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Full-Text Articles in Political Science

Three Arguments About War, Robert Tsai Dec 2014

Three Arguments About War, Robert Tsai

Robert L Tsai

The rise of the United States as a military power capable of mounting global warfare and subduing domestic rebellions has helped produce a corresponding shift in the language of liberal constitutionalism. Arguments invoking war have become prevalent, increasingly creative and far-reaching, and therefore an emerging threat to rule of law values. It is not only legal limits on the capacity to wage war that have been influenced by the ascendance of war-inspired discourse; seemingly unrelated areas of law have also been reshaped by talk of war, from the constitutional rules of criminal procedure to the promise of racial and sexual ...


America's Forgotten Constitutions: Defiant Visions Of Power And Community, Robert Tsai Mar 2014

America's Forgotten Constitutions: Defiant Visions Of Power And Community, Robert Tsai

Robert L Tsai

The U.S. Constitution opens by proclaiming the sovereignty of all citizens: "We the People." Robert Tsai's gripping history of alternative constitutions invites readers into the circle of those who have rejected this ringing assertion--the defiant groups that refused to accept the Constitution's definition of who "the people" are and how their authority should be exercised. America's Forgotten Constitutions is the story of America as told by dissenters: squatters, Native Americans, abolitionists, socialists, internationalists, and racial nationalists. Beginning in the nineteenth century, Tsai chronicles eight episodes in which discontented citizens took the extraordinary step of drafting a ...


A New Introduction To American Constitutionalism, Mark Graber Oct 2013

A New Introduction To American Constitutionalism, Mark Graber

Mark Graber

A New Introduction to American Constitutionalism is the first text to study the entirety of American constitutionalism, not just the traces that appear in Supreme Court decisions. Mark A. Graber both explores and offers original answers to such central questions as: What is a Constitution? What are fundamental constitutional purposes? How are constitutions interpreted? How is constitutional authority allocated? How do constitutions change? How is the Constitution of the United States influenced by international and comparative law? and, most important, How does the Constitution work? Relying on an historical/institutional perspective, the book illustrates how American constitutionalism is a distinct ...


Sex, Drugs, Alcohol, Gambling, And Guns: The Synergistic Constitutional Effects, David B. Kopel, Trevor Burrus Jan 2013

Sex, Drugs, Alcohol, Gambling, And Guns: The Synergistic Constitutional Effects, David B. Kopel, Trevor Burrus

David B Kopel

In this Article, we discuss the synergistic relationship between the wars‖ on drugs, guns, alcohol, sex, and gambling, and how that relationship has helped illegitimately increase the power of the federal government over the past century. The Constitution never granted Congress the general police power‖ to legislate on health, safety, welfare, and morals; the police power was reserved to the States. Yet over the last century, federal laws against guns, alcohol, gambling, and some types of sex have encroached on the police powers traditionally reserved to the states.

Congress‘s infringement of the States‘ powers over the health, safety, welfare ...


Slaves To Contradictions: 13 Myths That Sustained Slavery, Wilson Huhn Jan 2013

Slaves To Contradictions: 13 Myths That Sustained Slavery, Wilson Huhn

Akron Law Publications

People have a fundamental need to think of themselves as “good people.” To achieve this we tell each other stories – we create myths – about ourselves and our society. These myths may be true or they may be false. The more discordant a myth is with reality, the more difficult it is to convince people to embrace it. In such cases to sustain the illusion of truth it may be necessary to develop an entire mythology – an integrated web of mutually supporting stories. This paper explores the system of myths that sustained the institution of slavery in the antebellum United States.


"Simple" Takes On The Supreme Court, Robert Tsai Dec 2012

"Simple" Takes On The Supreme Court, Robert Tsai

Robert L Tsai

This essay assesses black literature as a medium for working out popular understandings of America’s Constitution and laws. Starting in the 1940s, Langston Hughes’s fictional character, Jesse B. Semple, began appearing in the prominent black newspaper, the Chicago Defender. The figure affectionately known as “Simple” was undereducated, unsophisticated, and plain spoken - certainly to a fault according to prevailing standards of civility, race relations, and professional attainment. Butthese very traits, along with a gritty experience under Jim Crow, made him not only a sympathetic figure but also an armchair legal theorist. In a series of barroom conversations, Simple ably ...


