Monday, December 9, 2013

Avery and McLaughlin on the Filibuster and Influencing the Judiciary

Michael Avery and Danielle McLaughlin, authors of The Federalist Society: How Conservatives Took the Law Back from Liberals, write over at the ACS Blog that the Democrats' recent move to invoke the nuclear option now gives them a chance to respond to a decades-long movement by conservatives and the Federalist Society to fill the federal bench with conservative judges.

Lgcover.4124399

In our book, we analyze how these judges and others have responded to the arguments of Federalist Society members to move the law to the right in a variety of substantive areas. . . .

We hope the recent Senate Rules change will become an important step in restoring balance to the federal bench.  We acknowledge that this rule change might eventually come back to haunt Senate Democrats.  Either way, it was past time for the president and the Democrats in the Senate to realize that they have to play hardball with respect to judicial appointments.

December 9, 2013 in Books, Interpretation, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, November 25, 2013

Daily Read: Julie Goldscheid on the Constitutional and Social Problems of Violence Against "Women" (on this International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women)

The 25th of November is "International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women" declared by the United Nations by a Resolution in 2000

IntDayElimViolenceWomen

The resolution echoes earlier attention to the problem which it defines as including

any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life.

The responsibility of governments to address private violence is one that is controversial in United States constitutional law, but so - - - and perhaps increasingly - - - is the framing of the issue with special attention to victims on the basis of gender.  Isn't a focus on women violative of sex-equality, excluding not only men but transgender and gender nonconforming people?

GoldscheidProfessor Julie Goldscheid (pictured) takes on this issue in her forthcoming article, Gender Neutrality, the “Violence Against Women” Frame, and Transformative Reform, available in draft on ssrn.  Goldscheid uses framing theory to explain the benefits and disadvantages of the frame "violence against women."  She discusses constitutional challenges against anti-violence legislation and regulations that codify the woman-specific lens, including one from West Virginia and California in which equal protection arguments were mounted.  In West Virginia, the Supreme Court of Appeals in  Men & Women Against Discrimination v. Family Protection Servs. Bd. ultimately upheld the special requirements for men.  As Goldscheid describes it, the court

concluded that the rule authorizing particular rules for male victims and adult male children was “not unreasonable” given that the majority of domestic violence victims seeking shelter are women, and that the provision requiring training in historical attitudes toward women simply mandated gender-neutral instruction about the history of domestic violence and did not imply that all perpetrators are men or that women cannot be perpetrators.

To the contrary, in California the appellate court applied strict scrutiny under its state constitution to state sex-specific provisions in Woods v. Horton and found they were not justified by a compelling governmental interest and that gender-neutral alternatives were possible.  However, the court did not find the state provisions unconstitutional, but, as Goldscheid explains,

the remedy was to reform the statutory provisions to provide funding to survivors regardless of gender.  The court recognized that the vast majority of the programs funded under the programs already were provided on a gender-neutral basis. It also recognized that programs need not offer identical services to men and women, given the disparity in the number of women needing services.  For example, the court recognized that a program might offer shelter for women, but only hotel vouchers for men.

These cases do not lead Goldscheid to advocate for a simplistic gender-neutral approach, but to argue for what she names a "modest shift" that "meets both descriptive and transformative goals, and that is sensitive to differences in context and usage."  

Goldscheid's solution - - - discussed in her article - - - credits the power in naming and framing.  It may be "modest," as she suggests, but it is certainly worth contemplating on this International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.

November 25, 2013 in Courts and Judging, Current Affairs, Equal Protection, Family, Gender, Scholarship, Theory | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, November 18, 2013

Daily Read: "Reassignment" by Toby Heytens (or was it so unusual that the Second Circuit reassigned the "Stop and Frisk" cases?)

As we discussed last week, in  In re Reassignment of Cases: Ligon; Floyd et al. v. City of New York, et al., the Second Circuit clarified its removal of Judge Shira Scheindlin and as to the removal of Judge Scheindlin, wrote that reassignment "while not an everyday occurrence, is not unusual in this Circuit" and in support cited nine cases from 1999 - 2011, and discussed that it occurs in other circuits.

