Judicial Process

Kevin J. Hickey

Contested elections in which the number of illegal votes exceeds the purported winner’s margin of victory present courts with difficult choices. Simply certifying the result risks denying the true winner his victory, while ordering a new election leaves the choice to a changed electorate. Adjusting the results is also problematic, as it may create a perception that judges, and not voters, have decided the election. This Note argues that courts should be more willing to use statistical techniques to resolve this type of election dispute. It critiques the various remedial measures that courts have employed, as well as the rejection of statistical methods in existing case law and legal commentary. The author concludes that a statistics-based remedy—termed “complete proportionate deduction”—best balances the values of accuracy, finality, and public faith in the democratic process.

Margaret H. Lemos

Federal law is enforced through a combination of public and private efforts. Commentary
on the choice between public and private enforcement has generated a
remarkably stable set of arguments about the strengths and weaknesses of each
type. But the conventional wisdom tells only part of the story, as it ignores variations
within the category of public enforcement. Many federal statutes authorize
civil enforcement by both a federal agency and the states. State enforcement is different
from federal enforcement in several important respects, representing a unique
model of public enforcement. The authority to enforce federal law is also a unique
form of state power. As I show, enforcement authority can serve as a potent means
of state influence by enabling states to adjust the intensity of enforcement and to
press their own interpretations of federal law. To date, enforcement has been
neglected in the federalism literature, which tends to equate state power with state
regulation. But enforcement authority may exist outside of regulatory authority,
allowing states to operate even in areas where state law is preempted or state regulators
have chosen not to act. And enforcement empowers a distinct breed of state
representatives—elected, generalist attorneys general. Just as state attorneys general
differ from federal agencies as agents of enforcement, they differ from state agencies
as agents of federal-state interaction. Moreover, attorneys general in most states
are independent from the state legislature and governor, and may represent different
constituencies. Enforcement authority therefore opens up new outlets for
state-centered policy, empowering actors whose interests and incentives distinguish
them from the state institutions that dominate other channels of federal-state

Pieter S. de Ganon

This Note contends that the Supreme Court has systematically used the doctrine of
judicial notice to portray the nation’s schools as rife with crisis. Ignoring the record
before it, the Court has relied on the “crisis” it has manufactured to curtail students’
Fourth Amendment rights. Critiquing this practice and likening it to the Court’s
invocation of “emergency” in the context of war and natural disaster, this Note
concludes that the Court ought to be held more accountable for the “facts” that it
judicially notices.

Michael C. Pollack

Since the Chevron decision in 1984, courts have extended to administrative agencies a high level of deference when those agencies reasonably interpret ambiguous statutes, reasoning that agencies have more technical expertise and public accountability than courts. However, when the agency’s interpretation implicates a significant policy choice, courts do not always defer. At times, they rely on principles of nondelegation to rule against the agency interpretation and require that choices bemade by Congress instead.

Chevron makes no explicit exception for significant policy choices, but in cases like MCI v. AT&T and FDA v. Brown & Williamson, the Supreme Court has manipulated
the application of the Chevron test to find statutory clarity and preclude deference to agencies for exactly this reason. Led by litigants who highlighted the separation of powers implications of the agency’s interpretations, the Court has suggested both that the principles of nondelegation remain a constitutional constraint and that alluding to them, even without resort to some canon of interpretation, is a viable litigation strategy. 

This Note exposes and defends the persistent, if unspoken, role played by the principles of nondelegation in the jurisprudence of the administrative state in an era of Chevron deference. It draws a strategic and doctrinal framework from which to challenge agencies’ statutory interpretations and presents a live circuit split involving the authority of the Food and Drug Administration to criminalize certain failures to maintain research records that is a ripe opportunity for applying that framework.

Dohyun Kim

This Note critiques the current structure and practice of the ICSID annulment mechanism by shifting away from the traditional focus on the ICSID arbitration system as a dispute settlement body and instead analyzing the annulment mechanism’s role in a progressively “judicializing” investor-state arbitration system. Recent developments in ICSID arbitration indicate that, over time, ICSID arbitral tribunals have undergone “judicialization”—that is, they have acquired domestic court–like characteristics enabling them to impact state and individual behavior prospectively, rather than merely to resolve the specific dispute at bar. These developments raise the question of whether the current annulment mechanism, which provides for cancellation of tribunal awards on a strictly limited set of grounds, is capable of accommodating this shift. Although the drafters of the ICSID Convention did not intend to allow an annulment committee, convened after the tribunal’s issuance of an award, to review the substantive merits of that tribunal’s award, annulment committees have previously based their decisions on more expansive substantive review than that permitted under the Convention. This Note argues that in a recent series of decisions, annulment committees appear to be engaging in greater substantive review of tribunals’ awards once again, a fact that triggers a renewed sense that annulment committees are still confused over the proper role of annulment in the ICSID arbitration system. Such confusion has serious implications in that it leads to the production of inconsistent decisions at the annulment level of the ICSID arbitration system, thus adding to the layer of inconsistent decisions produced at the tribunal level. These incoherent decisions may ultimately imperil the legitimacy of the ICSID arbitration system as a judicialized body for shaping prospective state and individual behavior. To strengthen the legitimacy of ICSID arbitral decisions and promote further development of coherent international investment law, I argue that it is critical for ICSID to establish a mechanism with official powers of substantive review.

