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Full-Text Articles in Law

Clashing Canons And The Contract Clause, T. Leigh Anenson, Jennifer K. Gershberg Jan 2021

Clashing Canons And The Contract Clause, T. Leigh Anenson, Jennifer K. Gershberg

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

This Article is the first in-depth examination of substantive canons that judges use to interpret public pension legislation under the Contract Clause of the U.S. Constitution and state constitutions. The resolution of constitutional controversies concerning pension reform will have a profound influence on government employment. The assessment begins with a general discussion of these interpretive techniques before turning to their operation in public pension litigation. It concentrates on three clashing canons: the remedial (purpose) canon, the “no contract” canon (otherwise known as the unmistakability doctrine), and the constitutional avoidance canon. For these three canons routinely employed in pension law ...


Symbolism And The Thirteenth Amendment: The Injury Of Exposure To Governmentally Endorsed Symbols Of Racial Superiority, Edward H. Kyle Jan 2020

Symbolism And The Thirteenth Amendment: The Injury Of Exposure To Governmentally Endorsed Symbols Of Racial Superiority, Edward H. Kyle

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

One of the debates often encountered by native southerners centers around our historical symbols. There are heated opinions on both sides of the issue as to what these symbols mean and whether they should be allowed to be displayed. The latter question has begun making its way into the courts, with many southern symbols and memorials being accused of promoting the philosophy of racial supremacy. Despite the growing public concern, modern courts refuse to rule on the question. They claim they are forestalled by Article III’s standing requirement that plaintiffs must have suffered a concrete injury in fact. They ...


The Most Revealing Word In The United States Report, Richard Primus Jan 2019

The Most Revealing Word In The United States Report, Richard Primus

Articles

The most prominent issue in NFIB v. Sebelius was whether Congress’s regulatory power under the Commerce Clause stops at a point marked by a distinction between “activity” and “inactivity.” According to the law’s challengers, prior decisions about the scope of the commerce power already reflected the importance of the distinction between action and inaction. In all of the previous cases in which exercises of the commerce power had been sustained, the challengers argued, that power had been used to regulate activity. Never had Congress tried to regulate mere inactivity. In NFIB, four Justices rejected that contention, writing that ...


The Gibbons Fallacy, Richard A. Primus Mar 2017

The Gibbons Fallacy, Richard A. Primus

Articles

In Gibbons v. Ogden, Chief Justice John Marshall famously wrote that "the enumeration presupposes something not enumerated." Modern courts use that phrase to mean that the Constitutions enumeration of congressional powers indicates that those powers are, as a whole, less than a grant of general legislative authority. But Marshall wasn't saying that. He wasn't talking about the Constitution's overall enumeration of congressional powers at all. He was writing about a different enumeration - the enumeration of three classes of commerce within the Commerce Clause. And Marshall's analysis of the Commerce Clause in Gibbons does not imply that ...


Congress And The Reconstruction Of Foreign Affairs Federalism, Ryan Baasch, Saikrishna Bangalore Prakash Jan 2016

Congress And The Reconstruction Of Foreign Affairs Federalism, Ryan Baasch, Saikrishna Bangalore Prakash

Michigan Law Review

Though the Constitution conspicuously bars some state involvement in foreign affairs, the states clearly retain some authority in foreign affairs. Correctly supposing that state participation may unnecessarily complicate or embarrass our nation’s foreign relations, the Supreme Court has embraced aggressive preemption doctrines that sporadically oust the states from discrete areas in foreign affairs. These doctrines are unprincipled, supply little guidance, and generate capricious results. Fortunately, there is a better way. While the Constitution permits the states a limited and continuing role, it never goes so far as guaranteeing them any foreign affairs authority. Furthermore, the Constitution authorizes Congress to ...


Why Enumeration Matters, Richard A. Primus Jan 2016

Why Enumeration Matters, Richard A. Primus

Michigan Law Review

The maxim that the federal government is a government of enumerated powers can be understood as a “continuity tender”: not a principle with practical consequences for governance, but a ritual statement with which practitioners identify themselves with a history from which they descend. This interpretation makes sense of the longstanding paradox whereby courts recite the enumeration principle but give it virtually no practical effect. On this understanding, the enumerated-powers maxim is analogous to the clause that Parliament still uses to open enacted statutes: “Be it enacted by the Queen’s most Excellent Majesty.” That text might imply that the Queen ...