Would that the panel had had Professor Toby Heytens' forthcoming article, simply entitled "Reassignment," available in draft on ssrn.  Heytens discusses more than 650 reassignment cases and concludes that circuit courts have

exercised that power in pretty much every type of case imaginable: criminal cases and civil cases, federal question cases and diversity cases, “big” cases and “small” cases. Reassignment has been going on since 1958, but the pace seems to be quickening: more than 20% of the cases in my 55-year dataset were decided during the last five years, at a rate of a little more than one every two weeks during that span.

US_Court_of_Appeals_and_District_Court_map.svg

Although Heytens begins his article discussing a contentious 1996 case from the Second Circuit, involving District Judge Jack Weinstein of New York, he finds that it is another circuit that has by far the most reassignments.  Guesses?  It's the Seventh Circuit.  Interestingly, the Seventh Circuit is the only one to have a circuit rule governing reassignments and thus allows for the circuit panel to simply cite the rule and not provide any rationale for the change.  Depending upon one's point of view, this may have obscured the "removal" of Judge Scheindlin or it might have portrayed it as a normal procedure.

Although not focused on Scheindlin, here's what Heytens says about the possible differences:

On one hand, this may seem problematic, because it violates the intuition that public reason-giving is an important part of justifying the exercise of coercive judicial power.

On the other hand, reassignment underscores that there can be virtues in circumspection as well. Appellate court decisions have many audiences: not just the trial judges and the parties, but also other judges, future litigants, and other interested readers. Both the Seventh Circuit’s approach of ordering reassignment via an unexplained reference to a circuit rule that may not mean anything to most readers and the First Circuit’s approach of separating the reassignment order from the underlying opinion can be seen as ways of reducing the salience of the decision to order reassignment and thus make the decision feel less like a public scolding.

 In the stop and frisk cases, the public scolding aspect of the Second Circuit's brief initial opinion predominated - - - at least in its reception by the public.  Indeed, the revised opinion seemingly took pains to refute that interpretation.  

In his conclusion, Heytens identifies the question of "whether more fine-grained methods of measuring judicial ideology reveal any interesting patterns about how appellate judges use reassignment" as one meriting further investigation.  Certainly the reassignment of Judge Shira Scheindlin in the highly controversial stop and frisk cases will prove fertile ground.  Moreover, the question of disciplining a judge's out-of-court activities, including those that might implicate the First Amendment, should also be added to the mix.

 [image of circuit courts of appeal map via]

November 18, 2013 in Courts and Judging, Current Affairs, First Amendment, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Not So Fast Nadon: The Supreme Court of Canada's Would-Be Justice On Hold

As we discussed when we reported that Marc Nadon had been nominated to be the newest Justice on the Supreme Court of Canada, there existed a constitutional question regarding whether a judge on the Federal Court of Appeal was eligible for the Supreme Court. 

 

Marc-nadon
Marc Nadon, Portrait (prematurely?) on the Supreme Court of Canada website
It's a complex issue, especially for those not steeped in Canadian constitutional law, but luckily Canadian ConLawProfs Michael Plaxton and Carissima Mathen have made available on ssrn their excellent paper, Purposive Interpretation, Quebec, and the Supreme Court Act.

 

They set out the facts at the beginning of their discussion:

On 30 September 2013, the Prime Minister announced the nomination of Marc Nadon, a Federal Court of Appeal judge, to fill the seat vacated by Supreme Court Justice Morris Fish. The announcement was accompanied an unusual supporting document – an opinion  by a former Supreme Court Justice, The Honourable Ian Binnie.  Asked whether the Supreme Court Act permits the appointment of Federal Court judges, Binnie wrote a brief memorandum arguing that it does – a conclusion endorsed by another former Supreme Court Justice, Louise Charron, and Professor Peter Hogg.  After Nadon was sworn in, a Toronto lawyer launched proceedings in Federal Court to contest the appointment. This prompted Nadon to decline to participate in court hearings until the issue is resolved.  On October 22, in apparent response to these events, the federal government announced that it would introduce a “declaratory” change to the Supreme Court Act. It would also seek an advisory opinion from the Supreme Court of Canada as to whether Federal Court judges are qualified for appointment.

The Supreme Court of Canada action is now docketed here.

