Chicago's Best Ideas

Richard A. Epstein, “Reasonable and Unreasonable Expectations in Property Law and Beyond”

The notion of reasonable expectations filters in and out of many given areas of law. It is often derided as circular claim in which reasonable expectations are shaped by the law that they are supposed to shape. On the other hand, it is often treated, most notably under the Supreme Court’s now pivotal decision in Penn Central Transportation Co v.

Participating faculty: 
Richard A. Epstein

Richard A. Epstein, “Reasonable and Unreasonable Expectations in Property Law and Beyond”

Reasonable expectations can never be banned from the law, but they must be domesticated, where their primary role is to facilitate cooperation between people who otherwise are unable to coordinate their social behaviors.

The notion of reasonable expectations filters in and out of many given areas of law. It is often derided as circular claim in which reasonable expectations are shaped by the law that they are supposed to shape. On the other hand, it is often treated, most notably under the Supreme Court’s now pivotal decision in Penn Central Transportation Co v.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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?

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.

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