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Full-Text Articles in Political Science

Avoiding The Guillotine: The Need For Balance And Purpose In Determining Fundamental Rights Under The Fourteenth Amendment, Timothy A. Campbell Jan 2015

Avoiding The Guillotine: The Need For Balance And Purpose In Determining Fundamental Rights Under The Fourteenth Amendment, Timothy A. Campbell

Timothy A Campbell

This Article examines the need to bridge the two fields of thought in fundamental rights jurisprudence. This Article argues two points. Broadly, an objective principle to determine fundamental rights is non-existent because rights by their nature are subjective. Hence, the Court must accept some subjectivity, but it needs to install guideposts to direct the judge’s discretion. The Court also needs to adopt a balanced approach that combines rationalism and traditionalism. They need to look at the purpose of the asserted right, the specificity of the asserted right, legal precedent, and history in formulating a balanced approach.


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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


The U.N. Security Council Ad Hoc Rwanda Tribunal: International Justice, Or Judicially-Constructed “Victor’S Impunity”?, C. Peter Erlinder Dec 2009

The U.N. Security Council Ad Hoc Rwanda Tribunal: International Justice, Or Judicially-Constructed “Victor’S Impunity”?, C. Peter Erlinder

C. Peter Erlinder

ABSTRACT The U.N. Security Council Ad Hoc Rwanda Tribunal: International Justice, or Juridically-Constructed “Victor’s Impunity”? Prof. Peter Erlinder [1] ________________________ “…if the Japanese had won the war, those of us who planned the fire-bombing of Tokyo would have been the war criminals….” [2] Robert S. McNamara, U.S. Secretary of State “…and so it goes…” [3] Billy Pilgrim (alter ego of an American prisoner of war, held in the cellar of a Dresden abattoir, who survived firebombing by his own troops, author Kurt Vonnegut Jr.) Introduction Unlike the postWW- II Tribunals, the U.N. Security Council tribunals for ...


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.


Sovereignty As Discourse, Robert Tsai Dec 2007

Sovereignty As Discourse, Robert Tsai

Robert L Tsai

This is a review of Howard Schweber's book, "The Language of Liberal Constitutionalism" (Cambridge University Press, 2007). Schweber argues that "the creation of a legitimate constitutional regime depends on a prior commitment to employ constitutional language, and that such a commitment is both the necessary and sufficient condition for constitution making." I critique the power and limits of this reformulated Lockean thesis, as well as Schweber's secondary claims that, for constitutional language to remain legitimate, it must increasingly become autonomous, specialized, and secular.


Assisted Suicide: An Interest Not A Right., Eric G. Roscoe Mar 2007

Assisted Suicide: An Interest Not A Right., Eric G. Roscoe

Eric G. Roscoe

This paper examines the right to privacy and its role in recent debate over the rights of terminally ill patients to receive assistance in dying. It examines the history of suicide from John Donne up to the recent Supreme Court decisions in Washington v. Glucksberg. The Court came to the proper conclusion in Glucksberg by leaving the decisions up to state legislatures because the right itself does not reach the level of a fundamentally protected right to privacy. However, in some states it does reach the level of a state created liberty interest, and in those states a legitimate argument ...


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 ...


Alternative Career Resolution Ii: Changing The Tenure Of Supreme Court Justices, Stephen B. Burbank Jan 2006

Alternative Career Resolution Ii: Changing The Tenure Of Supreme Court Justices, Stephen B. Burbank

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

No abstract provided.


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 ...


Torture Lite, Full-Bodied Torture, And The Insulation Of Legal Conscience, Seth F. Kreimer Jan 2005

Torture Lite, Full-Bodied Torture, And The Insulation Of Legal Conscience, Seth F. Kreimer

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

No abstract provided.


The Opacity Of Transparency, Mark Fenster Dec 2004

The Opacity Of Transparency, Mark Fenster

Mark Fenster

The normative concept of transparency, along with the open government laws that purport to create a transparent public system of governance promise the world—a democratic and accountable state above all, and a peaceful, prosperous, and efficient one as well. But transparency, in its role as the theoretical justification for a set of legal commands, frustrates all parties affected by its ambiguities and abstractions. The public’s engagement with transparency in practice yields denials of reasonable requests for essential government information, as well as government meetings that occur behind closed doors. Meanwhile, state officials bemoan the significantly impaired decision-making processes ...


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 ...


Watching The Watchers: Surveillance, Transparency, And Political Freedom In The War On Terror, Seth F. Kreimer Sep 2004

Watching The Watchers: Surveillance, Transparency, And Political Freedom In The War On Terror, Seth F. Kreimer

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

No abstract provided.


Rights Of Inequality: Rawlsian Justice, Equal Opportunity, And The Status Of The Family, Justin Schwartz Jan 2001

Rights Of Inequality: Rawlsian Justice, Equal Opportunity, And The Status Of The Family, Justin Schwartz

Justin Schwartz

Is the family subject to principles of justice? In A Theory of Justice, John Rawls includes the (monogamous) family along with the market and the government as among the "basic institutions of society" to which principles of justice apply. Justice, he famously insists, is primary in politics as truth is in science: the only excuse for tolerating injustice is that no lesser injustice is possible. The point of the present paper is that Rawls doesn't actually mean this. When it comes to the family, and in particular its impact on fair equal opportunity (the first part of the the ...


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 ...


Relativism, Reflective Equilibrium, And Justice, Justin Schwartz Jan 1997

Relativism, Reflective Equilibrium, And Justice, Justin Schwartz

Justin Schwartz

THIS PAPER IS THE CO-WINNER OF THE FRED BERGER PRIZE IN PHILOSOPHY OF LAW FOR THE 1999 AMERICAN PHILOSOPHICAL ASSOCIATION FOR THE BEST PUBLISHED PAPER IN THE PREVIOUS TWO YEARS.

The conflict between liberal legal theory and critical legal studies (CLS) is often framed as a matter of whether there is a theory of justice that the law should embody which all rational people could or must accept. In a divided society, the CLS critique of this view is overwhelming: there is no such justice that can command universal assent. But the liberal critique of CLS, that it degenerates into ...


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 ...


Democracy And Its Critics, Cary Coglianese May 1990

Democracy And Its Critics, Cary Coglianese

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

No abstract provided.


The Federalist's Plain Meaning: Reply To Tushnet, Anita L. Allen Jan 1988

The Federalist's Plain Meaning: Reply To Tushnet, Anita L. Allen

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

No abstract provided.