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Full-Text Articles in Public Law and Legal Theory

Politics, Identity, And Class Certification On The U.S. Courts Of Appeals, Stephen B. Burbank, Sean Farhang Feb 2020

Politics, Identity, And Class Certification On The U.S. Courts Of Appeals, Stephen B. Burbank, Sean Farhang

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This article draws on novel data and presents the results of the first empirical analysis of how potentially salient characteristics of Court of Appeals judges influence precedential lawmaking on class certification under Rule 23. We find that the partisan composition of the panel (measured by the party of the appointing president) has a very strong association with certification outcomes, with all-Democratic panels having more than double the certification rate of all-Republican panels in precedential cases. We also find that the presence of one African American on a panel, and the presence of two females (but not one), is associated with ...


How Criminal Code Drafting Form Can Restrain Prosecutorial And Legislative Excesses: Consolidated Offense Drafting, Paul H. Robinson, Matthew Kussmaul, Muhammad Sarahne Feb 2020

How Criminal Code Drafting Form Can Restrain Prosecutorial And Legislative Excesses: Consolidated Offense Drafting, Paul H. Robinson, Matthew Kussmaul, Muhammad Sarahne

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Solving criminal justice problems typically requires the enactment of new rules or the modification of existing ones. But there are some serious problems that can best be solved simply by altering the way in which the existing rules are drafted rather than by altering their content. This is the case with two of the most serious problems in criminal justice today: the problem of overlapping criminal offenses that create excessive prosecutorial charging discretion and the problem of legislative inconsistency and irrationality in grading offenses.

After examining these two problems and demonstrating their serious effects in perverting criminal justice, the essay ...


Dimensions Of Delegation, Cary Coglianese Nov 2019

Dimensions Of Delegation, Cary Coglianese

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

How can the nondelegation doctrine still exist when the Supreme Court over decades has approved so many pieces of legislation that contain unintelligible principles? The answer to this puzzle emerges from recognition that the intelligibility of any principle dictating the basis for lawmaking is but one characteristic defining that authority. The Court has acknowledged five other characteristics that, taken together with the principle articulating the basis for executive decision-making, constitute the full dimensionality of any grant of lawmaking authority and hold the key to a more coherent rendering of the Court’s application of the nondelegation doctrine. When understood in ...


Development On A Cracked Foundation: How The Incomplete Nature Of New Deal Labor Reform Presaged Its Ultimate Decline, Leo E. Strine Jr. Oct 2019

Development On A Cracked Foundation: How The Incomplete Nature Of New Deal Labor Reform Presaged Its Ultimate Decline, Leo E. Strine Jr.

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar, Margaret Levi, and Barry R. Weingast’s excellent essay, Twentieth Century America as a Developing Country, Conflict, Institutional Change and the Evolution of Public Law, celebrates the period during which the National Labor Relations Act facilitated the peaceful resolution of labor disputes and improved the working conditions of American workers. These distinguished authors make a strong case for the essentiality of law in regulating labor relations and the importance of national culture in providing a solid context for the emergence of legal regimes facilitating economic growth and equality. This reply to their essay explores how the New Deal ...


Our Administered Constitution: Administrative Constitutionalism From The Founding To The Present, Sophia Z. Lee Jun 2019

Our Administered Constitution: Administrative Constitutionalism From The Founding To The Present, Sophia Z. Lee

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This article argues that administrative agencies have been primary interpreters and implementers of the federal Constitution throughout the history of the United States, although the scale and scope of this "administrative constitutionalism" has changed significantly over time as the balance of opportunities and constraints has shifted. Courts have nonetheless cast an increasingly long shadow over the administered Constitution. In part, this is because of the well-known expansion of judicial review in the 20th century. But the shift has as much to do with changes in the legal profession, legal theory, and lawyers’ roles in agency administration. The result is that ...


The Government Shutdown: Another Step Towards The Constitutional Precipice, Katharine G. Young Jan 2019

The Government Shutdown: Another Step Towards The Constitutional Precipice, Katharine G. Young

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

The current shutdown of the U.S. federal government is the longest in its history. It began on December 22, 2018, and at the time of writing (at 28 days), there is no end in sight. The two branches’ disagreement lies ostensibly with border security. President Trump has demanded at least $5 billion to pay for a concrete, sea-to-sea border wall with Mexico. Democrats have offered a compromise of $1.6 billion towards border security, which Trump has rejected. Yet the disagreement is, to some extent, beside the point; the constitutional implications are also pressing. The present government shutdown represents ...


