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Public Primacy In Corporate Law, Dorothy S. Lund 2024 Seattle University School of Law

Public Primacy In Corporate Law, Dorothy S. Lund

Seattle University Law Review

This Article explores the malleability of agency theory by showing that it could be used to justify a “public primacy” standard for corporate law that would direct fiduciaries to promote the value of the corporation for the benefit of the public. Employing agency theory to describe the relationship between corporate management and the broader public sheds light on aspects of firm behavior, as well as the nature of state contracting with corporations. It also provides a lodestar for a possible future evolution of corporate law and governance: minimize the agency costs created by the divergence of interests between management and …


Shareholder Primacy Versus Shareholder Accountability, William W. Bratton 2024 Seattle University School of Law

Shareholder Primacy Versus Shareholder Accountability, William W. Bratton

Seattle University Law Review

When corporations inflict injuries in the course of business, shareholders wielding environmental, social, and governance (“ESG”) principles can, and now sometimes do, intervene to correct the matter. In the emerging fact pattern, corporate social accountability expands out of its historic collectivized frame to become an internal subject matter—a corporate governance topic. As a result, shareholder accountability surfaces as a policy question for the first time. The Big Three index fund managers, BlackRock, Vanguard, and State Street, responded to the accountability question with ESG activism. In so doing, they defected against corporate legal theory’s central tenet, shareholder primacy. Shareholder primacy builds …


The Limits Of Corporate Governance, Cathy Hwang, Emily Winston 2024 Seattle University School of Law

The Limits Of Corporate Governance, Cathy Hwang, Emily Winston

Seattle University Law Review

What is the purpose of the corporation? For decades, the answer was clear: to put shareholders’ interests first. In many cases, this theory of shareholder primacy also became synonymous with the imperative to maximize shareholder wealth. In the world where shareholder primacy was a north star, courts, scholars, and policymakers had relatively little to fight about: most debates were minor skirmishes about exactly how to maximize shareholder wealth.

Part I of this Essay discusses the shortcomings of shareholder primacy and stakeholder governance, arguing that neither of these modes of governance provides an adequate framework for incentivizing corporations to do good. …


A History Of Corporate Law Federalism In The Twentieth Century, William W. Bratton 2024 Seattle University School of Law

A History Of Corporate Law Federalism In The Twentieth Century, William W. Bratton

Seattle University Law Review

This Article describes the emergence of corporate law federalism across a long twentieth century. The period begins with New Jersey’s successful initiation of charter competition in 1888 and ends with the enactment of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act in 2002. The federalism in question describes the interrelation of state and federal regulation of corporate internal affairs. This Article takes a positive approach, pursuing no normative bottom line. It makes six observations: (1) the federalism describes a division of subject matter, with internal affairs regulated by the states and securities issuance and trading regulated by the federal government; (2) the federalism is an …


How To Interpret The Securities Laws?, Zachary J. Gubler 2024 Seattle University School of Law

How To Interpret The Securities Laws?, Zachary J. Gubler

Seattle University Law Review

In discussions of the federal securities laws, the SEC usually gets most of the attention. This makes some sense. After all, it is the agency charged with administrating the securities laws and regulating the industry as a whole. It makes the majority of the laws; it engages in enforcement actions; it reacts to crises; and it, or sometimes even its individual commissioners, intervene publicly in policy debates. Often overlooked in such discussion, however, is the role of the Supreme Court in shaping securities law, and a new book by Adam Pritchard and Robert Thompson demonstrates why this is an oversight. …


The Pioneers, Waves, And Random Walks Of Securities Law In The Supreme Court, Elizabeth Pollman 2024 Seattle University School of Law

The Pioneers, Waves, And Random Walks Of Securities Law In The Supreme Court, Elizabeth Pollman

Seattle University Law Review

After the pioneers, waves, and random walks that have animated the history of securities laws in the U.S. Supreme Court, we might now be on the precipice of a new chapter. Pritchard and Thompson’s superb book, A History of Securities Law in the Supreme Court, illuminates with rich archival detail how the Court’s view of the securities laws and the SEC have changed over time and how individuals have influenced this history. The book provides an invaluable resource for understanding nearly a century’s worth of Supreme Court jurisprudence in the area of securities law and much needed context for …


Three Stories: A Comment On Pritchard & Thompson’S A History Of Securities Laws In The Supreme Court, Harwell Wells 2024 Seattle University School of Law

Three Stories: A Comment On Pritchard & Thompson’S A History Of Securities Laws In The Supreme Court, Harwell Wells

Seattle University Law Review

Adam Pritchard and Robert Thompson’s A History of Securities Laws in the Supreme Court should stand for decades as the definitive work on the Federal securities laws’ career in the Supreme Court across the twentieth century.1 Like all good histories, it both tells a story and makes an argument. The story recounts how the Court dealt with the major securities laws, as well the agency charged with enforcing them, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and the rules it promulgated, from the 1930s into the twenty-first century. But the book does not just string together a series of events, “one …


