NewYorkUniversity
LawReview
Current Issue

Volume 87, Number 2

May 2012
Articles

Religion and Race: On Duality and Entrenchment

Joy Milligan

Can religion or race ever be the basis for legitimate government policies? For several decades, constitutional law concerning both religion and race has moved toward a model of formal neutrality. At its most expansive, the formal neutrality model bars all religion- or race-based decisions by government.

Recently, though, the Court has rejected an absolutist version of neutrality in the religion context. While maintaining that the First Amendment’s religion clauses themselves require only impartiality, the Court has allowed governments space to pursue substantive, constitutionally grounded concerns about religion, even if the resulting policies favor or disfavor individuals based upon their religion. The Court calls this space the “play in the joints” of the religion clauses: It allows governments to pursue separation of church and state or affirmatively protect religious exercise. But in the equal protection context, the Court has not shown such flexibility toward race-based action that is inspired by constitutional concerns, whether the policies are aimed at racial integration or substantive racial equality.

In this Article, I argue that the religion clauses and the Equal Protection Clause serve similar dual goals: protecting minorities from substantive harms and preventing majorities from entrenching their own power via the state. Formal neutrality prevents governments from addressing these constitutionally based concerns. The Court apparently grasps this difficulty in the religion context and has resisted this outcome by providing play in the joints. Yet formal neutrality generates the same problems in the equal protection context. I argue that the Court should extend the notion of play in the joints to race doctrine. I conclude by explaining what this approach would require and how it would address the normative concerns underlying formal neutrality.

The Reasonable Person

Alan D. Miller, Ronen Perry

The Article sets forth a conclusive answer to one of the most fundamental questions in tort law, which has bedeviled and divided courts and scholars for centuries: Should reasonableness be a normative or a positive notion? Put differently, should the reasonable person be defined in accordance with a particular normative ethical commitment, be it welfare maximization, equal freedom, ethic of care, and so forth, or in accordance with an empirically observed practice or perception? Only after answering this question can one move on to selecting a concrete definition of reasonableness. Our own answer is radical but inescapable: Only normative definitions are logically acceptable. The Article does not endorse a particular definition of reasonableness. Instead, it focuses on the fundamental choice between the two conflicting paradigms. We put forward and defend the thesis that normative definitions are categorically preferable to positive definitions, because the latter are logically unacceptable, whereas the former merely raise partially surmountable practical problems. Although the Article focuses on the reasonable person in torts, the implications of our analysis are far-reaching, because the concept of reasonableness prevails in most areas of American law.

Notes

Judicial Resolution of EMTALA Screening Claims at Summary Judgment

Nathan S. Richards

The Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA) is a federal statute that requires hospitals to screen and, if necessary, treat and stabilize every individual who comes to the emergency department. To comply with EMTALA, a hospital’s screening must be performed uniformly for patients with similar symptoms. Courts have undermined the statute’s effectiveness, however, by routinely granting summary judgment to defendant hospitals charged with EMTALA screening violations. The ease with which hospitals prevail at the summary judgment stage fails to remedy and deter disparities in care. Moreover, it discourages emergency departments from using written protocols. The implementation of written guidelines for emergency-department care can significantly improve EMTALA’s effectiveness by making violations more easily ascertainable, encouraging hospitals to self-regulate, and substantially improving hospital care. This Note argues for a greater evidentiary burden on hospitals that would require a hospital, before it can be granted summary judgment, to elucidate explicitly the elements of its uniform screening procedure and demonstrate affirmatively that this procedure was employed during the plaintiff’s emergency room examination.

Stemming the Tide: On the Patentability of Stem Cells and Differentiation Processes

Leeron Morad

Embryonic stem cells present novel questions of patentable subject matter eligibility. This Note examines the patentability of two types of patents: embryonic stem cells and methods of differentiating embryonic stem cells. After explaining patentable subject matter doctrine and ways of testing whether an invention is patentable, the Note posits that neither type of invention is patentable because the biological principles involved in both types of inventions are almost identical to the biological phenomena that occur naturally in the developing embryo. Additionally, the Note explains that, from a normative standpoint, patents should not be granted over these inventions.

Prospective Allegiance

Alexander N. Li

What normative principles animate our laws on the conferral of citizenship? The present literature is divided between two competing ideas: the Consent Principle, which holds that citizenship stems from the mutual consent of the prospective citizen and the existing polity; and the Responsiveness Principle, which holds that citizenship is extended by the government in fulfillment of its duty to be responsive to the governed. In this Note, I argue that the Consent Principle is best understood as a background political theory and the Responsiveness Principle as an interpretive theory of law, and that thus understood, these principles are functionally complimentary rather than competitive. I then contribute a third idea called the Allegiance Proviso. The Allegiance Proviso says that, notwithstanding any affirmative obligations to the contrary, a government may withhold citizenship if it reasonably believes that a prospective citizen will not undertake the duties of citizenship— obedience to the laws and assistance in the common defense—in good faith. Taken together, the Consent Principle, Responsiveness Principle, and Allegiance Proviso form a coherent theory that fits our intuitions and illuminates the hard issues of citizenship today.

Who Wants to Know—And Why?: The Supreme Court’s Secret Purposivist Test for Exemptions from Association Membership Disclosure Laws

Brian J. Levy

In the recent case Doe v. Reed, the Supreme Court announced the test for associations to get exemptions for their members from membership disclosure laws under the First Amendment. The Doe test requires an organization to “show ‘a reasonable probability that the compelled disclosure of personal information will subject [its members] to threats, harassment, or reprisals from either Government officials or private parties.’” However, the Court’s stated test is inconsistent with its membership disclosure cases, including Doe’s own dicta. In response to this inconsistency, this Note identifies the secret two-part purposivist test the Court has actually applied in its eighty years of membership disclosure case law—one that focuses only on “Government officials.” Under its actual test, the Supreme Court asks (1) whether the association deserves judicial protection from the disclosure law at issue because the government has targeted it, and (2) whether the association’s activities are economic or criminal such that disclosure is outside the realm of paradigmatic—and therefore deeply felt—First Amendment harm. This Note then argues that the Supreme Court’s secret test is more consistent with existing doctrine than its announced Doe test, once the private parties that target associations are understood to be like a hostile audience.