The Dialogue

The University of Chicago Law Review Dialogue is the new source for online content published by The University of Chicago Law Review.  Beginning in 2012, The University of Chicago Law Review proudly continues its heritage of providing cutting-edge and topical legal scholarship to the legal community through publishing online exclusive articles.  This online platform will bring leading academics from around the legal community together to discuss recent scholarship and current events impacting the legal field.  The name Dialogue was inspired by the purpose of this platform, to inspire a genuine and timely exchange of ideas in legal scholarship.  Through The Dialogue, The University of Chicago Law Review looks forward to cultivating a new process by which academics and practitioners can teach, learn, and inspire in much the same way that law reviews have inspired scholarly dialogues for generations.  We sincerely await the dialogues to come.

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The Relative Virtues of Bottom-Up and Top-Down Theories of Fair Use

Pamela Samuelson

In the forty years since the fair use doctrine was codified, courts have grappled with fair use defenses in hundreds of cases. One of the great virtues of fair use is its flexibility, for it allows courts in a wide variety of contexts to balance the interests of copyright owners in having control over unfair exploitations of their works and the interests of follow-on creators and other users in having some freedom to make reasonable uses of copyrighted materials, some of which may have spillover benefits for the public at large. Yet, because of the fact-intensive and case-by-case nature of the common law of fair use, commentators often complain that it is unpredictable and incoherent.

83 U Chi L Rev Online 206 (2017) [Essay PDF]

A Response to Abraham Bell and Gideon Parchomovsky, The Dual-Grant Theory of Fair Use, 83 U Chi L Rev 1051 (2016) [Article PDF]

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The Demands of an Interpretive Theory of Contract

Peter Benson

Professor Robin Kar’s Contract as Empowerment represents a thoughtful and ambitious effort to introduce a unified general theory of contract law that, in his words, “offers a fundamental reinterpretation of the basic principles that animate contract law” and that, on this basis, can harmonize the “central doctrinal challenges for modern contract theory.” As Kar rightly points out, contract as empowerment goes against the current of prevailing contract theories. Unlike economic approaches, it is a noninstrumentalist theory that aims to provide a reasonable interpretation of the settled principles of contract law taken on their own terms. In doing so, the theory justifies these principles on moral grounds consistent with contracts having genuine, legally obligatory (coercive) force. His conception of interpretive legal theory rejects the widely and uncritically assumed dichotomy between “descriptive” and “normative” perspectives, arguing instead that a satisfactory approach to law must be both at once. In contrast to promissory theories, contract as empowerment does not rest on or even “recommend the legal enforcement of the moral obligation to keep one’s promises.” Moreover, unlike promissory and reliance-based theories, it recognizes the centrality of the consideration require- ment and seeks to explain it. In doing so, Kar follows through on his fundamental contention that, ideally, any viable theory of contract law must have the resources to account for all of contract law’s main doctrines and principles within a unified moral framework. Finally, as opposed to distributive-justice approaches, contract as empowerment aims to justify the whole of contract law in light of a nondistributive conception of what is reasonable and fair as between the two contracting parties. Even if, as I argue, there may be difficulties with some of the answers of the proposed theory, it does make clear the sort of inquiry that is needed if, contrary to prevailing views, there is to be a sound general interpretive theory of the main doctrines of contract law. 

83 U Chi L Rev Online 190 (2017) [Essay PDF]

A Response to Robin Kar, Contract as Empowerment, 83 U Chi L Rev 759 (2016) [Article PDF]

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Implicit Stereotyping as Unfair Prejudice in Evidence Law

Ted Sampsell-Jones

In her excellent new article, Professor Anna Roberts attacks existing doctrine regarding the application of Rule 609, which governs admissibility of prior convictions for impeachment. She argues that Rule 609, at least as it has been interpreted by courts, has turned into a disaster of evidence law. Resting on fictional assumptions, courts let far too many prior convictions in, especially against criminal defendants. Doing so seriously distorts the accuracy of the fact-finding process, in part by discouraging defendants from testifying. In order to remedy this problem, she proposes that courts should recognize implicit racial bias as a type of unfair prejudice under Rule 609 and therefore exclude more convictions.

Along with the existing literature on Rule 609, Roberts has demonstrated beyond peradventure that the case law is indeed a disaster. She has also added the important new insight that part of the problem with Rule 609 is the implicit racial bias that many jurors bring with them to the courtroom.

Nonetheless, I am not convinced that her proposed remedy—recognizing implicit bias as a source of unfair prejudice—is sound as a matter of evidence law. That remedy, if accepted, cannot be easily cabined to Rule 609. Roberts’s arguments, if taken to their logical conclusion, threaten to disrupt other rules as well. They also threaten to undermine some of the rough compromises that, on the whole, benefit criminal defendants of all races. In short, her arguments may prove too much.

83 U Chi L Rev Online 174 (2017) [Essay PDF]

A Response to Anna Roberts, Reclaiming the Importance of the Defendant's Testimony: Prior Conviction Impeachment and the Fight against Implicit Stereotyping, 83 U Chi L Rev 835 (2016) [Article PDF]

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The Relegation of Polarization

Nicholas O. Stephanopoulos

Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA)—the crucial provision banning racial vote dilution—does not mention racial polarization in voting. Nor does polarization feature prominently in the list of factors included in the Senate report accompanying the Act; it is addressed by just one of the list’s ten or so items. Nevertheless, thanks to the Supreme Court’s epochal 1986 decision construing the Act, Thornburg v Gingles, polarization is “the undisputed and unchallenged center” of vote dilution law. It accounts, in fact, for two of Gingles’s three preconditions for liability: a “minority group must be able to show that it is politically cohesive” and also “must be able to demonstrate that the white majority votes sufficiently as a bloc.” Polarization is simply the difference between these quantities: minority support for a minority-preferred candidate minus white support for the candidate.

Despite its doctrinal centrality, polarization remains a mysterious concept, both in theory and in practice. As a theoretical matter, it is far from clear why a plaintiff must prove polarization to prevail in a vote dilution challenge. Is it because polarization reveals discrimination by white voters against minority candidates of choice? Or because the pluralist marketplace is malfunctioning—the usual deals between groups not being made—when polarization is high? Or because certain electoral policies can interact with polarization to prevent minority-preferred candidates from winning office? And as a practical matter, it is even more obscure how polarization should be established. The lower courts are sharply divided as to the elections that are relevant, the levels of minority cohesion and white bloc voting that are sufficient, the way to identify minority candidates of choice, and many other issues.

83 U Chi L Rev Online 160 (2017) [Essay PDF]

A Response to Christopher S. Elmendorf, Kevin M. Quinn, and Marisa A. Abrajano, Racially Polarized Voting, 83 U Chi L Rev 587 (2016) [Article PDF]

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Plausible Theory, Implausible Conclusions

Lonny Hoffman

Nearly a decade after the Supreme Court first undertook to heighten pleading requirements, fierce debate continues to rage over its decisions in Bell Atlantic Corp v Twombly and Ashcroft v Iqbal. Part of the debate has been doctrinal. Directed to set aside conclusory allegations, and then to decide if those remaining are plausible, trial courts struggle consistently to apply these unfamiliar steps at the pleading stage. Another part of the debate is empirical. Although researchers have studied the cases in the lower courts from many different angles, Professor William Hubbard joins a band of skeptics who believe that the quantitative evidence is still inconclusive and that a clear picture of the decisions' effects remains elusive. Starting from the aporetic premise, Hubbard says that while the legal community waits to see if the empirical research can ever provide illumination, it needs a new approach.