As Plaxton and Mathen describe the "apparent interpretive problem raised by Justice Nadon’s appointment," 

Section 5 of the Supreme Court Act states: “Any person may be appointed a judge who is or has been a judge of a superior court of a province or a barrister or advocate of at least ten years standing at the bar of a province.” Section 6 provides: “At least three of the judges shall be appointed from among the judges of the Court of Appeal or of the Superior Court of the Province of Quebec or from among the advocates of that province.” Mr Justice Nadon was, at the time of his nomination, neither a judge of a Quebec superior court nor a current member of the practicing bar. It is therefore not clear that he is “among the advocates” of Quebec within the meaning of section 6.

Ultimately, they conclude that the argument in favor of Nadon's eligibility privileges section 5 over section 6, with its purpose "to protect the authority and legitimacy of the Court in the eyes of Quebec citizens, advocates and jurists."

This controversy over eligiblity has certainly eclipsed the earlier concerns regarding Nadon's appointment contributing to the lack of gender balance and representation on the Court.  


October 24, 2013 in Comparative Constitutionalism, Courts and Judging, Current Affairs, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, October 11, 2013

Michigan's 50th and the Evolution of State Constitutionalism

The Wayne Law Review (at Wayne State U. Law) is hosting a symposium today titled A Wave of Change: Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Michigan's Constitution and the Evolution of State Constitutionalism.  

You can view it live on-line here.

This symposium seeks to evaluate the progress of state constitutions over the past 50 years.  The symposium will also expose students, practitioners, academics, and the community to the unique and important qualities of state constitutions that are largely overlooked and undervalued.

Speakers will include national scholars on state constitutionalism as well as Michigan judges, practitioners, and community members.

October 11, 2013 in Comparative Constitutionalism, News, Scholarship, State Constitutional Law | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, September 30, 2013

What the Best Law Teachers Do

Michael Hunter Schwartz, Gerald F. Hess, and Sophie M. Sparrow recently published an outstanding 9780674049147 volume, What the Best Law Teachers Do (Harvard).  As the title says, the book is a compilation of the best practices of the best teachers in our field.  It should be at the top of the reading list of any law professor.

 

RobsonWe're thrilled at the ConLawProfBlog that our own Ruthann Robson is one of just 26 professors featured in the book.  (Other con-law-familiar names include Julie Nice and Heather Gerkin.)  Prof. Robson is profiled throughout the book, on everything from class prep to engaging students to providing feedback and evaluation--offering plenty of best-practices for any con law prof.  Check it out.

September 30, 2013 in Books, News, Scholarship, Teaching Tips | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Randall Kennedy at NY Historical Society on The Supreme Court and Affirmative Action

October 3, 2013, 6:30 pm, in NYC

Free for Law Students and Faculty

Required registration and more information here.

Screen Shot 2013-09-25 at 3.47.17 PM

September 25, 2013 in Affirmative Action, Courts and Judging, Current Affairs, Race, Recent Cases, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, September 23, 2013

Constitute: The World's Constitutions On Line

The folks at the Comparative Constitutions Project created an excellent new resource, Constitute, an on-line, searchable, and topic-tagged collection of the constitutions of the world.  (H/t to Michael Huggins.)  The site is quite user-friendly and offers a terrific and easy way to bring comparative constitutionalism into your classroom or to search for comparative provisions in world constitutions for your writing.

Constitute currently includes every constitution in force as of September this year, with plans to include a version of every available constitution written since 1789.

September 23, 2013 in News, Scholarship, Teaching Tips | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, September 7, 2013

CFP: LBJ's Great Society at 50, MAPOC Legal Scholarship Conference

From an announcement:

19th Annual Mid-Atlantic People of Color
Legal Scholarship Conference 2014
Hosted by the University of Baltimore School of Law
Baltimore, MD
January 23-25, 2014

–      Conference Theme & Call for Papers –

President Lyndon B. Johnson’s Great Society and Beyond:
The Historical and Contemporary Implications of Progressive Action and Human Fulfillment
Honoring and Critiquing the 50th Anniversary of Johnson’s Vision



496px-LBJ_National_Portrait_GalleryIn May 1964, President Lyndon Baines Johnson unveiled his revolutionary plans for the Great Society.  As he explained it, Americans “have the opportunity to move not only toward the rich society and the powerful society, but upward to the Great Society. . . .  The Great Society rests on abundance and liberty for all. It demands an end to poverty and racial injustice.”

