Tuesday, August 27, 2013

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)

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Daily Read: Larry Catá Backer on Chinese Constitutionalism

BackerWhat is Chinese constitutionalism?  Larry Catá Backer's new article, Towards a Robust Theory of the Chinese Constitutional State: Between Formalism and Legitimacy in Jiang Shigong’s Constitutionalism, available on ssrn, not only provides answers to that query, but develops the topic in sophisticated and important ways.  As Backer (pictured right) notes, 

The Chinese constitutional system does not imitate those of other developed states, because it political ideology is grounded in Marxist Leninism which suggests a different relationship between the state, the people and the manner of exercising political and economic power, which over the course of nearly a century suggested what Western theorists generally viewed as the anti-constitutionalism of Soviet Stalinism and its variants.

20114183879195But Backer is not content with such simplistic dismissals.  Instead, exploring the arguments of Chinese LawProf Jiang Shigong (pictured left), Backer traces different strands of Chinese constitutionalism within the context of Chinese culture and society and their possibilities for development.  Backer notes that the "critical distinction for Jiang between Chinese and Western constitutionalism lies in the willingness to fold a Party-State system within notions of substantive constitutionalism—not just in terms of legitimacy but also in terms of providing a foundation for building a governmental apparatus that provides for its people in a way functionally equivalent to that in Western democracies."

For ConLaw comparativists, Backer's article is essential reading: it situates Chinese constitutionalism in global contexts and more importantly, evaluates its various aspects in comparison to each other.  For ConLawProfs who may not consider themselves comparativists, Backer's article may be even more essential.  Backer's exploration is theoretically sophisticated, nuanced, and guaranteed to enrich any reader's thinking about the role of any constitution in any nation, including the United States.

RR

May 9, 2013 in Comparative Constitutionalism, Scholarship, Theory | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Loyola Annual Constitutional Colloquium Call for Papers

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 here; more 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]

April 23, 2013 in Conferences, News, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, April 22, 2013

Daily Read: The Terrorism Exception to the Constitution?

Should there really be a "terrorism" exception to the criminal procedure protections in the Bill of Rights?

ConLawProfs looking for an extended treatment of this question might do well to turn to Norman Abrams' article, Terrorism Prosecutions in U.S. Federal Court: Exceptions to Constitutional Evidence Rules and the Development of a Cabined Exception for Coerced Confessions, available at 4 Harv. Nat’l Sec. J. 58 (2012).

Abrams argues for a something less than a wholesale exception:

The expression, “cabined,”  is  meant to signify not extending  all the way up the ladder of police  interrogation  methods, but only applying to a limited, non  -  extreme set of interrogation  methods, albeit methods that under current law might lead to a  determination of involuntariness.  A cabined exception is one that would, under the appropriate circumstances, authorize the FBI, or other police agencies, to use interrogation methods that exceed existing constitutional limits as  established by the Supreme Court, but only up to a point, and not to the  point where the methods used are extreme.

For some, allowing law enforcement the discretion to determine the "appropriate circumstances" and the methods that are not "extreme" is exceedingly troubling.  But Abrams extended argument seeking to support his conclusion is worth a read, even as the immediate issue of the possibility of a "terrorism exception" applied to Tsarnaev has receded.  

RR


April 22, 2013 in Criminal Procedure, Due Process (Substantive), Scholarship, State Secrets, Theory | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Daily Read: Spindelman on Carpenter on Lawrence

Integral to the same-sex marriage cases of Perry and Windsor argued before the Court last month is the 2003 case of Lawrence v. Texas.  Although the Court's opinion specifically excluded marriage in its caveat paragraph, the declaration that sodomy laws were unconstitutional under the Due Process Clause is generally considered a linchpin of recognizing any constitutional right to same-sex marriage under the Equal Protection Clause. 

Spindelman_marcProfessor Marc Spindelman (pictured) reviews Professor Dale Carpenter's book Flagrant Conduct: The Story of Lawrence v. Texas in a trenchant essay entitled Tyrone Gardner's Lawrence v. Texas appearing in Michigan Law Review.  Spindelman acknowledges the contribution of the book even as he uses it as a springboard to reach different conclusions about the potential of the case to achieve equality or civil rights.  Spindelman focuses on Tyrone Gardner, who along with John Geddes Lawrence was arrested for sodomy, as a lens for exploring the reach of Lawrence v. Texas.  

