Category Archives: Legal Theory

Why Professor Hemel is Wrong About Life Tenure for SCOTUS

By Eric SegallProfessor Daniel Hemel of the University of Chicago has written a thoughtful essay in Politico on why allowing Supreme Court Justices to serve for life, while raising some problems, is not as bad as the two potential cures that I and many other scholars have advocated (term limits or a mandatory retirement age). Although Hemel raises some strong arguments, they are not ultimately persuasive.Hemel does a good job summarizing the problems with life tenure though he leaves out two major ones. The first issue is that, in Hemel's words, "some justices really have clung to their positions long after their mental faculties have left them." He gives many examples: "Justice Henry Baldwin remained on the court for nearly a dozen years after his 1832 hospitalization for “incurable lunacy.” One of Justice Nathan Clifford’s colleagues described him as a “babbling idiot” in the final years before his death in 1881. Justice….. To continue reading this legal news please click Read full information...

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The yellow vests are at the vanguard of a politically incorrect uprising | Coffee House

The ninth weekend of the gilet jaune protest movement was a mixed result for Emmanuel Macron. The nationwide demonstrations were relatively peaceful with only minor skirmishes between protestors and police, but numbers were up, with a total of 84,000 taking to the streets, 34,000 more than the previous Saturday. via blogs.spectator.co.uk.. To continue reading this legal news please click Read full information...

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The Copyright Law of Interfaces

Winter break has ended and so, too, has my brief blogging break. I've blogged before (many times) about the ongoing Oracle v. Google case. My opinion has been and continues to be that nobody is getting the law exactly right here, to the point where I may draft my own amicus brief supporting grant of certiorari. But to the extent I do agree with one of the sides, it is the side that says API (Application Programming Interfaces) developers must be allowed to reuse the command and parameter structure of the original API without infringing copyright. My disagreement is merely with the way you get there. Some believe that API's are not copyrightable at all. I've blogged before that I'm not so sure about this. Some believe that this should be fair use. I think this is probably true but the factors don't cleanly line up. My view is that this should be handled on the infringement side: that API's, even if copyrightable, are not infringing when used in a….. To continue reading this legal news please click Read full information...

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The Least Interesting Branch

by Michael C. DorfRecently, a longtime DoL reader emailed to ask whether the Trump administration had made my life  as a constitutional scholar more interesting. Yes, I replied, but I added that I would gladly accept some boredom in my professional life in exchange for more sanity as a citizen. Yet I may be suffering from the worst of both.Trump serves us up a constant barrage of crisis-threatening legal questions that have gone unanswered by the courts because no one had previously tested these particular limits. Can a president pardon himself? Can a sitting president be indicted? Can the president forbid the dissemination of a special prosecutor's report on bogus national security grounds?Some of Trump's greatest outrages lead to litigation, and some of that litigation eventually reaches the Supreme Court, as the Travel Ban eventually did. But here we are two years into this execrable presidency, while disputes over most of his rage-tweet-inspired policies….. To continue reading this legal news please click Read full information...

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CFP: Islands and Remoteness in Geography, Law, and Fiction: Conference at the University of Verona, November 21-22, 2019

From the mailbox:CFP:  Islands and Remoteness in Geography, Law, and Fiction, a conference convened by Matteo Nicolini, University of Verona, Law Department, and Thomas Perrin, UFR de Géographie et d’Aménagement, Université de Lille. The conference will take place at the University of Verona November 21-22, 2019.The conference seeks to explore how, in many ways, islands appear to be “geographicalparadoxes”. Indeed, they are spatially remote places, which are, at the same time, bound to a continent by social conventions. The grounds of such puzzle are manifold. It is firstly a matter of spatial area. Secondly, the puzzle depends on how political power projects authority over circumscribed spatial realms, including non-continental realms. In so doing, authority forges the concepts of remoteness and bounds.Proposals for papers are due by May 31, 2019 and should be sent to matteo.nicolini@univr.it and….. To continue reading this legal news please click Read full information...

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