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Full-Text Articles in Public Law and Legal Theory

Legal Scholarship As Resistance To 'Science', Steven D. Smith Jun 2005

Legal Scholarship As Resistance To 'Science', Steven D. Smith

University of San Diego Public Law and Legal Theory Research Paper Series

Why do law professors continue to produce scholarship even after achieving tenure? This essay, presented as part of a AALS panel discussing “Why We Write?”, considers some common and less common responses, and suggests that for at least a few professors, legal scholarship can serve as a way of resisting the overbearing dominance of the “scientific” worldview evident in so much modern thought in favor of a perspective more attentive to the value of persons.


The Paradox Of Omnipotence: Courts, Constitutions, And Commitments, David S. Law Jun 2005

The Paradox Of Omnipotence: Courts, Constitutions, And Commitments, David S. Law

University of San Diego Public Law and Legal Theory Research Paper Series

Sovereigns, like individuals, must sometimes make commitments that limit their own freedom of action in order to accomplish their goals. Social scientists have observed that constitutional arrangements can, by restricting a sovereign's power, enable the sovereign to make such commitments. This paper advances several claims about the commitment problems that sovereigns face. First, constitutions do not necessarily solve such problems but can instead aggravate them, by entrenching inalienable governmental powers and immunities. Second, sovereigns and other actors face two distinct varieties of commitment problems - undercommitment and overcommitment - between which they must steer: an actor that can bind itself has ...


Justice Douglas, Justice O'Connor, And George Orwell: Does The Constitution Compel Us To Disown Our Past, Steven D. Smith Jun 2005

Justice Douglas, Justice O'Connor, And George Orwell: Does The Constitution Compel Us To Disown Our Past, Steven D. Smith

University of San Diego Public Law and Legal Theory Research Paper Series

Justice William O. Douglas's majority opinion in Zorach v. Clauson famously asserted that "[w]e are a religious people whose institutions presuppose a Supreme Being." What did Douglas mean, and was he right? More recently, in cases involving the Ten Commandments, the Pledge of Allegiance and other public expressions and symbols, the Supreme Court has said that the Constitution prohibits government from endorsing religion. Can Douglas's "Supreme Being" assertion be reconciled with the "no endorsement" prohibition? And does the more modern doctrine demand that we forget, falsify, or forswear our pervasively religious political heritage? This essay, presented as ...


Pursuing Justice For The Mentally Disabled, Grant H. Morris Jun 2005

Pursuing Justice For The Mentally Disabled, Grant H. Morris

University of San Diego Public Law and Legal Theory Research Paper Series

This article considers whether lawyers act as zealous advocates when they represent mentally disordered, involuntarily committed patients who wish to assert their right to refuse treatment with psychotropic medication. After discussing a study that clearly demonstrates that lawyers do not do so, the article explores the reasons for this inappropriate behavior. Michael Perlin characterizes the problem as “sanism,” which he describes as an irrational prejudice against mentally disabled persons of the same quality and character as other irrational prejudices that cause and are reflected in prevailing social attitudes of racism, sexism, homophobia, and ethnic bigotry. The article critiques Perlin’s ...


The Judge As A Fly On The Wall: Interpretive Lessons From The Positive Political Theory Of Legislation, Daniel B. Rodriguez, Cheryl Boudreau, Arthur Lupia, Mathew Mccubbins Jun 2005

The Judge As A Fly On The Wall: Interpretive Lessons From The Positive Political Theory Of Legislation, Daniel B. Rodriguez, Cheryl Boudreau, Arthur Lupia, Mathew Mccubbins

University of San Diego Public Law and Legal Theory Research Paper Series

In the modern debate over statutory interpretation, scholars frequently talk past one another, arguing for one or another interpretive approach on the basis of competing, and frequently undertheorized, conceptions of legislative supremacy and political theory. For example, so-called new textualists insist that the plain meaning approach is compelled by the U.S. Constitution and rule of law values; by contrast, theorists counseling a more dynamic approach often reject the premise of legislative supremacy that is supposed by the textualist view. A key element missing, therefore, from the modern statutory interpretation debate is a conspicuous articulation of the positive and empirical ...


