VOLUME 161, ISSUE 3 February 2013


Professor Abraham's new Article, Four Conceptions of Insurance, offers an invaluable overview and critique of four modern conceptions of insurance. He cautions that “the particular lens through which we view insurance law cannot tell us what principles should govern or what policy choices to make.” But who is the “we” in that statement? This Response focuses on three overlooked groups with an important interest in such governing principles and policy choices. First, Abraham mentions insurance brokers only briefly, describing how large insurance brokers can negotiate policy terms. But brokers, large and small, play an important role in deciding which available insurance a policyholder purchases. Second, any discussion of homeowners insurance should include mortgage holders, who require mortgagors to purchase insurance and whose interest in the scope of coverage is equal to or greater than the homeowner's. Third, within the construction industry, general contractors seek to transfer risk to their subcontractors, who must purchase liability policies naming general contractors as “additional insureds.” The contract model, which looks to the intent of the insurer and the subcontractor, as expressed in the policy language, preserves the expectations of the parties to the contract. In examining each of these three overlooked groups' interests in an insurance transaction, we may discover that the contract model, so frequently maligned in the academic literature, is not so bad after all.

The idea of using law to change the built environment in ways that reduce opportunities to commit crimes has a long history. Unfortunately, this idea has received relatively little attention in the legal academy and only limited rigorous empirical scrutiny. In this Article, we review the considerable literature on the relationship between zoning, the built environment, and crime. We then report the results of two empirical studies on these relationships. First, we conducted a study of the effect of zoning on crime using 205 blocks selected in eight different relatively high crime neighborhoods in Los Angeles that have similar demographic characteristics but different forms of zoned land use. We find that mixed commercial- and residential-zoned areas are associated with lower crime than are commercial-only zoned areas. Second, we matched neighborhoods undergoing zoning changes between 2006 and 2010 with neighborhoods that underwent no zoning changes during this period but had similar preexisting crime trajectories between 1994 and 2005. The primary zoning change in these neighborhoods was to convert parcels to residential uses. We find that neighborhoods in which there was a zoning change experienced a significant decline in crime. Our results suggest that mixing residential-only zoning into commercial blocks may be a promising means of reducing crime.

In 1989, the Supreme Court in Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins declared that sex stereotyping was a prohibited form of sex discrimination at work. This seemingly simple declaration has been the most important development in sex discrimination jurisprudence since the passage of Title VII. It has been used to extend Title VII’s coverage and to protect groups that were previously excluded. Astonishingly, however, the contours, dimensions, and requirements of the prohibition have never been clearly articulated by courts or scholars. In this paper I evaluate and reject the interpretations most often offered by scholars—namely that the prohibition requires either freedom of gender expression or sex-blind neutrality. I argue that the prohibition reflects not a coherent antidiscrimination principle but a pragmatic burden-shifting framework that turns on the compliance costs for the worker. I conclude by arguing that the sex stereotyping prohibition has not lived up to its rhetorical promise. Indeed, the implications of the prohibition are both dangerous and ironic in ways that scholars have yet to recognize. While the prohibition has extended Title VII’s protection to new classes of workers, it has done so by relying on and reinforcing traditional gender categories. The result is that the prohibition protects some individuals at the expense of the class whose subordination— stemming from socially salient gender norms—remains intact.


This paper is about the everyday occurrence of coming across an object in the world and evaluating whether or not it is up for grabs. My project explores the shared space at the precipice of the laws of finders, abandonment, destruction, and conversion: a space we often inhabit, but wherein our rights in relation to an object are indiscernible ex ante under current law. I propose a system by which actors and courts may evaluate the reasonableness of a person’s actions from the moment he or she chooses to acquire a chattel unilaterally. My system derives from the signals chattels convey to us—signals that have everything to do with context and little or nothing to do with value.

The Supreme Court has repeatedly declined to address the validity of the unconstitutional delay claim raised by Valle and other death row inmates before him. The issue first came to the Court’s attention over fifteen years ago, in Lackey v. Texas. Justice Stevens issued a memorandum respecting the Court’s denial of certiorari in which he acknowledged that although “the importance and novelty of the question . . . are sufficient to warrant review by this Court, those factors also provide a principled basis for postponing consideration of the issue until after it has been addressed by other courts.” Justice Stevens emphasized that denial of certiorari provided an important opportunity for state and lower federal courts to “serve as laboratories in which the issue receives further study before it is addressed by this Court.” Since Lackey, the Supreme Court has denied certiorari to every petitioner asserting this argument (hereinafter referred to as a “Lackey claim”), including Manuel Valle, and thus has not ruled on whether—or when—executions after inordinate delays on death row constitute cruel and unusual punishment.

. . .

Notwithstanding the benefits of the highest court’s resolution of the issue, the Supreme Court is unlikely to take a Lackey case in the near future. Since Justice Stevens issued the Lackey memorandum over fifteen years ago, procedural roadblocks have emerged that have prevented lower courts from addressing the merits of Lackey claims. I argue that in certain circumstances, execution after lengthy confinement on death row does violate the Eighth Amendment and the “evolving standards of decency” by which the Amendment is measured. Therefore, states must implement workable solutions that are carefully calibrated to address both the Lackey claim and the countervailing policy considerations.

Part I of this paper summarizes the bedrock principles that guide the Court in analyzing capital sentences challenged on Eighth Amendment grounds. Part II describes the substance of the Lackey claim and focuses on the causes of delay on death row and the psychological effect of this delay, known as the “death row phenomenon.” Part III traces the ongoing debate over the Lackey claim among the Justices of the United States Supreme Court. Then, Part IV assesses the experiment taking place in the “laboratories” of lower state and federal courts, and concludes that it has been lackluster, mostly because of the procedural issues that have limited courts’ opportunities to address the merits of Lackey claims. Finally, in recognition that the Court is unlikely to grant certiorari and rule on the validity of Lackey claims, Part V focuses on alternative solutions to the problem of inordinate death row delays.

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