According to Doris Kearns Goodwin, who wrote Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream, Johnson’s Great Society would be based on “progressive action” and the “possibilities for human fulfillment.”  This action and fulfillment meant that regaining control of our society required us to end policies that threatened and degraded humanity.

Johnson’s Great Society reforms, included the Voting Rights Act of 1965, Medicare, Medicaid, Equal Opportunity Act, Elementary and Secondary Education Act, Social Security expansion, the Earned Income Tax Credit, the Higher Education Act, Head Start, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Housing and Urban Development Act of 1965, and the Open Housing Act of 1968.  These laws extended and expanded the Bill of Rights and continued and expanded the programs initiated in Roosevelt’s New Deal of the 1930s and Truman’s Fair Deal in the late 1940s and early 1050s.  As a result of LBJ’s programs, America’s official poverty rate declined throughout the 1960s, reaching a low of 11.2 percent in 1974, down from 19 percent in 1964, and most recently settling at 15.1 percent in 2010.  According to Dylan Matthews, who wrote Poverty in the 50 Years Since ‘The Other America,’ in Five Charts, Johnson’s Great Society programs, which included the War on Poverty, “made a real and lasting difference.”  Moreover, according to Demos, an estimated 40 million Americans avoided official poverty due to such programs as food stamps and Medicaid.

Unfortunately, what is also true is that the Vietnam War, which Johnson escalated and only at the end of his administration moved to end, crippled his domestic economic policies and undermined his goals for true racial equality.   Despite the War on Poverty and dramatic changes in Civil Rights, racially concentrated poverty remains with us.  Since the Johnson years, America has weathered the recessions of the 1980s and early 1990s, the late ‘90s dot com bubble, our current recession, the national security encroachment on civil liberties, the rise and fall of the Occupy Movement, the waning of the Arab Spring, and two middle east wars since 9-11.

It is clear that Johnson’s Great Society programs have saved millions of Americans from the depth of official poverty.  It also true that Johnson’s vision, to which he was truly committed, staggered and failed when the civil rights movement dovetailed with political marginalization, economic inequality, pervasive racial discrimination, and imperialist policies.  The Moynihan Report, the Watts Riots and urban unrests, and the emotional and financial suck of Vietnam prevented Johnson from deeply redressing America’s lingering poverty.

At MAPOC 2014, we intend to explore the furthest implications of President Johnson’s domestic and foreign policies, especially the impact of these policies on progressive action and human fulfillment, as we collectively explore and analyze the contemporary implications of Johnson’s Great Society.  From these implications, the conference planning committee is seeking papers and panel proposals on the following substantive but not exhaustive subjects:

-- A Hand Up:  The Meaningful Tension Between Formal Equality and Substantive Outcomes under the Civil Rights Act of 1964
-- Beyond Legislative Bogs and Dangerous Political Animals:  President Obama’s Legislative Agenda and the Limits of Second-Term Progressivism
--  Endangered Citizens?: Rights and Remedies after State v. Zimmerman
-- Equality, Choice, and Happiness:  the Rise and Fall of DOMA
-- Guns or Butter:  Social Welfare Programs, Modern Problems of Central Banks, Debt Slavery, and Foreign Policies
-- Medicare, Healthcare, and Welfare:  the Poor, the Elderly, and the Needy
-- Moynihan and the Contemporary (In)Stability of the Black Family
-- Racial (Dis)Harmony Then and Today
-- Voting Rights:  Shelby County v. Holder and the Promise of One Citizen, One Vote

Paper submissions must include a working title, bios, abstract, and contact information.
Panel proposals must also include the foregoing information for each of the panel’s participants, and the organizer’s contact information, all of which must be submitted together only by the organizer.
Submit Papers and Panel Proposals by September 30, 2013 to: Reginald Leamon Robinson, Howard University, Conference Chair and Founder, MAPOC 2014: light_warrior@verizon.net.

[image: LBJ, National Portrait Gallery, via]

September 7, 2013 in Conferences, Elections and Voting, Equal Protection, Family, Federalism, Fundamental Rights, Gender, Race, Recent Cases, Scholarship, Theory | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Conference on Sex and Reproduction, Feminism and Legal Theory Project at 30

CONFERENCE ANNOUNCEMENT

The Feminism and Legal Theory Project at 30: A Workshop on Sex and Reproduction: From Privacy and Choice to Resilience and Opportunity?

