The Right to Counsel in a Neoliberal Age

The Right to Counsel in a Neoliberal Age

Over the past forty years, the Supreme Court has increasingly recognized the rights of defendants in criminal proceedings to exert autonomy over their own representation, including dispensing with counsel. Analyzing these developments in Sixth Amendment jurisprudence, this post argues that encoding defendant choice into constitutional rules will likely deepen, rather than mitigate, the structural inequalities at the heart of the criminal legal system.

The Public Reliance on Private Toilets

The Public Reliance on Private Toilets

When most people consider the crisis of American infrastructure, they imagine crumbling roads and bridges, decrepit schools and hospitals, or dysfunctional railways and power grids. This post calls attention to a different, often overlooked component of American infrastructure — public restrooms. Specifically, it argues for a constitutional right to public restroom access, grounded in state constitutional provisions dedicated to public health.

The Law and Political Economy of Religious Freedom

The Law and Political Economy of Religious Freedom

As recent Supreme Court cases make clear, the libertarian and Christian wings of the conservative legal movement have orchestrated a two-step process to shift the allocation of public resources to private religious power. First, privatize public goods and services. Second, eliminate the distinction between religious and secular in the newly empowered private sphere. Their objective is to replace the New Deal settlement not with a libertarian vision of market freedom, but rather an arrangement in which the market is embedded in a conservative Christian social vision.

The Indian Country Abortion Safe Harbor Fallacy

The Indian Country Abortion Safe Harbor Fallacy

In response to the likely fall of Roe, commentators have suggested that tribal lands might serve as safe harbors for abortion in conservative states. While tribes ought to possess the territorial authority to regulate reproductive healthcare as they see fit, this proposal overlooks important legal, financial, political, and ethical considerations that make the prospect of such safe harbors unlikely.

Procedural Political Economy

Procedural Political Economy

Civil procedure is the infrastructure of democracy, allowing the public to interpret, elaborate, and entrench constitutional-regulatory commitments over time. Rather than sidelining courts entirely, a revival of the democracy-of-opportunity tradition should include a progressive vision of procedure.

Democracy, Bureaucracy, and Rights

Democracy, Bureaucracy, and Rights

“It is not true that the U.S. Constitution has little to say about our economic rights and liberties – let alone our material welfare. Instead, as Fishkin and Forbath argue convincingly, the Constitution has nourished a democracy-of-opportunity tradition that places our equal social rights front-and-center in constitutional practice and politics.”

American Social Democracy and Its Imperial Roots

American Social Democracy and Its Imperial Roots

The historical high-tides for the domestic experience of democracy-of-opportunity have occurred during periods of territorial and global expansionism. A serious effort to recover this tradition entails engaging with its imperial dimensions.