Category Judiciary

Super-Duper Precedent and the Kavanaugh Hearings

[S]tare decisis is neither an inexorable command, nor a mechanical formula of adherence to the latest decision, especially in constitutional cases. If it were, segregation would be legal . . . . —Citizens United v. FEC, 558 U.S. 310, 377 (2010) (Roberts, C.J., concurring) (cleaned up) ************************** The decision was 7-1. In the ensuing decades, it had been […]

Chevron, Delegation, and Clear Statement Rules

Article I, Section One vests “[a]ll legislative Powers” in Congress.[1] Among other things, this means that “[e]xcept in a few areas constitutionally committed to the Executive Branch, the basic policy decisions governing society are to be made by the Legislature.”[2] Congress cannot delegate the power to make the law to another entity (or, for that […]

“Originalism” and the Necessity of Originalism

“[A] court . . . which should allow a change in public sentiment to influence it in giving to a written constitution a construction not warranted by the intention of its founders, would be justly chargeable with reckless disregard of official oath and public duty . . . . What a court is to do, therefore, is to declare the law as written, leaving it to the people themselves to make such changes as new circumstances may require.”

Textualism is not Strict Constructionism is not Originalism

As President Donald Trump prepares to appoint a second Supreme Court justice, the national dialogue has been saturated with gossip over what judicial philosophy the next nominee might bring to the bench. For legal nerds, SCOTUS nominations are what the World Cup is to soccer fans: the one time everyone else cares about your passion. […]

Justice Blacklock on the Ninth Amendment Right to Family

[T]he interest of parents in the care, custody, and control of their children is perhaps the oldest of the fundamental liberty interests recognized by this Court. –Troxel v. Granville, 530 U.S. 57, 65 (2000) (plurality op.) *********************************** In In the Interest of H.S., a Minor Child, the Texas Supreme Court concluded that anyone in a “parent-like role” […]

Knick v. Township of Scott, Pennsylvania: Renouncing “Treason to the Constitution”

It is most true that this Court will not take jurisdiction if it should not; but it is equally true that it must take jurisdiction if it should. The judiciary cannot, as the legislature may, avoid a measure because it approaches the confines of the Constitution. We cannot pass it by because it is doubtful. […]

Courthouses Should Be Beautiful

[Eds. Note: We’re pleased to be able to share this piece by John Ehrett, who joins us as a guest author] Most government buildings are pathologically ugly. By “government buildings,” I don’t mean iconic structures like the Lincoln Memorial or the White House. I mean the garden-variety government buildings that sit in medium- to large-sized […]

Starr International: Prudential Standing’s Last Stand?

[Editors’ Note: This post is not technically a “Term Preview” since only a cert petition has been filed so far in the case, but it’s very much a petition to keep an eye on. Additionally, the author alone takes sole responsibility for every bad pun in this post.] Introduction In Lexmark International back in 2014, the Supreme […]

Justice Don Willett’s Uncontroversial Commitment to the Constitution

The 1905 Supreme Court case Lochner v. New York has long been a lightning rod for the claim that unelected judges have no place in our Constitutional system striking down laws purporting to ensure public health and safety. The periled precedent played its part this week as UT Law student Noah Horwitz dutifully deployed it against […]

Auer’s Flaws Apparent in Ninth Circuit Decision

In a combined appeal involving the Department of Labor’s (DOL) contested construction of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), a panel of the Ninth Circuit recently held that DOL’s interpretation of regulations implementing FLSA was not entitled to Auer deference, ruling in favor of the defendants, a number of restaurants who had been sued by employees […]