The Power Of Ranking: The Ease Of Doing Business Indicator And Global Regulatory Behavior, Rush Doshi, Judith G. Kelley, Beth A. Simmons Jan 2019

The Power Of Ranking: The Ease Of Doing Business Indicator And Global Regulatory Behavior, Rush Doshi, Judith G. Kelley, Beth A. Simmons

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The proliferation of Global Performance Indicators (GPIs), especially those that rate and rank states against one another, shapes decisions of states, investors, bureaucrats, and voters. This power has not been lost on the World Bank, which has marshaled the Ease of Doing Business (EDB) index to amass surprising influence over global regulatory policies – a domain over which it has no explicit mandate and for which there is ideological contestation. This paper demonstrates how the World Bank’s EDB ranking system affects policy through bureaucratic, transnational, and domestic-political channels. We use observational and experimental data to show that states respond to ...


Facebook-Cambridge Analytica Data Harvesting: What You Need To Know, Ikhlaq Ur Rehman Jan 2019

Facebook-Cambridge Analytica Data Harvesting: What You Need To Know, Ikhlaq Ur Rehman

Library Philosophy and Practice (e-journal)

In 2018, it became public knowledge that millions of Facebook users’ data had been harvested without their consent. At the heart of the issue was Cambridge Analytica (CA) which in partnership with Cambridge researcher, Aleksandr Kogan harvested data from millions of Facebook profiles. Kogan had developed an application called “thisisyourdigitallife” which featured a personality quiz and CA paid for people to take it. The app recorded results of each quiz, collected data from quiz taker’s Facebook account such as personal information and Facebook activity (e.g., what content was “liked”) as well as their Facebook friends which led to ...


The Illusion Of Influence: On Foucault, Nietzsche, And A Fundamental Misunderstanding, Bernard E. Harcourt Jan 2019

The Illusion Of Influence: On Foucault, Nietzsche, And A Fundamental Misunderstanding, Bernard E. Harcourt

Faculty Scholarship

We often say that Foucault was influenced by Nietzsche or, more simply, that Foucault was Nietzschean. That is a gross misunderstanding that fundamentally distorts our reading of Foucault’s writings and, worse, does violence to the critical method. Foucault was no more Nietzschean than he was “mad” because he studied madness or “neoliberal” because he studied Gary Becker’s economic writings. Instead, Foucault took Nietzsche’s discourse as an object of study – in a similar way that he took the discourse of madness, of the prison, and of sexuality as objects of study throughout his intellectual lifetime. Writings of Nietzsche ...


Seeing Transparency More Clearly, David E. Pozen Jan 2019

Seeing Transparency More Clearly, David E. Pozen

Faculty Scholarship

In recent years, transparency has been proposed as the solution to, and the cause of, a remarkable range of public problems. The proliferation of seemingly contradictory claims about transparency becomes less puzzling, this essay argues, when one appreciates that transparency is not, in itself, a coherent normative ideal. Nor does it have a straightforward instrumental relationship to any primary goals of governance. To gain greater purchase on how transparency policies operate, scholars must therefore move beyond abstract assumptions and drill down into the specific legal, institutional, historical, political, and cultural contexts in which these policies are crafted and implemented. The ...


Evaluating Constitutional Hardball: Two Fallacies And A Research Agenda, Joseph Fishkin, David E. Pozen Jan 2019

Evaluating Constitutional Hardball: Two Fallacies And A Research Agenda, Joseph Fishkin, David E. Pozen

Faculty Scholarship

This Reply addresses the responses by Professors David Bernstein and Jed Shugerman to our essay Asymmetric Constitutional Hardball. Bernstein's response, we argue, commits the common fallacy of equating reciprocity with symmetry: assuming that because constitutional hardball often "takes two" to play, both sides must be playing it in a similar manner. Shugerman's response, on the other hand, helps combat the common fallacy of equating aggressiveness with wrongfulness: assuming that because all acts of constitutional hardball strain norms of governance, all are similarly damaging to democracy. We suggest that whereas Bernstein's approach would set back the burgeoning effort ...