Slaves To Contradictions: 13 Myths That Sustained Slavery, Wilson Huhn Dec 2012

Slaves To Contradictions: 13 Myths That Sustained Slavery, Wilson Huhn

Wilson R. Huhn

People have a fundamental need to think of themselves as “good people.” To achieve this we tell each other stories – we create myths – about ourselves and our society. These myths may be true or they may be false. The more discordant a myth is with reality, the more difficult it is to convince people to embrace it. In such cases to sustain the illusion of truth it may be necessary to develop an entire mythology – an integrated web of mutually supporting stories. This paper explores the system of myths that sustained the institution of slavery in the antebellum United States.


How The British Gun Control Program Precipitated The American Revolution, David B. Kopel Jan 2012

How The British Gun Control Program Precipitated The American Revolution, David B. Kopel

David B Kopel

Abstract: This Article chronologically reviews the British gun control which precipitated the American Revolution: the 1774 import ban on firearms and gun powder; the 1774-75 confiscations of firearms and gun powder, from individuals and from local governments; and the use of violence to effectuate the confiscations. It was these events which changed a situation of rising political tension into a shooting war. Each of these British abuses provides insights into the scope of the modern Second Amendment.

From the events of 1774-75, we can discern that import restrictions or bans on firearms or ammunition are constitutionally suspect — at least if ...


The Great Gun Control War Of The Twentieth Century--And Its Lessons For Gun Laws Today, David B. Kopel Jan 2012

The Great Gun Control War Of The Twentieth Century--And Its Lessons For Gun Laws Today, David B. Kopel

David B Kopel

A movement to ban handguns began in the 1920s in the Northeast, led by the conservative business establishment. In response, the National Rifle Association began to get involved in politics, and was able to defeat handgun prohibition. Gun control and gun rights became the subjects of intense political, social, and cultural battles for much of the rest of the 20th century, and into the 21st.

Often, the battles were a clash of absolutes: One side contended that there was absolutely no right to arms, that defensive gun ownership must be prohibited, and that gun ownership for sporting purposes could be ...


Theorizing American Freedom (Review Essay), Anthony O'Rourke Jan 2012

Theorizing American Freedom (Review Essay), Anthony O'Rourke

Book Reviews

This is a review essay of The Two Faces of American Freedom, by Aziz Rana. The book presents a new and provocative account of the relationship between ideas of freedom and the constitutional structure of American power. Through the nineteenth century, Rana argues, America’s constitutional structure was shaped by a racially exclusionary, yet economically robust, concept that he calls “settler freedom.” Drawing on the burgeoning interdisciplinary field of settler colonial studies, as well as on the vast historical literature on civic republicanism, Rana contends that the concept of settler freedom necessitated a constitutional framework that enabled rapid territorial expansion ...


The Politics Of Hate, Robert Tsai Dec 2011

The Politics Of Hate, Robert Tsai

Robert L Tsai

This is a special issue dedicated to the topic of hate and political discourse. Collectively, the peer-reviewed articles in this volume are concerned with the political aspects of hatred, i.e., psychology, motivations, organization, tactics, and ends. The articles approach the problem from a variety of disciplines, including anthropology, history, law, literature, philosophy, political science, psychology, and sociology. Among the subjects analyzed: group hatred as a heritable trait; hate as an irrational system of thought; Italian fascism's construction of the Communist other; the rise of the English Defence League and its anti-Islam activities; the persistent myth of blood libel ...


Bad News For John Marshall, David B. Kopel, Gary Lawson Dec 2011

Bad News For John Marshall, David B. Kopel, Gary Lawson

David B Kopel

In Bad News for Professor Koppelman: The Incidental Unconstitutionality of the Individual Mandate, we demonstrated that the individual mandate’s forced participation in commercial transactions cannot be justified under the Necessary and Proper Clause as the Clause was interpreted in McCulloch v. Maryland. Professor Andrew Koppelman’s response, Bad News for Everybody, wrongly conflates that argument with a wide range of interpretative and substantive positions that are not logically entailed by taking seriously the requirement that laws enacted under the Necessary and Proper Clause must be incidental to an enumerated power. His response is thus largely unresponsive to our actual ...