Overcriminalization, Discretion, Waiver: A Survey Of Possible Exit Strategies, Donald A. Dripps Jun 2005

Overcriminalization, Discretion, Waiver: A Survey Of Possible Exit Strategies, Donald A. Dripps

University of San Diego Public Law and Legal Theory Research Paper Series

In both the constitutional law of American criminal justice and the scholarly literature that law has generated, substance and procedure receive radically different treatment. The Supreme Court, even in this conservative political period, continues to require costly procedural safeguards that go beyond what elected legislatures have provided by statute. The Court, however, has shown great deference to the choices these same legislatures have made about what conduct may be made criminal and how severely it may be punished.

The distinction between substance and procedure pervades academic thinking all the way down to its foundations. Substantive criminal law still holds its ...


Dickerson V. United States: The Case That Disappointed Miranda's Critics--And Then Its Supporters, Yale Kamisar Jun 2005

Dickerson V. United States: The Case That Disappointed Miranda's Critics--And Then Its Supporters, Yale Kamisar

University of San Diego Public Law and Legal Theory Research Paper Series

It is difficult, if not impossible, to discuss Dickerson v. United States intelligently without discussing Miranda, whose constitutional status Dickerson reaffirmed (or, one might say, resuscitated). It is also difficult, if not impossible, to discuss the Dickerson case intelligently without discussing cases the Court has handed down in the five years since Dickerson was decided. The hard truth is that in those five years the reaffirmation of Miranda’s constitutional status has become less and less meaningful.

In this paper I want to focus on the Court’s characterization of statements elicited in violation of the Miranda warnings as not ...


The Chief Prosecutor, Sai Prakash Jun 2005

The Chief Prosecutor, Sai Prakash

University of San Diego Public Law and Legal Theory Research Paper Series

Since Watergate, legal scholars have participated in a larger debate about the President’s constitutional relationship to prosecutions. In particular, many legal scholars sought to debunk the received wisdom that prosecution was an executive function subject to presidential control. Revisionist scholars cited early statutes and practices meant to demonstrate that early presidents lacked control over prosecution. Among other things, scholars asserted that early presidents could not control either the federal district attorneys or the popular prosecutors who brought qui tam suits to enforce federal law. In fact, many of the revisionist claims are wrong and others are beside the point ...


The Iceberg Of Religious Freedom: Subsurface Levels Of Nonestablishment Discourse, Steve D. Smith Nov 2004

The Iceberg Of Religious Freedom: Subsurface Levels Of Nonestablishment Discourse, Steve D. Smith

University of San Diego Public Law and Legal Theory Research Paper Series

This article discusses three levels of disagreement in establishment clause discourse– or what may be called the “lawyerly,” the “constitutive” (or “culture wars”), and the “philosophical” (or perhaps the “theological”) levels. Disagreement at the first of these levels is everywhere apparent in the way lawyers and justices and scholars write and argue; disagreement at the second level is somewhat less obtrusive but still easily discernible; disagreement at the third level is almost wholly beneath the surface.

The manifest indeterminacy of lawyerly arguments suggests that in this area, premises are more likely to be derived from favored conclusions, not the other ...


Mental Disorder And The Civil/Criminal Distinction, Grant H. Morris Sep 2004

Mental Disorder And The Civil/Criminal Distinction, Grant H. Morris

University of San Diego Public Law and Legal Theory Research Paper Series

This essay, written as part of a symposium issue to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the University of San Diego Law School, discusses the evaporating distinction between sentence-serving convicts and mentally disordered nonconvicts who are involved in, or who were involved in, the criminal process–people we label as both bad and mad. By examining one Supreme Court case from each of the decades that follow the opening of the University of San Diego School of Law, the essay demonstrates how the promise that nonconvict mentally disordered persons would be treated equally with other civilly committed mental patients was made ...


