Law

Police Before “The Police”

Sal Nicolazzo— In his Lectures on Justice, Police, Revenue, and Arms—the precursor to The Wealth of Nations—Adam Smith defines “the objects of police” as “the cheapness of commodities, public security and cleanliness.” This broad mandate for “police”—most of which has little or nothing to do with crime prevention—may sound idiosyncratic to

Continue reading…

Constitutional Leadership and Responsibility

Steven B. Smith— The second impeachment trial of Donald Trump ended in an acquittal by a vote of 57-43. Democrats could take some comfort in the fact that it was the largest bipartisan vote in any impeachment trial, although it was a virtually foregone conclusion that they would fail to

Continue reading…

The Death of DOMA

Jack M. Balkin— The two important federal challenges brewing in the courts—the struggle over California’s Proposition 8 and the challenge to the federal Defense of Marriage Act—converged on the Supreme Court’s docket in the election year of 2012. In the California case, Hollingsworth v. Perry, the Supreme Court held 5–4 that

Continue reading…

Two Consequences of Tough-On-Crime

Russell Crandall— A hallmark of the tough-on-crime era was the militarization of domestic law enforcement, especially on the anti drug front. Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) teams were first formed from police ranks in the 1960s to handle extreme cases such as mass shootings and hostage situations. But by the

Continue reading…

From 9/11 to COVID-19: Overcoming Necessity Through Competing Conceptions of Presidential Power

Thomas P. Crocker— One of the intriguing developments during the COVID-19 crisis is how absent claims about presidential power to solve national security crises have been. There have been no calls for exercising unilateral and exclusive presidential power to engage in possible extralegal action deemed necessary to save American lives

Continue reading…

Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Opera

William N. Eskridge Jr.— Ruth Bader Ginsburg passionately loved her family, her job as a judge, constitutional law, and opera—not always in that order.  I first came to know and admire Ruth through our shared academic interests and through my beloved Georgetown colleague Marty Ginsburg. But in the last decade,

Continue reading…

American Religion and the Marriage Debate

William N. Eskridge Jr.— From the beginning of the marriage equality debate, the main critics of marriage between persons of the same sex were religious intellectuals and public figures such as Phyllis Schlafly, Josef Ratzinger, Jim Dobson, Phil Burris, Lou Sheldon, Lynn Wardle, Maggie Gallagher, Robby George, Richard Land, and

Continue reading…

Bostock and Originalism

Mark Tushnet— On June 15, 2020, the Supreme Court decided Bostock v. Clayton County. Dividing 5-4, the Court held that the ban on employment discrimination “because of sex” in Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act extended to discrimination against gays, lesbians, and transgender people. Remarkably, both Justice Neil

Continue reading…

A Matter of Dignity

Donna Hicks— Like so many of us, I am deeply saddened and outraged by the brutal killing of George Floyd by members of the Minneapolis police. The jaw dropping video showing the fatal actions of Derek Chauvin, while George pleaded for his life, were beyond comprehension. What happened to Derek

Continue reading…

Sovereignty in a Public Health Crisis

Don Herzog— Who should buy ventilators, N-95 masks, PPE, and more? “Governors are supposed to be doing a lot of this work,” complained President Trump. “The federal government is not supposed to be out there buying vast amounts of items and then shipping. You know, we’re not a shipping clerk.”

Continue reading…