Essay

Recent calls to defund the police were quickly followed by calls to fund social service agencies, including the family regulation apparatus. These demands fail to consider the shared carceral logic of the criminal legal and family regulation system. This Essay utilizes the term “family regulation system” to more accurately describe the surveillance apparatus commonly known as the “child welfare system.” The general premise of this system...

Arbitrary control over its own docket is the hallmark of the modern Supreme Court. While the Court’s power to choose its cases is a frequent subject of study, its practice of preselecting questions for review has received almost no attention. This is particularly surprising since the Court openly adds or subtracts questions in some of its most consequential and politicizing cases. Yet despite the significance of this practice, its origins are...

Issues relating to disability are undertheorized in the Supreme Court’s Fourth Amendment jurisprudence. Across the lower courts, although disability features prominently in excessive force cases, typically involving individuals with psychiatric disabilities, it features less prominently in other areas of Fourth Amendment doctrine. Similarly, scholars have yet to substantively address how the Fourth Amendment’s vast scope of police discretion...

STATUTORY INTERPRETATION FROM THE OUTSIDE

Kevin Tobia,* Brian G. Slocum** & Victoria Nourse***

How should judges decide which linguistic canons to apply in inter­preting statutes? One important answer looks to the inside of the legisla­tive process: Follow the canons that lawmakers contemplate. A different answer, based on the “ordinary meaning” doctrine, looks to the outside: Follow the canons that guide an ordinary person’s understanding of the legal text. We offer a novel framework for empirically testing linguistic canons “from...

THE CORPORATE GOVERNANCE MACHINE

Dorothy S. Lund* & Elizabeth Pollman**

The conventional view of corporate governance is that it is a neutral set of processes and practices that govern how a company is managed. We demonstrate that this view is profoundly mistaken: For public companies in the United States, corporate governance has become a “system” com­posed of an array of institutional players, with a powerful shareholderist orientation. Our original account of this “corporate governance machine” generates...

Between 2011 and 2015, 57,141 soldiers, sailors, and airmen were separated from service with less-than-honorable (LTH) discharges for mi­nor misconduct related to mental health problems. These discharges dis­proportionately affected servicemembers of color. These veterans and others like them face daunting reintegration challenges when they return to civilian society, as federal agencies and state governments deny them the benefits that usually...

BANKS AND CLIMATE GOVERNANCE

Sarah E. Light & Christina P. Skinner*

Major banks in the United States and globally have begun to assert an active role in the transition to a low-carbon economy and the reduction of climate risk through private environmental and climate governance. This Essay situates these actions within historical and economic contexts: It explains how the legal foundations of banks’ sense of social purpose intersect with their economic incentives to finance major structural tran­sitions in society....

Scholars have long worried about the legitimacy of the Supreme Court. But commentators have largely overlooked the inferior federal judiciary—and the potential tradeoffs between Supreme Court and lower court legitimacy. This Essay aims to call attention to those tradeoffs. When the Justices are asked to change the law in high-profile areas—such as abortion, affirmative action, or gun rights—they face a conundrum: To protect the legitimacy...

Corporations are under pressure to use their outsized power to benefit society, but this advocacy is unlikely to result in meaningful change because corporate law’s incentive structure rewards fiduciaries who maximize shareholder wealth. Therefore, this Essay proposes a way forward that works within the wealth-maximization framework and yet could result in dramatic social change. The idea is simple: Use private debt markets to provide incentives...

DISBANDING POLICE AGENCIES

Anthony O’Rourke,* Rick Su** & Guyora Binder***

Since the killing of George Floyd, a national consensus has emerged that reforms are needed to prevent discriminatory and violent policing. Calls to defund and abolish the police have provoked pushback, but several cities are considering disbanding or reducing their police forces. This Essay assesses disbanding as a reform strategy from a democratic and institutionalist perspective. Should localities disband their police forces? One reason to do...