Lawyers As Gatekeepers, Fred C. Zacharias Sep 2004

Lawyers As Gatekeepers, Fred C. Zacharias

University of San Diego Public Law and Legal Theory Research Paper Series

Three recent legislative and regulatory initiatives -- the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, the 2003 amendments to Model Rules 1.6 and 1.13, and the Gatekeeper Initiative – all seek to enlist the assistance of lawyers in thwarting crime. Outraged opponents have relied on flamboyant rhetoric. They challenge the notion that lawyers should act as gatekeepers – which some of the opponents deem equivalent to operating like the “secret police in Eastern European countries.” This article makes a simple, and ultimately uncontroversial, point. Lawyers are gatekeepers, and always have been. Whatever one’s position on the merits of the specific reforms currently being proposed, it ...


Generic Constitutional Law, David S. Law Sep 2004

Generic Constitutional Law, David S. Law

University of San Diego Public Law and Legal Theory Research Paper Series

This paper seeks to articulate and explore the emerging phenomenon of generic constitutional law, here and in other countries. Several explanations are offered for this development. First, constitutional courts face common normative concerns pertaining to countermajoritarianism and, as a result, experience a common need to justify judicial review. These concerns, and the stock responses that courts have developed, amount to a body of generic constitutional theory. Second, courts employ common problem-solving skills in constitutional cases. The use of these skills constitutes what might be called generic constitutional analysis. Third, courts face overlapping influences, largely not of their own making, that ...


Understanding Recent Trends In Federal Regulation Of Lawyers, Fred C. Zacharias Sep 2004

Understanding Recent Trends In Federal Regulation Of Lawyers, Fred C. Zacharias

University of San Diego Public Law and Legal Theory Research Paper Series

Federal lawmakers increasingly have taken actions that contradict, interfere with, or preempt state regulation of lawyers. Most of the commentary regarding the recent federal actions has focused on whether individual regulations are substantively justified. It is, however, worth considering more broadly whether and how the phenomenon of increasing federal regulation is symptomatic of changing views of appropriate professional regulation. This article considers a series of theoretical analyses of the increasing federal regulation -- themes and trends that the increasing regulation might represent or epitomize. Whenever the bar or other commentators criticize developments in professional regulation, it is important to place their ...


The Hollowness Of The Harm Principle, Steven D. Smith Sep 2004

The Hollowness Of The Harm Principle, Steven D. Smith

University of San Diego Public Law and Legal Theory Research Paper Series

Among the various instruments in the toolbox of liberalism, the so-called “harm principle,” presented as the central thesis of John Stuart Mill’s classic On Liberty, has been one of the most popular. The harm principle has been widely embraced and invoked in both academic and popular debate about a variety of issues ranging from obscenity to drug regulation to abortion to same-sex marriage, and its influence is discernible in legal arguments and judicial opinions as well. Despite the principle’s apparent irresistibility, this essay argues that the principle is hollow. It is an empty vessel, alluring but without any ...


Supermajority Rules And The Judicial Confirmation Process, Michael B. Rappaport, John O. Mcginnis Sep 2004

Supermajority Rules And The Judicial Confirmation Process, Michael B. Rappaport, John O. Mcginnis

University of San Diego Public Law and Legal Theory Research Paper Series

In this paper we assess the effect of possible supermajority rules on the now contentious Senate confirmation process for judges. We deploy a formula for evaluating supermajority rules that we have developed in other papers. First, we consider a sixty-vote rule in the Senate for the confirmation of federal judges–an explicit version of the supermajority norm that may be emerging from the filibuster. While we briefly discuss how such a rule would affect the project of maximizing the number of originalist judges, for the most part we evaluate the rule on the realist assumption that judges will pursue their ...


A Tournament Of Virtue, Lawrence B. Solum Sep 2004

A Tournament Of Virtue, Lawrence B. Solum

University of San Diego Public Law and Legal Theory Research Paper Series

How ought we to select judges? One possibility is that each of us should campaign for the selection of judges who will transform our own values and interests into law. An alternative is to select judges for their possession of the judicial virtues - intelligence, wisdom, courage, and justice. Stephen Choi and Mitu Gulati reject both these options and argue instead for a tournament of judges - the selection of judges on the basis of measurable, objective criteria, which they claim point toward merit and away from patronage and politics. Choi and Gulati have gotten something exactly right: judges should be selected ...


