Federal Courts

The New Pornography Wars

Julie Dahlstrom

Abstract The world’s largest online pornography conglomerate, MindGeek, has come under fire for the publishing of “rape videos,” child pornography, and nonconsensual pornography on its website, Pornhub. In response, as in the “pornography wars” of the 1970s and 1980s, lawyers and activists have turned to civil remedies and filed creative anti- trafficking lawsuits against MindGeek […]

Fair Notice, The Rule of Law, and Reforming Qualified Immunity

Nathan S. Chapman

Abstract After a series of highly publicized incidents of police violence, a growing number of courts, scholars, and politicians have demanded the abolition of qualified immunity. The doctrine requires courts to dismiss damages actions against officials for violating the plaintiff’s constitutional rights unless a reasonable officer would have known that the right was “clearly established.” […]

Plurality Decisions and the Ambiguity of Precedential Authority

Ryan C. Williams

Abstract The Supreme Court sometimes decides cases without reaching a majority-supported agreement on a rule that explains the outcome. Determining the precedential effect of such plurality decisions is a task that has long confounded both the Supreme Court and the lower courts. But while academic commenters have proposed a variety of frameworksfor addressing the problem […]

Modernizing Capacity Doctrine

Lisa V. Martin

Abstract Federal capacity doctrine—or the rules establishing whether and how children’s civil litigation proceeds—has largely remained the same for more than a century. It continues to presume that all children are incapable of directing their own cases, and that adults must litigate on children’s behalf. But since that time, our understanding of children, and of […]

Restoring Federal Takings Claims

Shelley Ross Saxer

Abstract Response to Stewart E. Sterk & Michael C. Pollack, A Knock on Knick‘s Revival of Federal Takings Litigation. As Professors Sterk and Pollack noted, “many have cheered” the United States Supreme Court’s holding in Knick v. Township of Scott that overruled the second prong of Williamson County’s ripeness test. Litigants challenging state or local […]

The Normality of Knick: A Response to Sterk and Pollack

Ilya Somin

Abstract Response to Stewart E. Sterk & Michael C. Pollack, A Knock on Knick‘s Revival of Federal Takings Litigation. The Supreme Court’s decision in Knick v. Township of Scott, has been criticized for supposedly wreaking havoc on the normal system for adjudicating takings claims, and for seriously violating norms of stare decisis. Stewart Sterk and Michael […]

The Enforcement Act of 1870, Federal Jurisdiction Over Election Contests, And The Political Question Doctrine

Michael T. Morley

Abstract A lingering provision of a major Reconstruction Era law, theEnforcement Act of 1870, 28 U.S.C. § 1344, grants federal courtsjurisdiction over election contests arising from alleged FifteenthAmendment violations, except for the positions of presidential elector,member of Congress, and state legislator. Some courts have erroneouslyconstrued this provision as categorically denying the federal judiciarysubject-matter jurisdiction over […]

Mission (Im)possibility: Determining When Mandamus is an Appropriate Remedy to Address Agency Delay or Inaction

Faith Proper

Abstract Judicial review of administrative agency delay or inaction presentsdelicate questions about, and potent opportunities to define, the balanceof power within the American system of governance. Recently, asignificant backlog of Medicare appeals for healthcare providers hasspawned litigation, with providers asking the courts to address agencydelay by compelling action through a writ of mandamus. Though relyingon […]

Litigation Blues for Red-State Trusts: Judicial Construction Issues for Wills and Trusts

Lee-ford Tritt

Abstract Will construction—the process wherein a trier of fact must determinethe testator’s probable intent because the testator’s actual intent is notclear—is too little discussed and too often misunderstood in successionlaw jurisprudence. Yet, construction issues are becoming increasinglyimportant due to a growing number of will and trust disputes concerningthe determination of beneficiaries in a post-Obergefell United […]

Circumventing Standing to Appeal

Ryan W. Scott

Abstract The requirement of standing to sue in federal court is familiar, but therelated requirement of standing to appeal within the Article III judiciaryis badly undertheorized. The Supreme Court’s opinions suggest (at least)four constitutional rationales. Standing to appeal might serve the samefunctional purposes as standing to sue, or it might follow from the factthat appeals […]

Judicial Resistance to Mandatory Arbitration as Federal Commandeering

Matthew J. Stanford & David A. Carrillo

Abstract This Article argues that the current doctrine of preempting state substantive law in favor of the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) contravenes core federalism principles generally, the Tenth Amendment specifically, and well-established anti-commandeering and federalism doctrine. These authorities are all concerned with a core federalism principle: state sovereignty. The states retained sovereignty when they joined […]

The Territorial Reach of Federal Courts

A. Benjamin Spencer

Abstract Federal courts exercise the sovereign authority of the United States when they assert personal jurisdiction over a defendant. As components of the national sovereign, federal courts’ maximum territorial reach is determined by the Fifth Amendment’s Due Process Clause, which permits jurisdiction over persons with sufficient minimum contacts with the United States and over property […]

No Right to Counsel, No Access Without: The Poor Child’s Unconstitutional Catch-22

Lisa V. Martin

Abstract In the midst of the push for universal access to counsel in civil cases and the increasing proportion of litigants who represent themselves, a critical barrier to access to justice for children has been overlooked. Federal courts have created a catch-22 for child litigants. Children cannot bring claims themselves, so parents must bring the […]

A “Procedural Nightmare”: Dueling Courts and the Application of the First-Filed Rule