83 U Chi L Rev Online 143 (2016) [Essay PDF]

A Response to William H.J. Hubbard, A Fresh Look at Plausibility Pleading, 83 U Chi L Rev 693 (2016) [Article PDF]

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The Statutory Case against Off-Label Promotion

Nathan Cortez

One of the most vexing problems in drug and device regulation is “off-label” promotion--when a company markets uses for a product that have not been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Off-label use can range from conspicuous (prescribing a product for an unapproved medical condition or patient group) to more subtle (prescribing beyond the approved dosage, duration, or any other parameter set forth in the approved labeling). The challenge posed by off-label promotion derives from a well-established dichotomy: the FDA has jurisdiction to regulate manufacturers and the claims they make about their products, but has no jurisdiction to regulate the practice of medicine or physicians’ prescribing behavior. This dichotomy not only creates the temptation for companies to promote off-label uses, but also creates a regulatory conundrum for the FDA.

83 U Chi L Rev Online 124 (2016) [Essay PDF]

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Safety First? The Deceptive Allure of Full Reserve Banking

Morgan Ricks

In Safe Banking, Professor Adam Levitin joins a venerable tradition in the money and banking literature. That tradition, called full reserve banking, has claimed a number of illustrious supporters over the years, including Professors Irving Fisher, Henry Simons, and Milton Friedman. The basic idea of full reserve banking is seductive in its simplicity: “banks” should own nothing but physical cash. Because a full reserve bank has no investments, it can suffer no investment losses. A run on such a bank would be harmless, because the bank would never fail to meet redemptions (barring any loss or theft of cash). The process of bank money creation, familiar to any student of Economics 101, would go away. Money creation would be exclusively a government affair; “banks” would be pass-through vehicles, true depositories of currency. Our elaborate system of prudential bank regulation and supervision would be needless.

83 U Chi L Rev Online 97 (2016) [Essay PDF]

A Response to Adam J. Levitin, Safe Banking: Finance and Democracy, 83 U Chi L Rev 357 (2016) [Article PDF]

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Incidental Burdens and the Nature of Judicial Review

Michael C. Dorf

Professors Joseph Blocher and Darrell Miller deserve enor­mous credit for identifying a heretofore largely unrecognized problem. They explain that common-law doctrines and general statutes that are not instances of conventional gun control can nonetheless be applied in ways that limit the freedom to own, pos­sess, and use firearms. They ask: “Does the Second Amendment apply to civil suits for trespass, negligence, and nuisance? Does the Amendment cover gun-neutral laws of general applicability like assault and disturbing the peace?” More broadly, should the application of such doctrines and laws trigger Second Amendment scrutiny? Blocher and Miller offer a framework for thinking about an important set of unresolved questions.

This Essay has three goals of its own. Part I is a compliment disguised as a quibble. In responding to Blocher and Miller’s char­acterization of my own analysis of incidental burdens, I note that their article is an important contribution to the literature on the Second Amendment as a whole, not just incidental burdens thereon. Part II notes an important distinction between other rights that might be incidentally burdened by general laws—es­pecially speech, religion, and equal protection—and the Second Amendment right to own, possess, and use firearms. Each of the former has a strong equality component. That difference might lead one to conclude that direct burdens on these other rights ought to trigger greater scrutiny than direct burdens on Second Amendment rights. Part III explains how Blocher and Miller have identified what ought to be, but is not yet, a central concern of jurisprudence: when and how to pick out a particular legal ob­ligation from the entire legal corpus and call that particular ob­ligation a distinct law.

83 U Chi L Rev Online 97 (2016) [Essay PDF]

A Response to Joseph Blocher and Darrell A.H. Miller, What Is Gun Control? Direct Burdens, Incidental Burdens, and the Boundaries of the Second Amendment, 83 U Chi L Rev 295 (2016) [Article PDF]

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The University of Chicago Law Review Online


Presidential Politics and the 113th Justice


   Amy Howe
   83 U Chi L Rev Online 1

The West Wing, the Senate, and "The Supremes" (Redux)

   Lisa McElroy
   83 U Chi L Rev Online 8

Restoring the Lost Confirmation

   Randy E. Barnett & Josh Blackman
   83 U Chi L Rev Online 18

The Constitutional Propriety of Ideological "Litmus Tests" for Judicial Appointments

   Michael Stokes Paulsen
   83 U Chi L Rev Online 28

The Fight for Equal Protection: Reconstruction-Redemption Redux

   Kermit Roosevelt III & Patricia Stottlemyer
   83 U Chi L Rev Online 36

The 2016 Election, the Supreme Court, and Racial Justice

   Erwin Chemerinsky
   83 U Chi L Rev Online 49

Justice Scalia, the 2016 Presidential Election, and the Future of Church-State Relations

   Marci A. Hamilton
   83 U Chi L Rev Online 61

Donald Trump and Other Agents of Constitutional Change

   Michael C. Dorf
   83 U Chi L Rev Online 72

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Taxes, Subsidies, and Knowledge: A Reply to Professor Oei

Michael Simkovic

In The Knowledge Tax, I argued that federal taxes and subsidies in aggregate likely disadvantage investments in higher education relative to other investments. When it comes to investments in higher education, the tax rates are higher and the tax base is larger.

The purpose of The Knowledge Tax is not to assert that the only explanation for underinvestment in higher education is differences in tax treatment and subsidies. Rather, The Knowledge Tax highlights that a simple neoclassical model can explain much of the observed data, and that a simple and underexplored explanation is credibly at least one important driver. An economic model can remove higher education policy from the realm of anecdotes and narrow interest group politics, and situate higher education in broader conversations about efficiency (relative to alternatives), investment, and economic growth.

As Professor Shu-Yi Oei’s response highlights, even demonstrating that higher education is at a disadvantage relative to other investments would be a substantial contribution to the scholarly literature. Demonstrating such a disadvantage would shift the policy question from whether we should subsidize higher education to how we should counter anti-education policies embedded in the tax system. Particular taxes and subsidies can best be understood within a broader context.

83 U Chi L Rev Online 82 (2016) [Essay PDF]

Supply, Demand, and the Taxation of Knowledge

Shu-Yi Oei

In The Knowledge Tax, Professor Michael Simkovic tackles the question of why rates of return on higher education are higher than rates of return on other types of investments, such as equity and real estate. Dissatisfied with existing explanations advanced by labor economists, the additional account that he offers is distortionary taxation: specifically, we tax higher education less favorably than other investments, thereby driving down demand for higher education relative to alternatives. This creates an undersupply of labor and buttresses education’s rate of return.

. . .

First, it is not clear that higher education is, in fact, taxed less favorably than traditional investments. As others have pointed out, a potentially significant component of human capital investment—forgone earnings—is not taxed at all. Furthermore, Simkovic’s analysis focuses on the tax rules affecting demand for higher education while largely ignoring those that might affect supply. But surely in a market as idiosyncratic as the one for higher education, supply-side tax provisions play a nontrivial role. The impact of tax incentives on the supply of higher education needs to be more thoroughly understood before we can assess the relative treatments of human and other capital.

