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Full-Text Articles in Law

Becoming A Doctrine, Allison Orr Larsen Jan 2024

Becoming A Doctrine, Allison Orr Larsen

Faculty Publications

On the last day of the 2021–22 Term, the Supreme Court handed down a decision on “the major questions doctrine” and granted certiorari to hear a case presenting “the independent state legislature doctrine”—neither of which had been called “doctrines” there before. This raises a fundamental and underexplored question: how does a doctrine become a doctrine? Law students know the difference between doctrinal classes and seminars, but how does an idea bantered about in a seminar (say, about agencies deciding major questions) become a “doctrine” complete with judicial tests, steps, and exceptions? Taking an analogy to medicine, when does …


Symposium On Transformative Gender Law: A Roger Williams Law Review Event 11-3-2023, Roger Williams University School Of Law Nov 2023

Symposium On Transformative Gender Law: A Roger Williams Law Review Event 11-3-2023, Roger Williams University School Of Law

School of Law Conferences, Lectures & Events

No abstract provided.


(Re)Criminalizing Abortion: Returning To The Political With Stories, George J. Annas Oct 2023

(Re)Criminalizing Abortion: Returning To The Political With Stories, George J. Annas

Faculty Scholarship

Abortion stories have always played a powerful role in advancing women’s rights. In the abortion sphere particularly, the personal is political. Following the Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade, abortion politics, and abortion storytelling, take on an even deeper political role in challenging the bloodless judicial language of Dobbs with the lived experience of women.


Dobbs V. Jackson Women’S Health: Undermining Public Health, Facilitating Reproductive Coercion, Aziza Ahmed, Dabney P. Evans, Jason Jackson, Benjamin Mason Meier, Cecília Tomori Oct 2023

Dobbs V. Jackson Women’S Health: Undermining Public Health, Facilitating Reproductive Coercion, Aziza Ahmed, Dabney P. Evans, Jason Jackson, Benjamin Mason Meier, Cecília Tomori

Faculty Scholarship

Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health continues a trajectory of U.S. Supreme Court jurisprudence that undermines the normative foundation of public health — the idea that the state is obligated to provide a robust set of supports for healthcare services and the underlying social determinants of health. Dobbs furthers a longstanding ideology of individual responsibility in public health, neglecting collective responsibility for better health outcomes. Such an ideology on individual responsibility not only enables a shrinking of public health infrastructure for reproductive health, it facilitates the rise of reproductive coercion and a criminal legal response to pregnancy and abortion. This commentary …


Applying Bentham's Theory Of Fallacies To Chief Justice Roberts' Reasoning In West Virginia V. Epa, Dana Neacsu Apr 2023

Applying Bentham's Theory Of Fallacies To Chief Justice Roberts' Reasoning In West Virginia V. Epa, Dana Neacsu

Law Faculty Publications

This essay summarizes the Court’s decision in West Virginia v. EPA. It also analyzes Chief Justice Robert’s reasoning and addresses the case’s flaws from two perspectives. It references the Court’s decision connecting it to the so-called New Deal Cases, because in both Panama Refining Co. v. Ryan, and West Virginia v. EPA, the Court accepted to review a lower court’s decision about a non-existent regulation. In 1935, the governmental kerfuffle was due to a lack of regulatory transparency; the Federal Register had yet to be established. This essay’s analysis incorporates Jeremy Bentham’s 1809 work on two classes of fallacies, authority …


The Constitution As A Source Of Remedial Law, Carlos Manuel Vázquez Mar 2023

The Constitution As A Source Of Remedial Law, Carlos Manuel Vázquez

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

In Equity’s Constitutional Source, Owen W. Gallogly argues that Article III is the source of a constitutional default rule for equitable remedies—specifically, that Article III’s vesting of the “judicial Power” “in Equity” empowers federal courts to afford the remedies traditionally afforded by the English Court of Chancery at the time of the Founding, and to develop such remedies in an incremental fashion. This Response questions the current plausibility of locating such a default rule in Article III, since remedies having their source in Article III would be available in federal but not state courts and would apply to state-law …


Property's Boundaries, James Toomey Mar 2023

Property's Boundaries, James Toomey

Elisabeth Haub School of Law Faculty Publications

Property law has a boundary problem. Courts are routinely called upon to decide whether certain kinds of things can be owned--cells, genes, organs, gametes, embryos, corpses, personal data, and more. Under prevailing contemporary theories of property law, questions like these have no justiciable answers. Because property has no conceptual essence, they maintain, its boundaries are arbitrary--a flexible normative choice more properly legislative than judicial.