The Last Refuge Of Scoundrels: The Problem Of Truth In A Time Of Lying, Bernard E. Harcourt Jan 2019

The Last Refuge Of Scoundrels: The Problem Of Truth In A Time Of Lying, Bernard E. Harcourt

Faculty Scholarship

This essay addresses the problem of truth today in light of the common belief, especially among progressives, that we have entered a post-truth age, as well as of the frequent claim that our post-truth society is the fault of postmodernists and their challenge to the objectivity of truth. The essay does not resolve the strategic question whether the post-truth argument is, as a purely tactical political matter, an effective approach to respond to the onslaught of misrepresentations and lies by President Donald Trump and the New Right. Instead, it explores the post-truth argument from a more synoptic perspective regarding the ...


The Semi-Autonomous Administrative State, Cary Coglianese Jan 2019

The Semi-Autonomous Administrative State, Cary Coglianese

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Conflicting views about presidential control of the administrative state have too long been characterized in terms of a debate over agency independence. But the term “independent” when used to describe administrative agencies carries with it the baggage of an unhelpful and unrealistic dichotomy: administrative agencies that are (or should be) subservient to presidential control versus those that are (or should be) entirely free from such influence. No agency fits into either category. This essay proposes reorienting the debate over presidential control around agency “autonomy,” which better conveys that the key issue is a matter of degree. Contrary to some proponents ...


Rights And Retrenchment In The Trump Era, Stephen B. Burbank, Sean Farhang Oct 2018

Rights And Retrenchment In The Trump Era, Stephen B. Burbank, Sean Farhang

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Our aim in this essay is to leverage archival research, data and theoretical perspectives presented in our book, Rights and Retrenchment: The Counterrevolution against Federal Litigation, as a means to illuminate the prospects for retrenchment in the current political landscape. We follow the scheme of the book by separately considering the prospects for federal litigation retrenchment in three lawmaking sites: Congress, federal court rulemaking under the Rules Enabling Act, and the Supreme Court. Although pertinent data on current retrenchment initiatives are limited, our historical data and comparative institutional perspectives should afford a basis for informed prediction. Of course, little in ...


Antitrust's Unconventional Politics, Daniel A. Crane Sep 2018

Antitrust's Unconventional Politics, Daniel A. Crane

Articles

Antitrust law stands at its most fluid and negotiable moment in a generation. The bipartisan consensus that antitrust should solely focus on economic efficiency and consumer welfare has quite suddenly come under attack from prominent voices calling for a dramatically enhanced role for antitrust law in mediating a variety of social, economic, and political friction points, including employment, wealth inequality, data privacy and security, and democratic values. To the bewilderment of many observers, the ascendant pressures for antitrust reforms are flowing from both wings of the political spectrum, throwing into confusion a conventional understanding that pro-antitrust sentiment tacked left and ...


Special Interest Influence Under Direct Versus Representative Democracy, John G. Matsusaka Jul 2018

Special Interest Influence Under Direct Versus Representative Democracy, John G. Matsusaka

University of Southern California Legal Studies Working Paper Series

The ability of economic interest groups to influence policy is a common theme in economics and political science. Most theories posit that interest group power arises from the ability to influence elected or appointed government officials through vote-buying, lobbying, or revolving doors; that is, by exploiting the representative part of democracy. This raises the question: does special interest influence decline when policy is chosen using direct democracy, without involvement of representatives? An analysis of the content of the universe of state-level ballot initiatives during 1904-2017 reveals that business interests have been worse off as a result of initiatives across major ...


A Study In Sovereignty: Federalism, Political Culture, And The Future Of Conservatism, Clint Hamilton Apr 2018

A Study In Sovereignty: Federalism, Political Culture, And The Future Of Conservatism, Clint Hamilton

Senior Honors Theses

This thesis confronts symptoms of an issue which is eroding at the principles of conservative advocacy, specifically those dealing with federalism. It contrasts modern definitions of federalism with those which existed in the late 1700s, and then attempts to determine the cause of the change. Concluding that the change was caused by a shift in American political identity, the author argues that the conservative movement must begin a conversation on how best to adapt to the change to prevent further drifting away from conservative principles.


Petitioning And The Making Of The Administrative State, Maggie Blackhawk Jan 2018

Petitioning And The Making Of The Administrative State, Maggie Blackhawk

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The administrative state is suffering from a crisis of legitimacy. Many have questioned the legality of the myriad commissions, boards, and agencies through which much of our modern governance occurs. Scholars such as Jerry Mashaw, Theda Skocpol, and Michele Dauber, among others, have provided compelling institutional histories, illustrating that administrative lawmaking has roots in the early American republic. Others have attempted to assuage concerns through interpretive theory, arguing that the Administrative Procedure Act of 1946 implicitly amended our Constitution. Solutions offered thus far, however, have yet to provide a deeper understanding of the meaning and function of the administrative state ...