EMORY UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF LAW

November 15-16, 2013

more information here

SCHEDULE:

Friday, November, 15th
3-4 pm RECEPTION IN MACMILLAN LAW LIBRARY (location TBA)

247Celebrating the formal opening of the Catherine G. Roraback (pictured in watercolor left) Archive at Emory Law School .The workshop will be dedicated to Katie and her pioneering work on behalf of reproductive rights and justice.

Amy Kesselman (SUNY New Paltz), Vanessa King (Emory University School of Law)
  
4:30 - 6:30 pm  History of Sex and Reproduction
Bleeding Across Time: First Principles of US Population Policy | Rickie Solinger
Women versus Connecticut: Insights from the Pre-Roe Abortion Battles | Amy Kesselman (SUNY New Paltz)
Sex, Drugs, Rock and Roe: Ammi Rogers and the Legal History of Anti-Abortion Norms | Lolita Buckner Inniss  (Hamilton College, Cleveland Marshall College of Law)
6:30 - 8 pm DINNER

Saturday, November 16th
8:30 - 9:00 am CONTINENTAL BREAKFAST
 
9:00 - 11:30 am Discourses Surrounding Sex and Reproduction Issues: Law, Religion and Medicine
Medical, Scientific, and Public Health Evidence in Supreme Court Jurisprudence: Reimagining the Feminist Health Movement | Aziza Ahmed (Northeastern University School of Law)
Abortion Law and Medical Practices | Sheelagh McGuinness (School of Law, University of Birmingham) and Michael Thomson (School of Law, University of Leeds)
The Role of 'Nature' in Debates about Sex and Reproduction | Sean Coyle (School of Law, University of Birmingham)
Abortion Liberalization Policies around the World: Hidden Differences in the Diffusion Process | Elizabeth Heger Boyle (University of Minnesota), Minzee Kim (Ewha Women's University, South Korea), and Wesley Longhofer (Goizueta Business School, Emory University)
(University of Florida)
11:30 am - 12:30 pm LUNCH
 
12:30 - 2:45 pm Feminist Discourses: Sex, Reproduction and Choice
Infertility, Adoption, Alternative Reproduction, and Contemporary Legal Theory | April L. Cherry (Cleveland-Marshall School of Law)
Reproductive Rights and the Right to Reproduce: Is there a Place for the Non-Marital Mother? | Twila L. Perry (Rutgers University School of Law-Newark)
Choices Under the Shadow of Population Policy: Compuslory motherhood Challenged and Remade in Taiwan (1970s-2000s) | Chao-ju Chen (National Taiwan University)
Testing Sex: Non-invasive Prenatal Genetic Testing and Sex Selection |  Rachel Rebouche (University of Florida, Levin College of Law) 
3:00 - 5:15 pm Regulating Sex and Reproduction
Markets and Motives for Sex and Reproduction | Mary Ann Case (University of Chicago Law School)
A Fiduciary Theory of Health Entitlements | Margaux Hall (Columbia Law School)
Schrodinger's Child: Identity and Non-Identity in Reproductive Decision-Making | Jennifer S. Hendricks (University of Colorado Law School)
Procreative Pluralism |  Kimberley Mutcherson (Rutgers Law School, Camden)

 

RR

August 27, 2013 in Abortion, Conferences, Family, Gender, History, Religion, Reproductive Rights, Scholarship, Sexual Orientation, Sexuality | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Daily Read: Ellis and Jones on the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom

Several media and legal outlets are running impressive commentaries on this fiftieth anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom led by Martin Luther King, Jr.

476px-Dr._Martin_Luther_King_Jr._at_a_civil_rights_march_on_Washington_D.C._in_1963Here are two that should not be missed.

Over at ACS blog, Law Prof Atiba Ellis writes on "The Moral Hazard of American Gradualism: A Lesson from the March on Washington."  Ellis states, "the question we must confront in 2013 is whether we have been tranquilized into the lethargy of gradualism concerning the work that needs to be done."   Ellis highlights the Court's decisions last term in Shelby and in Fisher as examples of "the new American gradualism – retrogressive action under the cover of apathy, spurred by the myth of post-racialism and the supposed fear of constitutional overreach."

