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Full-Text Articles in Public Law and Legal Theory

Mediating Theft, Kaitlyn E. Tucker Aug 2013

Mediating Theft, Kaitlyn E. Tucker

Kaitlyn E Tucker

In the attached short article, I argue for a change in the punishment scheme in non-violent theft crimes. Specifically, I outline a new Victim-Offender Mediation program and then argue how and why it should integrate into the criminal justice system to advance restorative justice as a viable method for punishment in America. I describe restorative justice as a model for punishment and Victim-Offender Mediation specifically as a restorative technique. I then explain why our criminal justice system needs Victim-Offender Mediation. The nation faces unprecedented numbers of prisoners and costs to run prison facilities, in addition to the disparate number of ...


Mediating Theft, Kaitlyn E. Tucker Aug 2013

Mediating Theft, Kaitlyn E. Tucker

Kaitlyn E Tucker

In the attached short article, I argue for a change in the punishment scheme in non-violent theft crimes. Specifically, I outline a new Victim-Offender Mediation program and then argue how and why it should integrate into the criminal justice system to advance restorative justice as a viable method for punishment in America. I describe restorative justice as a model for punishment and Victim-Offender Mediation specifically as a restorative technique. I then explain why our criminal justice system needs Victim-Offender Mediation. The nation faces unprecedented numbers of prisoners and costs to run prison facilities, in addition to the disparate number of ...


Mediating Theftv, Kaitlyn E. Tucker Aug 2013

Mediating Theftv, Kaitlyn E. Tucker

Kaitlyn E Tucker

In the attached short article, I argue for a change in the punishment scheme in non-violent theft crimes. Specifically, I outline a new Victim-Offender Mediation program and then argue how and why it should integrate into the criminal justice system to advance restorative justice as a viable method for punishment in America. I describe restorative justice as a model for punishment and Victim-Offender Mediation specifically as a restorative technique. I then explain why our criminal justice system needs Victim-Offender Mediation. The nation faces unprecedented numbers of prisoners and costs to run prison facilities, in addition to the disparate number of ...


Science And Compliance In The Arctic: A Constructivist Approach To The Un Commission On The Limits Of The Continental Shelf, Sari M. Graben, Peter Harrison Jun 2013

Science And Compliance In The Arctic: A Constructivist Approach To The Un Commission On The Limits Of The Continental Shelf, Sari M. Graben, Peter Harrison

Sari M Graben

The United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf is expected to play an essential role in delineating the rights of the Arctic states to sea bed resources in the Arctic Ocean. Positivist theories of international law generally source Arctic state compliance to the binding effect of Article 76 of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. However, positivist explanations fail to answer why the Arctic states, which are authorized to establish their own limits, would accept the sovereignty costs associated with the Commission’s legal and scientific interpretations. In order to better understand how the ...


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 ...


Parallel Justice: Creating Causes Of Action For Mandatory Mediation, Marie A. Failinger Feb 2013

Parallel Justice: Creating Causes Of Action For Mandatory Mediation, Marie A. Failinger

Marie A. Failinger

. This article proposes that the American common law system should adopt court-connected mandatory mediation as a parallel system of justice for some cases currently not justiciable, such as wrongs caused by constitutionally protected behavior. It describes systemic and ethical parallels between court-connected mediation and the rise of the equity courts, discusses practical objections to the idea of mandatory mediation, and tests the idea of "mandatory mediation-only" causes of action using constitutional hate speech and invasion of privacy examples.


The New Frontier Of Advanced Reproductive Technology: Reevaluating Modern Legal Parenthood, Yehezkel H. Margalit Dr., John D. Loike Dr., Orrie Levy Adv. Jan 2013

The New Frontier Of Advanced Reproductive Technology: Reevaluating Modern Legal Parenthood, Yehezkel H. Margalit Dr., John D. Loike Dr., Orrie Levy Adv.

Hezi Margalit

Assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs) have challenged our deepest conceptions of what it means to be a parent by fragmenting traditional aspects of parenthood. The law has been slow to respond to this challenge, and numerous academic articles have proposed models for adapting parentage laws to ARTs. In the coming years, however, scientific advancements in reproductive technologies, such as somatic cell nuclear transfer and stem cell technologies, will challenge both parentage laws and proposed legal models for traditional ARTs in new and fascinating ways. For instance, these advanced technologies could allow two women to create a child without any male genetic ...