Judges As Rulemakers, Larry A. Alexander, Emily Sherwin Sep 2004

Judges As Rulemakers, Larry A. Alexander, Emily Sherwin

University of San Diego Public Law and Legal Theory Research Paper Series

This essay analyzes and compares different approaches to the problem of legal precedent. If judges reasoned flawlessly, the ideal approach to precedent would give prior judicial opinions only the weight they naturally carry in moral reasoning. Given that judges are not perfect reasoners, the best approach to precedent is one that treats rules established in prior decisions as authoritative for later judges. In comparison to the natural model of precedent, a rule-based model minimizes error. A rule-based model is also superior to several popular attempts at compromise, which call on judges to reason from the results of prior cases or ...


Grutter's First Amendment, Paul Horwitz Sep 2004

Grutter's First Amendment, Paul Horwitz

University of San Diego Public Law and Legal Theory Research Paper Series

Most of the reaction to the Supreme Court's decision affirming the law school affirmative action policy at issue in Grutter v. Bollinger has focused on its Fourteenth Amendment implications. But Grutter also raises significant First Amendment issues. By reaffirming a First Amendment value of "educational autonomy," the Grutter Court raised a host of questions with implications not only for the constitutional law of academic freedom, but for First Amendment jurisprudence generally. This article therefore puts the Fourteenth Amendment to one side and provides a detailed analysis of the First Amendment implications of Grutter.

Some of the consequences of the ...


Competency To Stand Trial On Trial, Grant H. Morris, Ansar M. Haroun, David Naimark Sep 2004

Competency To Stand Trial On Trial, Grant H. Morris, Ansar M. Haroun, David Naimark

University of San Diego Public Law and Legal Theory Research Paper Series

This Article considers the legal standards for the determination of competency to stand trial, and whether those standards are understood and applied by psychiatrists and psychologists in the forensic evaluations they perform and in the judgments they make–judgments that are routinely accepted by trial courts as their own judgments. The Article traces the historical development of the competency construct and the development of two competency standards. One standard, used today in eight states that contain 25% of the population of the United States, requires that the defendant be able to assist counsel in the conduct of a defense “in ...


Prosecutorial Neutrality, Fred C. Zacharias, Bruce A. Green Sep 2004

Prosecutorial Neutrality, Fred C. Zacharias, Bruce A. Green

University of San Diego Public Law and Legal Theory Research Paper Series

This Article examines the ideal of prosecutorial neutrality in an effort to determine its value as a measure of prosecutorial conduct. Commentators often have assumed that prosecutors should be “neutral” in making discretionary decisions or have criticized prosecutors for decisions that purportedly demonstrate a lack of neutrality. The notion of prosecutorial neutrality recalls the traditional conception of prosecutors as “quasi-judicial” officers and emphasizes the distinction between prosecutors and lawyers for private parties. But the specific meaning attributed to prosecutorial neutrality has varied depending on the context. The term refers to diverse, and potentially inconsistent, views of appropriate prosecutorial conduct. The ...


The Tenuous Case For Conscience, Steven D. Smith Sep 2004

The Tenuous Case For Conscience, Steven D. Smith

University of San Diego Public Law and Legal Theory Research Paper Series

If there is any single theme that has provided the foundation of modern liberalism and has infused our more specific constitutional commitments to freedom of religion and freedom of speech, that theme is probably “freedom of conscience.” But some observers also perceive a progressive cheapening of conscience– even a sort of degradation. Such criticisms suggest the need for a contemporary rethinking of conscience. When we reverently invoke “conscience,” do we have any idea what we are talking about? Or are we just exploiting a venerable theme for rhetorical purposes without any clear sense of what “conscience” is or why it ...


