Volume 87, Number 1

April 2012

The Path of the Constitution: The Original System of Remedies, How it Changed, and How the Court Responded

Sina Kian

This Article explores how the path of the common law shaped some of the Supreme Court’s most important decisions regarding constitutional remedies. The Article first introduces the original system of common law remedies for constitutional rights. It then explains how these remedies atrophied, both doctrinally and pragmatically, and how this posed deep problems for the constitutional rights that depended on them. The Article selects three cases—Mapp v. Ohio, Monroe v. Pape, and Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents—to demonstrate how concerns about those remedies shaped constitutional rights. These cases have been debated many times over, but for all the debate, there has been scarce attention paid to the problem the Court was addressing: the relationship between the Constitution and common law remedies and, more specifically, what to do about constitutional rights that depended on dwindling common law remedies. Indeed, this relationship hardly receives any attention in classrooms or scholarship today, yet it is at the core of the judiciary’s role in implementing the Constitution. This descriptive gap has distorted our normative debate about the relative merits of these cases. The last part of the Article suggests four potential methodologies for coherently managing the relation- ship between the Constitution and common law remedies.

Autobiographical Lies and the First Amendment’s Protection of Self-Defining Speech

David S. Han

This Article explores, through the lens of speech I refer to as “autobiographical lies,” the extent to which the First Amendment protects one’s ability to craft one’s own public persona. Thus far, courts and commentators have generally neglected to address the degree to which this particular autonomy-based value—the interest in individual self-definition—carries distinct weight under the First Amendment. This is unsurprising, since it is rare that an issue arises that directly implicates this interest in a manner that isolates it from more traditional free speech principles.

Recently, however, litigation has arisen surrounding the constitutionality of the Stolen Valor Act, a federal statute that criminalizes lying about having received military honors. The Act’s regulation of a particular subset of speech—knowing, factual falsehoods about oneself—uniquely crystallizes the question of whether, and to what extent, the self-definition interest merits protection under the First Amendment. By and large, there is no strong reason rooted in traditional First Amendment interests to protect these sorts of autobiographical lies. But if the self- definition interest has any meaningful constitutional force, then circumstances would surely exist under which such speech merits First Amendment protection, since freely choosing what to tell others about oneself—whether truth, half-truth, or falsehood—is a vital means of controlling how one defines oneself to the world.

After reviewing the current dispute surrounding the Stolen Valor Act, which has divided lower courts and at the time of this writing is pending before the Supreme Court, this Article outlines the doctrinal origins and basic characteristics of the self-definition interest. I argue that if one takes seriously the Supreme Court’s repeated assertions that the First Amendment is designed, at least in part, to preserve individual autonomy, then courts should accord at least some distinct constitutional weight to this interest. I then explore some of the practical implications of recognizing a constitutionally protected self-definition interest and apply these observations to the Stolen Valor Act, concluding that the Act, as currently constituted, should be deemed unconstitutional. Finally, I observe that a constitutionally protected right to define one’s public persona via one’s speech fits comfortably within the Constitution’s general protection of interests deemed essential to individual personhood.

Racial Critiques of Mass Incarceration: Beyond the New Jim Crow

James Forman, Jr.

In the last decade, a number of scholars have called the American criminal justice system a new form of Jim Crow. These writers have effectively drawn attention to the injustices created by a facially race-neutral system that severely ostracizes offenders and stigmatizes young, poor black men as criminals. This Article argues that despite these important contributions, the Jim Crow analogy leads to a distorted view of mass incarceration. The analogy presents an incomplete account of mass incarceration’s historical origins, fails to consider black attitudes toward crime and punishment, ignores violent crimes while focusing almost exclusively on drug crimes, obscures class distinctions within the African American community, and overlooks the effects of mass incarceration on other racial groups. Finally, the Jim Crow analogy diminishes our collective memory of the Old Jim Crow’s particular harms.