More Than Just A Potted Plant: A Court's Authority To Review Deferred Prosecution Agreements Under The Speedy Trial Act And Under Its Inherent Supervisory Power, Mary Miller Jan 2016

More Than Just A Potted Plant: A Court's Authority To Review Deferred Prosecution Agreements Under The Speedy Trial Act And Under Its Inherent Supervisory Power, Mary Miller

Michigan Law Review

In the last decade, the Department of Justice has increasingly relied on pretrial diversion agreements as a means of resolving corporate criminal cases short of prosecution. These pretrial diversion agreements—non-prosecution and deferred prosecution agreements—include substantive terms that a company must abide by for the duration of the agreement in order to avoid prosecution. When entering a deferred prosecution agreement, the Department of Justice files charges against the defendant corporation as well as an agreement outlining the variety of terms with which the company must comply. This delay in prosecution is permitted under the Speedy Trial Act, which provides ...


Paths Of Resistance To Our Imperial First Amendment, Bertrall L. Ross Ii Apr 2015

Paths Of Resistance To Our Imperial First Amendment, Bertrall L. Ross Ii

Michigan Law Review

In the campaign finance realm, we are in the age of the imperial First Amendment. Over the past nine years, litigants bringing First Amendment claims against campaign finance regulations have prevailed in every case in the Supreme Court. A conservative core of five justices has developed virtually categorical protections for campaign speech and has continued to expand those protections into domains that states once had the authority to regulate. As the First Amendment’s empire expands, other values give way. Four key cases from this era illustrate the reach of this imperial First Amendment. In Wisconsin Right to Life, Inc ...


The Scope Of Precedent, Randy J. Kozel Nov 2014

The Scope Of Precedent, Randy J. Kozel

Michigan Law Review

The scope of Supreme Court precedent is capacious. Justices of the Court commonly defer to sweeping rationales and elaborate doctrinal frameworks articulated by their predecessors. This practice infuses judicial precedent with the prescriptive power of enacted constitutional and statutory text. The lower federal courts follow suit, regularly abiding by the Supreme Court’s broad pronouncements. These phenomena cannot be explained by—and, indeed, oftentimes subvert—the classic distinction between binding holdings and dispensable dicta. This Article connects the scope of precedent with recurring and foundational debates about the proper ends of judicial interpretation. A precedent’s forward- looking effect should ...


Enacted Legislative Findings And The Deference Problem, Daniel A. Crane Mar 2014

Enacted Legislative Findings And The Deference Problem, Daniel A. Crane

Articles

The constitutionality of federal legislation sometimes turns on the presence and sufficiency of congressional findings of predicate facts, such as the effects of conduct on interstate commerce, state discrimination justifying the abrogation of sovereign immunity, or market failures justifying intrusions on free speech. Sometimes a congressional committee makes these findings in legislative history. Other times, Congress recites its findings in a statutory preamble, thus enacting its findings as law. Surprisingly, the Supreme Court has not distinguished between enacted and unenacted findings in deciding how much deference to accord congressional findings. This is striking because the difference between enactedness and unenactedness ...


The Puzzling Presumption Of Reviewability, Nicholas Bagley Mar 2014

The Puzzling Presumption Of Reviewability, Nicholas Bagley

Articles

The presumption in favor of judicial review of agency action is a cornerstone of administrative law, accepted by courts and commentators alike as both legally appropriate and obviously desirable. Yet the presumption is puzzling. As with any canon of statutory construction that serves a substantive end, it should find a source in history, positive law, the Constitution, or sound policy considerations. None of these, however, offers a plausible justification for the presumption. As for history, the sort of judicial review that the presumption favors - appellate-style arbitrariness review - was not only unheard of prior to the twentieth century, but was commonly ...


