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Tribute To R. Kent Greenawalt: A Common-Law Thinker In A Text Driven Age, Peter L. Strauss Jan 2023

Tribute To R. Kent Greenawalt: A Common-Law Thinker In A Text Driven Age, Peter L. Strauss

Faculty Scholarship

Kent Greenawalt was my colleague and friend for half a century. Over those years, we shared responsibility both for students at the beginning of their legal studies and for candidates for the doctoral degree. The course in Legal Methods, while we each taught it, was an intensive three-week, thirty-nine class hour introduction to legal studies that divided its attention between common law case analysis and statutory interpretation; Kent’s nuanced understanding of both profoundly shaped my approach to each. In the doctoral program, he offered a graduate seminar on jurisprudence; my responsibility was for a seminar on legal education. Sharing these …


Antitrust Rulemaking: The Ftc’S Delegation Deficit, Thomas W. Merrill Jan 2023

Antitrust Rulemaking: The Ftc’S Delegation Deficit, Thomas W. Merrill

Faculty Scholarship

The Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC’s) recent assertion of authority to engage in legislative rulemaking in antitrust matters can be addressed in terms of three frameworks: the major questions doctrine, the Chevron doctrine, and as a matter of ordinary statutory interpretation. The article argues that as a matter of ordinary statutory interpretation the FTC has no such authority. This can be seen by considering the structure and history of the Act and is confirmed by the 1975 Federal Trade Commission Improvements Act. Given that the result follows from ordinary statutory interpretation, it is unnecessary for courts to consider the other two …


States Of Emergency: Covid-19 And Separation Of Powers In The States, Richard Briffault Jan 2023

States Of Emergency: Covid-19 And Separation Of Powers In The States, Richard Briffault

Faculty Scholarship

No event in recent years has shone a brighter spotlight on state separation of powers than the COVID-19 pandemic. Over a more than two-year period, governors exercised unprecedented authority through suspending laws and regulations, limiting business activities and gatherings, restricting individual movement, and imposing public health requirements. Many state legislatures endorsed these measures or were content to let governors take the lead, but in some states the legislature pushed back, particularly — albeit not only—where the governor and legislative majorities were of different political parties. Some of these conflicts wound up in state supreme courts.

This Essay examines the states’ …


Democracy And Disenchantment, Ashraf Ahmed Jan 2022

Democracy And Disenchantment, Ashraf Ahmed

Faculty Scholarship

During the latter half of the Trump presidency, as it became increasingly clear that the Supreme Court would remain solidly conservative for the foreseeable future, Samuel Moyn and Ryan Doerfler declared war. In popular and scholarly venues, they have steadily built a case for curtailing the power of the nation’s highest court. Their arguments have been both pragmatic and principled. They have underlined, for instance, the risks the Roberts Court poses to progressive goals such as addressing climate change1 and granting student debt relief. More broadly, they object to a “supra-democratic court exercising its current, expansive legislative veto.” For Doerfler …


Taking Appropriations Seriously, Gillian E. Metzger Jan 2021

Taking Appropriations Seriously, Gillian E. Metzger

Faculty Scholarship

Appropriations lie at the core of the administrative state and are be­com­ing increasingly important as deep partisan divides have stymied sub­stan­tive legislation. Both Congress and the President exploit appropria­tions to control government and advance their policy agendas, with the border wall battle being just one of several recent high-profile examples. Yet in public law doctrine, appropriations are ignored, pulled out for spe­cial legal treatment, or subjected to legal frameworks ill-suited for appro­priations realities. This Article documents how appropriations are mar­ginalized in a variety of public law contexts and assesses the reasons for this unjustified treatment. Appro­priations’ doctrinal marginalization does not …


Text Over Intent And The Demise Of Legislative History, Thomas W. Merrill, Michael S. Paulsen, Saikrishna Prakash, Lawrence B. Solum, Sandra Segal Ikuta Jan 2018

Text Over Intent And The Demise Of Legislative History, Thomas W. Merrill, Michael S. Paulsen, Saikrishna Prakash, Lawrence B. Solum, Sandra Segal Ikuta

Faculty Scholarship

The following is the transcript of a 2016 Federalist Society panel entitled: Text Over Intent and the Demise of Legislative History. The panel originally occurred on November 17, 2016 during the National Lawyers Convention in Washington, D.C. The participants were: Prof. Thomas W. Merrill, Charles Evans Hughes Professor of Law, Columbia Law School; Prof. Michael S. Paulsen, Distinguished University Chair and Professor, University of St. Thomas School of Law; Prof. Saikrishna Prakash, James Monroe Distinguished Professor of Law, University of Virginia School of Law; Prof. Lawrence B. Solum, Carmack Waterhouse Professor of Law, Georgetown University Law Center. The moderator was …


Learned Hand On Statutory Interpretation: Theory And Practice, Thomas W. Merrill Jan 2018

