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Volume 75, Issue 1


Trademark Spaces and Trademark Law’s
Secret Step Zero

by  Mark A. Lemley & Mark P. McKenna

When is a design just a design, and when is it a trademark? Over the last several decades, courts have developed a clear framework for evaluating the distinctiveness of certain unconventional marks, especially those typically conceived of as “trade dress.” The Supreme Court has drawn a line between product packaging, on the one hand, and…


Hierarchy, Race, and Gender in Legal
Scholarly Networks

by  Keerthana Nunna, W. Nicholson Price II & Jonathan Tietz

A potent myth of legal academic scholarship is that it is mostly meritocratic and mostly solitary. Reality is more complicated. In this Article, we plumb the networks of knowledge co-production in legal academia by analyzing the star footnotes that appear at the beginning of most law review articles. Acknowledgments paint a rich picture of both…


The Negotiable Implementation of
Environmental Law

by  Dave Owen

Conventional wisdom describes environmental law as a field filled with rigid mandates. Many critiques of the field start with that rigidity as a key premise, and they allege that inflexibility is a central failing or, alternatively, a squandered virtue. Influential reform proposals follow from both allegations. This Article demonstrates that these premises are often mistaken.…


Teaching in the Upside Down:
What Anti-Critical Race Theory Laws Tell
Us About the First Amendment

by  Tess Bissell

Since January 2021, forty-two states have introduced “anti–critical race theory” (anti-CRT) bills that restrict discussions of racism and sexism in public schools. As teachers, administrators, and civil rights organizations scramble to interpret these bills, many wonder: How can this be constitutional? At the heart of this broader question is a legal problem that remains unaddressed…

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Recent Online Essays

Rethinking Strategy After Dobbs

Now that the Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the movement for abortion rights and access finds itself in uncharted territory, and the stakes could not be higher. For abortion rights defenders, this new, post-Roe playing field means adapting their strategy and mindset to confront a new environment without a tether to federal constitutional protection. This Essay, published in the immediate aftermath of Dobbs, offers some initial thoughts about what the changed legal landscape means for abortion rights legal advocacy. It offers several suggestions, all of which require a paradigm shift in movement strategy to one that is in some ways modeled after the now-successful movement to overturn Roe

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Is Quasi-Judicial Immunity Qualified Immunity?

Has qualified immunity finally found its roots? Scott Keller’s Qualified and Absolute Immunity at Common Law shows the breadth and complexity of nineteenth century case law dealing with official immunities. But its most important claim, for today’s purposes, is the claim to find a historical basis for a doctrine of qualified immunity: an immunity from suit given to all government officials (including, but not only, the police) whenever they are sued for violating the Constitution. According to Keller, “the common law definitively accorded at least qualified immunity to all executive officers’ discretionary duties” in 1871, when Congress passed the civil rights statute now codified as 42 U.S.C. §1983. This would be very important if it were true. But it is not.

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Election Law in an Age of Distrust

Election law now operates in a sea of pervasive distrust. This essay argues that election law and practices must adapt to the context of this pervasive distrust. Policies and practices that might be fine under normal circumstances, but are likely to feed distrust today, should be re-thought. This short essay identifies seven initial measures that policymakers, election administrators, and even voters can take to help fend off distrust about the election process.

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Enforcing the Political Constitution

This short essay argues that the congruence and proportionality test of City of Boerne v. Flores—which the U.S. Supreme Court applies to laws passed pursuant to Section 5 of the Fourteenth Amendment—should not apply to federal voting rights legislation. This test is inapplicable because the right to vote, although a judicially protected constitutional right, is also a political right beyond the purview of the courts. The right to vote implicates a number of constitutional provisions that are direct grants of power to Congress, the exercise of which can directly conflict with the notions of judicial supremacy that dominate our legal system.

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Ascertaining the President-Elect Under
the Presidential Transition Act

The Presidential Transition Act (PTA) requires the Administrator of the General Services Administration (GSA) to facilitate the transition to an incoming administration following a presidential election. The PTA does not provide any guidance for the GSA Administrator, however, in determining whether a presidential candidate qualifies as a President-elect. This Article provides a framework for Administrators to apply, and Congress to consider codifying, when ascertaining the results of presidential elections under the PTA. It further suggests that Congress should amend the PTA to avoid unnecessarily delays and argues that Congress should reduce the potential perceived significance of the Administrator’s ascertainment decision by changing the term “President-elect” as used in the PTA and related federal statutes to a less politically charged term, such as “federal designee.”

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