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Full-Text Articles in Political Science

Courts, Social Change, And Political Backlash, Michael Klarman Mar 2011

Courts, Social Change, And Political Backlash, Michael Klarman

Philip A. Hart Memorial Lecture

On March 31, 2011, Professor of Law, Michael Klarman of Harvard Law School delivered the Georgetown Law Center’s thirty-first annual Philip A. Hart Lecture: “Courts, Social Change, and Political Backlash.” Included here are the speaker's notes from this lecture.

Michael Klarman is the Kirkland & Ellis Professor at Harvard Law School. Formerly, he was the James Monroe Distinguished Professor of Law, Professor of History, and the Elizabeth D. and Richard A. Merrill Research Professor at the University of Virginia School of Law. Klarman specializes in the constitutional history of race.

Klarman holds a J.D. from Stanford Law School ...


Misunderstanding Congress: Statutory Interpretation, The Supermajoritarian Difficulty, And The Separation Of Powers, Victoria Nourse Jan 2011

Misunderstanding Congress: Statutory Interpretation, The Supermajoritarian Difficulty, And The Separation Of Powers, Victoria Nourse

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Every lawyer's theory of statutory interpretation carries with it an idea of Congress, and every idea of Congress, in turn, carries with it an idea of the separation of powers. In this article, the author critiques three dominant academic theories of statutory interpretation--textualism, purposivism, and game theory--for their assumptions about Congress and the separation of powers. She argues that each academic theory fails to account for Congress's dominant institutional features: "the electoral connection," the "supermajoritarian difficulty," and the "principle of structure-induced ambiguity." This critique yields surprising conclusions, rejecting both standard liberal and conservative views on statutory interpretation.

"Plain ...