Learned Hand On Statutory Interpretation: Theory And Practice, Thomas W. Merrill

Faculty Scholarship

It is a great honor to take part in the celebration of the Second Circuit’s 125th anniversary and in particular to present the Hands Lecture. The Second Circuit in the 1930s and 1940s came to be called the “Hand Court,” and during those years it established its reputation as the most admired of the U.S. circuit courts of appeals. It was called the Hand Court because two of its judges, who often formed the majority on three-judge panels, bore the surname Hand. They were cousins. Augustus Hand was a few years older than Learned Hand but was appointed to the …


Working Themselves Impure: A Life Cycle Theory Of Legal Theories, Jeremy K. Kessler, David E. Pozen Jan 2016

Working Themselves Impure: A Life Cycle Theory Of Legal Theories, Jeremy K. Kessler, David E. Pozen

Faculty Scholarship

Prescriptive legal theories have a tendency to cannibalize themselves. As they develop into schools of thought, they become not only increasingly complicated but also increasingly compromised, by their own normative lights. Maturation breeds adulteration. The theories work themselves impure.

This Article identifies and diagnoses this evolutionary phenomenon. We develop a stylized model to explain the life cycle of certain particularly influential legal theories. We illustrate this life cycle through case studies of originalism, textualism, popular constitutionalism, and cost-benefit analysis, as well as a comparison with leading accounts of organizational and theoretical change in politics and science. And we argue that …


Hobby Lobby: Its Flawed Interpretive Techniques And Standards Of Application, Kent Greenawalt Jan 2015

Hobby Lobby: Its Flawed Interpretive Techniques And Standards Of Application, Kent Greenawalt

Faculty Scholarship

At the end of June 2014, the Supreme Court decided one of the most publicized controversies of decades. In a decision covering two cases, widely referred to as Hobby Lobby, the Court held that closely held for-profit corporations, based on their owners' religious convictions, have a right under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) to decline to provide employees with insurance that covers contraceptive devices that may prevent a fertilized egg "from developing any further by inhibiting its attachment to the uterus."

The result has been widely approved by those who favor an extensive scope for religious liberty and …


Judging Statutes, Peter L. Strauss Jan 2015

Judging Statutes, Peter L. Strauss

Faculty Scholarship

Chief Judge Robert Katzmann has written a compelling short book about statutory interpretation. It could set the framework for a two- or three-hour legislation class, supplemented by cases and other readings of the instructor's choosing. Or it might more simply be used as an independent reading assignment as law school begins, to apprise 21st-century law students just how important the interpretation of statutes will prove to be in the profession they are entering, and how unsettled are the judiciary's means of dealing with them. It should be required reading for all who teach in the field.


Formalism And Deference In Administration Law, Kristen E. Hickman, Jide O. Nzelibe, Thomas W. Merrill, Philip A. Hamburger, Jennifer Walker Elrod Jan 2015

Formalism And Deference In Administration Law, Kristen E. Hickman, Jide O. Nzelibe, Thomas W. Merrill, Philip A. Hamburger, Jennifer Walker Elrod

Faculty Scholarship

The topic for discussion is formalism and deference in administrative law. As we know, the landmark case of Chevron v. Natural Resources Defense Council has changed the face of modern administrative law. The panel will address the rightness and limitations of Chevron deference, especially in the context of agency decisions on the scope of the agencies’ jurisdictional mandates. Should the federal courts defer, or should they not defer in this context? We need guidance. Justices Scalia and Thomas recently differed from Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Kennedy and Alito on these issues. Who is right, and why? Does the answer …


The Politics Of Nature: Climate Change, Environmental Law, And Democracy, Jedediah S. Purdy Jan 2010

The Politics Of Nature: Climate Change, Environmental Law, And Democracy, Jedediah S. Purdy

Faculty Scholarship

Legal scholars’ discussions of climate change assume that the issue is one mainly of engineering incentives, and that “environmental values” are too weak, vague, or both to spur political action to address the emerging crisis. This Article gives reason to believe otherwise. The major natural resource and environmental statutes, from the acts creating national forests and parks to the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts, have emerged from precisely the activity that discussions of climate change neglect: democratic argument over the value of the natural world and its role in competing ideas of citizenship, national purpose, and the role and …


Chevron'S Two Steps, Kenneth A. Bamberger, Peter L. Strauss Jan 2009

Chevron'S Two Steps, Kenneth A. Bamberger, Peter L. Strauss

Faculty Scholarship

The framework for judicial review of administrative interpretations of regulatory statutes set forth in the landmark Chevron U.S.A. v. Natural Resources Defense Council decision prescribes two analytic inquiries, and for good reason. The familiar two-step analysis is best understood as a framework for allocating interpretive authority in the administrative state; it separates questions of statutory implementation assigned to independent judicial judgment (Step One) from questions regarding which the courts role is limited to oversight of agency decisionmaking (Step Two).

