SLR Online

Scrabble Letters

Essay

The Words Under the Words

by  Patrick Barry  

The words lawyers choose can change the decisions people make. Psychologists call the mechanics of this change “framing.” They’ve found, for example, that more people will decide to have a surgery if they are told that the “survival rate is 90%” than if they are told that the “mortality rate is 10%”—even though a survival…

Online

Faceless hooded anonymous computer hacker

Essay

Government Hacking to Light the Dark Web

Risks to International Relations and International Law?
by  Orin S. Kerr & Sean D. Murphy  

Introduction Government hacking is everywhere. Hackers working for the Russian government broke into computers run by the Democratic National Committee and stole e-mails relating to the 2016 Presidential election. Hackers traced to the Chinese government broke into U.S. government computers and copied personnel files of over 22 million employees. North Korean hackers intruded into Sony…

Online

Law and justice

Response

Continuities, Ruptures, and Causation in the History of American Legal Culture

by  Amalia D. Kessler  

Henry Vanderlyn, an antebellum lawyer from the small town of Oxford, New York, whom I discuss in Inventing American Exceptionalism, kept a daily diary for a thirty-year period and was in the habit of regaling visitors with selected readings from his collected thoughts. Confident that his visitors eagerly attended to his every word, Vanderlyn never…

Online

Courthouse facade.

Book Review

Exploring the Origins of America’s ‘Adversarial’ Legal Culture

by  Edward A. Purcell, Jr.  

Introduction Amalia D. Kessler’s Inventing American Exceptionalism is a tour de force of historical imagination, analysis, and synthesis. Asking fresh questions that open new vistas of understanding, her book illustrates some of the complex ways that social factors shape legal thinking on matters ranging from arcane procedural technicalities to fundamental institutional assumptions. Changing social and…

Online

paper wisdom

Book Review

The Lawyer/Judge as Republican Hero

by  Mark Tushnet  

Introduction Inventing American Exceptionalism tells a two-sided story. On one side is the replacement of the distinctive inquisitorial processes of equity courts with the adversarial ones of common-law courts. The equity courts relied heavily on taking testimony in writing and in secret, freezing the record so that parties could not shape their evidence in light…

Online

Interior View of the Ornate Supreme Court in Lansing, Michigan.

Book Review

Contextualizing Inventing American Exceptionalism

by  Richard White  

Amalia Kessler’s Inventing American Exceptionalism: The Origins of American Adversarial Legal Culture, 1800-1877 is a stunning legal history that is even richer than the author may have intended. I would not have thought that an analysis of the oral adversarial tradition in American law could provide the larger insights that her book does. This is…

Online

Beige US supreme court columns

Book Review

Introduction

Book Review Symposium on Inventing American Exceptionalism
by  Bernadette Meyler  

How, when, and why did Americans become convinced both that our system of civil justice is adversarial through and through and that adversarialism is normatively desirable? Professor Amalia Kessler’s highly engaging and dauntingly erudite new book, Inventing American Exceptionalism: The Origins of American Adversarial Legal Culture, 1800-1877, locates the answer to these questions in a…

Online

Programming code abstract technology background of software deve

Essay

Transformative Use in Software

by  Clark D. Asay  

Introduction Fair use is copyright law’s most important defense against claims of copyright infringement. Major corporations depend on it to pursue a variety of technological innovations; universities rely on it for a number of educational purposes; and innovative parties frequently resort to it in creating works that build upon the creativity of others. In short,…

Online

manhattan office building

Essay

A Better Way to Revive Glass-Steagall

by  John Crawford  

Introduction The financial crisis of 2007-2008 repeatedly forced regulators to face terrible choices between risking catastrophic contagion by letting particular firms or markets fail, and intervening to bail them out. One explanation of why these dilemmas arose was that financial firms were “too big to fail.” Nearly a decade after the onset of the crisis,…

Online

Old Cadillac Eldorado

Essay

‘Cadillac Compliance’ Breakdown

by  Todd Haugh  

Introduction The recent defeat device scandal at Volkswagen, in which VW engineers created and installed a computer algorithm to cheat emissions testing on over eleven million automobiles, brings together two things I spend time thinking about: white collar crime and cars. While that may seem like an odd combination, VW’s troubles happen to marry my…