The Honorable Roderick L. Ireland

In the Sixteenth Annual Justice William J. Brennan, Jr. Lecture on State Courts and Social Justice, Roderick L. Ireland, Senior Associate Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, discusses the seminal case Goodridge v. Department of Public Health and a judge’s role in controversial decisions. Justice Ireland explains
the rationale behind his majority vote in Goodridge, as well as his dissent in Cote-Whitacre v. Department of Public Health, and the extreme public backlash that followed the same-sex marriage cases. Through the personal lens of his own experience dealing with the extreme reaction to Goodridge, Justice Ireland addresses how judges should handle such controversial cases while remaining true to the role of the judiciary.

Michael Boudin

Henry J. Friendly was one of the nation’s preeminent appellate judges. Judge Michael Boudin, once a law clerk to Judge Friendly, describes Judge Friendly’s career and judicial outlook in the New York University School of Law’s annual James Madison Lecture. Drawing upon Judge Friendly’s constitutional writings and decisions, the lecture touches upon Friendly’s gifts of mind, energy, and writing ability, and certain of his judicial characteristics: his attitude toward precedent and other constraints, his practical judgment, his intellectual rigor, and his essential moderation.

Robert L. Jones

This Article argues that diversity jurisdiction was intended to funnel politically significant litigation into the federal courts principally because federal officials would have the power to dictate the composition of federal juries. All existing accounts for the origins of diversity jurisdiction ultimately rely upon putative differences between the state and federal benches for their explanations of the jurisdiction’s origin. This emphasis on the bench is anachronistic, however, because the jury possessed far more power than the bench to decide cases in eighteenth-century American courts. American juries during this period customarily had the right to decide issues of law as well as fact and were largely beyond the control of the bench. The Framers saw state court juries—independent bodies of citizens with almost unfettered power to resolve legal disputes—as one of the greatest dangers in allowing ordinary citizens too much control over the governance of the nation. By wresting adjudicative power out of the hands of state court juries and bestowing it upon federal juries whose compositions could be tightly controlled by federal officials, diversity jurisdiction accomplished the Constitution’s overarching purpose of checking the operation of “unrestrained” democracy in the states.

Once the federal courts were established, federal officials controlled the composition of federal juries in several ways. In most districts, federal marshals dictated the composition of federal juries by hand-selecting jurors of their choice. In addition, Congress ensured that the political, economic, and social characteristics of federal juries would differ dramatically from their state counterparts by providing that the federal courts would draw their juries overwhelmingly from the urban, commercial centers of the nation. The state courts, by contrast, drew their juries predominantly from the agrarian populations living outside those centers. It is highly unlikely that this pervasive control over the composition of federal juries was an unintended consequence of the Constitution. Instead, as this Article argues, the evidence strongly suggests that the federal officials’ control over the composition of federal juries constituted the single most important impetus behind the creation of diversity jurisdiction and a significant rationale for the establishment of the lower federal courts.

William B. Rubenstein

A class action can only bind class members who are “adequately represented,” and thus a class action court necessarily determines representational adequacy. But should class members who were not an active part of that proceeding be able to relitigate adequacy in a collateral forum at a later date so as to evade the binding effect of the class judgment? Courts and scholars have generated a bipolar response to that question, with one side arguing that full relitigation is required by the constitutional nature of the question and the other insisting that no relitigation is permitted because of the issue-preclusive effect of the class court’s holding. Despite the richness of this debate, myriad specific questions about the availability, substance, and procedural details of the relitigation opportunity remain unexamined. In this Article, Professor Rubenstein expands the conversation outward by comparing class action law’s approach to relitigation of adequacy of representation with habeas corpus’s approach to relitigation of ineffective assistance of counsel claims in criminal cases. Using two recent, seemingly unconnected Supreme Court cases—one from each field—as case studies, Professor Rubenstein explains how these cases in fact raise remarkably similar questions. Specifically, the comparison reveals that habeas provides a relatively clear, rule-based system that specifies when—and according to what procedural rules—relitigation is available. Professor Rubenstein concludes by arguing that there are lessons for class action law in habeas’s approach: a method for considering when relitigation is appropriate that avoids the extremes of either “always” or “never”; a rule system that helps identify issues (such as substantive standards, degrees of deference, burdens of proof, and defaults) that have yet to be carefully examined in class action law; and a template for balancing the competing policy concerns at issue. Without defending current habeas doctrine, and without pretending that habeas and class actions are overtly similar, the Article nonetheless demonstrates that class action law’s relitigation problem can learn something through a close look at criminal law’s relitigation solutions.

Gideon Parchomovsky, Peter Siegelman & Steve Thel

With a tiny handful of exceptions, common law jurisprudence is predicated on a “winner-take-all” principle: The plaintiff either gets the entire entitlement at issue or collects nothing at all. Cases that split an entitlement between the two parties are exceedingly rare. While there may be sound reasons for the all-or-nothing rule, in this Article we argue that there is a limited but important set of property, torts, and contracts cases in which an equal division of an entitlement should be adopted. The common element in these cases is a windfall—a gain or loss that occurs despite the fact that no effort to promote, prevent, or allocate it ex ante would be cost-justified or reasonable. We show that an equal division of disputed windfalls promotes both efficiency and fairness and also has the virtue of clarifying several tortured legal doctrines.

We also address and reject the standard objections to split-the-difference remedies. We demonstrate that the introduction of a splitting option is unlikely to distort judicial incentives, and that it is likely to improve the integrity of the judicial system. Counterintuitively, we show that giving judges the option to order a compromise remedy in windfall disputes is likely to reduce judicial error, rather than increase it, and that the valuation problems that attend the introduction of a split-the-difference rule are insignificant.