The law of armed conflict has a built-in accountability gap. Under international law, there is no individualized remedy for civilians whose property, bodies, or lives are destroyed in war. Accountability mechanisms for civilian harms are limited to unlawful acts: Individuals who willfully target civilians or otherwise commit serious violations of international humanitarian law may be prosecuted for war crimes, and states that commit internationally wrongful acts must make reparations under the law of state responsibility. But no entity is liable for lawful but unintended harmful acts—regardless of how many or how horrifically civilians are hurt. This Article proposes developing an international “war torts” regime, which would require states to pay for both lawful and unlawful acts in armed conflict that cause civilian harm. Just as tort and criminal law coexist and complement each other in domestic legal regimes, war torts and war crimes would overlap but serve different aims. Establishing war torts and creating a route to a remedy would not only increase the likelihood that victims would receive compensation, it would also create much-needed incentives for states to mitigate or reduce civilian harms. Ultimately, a war torts regime would further the law of armed conflict’s foundational purpose of minimizing needless civilian suffering.
Volume 97, Number 4
Policing agencies in the United States are engaging in mass collection of personal data, building a vast architecture of surveillance. License plate readers collect our location information. Mobile forensics data terminals suck in the contents of cell phones during traffic stops. CCTV maps our movements. Cheap storage means most of this is kept for long periods of time—sometimes into perpetuity. Artificial intelligence makes searching and mining the data a snap. For most of us whose data is collected, stored, and mined, there is no suspicion whatsoever of wrongdoing.
This growing network of surveillance is almost entirely unregulated. It is, in short, lawless. The Fourth Amendment touches almost none of it, either because what is captured occurs in public, and so is supposedly “knowingly exposed,” or because of the doctrine that shields information collected from third parties. It is unregulated by statutes because legislative bodies—when they even know about these surveillance systems—see little profit in taking on the police.
In the face of growing concern over such surveillance, this Article argues there is a constitutional solution sitting in plain view. In virtually every other instance in which personal information is collected by the government, courts require that a sound regulatory scheme be in place before information collection occurs. The rulings on the mandatory nature of regulation are remarkably similar, no matter under which clause of the Constitution collection is challenged.
This Article excavates this enormous body of precedent and applies it to the problem of government mass data collection. It argues that before the government can engage in such surveillance, there must be a regulatory scheme in place. And by changing the default rule from allowing police to collect absent legislative prohibition, to banning collection until there is legislative action, legislatures will be compelled to act (or there will be no surveillance). The Article defines what a minimally acceptable regulatory scheme for mass data collection must include and shows how it can be grounded in the Constitution.
The Supreme Court’s 2017 decision in Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v. Superior Court threatens a sea change in the relationship between personal jurisdiction and aggregate litigation. The most crucial concern has been what the decision means for class actions. Must a court subject the claims of every unnamed class member to separate jurisdictional scrutiny? If so, it could be impossible for a plaintiff who sues in her home state to represent class members outside that state; instead, the Constitution
would permit multistate or nationwide class actions only in states where the defendant is subject to general jurisdiction. For claims against a foreign defendant, no such state may exist.
This issue potentially implicates a range of difficult and unsettled doctrinal, practical, conceptual, and theoretical questions—about both personal jurisdiction and class actions. This Article, however, proposes a clean solution that coheres with existing case law while retaining the vitality of class actions to provide meaningful remedies in cases where systemic wrongs have nationwide consequences. On this approach, specific jurisdiction would be proper in any case where (a) there is specific jurisdiction over the named plaintiff’s claim against the defendant; and (b) a class action led by that plaintiff would satisfy the certification requirements of Rule 23. This solution finds support not only in longstanding practice prior to Bristol-Myers, but in the more fundamental principles and policies underlying specific jurisdiction. The impact of these underlying values has been further bolstered by the Supreme Court’s most recent decision on personal jurisdiction—Ford Motor Co. v. Montana Eighth Judicial District Court. The upshot is that personal jurisdiction can exist over a class action even if the forum state would not have personal jurisdiction over a hypothetical separate action by an out-of-state individual who is an unnamed member of the class.
Moreover, this Article’s proposal makes it unnecessary for courts to confront thornier questions that would otherwise arise. Those questions include: the proper timing and procedural mechanism for objecting to personal jurisdiction with respect to the claims of unnamed class members; whether the jurisdictional constraints apply differently in federal courts and state courts; whether they apply differently to claims based on substantive federal law as opposed to state-law claims; the precise scope and justification for pendent personal jurisdiction; and the extent to which post-service events in federal court (such as class certification) are subject to the more expansive Fifth Amendment test for federal court personal jurisdiction. Under this Article’s solution, courts have a straightforward way to examine personal jurisdiction over class actions that does not hinge on or implicate these other issues.
Supreme Court “companion cases” are decisions released on the exact same day that address substantially similar legal or factual matters. The list of consequential Supreme Court decisions that the Justices have resolved as part of a set of companion cases is lengthy: It includes NLRB v. Jones & Laughlin Steel Corp., Korematsu v. United States, Brown v. Board of Education, Terry v. Ohio, Roe v. Wade, Miller v. California, and Gregg v. Georgia. Although it is not surprising that important topics like civil rights and abortion generate significant amounts of litigation, the Supreme Court’s practice of conducting plenary review of multiple similar cases and issuing separate decisions resolving each one should give us pause. The Justices have a number of other procedural tools available for disposing of similar matters for which parties seek review. Options include granting certiorari for only one of the cases, vacating and remanding some of the matters, issuing at least one summary disposition, consolidating the cases, or releasing the decisions at very different times. The Court sidesteps these alternative approaches when it issues companion cases. Yet previous scholars have not devoted adequate attention to this practice as a distinct procedural mechanism, with unique characteristics that may motivate its usage. This Note fills that gap by studying some of the Court’s most famous companion cases and taxonomizing them into four categories—coordinate hedges, contested hedges, extensional reinforcements, and applicative reinforcements—based on factors including the voting behavior of the Justices and the constitutive decisions’ relationships to each other. The Note leverages that taxonomy to frame its analysis of why the Court chose to issue companion cases given all the procedural alternatives. This Note concludes by discussing how the practice of deciding certain sorts of companion cases—in which a majority of the Justices agree that they should resolve similar cases in ostensibly contradictory ways—may improve the Court’s legitimacy by accentuating its responsibility and capacity to collaboratively identify subtle distinctions between comparable cases that compel different outcomes.
In the tempestuous process of defining communities of interest for legislative redistricting—a process that will inevitably spark disagreement, dissatisfaction, and dissent—deferring boundary-setting to a physical, objective metric established by a community itself would appear to be a safe harbor, insulating line-drawers from criticism. The eruv—a physical structure encircling a Jewish community which
allows observant Jews to carry items outside the home on Shabbat—presents redistricters with an attractive way to craft districts that give political voice to the Jewish community. However, this Note argues that rather than serving as a safe harbor, this use of the eruv in redistricting presents a constitutional hazard, as it may run afoul of the Establishment Clause. The Supreme Court’s Establishment Clause jurisprudence clearly forbids a state from “delegat[ing] its civic authority to a group chosen according to a religious criterion.” The use of an eruv as a basis for redistricting, this Note argues, is precisely such a delegation: The state delegates its power to determine the boundaries of a community and the resultant district lines to religious authorities and a religious community, bucking the neutrality commanded by the Establishment Clause. While the precise shape of a particular district and the inputs leading to its creation will determine the presence of an Establishment Clause violation, the potential for such a violation in the case of eruv-based districts—and the concomitant potential for the politicization of religion and increased political division—has heretofore gone unnoticed.