EQUALITY, JUSTICE, AND THE LAW

                        (also known as: The Philosophy of Law)                                

                                                                                                                      PHILOSOPHY 45-361  

 

Link to the United States Constitution

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

 

Power point slides from class lecture are available on the class Blackboard site (under "Handouts").

Blackboard Access Information for Students: 

 

To get your Blackboard username and password:
1. Go to http://continuinged.uml.edu/online/confirmation/
2. Carefully enter the information required to retrieve your username and password.
3. Print out the confirmation screen for your records.


To access the online supplement for your course:
1. Go to https://continuinged.uml.edu/login/login.cfm
2. Enter your Blackboard username and password and click the Login button.

 

CLASS ASSIGNMENTS

 

Plato on the Rule of Law: excerpted from Plato's dialogue, "The Statesman" (4th century BCE).  Please read with attention to how Plato contrast the virtues and vices of rule by law, as opposed to rule by people.  Write a brief summary of the dialogue.

 

Antonin Scalia, "The Rule of Law as a Law of Rules," University of Chicago Law Review Volume 56  1989. Available from UML Library ejournals.

Instructions for finding: 

1. go to UMASS library homepage        http://libweb.uml.edu/

2.On alphabetical list at bottom, select 'L' then select LEXIS-NEXIS ACADEMIC  (log in)

3. Under "Search By Content Type" choose "Law Reviews"

 

4. Under "Advanced Options" enter  author(scalia) and under "Date" enter From 1989 to 1989.       

 5. Click on link to the article 

 

Two cases on 'vagrancy' laws: Morgan (1881) and Papachristou (1971)

Handout on Disorderly Conduct statutes

 

 Separation of Powers: James Madison, Federalist # 51:  http://www.constitution.org/fed/federa51.htm

 

Howard Zinn, Critique of rule of law:

1. "It's Not Up to the Court" http://www.progressive.org/mag_zinn1105

2. "Passionate Declarations"

http://www.ashbrook.org/publicat/onprin/v4n2/forte.html

M.L. King, Letter from a Birmingham Jail

Riggs v. Palmer, http://www.courts.state.ny.us/reporter/archives/riggs_palmer.htm

Federalist # 78 (authored by Alexander Hamilton)  http://www.constitution.org/fed/federa78.htm

Bork, The Tempting of America

        Chapter 1 entire (pp. 19- 49)

        Chapter 3 pp. 74-84; 95-100

        Chapter 4 p. 110-126

Buck v. Bell (1927):  http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?navby=CASE&court=US&vol=274&page=200

           Bork, Tempting of America, Section II in entirety (pp. 133-185)

 

          Begin Strauss, The Living Constitution

 

HANDOUTS

The Rule of Law and the Rule of Men

Plato and Aristotle on Rule of Law

Blackstone's Ratio

Ninth Amendment

 

 

LAW IN THE NEWS

Should we abandon the Constitution?   http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/31/opinion/lets-give-up-on-the-constitution.html?pagewanted=all

Is the Constitution outdated?  http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/07/us/we-the-people-loses-appeal-with-people-around-the-world.html?ref=usconstitution

http://www.salon.com/2013/02/24/creationism_ayn_rand_and_gun_control_six_terrible_state_laws_proposed_this_month/

Interpreting the Constitution: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/14/opinion/14stone.html?ref=todayspaper

President Obama's Health Care Plan: is it Constitutional?  http://healthcarereform.nejm.org/?p=2764

The Senate and the Filibuster: unconstitutional? http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/11/opinion/11geoghegan.html

The rule of law and vagueness: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/23/opinion/23farmer.html?ref=todayspaper

 

 

RECOMMENDED LEGAL WEBSITES

http://www.scotusblog.com/  (blog on the Supreme Court of the US)

www.oyez.org  (legal resources)

 

 

 

                      SYLLABUS                                                         

 

ATTENDANCE AND LATENESS POLICIES  
               

Whitley_Kaufman@uml.edu

Dugan 200G      Tel. 978 934 3913

                  Surely a society’s lawbook should in right and reason prove, when we open it, far the best and finest work of its whole literature.       Plato, The Laws (4th century BCE)

                

                  In America, the law is king.  For as in absolute governments the King is law, so in free countries the law ought to be king, and there ought to be no other.   Thomas Paine, Common Sense (1776)

                  The law, in its majestic equality, forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, beg in the streets or Steal bread.     Anatole France (1894)

 

Course Objectives:  This course is designed as an introduction to the philosophical analysis of the law.   We will investigate the American ideal of the “rule of law” and the connections between law, democracy, and the moral ideal of equality.  A central question in the course will be the role of the Constitution and in particular the Equal Protection clause, as well as the role of the judiciary in enforcing the legal mandate of equal treatment. 