Second, Simkovic’s analysis rests on the assumption that higher education and capital investment are substitutes, but it is not clear the extent to which this is the case. The market for education is distinctive, and an economic analysis like the one that Simkovic presents may not provide an accurate picture of real-world decisionmaking. This question of how higher education decisions are actually made is foundational to Simkovic’s argument, so it could have been explored in greater depth.

Relatedly, to the extent that tax considerations play a role in the decisions of potential students, we need a theory of which tax incentives matter. Lumping together “the taxation of higher education” to contrast it with the taxation of traditional investments is an effective rhetorical move if one wants to wrestle the optimal tax elephant, but the salience revolution is upon us. As this growing body of literature reveals, not all tax incentives are created equal, and depending on design, timing, and other features, some are likely to be more salient than others. The Knowledge Tax left me craving a typology of which tax rules are likely to matter at the time people decide whether to pursue higher education, which ones are likely to go unnoticed, and how design considerations may affect the effectiveness of various tax provisions. Parts I through III address each of these points in turn.

82 U Chi L Rev Dialogue 268 (2016) [Essay PDF]

Regulating Innovation

William W. Fisher III

Professors Ian Ayres and Amy Kapczynski argue persuasively that threats to penalize private actors for failing to innovate can sometimes be more effective and efficient than either intellectual property rights or monetary incentives as mechanisms for inducing socially beneficial innovation. This Essay suggests some modest adjustments of their analysis that might assist lawmakers when considering use of this important tool.

Part I summarizes (in terms slightly different from those used by Ayres and Kapczynski) the traditional theory of innovation economics and then situates their argument within that theory. Part II provides an example of the type of governmental intervention that Ayres and Kapczynski advocate: a mechanism that Professor Talha Syed and I have proposed as a way of improving the pattern of innovation in the pharmaceutical industry. Part III uses that example to offer a few modifications to Ayres and Kapczynski’s analysis of the circumstances in which norms of this type would be appropriate.

82 U Chi L Rev Dialogue 251 (2016) [Essay PDF]

Is Abood Irrelevant?

Daniel Hemel and David Louk

This Essay does not take a position on whether Abood will—or ought to—survive. Instead, we set out to answer a different question: Why do government employers and unions in more than twenty states continue to choose agency shop arrangements over alternative mechanisms for addressing the free rider problem in public sector workplaces? If a public sector employer wants to make sure that a labor union is compensated for the cost of representing nonmembers, the employer could just as easily reimburse the union for those expenses directly. To offset the cost of this direct payment, the employer could then reduce each employee’s salary by an amount equal to the employee’s share of the union’s collective bargaining expenses while also freeing employees from the obligation to pay agency fees. This direct payment alternative would seem to accomplish the same objective as existing agency shop arrangements: it would prevent employees who are not union members from reaping the benefits of union representation without sharing the costs. And while the wages of public sector employees would be reduced by their pro rata shares of the union’s bargaining costs, existing agency shop arrangements already reduce wages by that amount, since employees must pay their pro rata shares in the form of union dues or agency fees.

. . .

In this Essay, we compare and contrast the basic features of the agency shop arrangement and the direct payment alternative, and we consider the constitutional, economic, and political factors that might lead state and local governments and public sector unions to choose one approach over the other. On first glance, the direct payment alternative appears to be the more advantageous approach for all parties involved: state and local governments, employees, and unions. Thus the puzzle: Why does the agency shop approach persist today? We present several hypotheses drawn from behavioral economics and political psychology—and, in particular, from the emerging literature on the salience of taxes and fees—that might explain why employers and unions would opt for agency shop arrangements despite the apparent advantages of the direct payment alternative. We conclude by considering the practical consequences of a possible Supreme Court decision overruling Abood.

82 U Chi L Rev Dialogue 227 (2015) [Essay PDF]

Intermediary Influence and Competition: Berkshire versus KKR

Lawrence A. Cunningham

This Essay highlights two powerhouses representing opposite ends of the spectrum of financial intermediation: Berkshire Hathaway, the conglomerate built by Warren Buffett that eschews financial intermediation, and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR), the pioneering private equity firm that thrives on such intermediation. The juxtaposition illustrates both the intermediary influence that Judge describes and the efficacy of her prescription to counter it with transparent low-cost rivals.

After presenting this comparison and drawing related implications, this Essay offers broader reflections on Judge’s work, principally by posing four questions: How much should we expect financial intermediaries’ fees to decline due to technological advances in light of countervailing factors such as globalization and complexity that may sustain high fees? Is it feasible to distinguish the influence on institutional arrangements of specific intermediaries from the influence and effects of other participants? Is intermediary influence invariably exerted primarily to benefit intermediaries or instead to aid producers or even consumers? And can the causal arrow be discerned—that is, is it clear that certain institutional arrangements exist because of intermediary influence, or might institutional arrangements such as oligopolistic industry structures cause the influence? This Essay stresses that, far from constituting criticism of Judge’s work, such questions warrant further research precisely because her work is so important and fruitful.

82 U Chi L Rev Dialogue 177 (2015) [Essay PDF]

A Response to Kathryn Judge, Intermediary Influence, 82 U Chi L Rev 573 (2015) [Article PDF]

Who Should Be Liable for Online Anonymous Defamation?

Ronen Perry and Tal Z. Zarsky

The advent of Web 2.0 technologies and applications has enabled average people—who were previously mere consumers of online content—to publish their own content on various websites, such as blogs, consumer-evaluation platforms (such as Amazon, eBay, and TripAdvisor), news websites (through reader comments), social networking services (such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn), media-sharing websites (such as Instagram and YouTube), and collaborative-writing projects (such as Wikipedia). Some of these user contributions may be defamatory, and one of the most complex and intriguing legal questions in this context is: Who should be liable for defamatory statements made online by anonymous (or pseudonymous) users? This Essay critically evaluates the answers given in various Western jurisdictions and argues that economic analysis supports a revolutionary liability regime, which we call “residual indirect liability.”

82 U Chi L Rev Dialogue 162 (2015) [Essay PDF]

Changing What Judges Do

Toby J. Heytens

I wish I had found a way to write about this first. Professor Matthew Tokson starts with a great topic: the possibility that the very judges charged with implementing new doctrines or other legal rules will sometimes end up resisting them instead. Tokson’s article brings together a bunch of interesting examples, and it offers sensible and by-and-large compelling explanations for what unites those examples, as well as criteria for identifying further ones. It even has a neat title.

This being a response, I will, of course, be doing some responding. My first point involves the source and nature of the challenge. Tokson has identified a variety of broadly applicable and not obviously “political” preferences that may slow the pace at which judges implement new legal requirements. At the same time, however, I suggest that using the word “nonideological” may not be the best way of capturing at least some of the preferences that Tokson identifies (for example, a bias in favor of the status quo) and that the strength of some of those preferences (for example, a preference for familiar rules over unfamiliar standards) may vary substantially from judge to judge. Second, although I think that Tokson is onto something when he suggests that “scholars looking for noncompliance in controversial, highly publicized constitutional law cases have been looking in exactly the wrong place,” it seems to me that Tokson’s own map is missing at least one of the most important markers: for example, the extent to which a particular judicial ruling will be subject to meaningful appellate review. Third, and most broadly, I think that the term “judicial resistance” is surprisingly hard to pin down and perhaps should be abandoned in favor of a broader approach focused on potential barriers to effectuating legal change.

