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Full-Text Articles in Public Law and Legal Theory

Behavioral International Law, Tomer Broude Feb 2014

Behavioral International Law, Tomer Broude

Tomer Broude

Economic analysis and rational choice have in the last decade made significant inroads into the study of international law and institutions, relying upon standard assumptions of perfect rationality of states and decision-makers. This approach is inadequate, both empirically and in its tendency towards outdated formulations of political theory. This article presents an alternative behavioral approach that provides new hypotheses addressing problems in international law while introducing empirically grounded concepts of real, observed rationality. First, I address methodological objections to behavioral analysis of international law: the focus of behavioral research on the individual; the empirical foundations of behavioral economics; and behavioral ...


At&T V. Concepcion: The Problem Of A False Majority, Lisa Tripp, Evan R. Hanson Mar 2013

At&T V. Concepcion: The Problem Of A False Majority, Lisa Tripp, Evan R. Hanson

Lisa Tripp

The Supreme Court’s 2011 decision in AT&T v. Concepcion is the first case where the Supreme Court explores the interplay between state law unconscionability doctrine and the vast preemptive power of the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA). Although it is considered by many to be a landmark decision which has the potential for greatly expanding the already impressive preemptive power of the FAA, something is amiss with Concepcion.

AT&T v. Concepcion is ostensibly a 5-4 majority decision with a concurring opinion. However, the differences in the majority and concurring opinions are so profound that it appears that Justice Thomas actually concurred in the judgment only, even though he joined the putative majority opinion. This raises serious philosophical questions about jurisprudence, what is necessary to create a rule of law in the American legal system, and the precedential value of Concepcion itself.

Justice Thomas joined the majority opinion and provided the fifth vote, but wrote a concurring opinion that explicitly rejected the legal reasoning of the majority opinion in its entirety. The putative majority opinion authored by Justice Scalia allows that unconscionability can be a valid defense to the enforcement of an agreement to arbitrate, but in Concepcion, allowing California to apply its unconscionability doctrine (the Discover Bank rule) would frustrate the purposes and objectives of Congress in enacting the FAA. For these reasons the Scalia opinion found the law was preempted.

Justice Thomas, in contrast, does not believe that unconscionability can ever be a basis to invalidate an agreement to arbitrate and he reaffirmed his emphatic position articulated in Wyeth v. Levine that “[t]his Court’s entire body of purposes and objectives preemption jurisprudence is inherently flawed. The cases improperly rely on legislative history, broad atextual notions of congressional purpose, and even congressional inaction in order to pre-empt state law.”

Justice Thomas’s conclusion that the law was preempted turned on the text of the statute which he interprets as not allowing unconscionability-based defenses to preemption. Justice Thomas has reaffirmed his rejection of purposes and objectives preemption in cases decided after Concepcion. This means, looking at the substance of the opinions, that there are but four votes for the deciding rationale articulated in the Scalia opinion and there is not a single common denominator that the Scalia and Thomas opinions share, except that they agree on the result.

The Concepcion Court is, in substance, equally divided. Four members found that California’s unconscionability doctrine frustrated the purposes and objectives of the FAA, four in the dissent thought the law did not frustrate the purposes and objectives of the FAA, and one found that the purposes and objectives of Congress were immaterial to the resolution of the case.

How should lower courts react to an equally divided court in this situation? Does a Justice’s decision to join an opinion create a governing rule of law under these unusual circumstances? Can governing rules of law be created in the absence of a majority for the deciding rationale? Is a Justice’s labeling of an opinion as a regular concurrence dispositive or does its substance dictate the precedential value it is given?

The authors’ argue that the Supreme Court provided the answer to these questions over 100 years ago in Hertz v. Woodman:

Under the precedents of this court, and, as seems justified by reason as well as by authority, an affirmance by an equally divided court is, as between the parties, a conclusive determination and adjudication of the matter adjudged; but the principles of law involved not having been agreed upon by a majority of the court sitting prevents the case from becoming an authority for the determination of other cases, either in this or in inferior courts.

Under any rational reading of the opinions, there can be no doubt that “the principles of law involved [have not] been agreed upon by a majority of the court sitting” and this should “prevent[] the case from becoming authority for the determination of other cases, either in [the Supreme Court] or in inferior courts ...


A Complete Property Right Amendment, John H. Ryskamp Oct 2006

A Complete Property Right Amendment, John H. Ryskamp

ExpressO

The trend of the eminent domain reform and "Kelo plus" initiatives is toward a comprehensive Constitutional property right incorporating the elements of level of review, nature of government action, and extent of compensation. This article contains a draft amendment which reflects these concerns.


Jumping On The Bandwagon: How Canadian Lawyers Can & Should Get Involved In The Emerging Trend To Implement Therapeutic Jurisprudence Practices In Canadian Courts, Brooke Bloom Aug 2006

Jumping On The Bandwagon: How Canadian Lawyers Can & Should Get Involved In The Emerging Trend To Implement Therapeutic Jurisprudence Practices In Canadian Courts, Brooke Bloom

ExpressO

No abstract provided.


Bond Repudiation, Tax Codes, The Appropriations Process And Restitution Post-Eminent Domain Reform, John H. Ryskamp Jun 2006

Bond Repudiation, Tax Codes, The Appropriations Process And Restitution Post-Eminent Domain Reform, John H. Ryskamp

ExpressO

This brief comment suggests where the anti-eminent domain movement might be heading next.


Breaking The Bank: Revisiting Central Bank Of Denver After Enron And Sarbanes-Oxley, Celia Taylor Sep 2005

Breaking The Bank: Revisiting Central Bank Of Denver After Enron And Sarbanes-Oxley, Celia Taylor

ExpressO

No abstract provided.


From International Law To Law And Globalization, Paul Schiff Berman Jul 2005

From International Law To Law And Globalization, Paul Schiff Berman

ExpressO

International law’s traditional emphasis on state practice has long been questioned, as scholars have paid increasing attention to other important – though sometimes inchoate – processes of international norm development. Yet, the more recent focus on transnational law, governmental and non-governmental networks, and judicial influence and cooperation across borders, while a step in the right direction, still seems insufficient to describe the complexities of law in an era of globalization. Accordingly, it is becoming clear that “international law” is itself an overly constraining rubric and that we need an expanded framework, one that situates cross-border norm development at the intersection of ...


Good Faith In The Cisg: Interpretation Problems In Article 7, Benedict C. Sheehy Aug 2004

Good Faith In The Cisg: Interpretation Problems In Article 7, Benedict C. Sheehy

ExpressO

ABSTRACT: This article examines the dispute concerning the meaning of Good Faith in the CISG. Although there are good reasons for arguing a more limited interpretation or more limited application of Good Faith, there are also good reasons for a broader approach. Regardless of the correct interpretation, however, practitioners and academics need to have a sense of where the actual jurisprudence is going. This article reviews every published case on Article 7 since its inception and concludes that while there is little to suggest a strong pattern is developing, a guided pattern while incorrect doctrinally is preferable to the current ...