Constitution by Convention

We are told that we live in the era of textualism. Inspired by the commanding presence of Justice Antonin Scalia, many accounts of American constitutional law focus on, and stress the preeminence of, the written word. On this view, the contractual sense of the constitution as a defined pact means that the intentionality of the original […]

Conventions in the Trenches

In this Essay, I identify several shifts in focus that might further illuminate the intersection of constitutional conventions and judicial review: first, attending to the role of internal executive-branch conventions, which are distinct in important ways from settlements between the political branches that are Issacharoff and Morrison’s primary focus; second, widening the lens to include […]

Against Constitution by Convention

The Constitution emerged from a convention—a convention of the states. State popular conventions, by ratifying it, made it law. Though it was meant to “form a more perfect union,” no one could have supposed the Philadelphia Convention’s proposal was anything close to perfect. Indeed, the Constitution’s terms refute any blithe confidence in its flawlessness. Article […]

“Institutional Settlement” in a Provisional Constitutional Order

I want to press a bit on the question of what the unwritten aspects of our constitutional structure establish. Rather than a fixed legal order constructed by conventions, I want to suggest that this unwrittenness points to the provisionality of the constitutional order itself—that is, to its essentially unsettled character. This perspective raises three problems […]

The Long Road to Hyatt III: What Happened to Full Faith and Credit?

In Franchise Tax Board v. Hyatt (Hyatt III), the Supreme Court overruled forty-year-old precedent that allowed a citizen to sue a state in another state’s courts.[1] The Court’s 5-4 decision creates another barrier for plaintiffs who seek to hold states accountable. Hyatt III expands the doctrine of sovereign immunity to provide states additional protection against […]

Health, Law, And Ethnicity: The Disability Administrative Law Judge And Health Disparities For Disadvantaged Populations

Social determinants play into who gets to die prematurely while others get to have healthy productive lives—these are loosely called health disparities. Health disparities are typically understood socially, economically, and politically, but rarely analyzed within the legal system. The Social Security Administration (SSA)—the federal program for providing Americans with disabilities benefits and resources—recorded that in […]

Kicked Out, Kicked Again: The Discharge Review Boards’ Illiberal Application of Liberal Consideration for Veterans with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Rather than continue this pattern of punishing veterans for having mental health conditions—commander kicks them out and the discharge review board kicks them again—veterans deserve the opportunity for true relief in recognition of their service and the mental health condition they developed due to that service. […]

Diversity to Deradicalize

In articulating a new explanation of Powell’s motives in Bakke, this Article not only calls into question the prevailing understanding that Powell was motivated by his commitment to racial justice, it also complicates a more critical view of the diversity rationale that locates the Court’s endorsement of “the educational benefits of diversity” in a recognition that exposure to racial minorities confers benefits onto Whites. Under this theory, Powell’s endorsement of diversity stemmed from an awareness that White college students needed exposure to the views of students of color to be effective leaders in an increasingly multiracial society. […]