82 U Chi L Rev Dialogue 151 (2015) [Essay PDF]

A Response to Matthew Tokson, Judicial Resistance and Legal Change, 82 U Chi L Rev 901 (2015) [Article PDF]

Libertarian Administrative Law, or Administrative Law?

John Harrison

This Essay is written with the advantage of hindsight, as the Supreme Court has now decided Perez v Mortgage Bankers Association (“Mortgage Bankers”) and Department of Transportation v Association of American Railroads. The DC Circuit’s decisions in those cases are leading instances of what Professors Cass Sunstein and Adrian Vermeule call “libertarian administrative law,” which “seeks to use administrative law to push and sometimes shove policy in libertarian directions, primarily through judge-made doctrines that lack solid support in the standard legal sources.” Sunstein and Vermeule argue that this trend “should be cabined by the Supreme Court or by the DC Circuit itself.”

In both Mortgage Bankers and Association of American Railroads, the Supreme Court unanimously reversed the DC Circuit, but in neither did the Court read the riot act to the court of appeals. In Mortgage Bankers, three concurring justices took the trouble to grapple with the legal problem the lower court had tried to resolve, while ultimately rejecting its solution. That problem, which was created by the Supreme Court’s cases, is likely to soon receive the Court’s attention in an appropriate case. Association of American Railroads was decided on the narrowest of three possible grounds. The Court concluded that Amtrak is part of the government for purposes of the nondelegation doctrine, and so it did not have to consider that doctrine’s application to grants of authority to private people. Justice Samuel Alito, in concurrence, noted that the DC Circuit’s conclusion that Amtrak is private “understandably” relied on the statutory text. The Court did not take the opportunity to endorse the position that Sunstein and Vermeule attribute to its cases: grants of authority to private people are permissible as long as Congress provides an intelligible principle.

Those cases are routine manifestations of the relationship between the Supreme Court and the DC Circuit, in which the lower court does much of the work of administrative law but with meaningful supervision. In my view, Sunstein and Vermeule have not shown that the Court confronts an emergency in that relationship because the DC Circuit has produced a body of libertarian administrative law that “lacks sufficient respect for existing law, including, emphatically, controlling precedents of the Supreme Court”; that is “without sufficient warrant in existing sources of law, including the decisions of the Supreme Court itself”; or that is “lawless.” This Essay examines the DC Circuit cases that Sunstein and Vermeule discuss (except for Business Roundtable v Securities and Exchange Commission, which I am not qualified to assess) and argues that the DC Circuit has not produced a set of cases meeting that description. I argue that some of the authors’ characterizations of a decision as libertarian are inapt and that some of the cases they discuss are not administrative law. None of the administrative law decisions they discuss (again, with one possible exception) is a substantial departure from the Court’s precedents. The DC Circuit makes mistakes and judges are influenced by their policy views. In the old saw about the news business, those are “dog bites man” stories. These mistakes are unfortunate. But they are not out of the ordinary.

82 U Chi L Rev Dialogue 134 (2015) [Essay PDF]

A Response to Cass R. Sunstein and Adrian Vermeule, Libertarian Administrative Law, 82 U Chi L Rev 393 (2015) [Article PDF]

The University of Chicago Law Review Dialogue

Online Symposium

Grassroots Innovation & Regulatory Adaptation


Food Trucks, Incremental Innovation, and Regulatory Ruts

 Beth Kregor

Regulating the Underground: Secret Supper Clubs, Pop-Up Restaurants, and the Role of Law

Sarah Schindler

The Political Economy of Crowdsourcing: Markets for Labor, Rewards, and Securities 

Richard A. Epstein

A Conceptual Framework for the Regulation of Cryptocurrencies

Omri Marian

Tax Regulation, Transportation Innovation, and the Sharing Economy

Jordan M. Barry & Paul L. Caron

The Social Costs of Uber

Brishen Rogers

Airbnb: A Case Study in Occupancy Regulation and Taxation

Roberta A. Kaplan & Michael L. Nadler

Self-Regulation and Innovation in the Peer-to-Peer Sharing Economy

Molly Cohen & Arun Sundararajan

The Habeas Optimist

Lee Kovarsky

For those who believe that legal rules are supposed to predictably map events onto outcomes, federal postconviction law is a frustrating mess. Most of those who try to make sense of it end up with some variant of a pretty cynical model: if the claimant is an inmate convicted in state court, then federal relief is unavailable. Some of us, however, remain cautiously receptive to theories that high-court habeas outcomes express a more complex function. In Habeas and the Roberts Court, Professor Aziz Huq establishes himself as the field’s foremost academic optimist.

81 U Chi L Rev Dialogue 108 [Essay PDF]

A Response to Aziz Z. Huq, Habeas and the Roberts Court, 81 U Chi L Rev 519 [Article PDF]

Inter Partes Review: An Early Look at the Numbers

Brian J. Love and Shawn Ambwani

In the roughly two years since inter partes review (IPR) replaced inter partes reexamination, petitioners have filed almost two thousand requests for the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) to review the validity of issued US patents. As partial data on IPR has trickled out via the blogosphere, interest from patent practitioners and judges has grown to a fever (and sometimes fevered) pitch. To date, however, no commentator has collected a comprehensive set of statistics on IPR. Moreover, what little data currently exists focuses on overall institution and invalidation rates—data that, alone, gives us little idea whether IPR is thus far accomplishing its original goal of serving as an efficient alternative to defending patent suits filed in federal court, particularly those initiated by nonpracticing entities (NPEs).

81 U Chi L Rev Dialogue 93 [Essay PDF]

Campaign Finance, Federalism, and the Case of the Long-Armed Donor

Todd E. Pettys

While promoting a new book this past spring, retired justice John Paul Stevens sat down for interviews with Jeffrey Toobin of the New Yorker and Adam Liptak of the New York Times. In both conversations, Stevens sharply criticized the ruling that the US Supreme Court had handed down a few weeks earlier in McCutcheon v Federal Election Commission ... Toobin recounted Stevens’s criticism: 

“It’s a grossly incorrect decision,” Stevens said. “The very first sentence of the Chief Justice’s opinion lays out a basic error in this whole jurisprudence. He says that there is ‘no right more basic in our democracy’ than to pick our elected officials. But the case is not about whether individuals can pick their own congressmen. It’s about giving lots of campaign contributions, picking other people’s congressmen, not your own.”

Was Shaun McCutcheon trying to pick “other people’s congressmen,” as Justice Stevens charged, or was he trying to pick his own? Under the vision of federalism that Stevens endorsed on behalf of a majority of the Court nearly twenty years ago, McCutcheon was trying to choose his own leaders.... Even if one takes the contrary view of our federal system and posits that senators and representatives represent only the states and districts from which they come, the First Amendment stands as an obstacle to concluding that long-armed donors’ campaign activities may be uniquely restricted. Absent a dramatic shift, Citizens United and other increasingly entrenched features of our political culture strongly suggest that cross-border campaign spending is here to stay.