And on NPR's Morning Edition, journalist Michele Norris profiles Clarence B. Jones as an attorney and "guiding hand" behind the "I Have a Dream" speech, including the famous "promissory note" metaphor.  However, Norris also highlights Jones' memoir Behind The Dream, which had "some unlikely source material."  Indeed, Jones' memoir may be more accurate than most, since his memory was augmented by transcripts of every single phone conversation he had with King, courtesy of the FBI, in a wiretap authorized by Robert Kennedy as Attorney General.  The NPR story has a link to the FBI archive on King. 

RR
[image via]

 

August 27, 2013 in Affirmative Action, Books, Current Affairs, Executive Authority, Federalism, Fifteenth Amendment, Fourteenth Amendment, News, Race, Recent Cases, Scholarship, Theory, Thirteenth Amendment | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Robson on Rehm on Dressing Constitutionally

ConLawProfBlog's own Prof. Ruthann Robson (CUNY) recently appeared on NPR's The Diane Rehm Show to talk about her fascinating new book Dressing Constitutionally (Cambridge) with Steve Roberts.  The Show's page, linked here, contains the audio, a transcript, a summary, a selection from the book, and many comments.

DressingConstitutionally

We previously posted on Dressing Constitutionally here; we posted on the "I (heart) Boobies!" case, featured the Show's page, here.  We'll post our own conversation with Prof. Robson soon.

SDS

August 21, 2013 in Books, News, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Robson's Dressing Constitutionally

ConLawProf's own Ruthann Robson (CUNY) just published her fascinating new book Dressing Constitutionally: Hierarchy, Sexuality, and Democracy from Our Hairstyles to Our Shoes (Cambridge, also available at amazon.com).  NPR's All Things Considered has a segment here; the Feminist Law Professors blog covered it here; and Robson's SSRN page for the Introduction and Table of Contents is here.

Dressing Constitutionally

We'll post an interview with Robson soon.  In the meantime, take a look at Robson's book blog, dressingconstitutionally.com.  And here's the abstract from SSRN:

The intertwining of our clothes and our Constitution raise fundamental questions of Robson hierarchy, sexuality, and democracy.  From our hairstyles to our shoes, constitutional considerations both constrain and confirm our daily choices.  In turn, our attire and appearance provide multilayered perspectives on the United States Constitution and its interpretations.  Our garments often raise First Amendment issues of expression or religion, but they also prompt questions of equality on the basis of gender, race, and sexuality.  At work, in court, in schools, in prisons, and on the streets, our clothes and grooming provoke constitutional controversies.  Additionally, the production, trade, and consumption of apparel implicate constitutional concerns including colonial sumptuary laws, slavery, wage and hour laws, and current notions of free trade.  The regulation of what we wear -- or don't -- is ubiquitous.

SDS

August 13, 2013 in Books, Gender, News, Scholarship, Sexuality, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Daily Read: Marci Hamilton on Hobby Lobby

Should a for-profit corporation have free exercise of religion rights under the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) and the First Amendment as the en banc Tenth Circuit held in Hobby Lobby, Inc. v. Sebelius?

Marci-Hamilton_039-RET-flat-FINALConLawProf Marci Hamilton thinks not.  In her column over at Justia, Hamilton (pictured right) provides cogent arguments countering the majority's opinion. 

Hamilton ultimately contends that RFRA, at least as interpreted by the Tenth Circuit, is unconstitutional under the Establishment Clause in that it means that "large for-profit employers, who may not discriminate in hiring based on religion, can still coerce their employees into following their religious beliefs." 

Hamilton's even larger argument, however, involves the relationship between religion and capitalism in our constitutional democracy.  Assume, she argues, that Hobby Lobby and similar companies

assert that they don’t mind losing money from those who don’t share their religious beliefs.  Or to put it another way, they really only want business from those who share their religious beliefs.  That is the slippery slope on which the Tenth Circuit has set free exercise reasoning.

That isn’t capitalism, which, when working as it should, is driven by the quality of products and competition on price, regardless of the political or religious beliefs of the producer and purchaser.  It is Balkanization, and a first step on the path to the religious wars we in the United States have avoided so far.

Yet perhaps the owners of Hobby Lobby is not anticipating that consumers will actually know that it is an entity with specific religious beliefs rather than simply a store selling sequins?

Whatever the beliefs of the owners of Hobby Lobby, however, Hamilton's column is a must read on the contentious issue of recognizing religious freedoms of for-profit companies.