This Article instead offers a straightforward descriptive theory of property's boundaries. The common law of property is legitimated by its basis in the concept of ownership, a descriptive relationship of absolute control that exists outside of …


Jazz Improvisation And The Law: Constrained Choice, Sequence, And Strategic Movement Within Rules, William W. Buzbee Jan 2023

Jazz Improvisation And The Law: Constrained Choice, Sequence, And Strategic Movement Within Rules, William W. Buzbee

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

This Article argues that a richer understanding of the nature of law is possible through comparative, analogical examination of legal work and the art of jazz improvisation. This exploration illuminates a middle ground between rule of law aspirations emphasizing stability and determinate meanings and contrasting claims that the untenable alternative is pervasive discretionary or politicized law. In both the law and jazz improvisation settings, the work involves constraining rules, others’ unpredictable actions, and strategic choosing with attention to where a collective creation is going. One expects change and creativity in improvisation, but the many analogous characteristics of law illuminate why …


Sanitation: Reducing The Administrative State’S Control Over Public Health, Lauren R. Roth Jan 2023

Sanitation: Reducing The Administrative State’S Control Over Public Health, Lauren R. Roth

Scholarly Works

On April 18, 2022, in Health Freedom Defense Fund, Inc. v. Biden, United States District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle vacated the mask mandate issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Following a framework laid out in other decisions restricting CDC actions in response to COVID-19, the court found that the agency lacked statutory authority to protect the public from the virus by requiring mask wearing during travel and at transit hubs because Congress did not intend such a broad grant of power. Countering decades of public health jurisprudence, the federal district court failed to defer to experts and …


The Failed Idea Of Judicial Restraint: A Brief Intellectual History, Susan D. Carle Jan 2023

The Failed Idea Of Judicial Restraint: A Brief Intellectual History, Susan D. Carle

Articles in Law Reviews & Other Academic Journals

This essay examines the intellectual history of the idea of judicial restraint, starting with the early debates among the US Constitution’s founding generation. In the late nineteenth century, law professor James Bradley Thayer championed the concept and passed it on to his students and others, including Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., Learned Hand, Louis Brandeis, and Felix Frankfurter, who modified and applied it based on the jurisprudential preoccupations of a different era. In a masterful account, Brad Snyder examines Justice Frankfurter’s attempt to put the idea into practice. Although Frankfurter arguably made a mess of it, he passed the idea of …


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 …


Recent Developments In Mandatory Arbitration Warfare: Winners And Losers (So Far) In Mass Arbitration, J. Maria Glover Jan 2023

Recent Developments In Mandatory Arbitration Warfare: Winners And Losers (So Far) In Mass Arbitration, J. Maria Glover

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Mass arbitration has sent shock waves through the civil justice system and unnerved the defense bar. To see how quickly and dramatically this phenomenon has entered both the civil justice landscape and the public discourse, one need look no further than the January 2023 filings of hundreds of individual arbitration demands by former Twitter employees against Elon Musk, along with threats to file hundreds more—threats that were announced, no doubt intentionally, on Twitter itself. Plaintiffs are increasingly more aware of mass arbitration as a tool in their arsenal, and defendants are, perhaps for the first time in decades of mandatory …


The Common Law As Statutory Backdrop, Anita S. Krishnakumar Dec 2022

The Common Law As Statutory Backdrop, Anita S. Krishnakumar

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Amidst the whirl of commentary about how the U.S. Supreme Court has become increasingly textualist and what precise shape modern textualism should take, the Court’s continued reliance on one decidedly atextual interpretive tool has gone largely unnoticed — the common law. Indeed, the common law has played an underappreciated, often dispositive, gap-filling role in statutory interpretation for decades, even as the textualist revolution has sidelined other non-text-focused interpretive tools. But despite the persistent role that the common law has played in statutory interpretation cases, the use of common law rules and definitions as an interpretive resource is surprisingly understudied and …


