Chicago's Best Ideas

Alison Siegler, “The Courts of Appeals’ Latest Sentencing Rebellion”

For over twenty-five years, federal courts of appeals have rebelled against every Supreme Court mandate that weakens the federal sentencing Guidelines. That rebellion has intensified since the Court dealt a blow to the Guidelines a decade ago by making them advisory, rather than mandatory.

Participating faculty: 
Alison Siegler

Alison Siegler, “The Courts of Appeals’ Latest Sentencing Rebellion”

For over twenty-five years, federal courts of appeals have rebelled against every Supreme Court mandate that weakens the federal sentencing Guidelines.

Alison LaCroix, "The Shadow Powers of Article I"

The Supreme Court's federalism battleground has recently shifted from the Commerce Clause to two textually marginal but substantively important domains: the Necessary and Proper Clause and, to a lesser extent, the General Welfare Clause. For nearly a decade, these quieter, more structurally ambiguous federal powers – the “shadow powers” – have steadily increased in prominence.

Participating faculty: 
Alison LaCroix

Alison LaCroix, "The Shadow Powers of Article I"

The growth of shadow powers analysis has tended to narrow the permissible scope of congressional regulatory power.

Omri Ben-Shahar, "The Unintended Effects of Access Justice Laws"

Access Justice laws give people equal opportunity to enjoy primary goods, ensuring that access to these goods is not allocated by markets and is not tilted in favor of wealth and privilege.

Participating faculty: 
Omri Ben-Shahar

Omri Ben-Shahar, "The Unintended Effects of Access Justice Laws"

In this lecture, Professor Ben-Shahar explains why Access Justice law can unintentionally hurt weak groups in a variety of areas — access to courts, information, insurance, internet, and many more.

William Baude, "Is Originalism Our Law?"

At her confirmation hearing, Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan said that "we are all originalists." Is that true, and what would it mean for it to be true? In Is Originalism Our Law?, I argue that there is an important sense in which Justice Kagan was right.

Participating faculty: 
William Baude

William Baude, "Is Originalism Our Law?"

At her confirmation hearing, Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan said that "we are all originalists." Is that true, and what would it mean for it to be true?

Richard McAdams, "How Law Works Expressively"

Although people sometimes violate the law, there is more legal compliance than we can explain by ordinary economic theory – that legal sanctions deter noncompliance. In some domains of international law and constitutional law, there is no credible threat of legal sanctions, yet there is compliance.

Participating faculty: 
Richard H. McAdams
Related article: 
Why Do People Obey the Law?