Categories

Number 1 January 2012
Number 2 April 2012
Number 3 May 2012
Number 4 July 2012
Number 5 September 2012
Number 6 December 2012

Chad Flanders
More on Veils: Reply to Levitt and Muller
Response to Justin Levitt, You’re Gonna Need a Thicker Veil and Derek T. Muller, Disfavored Candidates and the Democracy Canon

I thank Justin Levitt and Derek Muller for their thoughtful replies to my article, which have helped me (at least) to understand my own position better. I also thank the Florida Law Review for giving me the opportunity to briefly respond to them. I can’t (and probably couldn’t) give detailed or persuasive answers to their questions; instead, I want to flag some issues that they bring up, and which deserve fuller consideration than I was able to give in my article.

1. Veils, Thick and Thin. Levitt makes an excellent point almost incidentally in his reply to my piece, which I want to leap on and exploit: the “veil of ignorance”
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Allen Winsor
Book Review of Former Chief Justice Charley Wells, Inside Bush v. Gore

Charley Wells’s new book—Inside Bush v. Gore—offers readers a rare behind-the-scenes look at one of the most controversial legal disputes in this nation’s history.

More than a dozen years have passed since the United States Supreme Court decided Bush v. Gore, effectively sealing President George W. Bush’s election. But despite the passage of time and three subsequent presidential elections, the public’s fascination with the 2000 election has not diminished. Earlier this year, retired Justice Sandra Day O’Connor reignited debate by suggesting the Supreme Court perhaps made a mistake in deciding the case. And during this year’s legislative session, Florida Legislators debating new reforms to Florida’s elections code again invoked the 2000 debacle, as they have with other post-2000 amendments.
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Corey Rayburn Yung
Benefits and Limitations of Computer Content Analysis of Legal Documents
Response to Chad Oldfather, Joseph Bockhorst, and Brian Dimmer, Triangulating Judicial Responsiveness

Collectively, the United States Courts of Appeals are a behemoth. The judges on those federal appellate courts issue approximately 30,000 decisions per year; the Supreme Court’s 70 to 80 cases seem miniscule by comparison. The courts of appeals are the court of last resort for over 99% of cases filed in federal court. For researchers, the breadth of the decisions issued has proven to be a substantial impediment to any scholarly endeavor focusing on areas of law involving large numbers of cases. Although small-scale in its aim, the article by Chad Oldfather, Joseph Bockhorst, and Brian Dimmer is a wonderful illustration of how the behemoth of the federal appellate courts might finally be tamed.
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Sean J. Wright
Shifting Tides: Moving Climate Change Litigation Beyond Business as Usual
Response to Dave Markell and J.B. Ruhl, An Empirical Assessment of Climate Change in the Courts: A New Jurisprudence or Business as Usual 

In An Empirical Assessment of Climate Change in the Courts: A New Jurisprudence or Business as Usual, Dave Markell and J.B. Ruhl fill a fundamental gap in our understanding of the quickly evolving field of climate change litigation. Seemingly rejecting (or at least debunking) the myth that courts serve as the drivers of climate change policy, they conclude that courts have displayed restraint and avoided charting new jurisprudential paths. In fact, they call this “business as usual.” As their title indicates, there are other conceivable outcomes of climate litigation. This Response accepts the empirical findings of their study, which includes all climate related cases through 2010, but suggests developments in the intervening years reveal new patterns.
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Robin J. Effron
Trial and Appellate Judging in the Measure of Judicial Responsiveness
Response to Chad Oldfather, Joseph Bockhorst, and Brian Dimmer, Triangulating Judicial Responsiveness

In Triangulating Judicial Responsiveness: Automated Content Analysis, Judicial Opinions, and the Methodology of Legal Scholarship, Chad Oldfather, Joseph Bockhorst, and Brian Dimmer initiate a provocative dialogue about measuring judicial responsiveness by providing innovative tools for assessing how closely judicial opinions hew to the arguments and information provided by litigants. The authors’ primary objective is to assess the effectiveness of using computational methods of textual analysis to measure judicial responsiveness to the arguments and authorities presented by litigants. Drawing upon the cases decided by the First Circuit in 2004, the authors identified cases for which the court issued opinions and briefs from both parties were electronically available. The authors used a sample of thirty cases from this population to test the validity of responsiveness measures.
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Derek E. Bambauer
Middlemen
Response to Jacqueline Lipton, Law of the Intermediated Information Exchange

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. The Internet was supposed to mean the death of middlemen. Intermediaries would fade into irrelevance, then extinction, with the advent of universal connectivity and many-to-many communication. The list of predicted victims was lengthy: record labels, newspapers, department stores, travel agents, stockbrokers, computer stores, and banks all confronted desuetude. Most commentators lauded the coming obsolescence as empowering consumers and achieving greater efficiency; a few bemoaned it. But disintermediation was inevitable.
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Scott R. Bauries
Testing Fuller’s Forms and Limits
Response to Chad Oldfather, Joseph Bockhorst, and Brian Dimmer, Triangulating Judicial Responsiveness

