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Full-Text Articles in Law

Are They All Textualists Now?, Austin Peters Mar 2024

Are They All Textualists Now?, Austin Peters

Northwestern University Law Review

Recent developments at the U.S. Supreme Court have rekindled debates over textualism. Missing from the conversation is a discussion of the courts that decide the vast majority of statutory interpretation cases in the United States—state courts. This Article uses supervised machine learning to conduct the first-ever empirical study of the statutory interpretation methods used by state supreme courts. In total, this study analyzes over 44,000 opinions from all fifty states from 1980 to 2019.

This Article establishes several key descriptive findings. First, since the 1980s, textualism has risen rapidly in state supreme court opinions. Second, this rise is primarily attributable …


Do Patents Drive Investment In Software?, James Hicks Mar 2024

Do Patents Drive Investment In Software?, James Hicks

Northwestern University Law Review

In the wake of a quartet of Supreme Court decisions which disrupted decades of settled law, the doctrine of patentable subject matter is in turmoil. Scholars, commentators, and jurists continue to disagree sharply over which kinds of invention should be patentable. In this debate, no technology has been more controversial than software. Advocates of software patents contend that denying protection would stymie innovation in a vital industry; skeptics argue that patents are a poor fit for software, and that the social costs of patents outweigh any plausible benefits. At the core of this disagreement is a basic problem: the debate …


The Supreme Court And Children, Aaron Tang Mar 2024

The Supreme Court And Children, Aaron Tang

Northwestern University Law Review

How do children fare at the Supreme Court? Empirical research on the question is sparse, but existing accounts suggest a disheartening answer. A 1996 study found that children lost more than half of their cases in the Court, and a pair of prominent scholars lamented twenty years later that “the losses in children’s rights cases” had “outpace[d] and overwhelm[ed] the victories.”

In this Article, I present evidence that complicates this understanding. Based on an original dataset comprising 262 Supreme Court decisions between 1953 and 2023, I find that children have prevailed in 62.6% of their cases. This win rate is …


Worthless Checks? Clemency, Compassionate Release, And The Finality Of Life Without Parole, Daniel Pascoe Mar 2024

Worthless Checks? Clemency, Compassionate Release, And The Finality Of Life Without Parole, Daniel Pascoe

Northwestern University Law Review

Life without parole (LWOP) sentences are politically popular in the United States because, on their face, they claim to hold prisoners incarcerated until they die, with zero prospect of release via the regularized channel of parole. However, this view is procedurally shortsighted. After parole there is generally another remedial option for lessening or abrogating punishment: executive clemency via pardons and commutations. Increasingly, U.S. legal jurisdictions also provide for the possibility of compassionate release for lifers, usually granted by a parole board.

On paper, pardon, commutation, and compassionate release are thus direct challenges to the claim that an LWOP sentence will …


#Metoo & The Courts: The Impact Of Social Movements On Federal Judicial Decisionmaking, Carol T. Li, Matthew E.K. Hall, Veronica Root Martinez Dec 2023

#Metoo & The Courts: The Impact Of Social Movements On Federal Judicial Decisionmaking, Carol T. Li, Matthew E.K. Hall, Veronica Root Martinez

Washington and Lee Law Review Online

In late 2017, the #MeToo movement swept through the United States as individuals from all backgrounds and walks of life revealed their experiences with sexual abuse and sexual harassment. After the #MeToo movement, many scholars, advocates, and policymakers posited that the watershed moment would prompt changes in the ways in which sexual harassment cases were handled. This Article examines the impact the #MeToo movement has had on judicial decisionmaking. Our hypothesis is that the #MeToo movement’s increase in public awareness and political attention to experiences of sexual misconduct should lead to more pro-claimant voting in federal courts at the district …


The Applications Docket, Greg Goelzhauser Nov 2023

The Applications Docket, Greg Goelzhauser

Georgia Law Review

The Supreme Court’s applications docket, often misleadingly called the “shadow docket” or “emergency docket,” is controversial, complex, and poorly understood. Using original data spanning nearly two decades, I unravel the docket’s empirical foundations. Applications practice changed fundamentally in recent years. Contrary to conventional wisdom, dispositions declined on average, but this conceals divergent trends: among applications involving stays and injunctions, capital dispositions decreased while noncapital dispositions increased. Moreover, noncapital applications now comprise a larger share of the docket than capital applications. This shift enhances docket salience because, as I show, most capital applications are denied simultaneous to denying plenary review, while …