RR

July 11, 2013 in Establishment Clause, First Amendment, Free Exercise Clause, Profiles in Con Law Teaching, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, July 8, 2013

What Will Your Next Author's Footnote Reveal? Or Not Reveal?

It's summer in North America and that means scholarship-time for legal academics.  No matter what the subject of your in-progress/forthcoming/almost finished article, take time to read a brief essay by Ronald Collins and Lisa Lerman, Disclosure, Scholarly Ethics, and the Future of Law Reviews: A Few Preliminary Thoughts By Ronald K.L. Collins & Lisa Lerman, 88 Wash. L. Rev. 321 (2103), available here.

They argue that your author's footnote might need a bit of expansion to disclose any direct or indirect compensation or involvement in your subject.  Disclosure is not the norm in law reviews, especially when it comes to academics as opposed to practioners.  The comparison is even more stark when it comes to the practices in other disciplines.  

 

800px-Adriaen_van_der_Spelt_-_Flower_Still-Life_with_Curtain_-_WGA21657
Flower Still-Life with Curtain
by Adriaen van der Spelt
1658

But their suggestion, if rare, is hardly new.  Indeed, they quote from the AALS "Statement of Good Practices by Law Professors in the Discharge of their Ethical and Professional Responsibilities":

A law professor shall disclose the material facts relating to receipt of direct or indirect payment for, or any personal economic interest in, any covered activity that the professor undertakes in a professorial capacity . . . . Disclosure of material facts should include: (1) the conditions imposed or expected by the funding source on views expressed in any future covered activity and (2) the identity of any funding source, except where the professor has provided legal representation to a client in a matter external to legal scholarship under circumstances that require the identity to remain privileged under applicable law. If such a privilege prohibits disclosure the professor shall generally describe the interest represented.  

And, perhaps less surprising perhaps, it's something Justice William O. Douglas recommended almost half of a century ago.

They provide some scintillating examples worth consideration.  These might make you reflect not only on your own ethical responsbility to disclose, but perhaps also upon the missing disclosures in sources upon which you rely, as in the Second Amendment area which we discussed.   

And it is certainly worth passing on to your school's law review editors.

RR

July 8, 2013 in Current Affairs, First Amendment, Profiles in Con Law Teaching, Scholarship, Second Amendment | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

What if Supreme Court Opinions Were Anonymous?

Last Term's opinions - - - especially its opinions regarding the constitutionality of the VRA in Shelby, of DOMA and Prop 8 in Windsor and Perry, and of UT's affirmative action plan in Fisher - - - continue to spark debate and commentary.  As well they should.  But much of our discussions focus on individual Justices:  Is Justice Kennedy the "first gay Justice?"   Is Justice Alito really rude?   Is Chief Justice Roberts playing a "long game?"  And what about the tumblr "Notorious R.B.G.?  Or @SCOTUS_Scalia, a twitter account?  

DonkeyHoteySCOTUS
 
  

In their 2010 law review article, Judicial Duty and the Supreme Court’s Cult of Celebrity, available on ssrn, Craig Lerner and Nelson Lund observed that there was a huge dissonance between the personality portrayed in confirmation hearings and the outsized personality on the bench and suggested four Congressional reforms.  Their first proposal: 

Congress should require that all Supreme Court opinions, including concurrences and dissents, be issued anonymously. This should lead to fewer self-indulgent separate opinions, more coherent and judicious majority opinions, and more reason for future Justices to treat the resulting precedents respectfully.

They contend, "[t]ruly unpretentious judicial servants should have no need to put their personal stamp on the law, and the practice of doing so has contributed to unnecessary and unhealthy flamboyance in the Court’s work."

Their article contains an excellent discussion of the problem of "celebrity," but little discussion of the constitutionality of a Congressional mandate for anonymity or for their other proposals.  Certainly, should the anonymity proposal be enacted, there would be a constitutional separation of powers challenge.  Although who would have standing?  And what about recusal?