In Triangulating Judicial Responsiveness, Chad Oldfather, Joseph Bockhorst, and Brian Dimmer give us a methodology by which we can empirically assess (among other things) the effects that argumentation has on judicial decision making. Unlike the vast majority of empirical legal scholarship of judging, the authors do not use this methodology in their current study to compare “legalist” explanations of judging with “realist” explanations of judging. Rather, the study operates almost entirely within the “legalist” frame. This is a welcome development for many reasons, one on which this Response focuses—the authors’ methodology illustrates a way of scientifically “testing” descriptive legal theory claims, and it suggests an empirical way out of some longstanding theoretical disputes.
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Justin Levitt
You’re Gonna Need a Thicker Veil
Response to Chad Flanders, Election Law Behind a Veil of Ignorance

In his latest piece, Professor Chad Flanders again adds to our understanding of the central problem of election law: the hunt for means to distinguish electoral rules that are “fair” from those that are not. Legislators and administrators have the presumptive democratic legitimacy to create policy on our behalf. And yet the misdirected use of that power, intentionally or unintentionally, creates unusual danger in the electoral realm. Much ink has been spilled attempting to develop workable judicial approaches that leave the good and limit the bad.
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Adam Steinman
Magic Words and the Erie Doctrine 
Response to Sergio Campos,  Erie as a Choice of Defaults

It has been seventy-five years since the Supreme Court decided Erie Railroad Co. v. Tompkins.1 Erie now claims paternity over a broader doctrine that mediates whether state law or federal law will govern particular aspects of a federal court lawsuit. That doctrine has evolved over time, but there remains a core of truth to the oft-stated rule of thumb that federal courts should apply state substantive law and federal procedural law. Given Erie’s mystical (and mythical) qualities, the subject of magic words seems particularly appropriate.
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Derek T. Muller
Disfavored Candidates and the Democracy Canon
Response to Chad Flanders, Election Law Behind a Veil of Ignorance

“Democracy” is a chameleon-like word, used almost everywhere and meaning almost anything. Chad Flanders’s thoughtful article in part disciplines the meaning of “democracy” when it draws an important distinction between popular democracy and legislative democracy when interpreting election statutes and evaluating the applicability of the Democracy Canon. Indeed, in statutory interpretation, we often justify canons by democratic values, particularly the accountability of the representatives who promulgate those statutes.
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Irina D. Manta
A Horse is Not Always a Horse, of Course
Response to Jacqueline Lipton, Law of the Intermediated Information Exchange

It was a pleasure to read Professor Jacqueline Lipton’s piece Law of the Intermediated Information Exchange. Her ambitious project is to provide a unifying theory of cyberlaw, at the heart of which lies her proposal to reframe the field as a law of the global intermediated information exchange. Indeed, Lipton argues that what distinguishes cyberlaw from other areas is the fact that it is bound to concern itself with actions that cannot take place without one or several intermediaries, which include Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and search engines, among others. She believes that recognizing the central nature of these service providers would go a long way toward developing laws and doctrines that advance the goals of predictability and coherence.
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William Baude
Jurisdiction and Constitutional Crisis
Response to Gerard Magliocca, The Gold Clause Cases and Constitutional Necessity

Courts don’t always do what the President wants, and sometimes the President wants to fight back. As Gerard Magliocca’s interesting article points out, Presidents have a range of options for political resistance. But what about their options for legal resistance? It turns out that the Constitution provides a narrow outlet for lawfully resisting the courts, and that Roosevelt’s contingency plan for the Gold Clause Cases might even have fit within it.
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Brannon P. Denning
The Case Against Appointing Politicians to the Supreme Court
Response to Benjamin Barton, An Empirical Study of Supreme Court Justice Pre-Appointment Experience

Ben Barton’s recent paper concludes that the members of the current Court are more “cloistered and detached” than at any other point in the Court’s history. His findings are bound to renew calls for the appointment of politicians to the Court; but I argue that remedying the perceived deficit of life experience and “practical wisdom” by appointing persons currently or formerly active in partisan politics would likely not deliver the claimed benefits and might affirmatively harm the Court as an institution.
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Jennifer Hendricks
The Flight From Judgment
Response to Benjamin Barton, An Empirical Study of Supreme Court Justice Pre-Appointment Experience

