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Essays Category

The Minimalist Alternative to Abolitionism: Focusing on the Non-Dangerous Many

Mar. 20, 2024—Christopher Slobogin | 77 Vand. L. Rev. 531 In The Dangerous Few: Taking Seriously Prison Abolition and Its Skeptics, published in the Harvard Law Review, Thomas Frampton proffers four reasons why those who want to abolish prisons should not budge from their position even for offenders who are considered dangerous. This Essay demonstrates why a...

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Against Political Theory in Constitutional Interpretation

Apr. 26, 2023—Christopher S. Havasy, Joshua C. Macey & Brian Richardson | 76 Vand. L. Rev. 899 Judges and academics have long relied on the work of a small number of Enlightenment political theorists—particularly Locke, Montesquieu, and Blackstone—to discern meaning from vague and ambiguous constitutional provisions. This Essay cautions that Enlightenment political theory should rarely, if ever,...

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Unenforceable Waivers

Mar. 28, 2023—Edward K. Cheng, Ehud Guttel & Yuval Procaccia | 76 Vand. L. Rev. 571 Textbook tort law establishes that waivers of liability—especially those involving physical harm—are often unenforceable. This Essay demonstrates through an extensive survey of the case law that despite being unenforceable, such waivers remain in widespread use. Indeed, defendants frequently use waivers even...

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Rationing Access

Jan. 27, 2023—Roy Baharad & Gideon Parchomovsky | 76 Vand. L. Rev. 215 Protection of common natural resources is one of the foremost challenges facing our society. Since Garrett Hardin published his immensely influential The Tragedy of the Commons, theorists have contemplated the best way to save common-pool resources—national parks, fisheries, heritage sites, and fragile ecosystems—from overuse...

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Paid Sick Leave’s Payoff

Nov. 22, 2022—Jennifer Bennett Shinall | 75 Vand. L. Rev. 1879 Perhaps paid sick days have never been more valuable than during the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet even before COVID-19, seventeen states and the District of Columbia began passing legislative mandates that employers provide employees with paid sick leave (“PSL”) days. Most of this legislation requires employers to...

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Policing the Police: Personnel Management and Police Misconduct

Oct. 20, 2022—Max Schanzenbach | 75 Vand. L. Rev. 1523 Police misconduct is at the top of the public policy agenda, but there is surprisingly little understanding of how police personnel management policies affect police misconduct. Police-civilian interactions in large jurisdictions are, in principle at least, highly regulated. But these regulations are at least partially counteracted by...

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Preliminary Damages

Jan. 24, 2022—Gideon Parchomovsky & Alex Stein | 75 Vand. L. Rev. 239 (2022) | Historically, the law helped impecunious plaintiffs overcome their inherent disadvantage in civil litigation. Unfortunately, this is no longer the case: modern law has largely abandoned the mission of assisting the least well-off. In this Essay, we propose a new remedy that can dramatically...

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Brown, Massive Resistance, and the Lawyer’s View: A Nashville Story

Oct. 19, 2021—Daniel J. Sharfstein | 74 Vand. L. Rev. 1435 (2021) | For nearly 75 years, the Vanderbilt Law Review has sought to publish rigorous, intellectually honest scholarship. In publishing the following Essay, we seek to provide an equally unflinching look at one way in which Vanderbilt Law School and its graduates have participated in the creation...

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The Quick (Spending) and the Dead: The Agency Costs of Forever Philanthropy

Apr. 20, 2021—Brian Galle | 74 Vand. L. Rev. 757 (2021) | American philanthropic institutions control upwards of a trillion dollars of wealth. Because contributions to these entities are deductible from both income and estate taxes, and the entities’ earnings are tax-free, that trillion dollars is heavily underwritten by contemporary taxpayers. Law offers little assurance that those...

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Chevron Is a Phoenix

Mar. 24, 2021—Lisa Schultz Bressman & Kevin M. Stack | 74 Vand. L. Rev. 465 (2021) | Judicial deference to agency interpretations of their own statutes is a foundational principle of the administrative state. It recognizes that Congress has the need and desire to delegate the details of regulatory policy to agencies rather than specify those details...

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The Liberal Case Against the Modern Class Action

May. 26, 2020—Martin H. Redish | 73 Vand. L. Rev. 1127 (2020) | Those who classify themselves as liberal generally favor widespread use of class actions as a means of policing corporate misbehavior and protecting the individual worker or consumer against capitalist excesses. In this Essay, however, I take the counterintuitive position that while class action practice...

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Why Class Actions Are Something both Liberals and Conservatives Can Love

May. 26, 2020—Brian T. Fitzpatrick | 73 Vand. L. Rev. 1147 (2020) | In Professor Redish’s review of my new book, The Conservative Case for Class Actions, he argues that liberals should oppose the class action because the cy pres doctrine used to distribute settlement money is democratically illegitimate and that conservatives should oppose it because it...

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Social Checks and Balances: A Private Fairness Doctrine

Apr. 20, 2020—Michael P. Vandenbergh | 73 Vand. L. Rev. 811 | This Essay proposes a private standards and certification system to induce media firms to provide more complete and accurate information. It argues that this new private governance system is a viable response to the channelized flow of information that is exacerbating political polarization in the...

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Golden Parachutes and the Limits of Shareholder Voting

Jan. 21, 2020—Albert H. Choi, Andrew C.W. Lund & Robert Schonlau | 73 Vand. L. Rev. 223 (2020) | With the passage of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act in 2010, Congress attempted to constrain change-in-control payments (also known as “golden parachutes”) by giving shareholders the right to approve or disapprove such payments on...

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You Get What You Pay For: An Empirical Examination of the Use of MTurk in Legal Scholarship

Oct. 11, 2019—Robertson & Yoon | 72 Vand. L. Rev. 1633 (2019) | In recent years, legal scholars have come to rely on Amazon’s Mechanical Turk (“MTurk”) platform to recruit participants for surveys and experiments. Despite MTurk’s popularity, there is no generally accepted methodology for its use in legal scholarship, and many questions remain about the validity...

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Disclosing Prosecutorial Misconduct

Jan. 28, 2019—Disclosing-Prosecutorial-Misconduct Prosecutorial misconduct in the form of Brady violations continues to plague the criminal justice system. Brady misconduct represents a fundamental breakdown in the adversarial process, denying defendants a fair trial and undermining the legitimacy of the criminal justice system. Commentators have responded by proposing a range of reforms to increase Brady compliance. Yet these...

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