Onerous Disabilities And Burdens: An Empirical Study Of The Bar Examination’S Disparate Impact On Applicants From Communities Of Color, Scott Devito, Kelsey Hample, Erin Lain Oct 2023

Onerous Disabilities And Burdens: An Empirical Study Of The Bar Examination’S Disparate Impact On Applicants From Communities Of Color, Scott Devito, Kelsey Hample, Erin Lain

Pace Law Review

This Article provides the results of the most comprehensive and detailed analysis of the correlation between bar passage and race and ethnicity. It provides the first proof of racially disparate outcomes of the bar exam, both for first-time and ultimate bar passage, across jurisdictions and within law schools. Using data from 63 public law schools, we found that first-time bar examinees from Communities of Color underperform White examinees by, on average, 13.41 percentage points. While the gap closes when looking at ultimate bar passage, there is still a difference, on average, of 9.09 percentage points. The validity of these results …


The Price Of Fairness, Christopher Buccafusco, Daniel Hemel, Eric Talley Jan 2023

The Price Of Fairness, Christopher Buccafusco, Daniel Hemel, Eric Talley

Faculty Scholarship

The COVID-19 pandemic led to acute supply shortages across the country as well as concerns over price increases amid surging demand. In the process, it reawakened a debate about whether and how to regulate “price gouging”—a controversy that continues as inflation has accelerated even as the pandemic abates. Animating this debate is a longstanding conflict between laissez-faire economics, which champions price fluctuations as a means to allocate scarce goods, and perceived norms of consumer fairness, which are thought to cut strongly against sharp price hikes amid shortages.

This Article provides a new, empirically grounded perspective on the price gouging debate …


Beyond Legal Deserts: Access To Counsel For Immigrants Facing Removal, Emily Ryo, Reed Humphrey Jan 2023

Beyond Legal Deserts: Access To Counsel For Immigrants Facing Removal, Emily Ryo, Reed Humphrey

Faculty Scholarship

Removal proceedings are high-stakes adversarial proceedings in which immigration judges must decide whether to allow immigrants who allegedly have violated U.S. immigration laws to stay in the United States or to order them deported to their countries of origin. In these proceedings, the government trial attorneys prosecute noncitizens who often lack English fluency, economic resources, and familiarity with our legal system. Yet, most immigrants in removal proceedings do not have legal representation, as removal is considered to be a civil matter and courts have not recognized a right to government­appointed counsel for immigrants facing removal. Advocates, policymakers, and scholars have …


Twenty-First Century Split: Partisan, Racial, And Gender Differences In Circuit Judges Following Earlier Opinions, Stuart Minor Benjamin, Kevin M. Quinn, Byungkoo Kim Jan 2023

Twenty-First Century Split: Partisan, Racial, And Gender Differences In Circuit Judges Following Earlier Opinions, Stuart Minor Benjamin, Kevin M. Quinn, Byungkoo Kim

Faculty Scholarship

Judges shape the law with their votes and the reasoning in their opinions. An important element of the latter is which opinions they follow, and thus elevate, and which they cast doubt on, and thus diminish. Using a unique and comprehensive dataset containing the substantive Shepard’s treatments of all circuit court published and unpublished majority opinions issued between 1974 and 2017, we examine the relationship between judges’ substantive treatments of earlier appellate cases and their party, race, and gender. Are judges more likely to follow opinions written by colleagues of the same party, race, or gender? What we find is …


#Metoo & The Courts: The Impact Of Social Movements On Federal Judicial Decisionmaking, Carol T. Li, Matthew E.K. Hall, Veronica Root Martinez Jan 2023

#Metoo & The Courts: The Impact Of Social Movements On Federal Judicial Decisionmaking, Carol T. Li, Matthew E.K. Hall, Veronica Root Martinez

Faculty Scholarship

In late 2017, the #MeToo movement swept through the United States as individuals from all backgrounds and walks of life revealed their experiences with sexual abuse and sexual harassment. After the #MeToo movement, many scholars, advocates, and policymakers posited that the watershed moment would prompt changes in the ways in which sexual harassment cases were handled. This Article examines the impact the #MeToo movement has had on judicial decisionmaking. Our hypothesis is that the #MeToo movement’s increase in public awareness and political attention to experiences of sexual misconduct should lead to more pro-claimant voting in federal courts at the district …


Error Aversions And Due Process, Brandon L. Garrett, Gregory Mitchell Jan 2023

Error Aversions And Due Process, Brandon L. Garrett, Gregory Mitchell

Faculty Scholarship

William Blackstone famously expressed the view that convicting the innocent constitutes a much more serious error than acquitting the guilty. This view is the cornerstone of due process protections for those accused of crimes, giving rise to the presumption of innocence and the high burden of proof required for criminal convictions. While most legal elites share Blackstone’s view, the citizen-jurors tasked with making due process protections a reality do not share the law’s preference for false acquittals over false convictions.

