Category: Law Rev (Penn)

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Penn Law Review Online Essay Explores the Prudential Third-Party Standing of Family-Owned Corporations

A new essay by Matthew I. Hall and Benjamin Means, published by the University of Pennsylvania Law Review Online explores the prudential third-party standing of family-owned corporations.

On November 26, 2013, the Supreme Court agreed to decide whether for-profit corporations or their shareholders have standing to challenge federal regulations that implement the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). At issue in the two cases consolidated for appeal, Hobby Lobby andConestoga Wood Specialties, are regulations mandating that employers with fifty or more employees offer health insurance that includes coverage for all contraceptives approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The plaintiffs assert that providing certain types of contraceptive care would be contrary to their religious beliefs and allege, therefore, that the mandate violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA) as well as the First Amendment’s Free Exercise Clause.

The government does not dispute that the family owners of Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties are sincere in their religious objections. However, the mandate applies only to employers and imposes no direct duties upon corporate shareholders. Thus, a threshold issue in these cases and dozens of other pending cases involving for-profit corporations is whether any plaintiff has standing to challenge the mandate. Some courts have concluded that religious objections to the mandate are simply nonjusticiable. Other courts have found standing, either by endorsing the novel proposition that a for-profit business corporation is, itself, a person capable of religious exercise, or by allowing individual owners who have no personal obligations or liability under the ACA’s mandate to nevertheless interpose a religious objection.

We offer the Court a way to resolve the cases before it that, unlike the approaches advocated by the parties, avoids the need to decide questions of first impression regarding the free exercise rights of for-profit corporations. Under well-established exceptions to the prudential rule against third-party standing, one party can sometimes assert the interests of a third party. Allowing Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties to litigate religious objections to the mandate on behalf of their shareholders obviates the need for the Court to venture into uncharted territory. The crucial insight is that the corporation’s injury need not be religious in nature for the religious objections to the ACA regulations to be adjudicated. So long as the corporate plaintiff is injured economically by the regulations, it has standing under Article III to challenge them. At that point, the corporation’s assertion of the constitutional or statutory rights of absent third parties is properly analyzed under the rubric of third-party standing.

As always, please visit pennlawreview.com to read published Essays, Responses, and Debates, or to check out pdfs of the Penn Law Review‘s print edition articles.

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PENNumbra publishes responses to The Inexorable Radicalization of Textualism

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PENNumbra‘s featured works are now available at www.pennumbra.com.

This issue contains responses to The Inexorable Radicalization of Textualism by Jonathan R. Siegel.

In The Inexorable Radicalization of Textualism, Professor Jonathan Siegel argues that textualism differs fundamentally from intentionalism and purposivism, and that the gap between them gets wider with time. Siegel concludes that textualism inexorably radicalizes itself as textualists gradually realize that their axiom—the statutory text is the law—compels them to reject moderating influences, such as the “absurd results exception,” that accommodationists claim bring interpretive methods together. As a result, Siegel finds that textualism worsens over time, whereas intentionalism and purposivism are better able to improve themselves over time.

In Opportunistic Textualism, Professor Lawrence Solan argues that while Professor Siegel expresses reasonable concern about the consequences of carrying textualism to its logical extreme, “it is virtually impossible to be a textualist on the ground.” Because judges are inclined to relax their embrace of formalism in favor of other values, the extreme results that Siegel fears cannot be consistently realized. Solan looks to the example of radical textualism that Siegel offers: a rigid dissent by Judge Bybee from a Ninth Circuit decision correcting a clear statutory drafting error. Solan points out that Judge Bybee has been willing to look to legislative history, intent, and statutory purpose in a variety of other areas, and that even the staunchest textualists speak of legislative intent when resolving ambiguous statutes. Solan closes by acknowledging that formalism, like other canons of construction, has been used opportunistically to reach results driven primarily by ideology. Though he shares Professor Siegel’s concerns about some of the cases discussed in The Inexorable Radicalization of Textualism, he concludes that those results do not represent a radical or inevitable movement toward “law without mind.”

In Is Textualism Doomed?, Professor Ilya Somin counters Professor Siegel’s argument that textualism is ultimately doomed to irrelevance because its “inexorable radicalization . . . will cause it to lose the interpretation wars.” Somin contends that Siegel’s normative critique of textualism and positive prediction about its future are overdrawn. In Part I, Professor Somin shows that adherence to text does not inevitably lead to absurd and extreme results. In Part II, Somin claims that Siegel has understated the importance of textual ambiguity. He argues that when faced with an ambiguous text, resorting to extrinsic evidence of meaning is entirely consistent with textualist premises and may sometimes even be required by them. In Part III, Somin finds that textualism is here to stay, and will not “work itself pure” as Siegel has argued. Somin concludes by reasoning that because federal judges are not as interested in “grand theories of interpretation” and methodological consistency as academics are, they will not take textualism to its logical extreme.