 

Required Texts:                     Robert Bork, The Tempting of America

                                                David Strauss, The Living Constitution

                                                 (For those who desire a textbook-style approach to the issues of this course, recommended is Andrew Altman, Arguing About Law.)

 

Course Requirements:                                    Two Essays                              50%                                            

                                                                          Two in-class exams                  50%

 

(Note: these percentages are approximate; the instructor reserves the right to modify the final grade based on class participation, improvement or decline over the semester, or other relevant factors).

 

Readings:

 1) Why govern by means of laws?

Plato on the Rule of Law: excerpted from Plato's dialogue, "The Statesman" (4th century BCE).  Please read with attention to how Plato contrast the virtues and vices of rule by law, as opposed to rule by people.

 

2) Separation of Powers:

James Madison, Federalist # 51  http://www.constitution.org/fed/federa51.htm

The Fourth Branch: http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-rise-of-the-fourth-branch-of-government/2013/05/24/c7faaad0-c2ed-11e2-9fe2-6ee52d0eb7c1_story.html

 

3) Government by Rules

  Antonin Scalia, "The Rule of Law as a Law of Rules," University of Chicago Law Review Volume 56  1989.       

 

Instructions for finding: 

1. go to UMASS library homepage        http://libweb.uml.edu/

2.On alphabetical list at bottom, select 'L' then select LEXIS-NEXIS ACADEMIC  (log in)

3. Click on "US LEGAL" (lefthand column, second link from the top)  

4. Select "Law Reviews" (7th item from top)    

4. Under "Keyword" enter:  author(scalia) and under "Date" enter From 1989 to 1989.       

 5. Click on link to the article  (please print out and bring to class)

 

 

4) Vagrancy Laws and the Rule of Law

Two cases on 'vagrancy' laws: Morgan (1881) and Papachristou (1971)

Handout on Disorderly Conduct statutes

 

Optional readings:

a. Disorderly conduct statutes:   http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2011/03/30/disorderly_conduct_cases_draw_fresh_legal_scrutiny/?page=full

 

b. Critique of Philip Howard: http://www.slate.com/id/2210172/

 

5)  Critics of the Rule of Law

a)  The Rule of Law as political mystification

Howard Zinn, Critique of rule of law

1. "It's Not Up to the Court" http://www.progressive.org/mag_zinn1105

2. "Passionate Declarations"

                       

b) The Indeterminacy Thesis

The Commerce Clause cases and Affordable Care Act  handout on ACA

Supreme Court opinion in Shelley v. Kraemer case (1948):  here

(Optional: for more discussion of Shelley v. Kraemer, see http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=897274)

Dred scott excerpt

 

6) Natural Law: The idea of a Higher Law

http://www.ashbrook.org/publicat/onprin/v4n2/forte.html

M.L. King, Letter from a Birmingham Jail

 

7)  Riggs v. Palmer, http://www.courts.state.ny.us/reporter/archives/riggs_palmer.htm

 

8) The Constitution as Higher Law

Robert George, Natural Law, The Constitution, and Judicial Review:      http://www.natuurrecht.nl/2/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=37&Itemid=51

 

9) Judicial Review

Federalist # 78 (authored by Alexander Hamilton)  http://www.constitution.org/fed/federa78.htm

Optional: Thomas Jefferson's attack on judicial review: http://www.famguardian.org/Subjects/Politics/ThomasJefferson/jeff1030.htm

10) The Originalist Theory of Constitutional Interpretation

Bork, The Tempting of America

        Chapter 1 entire (pp. 19- 49)

        Chapter 3 pp. 74-84; 95-100

        Chapter 4 p. 110-126

        Section II in entirety (pp. 133-185)

 

Buck v. Bell (1927):  http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?navby=CASE&court=US&vol=274&page=200

 

11) The Living Constitution: Alternatives to Originalism

Strauss, The Living Constitution

 

