Issue Archive

Volume 1

Issue 1 - Winter 2023

Issue 2 - Spring 2023

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    “Charlottesville” as Legal History

    by Risa Goluboff

    I have decided to share with you a very new project—about the white supremacist and anti-Semitic violence that took place in my hometown of Charlottesville, Virginia on August 11 and 12, 2017. Those events have come to be called “Charlottesville.”

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    The “Cruel and Unusual” Legacy of the Star Chamber

    by Donald A. Dripps

    Recent developments suggest that the Supreme Court is poised to reconsider a wide swath of doctrines from originalist premises. For the 2,414 inmates on death row—and for countless more who might join them in the years to come—history may be a matter of life and death.

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    Franklin’s Talmud: Hebraic Republicanism in the Constitutional Convention and the Debate Over Ratification, 1787-1788

    by Daniel D. Slate

    Hebraic republicanism found in rabbinic Judaism a set of sources and ideas that made it possible to argue that constitutional republics, with powers limited by the rule of law, were the only legitimate form of government. It had a profound influence on the founding, in particular in the formulation of the republican government Guarantee Clause of Article IV, Section 4.

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    A MARvel of Constitutional Demythologizing

    by Jack N. Rakove

    At a time when the entire constitutional system is under extraordinary stress, Akhil Amar’s contribution to the collection Myth America: Historians Take on the Biggest Legends and Lies about Our Past misses the opportunity to address topics that deal with our contemporary woes—as the other contributors to this volume do.

Issue 3 - Summer 2023

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    Constructing a Modern Canon for The Federalist

    by Sanford Levinson

    To what extent do legal academics, historians, political scientists, and high school teachers actually assign any of the The Federalist?

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    The Executive Branch and the Origins of Judicial Independence

    by Kevin Arlyck

    Most accounts of the federal judiciary’s rise to independence tell a story in which the courts consolidated their authority—especially the power of judicial review—by tacitly agreeing to withdraw from partisan politics. But as this article shows, the most insistent assertions of judicial inviolability came not from courts, but instead from the executive branch officials.

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    Strategic Ambiguity and Article VII: Why the Framers Decided Not to Decide

    by Roderick M. Hills, Jr.

    By reducing the power of the Federalist agenda-setters to force through specific constitutional language with a reversion threat, the presumption of ambiguity respects contemporary norms of fair dealing, thereby advancing the goal of popular sovereignty with which Federalists defended the Constitution’s legitimacy.

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    Interpreting Ratification

    by Andrew Coan and David S. Schwartz

    A proper interpretation of the ratification debates undermines any principled originalist case for limiting federal power. It also calls into question the resolving power of originalism as a practical method for deciding controversial cases.