As always, please visit PENNumbra to read previous Responses and Debates, or to check out pdfs of the Penn Law Review‘s print edition articles.

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PENNumbra publishes responses to The River Runs Dry: When Title VI Trumps State Anti–Affirmative Action Laws

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This issue contains responses to The River Runs Dry:  When Title VI Trumps State Anti–Affirmative Action Laws by Kimberly West-Faulcon.

In The River Runs Dry:  When Title VI Trumps State Anti–Affirmative Action Laws, Professor Kimberly West-Faulcon considers whether universities that completely abolish affirmative action to comply with state anti–affirmative action initiatives may actually be breaking the law with respect to Title VI. Using statistical tests for identifying Title VI disparate impact, she analyzes selective California and Washington public university admissions cycles after the enactment of anti–affirmative action laws and finds racial disparities in admissions to affirmative action–less universities of sufficient magnitude that, if unjustified, could establish that an institution has a compelling interest in considering race to comply with federal antidiscrimination law. Based on this analysis, she concludes that state anti–affirmative action laws may permit the consideration of race if undertaken to remedy federal “racial effect discrimination.”

In Do We Care Enough About Racial Inequality? Reflections on The River Runs Dry, Professor Guy-Uriel Charles asserts that while West-Faulcon has provided an apt legal tool to address racial inequality in education, the problem is not a lack of legal tools but the failure of the legal system to recognize the dignity of people of color in constitutional analysis. Charles argues that legal academics need to make not just legal arguments but a renewed case why we ought to care about racial inequality.

In Doctrinal Dilemma, Professor Girardeau Spann describes West-Faulcon’s argument as both analytically sound and enticingly clever but demonstrates that doctrinal arguments can likewise be developed by socially powerful opponents that are cogent enough to evade West-Faulcon’s conclusions. Consequently, Spann argues that legal scholars seeking to promote racial justice confront a serious dilemma: continue to make doctrinal arguments and reinforce the legitimacy of a social system that uses law as a tool for the continued oppression of racial minorities; or stop participating and risk losing those sporadic concession that even an oppressive social system must occasionally make to prevent bottled-up frustrations from ripening into serious threats of destabilizing change.

As always, please visit PENNumbra to read previous Responses and Debates, or to check out pdfs of the Penn Law Review‘s print edition articles.

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Herrmann, Beck, and Burbank Debate Twombly and Iqbal

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In Plausible Denial:  Should Congress Overrule Twombly and Iqbal?, Mark Herrmann and James Beck debate with Professor Stephen Burbank whether the plausibility standard set out in Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly and Ashcroft v. Iqbal is a proper “recalibration” of the pleading rules or an illegitimate “innovation” and whether Congress would be wise to overrule it. In their Opening Statement, Herrmann and Beck argue that the drafters of the Federal Rules intentionally left Rule 8 ambiguous. The creation of new federal rights, liberalization of class action rules, and massive escalation of discovery costs warranted the retirement of the “no set of facts” language from the Court’s earlier interpretation of Rule 8. In their view, the new course set by the Supreme Court is the proper one.

Check back weekly as the debate unfolds. As always, please visit PENNumbra to read previous Responses and Debates, or to check out pdfs of the Penn Law Review‘s print edition articles.

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May Author Responses to PENNumbra

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This month, three print authors from the past year reply to the PENNumbra Responses to their articles.

In The Unusual Man in the Usual Place, Professor Bowers supports his argument from Punishing the Innocent by individually addressing each of the responses to his article in turn. Bowers begins by arguing that, while Professor Bibas would be right to view guilty pleas by innocent defendants as a “moral horrors” in a “well-functioning and transparent criminal justice system,” we do not have such a system. Under the flawed system we do have, however, Bowers contends that his proposal would promote “an odd, but very real, kind of honesty in lies—an honesty that innocent defendants do, and often should, falsely admit guilt in order to secure the benefits of defendant-favorable pleas.” Bowers then questions both the possibility and the wisdom of the “bold proposal” in Professor Thomas’ response. He asserts that although Thomas “surely does not want to engender more false guilty pleas, his proposal may have that principle effect.” Finally, Bowers acknowledges that Professor Wright’s call for targeted reforms may be correct, but argues that in regards to “voluntary and intelligent rational-choice pleas, we must opt for rules that either permit such pleas or forbid them—categorically.”