12) Equal Protection of the Law

Kurt Vonnegut, "Harrison Bergeron": http://www.tnellen.com/cybereng/harrison.html

Gay Rights and Equality: Lawrence v. Texas http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/02-102.ZO.html

Disability rights:  Michael Kinsley, "Disabilities and Inabilities"  http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/readme/2002/06/disabilities_and_inabilities.html

 

Optional: Ruth Shalit, "Defining Disability Down," New Republic 8/25/1997   [go to library home page, e-journal list, look up New Republic]

 

 

 

SOURCES AND MATERIALS

1) CAROLENE PRODUCTS FOOTNOTE 4 (1938)

There may be narrower scope for operation of the presumption of constitutionality when legislation appears on its face to be within a specific prohibition of the Constitution, such as those of the first ten Amendments, which are deemed equally specific when held to be embraced within the 14th. [Case citations deleted]It is unnecessary to consider now whether legislation which restricts those political processes which can ordinarily be expected to bring about repeal of undesirable legislation, is to be subjected to more exacting judicial scrutiny under the general prohibitions of the 14th Amendments than are most other types of legislation..Nor need we enquire whether similar considerations enter into the review of statues directed at particular religious...or nationaL...or racial minorities; [or] whether prejudice against discrete and insular minorities may be a special condition, which tends seriously to curtail the operation of those political processes ordinarily to be relied upon to protect minorities, and which may call for a correspondingly more searching judicial inquiry...   Source: 304 U.S. 144 (1938).

2) Equal Protection Clause

Nordlinger v. Hahn, 505 U.S. 1:  

"The Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, 1, commands that no State shall "deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." Of course, most laws differentiate in some fashion between classes of persons. The Equal Protection Clause does not forbid classifications. It simply keeps governmental decisionmakers from treating differently persons who are in all relevant respects alike. F. S. Royster Guano Co. v. Virginia, 253 U.S. 412, 415 (1920)."

Personnel Administrator of Mass. v. Feeney, 442 U.S. 256:

The equal protection guarantee of the Fourteenth Amendment does not take from the States all power of classification. Massachusetts Bd. of Retirement v. Murgia, 427 U.S. 307, 314 . Most laws classify, and many affect certain groups [442 U.S. 256, 272]   unevenly, even though the law itself treats them no differently from all other members of the class described by the law. When the basic classification is rationally based, uneven effects upon particular groups within a class are ordinarily of no constitutional concern. New York City Transit Authority v. Beazer, 440 U.S. 568 ; Jefferson v. Hackney, 406 U.S. 535, 548 . Cf. James v. Valtierra, 402 U.S. 137 . The calculus of effects, the manner in which a particular law reverberates in a society, is a legislative and not a judicial responsibility.  When some other independent right is not at stake, see, e. g., Shapiro v. Thompson, 394 U.S. 618 , and when there is no "reason to infer antipathy," Vance v. Bradley, 440 U.S. 93, 97 , it is presumed that "even improvident decisions will eventually be rectified by the democratic process . . . ."

Certain classifications, however, in themselves supply a reason to infer antipathy. Race is the paradigm. A racial classification, regardless of purported motivation, is presumptively invalid and can be upheld only upon an extraordinary justification. Brown v. Board of Education, 347 U.S. 483 ; McLaughlin v. Florida, 379 U.S. 184 . This rule applies as well to a classification that is ostensibly neutral but is an obvious pretext for racial discrimination. Yick Wo v. Hopkins, 118 U.S. 356 ; Guinn v. United States, 238 U.S. 347 ; cf. Lane v. Wilson, 307 U.S. 268 ; Gomillion v. Lightfoot, 364 U.S. 339 . But, as was made clear in Washington v. Davis, 426 U.S. 229 , and Arlington Heights v. Metropolitan Housing Dev. Corp., 429 U.S. 252 , even if a neutral law has a disproportionately adverse effect upon a racial minority, it is unconstitutional under the Equal Protection Clause only if that impact can be traced to a discriminatory purpose. [442 U.S. 256, 273]  