Appointing Federal Judges: The President, The Senate, And The Prisoner's Dilemma, David S. Law Sep 2004

Appointing Federal Judges: The President, The Senate, And The Prisoner's Dilemma, David S. Law

University of San Diego Public Law and Legal Theory Research Paper Series

This paper argues that the expansion of the White House's role in judicial appointments since the late 1970s, at the expense of the Senate, has contributed to heightened levels of ideological conflict and gridlock over the appointment of federal appeals court judges, by making a cooperative equilibrium difficult to sustain. Presidents have greater electoral incentive to behave ideologically, and less incentive to cooperate with other players in the appointments process, than do senators, who are disciplined to a greater extent in their dealings with each other by the prospect of retaliation over repeat play. The possibility of divided government ...


Montesquieu's Mistakes And The True Meaning Of Separation, Laurence Claus Sep 2004

Montesquieu's Mistakes And The True Meaning Of Separation, Laurence Claus

University of San Diego Public Law and Legal Theory Research Paper Series

“The political liberty of the subject,” said Montesquieu, “is a tranquility of mind arising from the opinion each person has of his safety. In order to have this liberty, it is requisite the government be so constituted as one man needs not be afraid of another.” The liberty of which Montesquieu spoke is directly promoted by apportioning power among political actors in a way that minimizes opportunities for those actors to determine conclusively the reach of their own powers. Montesquieu’s constitution of liberty is the constitution that most plausibly establishes the rule of law. Montesquieu concluded that this constitution ...


Of Gift Horses And Great Expectations: Remands Without Vacatur In Administrative Law, Daniel B. Rodriguez Jul 2004

Of Gift Horses And Great Expectations: Remands Without Vacatur In Administrative Law, Daniel B. Rodriguez

University of San Diego Public Law and Legal Theory Research Paper Series

Administrative law has been shaped over the years by fundamentally practical considerations. Displacement of agency decisions by courts was rare; yet, the omnipresent threat of substantial judicial intrusion surely affected agency decisions. While the Administrative Procedure Act, adopted nearly 60 years ago, provides a comprehensive template for federal agency decisionmaking, what is striking about the APA is how much is left out and how much is left to the discretion of both agencies in implementing regulatory decisions and to the courts in superintending agency action. Given this history, it is hardly surprising that many doctrinal techniques represent the pragmatic effort ...


Judicial Selection: Ideology Versus Character, Lawrence B. Solum Mar 2004

Judicial Selection: Ideology Versus Character, Lawrence B. Solum

University of San Diego Public Law and Legal Theory Research Paper Series

Part I of Judicial Selection: Ideology versus Character sets the stage for an argument that character and not political ideology should be the primary factor in the selection of judges. Political ideology has played an important role in judicial selection, from John Adams's entrenchment of federalists as judges after the election of 1800 to the Roosevelt's selection of progressives, liberals, and New Dealers, the contemporary era, from the failed nominations of Fortas, Haynsworth, Carswell to the defeat of Robert Bork, the narrow confirmation of Clarence Thomas. But until recently, political ideology has played its role behind the scenes ...


Toleration And Liberal Commitments, Steven Douglas Smith Mar 2004

Toleration And Liberal Commitments, Steven Douglas Smith

University of San Diego Public Law and Legal Theory Research Paper Series

This essay defends the ideal of toleration as against familiar criticisms coming from opposing directions. The "illiberal" objection argues that toleration is too permissive. Given the choice, why should we knowingly put up with error? The "ultraliberal" objection, reflected among others places in current free speech and religion clause jurisprudence, complains that "mere" toleration is condescending and illiberal because it declines to treat ideas and persons with equal concern and respect. This essay argues that both sorts of objections are misconceived and that if the valued liberal commitments of the American constitutional tradition are to be maintained, then we will ...


Straw Polls, Daniel B. Rodriguez Jan 2002

Straw Polls, Daniel B. Rodriguez

University of San Diego Public Law and Legal Theory Research Paper Series

A key measure of the democratic quality of a political community is how its members vote. The design and implementation of voting arrangements can illuminate the nature, purposes, and even potential of a community of citizens. Voting is, at the very least, used to sort out and implement preferences. Voting processes help in sorting out winners from losers and thereby provide a presumptively fair method for the implementation of public policy. At the same time, voting in a democratic policy is a coercive act. Voters are not merely expressing preferences; they are acting in order to transform their preferences into ...