Across multiple national surveys, sampling more than 10,000 people, we find that a majority of Americans views false acquittals and …


Textualism In Practice, Anita S. Krishnakumar Jan 2023

Textualism In Practice, Anita S. Krishnakumar

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

It is by now axiomatic to note that textualism has won the statutory interpretation wars. But contrary to what textualists long have promised, the widespread embrace of textualism as an interpretive methodology has not resulted in any real clarity or predictability about the interpretive path—or even the specific interpretive tools—that courts will invoke in a particular case. Part of the reason for this lack of predictability is that textualism-in-practice often differs significantly from the approach that textualism-in-theory advertises; and part of the reason is that textualism-in-theory is sometimes in tension with itself. In light of textualism’s ascendance—and now dominance—on the …


Protecting The Guild Or Protecting The Public? Bar Exams And The Diploma Privilege, Milan Markovic Jun 2022

Protecting The Guild Or Protecting The Public? Bar Exams And The Diploma Privilege, Milan Markovic

Faculty Scholarship

The bar examination has long loomed over legal education. Although many states formerly admitted law school graduates into legal practice via the diploma privilege, Wisconsin is the only state that recognizes the privilege today. The bar examination is so central to the attorney admissions process that all but a handful of jurisdictions required it amidst a pandemic that turned bar exam administration into a life-or-death matter.

This Article analyzes the diploma privilege from a historical and empirical perspective. Whereas courts and regulators maintain that bar examinations screen out incompetent practitioners, the legal profession formerly placed little emphasis on bar examinations …


The (Unnoticed) Revitalization Of The Doctrine Of Equivalents, Daryl Lim Apr 2022

The (Unnoticed) Revitalization Of The Doctrine Of Equivalents, Daryl Lim

St. John's Law Review

(Excerpt)

Over the past century, few patent issues have been considered so often by the Supreme Court of the United States as the doctrine of equivalents (“DOE”). This judge-made rule deals with a question that lies at the heart of patent policy—what is the best way to define property rights in an invention? The doctrine gives patentees an opportunity to ensnare an accused device that does not literally infringe a patent claim if the accused device is substantially similar to each claim limitation. Patentees enjoy this advantage, but it comes at a cost to the public, who must face the …


Taking The Rule Of Law Seriously, Michele Cotton Feb 2022

Taking The Rule Of Law Seriously, Michele Cotton

University of Massachusetts Law Review

American legal scholars and jurists have given the rule of law their sustained attention, and the international community has treated it as an important measure of societal well-being. But still the rule of law is not taken seriously. For one thing, little effort has been made to craft a definition of the rule of law that is actually useful. And even when legal scholarship does try at empiricism that could illuminate the vitality of our rule of law, it generally starts from the wrong hypotheses and uses the wrong methods. It focuses on how to achieve “access to justice” and …


The Rise Of Plain Language Laws, Michael A. Blasie Feb 2022

The Rise Of Plain Language Laws, Michael A. Blasie

University of Miami Law Review

When lawmakers enacted 776 plain language laws across the United States, no one noticed. Apart from a handful, these laws went untracked and unstudied. Without study, large questions remain about these laws’ effects and utility, and about how they inform the adoption or rejection of plain language.
This Article creates a conceptual framework for plain language laws to set the stage for future empirical research and normative discussions on the value of plain language. It unveils the first nationwide empirical survey of plain language laws to reveal their locations, coverages, and standards. In doing so, the Article creates a systematic …


Crime And Punishment: An Empirical Study Of The Effects Of Racial Bias On Capital Sentencing Decisions, Matthew A. Gasperetti Feb 2022

Crime And Punishment: An Empirical Study Of The Effects Of Racial Bias On Capital Sentencing Decisions, Matthew A. Gasperetti