Refering to Gardner, Spindeleman asks, "How could Lawrence v. Texas, this great victory for lesbian and gay civil rights, have done and meant so very little to the life of one of the two men most central to it?"  Spindelman's answers explore the status-quo bias and moral conservatism of Lawrence, connecting the case to affirmative action decisions as well as to the "Obamacare" case, Nat’l Fed’n of Indep. Bus. v. Sebelius.

Every ConLawProf teaching Lawrence v. Texas would do well to read Spindelman's essay. 

RR

April 18, 2013 in Books, Due Process (Substantive), Equal Protection, Gender, History, Race, Scholarship, Sexual Orientation, Sexuality, Supreme Court (US), Teaching Tips, Theory | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Daily Read: Resnik on Equality's Frontiers

What do our visual images of justice tell us?  Judith Resnik with her co-author Dennis E. Curtis, provide ample, exciting and complex answers to that question in their marvelous book, Representing Justice: Invention, Controversy, and Rights in City-States and Democratic Courtrooms, published in 2011.

Resnik's 2013 essay, Equality’s Frontiers: Courts Opening and Closing, adapted from remarks at an event celebrating Justice Ginsburg’s gender-equality jurisprudence and drawing on the book, is a brief but evocative look at how justice and equality are - - - and were - - - portrayed.  Two images Resnik includes and analyzes from WPA murals in courthouses are particularly salient.

First, there is an image of Justice as Protector and Avenger in a South Carolina courtroom.

Resnik figure 1aa
Not particularly remarkable, one might think, until one reads about the objections to "justice" looking like a “barefooted mulatto woman wearing bright-hued clothing.”

Second, there is an image in a Idaho courthouse:

Resnik figure 2a

Should this be removed as offensive?  Or displayed as an accurate part of the history of justice and equality?  Resnik shares the decisions of state officials, ultimately made in consultation with Native tribes.

Resnik contends that such images, including these from courthouses in South Carolina and Idaho,

make a first point—that courts were one of equality’s frontiers. The conflicts about what could or could not be shown on courthouse walls mirrored conflicts about what rights people had in court.

A terrific read - - - and look - - - as well as a reminder of the richness of the Representing Justice book.

RR
[images via]

April 17, 2013 in Books, Equal Protection, History, Profiles in Con Law Teaching, Race, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Daily Read: Albany Law Review Symposium on Free Speech

Now in print is the Fall 2012 Albany Law Review Symposium “What Are We Saying? Violence, Vulgarity, Lies . . . And The Importance Of 21st Century Free Speech."

Screen Shot 2013-04-14 at 8.40.55 PM

Here's the TOC of the issue with links to pdfs of the articles, essay, and discussions:

ARTICLES:
-- Ronald K.L. Collins......Foreword: Exceptional Freedom—The Roberts Court, the First Amendment, and the New Absolutism
 -- Robert M. O'Neil........Hate Speech, Fighting Words, and Beyond--Why American Law is Unique
 -- Rodney A. Smolla........Categories, Tiers of Review, and the Roiling Sea of Free Speech Doctrine and Principle: A Methodological Critique of United States v. Alvarez
 -- Jeffery C. Barnum.........Encouraging Congress to Encourage Speech: Reflections on United States v. Alvarez
 
-- Marjorie Heins..........The Supreme Court and Political Speech in the 21st Century: The Implications of Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project
 -- R. George Wright.........Are There First Amendment “Vacuums?”: The Case of the Free Speech Challenge to Tobacco Package Labeling Requirement
 -- Robert D. Richards & David J. Weinert.........Punting in the First Amendment’s Red Zone: The Supreme Court’s “Indecision” on the FCC’s Indecency Regulations Leaves Broadcasters Still Searching For Answers
 -- Marvin Ammori & Luke Pelican.........Media Diversity and Online Advertising
 
-- Martin H. Redish & Michael J.T. Downey.........Criminal Conspiracy as Free Expression

ESSAY:
-- Owen Fiss........The Democratic Mission of the University
 
TRANSCRIPTS:
-- Welcome & Opening Remarks.......Benjamin P. Pomerance
-- Debate on Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.......Floyd Abrams and Alan B. Morrison, moderated by Ronald K.L. Collins
 -- Panel Discussion on Recent U.S. Supreme Court Free Speech Cases and Their Implications......Adam Liptak (moderator), Ronald K.L. Collins, Susan N. Herman, Alan B. Morrison, Robert M. O'Neil, Robert D. Richards

 

RR

April 16, 2013 in Campaign Finance, First Amendment, Scholarship, Speech | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, April 15, 2013

Daily Read: Linda Sugin on the Constitutional Tax Avoidance of the Roberts Court

The Roberts Court majority is avoiding taxes: not the income taxes revealed by the returns due today, April 15, but the constitutional scrutiny that taxes deserve.