From Commonwealth To Constitutional Limitations: Thomas Cooley's Michigan, 1805-1886, Robert Allan Olender Jan 2014

From Commonwealth To Constitutional Limitations: Thomas Cooley's Michigan, 1805-1886, Robert Allan Olender

SJD Dissertations

In response to what he perceived as the challenges associated with republican governance in the later portions of the nineteenth century, Michigan’s Thomas McIntyre Cooley penned his treatise concerning constitutional limitations on legislative power. In it, Cooley offered a vision of government where courts would check government power and would raise constitutional barriers against the impact of improper influences on legislators. As a student of history, Cooley grounded his beliefs and doctrines in experience, not philosophical reflections. Believing that “the fruits of speculative genius in government are of little value,” Cooley submitted that governing structures and law “must be ...


Election Law's Lochnerian Turn, Ellen D. Katz Jan 2014

Election Law's Lochnerian Turn, Ellen D. Katz

Articles

This panel has been asked to consider whether "the Constitution [is] responsible for electoral dysfunction."' My answer is no. The electoral process undeniably falls well short of our aspirations, but it strikes me that we should look to the Supreme Court for an accounting before blaming the Constitution for the deeply unsatisfactory condition in which we find ourselves.


The Jurisprudence Of Union, Gil Seinfeld Jan 2014

The Jurisprudence Of Union, Gil Seinfeld

Articles

The primary goal of this Article is to demonstrate that the interest in national unity does important, independent work in the law of vertical federalism. We have long been accustomed to treating union as a constitutionally operative value in cases involving the duties states owe one another (i.e. horizontal federalism cases), but in cases involving the relationship between the federal government and the states, the interest in union is routinely ignored. This Article shows that, across a wide range of cases relating to the allocation of power between the federal government and the states, the states are constrained by ...


Constitutional Change, Courts, And Social Movements, Douglas Nejaime Apr 2013

Constitutional Change, Courts, And Social Movements, Douglas Nejaime

Michigan Law Review

In Constitutional Redemption: Political Faith in an Unjust World, Professor Jack Balkin furnishes a positive account of constitutional change, advances a normative vision of the relationship between popular mobilizations and evolving constitutional principles, and develops an interpretive theory aimed at fulfilling the Constitution's promise. Rather than take an internal perspective that asks how courts alter constitutional doctrine, Balkin decenters adjudication and instead views the role of courts in constitutional change through the lens of social movements. In doing so, he convincingly exposes the feedback loop between social movements and courts: courts respond to claims and visions crafted by movements ...


The Problem Of Policing, Rachel A. Harmon Mar 2012

The Problem Of Policing, Rachel A. Harmon

Michigan Law Review

The legal problem of policing is how to regulate police authority to permit officers to enforce law while also protecting individual liberty and minimizing the social costs the police impose. Courts and commentators have largely treated the problem of policing as limited to preventing violations of constitutional rights and its solution as the judicial definition and enforcement of those rights. But constitutional law and courts alone are necessarily inadequate to regulate the police. Constitutional law does not protect important interests below the constitutional threshold or effectively address the distributional impacts of law enforcement activities. Nor can the judiciary adequately assess ...


How The Gun-Free School Zones Act Saved The Individual Mandate, Richard A. Primus Jan 2012

How The Gun-Free School Zones Act Saved The Individual Mandate, Richard A. Primus

Articles

For all the drama surrounding the Commerce Clause challenge to the in-dividual mandate provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“PPACA”), the doctrinal question presented is simple. Under existing doctrine, the provision is as valid as can be. To be sure, the Supreme Court could alter existing doctrine, and many interesting things could be written about the dynamics that sometimes prompt judges to strike out in new directions under the pressures of cases like this one. But it is not my intention to pursue that possibility here. My own suspicion, for what it is worth, is that the ...


Rebel Without A Clause: The Irrelevance Of Article Vi To Constitutional Supremacy, Gary Lawson Dec 2011

Rebel Without A Clause: The Irrelevance Of Article Vi To Constitutional Supremacy, Gary Lawson

Michigan Law Review First Impressions

With Stare Decisis and Constitutional Text, Jonathan Mitchell has produced what I think is the most interesting and creative textual defense (or at least partial defense) to date of the use of horizontal precedent in federal constitutional cases. Mitchell's careful analysis of the Supremacy Clause is fascinating and instructive, and he does an impeccable job of drawing out the implications of his premise that the Supremacy Clause prescribes only a very limited choice-of-law rule-a rule that does not, by its own terms, specifically elevate the Constitution above federal statutes and treaties. His innovative and intriguing framework yields four distinct ...