81 U Chi L Rev Dialogue 77 [Essay PDF]


Ian Ayres

In Libertarian Paternalism, Path Dependence, and Temporary Law, Professors Tom Ginsburg, Jonathan S. Masur, and Richard H. McAdams (GMM) present an attractive theory of “temporary law” as law that expires after a set period of time. Their theory builds a persuasive normative case that in limited circumstances, temporary law might usefully dislodge a preexisting equilibrium. Like the archaic Alka-Seltzer ads, there may be times when a legally induced “try it, you’ll like it” strategy produces a superior, new separating equilibrium.

81 U Chi L Rev Dialogue 72 [Essay PDF]

The Problem of Biased Experts, and Blinding as a Solution: A Response to Professor Gelbach

Christopher Robertson

In a recent symposium article, Professor Jonah Gelbach discusses the problem that a litigant in the American adversarial system can consult multiple expert witnesses on a given question but only disclose the single most favorable opinion to the fact finder (a jury, judge, or arbitrator). He calls this the problem of “expert mining.” In particular, Gelbach considers whether a policy that requires litigants to disclose to the fact finder the number of experts that they consulted might be a satisfactory solution to the problem. Alternatively, Gelbach considers whether an even more radical change to the American litigation system—the exclusion of all expert opinions rendered after the first one—might be necessary. In doing so, Gelbach extensively discusses my own work on this problem and the third solution I developed in a 2010 article, Blind Expertise. There, I show that expert mining is one part of a broader problem of expert bias, and I propose a conditional-disclosure rule as the solution. This Essay provides some analysis of Gelbach’s framing of the problem, reviews the blinding proposal, and identifies the limits of Gelbach’s analyses.

81 U Chi L Rev Dialogue 61 [Essay PDF]

How a "Labor Dispute" Would Help the NCAA

Michael H. LeRoy

When a ruling by a National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) regional director determined that Northwestern University football players who receive athletic scholarships are employees and therefore eligible to vote in a union-representation election, the multi-billion dollar enterprise known as Division I football was rocked to its foundation. In this essay Professor LeRoy argues that a “labor dispute,” as defined by the Norris-LaGuardia Act, would benefit the NCAA because it would divest federal courts of jurisdiction to hear an antitrust case. In the long run, antitrust liability poses a bigger threat to NCAA interests than does player unionization. Therefore, it is in the NCAA’s interest to: embrace the union-representation process; engage in “hard bargaining,” particularly because its bargaining strength is pitted against the weak bargaining power of college athletes; and anticipate implementing the terms and conditions of a collective bargaining agreement. 

81 U Chi L Rev Dialogue 44 [Essay PDF]

Letting Congress Be Congress: A Comment on Tiers of Scrutiny in Enumerated Powers Jurisprudence

Michael J. Gerhardt

In his recently published article, Tiers of Scrutiny in Enumerated Powers Jurisprudence, Professor Huq has proposed a sophisticated theory of judicial review that asks the Supreme Court in effect to allow Congress to be Congress. He argues that the Supreme Court’s “enumerated powers jurisprudence” has no principled basis in the Constitution; allows the Court to manufacture or manipulate, without good reason and with often quite negative consequences, various tiers of scrutiny; and is essentially a means or cover for judicial policy making. As an alternative to the Court’s manipulative doctrine, he suggests a “lockstep” approach requiring the Supreme Court to “jettison its use of discontinuous tiers of scrutiny and instead deploy a unitary standard of review for all of Congress’s enumerated powers.”
There is much to admire in Professor Huq’s analysis. He offers an insightful explication and critique of the Supreme Court’s landmark decisions in several fields that ought to be familiar to every law student, including the Commerce, Spending, and Taxing Powers. His focus is carefully circumscribed but his objectives are huge—including, inter alia, eliminating legislative arbitrage and facilitating greater judicial clarity, coherence, and candor.  His goals are, of course, laudable, and his proposed lockstep, or single, uniform standard for the Supreme Court to use in reviewing the constitutionality of statutes bearing on federalism (federalism enactments) is intriguing and seems well designed to achieve its stated objectives.
Nonetheless, I argue in this Essay that both Professor Huq’s descriptive and normative analyses raise some serious questions, which risk undermining the utility, coherence, and appeal of his project.

80 U Chi L Rev Dialogue 291 [Essay PDF]

A Response to Aziz Z. Huq, Tiers of Scrutiny in Enumerated Powers Jurisprudence, 80 U Chi L Rev 575 [Article PDF]

Getting Substantive: A Response to Posner and Vermeule

Charles L. Barzun

The intellectual historian Professor J.G.A. Pocock once lamented that arguments about scholarly methodology often amounted to little more than telling one’s colleagues, “you should not be doing your job; you should be doing mine.” In their article, Inside or Outside the System?, Professors Eric Posner and Adrian Vermeule at first seem to escape this charge. Their point is not that you should be doing their job instead of yours; rather, you should just pick a job and do it consistently. Specifically, they argue that a good deal of legal scholarship is premised on inconsistent assumptions about what motivates governmental officials. The targets of their critique are scholars who first adopt the “external” perspective of political scientists by assuming that government officials act rationally so as to maximize their own self-interest, and then offer as a solution to the problem created by such self-interested behavior—now from the “internal” perspective of a normative legal scholar speaking to judges—a remedy whose implementation depends on governmental officials (typically judges) acting in the public’s interest rather than their own. According to the Authors, this attempt to adopt two inconsistent perspectives simultaneously results in “methodological schizophrenia.”

The Authors put their finger on a tension that arises when legal scholars make use of political science literature that is based on assumptions about what motivates official behavior, assumptions that seem at odds with those on which the offer of policy or legal advice is premised. But whether the Authors’ critique escapes Professor Pocock’s charge is not so clear. . . .

80 U Chi L Rev Dialogue 267 [Essay PDF]

A Response to Eric A. Posner and Adrian Vermeule, Inside or Outside the System?, 80 U Chi L Rev 1743 [Article PDF]

Photograph courtesy of the University of Chicago Law School

Judge Robert H. Bork and Constitutional Change: An Essay on Ollman v Evans

Steven Calabresi & Lauren Pope

Tel-OrenFilartiga, and the Meaning of the Alien Tort Statute

Bradford R. Clark

Jersey Central Power & Light Co v Federal Energy Regulatory Commission: Robert Bork on Public Utility Rate Regulation—and Lochner v New York

Richard A. Epstein

Robert Bork, Judicial Creativity, and Judicial Subjectivity

John Harrison

Inkblot: The Ninth Amendment as Textual Justification for Judicial Enforcement of the Right to Privacy

Kurt T. Lash

Robert Bork: Intellectual Leader of the Legal Right

John O. McGinnis

The Borkean Dilemma: Robert Bork and the Tension between Originalism and Democracy

Ilya Somin

Taming Judicial Activism: Judge Robert Bork’s Coercing Virtue

John Yoo


Fear of Proliferation: A Nightmare Exception?

Annie Decker

A Response to Marin K. Levy, Judging the Flood of Litigation, 80 U Chi L Rev 1008 (2013), available here.

