Welcome to the   Yale Law School Legal Scholarship Repository. This repository provides open, global access to the scholarship of Yale Law School faculty and jornals, as well as a selection of unique collections. 

  • Foreword: From Ownership to Credit

    Zhang, Taisu (Yale Journal of Law & the Humanities, 2022)
    An introduction is presented in which the editor discusses the topics in the issue including the role of credit and liquidity in shaping American property law, leading to implications for property theory in general.

    Witt, John Fabian; Stubbs, Sierra (DePaul Law Review, 2022)

    Witt, John Fabian (Cardozo Law Review, 2023)
    How has the foreseeability standard survived its critics? Law relies on foreseeability to solve hard legal problems in a vast array of doctrinalfields. But for a century and more. critics have pilloried the standard as hopelessly indeterminate. Decisionmakers, observe the critics, can characterize virtually any consequence as either foreseeable or unforeseeable. It all depends on how one tells the story. This Article explains the conundrum offoreseeability's puzzling persistence by offering a novel account of how foreseeability has flourished in fields like tort, contract, and crime. Foreseeability has survived andjlourished, the Article proposes, not because it carries determinate meaning (it does not), but because lawyers, judges, andjuries have establishedfixes or backs-which in this Article we callforeseeability conventions-to settle what would otherwise be intractable foreseeability problems. Foreseeability conventions work because they give the concept meaning in particular fields and in discrete situations, furthering the law's basic goals in especially thorny categories of recurring cases. We describe two types of conventions: storytelling or narrative conventions, on the one hand, and per se conventions, on the other. We offer salient illustrations, relying especially on the law of torts, showing how the law substitutes rough-hewn proxies for impenetrable foreseeability questions. In closing, we propose that the conventions strategy for resolving indeterminacy is widespread and even pervasive in the law. We observe, too, that the conventions strategy is being put to use today in solving controversial, high-profile legal problems in our age of political and cultural division-even as social fracture risks undermining the tacit agreements on which doctrinal conventions rest.

    Siegel, Reva B. (Columbia Journal of Gender & Law, 2022)
    In two paragraphs at the beginning of Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, the Supreme Court rejected the Equal Protection Clause as an alternative ground for the abortion right. As the parties had not asserted an equal protection claim on which the Court could rule, Justice Alito cited an amicus brief we co-authored demonstrating that Mississippi's abortion ban violated the Equal Protection Clause, and, in dicta, stated that precedents foreclosed the brief's arguments. Yet, Justice Alito did not address a single equal protection case or argument on which the brief relied. Instead, he cited Geduldig v. Aiello, a 1974 case decided before the Court extended heightened scrutiny to sex-based state action--a case our brief shows has been superseded by United States v. Virginia and Nevada Department of Human Resources v. Hibbs. Justice Alito's claim to address equal protection precedents without discussing any of these decisions suggests an unwillingness to recognize the last half century of sex equality law--a spirit that finds many forms of expression in the opinion's due process analysis. Equality challenges to abortion bans preceded Roe, and will continue in courts and politics long after Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization. In this Article we discuss our amicus brief in Dobbs, demonstrating that Mississippi's ban on abortions after fifteen weeks violates the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause, and show how its equality-based arguments open up crucial conversations that extend far beyond abortion. Our brief shows how the canonical equal protection cases United States v. Virginia and Nevada Department of Human Resources v. Hibbs extend to the regulation of pregnancy, providing an independent constitutional basis for abortion rights. As we show, abortion bans classify by sex. Equal protection requires the government to justify this discrimination: to explain why it could not employ less restrictive means to achieve its ends, especially when using discriminatory means perpetuates historic forms of group-based harm. Mississippi decided to ban abortion, choosing sex-based and coercive means to protect health and life; at the same time the state consistently refused to enact safety-net policies that offered inclusive, noncoercive means to achieve the same health- and life-protective ends. Our brief asks: could the state have pursued these same life- and healthprotective ends with more inclusive, less coercive strategies? This inquiry has ramifications in courts, in legislatures, and in the court of public opinion. Equal protection focuses the inquiry on how gender, race, and class may distort decisions about protecting life and health, within and outside the abortion context. There are many forms of equal protection argument, and this family of arguments can play a role in congressional and executive enforcement of constitutional rights, in the enforcement of equality provisions of state constitutions, and in ongoing debate about the proper shape of family life in our constitutional democracy. Equal protection may also have the power to forge new coalitions as it asks hard questions about the kinds of laws that protect the health and life of future generations and that enable families to flourish.
  • Memory Games: Dobbs's Originalism as Anti-Democratic Living Constitutionalism--and Some Pathways for Resistance

    Siegel, Reva B. (Texas Law Review, 2023)
    This Article examines originalism's role in overruling Roe v. Wade in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization. Through this case study the Article explores competing understandings of originalism. It shows that originalism is not simply a value-neutral method of interpreting the Constitution. Originalism is also a political practice whose long-term goal has been the overturning of Roe. As the conservative legal movement has developed originalism, judicial appointments matter critically to originalism's authority, as do originalism's appeals to constitutional memory to legitimate the exercise of public power. Examining these different dimensions of originalism's authority, this Article shows that the conservative legal movement has practiced originalism as a form of living constitutionalism that makes our constitutional order less democratic in several important ways. To demonstrate how this is so, this Article returns to originalism's roots in the Reagan years and examines originalism's origins in a backlash to the decisions of the Warren and Burger Courts. In 1980, for the first time--and continuously ever since--the Republican Party's platform promised that "[w]e will work for the appointment of judges at all levels of the judiciary who respect traditional family values and the sanctity of innocent human life." I examine the family-values politics from which the quest to overturn Roe emerged, the judicial screening practices developed to pursue it, and the talk of law and politics employed to justify it. This Article reads Dobbs through a double lens. I first consider how originalists have evaluated the originalism of the opinion (some term Dobbs "living constitutionalist") and then go on to show how Dobbs depends on the appointments politics and constitutional memory claims I have identified as part of the political practice of originalism. Dobbs's living constitutionalism serves contemporary movement goals: the history-and-traditions standard that Dobbs employs to overturn Roe threatens many of the same lines of cases targeted for reversal by the architects of originalism in the Reagan Administration. The deepest problem with Dobbs, however, is that its originalism is living constitutionalism that makes our constitutional order less democratic. Dobbs restricts and threatens rights that enable equal participation of members of historically marginalized groups; Dobbs locates constitutional authority in imagined communities of the past--entrenching norms, traditions, and modes of life associated with old status hierarchies; and Dobbs presents its contested value judgments as expert claims of law and historical fact to which the public owes deference. A concluding Part focuses on constitutional memory as a terrain of constitutional conflict and begins to ask questions about how claims on our constitutional past might be democratized, both inside and outside of originalism, in the aspiration to take back the Constitution from the Court.

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