The Subversions And Perversions Of Shadow Vigilantism, Paul H. Robinson, Sarah M. Robinson Jan 2018

The Subversions And Perversions Of Shadow Vigilantism, Paul H. Robinson, Sarah M. Robinson

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This excerpt from the recently published Shadow Vigilantes book argues that, while vigilantism, even moral vigilantism, can be dangerous to a society, the real danger is not of hordes of citizens, frustrated by the system’s doctrines of disillusionment, rising up to take the law into their own hands. Frustration can spark a vigilante impulse, but such classic aggressive vigilantism is not the typical response. More common is the expression of disillusionment in less brazen ways by a more surreptitious undermining and distortion of the operation of the criminal justice system.

Shadow vigilantes, as they might be called, can affect ...


Crimes That Changed Our World: Tragedy, Outrage, And Reform: Chapter One: 1911 Triangle Factory Fire: Building Safety Codes, Paul H. Robinson, Sarah M. Robinson Jan 2018

Crimes That Changed Our World: Tragedy, Outrage, And Reform: Chapter One: 1911 Triangle Factory Fire: Building Safety Codes, Paul H. Robinson, Sarah M. Robinson

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This first chapter of the recently published book Crimes That Changed Our World: Tragedy, Outrage, and Reform, examines the process by which the tragic 1911 Triangle Factory Fire provoked enormous outrage that in turn created a local then national movement for workplace and building safety that ultimately became the foundation for today’s building safety codes. What is particularly interesting, however, is that the Triangle Fire was not the worst such tragedy in its day. Why should it be the one that ultimately triggers social progress?

The book has 21 chapters, each of which traces the tragedy-outrage-reform dynamic in a ...


Exclusionary Megacities, Wendell Pritchett, Shitong Qiao Jan 2018

Exclusionary Megacities, Wendell Pritchett, Shitong Qiao

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Human beings should live in places where they are most productive, and megacities, where information, innovation and opportunities congregate, would be the optimal choice. Yet megacities in both China and the U.S. are excluding people by limiting housing supply. Why, despite their many differences, is the same type of exclusion happening in both Chinese and U.S. megacities? Urban law and policy scholars argue that Not-In-My-Backyard (NIMBY) homeowners are taking over megacities in the U.S. and hindering housing development therein. They pin their hopes on an efficient growth machine that makes sure “above all, nothing gets in the ...


Assessing The International Criminal Court, Hyeran Jo, Mitchell Radtke, Beth A. Simmons Jan 2018

Assessing The International Criminal Court, Hyeran Jo, Mitchell Radtke, Beth A. Simmons

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

One of the most important issues surrounding international courts is whether they can further the dual causes of peace and justice. None has been more ambitious in this regard than the International Criminal Court (ICC). And yet the ICC has been the object of a good deal of criticism. Some people claim it has been an expensive use of resources that might have been directed to other purposes. Others claim that its accomplishments are meager because it has managed to try and convict so few people. And many commentators and researchers claim that the Court faces an inherent tension between ...


Our Principled Constitution, Mitchell N. Berman Jan 2018

Our Principled Constitution, Mitchell N. Berman

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Suppose that one of us contends, and the other denies, that transgender persons have constitutional rights to be treated in accord with their gender identity. It appears that we are disagreeing about “what the law is.” And, most probably, we disagree about what the law is on this matter because we disagree about what generally makes it the case that our constitutional law is this rather than that.

Constitutional theory should provide guidance. It should endeavor to explain what gives our constitutional rules the contents that they have, or what makes true constitutional propositions true. Call any such account a ...


Critique & Praxis: A Pure Theory Of Illusions, Values, And Tactics, And An Answer To The Question: "What Is To Be Done?", Bernard E. Harcourt Jan 2018

Critique & Praxis: A Pure Theory Of Illusions, Values, And Tactics, And An Answer To The Question: "What Is To Be Done?", Bernard E. Harcourt

Faculty Scholarship

We are going through an unprecedented period of political instability. With the rise of the alt-right and of xenophobic sentiment, and the fallout of neoliberal government policies, our political future is at stake. These times call for the type of critical theory and praxis that gave rise to the Frankfurt School in the 1920s and to the critical ferment of the 1970s. Yet, in the face of our crises today, contemporary critical theory seems disarmed.