LsuginLaw Prof Linda Sugin (pictured left), in her article The Great and Mighty Tax Law: How the Roberts Court Has Reduced Constitutional Scrutiny of Taxes and Tax Expenditures, draft available on ssrn, analyzes two cases that are not typically paired. 

First, she considers National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, in which, as she describes it, Justice Roberts' "newly muscular tax law saved Obamacare from near death at the hands of the Commerce Clause." 

Second, she examines Arizona Christian Schools v. Winn, in which, as dhe describes it, the majority   "adopted a novel judicial approach to targeted tax benefits" and denied standing in an Establishment Clause challenge.

Sugin argues that these two cases, taken together, "challenge the revenue-raising role of the tax law, and give it tremendous potential to overcome constitutional obstacles that legislatures face," including state legislatures.  She contends that the cases "introduce confusion into the law of taxation by incentivizing the adoption of more non-revenue policy in the tax law, and blurring the conceptual structure of taxation."  She claims that "these decisions undermine the important work on tax reform and fiscal responsibility that other branches of government are doing."  Ultimately, she argues that these decisions portend that "policies administered through the tax law" will be deemed constitutional "even where those same policies would be unconstitutional if administered as either direct regulation or appropriated spending."

Worth a read and not only on "tax day."

RR

April 15, 2013 in Commerce Clause, Current Affairs, Recent Cases, Religion, Scholarship, Taxing Clause | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Tsesis on Inflammatory Speech

The Supreme Court in recent years has issued a series of opinions striking restrictions on some of the most offensive kinds of speech.  From restrictions on violent video games, to funeral protests, to crush videos, and even to lies about receiving the Medal of Honor, the Court has put free speech ahead of offense.  The Court privileged free speech over countveiling factors in other areas, too, perhaps most notably in Citizens United.

But in Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project, the Court went the other way.  In HLP, the Court upheld the "material support" provision of the PATRIOT Act, which outlawed speech that provided material support to terrorists.  The ruling didn't obviously square with the Court's clear trend to privilege speech over offense or other consderations, and it came under sharp fire in the media and the academic world.  In particular, nobody seemed to defend HLP in relation to some of the Court's canonical cases and doctrine on categories of unprotected speech.  (And that's becuase some the most relevant categories--in particular, group defamation and hate speech--have themselves been targets for some academics.)

Alexander Tsesis (Loyola Chicago) is out to change that in his most recent contribution to free speech scholarship, Infammatory Speech: Offense Versus Incitement, recently posted on SSRN and to appear in the University of Minnesota Law Review. 

TsesisTsesis distinguishes between the Cour's treatment of offensive speech (in the string of cases mentioned above) and its treatment of threatening speech--overturning restrictions on the former, and upholding restrictions on the latter.  He defends HLP as a case involving threatening speech, or as protecting public safety.  In particular, he puts HLP right at the intersection of Virginia v. Black (holding that a state may ban cross burning with the intent to intimidate, as a type of true threat) and Beauharnais v. Illinois (upholding a state statute penalizing group defamation), even if HLP applied a heightened form of scrutiny:

Viewed in concert, the holdings in Black, Beauharnais, and HLP indicate that the Court is deferential to the regulation of speech for a limited number of public safety purposes.  The public safety policies involved in these three cases were inapplicable to the offensive speech cases . . . .  HLP did differ from the other two incitement cases in its reference to a "more rigorous scrutiny" while never adopting any comparable standard for proving up group defamations or true threats.  This distinction is logical because material support might involve discourse that is not harmful on its face, albeit increasing organizations' standing and credibility, while true threats and group defamations are by definition menacing to the public at large or some targeted segment thereof.  Thus, the greater potential for error and abuse in the enforcement of material support statutes required a heightened level of scrutiny that would be unfitting for the other two categories.

P. 147.

Along the way, Tsesis explores some of the problems applying a category like incitement to digital communications and the internet, where there's not always imminence but there still may be a threat to public safety.  Group defamation and true threats are better fits for this kind of communication, he says.  And thus they're better fits for understanding and justifying HLP, too.  He also convincingly takes on those who criticize HLP, Black, and Beauharnais.  