In Judging the Flood of Litigation, Professor Marin Levy provides a novel, comprehensive, and thoughtful analysis of the nature and legitimacy of judicial floodgates arguments. Judges rely on the floodgates rhetoric—the idea that “a large number of new claims” might result from a given action—when resolving cases on their merits or to avoid even getting to the merits.
Floodgates are an exemplar of a broader category of legal tropes, here termed “trigger arguments,” that raise important questions about the scope of judicial power. These arguments focus on an act that triggers subsequent, undesired behavior. In each case, the court develops rules for monitoring or preventing the triggering act.
This Essay identifies a “fear of proliferation” as another trigger argument, one endemic to federal preemption decisions. By fear of proliferation, I mean the fear that courts express that, if a given subfederal law is permitted to survive the preemption challenge, similar laws might multiply throughout other jurisdictions, with negative consequences. While fear of proliferation arguments resemble floodgates arguments, the underlying concerns are quite distinct.

View the PDF of Professor Decker's Dialogue essay here.

Remaining Silent after Salinas

Brandon L. Garrett

In Salinas v Texas, the Supreme Court eroded what little remained of the Fifth Amendment jurisprudence protecting against coercive police questioning of suspects. The result encourages precisely the types of informal, undocumented questioning that can cause false confessions and wrongful convictions. . . . The Miranda ruling—requiring the police to give a suspect the well-known warnings that “have become part of our national culture,” prior to a custodial interrogation, or risk suppression of any confession statements—had already been badly eroded, although the Court affirmed the constitutional stature of the ruling in Dickerson v United States in 2000. . . . Of what importance is the new Salinas exception, added to that litany of rulings that sharply narrowed if not “stealth overruled” Miranda? Indeed, where the vast majority of suspects readily waive Miranda rights, and where police are trained to provide Miranda warnings in a manner that encourages ready waiver, even perfect compliance with Miranda may not prevent coercion during an interrogation or contamination of false confessions. Moreover, the Court has separately done much to erode the limited protections of its highly deferential voluntariness jurisprudence. . . . Even in that badly eroded landscape, the Salinas decision has practical importance and troubling corrosive power. . . . I will develop why the very type of questioning at issue in Salinas poses special risks of eliciting false information from innocent suspects, and why police and policymakers should continue to vigilantly resist unsound interrogation practices that the Court appears to embrace.

View the PDF of Professor Garrett's Dialogue essay here.

A Reply to Dworkin's New Theory of International Law

Adam S. Chilton

Scholars have long debated whether states are obligated to follow international law. In a posthumously published article, Professor Ronald Dworkin recently contributed to this debate, arguing states have a prima facie obligation to follow international law. Professor Dworkin suggests that this obligation arises not because the international legal system is based on consent (as many have suggested), but instead because states are obligated to improve their political legitimacy, and international law can help to do so by correcting the shortcomings of the state-sovereignty system. That is, international law can help provide a check against states that would abuse their own citizens, or can help compensate for the fact that states acting alone cannot solve global problems requiring coordination. Professor Dworkin argues that this theory has the advantage of both justifying the sources of international law—such as customary international laws states cannot opt out of—and providing a principle to guide international law’s interpretation.

Professor Dworkin’s theory, however, is at best incomplete and at worst fatally flawed; it may provide an account of why international law should be binding over autocratic states that would shirk their obligations to their own citizens and others, but it does not explain why democratic states have a general obligation to comply with laws they disagree with or that are against their interest. Moreover, if the international community took Professor Dworkin’s theory of interpretation seriously, it would result in states being less willing to negotiate deep international agreements in the future.

View the PDF of Mr. Chilton's Dialogue essay here.

Fair Use for the Rich and Fabulous?

Andrew Gilden & Timothy Greene

 In two recent decisions concerning copyright’s fair use doctrine, the Second Circuit addressed the lawfulness of incorporating one creative work into a new one. In both Cariou v Prince and Salinger v Colting, US District Judge Deborah Batts enjoined similar activity using nearly identical reasoning. But on appeal, the Second Circuit found fair use in the former and likely infringement in the latter. In this short essay, we welcome the Cariou decision’s shift away from the singular, subjective intent of the putative fair user towards a more audience-focused inquiry. When Cariou is compared with Salinger, however, we are concerned that this shift introduces a new set of distributional problems into the fair use analysis.

In particular, why does a substantial reworking of Catcher in the Rye interfere with J.D. Salinger’s “right not to authorize derivative works" while Patrick Cariou’s photographs are the “raw material” for the “well-known appropriation artist” Richard Prince? Is a use fair only if Anna Wintour, Brad Pitt, and Beyoncé are there to see it? We recognize that courts must have a means of distinguishing “transformative” uses from “market substitutes," but in doing so we hope that courts do not convert the right to rework, comment on, or otherwise engage with creative works into a privilege largely reserved for the rich and famous.

View the PDF of Mr. Gilden's and Mr. Greene's Dialogue essay here.

A Quite Principled Conceit

Kiel Brennan-Marquez

A Response to Jed Rubenfeld, The Riddle of Rape-by-Deception and the Myth of Sexual Autonomy, 122 Yale L J 1372 (2013), available here.

In The Riddle of Rape-by-Deception and the Myth of Sexual Autonomy, Professor Jed Rubenfeld sets out to reinvent rape law. Instead of resting on ideals of sexual autonomy—as it currently stands—Professor Rubenfeld argues that rape law should take root in a principle of self-possession. The analysis proceeds in four parts, all lucid, all deft.

As rich and provocative as the first three movements of Professor Rubenfeld’s argument are, it is this fourth movement, the final overture, that should give the careful reader pause. Once the self-possession theory incorporates Professor Rubenfeld’s caveats, his jaunt through the labyrinth leads right back to its center: a principle of rape law that fails, in hard cases, to harmonize with intuition. The article begins by explaining why the autonomy theory cannot be squared with widely-shared intuitions about rape. And it concludes by acknowledging that the self-possession theory cannot be squared with widely-shared in-tuitions about rape. In short, both theories fail if success is defined, as Professor Rubenfeld seems to define it, as harmony between principles and preexisting intuitions.

View the PDF of Mr. Brennan-Marquez's Dialogue essay here.

Reconsidering Statutory Interpretive Divergence between Elected and Appointed Judges

Bertrall L. Ross II

A Response to Aaron-Andrew P. Bruhl and Ethan J. Leib, Elected Judges and Statutory Interpretation, 79 U Chi L Rev 1215 (2012), available here.

Should elected judges interpret statutes differently than appointed judges? The implicit answer of statutory interpretive theorists seems to be no. They typically describe their approaches to statutory interpretation in universal terms independent of the form of the institution that is taking on the task. To take two recent theories of statutory interpretation that revolutionized legal and academic thinking, when Professor William N. Eskridge, Jr. called for courts to dynamically interpret statutes to account for evolving public values, he seemed to assume that elected judges and appointed judges were equally competent to do so. When Justice Antonin Scalia advocated in his seminal book, A Matter of Interpretation, for judges to place more focus on the text of the statute and less on its legislative history, state judges, and by extension the institution of elected judges, seemed to be entirely invisible. These omissions are surprising once one considers that elected judges decide the vast majority of all cases nationwide.