Constituent Authority, Richard Kay Dec 2010

Constituent Authority, Richard Kay

Richard Kay

The force of a constitution, like the force of all enacted law, derives, in significant part, from the circumstances of its enactment. Legal and political theory have long recognized the logical necessity of a “constituent power.” That recognition, however, tells us little about what is necessary for the successful enactment of an enduring constitution. Long term acceptance of a constitution requires a continuing regard for the process that brought it into being. There must be, that is, recognition of the “constituent authority” of the constitution-makers. This paper is a consideration of the idea of “constituent authority” drawing on a comparison ...


Sex V. Race, Again, Tracy A. Thomas Aug 2010

Sex V. Race, Again, Tracy A. Thomas

Akron Law Publications

In this book, feminists speak out on race and gender in the 2008 presidential campaign. Who should be first? With Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton as frontrunners, the 2008 Democratic primary campaign was a watershed moment in U.S. history. Offering the choice of an African American man or a white woman as the next Democratic candidate for president, the primary marked an unprecedented moment—but one that painfully echoed previous struggles for progressive change that pitted race and gender against each other. Who Should Be First? collects key feminist voices that challenge the instances of racism and sexism during ...


Sex V. Race, Again, Tracy A. Thomas Jul 2010

Sex V. Race, Again, Tracy A. Thomas

Tracy A. Thomas

In this book, feminists speak out on race and gender in the 2008 presidential campaign. Who should be first? With Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton as frontrunners, the 2008 Democratic primary campaign was a watershed moment in U.S. history. Offering the choice of an African American man or a white woman as the next Democratic candidate for president, the primary marked an unprecedented moment—but one that painfully echoed previous struggles for progressive change that pitted race and gender against each other. Who Should Be First? collects key feminist voices that challenge the instances of racism and sexism during ...


Book Review (Paul Frymer's Black And Blue: African Americans, The Labor Movement, And The Decline Of The Democratic Party)., Sophia Z. Lee May 2010

Book Review (Paul Frymer's Black And Blue: African Americans, The Labor Movement, And The Decline Of The Democratic Party)., Sophia Z. Lee

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

No abstract provided.


Gay And Lesbian Elders: History, Law, And Identity Politics In The United States, Nancy J. Knauer Dec 2009

Gay And Lesbian Elders: History, Law, And Identity Politics In The United States, Nancy J. Knauer

Nancy J. Knauer

The approximately two million gay and lesbian elders in the United States are an underserved and understudied population. At a time when gay men and lesbians enjoy an unprecedented degree of social acceptance and legal protection, many elders face the daily challenges of aging isolated from family, detached from the larger gay and lesbian community, and ignored by mainstream aging initiatives. Drawing on materials from law, history, and social theory, this book integrates practical proposals for reform with larger issues of sexuality and identity. Beginning with a summary of existing demographic data and offering a historical overview of pre-Stonewall views ...


Eloquence And Reason: Creating A First Amendment Culture, Robert L. Tsai Oct 2008

Eloquence And Reason: Creating A First Amendment Culture, Robert L. Tsai

Robert L Tsai

This book presents a general theory to explain how the words in the Constitution become culturally salient ideas, inscribed in the habits and outlooks of ordinary Americans. "Eloquence and Reason" employs the First Amendment as a case study to illustrate that liberty is achieved through the formation of a common language and a set of organizing beliefs. The book explicates the structure of First Amendment language as a distinctive discourse and illustrates how activists, lawyers, and even presidents help to sustain our First Amendment belief system. When significant changes to constitutional law occur, they are best understood as the results ...


James Wilson And The Drafting Of The Constitution, William Ewald Jun 2008

James Wilson And The Drafting Of The Constitution, William Ewald

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

No abstract provided.


The “Csi Effect”: Better Jurors Through Television And Science?, Michael Mann Jun 2006

The “Csi Effect”: Better Jurors Through Television And Science?, Michael Mann

Michael D. Mann

This Comment explores how television shows such as CSI and Law & Order have created heightened juror expectations in courtrooms across America. Surprise acquitals often have prosectors scratching their heads as jurors hold them to this new "Hollywood" standard. The Comment also analyzes the CSI phenomena by reflecting on past legal television shows that have influenced the public's perception of the legal profession and how the "CSI effect" has placed an even greater burden on parties to proffer some kind of forensic evidence at trial.

The Comment was published in volume 24 of the Buffalo Public Interest Law Journal (2006).