 RR

 [image DonkeyHotey via]

July 2, 2013 in Affirmative Action, Cases and Case Materials, Congressional Authority, Courts and Judging, Current Affairs, Elections and Voting, Equal Protection, Gender, Interpretation, Race, Recent Cases, Reconstruction Era Amendments, Scholarship, Sexual Orientation, Standing, Supreme Court (US), Theory | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Loyola Con Law Colloquium Proposal Deadline Approaches

Loyola University Chicago School of Law is organizing the FOURTH ANNUAL CONSTITUTIONAL LAW COLLOQUIUM at the Philip H. Corboy Law Center, 25 East Pearson Street, Chicago, IL 60611. The event will begin on Friday morning, November 1 and end midday on Saturday, November 2, 2013.

Signing_constitution

This is the fourth annual Loyola conference bringing together constitutional law scholars at all stages of their professional development to discuss current projects, doctrinal developments in constitutional law, and future goals. Presentations will be grouped by subject matter.

This announcement invites abstract submissions of 150 to 200 words from Constitutional Law professors interested in contributing to the current debates concerning constitutional theory and Supreme Court rulings. We also welcome attendees who wish to participate in audience discussions without presenting a paper. The goal of the conference is to allow professors to develop new ideas with the help of supportive colleagues on a wide range of constitutional law topics.

Eligibility: The Loyola Constitutional Law Colloquium is aimed at Constitutional Law, Legal History, Political Science, and Philosophy scholars teaching full-time and part-time at the university, law school, and graduate levels on all matters of constitutional law.

Application Procedure: The registration and abstract submission deadline is June 15, 2013. Conference organizers will select abstracts on a rolling basis.

Register heremore information is here.

Topics, abstracts, papers, questions, and comments should be submitted to:

constitutionlaw@luc.edu

Participants are expected to pay their own travel expenses. Loyola will provide facilities, support, and continental breakfasts on Friday and Saturday, lunch on Friday and Saturday, and a dinner on Friday night.

Conference Organizers:

. Professor John E. Nowak, Raymond and Mary Simon Chair in Constitutional Law

. Professor Juan Perea

. Professor Alexander Tsesis

. Professor Michael J. Zimmer

 Loyola Constitutional Law Faculty:

. Professor John Nowak, Raymond and Mary Simon Chair in Constitutional Law

. Professor Barry Sullivan, Cooney & Conway Chair in Advocacy

. Professor Diane Geraghty, A. Kathleen Beazley Chair in Child Law

. Professor George Anastaplo

. Professor Juan Perea

. Professor Alan Raphael

. Professor Allen Shoenberger

. Professor Alexander Tsesis

. Professor Michael Zimmer

SDS

[Image: Howard Chandler Christy, Scene at the Signing of the Constitution of the United States, Architect of the Capitol]

June 6, 2013 in News, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, May 20, 2013

Marcia Coyle on the Roberts Court

Marcia Coyle, Chief Washington Correspondent for the National Law Journal, was kind enough to talk with me last week about her new book, The Roberts Court: The Struggle for the Constitution

Roberts Court

The book tells the full stories (including the fascinating back-stories) of four landmark and defining cases for the early Roberts Court--on race in schools (Parents Involved), guns (Heller), money in elections (Citizens United), and health care (the ACA cases)--and argues that these cases are at the center of a struggle for the Constitution in this new and evolving Court.  

Here's the audio, about 30 minutes:

 

Coyle Interview

SDS

May 20, 2013 in Interpretation, News, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Tsesis on the History of the Declaration of Independence

Prof. Alex Tsesis (Loyola Chicago) joined me on Thursday for a talk on his book For Liberty and Equality: The Life and Times of the Declaration of Independence (Oxford 2012).  This was a terrific read; I highly recommend it.  

9780195379693

But first listen to him talk about it.  Here's the audio of our chat (about 20 minutes):

Tsesis Interview May 16

SDS

May 16, 2013 in History, News, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Daily Read: First Amendment Institutions by Paul Horwitz

ConLawProf Paul Horwitz's new book, First Amendment Institutions seeks to develop the conversation about reorienting First Amendment doctrine towards institutionalism. 

Horwitz

Most ConLawProfs would agree that First Amendment doctrine suffers from incoherence, but fewer may agree that institutionalism is the solution, and even those who do favor institutionalism may differ on their selection of the institutions deserving deference.

But for anyone teaching or writing in the First Amendment, Horwitz's book deserves a place on a serious summer reading list.  My longer review appears in Law and Politics Book Review.

RR

May 15, 2013 in Books, Establishment Clause, First Amendment, Scholarship, Speech | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)