Samuel Bray, The Supreme Court and the New Equity
The line between law and equity has largely faded away. Even in remedies, where the line between legal and equitable remedies has not entirely disappeared, the conventional scholarly wisdom favors erasing it. But something surprising has happened. In a series of cases over the last decade and a half, the U.S. Supreme Court has acted directly contrary to this conventional wisdom. These cases range across many areas of substantive law — from commercial contracts and ERISA to habeas and immigration, from patents and copyright to environmental law and national security. Throughout these disparate areas, the Court has consistently reinforced the line between legal and equitable remedies, and it has treated equitable remedies as having distinctive powers and limitations.
This Article describes and evaluates the Court’s new equity cases. Faced with many federal statutes authorizing equitable relief, the Court has looked to history and tradition to determine what counts as an equitable remedy and also to determine the circumstances in which equitable relief should be given. There have been some blunders, and the Court has glossed over the complexity of equity’s history. On the whole, however, the Court’s new equity cases represent a reasonable response to an enduring challenge — how to make sense of equitable doctrines in a world without equitable courts. This conclusion will prove controversial for scholars in remedies and in various substantive fields, but even those who disagree will need to grapple with the new equity cases, for they may shape the law of remedies for decades to come.Tess Wilkinson-Ryan and David Hoffman, Intuitions About Contract Formation
Legally, much depends on the moment that a negotiation becomes a deal. Unlike torts or civil procedure or any area of public law, the laws of promissory exchange only apply to parties who have manifested their assent to be bound. Even so, the moral norms of exchange and promise are quite firmly entrenched and more broadly applicable than just legal contracts. Norms of promise-keeping and reciprocity, interpersonal courtesy, community reputation — these kinds of intangible goods have real effects on contract behavior. For this reason it is especially surprising that intuitions about formation have gotten so little attention from legal and behavioral scholars.
This paper offers five new empirical studies of commonsense approaches to contract formation. The first section of this Article surveys intuitions about what the law of formation is. In a world in which the vast majority of contracts are signed without the advice of counsel, most people have to draw inferences based on their background knowledge and beliefs. It turns out that the colloquial understanding of contract formation is about the formalization of an agreement rather than actual assent.
In the second part of the Article, we tease out the intuitive relationship between formation and obligation. The law of contracts is very clear that parties’ obligations to one another turn entirely on whether or not they have mutually manifested assent to be bound. And, in fact, we find that behavioral results suggest that legal (or legalistic) formation does enhance commitment to a deal irrespective of its power to impose sanctions; it seems that the law has freestanding normative force. However, we also find that the subjective sense of obligation is not as black or white as the law would predict. Parties are influenced by the natural, informal obligations to one another that build over the course of a transaction, increasing their commitment to the partnership in stages rather than all at once at the moment of formation.Josh Blackman, The 1st Amendment, 2nd Amendment, and 3D Printed Guns
From part of the abstract:
We are standing at the dawn of the next great industrial revolution. With 3-D printers people can print an infinite number of personalized and customized “things.” However, one manifestation of this bold new technology threatens to cast a specter on innovation: 3D printed guns. This article explores how efforts to regulate, or even ban 3D guns, must satisfy constitutional scrutiny under both the First and Second Amendments.Allan Beever, The Declaratory Theory of Law
The Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms includes a subsidiary right to acquire arms — what else are you going to keep and bear — which covers both the buyer, and seller in the transaction. Further, the seller has to obtain guns, including newly manufactured firearms. Thus, the Second Amendment supply chain protects a right to make arms. These constitutional guarantees preserve the right to acquire and make firearms, by 3D printer or other means.
This article examines the declaratory theory of law and defends it from the most prominent modern attack on it. It explains that the real declaratory theory is not the caricature of it criticized in modern writing and that, in fact, the theory properly understood is remarkably close to the position adopted by some of the theory’s most notable opponents. The article further examines the common law’s continuing commitment to the declaratory theory, a commitment that remains strong despite the considerable hostility of the academy. It explains that this commitment reflects the nature of the common law.