Democracy's Handmaid, Robert Tsai Jan 2006

Democracy's Handmaid, Robert Tsai

Robert L Tsai

Democratic theory presupposes open channels of dialogue, but focuses almost exclusively on matters of institutional design writ large. The philosophy of language explicates linguistic infrastructure, but often avoids exploring the political significance of its findings. In this Article, Professor Tsai draws from the two disciplines to reach new insights about the democracy-enhancing qualities of popular constitutional language. Employing examples from the founding era, the struggle for black civil rights, the religious awakening of the last two decades, and the search for gay equality, he presents a model of constitutional dialogue that emphasizes common modalities and mobilized vernacular. According to this ...


Sacred Visions Of Law, Robert Tsai Feb 2005

Sacred Visions Of Law, Robert Tsai

Robert L Tsai

Around the time of the Bicentennial Celebration of the U.S. Constitution’s framing, Sanford Levinson called upon Americans to renew our “constitutional faith.” This Article answers the call by explicating the ways in which two landmark constitutional law decisions—Marbury v. Madison and Brown v. Board of Education—have been used by jurists over the years to tend the American community of faith. Blending constitutional theory and the study of religious form, the Article argues that the legal symbols have become increasingly linked in the legal imagination even as they have come to signify very different sacred visions of ...


Book Review Essay: Canada's Constitutional Cul De Sac, Richard Kay Dec 2004

Book Review Essay: Canada's Constitutional Cul De Sac, Richard Kay

Richard Kay

Book reivew of 'Constitutional Odyssey: Can Canadians Become a Sovereign People?', by Peter H. Russell (Toronto, University of Toronto Press, 2004).


Fire, Metaphor, And Constitutional Myth-Making, Robert Tsai Oct 2004

Fire, Metaphor, And Constitutional Myth-Making, Robert Tsai

Robert L Tsai

From the standpoint of traditional legal thought, metaphor is at best a dash of poetry adorning lawyerly analysis, and at worst an unjustifiable distraction from what is actually at stake in a legal contest. By contrast, in the eyes of those who view law as a close relative of ordinary language, metaphor is a basic building block of human understanding. This article accepts that metaphor helps us to comprehend a court’s decision. At the same time, it contends that metaphor plays a special role in the realm of constitutional discourse. Metaphor in constitutional law not only reinforces doctrinal categories ...


The Secession Reference And The Limits Of Law, Richard Kay Dec 2002

The Secession Reference And The Limits Of Law, Richard Kay

Richard Kay

When the Supreme Court of Canada issued its judgment on the legality of "unilateral" Quebec secession in August 1998 many Canadians did not know what to make of it. The Court held that the only lawful way in which Quebec might depart the Canadian federation was through one of the amendment mechanisms provided in the Constitution Act 1982. It thus affirmed that Quebec could not secede without the agreement of at least the Houses of the federal Parliament and some number of provincial legislative assemblies. Prime Minister Chretien declared the next day that the judgement was a "victory for all ...


Tench Coxe And The Right To Keep And Bear Arms, 1787-1823, David B. Kopel Jan 1999

Tench Coxe And The Right To Keep And Bear Arms, 1787-1823, David B. Kopel

David B Kopel

Tench Coxe, a member of the second rank of this nation's Founders and a leading proponent of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, wrote prolifically about the right to keep and bear arms. In this Article, the authors trace Coxe's story, from his early writings in support of the Constitution, through his years of public service, to his political writings in opposition to the presidential campaigns of John Adams and John Quincy Adams. The authors note that Coxe described the Second Amendment as guaranteeing an individual right, and believed that an individual right to bear arms was ...


The Unitary Executive During The First Half-Century, Steven G. Calabresi, Christopher S. Yoo Jan 1997

The Unitary Executive During The First Half-Century, Steven G. Calabresi, Christopher S. Yoo

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Recent Supreme Court decisions and the impeachment of President Clinton has reinvigorated the debate over Congress’s authority to employ devices such as special counsels and independent agencies to restrict the President’s control over the administration of the law. The initial debate focused on whether the Constitution rejected the “executive by committee” employed by the Articles of the Confederation in favor of a “unitary executive,” in which all administrative authority is centralized in the President. More recently, the debate has begun to turn towards historical practices. Some scholars have suggested that independent agencies and special counsels have become such ...


Foreign Investment: Foreign Economic Contract Law, Jacques Delisle Jan 1986

Foreign Investment: Foreign Economic Contract Law, Jacques Delisle

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

No abstract provided.