There are consequences to theories in a world questioning the power of the President. For decades, some originalists, including Justice Scalia, maintained that the President enjoys “all” executive power. Of course, this is not the Constitution’s actual text (which refers to “the” executive power, not “all” executive power)—but a highly contestable, and potentially dangerous, addition of meaning to the text. As I demonstrate in this Article, adding to the actual text of the Constitution is common in the originalist literature on executive power, whether the precise question is the President’s removal power, the President’s power to refuse to enforce the law, or the President’s obligations under the Emoluments Clause. Using elementary principles from the philosophy of language—principles that apply to all communication—I explain how originalist interpreters in this area “pragmatically enrich” the text, without articulating or justifying those additions and without seeking to test those meanings against the full text of the Constitution. Before one gets to history, the originalist has assumed a unit of textual analysis—a word, a clause, a paragraph—that may effectively enrich the meaning to reflect the interpreter’s preferred policy position. If this is correct, originalists must theorize the “interpretation zone,” a putatively neutral place from which historical inquiries are launched, and explain why interpreters may add meaning by pragmatic enrichment in this zone—particularly if those meanings are falsified by the rest of the Constitution. Perhaps more importantly, originalism’s opponents need to start talking about how to reclaim the actual text of the Constitution.
“Blocking statutes” are foreign laws that prohibit the transfer of information to the United States for purposes of litigation. Though many countries have adopted blocking statutes in recent decades, these statutes have met an ignoble fate in the U.S. courts. Today, U.S. judges routinely order foreign litigants to produce discovery in violation of blocking statutes, […]
Much of the literature on women prisoners’ inadequate access to healthcare has focused on the relative rarity of women in prison before the age of mass incarceration. This may explain why prisons initially were poorly equipped to provide healthcare to women, but the gendered nature of Eighth Amendment jurisprudence has allowed prisons to remain so. […]
This Article is the first to take a comprehensive look at the ways in which State actors restrict post-conviction investigations in criminal cases, especially capital cases. By examining these restrictions in the context of interviews with jurors, victims, and State witnesses, this Article reveals that they harm criminal defendants and fail to achieve stated policy […]
In the 2010 case Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the US Supreme Court caught the nation’s attention by declaring that corporations have a First Amendment right to spend unlimited amounts of money independently in political campaigns. The Court rested its five-to-four decision in large part on a concept of speaker-based discrimination. In the Court’s […]
The doctrine of qualified immunity operates as an unwritten defense to civil rights lawsuits brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. It prevents plaintiffs from recovering damages for violations of their constitutional rights unless a government official violated “clearly established law,” which usually requires specific precedent on point. This Article argues that the qualified immunity doctrine […]