Stare Decisis And Constitutional Text, Jonathan F. Mitchell Oct 2011

Stare Decisis And Constitutional Text, Jonathan F. Mitchell

Michigan Law Review

Almost everyone acknowledges that stare decisis should play a significant role when the Supreme Court of the United States resolves constitutional cases. Yet the academic and judicial rationales for this practice tend to rely on naked consequentialist considerations, and make only passing efforts to square the Court's stare decisis doctrines with the language of the Constitution. This Article offers a qualified defense of constitutional stare decisis that rests exclusively on constitutional text. It aims to broaden the overlapping consensus of interpretive theories that can support a role for constitutional stare decisis, but to do this it must narrow the ...


Article I, Article Iii, And The Limits Of Enumeration, Gil Seinfeld Jan 2010

Article I, Article Iii, And The Limits Of Enumeration, Gil Seinfeld

Articles

Article I, Section 8 and Article Ill, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution deploy parallel strategies for constraining the power of the federal government. They enumerate powers that the national legislature and judiciary, respectively, are permitted to exercise and thereby implicitly prohibit these two branches of government from exercising powers not enumerated. According to conventional thinking, this strategy has failed in connection with Article I and succeeded in connection with Article III. That is, it is widely acknowledged that Congress routinely exercises powers that are difficult to square with the Article I enumeration; but it is commonly thought that ...


The Functions Of Ethical Originalism, Richard A. Primus Jan 2010

The Functions Of Ethical Originalism, Richard A. Primus

Articles

Supreme Court Justices frequently divide on questions of original meaning, and the divisions have a way of mapping what we might suspect are the Justices’ leanings about the merits of cases irrespective of originalist considerations. The same is true for law professors and other participants in constitutional discourse: people’s views of original constitutional meaning tend to align well with their (nonoriginalist) preferences for how present constitutional controversies should be resolved. To be sure, there are exceptions. Some people are better than others at suspending presentist considerations when examining historical materials, and some people are better than others at recognizing ...


Constitutional Interpretation And Judicial Review: A Case Of The Tail Wagging The Dog, Michael Halley Jan 2009

Constitutional Interpretation And Judicial Review: A Case Of The Tail Wagging The Dog, Michael Halley

Michigan Law Review First Impressions

A response to John F. Manning, Federalism and the Generality Problem in Constitutional Interpretation, 122 Harv. L. Rev. 2003 (2009). Professor John Manning's analysis of the Supreme Court's recent federalism decisions works as a platform to further the cause of textualism. His argument fails to persuade, however, because the textualism he says the Court should embrace in federalism cases is antithetical to the atextual nature of the Court's jurisdiction to adjudicate the constitutionality of legislation. Manning prefaces his work by telling readers that his analysis is not an end in itself. His aim, rather, is to "use ...


Originalism And The Natural Born Citizen Clause, Lawrence B. Solum Jan 2008

Originalism And The Natural Born Citizen Clause, Lawrence B. Solum

Michigan Law Review First Impressions

The enigmatic phrase “natural born citizen” poses a series of problems for contemporary originalism. New Originalists, like Justice Scalia, focus on the original public meaning of the constitutional text. The notion of a “natural born citizen” was likely a term of art derived from the idea of a “natural born subject” in English law—a category that most likely did not extend to persons, like Senator McCain, who were born outside sovereign territory. But the Constitution speaks of “citizens” and not “subjects,” introducing uncertainties and ambiguities that might (or might not) make McCain eligible for the presidency.


Mccain’S Citizenship And Constitutional Method, Peter J. Spiro Jan 2008

Mccain’S Citizenship And Constitutional Method, Peter J. Spiro

Michigan Law Review First Impressions

Many things may obstruct John McCain’s path to the White House, but his citizenship status is not among them. The question of his eligibility, given the circumstances of his birth, has already been resolved. That outcome has been produced by actors outside the courts. . . . If non-judicial actors—including Congress, editorialists, leading members of the bar, and the People themselves—manage to generate a constitutional consensus, there isn’t much that the courts can do about it. In cases such as this one, at least, that seems to be an acceptable method of constitutional determination.