In their book, Practical Wisdom: The Right Way to Do the Right Thing, Barry Schwartz and Kenneth Sharpe highlight the task of sentencing a convicted criminal as quintessentially calling for practical wisdom. Wisdom, they argue, is not a transcendent state to be achieved by mystical means but a skill that must be learned and improved by practice, trial, and error. It is grounded in empathy, which is the cognitive ability “to imagine what someone else is thinking and feeling.” A person’s capacity for wisdom can be stunted by rote adherence to inflexible rules or by carrots and sticks that replace good character with a reward system. Professor Benjamin Barton’s new Article argues that the rarified and insular biographies of the current justices of the Supreme Court are ill-suited for developing practical wisdom.
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Timothy P. O’Neill
The Pre-Appointment Experience of Supreme Court Justices
Response to Benjamin Barton, An Empirical Study of Supreme Court Justice Pre-Appointment Experience

Benjamin H. Barton’s recent article, An Empirical Study of Supreme Court Justice Pre-Appointment Experience, makes a significant contribution to the growing body of work that compares and contrasts the professional and educational backgrounds of the current members of the Roberts Court with their predecessors. I share Professor Barton’s concerns.
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Adam Mossoff
Why History Matters in the Patentable Subject Matter Debate
Response to Michael Risch, America’s First Patents

In America’s First Patents, Michael Risch proves that nothing beats the facts when it comes to making or assessing claims about the history of patentable subject matter doctrine. Of course, one might ask why we should care about history, especially when justifying or critiquing legal rules that secure property rights in twenty-first-century innovation in high-tech computers or biotech. It’s a fair question. Read more.

Kristen Osenga
What Do America’s First Patents Have to Do With Today’s?
Response to Michael Risch, America’s First Patents

I was excited to read Michael Risch’s latest Article, America’s First Patents, in large part because he and I generally agree, especially when it pertains to the topic of patent-eligible subject matter. In this Article, Professor Risch examines patent-eligible subject matter through a unique lens—history based on early patents.
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Shubha Ghosh
Razing the Funhouse?
Response to Michael Risch, America’s First Patents

Whether as a scholar or just an ordinary thoughtful person, one cannot completely ignore history. At the same time, the past is annoying, used to promote a whole host of agendas in the guise of tradition, legitimacy, respect. Michael Risch’s engaging and just plain fun article looks at America’s First Patents and asks about the relevance of history to law.
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Peter D. Webster
Judges Are (and Ought to Be) Different
Response to Scott G. Hawkins, Perspective on Judicial Merit Retention in Florida

Scott Hawkins’s Perspective on Judicial Merit Retention in Florida makes a number of important points, one of which in particular warrants emphasis as Florida voters prepare to go to the polls to determine the fate of the justices and appellate judges standing for retention. The role a judge plays in our society is (and ought to be) fundamentally different from that played by a politician or other elected representative. Judges do not (and should not) have a constituency. They do not represent anyone; rather, their sole allegiance must be to the rule of law.
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Joseph W. Little
Merit Retention Elections
Response to Scott G. Hawkins, Perspective on Judicial Merit Retention in Florida

Florida Bar Immediate Past President Scott Hawkins’s law review essay publishes this eye-catching fact: “90% of the participating voters do not understand what the term ‘judicial merit retention’ means.” This ignorance sends a troubling message because merit retention of appellate judges has been the law in Florida since 1976 and three supreme court justices and numerous district court judges are on the November general election ballot. Even worse, Florida voters themselves chose this method to hold appellate judges accountable instead of submitting them to periodic popular elections, which was the rule in Florida for most of its history as a state.
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Martin A. Dyckman
How Florida Accepted Merit Retention: Nothing Succeeds Quite Like a Scandal
Response to Scott G. Hawkins, Perspective on Judicial Merit Retention in Florida

The wisdom of selecting judges on merit was slow to take root in the Sunshine State. It had been advocated since the 1940s, first by the Florida State Bar Association and then by the official Florida Bar, but a notoriously malapportioned, rural-dominated legislature was sterile ground. By the mid-1970s, however, circumstances had become ripe—and in a sense pungent—to accomplish in part what had seemed impossible.
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Brooks Holland
Imagining the Open Road
Response to Nancy Leong, The Open Road and the Traffic Stop: Narratives and Counter-Narratives of the American Dream 

I first read a draft of Nancy Leong’s Article, The Open Road and the Traffic Stop: Narratives and Counter-Narratives of the American Dream (“Open Road”), while my law school was preparing to host a conference on race and criminal justice. To our great fortune, Professor Leong accepted our invitation to present this thoughtful paper. I now have re-read the Open Road to write this response paper while additionally considering Articles by David Segal, Stanley Fish, and others debating aspects of legal education—in particular, the role of faculty scholarship. My repeated engagements with the Open Road confirm that it contributes beautifully to legal education as the sort of scholarship praised by Professor Fish: academic inquiry into a “purposive . . . vision” for the project of law.
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