>Read the full response by Josh Bowers

In Excluding Religion: A Reply, Professor Tebbe defends his argument that as a matter of constitutional law, “governments ought to be given wider constitutional latitude to exclude religion from their support programs.” Tebbe first accepts the invitations of his responders to “explore the legal implications” of his argument on political theory, concluding that while his approach may seem to “appeal chiefly to separationists, . . . [it] may also hold some appeal for people who favor greater governmental influence over matters of conscience and morality.” He then devotes the remainder of his response to answer several critiques, including Professor Berg’s assertion that Excluding Religion cannot be squared with the “no-influence approach” to the First Amendment, Professor Garnett’s call for a more “muscular” form of liberalism, and Professor Smith’s criticism that Tebbe has not provided a “unitary principle” for religious freedom. Finally, Tebbe addresses why he even “bother[s]” to write in an area of law where some scholars believe arguments can only convince those readers who are already inclined to agree.

>Read the full response by Nelson Tebbe

In Making Sense of Immigration Law, Professor Cox continues his argument from Immigration Law’s Organizing Principles that the distinction between rules that select migrants and rules that regulate migrants “serves to obfuscate rather than illuminate the important normative principles at stake when we choose amongst competing immigration laws and policies.” In his rebuttal to Professors Schuck’s and Huntington’s responses, Cox contends that in many ways both scholars’ arguments “embody some of the same conceptual mistakes that . . . infect the field as a whole.” Cox first addresses what he believes is a “misapprehen[sion]” of the argument from Organizing Principles: Schuck’s contention that the article wrongly argues for “essential equivalence” between the concepts of “selection” and “regulation.” After clarifying the structure of his argument, Cox turns to Huntington’s claim that there is “some” conceptual distinction between the two types of rules. Cox argues that the distinction offered by Huntington—”between (a) admission and deportation rules and (b) other rules that regulate noncitizens”—can neither be understood as widely shared today nor a viable “dividing criterion” around which agreement could be found.

>Read the full response by Adam B. Cox

As always, please visit PENNumbra to read previous Responses and Debates, or to check out pdfs of the Penn Law Review‘s print edition articles.

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April Responses to the Penn Law Review

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This issue contains responses to Immigration Law’s Organizing Principles by Adam B. Cox.

In his Article, Professor Cox questions the central principle of immigration law that rules for selecting immigrants are fundamentally different from rules that regulate the lives of immigrants outside the selection process. Cox argues that the distinction is false because every rule of immigration necessarily effects both selection and regulation. Furthermore, even if rules could effectively be categorized, there is no moral or constitutional significance to the distinction. Rather, they are simply two alternative mechanisms that a state may use to achieve a particular end. Under this new understanding, Cox explores the implications to immigration law and institutional design.

Professor Schuck, in his Response, Immigration Law’s Organizing Principles: A Response, agrees that there is overlap in the incentives and effects of selection rules and regulation rules, but contends that Cox goes too far to claim “essential equivalence of the two.” Rather, he argues the real question is “whether, despite the overlap, enough difference between the two remains to justify maintaining some distinction in the legal rules that apply to them.” Unfortunately, despite Cox’s “valuable contribution” to the immigration law scholarship, by claiming equivalence of the two types of rules, Cox does not fully address, “much less answer” this question.

>Read the full response by Peter H. Schuck

Professor Huntington, in her Response, A House Still Divided, is sympathetic to Cox’s desire to discard the traditional dichotomy between rules that govern the selection and regulation of immigrants. She identifies, however, two points of resistance to destabilizing the categories. Both because “there is some difference between selection and regulation,” and, more importantly, there is “political utility” in distinguishing between the two, Huntington argues that academics “need to be forthright about the power the distinction retains.”

>Read the full response by Clare Huntington

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Debate: Democracy, Political Ignorance, and Constitutional Reform

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Democracy, Political Ignorance, and Constitutional Reform

In Democracy, Political Ignorance, and Constitutional Reform, Professors Ilya Somin and Sanford Levinson discuss the constitutional implications of a federal government whose “size, scope, and complexity” are far beyond anything that the framers could have possibly imagined and an electorate that is more likely to be able to name the Three Stooges than the three branches of their government. While both professors agree that the situation is problematic for our democratic form of government, they offer very different solutions to address the issue. Professor Somin argues that given such political ignorance, there is no guarantee that opening the door to large-scale constitutional reform would be able to provide a government that is any better. Rather, the best solutions would be aimed at “reduc[ing] the overweening power of government over society.” Professor Levinson, on the other hand, asserts any efforts to radically reduce government are akin to “swimming upstream, perhaps against a waterfall.” Instead, he offers three Constitutional reforms to adapt our founding document to better match the complexity of the modern state. Through these three modest changes, Professor Levinson asserts we can take significant steps toward a “more perfect Union.”