Tsesis's upshot: "When statements, emblems, badges, symbols, or other forms of expression that are historically tied to persecution and harmful stereotypes are intentionally used to put others in fear of violence, they are unprotected by the First Amendment."

This is a terrific piece, well argued, thoughtful and provocative.  It also fills a hole in the literature.  Highly recommended; read it.

SDS

April 11, 2013 in First Amendment, News, Scholarship, Speech | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, April 1, 2013

Daily Read: Snyder on Frankfurter's Popular Constitutionalism

Can a judge - - - a Supreme Court Justice - - - be a practitioner of "popular constitutionalism"?  Was Justice Felix Frankfurter such a judge?

In his forthcoming article, Frankfurter and Popular Constitutionalism, ConLawProf Brad Snyder answers both questions with an enthusiastic and erudite "yes." 

Newsweek_Jan_16_1939_Felix_Frankfurter

Snyder's view of popular constitutionalism may be a broader than some, but his linking of judicial restraint with popular constitutionalism, especially when situated in the New Deal era, is sound.  Snyder concentrates on three of the most important and oft-criticized constitutional moments of Frankfurter's judicial career – the flag salute cases of Minersville School Dist. v. Gobitis (1940), reversed a mere three years later in West Virginia Bd. of Educ. v. Barnette (1943);  Brown v. Board of Education and its progeny; and Baker v. Carr (1962). 

Snyder concludes: "Frankfurter’s judicial reputation suffered at the hands of scholars intent on preserving the Warren Court’s legacy of protecting civil rights and civil liberties. Frankfurter’s Baker [v. Carr] dissent, however, has proven to be just as prophetic as some of Holmes’s and Brandeis’s dissents because it revealed the ugly underside of the Warren Court’s legacy – judicial supremacy."  

While others have certainly noted the vacillations of progressive and conservative judicial activism, Snyder's article calls for a renewed evaluation of Frankfurter and perhaps of popular constitutionalism.

RR
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April 1, 2013 in Courts and Judging, First Amendment, History, Interpretation, Profiles in Con Law Teaching, Scholarship, Supreme Court (US) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Daily Read: Hutchinson on Political Power and Same-Sex Marriage

HutchinsonIn the oral argument for United States v. Windsor challenging the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act, DOMA, Chief Justice Roberts expressed skepticism that gays and lesbians were politically powerless, announcing to Roberta Kaplan, representing Edith Windsor, "As far as I can tell, political figures are falling over themselves to endorse your side of the case."

ConLawProf Darren Hutchinson (pictured) provides an indepth examination, context, and prescient critique of Roberts' remark in his new article, Not Without Political Power': Gays and Lesbians, Equal Protection, and the Suspect Class Doctrine, available in draft on ssrn.  Hutchinson argues that the political powerlessness factor used to evaluate claims for heightened scrutiny under equal protection doctrine is "especially undertheorized and contradictory." 

Hutchinson's article is a tour de force of precedent deploying rhetoric of political powerlessness.  Of course, Hutchinson highlights Justice Scalia's well-known dissent in Romer v. Evans, the Colorado Amendment 2 case, noting that not only is it based on stereotypes but it "sounds exactly like a political document against gay and lesbian rights."  But Hutchinson does suggest that there is indeed a role for politics, however at a much more sophisticated level.  Rather than jettison any inquiry into political powerlessness as some scholars have argued, Hutchinson contends that a much more robust understanding of politics is necessary.

Ultimately, Hutchinson concludes that the present scholarly and judicial discourse

fails adequately to discuss the multiple factors that cause political vulnerability among gays and lesbians. While some gays and lesbians possess power, most of them do not. Poverty, gender, race, geography, and disability influence the ability of gays and lesbians to exercise political power.

Instead, he suggests that political science scholarship inform legal scholarship and judicial opinions, and that antisubordination legal scholarship inform wider discussions of equal protection.  Certainly, Hutchinson's article should inform anyone considering political powerlessness in the context of same-sex marriage and equal protection.

RR

March 28, 2013 in Current Affairs, Equal Protection, Family, Fifth Amendment, Fourteenth Amendment, Gender, Interpretation, Profiles in Con Law Teaching, Reconstruction Era Amendments, Scholarship, Sexual Orientation, Sexuality, Supreme Court (US), Theory | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)