Professors Aaron-Andrew P. Bruhl and Ethan J. Leib in their article, Elected Judges and Statutory Interpretation, make visible what was previously invisible: the institutional difference between elected judges and appointed judges. And they assess what this difference might mean for the interpretation of statutes. The mere introduction of this issue is worthy of praise as it opens up a promising new area for scholarly exploration. Bruhl and Leib, however, do not stop there. They also offer a balanced case for two potential views of statutory interpretation by elected judges: first, the conventional view that elected judges should interpret statutes in the same way as appointed judges—a case for interpretive convergence—and second, a case for the novel view that elected judges should interpret statutes differently from appointed judges—a case for interpretive divergence. While Bruhl and Leib are openly agnostic about the choice be-tween interpretive convergence and divergence, their analysis suggests that if pushed to choose a side, they might side with a theory of interpretive divergence. For this reason, and because of the novelty of an argument for interpretive divergence, this Essay focuses on the case for interpretive divergence.

View the PDF of Professor Ross's Dialogue essay here.

Improvidently Granted: Why the En Banc Federal Circuit Chose the Wrong Claim Construction Issue

Greg Reilly

The Federal Circuit recently granted en banc review to determine whether district court interpretations of patent claims should continue to be reviewed de novo or should be subject to deferential review.  The Federal Circuit chose the wrong claim construction issue to address en banc.  Resolving the proper standard of review will not improve claim construction, and may not even be possible, without first resolving the Federal Circuit’s deep and persistent schism over the basic methodology for claim construction.  Moreover, the Federal Circuit’s choice to review the standard of review issue first distracts attention from the far more important methodological split, gives false hope that deferential review will cure all that ills claim construction, and could surreptitiously impact the methodological dispute.  The wisest course is for the Federal Circuit to dissolve the en banc proceedings as improvidently granted.  At the very least, the Federal Circuit should resolve the standard of review issue on the narrowest ground possible.

View the PDF of Mr. Reilly's Dialogue essay here.

"Secular Purpose," Accommodations, and Why Religion Is Special (Enough)

Thomas C. Berg

A Response to Micah Schwartzman, What If Religion Is Not Special?, 79 U Chi L Rev 1351 (2012), available here.

I did Professor Micah Schwartzman’s What If Religion Is Not Special? frames important questions under the First Amendment’s Religion Clauses and sets forth useful analytical categories. I question some of his major conclusions, but the road he travels to reach them is worthwhile.
I agree with much of What If Religion Is Not Special?, but I think that Professor Schwartzman overstates two of his main conclusions. The first is his claim that inclusive accommodation is inconsistent. A theory may coherently treat religion as special for some purposes and not others. In particular, it is perfectly consistent to support religious accommodations while concluding that any constitutional restrictions on religion as a grounding for secular laws should be minimal, perhaps nonexistent. Second, the charges of unfairness in treating religion and nonreligion differently are also overstated. Religion has distinguishing features that justify treating it distinctively. We can extend such treatment to systems that share the same features but have not traditionally been called religious, but the extension should be limited—more limited, so far as I can tell, than Professor Schwartzman proposes.

View the PDF of Professor Berg's Dialogue article here.

Tushnet's Lawless World

Richard A. Epstein

A Response to Mark Tushnet, Epstein's Best of All Possible Worlds: The Rule of Law, 80 U Chi L Rev 487 (2013), available here.

I did not pick this unfortunate fight, but it is my regrettable task to have to respond to Professor Mark Tushnet’s Review of my book Design for Liberty: Private Property, Public Administration and the Rule of Law. Professor Tushnet regards Design for Liberty as a quixotic endeavor to reform the world, worthy of Glenn Beck, driven by a political naiveté that reminds him of an improbable cross between Candide and Mr. Micawber. Throughout his Review, he uses his not inconsiderable rhetorical skills to mock a book whose message and argument he does not understand.
Professor Tushnet’s crippling weaknesses leave him unable to grasp the mission of the book, which uses the lens of private law to integrate the three elements set out in its subtitle: private property, public administration, and the rule of law. Here, as in my short book, it is not possible to develop in-depth positions that I have written about at length elsewhere. Yet the only way to explain the larger picture is to place some of the particulars that have been examined elsewhere into the background. Nonetheless, in this short response, I hope to give some indications as to how this program can be carried out.

To do so, it is useful to address four issues. The first of these deals with Professor Tushnet’s misguided views on the plasticity of language and its relationship to the rule of law. The second explains how best to establish empirically the connection between a content-neutral rule-of-law standard and the classical liberal synthesis of private property, contractual freedom, and limited government. The third addresses the interrelationship between per se rules and reasonableness standards, contrasting the classical liberal approach with the modern realist one, in the context of common law decision making and government regulation. The fourth uses this approach to examine some particular issues on which the folly of Professor Tushnet’s views becomes clear. These include his failure to understand the basic structure of intellectual property law; his inability to understand the distinction between health and safety regulation on the one side, and economic regulation on the other; the baleful consequences for judicial administration that this breakdown has in connection with land use development; and his unpardonable constitutional insensitivity to the exercise of religion in public institutions.

View the PDF of Professor Epstein's Dialogue article here.

Religion's Specialized Specialness

Andrew Koppelman

A Response to Micah Schwartzman's, What if Religion Is Not Special?, 79 U Chi L Rev 1352 (2012), available here.

The basic elements of contemporary Religion Clauses doctrine have hidden in plain sight. American law treats religion as a distinctive human good but protects it from political manipulation by denying the state the power to take sides on any theological question. This approach entails rules of disestablishment, such as the secular purpose requirement, which prevent the government from using coercive laws to proclaim religious truth. It also entails that it is permissible for the legislature to recognize religion’s value by accommodating it. American law insists (with an important exception, which I’ll discuss) on neutrality among religions. Its understanding of “religion” is calculatedly vague, allowing it to accommodate claims of conscience that sufficiently resemble religious claims. (…) Because scholars regard existing law with contempt, they have spent most of their efforts engaging with each other. An alternate universe of theoretical possibilities has developed, a battleground of competing visions of the Religion Clauses. In this world, American law sometimes goes unnoticed altogether.

Micah Schwartzman is one of our finest young scholars of law and religion and has brought sophisticated philosophical analysis to some perennial problems. His analytical skills are conspicuously on display in What If Religion is Not Special? He carefully anatomizes a number of competing positions in the law review literature and shows the weaknesses of each, leaving himself with, as he puts it, an “intellectual ache”: it appears to him that the commitments of our constitutional regime cannot be justified. His article is a valuable contribution. But it can mislead the reader because, as in so much literature in this field, the actual law of the United States escapes his vision.

View the PDF of Professor Koppelman's Dialogue article here.

The Illegal Process: Basic Problems in the Making and Application of Censorship

James Grimmelmann

A Response to Derek E. Bambauer, Orwell's Armchair, 79 U Chi L Rev 863 (2012), available here.

The principal question for consideration is whether the United States should enact “[a] statute enabling censorship of Internet material” along the lines described in Bambauer, Orwell’s Armchair. The article will not be reproduced here, although it rewards careful reading. Rather, the present emphasis will be on certain structural features of Professor Bambauer’s argument, with particular reference to some of the institutional issues they raise.