Overturning Precedent: The Case for Judicial Activism in Reengineering State Courts

The Honorable Paul J. De Muniz

Brennan Lecture

In the Seventeenth Annual Justice William J. Brennan, Jr. Lecture on State Courts and Social Justice, Paul J. De Muniz, Chief Justice of the Oregon Supreme Court, discusses the challenges confronting state judiciaries in the face of economic crises and corresponding state budget cuts. Chief Justice De Muniz urges state court leaders to adopt the concept of reengineering to overhaul antiquated court management processes in favor of more efficient alternatives. Drawing from the Oregon state judiciary’s own efforts, Chief Justice De Muniz identifies court governance structures, case administration, essential court functions, and leadership as key targets in any successful reengineering endeavor.


How Does One Operate or Manage an Enterprise? Insights from Boyle v. United States

Michael Levi Thomas

The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) is an innovative criminal and civil statute drafted by Congress to combat whole criminal organizations. Section 1962(c) of RICO, its most used provision, prohibits an individual from conducting or participating in the conduct of an enterprise’s affairs through a pattern of racketeering activity. In Reves v. Ernst & Young, the Supreme Court sought to resolve a circuit split over the interpretation of this section and ultimately held that the “operation or management” test would determine liability under § 1962(c). However, the Reves Court did not fully define the operation or management test, nor have the lower courts applied it in a consistent manner. Recently, Justice Stevens, dissenting in Boyle v. United States, alleged that the Court’s interpretation of RICO’s associated-in-fact enterprise element conflicted with Reves and the operation or management test. Justice Alito, writing for the majority, denied such a conflict. This Note continues that conversation by examining whether a conflict exists between the operation or management test and the Court’s interpretation of RICO’s associated-in-fact enterprise element. Finding that a strict conception of the operation or management test does conflict with the Court’s recent interpretation of associated-in-fact enterprise in Boyle, this Note proposes a less restrictive interpretation of § 1962(c), and thus a more flexible application of the Reves operation or management test, that more consistently interacts with a broad understanding of enterprise as defined in Boyle. Simply put, this Note argues that courts can hardly require that a RICO defendant play a role in the leadership of an enterprise itself, while readily applying RICO to enterprises that have no real leadership structure.

Anti-Gay Bullying in Schools—Are Anti-Bullying Statutes the Solution?

Lisa C. Connolly

In the last decade, anti-bullying legislation has rapidly proliferated, motivated in part by a string of highly publicized suicides by bullying victims—many of whom were targeted because of their sexual orientation. Despite heightened attention to the issue of anti-gay bullying, few statutes extend explicit protection to sexual minorities. In this Note, I argue that statutory proscriptions against bullying speech targeted at LGBT youth are necessary to ensure full protection for this particularly vulnerable group. Such limitations are constitutional under Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District, the Supreme Court’s seminal case on student speech. Just as importantly, explicit prohibitions on anti-gay speech place state authority behind a clear message that LGBT students are just as important as their heterosexual peers. This message helps construct a reality that leaves no room for anti-gay bullying—where full equality for sexual minorities is the norm, rather than the exception.

The Canon at the Water’s Edge

Thomas B. Bennett

What motivates substantive presumptions about how to interpret statutes? Are they like statistical heuristics that aim to predict Congress’s most likely behavior, or are they meant to protect certain underenforced values against inadvertent legislative encroachment? These two rationales, fact-based and value-based, are the extremes of a continuum. This Note uses the presumption against extraterritoriality to demonstrate this continuum and how a presumption can shift along it. The presumption operates to diminish the likelihood that a federal statute will be read to extend beyond the borders of the United States. The presumption has been remarkably stable for decades despite watershed changes in the principles—customary international law and conflict of laws—that once supported it. As the presumption’s normative justifications have diminished, a new justification has grown in importance. Today, the presumption is often justified as a stand-in for how Congress typically legislates. This Note argues that this change makes the presumption less defensible but even harder to overcome in individual cases.