On The Value Of History: A Review Of A.C. Pritchard & Robert B. Thompson’S A History Of Securities Law In The Supreme Court, Joel Seligman 2024 Seattle University School of Law

On The Value Of History: A Review Of A.C. Pritchard & Robert B. Thompson’S A History Of Securities Law In The Supreme Court, Joel Seligman

Seattle University Law Review

A.C. Pritchard and Bob Thompson have written a splendid history of securities law decisions in the Supreme Court. Their book is exemplary because of its detailed use of the long unpublished papers of Supreme Court justices, including those of Harry Blackmun, William O. Douglas, Felix Frankfurter and Lewis F. Powell, primary sources which included correspondence with other Justices and law clerks as well as interviews with law clerks. The use of these primary sources recounted throughout the text and 67 pages of End Notes deepens our understanding of the intentions of the Justices and sharpens our understanding of the conflicts …


Do Americans Support More Housing?, Michael Lewyn 2024 Touro Law Center

Do Americans Support More Housing?, Michael Lewyn

Scholarly Works

An analysis of opinion poll data on housing issues. The article finds that Americans generally believe that their community needs more housing of all types, but are more closely divided about whether such housing should be in their own neighborhoods. The article further finds that members of minority groups, lower-income Americans, and younger Americans are more pro-housing than older, affluent whites.


The Structure Of Corporate Law Revolutions, William Savitt 2024 Seattle University School of Law

The Structure Of Corporate Law Revolutions, William Savitt

Seattle University Law Review

Since, call it 1970, corporate law has operated under a dominant conception of governance that identifies profit-maximization for stockholder benefit as the purpose of the corporation. Milton Friedman’s essay The Social Responsibility of Business is to Increase Its Profits, published in September of that year, provides a handy, if admittedly imprecise, marker for the coronation of the shareholder-primacy paradigm. In the decades that followed, corporate law scholars pursued an ever-narrowing research agenda with the purpose and effect of confirming the shareholder-primacy paradigm. Corporate jurisprudence followed a similar path, slowly at first and later accelerating, to discover in the precedents and …


Robo-Voting: Does Delegated Proxy Voting Pose A Challenge For Shareholder Democracy?, John Matsusaka, Chong Shu 2024 Seattle University School of Law

Robo-Voting: Does Delegated Proxy Voting Pose A Challenge For Shareholder Democracy?, John Matsusaka, Chong Shu

Seattle University Law Review

Robo-voting is the practice by an investment fund of mechanically voting in corporate elections according to the advice of its proxy advisor— in effect fully delegating its voting decision to its advisor. We examined over 65 million votes cast during the period 2008–2021 by 14,582 mutual funds to describe and quantify the prevalence of robo-voting. Overall, 33% of mutual funds robo-voted in 2021: 22% with ISS, 4% with Glass Lewis, and six percent with the recommendations of the issuer’s management. The fraction of funds that robo-voted increased until around 2013 and then stabilized at the current level. Despite the sizable …


Lawmakers And Economic Othering, Edward W. De Barbieri 2024 University of Oklahoma College of Law

Lawmakers And Economic Othering, Edward W. De Barbieri

Oklahoma Law Review

No abstract provided.


Defeat Fascism, Transform Democracy: Mapping Academic Resources, Reframing The Fundamentals, And Organizing For Collective Actions, Francisco Valdes 2024 Seattle University School of Law

Defeat Fascism, Transform Democracy: Mapping Academic Resources, Reframing The Fundamentals, And Organizing For Collective Actions, Francisco Valdes

Seattle University Law Review

The information we gathered during 2021–2023 shows that critical faculty and other academic resources are present throughout most of U.S. legal academia. Counting only full-time faculty, our limited research identified 778 contacts in 200 schools equating to nearly four contacts on average per school. But no organized critical “core” had coalesced within legal academia or, more broadly, throughout higher education expressly dedicated to defending and advancing critical knowledge and its production up to now. And yet, as the 2021–2022 formation of the Critical (Legal) Collective (“CLC”) outlined below demonstrates, many academics sense or acknowledge the need for greater cohesion among …


After Affirmative Action, Meera E. Deo 2024 Seattle University School of Law

After Affirmative Action, Meera E. Deo

Seattle University Law Review

This is a time of crisis in legal education. In truth, we are in the midst of several crises. We are emerging from the COVID pandemic, a period of unprecedented upheaval where law students and law faculty alike struggled through physical challenges, mental health burdens, and decreased academic and professional success. The past few years also have seen a precipitous drop in applications to and enrollment in legal education. Simultaneously, students have been burdened with the skyrocketing costs of attending law school, taking on unmanageable levels of debt. And with the Supreme Court decision in SFFA v. Harvard, we are …


