph?, Heather R. Abraham Mar 2021

Fair Housing’S Third Act: American Tragedy Or Triumph?, Heather R. Abraham

Journal Articles

Fifty-two years ago, Congress enacted a one-of-a-kind civil rights directive. It requires every federal agency—and state and local grantees by extension—to take affirmative steps to undo segregation. In 2020, this overlooked Fair Housing Act provision—the “affirmatively furthering fair housing” or “AFFH” mandate—has heightened relevance. Perhaps most visible is Donald Trump’s racially charged “protect the suburbs” campaign rhetoric. In an apparent appeal to suburban constituents, his administration repealed a race-conscious fair housing rule, replacing it with a no-questions-asked regulation that elevates “local control” above civil rights.

The maneuver is especially stark as protesters fill the streets, marching in opposition to systemic …


Moonlight: A Photo Essay, David A. Westbrook Feb 2021

Moonlight: A Photo Essay, David A. Westbrook

Journal Articles

No abstract provided.


Illiberalism And Authoritarianism In The American States, James A. Gardner Feb 2021

Illiberalism And Authoritarianism In The American States, James A. Gardner

Journal Articles

Federalism contemplates subnational variation, but in the United States the nature and significance of that variation has long been contested. In light of the recent turn, globally and nationally, toward authoritarianism, and the concurrent sharp decline in public support not merely for democracy but for the philosophical liberalism on which democracy rests, it is necessary to discard or to substantially revise prior accounts of the nature of state-to-state variation in the U.S. All such accounts implicitly presuppose a common commitment, across the political spectrum, to the core tenets of democratic liberalism, and consequently that subnational variations in policy preferences and …


The Reality Of Class-Action Appeals, Christine P. Bartholomew Jan 2021

The Reality Of Class-Action Appeals, Christine P. Bartholomew

Book Reviews

Reviewing Bryan Lammon, An Empirical Study of Class-Action Appeals (2020).


Environmental Justice And Pennsylvania's Environmental Rights Amendment: Applying The Duty Of Impartiality To Discriminatory Siting, Jacob Elkin Jan 2021

Environmental Justice And Pennsylvania's Environmental Rights Amendment: Applying The Duty Of Impartiality To Discriminatory Siting, Jacob Elkin

Panel II: Reshaping EJ Law & Social Policy

Since the 1970s, there has been a growing awareness that environmental hazards are disproportionately sited in low-income communities and communities of color. Under the label of the environmental justice movement, community groups have pursued various means to fight against the discriminatory concentration of environmental burdens in their neighborhoods. Yet in its Civil Rights Act and Equal Protection Clause jurisprudence, the Supreme Court has largely shut the door on federal environmental justice litigation by requiring plaintiffs to prove that the government acted with discriminatory intent in its siting and permitting decisions.

This Note argues that Pennsylvania’s Environmental Rights Amendment provides an …


Topology Of The Closet, Michael Boucai Jan 2021

Topology Of The Closet, Michael Boucai

Journal Articles

Despite the closet’s centrality to queer culture and theory, the metaphor’s various meanings have yet to be disaggregated and defined. Following Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick’s identification of the closet with a “crisis of homo/heterosexual definition, indicatively male, dating from the end of the nineteenth century,” the present article uses an array of late-Victorian sources—especially The Memoirs of John Addington Symonds and Teleny, a pornographic novel sometimes attributed to Oscar Wilde—to describe and distinguish: (1) so-called latent homosexuality (“the unconscious closet”); (2) deliberate strategies of suppression, abstention, and reformation (“the conscious closet”); (3) clandestine pursuits of gay sex and sociability (“the double …


Classcrits Time?: Building Institutions, Building Frameworks, Athena D. Mutua Jan 2021

Classcrits Time?: Building Institutions, Building Frameworks, Athena D. Mutua

Journal Articles

This essay chronicles the development of ClassCrits, an organization of US legal scholars that seeks to ground economic analyses in progressive legal jurisprudence. Today, ClassCrits ideas may resonate with a broader audience. I attribute this institutional success partly to ClassCrits’ commitment to: an interdisciplinary “big tent” openness, safe and responsive space, and praxis and collaboration. I then explore three key topics in a selection of ClassCrits writings on class and law: (1) neoliberal entrenchment and preservation; (2) class oppression; and (3) the intersecting oppression of class and race. I argue that ClassCrits scholarship on law and neoliberalism is productively viewed …


Tenants Without Rights: Immigrants’ Experiences In The U.S. Low-Income Housing Market, Mekkonen Firew Ayano Jan 2021

Tenants Without Rights: Immigrants’ Experiences In The U.S. Low-Income Housing Market, Mekkonen Firew Ayano

Journal Articles

Immigrants who recently arrived in the United States generally are not able to exclusively possess rental properties in the formal market because they lack a steady source of income and credit history. Instead, they rent shared bedrooms, basements, attics, garages, and illegally converted units that violate housing codes and regulations. Their situations highlight the disconnect between tenant rights law and the deleterious conditions of informal residential tenancies. Tenant rights law confers a variety of rights and remedies to a residential tenant if the renter has exclusive possession of the premises. If the renter lacks exclusive possession, courts typically characterize the …


Copyright And The Creative Process, Mark Bartholomew Jan 2021

Copyright And The Creative Process, Mark Bartholomew

Journal Articles

Copyright is typically described as a mechanism for encouraging the production of creative works. On this view, copyright protection should be granted to genuinely creative works but denied to non-creative ones. Yet that is not how the law works. Instead, almost anything—from test answer sheets to instruction manuals to replicas of items in the public domain—is deemed creative and therefore eligible for copyright protection. This is the consequence of a century of copyright doctrine assuming that artistic creativity is incapable of measurement, unaffected by personal motivation, and incomprehensible to novices and experts alike. Recent neuroscientific research contradicts these assumptions. It …


Review Of Philosophical Foundations Of Labour Law, Edited By Hugh Collins, Gillian Lester, And Virginia Mantouvalou, Matthew Dimick Jan 2021

Review Of Philosophical Foundations Of Labour Law, Edited By Hugh Collins, Gillian Lester, And Virginia Mantouvalou, Matthew Dimick

Book Reviews

No abstract provided.