University of Miami Law Review

Racism has left an indelible stain on American history and remains a powerful social force that continues to shape crime and punishment in the contemporary United States. In this article, I discuss the socio-legal construction of race, explore how racism infected American culture, and trace the racist history of capital punishment from the Colonial Era to the present. After framing the death penalty in cultural and historical context, I report original empirical results from one of the largest studies (n = 3,284) of mock juror capital sentencing decisions published to date. My results show that mock jurors who self reported …


The American Experience With Employee Noncompete Clauses: Constraints On Employees Flourish And Do Real Damage In The Land Of Economic Liberty, Kenneth G. Dau-Schmidt, Xiaohan Sun, Phillip J. Jones Jan 2022

The American Experience With Employee Noncompete Clauses: Constraints On Employees Flourish And Do Real Damage In The Land Of Economic Liberty, Kenneth G. Dau-Schmidt, Xiaohan Sun, Phillip J. Jones

Articles by Maurer Faculty

Agreements not to compete are generally an anathema to free market advocates. Independent profit maximization is one of the fundamental assumptions of the neoclassical economic model and necessary to its conclusion that markets yield results that are Paraeto efficient. Consistent with this theory, and practical experience, agreements among competitors, or potential competitors, to divide a market, or fix price or quantity are per se violations under our antitrust laws.

Despite this fact, even some ardent free market advocates have argued on behalf of the enforcement of covenants not to compete in the employment relationship. The traditional economic argument in favor …


Hunting And Gathering On The Legal Information Savannah, Susan Nevelow Mart, Adam Litzler, David Gunderman Jan 2022

Hunting And Gathering On The Legal Information Savannah, Susan Nevelow Mart, Adam Litzler, David Gunderman

Publications

This article asks, what is it like for novice researchers to research real-world legal problems using four platforms: Bloomberg Law, Fastcase, Lexis Advance, and Westlaw? The study findings produced some surprises, as well as some clear implications for teaching legal research.


Opportunity Zones: A Program In Search Of A Purpose, Ofer Eldar, Chelsea Garber Jan 2022

Opportunity Zones: A Program In Search Of A Purpose, Ofer Eldar, Chelsea Garber

Faculty Scholarship

In 2017, Congress created the Opportunity Zone (“OZ”) program to stimulate economic growth in low-income communities. The program was characterized by its unprecedented scale relative to previous place-based development efforts and was described as “perhaps the most ambitious economic development tool to come out of Congress in a generation.” However, the program was quickly criticized on numerous grounds, and its design flaws are so severe that several legislators have called for its reform or repeal.

This Essay argues that the root of the OZ program’s problems is a strong mismatch between its stated purpose and its actual terms. We discuss …


World Tax Policy In The World Tax Polity? An Event History Analysis Of Oecd/G20 Beps Inclusive Framework Membership, Shu-Yi Oei Jan 2022

World Tax Policy In The World Tax Polity? An Event History Analysis Of Oecd/G20 Beps Inclusive Framework Membership, Shu-Yi Oei

Faculty Scholarship

The last decade has seen the emergence of a new global tax order spearheaded by the OECD and G20 and characterized by increased multilateral consensus and cooperation. This new order appears to reflect the emergence of a new “world tax polity” with shared structures, practices, and norms, which have been shaped through the work of the OECD, G20, and other global actors. But what are the pathways by which this new world tax polity has emerged?

Using event history regression methods, this Article investigates this question by studying membership in the OECD/G20 BEPS Inclusive Framework, a multilateral tax agreement among …


Citizenship Disparities, Emily Ryo, Reed Humphrey Jan 2022

Citizenship Disparities, Emily Ryo, Reed Humphrey

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


“Second-Class" Rhetoric, Ideology, And Doctrinal Change, Eric Ruben, Joseph Blocher Jan 2022

“Second-Class" Rhetoric, Ideology, And Doctrinal Change, Eric Ruben, Joseph Blocher

Faculty Scholarship

A common refrain in current constitutional discourse is that lawmakers and judges are systematically disfavoring certain rights. This allegation has been made about the rights to free speech and free exercise of religion, but it is most prominent in debates about the right to keep and bear arms. Such “second-class” treatment, the argument goes, signals that the Supreme Court must intervene aggressively to police the disrespected rights. Past empirical work casts doubt on the descriptive claim that judges and policymakers are disrespecting the Second Amendment, but that simply highlights how little we know about how the second-class argument functions as …


Investigating Design, Jessica Silbey, Mark P. Mckenna Jan 2022

Investigating Design, Jessica Silbey, Mark P. Mckenna

Faculty Scholarship

Design is ascendant. Steve Jobs’s legendary obsession with design was widely regarded as Apple’s comparative advantage, and that lesson has not been lost on its competitors. Design thinking is a growth industry, in business and at universities, and design professionals continue to take on increasingly significant roles within firms. The increasing economic significance of design has been reflected in an explosion of design patent applications and increasing amount of design litigation.

