Legal History

The Reconstruction Congress provided for civil rights removal jurisdiction to enable a state-court defendant with defenses based on federal civil rights to remove the case against them to federal court. A series of late nineteenth-century Supreme Court decisions rendered the provision practically useless until Congress invited federal courts to reinterpret the statute in the Civil Rights Act of 1964. New archival research reveals how lawyers at...

In a series of recent cases, the Supreme Court has reconfigured the administrative state in line with a particular version of Article II. According to the Court’s scheme, known as the theory of the “unitary executive,” all of the government’s operations must be housed under one of three branches, with the head of the executive branch shouldering unique and personal responsibility for the administration of federal law.

Guiding the...

In the 2022 case of Oklahoma v. Castro-Huerta, the Supreme Court departed from one of the foundational cases in federal Indian law, Worcester v. Georgia. Chief Justice John Marshall’s 1832 opinion had dismissed state power over Indian Country. But in Castro-Huerta, the Court took precisely the kind of arguments about state power that Chief Justice Marshall rejected in Worcester and turned them into the law of the land—without...

WEAPONIZING PEACE

Yuvraj Joshi*

American racial justice opponents regularly wield a desire for peace, stability, and harmony as a weapon to hinder movement toward racial equality. This Essay examines the weaponization of peace historically and in legal cases about property, education, protest, and public utilities. Such peace claims were often made in bad faith and with little or no evidence, and the discord they claimed to address was actually the result of hostility to racial...

This Essay offers a revisionist account of the Slaughter-House Cases. It argues that the opinion’s primary significance lies not in its gutting of the Privileges or Immunities Clause but in its omission of a people’s archive of slavery.

Decades before the decision, Black abolitionists began compiling the testimonies of refugees who had fled slavery. By 1872, this archival practice had produced a published record of Black struggle and...

It has become common to oppose the equal citizenship of transgender persons by appealing to the welfare of cisgender women and girls. Such Cis-Woman-Protective (CWP) arguments have driven exclusionary efforts in an array of contexts, including restrooms, sports, college admissions, and antidiscrimination law coverage. Remarkably, however, this unique brand of anti-trans contentions has largely escaped being historicized, linked together, or subjected...

The Constitution was written in the name of the “People of the United States.” And yet, many of the nation’s actual people were excluded from the document’s drafting and ratification based on race, gender, and class. But these groups were far from silent. A more inclusive constitutional history might capture marginalized communities’ roles as actors, not just subjects, in constitutional debates.

This Article uses the tools of legal...

When litigation outside the United States needs discovery inside the United States, U.S. judges provide assistance to their foreign counterparts. 28 U.S.C. § 1782 was designed to provide the statutory mechanism for this form of judicial assistance. But a recent empirical study has shown that, nowadays, a majority of requests for discovery assistance under 28 U.S.C. § 1782 come from private parties rather than from tribunals. And the proportion...

The Founders’ constitution—the one they had before the Revolution and the one they fought the Revolution to preserve—was one in which violence played a lawmaking role. An embrace of violence to assert constitutional claims is worked deeply into our intellectual history and culture. It was entailed upon us by the Founding generation, who sincerely believed that people “are only as free as they deserve to be” and that one could tell how...

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...