Nomos, Narrative, And Nephi: Legal Interpretation In The Book Of Mormon, Nathan B. Oman Nov 2022

Nomos, Narrative, And Nephi: Legal Interpretation In The Book Of Mormon, Nathan B. Oman

Faculty Publications

The Book of Mormon helped launch one of America’s most successful religions, and millions around the world accept it as scripture. It is thus one of the more influential books to have been published in the United States. Ironically, precisely because of its role in the founding of Mormonism, the text of the Book of Mormon has often been ignored. Recently, however, the Book of Mormon has begun to attract the attention of scholars whose interest in the text goes beyond either religious devotion or the academic study of Mormonism. Rather, they look to the text as a literary creation …


Sovereign Imaginaries: Visualizing The Sacred Foundation Of Law’S Authority, Richard K. Sherwin Aug 2022

Sovereign Imaginaries: Visualizing The Sacred Foundation Of Law’S Authority, Richard K. Sherwin

Articles & Chapters

If a world is to be lived in, it must be founded. This foundational function belongs to the sovereign imagination. What a polity names as sovereign in the state of exception, when the sacred irrupts anew, is a matter of individual and collective responsibility. In this dispensation, law, politics, and religion become inescapably entangled in metaphysics. It behooves us to understand the nature and consequences of this state of affairs.


Dworkin Versus Hart Revisited: The Challenge Of Non-Lexical Determination, Mitchell N. Berman Jun 2022

Dworkin Versus Hart Revisited: The Challenge Of Non-Lexical Determination, Mitchell N. Berman

All Faculty Scholarship

A fundamental task for legal philosophy is to explain what makes it the case that the law has the content that it does. Anti-positivists say that moral norms play an ineliminable role in the determination of legal content, while positivists say that they play no role, or only a contingent one. Increasingly, scholars report finding the debate stale. This article hopes to freshen it by, ironically, revisiting what might be thought its opening round: Dworkin’s challenge to Hartian positivism leveled in The Model of Rules I. It argues that the underappreciated significance of Dworkin’s distinction between rules and principles is …


Rewriting Whren V. United States, Jonathan Feingold, Devon Carbado Apr 2022

Rewriting Whren V. United States, Jonathan Feingold, Devon Carbado

Faculty Scholarship

In 1996, the U.S. Supreme Court decided Whren v. United States—a unanimous opinion in which the Court effectively constitutionalized racial profiling. Despite its enduring consequences, Whren remains good law today. This Article rewrites the opinion. We do so, in part, to demonstrate how one might incorporate racial justice concerns into Fourth Amendment jurisprudence, a body of law that has long elided and marginalized the racialized dimensions of policing. A separate aim is to reveal the “false necessity” of the Whren outcome. The fact that Whren was unanimous, and that even progressive Justices signed on, might lead one to conclude that …


Fair Construction To Living Constitution: Analyzing Constitutional Interpretation Throughout United States History, Joshua Lloyd Apr 2022

Fair Construction To Living Constitution: Analyzing Constitutional Interpretation Throughout United States History, Joshua Lloyd

Senior Honors Theses

The proper method of constitutional interpretation has been debated throughout the history of the Supreme Court. This debate has been defined by the tension between the originalist and living constitution jurisprudences. Each has been dominant at one point in United States history. A fair construction jurisprudence was almost universally utilized by the Supreme Court to interpret the Constitution according to its original meaning until Plessy v. Ferguson. Then, due to an alliance between evangelicals and progressive scholars, a broader, more lenient living constitution jurisprudence developed which allowed justices to interpret the Constitution in light of changing social norms. Finally, …


Deep-State Constitutionalism, Randy E. Barnett Apr 2022

Deep-State Constitutionalism, Randy E. Barnett

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

In this review, I explain how "Common Good Constitutionalism" taps into a deficiency of the conservative legal movement: namely, its exclusive focus on the law "as it is" at the expense of the underlying abstract normative principles that justify the positive law of our written Constitution. Due to this deficiency, the conservative legal movement gives short shrift to the Declaration of Independence and the Ninth Amendment and the natural rights to which both refer. This deficiency is in need of correction. But any such correction does not justify the jettisoning of originalism as Vermeule proposes. Nor does Vermeule defend his …