Students For Fair Admissions: Affirming Affirmative Action And Shapeshifting Towards Cognitive Diversity?, Steven A. Ramirez 2024 Seattle University School of Law

Students For Fair Admissions: Affirming Affirmative Action And Shapeshifting Towards Cognitive Diversity?, Steven A. Ramirez

Seattle University Law Review

The Roberts Court holds a well-earned reputation for overturning Supreme Court precedent regardless of the long-standing nature of the case. The Roberts Court knows how to overrule precedent. In Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard (SFFA), the Court’s majority opinion never intimates that it overrules Grutter v. Bollinger, the Court’s leading opinion permitting race-based affirmative action in college admissions. Instead, the Roberts Court applied Grutter as authoritative to hold certain affirmative action programs entailing racial preferences violative of the Constitution. These programs did not provide an end point, nor did they require assessment, review, periodic expiration, or revision for greater …


Sffa V. Harvard College: Closing The Doors Of Equality In Education, Ediberto Roman 2024 Seattle University School of Law

Sffa V. Harvard College: Closing The Doors Of Equality In Education, Ediberto Roman

Seattle University Law Review

The United States Supreme Court’s recent combined decision ending affirmative action in Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard College and Students for Fair Admissions v. University of North Carolina was hailed in conservative circles as the beginning of “the long road” towards racial equality. Others declared that “the opinion may begin the restoration of our nation’s constitutional colorblind legal covenant.” Another writer pronounced, “Affirmative action perpetuated racial discrimination. Its end is a huge step forward.” A Washington-based opinion page even declared: “[T]he demise of race-based affirmative action should inspire renewed commitment to the ideal of equal opportunity in America.” Despite …


Religious Freedom And Diversity Missions: Insights From Jesuit Law Deans, Anthony E. Varona, Michèle Alexandre, Michael J. Kaufman, Madeleine M. Landrieu 2024 Seattle University School of Law

Religious Freedom And Diversity Missions: Insights From Jesuit Law Deans, Anthony E. Varona, Michèle Alexandre, Michael J. Kaufman, Madeleine M. Landrieu

Seattle University Law Review

This Article is a transcript of a panel moderated by Anthony E. Varona, Dean of Seattle University School of Law. During the panel, Jesuit and religious law school deans discussed what law schools with religious missions have to add to the conversation around SFFA and the continuing role of affirmative action in higher education.


Feeding The Good Fire: Paths To Facilitate Native-Led Fire Management On Federal Lands, Kevin Burdet 2024 Seattle University School of Law

Feeding The Good Fire: Paths To Facilitate Native-Led Fire Management On Federal Lands, Kevin Burdet

Seattle University Law Review

In 2003, nearly twenty Native American reservations were devastated by wildfires that originated on adjacent federal lands. The San Pasqual Reservation’s entire 1,400 acres were burned along with over a third of its homes, and seventy-five percent of the Rincon Reservation was burned, taking twenty homes with it. These devastating fires, along with others in 2002, brought about the Tribal Forest Protection Act of 2004 (TFPA), which offered hope for Tribes to propose projects on bordering or adjacent federal lands and protect reservation lands in the process. Unfortunately, twenty years later, the TFPA has had a marginal effect in enabling …


Antisocial Innovation, Christopher Buccafusco, Samuel N. Weinstein 2024 Duke Law School

Antisocial Innovation, Christopher Buccafusco, Samuel N. Weinstein

Faculty Scholarship

Innovation is a form of civic religion in the United States. In the popular imagination, innovators are heroic figures. Thomas Edison, Steve Jobs, and (for a while) Elizabeth Holmes were lauded for their vision and drive and seen to embody the American spirit of invention and improvement. For their part, politicians rarely miss a chance to trumpet their vision for boosting innovative activity. Popular and political culture alike treat innovation as an unalloyed good. And the law is deeply committed to fostering innovation, spending billions of dollars a year to make sure society has enough of it. But this sunny …


Capitalism Stakeholderism, Christina Parajon Skinner 2024 Seattle University School of Law

Capitalism Stakeholderism, Christina Parajon Skinner

Seattle University Law Review

Today’s corporate governance debates are replete with discussion of how best to operationalize so-called stakeholder capitalism—that is, a version of capitalism that considers the interests of employees, communities, suppliers, and the environment alongside (if not before) a company’s shareholders. So much focus has been dedicated to the question of capitalism’s reform that few have questioned a key underlying premise of stakeholder capitalism: that is, that competitive capitalism does not serve these various constituencies and groups. This Essay presents a different view and argues that capitalism is, in fact, the ultimate form of stakeholderism. As such, the Essay urges that the …


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