As always, please visit PENNumbra to read previous Responses and Debates, or to check out pdfs of the Penn Law Review‘s print edition articles.

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Debate:  Implicit Race Bias and the 2008 Presidential Election: Much Ado About Nothing?

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Implicit Race Bias and the 2008 Presidential Election: Much Ado About Nothing?

Dr. Gregory Park and Professor Jeffrey Rachlinksi debate Professor Richard Epstein on the implications of President Obama’s election on race-based policies such as affirmative action and antidiscrimination laws.  Dismissing claims that a “post-racial America” has arrived, Parks and Rachlinski argue that the presidential campaign simply demonstrated that modern racism “operates not as an absolute barrier, but as a kind of tax on members of racial minorities.”  Because a typical minority job applicant does not have access to the “enormous resources” available to Obama, affirmative action and antidiscrimination laws are still necessary.  Epstein, on the other hand, argues that while Parks’ and Rachlinski’s analysis of the campaign is flawed, the debate itself is a “sideshow.”  Instead, “any private individual or firm can hire a person for good reason, bad reason, or no reason at all” and the market, not public force, should end unsavory hiring practices.

As always, please visit PENNumbra to read previous Responses and Debates, or to check out pdfs of the Penn Law Review‘s print edition articles.

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March Responses to the Penn Law Review

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This issue contains responses to Saving Lives Through Administrative Law and Economics by John D. Graham.

In this Article, Dean Graham examines the recent history of federal lifesaving regulation and argues that, considering both philosophical and practical perspectives, lifesaving regulation informed by benefit-cost analysis (BCA) has compelling advantages relative to regulation informed by the main alternatives to BCA. Using his first-hand experience as the Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), Graham suggests that, despite its reputation for antiregulatory bias, BCA is actually an influential tool for protecting or advancing valuable lifesaving regulations. But the Article also pinpoints problems in the “benefit-cost” state, and identifies opportunities for improvement in the process of lifesaving regulation. Graham concludes by suggesting that innovations in analytic practice that would strengthen the efficiency and fairness of federal lifesaving regulation.

Professor Elliott, in his Response, Only a Poor Workman Blames his Tools: On the Uses and Abuses of Benefit-Cost Analysis in Regulatory Decision Making About the Environment, faults Graham’s argument for falling into “the two conceptual traps that it inherits from the critics:  both the ‘fine tuning’ and the ‘selective realism’ fallacies.”

If these two fallacies were better understood and avoided, Elliott argues that “BCA can be a very useful, albeit imperfect, technique for comparing policies.”

>Read the full response by E. Donald Elliott

Professor Hsu, in his Response, Saving Lives Through Administrative Law and Economics:  A Response, takes issue with Graham’s support for the “soft” BCA rule.   Instead, he comes to the defense of using BCA as a “procedural” rule, “in which a [BCA] is required of agency actions but is provided for informational purposes only and not intended to be determinative in any way.”  Hsu also looks into the potential for the growing field of happiness research to better inform BCA, helping to ensure that BCA best fulfills its informational role.

>Read the full response by Shi-Ling Hsu

Professor Hammitt, in his Response, Saving Lives:  Benefit-Cost Analysis and Distribution, focuses on Graham’s support for using BCA as a “soft” rule, which would allow for considerations of equity along with the more common utilitarian measurements.  After exploring the issues of measurement inherent in BCA, Hammitt concludes that BCA helps ease some tensions in regulatory decision making by “providing an integrated framework to account for the consequences of regulation and making estimates of the magnitudes of these consequences explicit and open to review and challenge.”  And, by incorporating equity concerns, Hammitt believes that Graham’s test ultimately “should make BCA even more valuable.”

>Read the full response by James K. Hammitt

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University of Pennsylvania Law Review, Issue 157:2 (December 2008)

Penn Law Review

University of Pennsylvania Law Review, Issue 157:2 (December 2008)

ARTICLES

Immigration Law’s Organizing Principles

Adam B. Cox

Saving Lives Through Administrative Law And Economics

John D. Graham

Laboratories Of Destitution: Democratic Experimentalism And The Failure Of Antipoverty Law

David A. Super

COMMENTS

Federal Hate Crime Laws and United States v. Lopez: On A Collision Course To Clarify Jurisdictional-Element Analysis

Christopher DiPompeo

Mapping The Limits Of Repatriable Cultural Heritage: A Case Study Of Stolen Flemish Art In French Museums

Paige S. Goodwin