Written by: Andrew J. Fuller

Abstract Pretend that Party A sues Party B in Court 1. Instead of countersuing, however, B then sues A in Court 2. The problem this Note examines is whether Court 1 may enjoin B from continuing to litigate in Court 2 if Court 2 has already declined to stay the case or transfer it to […]

John F. Preis, How the Federal Cause of Action Relates to Rights, Remedies, and Jurisdiction

Time and again, the U.S. Supreme Court has declared that the federal cause of action is “analytically distinct” from rights, remedies, and jurisdiction. Yet, just pages away in the U.S. Reports are other cases in which rights, remedies, and jurisdiction all hinge on the existence of a cause of action. What, then, is the proper […]

Jason Rantanen & Lee Petherbridge, Ph.D., Disuniformity

The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit is a response to a failure in judicial administration that produced a fractured, unworkable patent law—one that Congress concluded ill-served entrepreneurship and innovation. The purpose of the response—vesting exclusive jurisdiction for patent appeals in the Federal Circuit—was to permit that court to develop patent law […]

Judge Emmett Ripley Cox, Thirty-Two Years on the Federal Bench: Some Things I Have Learned

In this Essay, prepared as the basis for the 2014 Dunwody Distinguished Lecture in Law at the University of Florida Levin College of Law, Judge Cox discusses a few things he learned from his experience as a trial judge and later as an appellate judge. Specifically, he addresses how the proliferation of federal law—both criminal and civil—imposes […]

Sapna Kumar, The Accidental Agency?

This Article presents a new model for examining the role of the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (Federal Circuit) with regard to patent law, positing that the Federal Circuit behaves like an agency and serves as the de facto administrator of the Patent Act. The Federal Circuit has traditionally engaged in a form […]

Meghan J. Ryan, The Missing Jury: The Neglected Role of Juries in Eighth Amendment Punishments Clause Determinations

A recent study of death penalty cases has revealed that judges, who are ordinarily thought of as the guardians of criminal defendants‘ constitutional rights, often impose harsher punishments than jurors. This may be unsettling in its own right, but it is especially concerning when one considers that judges are the individuals charged with determining whether […]

Jacy Owens, A Progressive Response: Judicial Delegation of Authority to Federal Probation Officers

Federal probation officers supervise millions of offenders who must each comply with a multitude of probation conditions. These officers need enough flexibility to deal with the evolving needs of each offender, without having to clog the court system with repeated requests for modifications. Yet federal courts differ in the amount of discretionary authority they grant […]

Kathryn A. Kimball, Losing our Soul: Judicial Discretion in Sentencing Child Pornography Offenders

63 Fla. L. Rev. 1515 (2011)| | | | Child pornography offenders capitalize on the vulnerability of children and find pleasure in their victims’ humiliation. In United States v. Irey, the defendant sadistically raped, sodomized, and tortured more than fifty prepubescent girls and then broadcast this abuse across the Internet; yet the court characterized Irey […]

Scott A. Moss, The Overhyped Path from Tinker to Morse: How the Student Speech Cases Show the Limits of Supreme Court Decisions-for The Law and for the Litigants

63 Fla. L. Rev. 1407 (2011)| | | | Each of the Supreme Court’s high school student speech cases reflected the social angst of its era. In 1965’s Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District, three Iowa teens broke school rules to wear armbands protesting the Vietnam War. In 1983, amidst parental and political […]

Jonathan Witmer-Rich, Interrogation and the Roberts Court

63 Fla. L. Rev. 1189 (2011)| | | ARTICLE :: Through 2010, the Roberts Court decided five cases involving the rules for police interrogation under the Fifth and Sixth Amendments: Kansas v. Ventris; Montejo v. Louisiana; Florida v. Powell; Maryland v. Shatzer; and Berghuis v. Thompkins. This Article argues that these decisions show the Roberts […]

Henry N. Butler & Joshua D. Wright, Are State Consumer Protection Acts Really Little-FTC Acts?

63 Fla. L. Rev. 163 (2011) | | | | ABSTRACT :: State Consumer Protection Acts (CPAs) were designed to supplement the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) mission of protecting consumers and are often referred to as “Little-FTC Acts.” There is growing concern that enforcement under these acts is not only qualitatively different than FTC enforcement […]

Tim Sobczak, The Consent-Once-Removed Doctrine: The Constitutionality of Passing Consent from an Informant to Law Enforcement

62 Fla. L. Rev. 493 (2010) |   |   |   | ABSTRACT :: In 2002 Brian Bartholomew was charged with possession of methamphetamine. In hopes of obtaining leniency, Bartholomew chose to assist the Central Utah Narcotics Task Force as a confidential informant. As an informant, Bartholomew arranged to buy drugs from Afton Callahan […]

Martin H. Redish, Peter Julian & Samantha Zyontz, Cy Pres Relief and the Pathologies of Modern Class Action: A Normative and Empirical Analysis

62 Fla. L. Rev. 617 (2010) | | | | CASE COMMENT ::The purpose of the modern class action, a procedural aggregation device authorized by Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, is to collectivize individual claims into a single proceeding, with the overwhelming majority of the plaintiffs assuming a purely passive role […]

Kevin M. Shuler, Is the Endangered Species Act Endangered in the Age of Strict Federalism? A Florida Perspective on the Recent Commerce Clause Challenges to the ESA

57 Fla. L. Rev. 1135 (2005) | | | | INTRODUCTION :: Suppose that a ten-million-dollar development project in Levy County was suddenly stymied by the discovery of a nest of Florida salt marsh voles. Such a delay could endanger a project bringing much-needed jobs to one of Florida’s poorest counties. Despite existing in only […]