Classifications based upon gender, not unlike those based upon race, have traditionally been the touchstone for pervasive and often subtle discrimination. Caban v. Mohammed, 441 U.S. 380, 398 (STEWART, J., dissenting). This Court's recent cases teach that such classifications must bear a close and substantial relationship to important governmental objectives, Craig v. Boren, 429 U.S. 190, 197 , and are in many settings unconstitutional. Reed v. Reed, 404 U.S. 71 ;, Frontiero v. Richardson, 411 U.S. 677 ; Weinberger v. Wiesenfeld, 420 U.S. 636 ; Craig v. Boren, supra; Califano v. Goldfarb, 430 U.S. 199 ; Orr v. Orr, 440 U.S. 268 ; Caban v. Mohammed, supra. Although public employment is not a constitutional right, Massachusetts Bd. of Retirement v. Murgia, supra, and the States have wide discretion in framing employee qualifications, see, e. g., New York City Transit Authority v. Beazer, supra, these precedents dictate that any state law overtly or covertly designed to prefer males over females in public employment would require an exceedingly persuasive justification to withstand a constitutional challenge under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

Grutter v. Bollinger

Americans With Disabilities Act

3) BILLS OF ATTAINDER

Is the tax on AIG bonuses a violation of ex post facto or bills of attainder?  http://www.foxnews.com/politics/first100days/2009/03/18/congress-invites-court-challenge-aig-taxation-plan-lawyers-say/

 

SCHEDULE OF TOPICS

   1) Rule of Law and the separation of powers; argument in Heart of Atlanta

  2) Federalism, Separation of Powers

  3) Critics of the Rule of Law: Howard Zinn, Legal Realism, Critical Legal Studies

  4) CLS & Shelley v. Kraemer; the role of Discretion (Equity, Jury Nullification)

  5) Rules vs. standards/discretion; Natural Law versus Positivism

    FIRST EXAMINATION

   6) Natural Law and the Rule of Law; exams returned.  Reading: Forte article (above).

   7) Natural Law: read Riggs v. Palmer (above)

   8) Riggs; Dworkin's theory of interpretation; Natural Law in US history

   9) Natural Law and the US Constitution

    10)  Constitutional Interpretation: Bork and Original Intent

    11)    Originalism and the Problem of Intention

    12)    Originalism Critiqued    

    13)   Equal Protection: read "Harrison Bergeron"

    14)    Equal Protection: what is equality?

    15)    Equal Protection: the Race Paradigm

     16)   Equal Protection: Gender

     17)    SECOND EXAM

      18)      Equal Protection: Disability

       19)     Equal Protection: Affirmative Action

       20)    Equal Protection: Bush v. Gore

       21)   Last Class: Final Essay given out

 

CLASS OUTLINE:

I.                   The Rule of Law: The American ideal of the “rule of law not men”

A. Interpretations of the Rule of Law

The law of rules; Separation of Powers; Natural Law; Common Law

B   Departures from the Rule of Law

            Equity; Jury Nullification; official discretion

C.                 The Radical Critique

Legal Realism, Critical Legal Studies, the Indeterminacy Thesis

II.                Law and Morality: Natural Law versus Positivism

A.     Legal Positivism: legal authority is distinct from moral authority

John Austin: law is the command of a sovereign                                    

HLA Hart: law is the union of primary and secondary rules

B.     Natural Law: Law’s authority derives from its moral authority     

Aquinas: the purpose of law is to promote the common good           

Fuller: law’s inner morality respects human autonomy           

Dworkin: legal interpretation requires the use of moral principles

C.     The problem of international law and “crimes against humanity”

 

III.             The Constitution and the Judiciary

A. The Idea of a Written Constitution; Constitution as Higher Law

B. Judicial Review and Democracy

            Ely and “representation-reinforcing” role of judicial review

C. Constitutional Interpretation

            Dworkin: interpretation is holistic and value-based                                          

            Bork: Interpretation is value-neutral and based on original intention

D. Law and Economics: justice as efficiency

E. The 9th Amendment and the Right to Privacy

IV.              Equal Justice Under Law

A.     The Equal Protection Clause: equality and discrimination

B.     The Right to Vote

C.     Bush v. Gore and equal protection

 

Statement on the Use of Outside Sources in Essays:

All written work handed in for credit must be substantially your own.  Any use of the words or ideas of someone else (from the Internet, books, friends, etc.) must be acknowledged with proper citation form.  The citation must be sufficient to allow the reader to look up the source himself (this is especially important for web sites).

At the discretion of the instructor, the student may be asked to demonstrate orally to the satisfaction of the instructor that the work handed in is substantially original.