The Right To Counsel In A Neoliberal Age, Zohra Ahmed Apr 2022

The Right To Counsel In A Neoliberal Age, Zohra Ahmed

Faculty Scholarship

Legal scholarship tends to obscure how changes in criminal process relate to broader changes in the political and economic terrain. This Article offers a modest corrective to this tendency. By studying the U.S. Supreme Court’s right to counsel jurisprudence, as it has developed since the mid-70s, I show the pervasive impact of the concurrent rise of neoliberalism on relationships between defendants and their attorneys. Since 1975, the Court has emphasized two concerns in its rulings regarding the right to counsel: choice and autonomy. These, of course, are nominally good things for defendants to have. But by paying close attention to …


The Living Rules Of Evidence, G. Alexander Nunn Mar 2022

The Living Rules Of Evidence, G. Alexander Nunn

Faculty Scholarship

The jurisprudential evolution of evidence law is dead. At least, that’s what we’re expected to believe. Ushered in on the wings of a growing positivist movement, the enactment of the Federal Rules of Evidence purported to quell judicial authority over evidence law. Instead, committees, conferences, and members of Congress would regulate any change to our evidentiary regime, thereby capturing the evolution of evidence law in a single, transparent code.

The codification of evidence law, though, has proven problematic. The arrival of the Federal Rules of Evidence has given rise to a historically anomalous era of relative stagnation in the doctrinal …


Gephi Output Files, Folder 3, Part 2: Co-Citation Network Data Files, Joseph S. Miller Jan 2022

Gephi Output Files, Folder 3, Part 2: Co-Citation Network Data Files, Joseph S. Miller

Faculty Datasets

This data subset created and collected by Joseph Miller and digitally preserved here is in support of his forthcoming article "A Judge Never Writes More Freely: A Separate-Opinions Citation-Network Approach to Assessing Judicial Ideology". From the article's abstract:

"This Article is the first to apply a novel empirical method—citation network analysis—to particular appellate jurists’ separate judicial opinions (e.g., concurrences, dissents) in an effort to provide a more detailed picture of a judge’s ideological preferences. It focuses on the separate opinions of Justices Scalia and Thomas through the end of October Term 2019: they served for a similar number …


Underlying Citation Data, Folder 4, Part 1: Census Of Scalia Cites, Joseph S. Miller Jan 2022

Underlying Citation Data, Folder 4, Part 1: Census Of Scalia Cites, Joseph S. Miller

Faculty Datasets

This data subset created and collected by Joseph Miller and digitally preserved here is in support of his forthcoming article "A Judge Never Writes More Freely: A Separate-Opinions Citation-Network Approach to Assessing Judicial Ideology". From the article's abstract:

"This Article is the first to apply a novel empirical method—citation network analysis—to particular appellate jurists’ separate judicial opinions (e.g., concurrences, dissents) in an effort to provide a more detailed picture of a judge’s ideological preferences. It focuses on the separate opinions of Justices Scalia and Thomas through the end of October Term 2019: they served for a similar number …


Underlying Citation Data, Folder 4, Part 2: Census Of Thomas Cites, Joseph S. Miller Jan 2022

Underlying Citation Data, Folder 4, Part 2: Census Of Thomas Cites, Joseph S. Miller

Faculty Datasets

This data subset created and collected by Joseph Miller and digitally preserved here is in support of his forthcoming article "A Judge Never Writes More Freely: A Separate-Opinions Citation-Network Approach to Assessing Judicial Ideology". From the article's abstract:

"This Article is the first to apply a novel empirical method—citation network analysis—to particular appellate jurists’ separate judicial opinions (e.g., concurrences, dissents) in an effort to provide a more detailed picture of a judge’s ideological preferences. It focuses on the separate opinions of Justices Scalia and Thomas through the end of October Term 2019: they served for a similar number …


Gephi Output Files, Folder 3, Part 1: Citation Network Data Files, Joseph S. Miller Jan 2022

Gephi Output Files, Folder 3, Part 1: Citation Network Data Files, Joseph S. Miller

