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Full-Text Articles in Law

Destructive Federal Decentralization, David Fontana Jun 2021

Destructive Federal Decentralization, David Fontana

William & Mary Bill of Rights Journal

This Article—written for a symposium hosted by the William & Mary Bill of Rights Journal—focuses on the efforts by the Trump administration to relocate federal officials outside of Washington to reduce the capacity of the federal government. Federalism and the separation of powers are usually the twin pillars of structural constitutional law. Locating federal officials outside of Washington— federal decentralization—has been an additional tool of diffusing power that has started to gain some scholarly attention. These debates largely focus on structural constitutional law as constructive—as improving the capacity and operation of the federal and state governments. The ...


Free Speech And Democracy: A Primer For Twenty-First Century Reformers, Toni M. Massaro, Helen Norton Jan 2021

Free Speech And Democracy: A Primer For Twenty-First Century Reformers, Toni M. Massaro, Helen Norton

Articles

Left unfettered, the twenty-first-century speech environment threatens to undermine critical pieces of the democratic project. Speech operates today in ways unimaginable not only to the First Amendment’s eighteenth-century writers but also to its twentieth-century champions. Key among these changes is that speech is cheaper and more abundant than ever before, and can be exploited — by both government and powerful private actors alike — as a tool for controlling others’ speech and frustrating meaningful public discourse and democratic outcomes.

The Court’s longstanding First Amendment doctrine rests on a model of how speech works that is no longer accurate. This invites ...


The Democracy Principle In State Constitutions, Jessica Bulman-Pozen, Miriam Seifter Jan 2021

The Democracy Principle In State Constitutions, Jessica Bulman-Pozen, Miriam Seifter

Faculty Scholarship

In recent years, antidemocratic behavior has rippled across the nation. Lame-duck state legislatures have stripped popularly elected governors of their powers; extreme partisan gerrymanders have warped representative institutions; state officials have nullified popularly adopted initiatives. The federal constitution offers few resources to address these problems, and ballot-box solutions cannot work when antidemocratic actions undermine elections themselves. Commentators increasingly decry the rule of the many by the few.

This Article argues that a vital response has been neglected. State constitutions embody a deep commitment to democracy. Unlike the federal constitution, they were drafted – and have been repeatedly rewritten and amended – to ...