Professor Bambauer’s subject is Internet filtering: how governments do it, what forces constrain it, and what is to be done about it. The essential characteristic of such filtering is that Internet intermediaries—Internet service providers like Comcast and Verizon, search engines like Google and Bing, do-main name providers, and the like—design their systems to make some content inaccessible. Professor Bambauer unapologetically describes this filtering as “censorship.” What justifies the term? Is it simply a matter of linguistic precision, or does the term have a rhetorical force of its own? Given that he is proposing a censorship statute, what explains his willingness to embrace this ordinarily pejorative term?

View the PDF of Professor Grimmelmann's Dialogue article here.

Interpretive Divergence All the Way Down

Anita S. Krishnakumar

A Response to Aaron-Andrew P. Bruhl and Ethan J. Lieb, Electing Judges and Statutory Interpretation, 79 U Chi L Rev 1215 (2012), available here.

Debates about methodological consensus are emerging as a hot topic in statutory interpretation scholarship. Recent articles in the field have explored whether judges are capable of following a unified interpretive methodology—and whether they should do so. The dominant normative view has been that methodological consensus is a desirable goal that would serve important rule of law values such as predictability and clarity. But Professors Aaron Bruhl and Ethan Leib have offered important resistance to this view, arguing that interpretive diversity improves the quality of deliberation about statutory meaning and that different interpretive techniques may be appropriate for different courts depending on variations in judicial resources, a court’s place in the judicial hierarchy, and judicial selection methods.  In Elected Judges and Statutory Interpretation, these two authors join forces to consider the novel possibility that elected judges can, and perhaps should, interpret statutes differently than their appointed counterparts.

Rather than rush to judgment on Professors Bruhl’s and Leib’s fledgling idea—particularly given the authors’ own agnosticism and exploratory approach—I wish to focus on an intriguing corollary question raised by their analysis. That is, if one takes seriously the proposition that it may make sense for elected judges to interpret statutes differently than do appointed judges, should judicial opinions written by elected judges look substantially different from those written by appointed judges? There are several levels on which this question operates. The first is substantive: In what ways should elected judges’ democratic pedigree affect their interpretive method in deciding cases? Professors Bruhl and Leib engage this question to some extent, suggesting that, under certain circumstances, elected judges may be entitled to exercise greater interpretive independence than their appointed counterparts.  The second level is procedural: How, if at all, should the manner in which elected judges explain their reasoning in judicial opinions differ from how appointed judges explain their reasoning? Put differently, should elected judges write their opinions to speak primarily to the voting public as an audience rather than to lawyers and other judges? If we think that the answer to that question could be yes, in what ways might we want or expect elected judges’ opinions to differ from those written by their appointed counterparts? And third: Should elected judges abandon certain interpretive tools—or use them differently—than appointed judges? 

View the PDF of Professor Krishnakumar's Dialogue article here.

Good Pollution

John Copeland Nagle

A Response to Arden Rowell, Allocating Pollution, 79 U Chi L Rev 985 (2012), available here.

Professor Nagle considers the regulatory implications of the insight that what is considered "pollution" to some could be beneficial or desirable to others. He builds on Professor Arden Rowell’s insight that the harmfulness of pollution is not always directly related to exposure to pollution and argues that Rowell could go further. In doing so, Professor Nagle emphasizes the existence of another group of pollutants that are harmful and beneficial at the same time and in the same quantity. What some regard as a harmful pollutant is valued by others as providing a valuable benefit. Professor Nagle goes on to argue that the phenomenon of “good pollution” is even more common outside the context of environmental pollution, in areas like sensory pollution and cultural pollution. In addressing these concerns, Professor Nagle concludes that a different set of responses is needed for  good pollution because the goal is not simply to “reduce the harm caused by pollution.” The response to good pollution must seek to preserve its benefit as well as reduce its harm.

View the PDF of Professor Nagle's Dialogue article here.

Orwell's Metaphors

David G. Post

A Response to Derek E. Bambauer, Orwell's Armchair, 79 U Chi L Rev 863 (2012), available here.

Here, as I understand it, is “The Internet According to Professor Derek E. Bambauer.”  Governments will engage in censorship of Internet content.  This is normatively troubling but descriptively undeniable.  The autocrats and dictators, of course, will take the lead, hard at work at their censorship machines.  But it’s not just the autocrats and dictators; even countries with well-developed democratic governance processes (like our own), and well-developed protections for dissident or otherwise controversial speech (like our own) will do so.  Indeed, most (like our own) have already begun to do so, and they are unlikely to stop anytime soon.  Not all of this Internet censorship is in pursuit of (normatively) illegitimate goals (for example, suppressing political dissent); if we strip the term of its “pejorative connotation[s]” and define it simply as occurring whenever “a government prevents communication between a willing speaker and a willing listener through interdiction rather than through post-communication sanctions,” some “censorship” pursues perfectly legitimate goals (for example, protecting the rights of copyright holders, or . . .). Governments have many diverse tools at their disposal for what Professor Bambauer calls “hard censorship” (techniques involving “direct control or deputizing intermediaries” where “the state imposes its content preferences directly, either by implementation through computer code or by force of law”) and for “indirect,” or “soft,” censorship (“pretext, payment, and persuasion,” where “the state’s intervention is far less visible and direct”).  They are very creative in deploying these tools.

View the PDF of Professor Post's Dialogue article here.

US Risk Assessment Policy: A History of Deception

Edward J. Calabrese

A Response to Arden Rowell, Allocating Pollution, 79 U Chi L Rev 985 (2012), available here.

Strategies to limit the general public’s exposure to toxic substances—via national standards such as community-based drinking water and air quality standards, food residue regulations, hazardous-waste siting decisions, or other strategies—are based on multiple factors including social, political, cultural, historical, economic, technological, as well as public health–related concerns. At the core of these decisions is the need for risk assessment estimates to be based on a sound foundation, using scientifically validated procedures and having high reliability. However, while it may be hard to believe, and even more difficult to accept, the foundation of our fundamental dose-response model—that is, the threshold dose-response—upon which all public health standards were originally based, and upon which we still highly depend, was never validated by the regulatory and scientific communities prior to its adoption by the FDA, EPA, OSHA, and other agencies in the United States and elsewhere in the world.

View the PDF of Professor Calabrese's Dialogue article here.

Invisible Lawmaking 

Barak Orbach

Private lawmaking is an ordinary rent-seeking activity of interest groups: the pursuit of self-interest through regulation. Familiar examples of private lawmakers include the National Rifle Association (NRA), the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), and the National Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). Motivated private lawmakers take advantage of imperfections in the marketplace of ideas and utilize such imperfections to obscure their visibility. The US Supreme Court’s marketplace of ideas theory denies market imperfections and presumes prefect competition in the marketplace. This presumption rests on the Court’s firm premise that the pursuit of self-interest necessarily serves the public. Resting on this unqualified confidence in the pursuit of self-interest, in Citizens United v Federal Election Commission the Supreme Court has empowered interest groups, strengthening their influence over public lawmakers. This Essay describes how the Supreme Court’s confidence in the inherent value of the pursuit of self-interest has weakened democratic institutions, arming interest groups with effective means to draft the law of the land, while circumventing the public discourse and shortcutting open debates.

View the PDF of Professor Orbach's Dialogue article here.