Author: John Chapin

Reframing the “Deserving” Tenant: The Abolition of a Policed Public Housing

Comment

Centuries-old economic and racial injustices have molded our federal housing
assistance. From the way we construct public housing whether it has access to high-
quality amenities or is built segregated from opportunities to the stringent policies
that dictate eligibility, the federal government dictates who deserves housing
assistance along racial and class lines. The result is the policing of housing projects
through two mechanisms. First, police forces perpetuate the criminalization of Black
and Latinx people, further fueling our carceral system.

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Protecting Renters from Flood Loss

Comment

In the summer of 2020, Amanda Daniels found herself, for the third time, in a flooded apartment that she rented in Chicago. Over the past...

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The Peace Powers: How to End a War

Article

The Constitution seems silent about who may end a war and how they may do so. There is no “declare peace” clause, and scholarship has...

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The Trajectory of Federal Gun Crimes

Article

Federal gun prosecutions have been a significant part of the federal
docket for decades. In this Article, we explore for the first time the evolution
of federal gun crimes. They cover conduct ranging from gun distribution and
possession of particular weapons such as machine guns to use by drug
traffickers and individual possession of firearms by felons. Second, we
describe how in practice gun charges have adapted to criminal law priorities
of Congress and federal prosecutors over time. More recently, they became
prominent in connection with immigration prosecutions, while in the 1980s,
drug gangs were the priority. During this time, gun cases provided vehicles
for testing the reach of federal jurisdiction, the use of federal crimes as
sentencing enhancements, and the boundaries between federal, state, and
local enforcement.

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Persisting Sovereignties

Article

From the first days of the United States, the story of sovereignty has not been one of a simple division between the federal government and...

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To Catch a Snooping Spouse: Reevaluating the Roots of the Spousal Wiretap Exception in the Digital Age

Comment

Marriage is, and continues to be, a reactive institution. Although the origins of marriage date back over 6000 years, the marital...

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Beyond Strickland Prejudice: Weaver, Batson, and Procedural Default

Comment

A Batson violation—racially discriminatory jury selection—is a structural error,
“not amenable” to harmless error review on direct appeal. By definition, structural
errors evade traditional prejudice analysis. But, when a petitioner argues on
collateral review that their trial counsel provided ineffective assistance by failing to
object to a Batson violation, a number of circuits require a showing of Strickland
prejudice. As some of these courts recognize, they demand the impossible.

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Arbitrariness Review and Climate Change

Article

In its ideal form, arbitrariness review is an instrument for promoting “deliberative democracy”—a system that combines reason-giving...

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The Living Rules of Evidence

Article

The jurisprudential evolution of evidence law is dead. At least, that’s what we’re expected to believe. After all, it’s been...

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America’s Misunderstood Constitutional Rights

Article

In contemporary rights jurisprudence and theory, the Fourteenth Amendment and
the Federal Bill of Rights are most frequently conceptualized as bulwarks against
majoritarian abuses. From Brown v. Board of Education to Obergefell v.
Hodges and even District of Columbia v. Heller, federal rights are primarily understood as enforceable legal constraints on popular majorities (especially intrastate
majorities). Viewed through this lens, state constitutional rights are often dismissed
as fundamentally dysfunctional because they are too easily amended through
majoritarian political processes to constrain popular majorities. After all, what good
is a state constitutional right to marriage equality, for example, if it can be quickly
eliminated by a majority vote?

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