The Justiciability Of Eligibility: May Courts Decide Who Can Be President?, Daniel P. Tokaji Jan 2008

The Justiciability Of Eligibility: May Courts Decide Who Can Be President?, Daniel P. Tokaji

Michigan Law Review First Impressions

The 2008 election cycle has been a busy one for legal disputes over the qualifications of presidential candidates, with federal cases having been filed to challenge both major candidates’ eligibility under the “natural born Citizen” clause. These cases unquestionably present vital questions of constitutional law, touching on matters of self-evident national importance. It is doubtful, however, that they are justiciable in lower federal courts. Standing requirements and the political question doctrine make it unlikely that a federal court will reach the merits in cases of the type filed to date.


Why Senator John Mccain Cannot Be President: Eleven Months And A Hundred Yards Short Of Citizenship, Gabriel Chin Jan 2008

Why Senator John Mccain Cannot Be President: Eleven Months And A Hundred Yards Short Of Citizenship, Gabriel Chin

Michigan Law Review First Impressions

Article II, section 1 of the Constitution provides that “No Person except a natural born Citizen . . . shall be eligible to the Office of President . . . .” A person must be a citizen at birth to be a natural born citizen. Senator McCain was born in the Canal Zone in 1936. Although he is now a U.S. citizen, the law in effect in 1936 did not grant him citizenship at birth. Because he was not born a citizen, he is not eligible to the office of president.


Judicial Compensation And The Definition Of Judicial Power In The Early Republic, James E. Pfander Jan 2008

Judicial Compensation And The Definition Of Judicial Power In The Early Republic, James E. Pfander

Michigan Law Review

Article III's provision for the compensation of federal judges has been much celebrated for the no-diminution provision that forecloses judicial pay cuts. But other features of Article Ill's compensation provision have largely escaped notice. In particular, little attention has been paid to the framers' apparent expectation that Congress would compensate federal judges with salaries alone, payable from the treasury at stated times. Article III's presumption in favor of salary-based compensation may rule out fee-based compensation, which was a common form of judicial compensation in England and the colonies but had grown controversial by the time of the ...


The Riddle Of Hiram Revels, Richard A. Primus Jan 2006

The Riddle Of Hiram Revels, Richard A. Primus

Articles

In 1870, a black man named Hiram Revels was named to represent Mississippi in the Senate. Senate Democrats objected to seating him and pointed out that the Constitution specifies that no person may be a senator who has not been a citizen of the United States for at least nine years. Before the ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment in 1868, the Democrats argued, Revels had not been a citizen on account of the Supreme Court's 1857 decision in Dred Scott v. Sandford. Thus, even if Revels were a citizen in 1870, he had held that status for only two ...


Compromising Liberty: A Structural Critique Of The Sentencing Guidelines, Jackie Gardina Jan 2005

Compromising Liberty: A Structural Critique Of The Sentencing Guidelines, Jackie Gardina

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

This Article contends that the federal sentencing guidelines-whether mandatory or discretionary-violate the constitutional separation of powers by impermissibly interfering with a criminal jury's constitutional duty to act as a check against government overreaching. This Article posits that the inclusion of the criminal jury in Article III of the Constitution was intended as an inseparable element of the constitutional system of checks and balances. This Article also submits a proposal for restoring the constitutional balance through the creation of a "guideline jury system" within the current guideline structure. The implementation of a guideline jury system would fill the constitutional void ...


The Dormant Commerce Clause And The Hormones Problem, Donald H. Regan Jan 2003

The Dormant Commerce Clause And The Hormones Problem, Donald H. Regan

Book Chapters

It is obvious that no anti-discrimination regime can stop at forbidding explicit discrimination of the relevant sort. If only explicit discrimination is forbidden, lawmakers who want to discriminate can hide their discriminatory intentions behind facially neutral classifications that are nonetheless chosen because they differentially burden the protected class. So, we must be prepared to invalidate some facially neutral laws that have "discriminatory effect" or, as American lawyers often call it, "disparate impact." On the other hand, we cannot possibly invalidate all laws which have a disparate impact on a protected class; many perfectly reasonable laws adopted for completely innocent purposes ...