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From the category archives:

Constitutional Law

Was Jesus for Small Government?

April 16, 2012

This story on NPR is why I teach Law and Theology (occasionally). Our ideas and beliefs, whether implicit or explicit, about the nature of God's judgement and grace impact our ideas about human behavior and markets, and therefore about law.

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Presentation by Professor Huhn Today At Ohio Northern University Pettit School of Law

April 11, 2012

Professor Huhn will present a program today at 4:00 at Ohio Northern University Pettit School of Law on Same Sex-Marriage and Reality-Based Legal Analysis. The program will summarize the present status of same-sex marriage laws and litigation in the United States, and describe this movement within the larger intellectual and jurisprudential context of Legal Realism [...]

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"Immorality" and Social Change

April 7, 2012

Social conservatives sincerely believe that they are defending "morality" when they condemn practices such as  birth control, women working outside the home, and same-sex marriage. Their view is that these practices are "immoral" because they threaten the fabric of society. They consider people who condone these social transformations to be fostering "immorality." They are mistaken. [...]

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2011-2012 Supreme Court Term: Oral Argument in Reichle v. Howards, No. 11-262: Should the Secret Service Have Immunity From Liability for an Alleged Retaliatory Arrest?

April 7, 2012

During oral argument in Reichle v. Howards the justices of the Supreme Court were understandably skeptical about allowing a man to sue a group of Secret Service agents for "retaliation" where there was probable cause for the agents to arrest the man. On the other hand, the Court struggled to find a way not to give the Secret Service [...]

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Why the Courts Must Presume that Economic Legislation is Constitutional

April 6, 2012

In yesterday's post I cited abundant authority in support of the principle that the courts must defer to the judgment of Congress in reviewing the constitutionality of economic legislation. Decisions under the Due Process, Equal Protection Clause, Spending Clause, and Commerce Clause all reveal the same idea, that the courts lack the power to second-guess [...]

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Attorney General Holder's Response to Judge Jerry Smith on the Separation of Powers

April 6, 2012

The Attorney General's letter is here. More below.

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Suppressed 2006 Zelikow Memo Against Torture Released

April 5, 2012

The State Department has released a copy of the February 15, 2006 memo by Philip Zelikow arguing that the "enhanced interrogation techniques" used to question detainees were illegal. The Bush administration had sought to destroy all copies of the memo.

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Separation of Powers and the Presumption of Constitutionality: A Response to Justice Kennedy

April 5, 2012

At oral argument in the health care case Justice Anthony Kennedy suggested that the government bears the burden of persuading the Supreme Court that the Affordable Care Act is constitutional. He is precisely wrong. Like all purely economic legislation, the Affordable Care Act is presumed constitutional. This is a fundamental principle of the doctrine of Separation [...]

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On Liberty: Kennedy and Verrilli in Oral Argument in Health Care Case

March 29, 2012

If there is one constitutional principle that Justice Anthony Kennedy is devoted to it is the principle of "individual liberty." In oral argument yesterday Solicitor General Donald Verrilli took an opportunity to address that concept.

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Oral Argument on the Individual Mandate: Justice Kennedy's Questions

March 27, 2012

In this post I set forth all of the questions that Justice Kennedy asked the three attorneys at oral argument today in the health care case. Evaluate for yourself which way this "swing justice" is tending.

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2011-2012 Supreme Court Term: Decision in Coleman v. Court of Appeals of Maryland

March 21, 2012

Yesterday the Supreme Court issued its decision in Coleman v. Court of Appeals of Maryland, No. 10-1016.   By a vote of 5-4, the Court ruled that the doctrine of "state sovereign immunity" applied in this case, ending Coleman's lawsuit against the State of Maryland.

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Health Insurers' Position on the Individual Mandate

March 20, 2012

In the debate over the constitutionality of the federal health care reform law, health insurance companies have maintained a low profile.  The individual mandate was their idea; they wish that the mandate was stronger than it is; and now they are signalling that if the individual mandate is struck down by the Supreme Court, they [...]

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