Despite design’s growing economic and legal importance, relatively little is known by legal scholars and policymakers about designers or the design process. This paper addresses that gap and is …


A Novel Dataset Measuring Change In Copyright Exceptions, Michael Palmedo Dec 2021

A Novel Dataset Measuring Change In Copyright Exceptions, Michael Palmedo

Joint PIJIP/TLS Research Paper Series

Copyrights grant creators long periods of market exclusivity during which they or their agents have the exclusive right to reproduce and distribute their works. However, copyright exceptions limit their scope and strength. The laws on both copyright protection and copyright exceptions vary substantially from one country to the next. This working paper introduces a novel, survey-based dataset that describes changes to 24 countries’ laws on copyright exceptions over time. To explore the data, I construct two indices from subsets of the dataset; one that focus on exceptions related to ICT technologies and another that focuses on educational uses. The indices …


Menstrual Dignity And The Bar Exam, Margaret E. Johnson, Marcy L. Karin, Elizabeth Cooper Nov 2021

Menstrual Dignity And The Bar Exam, Margaret E. Johnson, Marcy L. Karin, Elizabeth Cooper

All Faculty Scholarship

This Article examines the issue of menstruation and the administration of the bar exam. Although such problems are not new, over the summer and fall of 2020, test takers and commentators took to social media to critique state board of law examiners’ (“BOLE”) policies regarding menstruation. These problems persist. Menstruators worry that if they unexpectedly bleed during the exam, they may not have access to appropriately sized and constructed menstrual products or may be prohibited from accessing the bathroom. Personal products that are permitted often must be carried in a clear, plastic bag. Some express privacy concerns that the see-through …


Market Power And Switching Costs: An Empirical Study Of Online Networking Market, Shin-Ru Cheng Oct 2021

Market Power And Switching Costs: An Empirical Study Of Online Networking Market, Shin-Ru Cheng

University of Cincinnati Law Review

In recent years, states have launched several antitrust investigations targeting digital platforms. A major difficulty in these investigations is demonstrating the extent of a digital platform’s market power. Market power is defined as the control of the output or the price without the loss of business to competitors. As will be explored in this Article, market power is a critical component in an antitrust analysis. On several occasions, courts have adopted the switching costs approach in their analysis of market power. According to this approach, market power may be inferred when the costs of switching from one supplier to another …


Can There Be Too Much Specialization? Specialization In Specialized Courts, Melissa F. Wasserman, Jonathan D. Slack Mar 2021

Can There Be Too Much Specialization? Specialization In Specialized Courts, Melissa F. Wasserman, Jonathan D. Slack

Northwestern University Law Review

While modern society has embraced specialization, the federal judiciary continues to prize the generalist jurist. This disconnect is at the core of the growing debate on the optimal level of specialization in the judiciary. To date, this discussion has largely revolved around the creation of specialized courts. Opinion specialization, however, provides an alternative, underappreciated method to infuse specialization into the judiciary. In contrast to specialized courts, opinion specialization is understudied and undertheorized.

This Article makes two contributions to the literature. First, this Article theorizes whether opinion specialization is a desirable practice. It argues that the practice’s costs and benefits are …


Menstrual Dignity And The Bar Exam, Marcy L. Karin, Margaret E. Johnson, Elizabeth B. Cooper Jan 2021

Menstrual Dignity And The Bar Exam, Marcy L. Karin, Margaret E. Johnson, Elizabeth B. Cooper

Faculty Scholarship

This Article examines the issue of menstruation and the administration of the bar exam. Although such problems are not new, over the summer and fall of 2020, test takers and commentators took to social media to critique state board of law examiners’ (“BOLE”) policies regarding menstruation. These problems persist. Menstruators worry that if they unexpectedly bleed during the exam, they may not have access to appropriately sized and constructed menstrual products or may be prohibited from accessing the bathroom. Personal products that are permitted often must be carried in a clear, plastic bag. Some express privacy concerns that the see-through …