The boundary between a reviewing court's decision and oversight roles rests squarely on the question of statutory ambiguity. For while courts, …


Statutes That Are Not Static – The Case Of The Apa, Peter L. Strauss Jan 2005

Statutes That Are Not Static – The Case Of The Apa, Peter L. Strauss

Faculty Scholarship

...[T]he lesson of the past two hundred years is that we will do well to be on our guard against all-purpose theoretical solutions to our problems. As lawyers we will do well to be on our guard against any suggestion that, through law, our society can be reformed, purified, or saved. The function of law, in a society like our own, is altogether more modest and less apocalyptic. It is to provide a mechanism for the settlement of disputes in the light of broadly conceived principles on whose soundness, it must be assumed, there is a general consensus among us. …


Constitutional And Statutory Interpretation, Kent Greenawalt Jan 2004

Constitutional And Statutory Interpretation, Kent Greenawalt

Faculty Scholarship

This article discusses relatively established theories with respect to statutory and constitutional interpretation. Written constitutions and statutes provide authoritative directions for officials and citizens within liberal democracies. The article mentions that descriptive and normative theories connect with each other in critical respects. Statutory interpretation involves the construction and application of provisions adopted by legislatures. The theoretical questions about interpreting statutes and constitutions suggest more general questions about the meaning of human communications; and scholars of philosophy of language, linguistics, literary theory, and religious hermeneutics discuss analogous issues. This article discusses an important issue in statutory interpretation that is the nature …


Variations On Some Themes Of A Disporting Gazelle And His Friend: Statutory Interpretation As Seen By Jerome Frank And Felix Frankfurter, Kent Greenawalt Jan 2000

Variations On Some Themes Of A Disporting Gazelle And His Friend: Statutory Interpretation As Seen By Jerome Frank And Felix Frankfurter, Kent Greenawalt

Faculty Scholarship

In 1947, this Review published two lectures on statutory interpretation by Jerome Frank and Felix Frankfurter. Both jurists were concerned with a basic question: How constrained are judges when they interpret legislation? The answers each gives, while similar in some respects, differ strikingly. In arguing that interpretation necessarily involves a creative element, Frank analogizes the role of a judge in interpreting legislation to that of a performer in interpreting a musical composition. Although he argues that judicial creativity is constrained, Frank views statutory interpretation as "a kind of legislation." For Frankfurter, by contrast, in construing a statute, a judge is …


Are Mental States Relevant For Statutory And Constitutional Interpretation, Kent Greenawalt Jan 2000

Are Mental States Relevant For Statutory And Constitutional Interpretation, Kent Greenawalt

Faculty Scholarship

Judges in the United States must interpret statutes and constitutions. Largely because these texts are framed in the English language, a language shared by legislators, judges, and other citizens, judges employ sufficiently common techniques to sustain a coherent practice. Lawyers can often say with some confidence how judges will construe particular legal provisions, and, when they have serious doubts, they can sketch the likely alternatives. But we are now in an era of sharp theoretical disagreement over what judges do when they interpret authoritative texts.

In difficult cases of statutory interpretation, are judges mainly trying to give language its ordinary …


The Common Law And Statutes, Peter L. Strauss Jan 1999

The Common Law And Statutes, Peter L. Strauss

Faculty Scholarship

Controversies about statutory interpretation and the proper roles for judges in interpretation are particularly noticeable in the Supreme Court but have penetrated downward throughout the judicial system. What I mean to explore here are some implications of our common law heritage and the presuppositions of a common law system for these controversies, that seem rarely noticed in the ongoing debates. I mean by this not only common law judging, but also what we might call common law legislating – that is, the practice of creating statutes to achieve marginal changes in existing law in response to perceived deficiencies, rather than …


The "Language Of Law" And "More Probable Than Not": Some Brief Thoughts, Kent Greenawalt Jan 1995

The "Language Of Law" And "More Probable Than Not": Some Brief Thoughts, Kent Greenawalt

Faculty Scholarship

By far the most testy moments of the conference arose out of the following problem. The Supreme Court had interpreted "knowingly" in a criminal statute regulating interstate commerce of child pornography to cover the age of participants, even though the placement of knowingly" in the statutory provision would, according to standard usages of English grammar, lead to its not being applied to that element of the crime. All participants at our conference fairly quickly acknowledged the following two truths: (1) the Court's construction did not fit ordinary English grammar, and (2) there might be appropriate (legal) reasons why statutory construction …


Chief Justice Rehnquist, Pluralist Theory, And The Interpretation Of Statutes, Thomas W. Merrill Jan 1994

Chief Justice Rehnquist, Pluralist Theory, And The Interpretation Of Statutes, Thomas W. Merrill

Faculty Scholarship

Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist is often viewed as the ultimate "political" judge. According to Mark Tushnet, for example, "[o]ne could account for perhaps ninety percent of Chief Justice Rehnquist' s bottom-line results by looking, not at anything in the United States Reports, but rather at the platforms of the Republican Party." Nowhere is this attitude more prevalent than with respect to issues of statutory interpretation. When I informed colleagues I was working on an article about Chief Justice Rehnquist's theory of statutory interpretation, the almost universal response was: "What theory?"

Contrary to the common view that Chief Justice Rehnquist …