Critical theory is in disarray because of a wave of anti-foundational challenges in the 1960s that shattered the epistemological foundations of the Frankfurt School. The ...


What Congress's Repeal Efforts Can Teach Us About Regulatory Reform, Cary Coglianese, Gabriel Scheffler Dec 2017

What Congress's Repeal Efforts Can Teach Us About Regulatory Reform, Cary Coglianese, Gabriel Scheffler

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Major legislative actions during the early part of the 115th Congress have undermined the central argument for regulatory reform measures such as the REINS Act, a bill that would require congressional approval of all new major regulations. Proponents of the REINS Act argue that it would make the federal regulatory system more democratic by shifting responsibility for regulatory decisions away from unelected bureaucrats and toward the people’s representatives in Congress. But separate legislative actions in the opening of the 115th Congress only call this argument into question. Congress’s most significant initiatives during this period — its derailed attempts to ...


The Progressives: Racism And Public Law, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Nov 2017

The Progressives: Racism And Public Law, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

American Progressivism inaugurated the beginning of the end of American scientific racism. Its critics have been vocal, however. Progressives have been charged with promotion of eugenics, and thus with mainstreaming practices such as compulsory housing segregation, sterilization of those deemed unfit, and exclusion of immigrants on racial grounds. But if the Progressives were such racists, why is it that since the 1930s Afro-Americans and other people of color have consistently supported self-proclaimed progressive political candidates, and typically by very wide margins?

When examining the Progressives on race, it is critical to distinguish the views that they inherited from those that ...


Trigger Crimes & Social Progress: The Tragedy-Outrage-Reform Dynamic In America, Paul H. Robinson, Sarah M. Robinson Aug 2017

Trigger Crimes & Social Progress: The Tragedy-Outrage-Reform Dynamic In America, Paul H. Robinson, Sarah M. Robinson

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Can a crime make our world better? Crimes are the worst of humanity’s wrongs but, oddly, they sometimes do more than anything else to improve our lives. It is often the outrageousness itself that does the work. Ordinary crimes are accepted as the background noise of everyday existence but some crimes make people stop and take notice – because they are so outrageous or so heart-wrenching.

This brief essay explores the dynamic of tragedy, outrage, and reform, illustrating how certain kinds of crimes can trigger real social progress. Several dozen such “trigger crimes” are identified but four in particular are ...


Bail Reform: New Directions For Pretrial Detention And Release, Megan Stevenson, Sandra G. Mayson Mar 2017

Bail Reform: New Directions For Pretrial Detention And Release, Megan Stevenson, Sandra G. Mayson

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Our current pretrial system imposes high costs on both the people who are detained pretrial and the taxpayers who foot the bill. These costs have prompted a surge of bail reform around the country. Reformers seek to reduce pretrial detention rates, as well as racial and socioeconomic disparities in the pretrial system, while simultaneously improving appearance rates and reducing pretrial crime. The current state of pretrial practice suggests that there is ample room for improvement. Bail hearings are often cursory, with no defense counsel present. Money-bail practices lead to high rates of detention even among misdemeanor defendants and those who ...


Strict Liability's Criminogenic Effect, Paul H. Robinson Jan 2017

Strict Liability's Criminogenic Effect, Paul H. Robinson

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

It is easy to understand the apparent appeal of strict liability to policymakers and legal reformers seeking to reduce crime: if the criminal law can do away with its traditional culpability requirement, it can increase the likelihood of conviction and punishment of those who engage in prohibited conduct or bring about prohibited harm or evil. And such an increase in punishment rate can enhance the crime-control effectiveness of a system built upon general deterrence or incapacitation of the dangerous. Similar arguments support the use of criminal liability for regulatory offenses. Greater punishment rates suggest greater compliance.

But this analysis fails ...


Community Development Law, Economic Justice, And The Legal Academy, Peter R. Pitegoff Jan 2017

Community Development Law, Economic Justice, And The Legal Academy, Peter R. Pitegoff

Faculty Publications

The evolution of community economic development (CED) over the past several decades has witnessed dramatic growth in scale and complexity. New approaches to development and related lawyering, and to philosophies underlying these approaches, challenge us to reimagine the framework of CED. From the early days of community development corporations to today’s sophisticated tools of finance and organization, this evolution reflects “why law matters” in pursuit of economic justice and opportunity. Change is visible in new approaches to enterprise development and novel grassroots initiatives that comprise a virtual “sharing economy,” as well as intensified advocacy around low-wage work and efforts ...