Faculty Datasets

This data subset created and collected by Joseph Miller and digitally preserved here is in support of his forthcoming article "A Judge Never Writes More Freely: A Separate-Opinions Citation-Network Approach to Assessing Judicial Ideology". From the article's abstract:

"This Article is the first to apply a novel empirical method—citation network analysis—to particular appellate jurists’ separate judicial opinions (e.g., concurrences, dissents) in an effort to provide a more detailed picture of a judge’s ideological preferences. It focuses on the separate opinions of Justices Scalia and Thomas through the end of October Term 2019: they served for a similar number …


Keeping Our Distinctions Straight: A Response To “Originalism: Standard And Procedure”, Mitchell N. Berman Jan 2022

Keeping Our Distinctions Straight: A Response To “Originalism: Standard And Procedure”, Mitchell N. Berman

All Faculty Scholarship

For half a century, moral philosophers have distinguished between a “standard” that makes acts right and a “decision procedure” by which agents can determine whether any given contemplated act is right, which is to say whether it satisfies the standard. In “Originalism: Standard and Procedure,” Stephen Sachs argues that the same distinction applies to the constitutional domain and that clear grasp of the difference strengthens the case for originalism because theorists who emphasize the infirmities of originalism as a decision procedure frequently but mistakenly infer that those flaws also cast doubt on originalism as a standard. This invited response agrees …


How Practices Make Principles, And How Principles Make Rules, Mitchell N. Berman Jan 2022

How Practices Make Principles, And How Principles Make Rules, Mitchell N. Berman

All Faculty Scholarship

The most fundamental question in general jurisprudence concerns what makes it the case that the law has the content that it does. This article offers a novel answer. According to the theory it christens “principled positivism,” legal practices ground legal principles, and legal principles determine legal rules. This two-level account of the determination of legal content differs from Hart’s celebrated theory in two essential respects: in relaxing Hart’s requirement that fundamental legal notions depend for their existence on judicial consensus; and in assigning weighted contributory legal norms—“principles”—an essential role in the determination of legal rights, duties, powers, and permissions. Drawing …


Gephi Force Directed Map Files, Folder 1, Part 1: Scalia Maps, Joseph S. Miller Jan 2022

Gephi Force Directed Map Files, Folder 1, Part 1: Scalia Maps, Joseph S. Miller

Faculty Datasets

This data subset created and collected by Joseph Miller and digitally preserved here is in support of his forthcoming article "A Judge Never Writes More Freely: A Separate-Opinions Citation-Network Approach to Assessing Judicial Ideology". From the article's abstract:

"This Article is the first to apply a novel empirical method—citation network analysis—to particular appellate jurists’ separate judicial opinions (e.g., concurrences, dissents) in an effort to provide a more detailed picture of a judge’s ideological preferences. It focuses on the separate opinions of Justices Scalia and Thomas through the end of October Term 2019: they served for a similar number …


Who’S Afraid Of Bob Jones?: 'Fundamental National Public Policy' And Critical Race Theory In A Delicate Democracy, Lynn D. Lu Jan 2022

Who’S Afraid Of Bob Jones?: 'Fundamental National Public Policy' And Critical Race Theory In A Delicate Democracy, Lynn D. Lu

Publications and Research

In Summer of 2021, Republican legislators across the United States introduced a host of bills to prohibit government funding for schools or agencies that teach critical race theory (“CRT”), described by the American Association of Law Schools not as a single doctrine but a set of “frameworks” to “explain and illustrate how structural racism produces racial inequity within our social, economic, political, legal, and educational systems[,] even absent individual racist intent.” Characterizing such an explicitly race-conscious analysis of legal and social institutions as “divisive,” opponents of CRT, such as former Vice President Mike Pence, labeled it “nothing short of state-sponsored …


Slavery And The History Of Congress’S Enumerated Powers, Jeffrey Schmitt Jan 2022

Slavery And The History Of Congress’S Enumerated Powers, Jeffrey Schmitt

School of Law Faculty Publications

In his first inaugural address, President Abraham Lincoln declared, “I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so.” Like virtually all Americans before the Civil War, Lincoln believed in what historians call the “national consensus” on slavery. According to this consensus, Congress’s enumerated powers were not broad enough to justify any regulation of slavery within the states. Legal scholars who support the modern reach of federal powers have thus conventionally argued …