Online

Neil Gorsuch

Essay

Before the Robe

Judge Neil M. Gorsuch
by  Mark C. Hansen  

The Honorable Neil M. Gorsuch was not the distinguished silver-haired jurist we see now when he walked through the doors of our start-up law firm in the fall of 1995. He was, like the other supremely talented young lawyers we hired to help us build a practice in the attorney-infested (or should I say shark-infested?)…

Online

Byron White United States Courthouse in Denver

Essay

A Personal Reflection on Judge Neil M. Gorsuch from a Former Colleague

by  Michael W. McConnell  

I served with Judge Neil Gorsuch on the Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit for over three years, before I left the bench to teach constitutional law at Stanford. I sat with him in about fifty cases. Sometimes we disagreed, strongly. More often, we agreed. I want to share my impressions of Judge Gorsuch…

Online

Closeup of First Amendment to the United States Constitution

Mainstream Jurisprudence and Some First Amendment Problems

Judge Neil M. Gorsuch on Free Expression
by  Brian C. Baran & Nathaniel Rubin  

Introduction On the 2016 campaign trail, then-candidate Donald Trump promised he would pick a Supreme Court nominee in the mold of the late Justice Antonin Scalia. To this end, President Trump narrowed his candidate shortlist to three federal appellate judges who had the approval of the Heritage Foundation and Federalist Society, and whom the press…

Online

Praying people sajdah

Essay

Judge Gorsuch and Free Exercise

by  Sean R. Janda  

Introduction This Essay examines how Judge Gorsuch, if confirmed, would approach religious freedom cases. It first looks at two free exercise cases Judge Gorsuch has participated in. Then it extracts principles from those cases and from his other writings that help explain how a Justice Gorsuch might contextualize religious freedom claims. Finally, it applies those…

Online

Woman with Bible

Essay

Judge Gorsuch and the Establishment Clause

by  James Y. Xi  

Introduction The proper meaning of the Establishment Clause has sharply divided the Court for decades. Nowhere is this more obvious than in cases dealing with the constitutionality of religious displays. The Court has held that it is unconstitutional, for example, for a city to display a holiday crèche (a Nativity scene) if it stands alone.…

Online

Police dog. Policeman with a German shepherd on duty.

Essay

Judge Gorsuch and the Fourth Amendment

by  Sophie J. Hart & Dennis M. Martin  

Introduction Before Justice Scalia, pragmatic balancing tests dominated the Court’s Fourth Amendment doctrine. But by 2008, Justice Scalia had succeeded in reframing the Court’s analysis. In an opinion joined by seven other Justices, he wrote: “In determining whether a search or seizure is unreasonable, we begin with history. We look to the statutes and common…

Online

Decorative Scales of Justice in the Courtroom

Essay

Restraint and the Rights of Criminal Defendants

Judge Gorsuch on the Sixth Amendment
by  Abbee Cox & Katherine Moy  

Introduction Whatever openness to the claims of criminal defendants Supreme Court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch may have displayed in his Fourth Amendment decisions finds no counterpart in his opinions touching on Sixth Amendment rights. In each of the four cases in which Judge Gorsuch has dissented on Sixth Amendment grounds, his desired holding would have…

Online

Statue of Liberty

Essay

Judge Gorsuch and the Future of Immigration Deference

by  Matthew Sellers  

Introduction If the first couple of months of the Trump Administration are any guide, immigration will be front and center before the Supreme Court in coming terms. How a future Justice Gorsuch might rule on the thorny questions of administrative law, due process, and executive power that these cases raise will turn on how much…

Online

Legal law concept image scales of justice

Essay

Judge Gorsuch and Civil Rights

A Restrictive Reading
by  Maria Buxton, Hannah Kieschnick & Robyn D. Levin  

Introduction Upon the announcement of his nomination to the United States Supreme Court, Judge Gorsuch said that “[a] judge who likes every outcome he reaches is very likely a bad judge . . . stretching for results he prefers rather than those the law demands.” This notion is central to his jurisprudence. Judge Gorsuch hews closely to a…

Online

Close-up of a police officer’s service revolver

Essay

Judge Gorsuch on Qualified Immunity

by  Shannon M. Grammel  

Introduction In the wake of Tenth Circuit Judge Neil Gorsuch’s nomination to the Supreme Court, there has been much buzz about his 2016 dissent in a case involving a seventh grader arrested for burping during gym class. The Tenth Circuit shielded the arresting officer from suit, granting him qualified immunity. Judge Gorsuch disagreed: “Respectfully, I…

Online