The Roundtable

Welcome to the Roundtable, JLPP’s online blog featuring student commentary on current cases and legal developments!

If you are interested in becoming a Staff Writer or Contributing Writer for the Roundtable, e-mail Notes Editors Kyle Reynolds (mreynolds@jd18.law.harvard.edu) or Chadwick Harper (charper@jd19.law.harvard.edu).

Hon. Robert H. Bork Memorial Lecture: Toxic Political Polarization and the Judiciary – Judge Thomas B. Griffith

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Hon. Robert H. Bork Memorial Lecture: Toxic Political Polarization and the Judiciary – Judge Thomas B. Griffith

Download PDF Toxic Political Polarization and the Judiciary Judge Thomas B. Griffith (ret.)* I am honored to be here today and especially to speak in a lecture series that honors the memory of Judge Robert H. Bork. We are all indebted to Ed Whelan for his Confirmation Tales column. Forgive my self-indulgence in telling you my story. It features Judge Bork in a prominent role. Although it was far from a pleasant experience, my Senate confirmation experience was smooth sailing compared to the tempestuous proceedings others have endured. For...

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The Missing Endpoint of Rule 609(b) – Bobby Levine

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The Missing Endpoint of Rule 609(b) – Bobby Levine

Download PDF The Missing Endpoint of Rule 609(b) Bobby Levine* Introduction Federal Rule of Evidence 609(b) (“609(b)”) limits when a lawyer can impeach a witness using their prior criminal convictions.[1]  To impeach a witness with a prior conviction that is more than 10 years old, there is a heightened standard for admissibility.  The judge must find that its probative value “substantially outweighs its prejudicial effect.”[2]  That language may sound familiar.  It is a specialized application of the far less demanding threshold of Rule...

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Distinguishing Administrative Delegations from Constitutional Offices – Yonatan Gelblum

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Distinguishing Administrative Delegations from Constitutional Offices – Yonatan Gelblum

Download PDF Distinguishing Administrative Delegations from Constitutional Offices Yonatan Gelblum* Introduction Although the use of administrative delegations to assign caretaking duties at federal agencies in the vacancies context has attracted the attention of courts and commentators,[1] the routine reliance by political appointees on delegations to career civil servants of broad authority over rulemaking, adjudication, and enforcement has drawn less attention.  The few contemporary appellate courts and commentators to have touched on the...

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Checking Out [of] Acheson Hotels – Michael E. Rosman

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Checking Out [of] Acheson Hotels – Michael E. Rosman

Download PDF Checking Out [of] Acheson Hotels Michael E. Rosman* This brief essay explores a few of the strange features of the Supreme Court’s recent case of Acheson Hotels, LLC v. Laufer.[1] That case involved a requirement under an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulation that hotels identify the features of their accommodations to allow individuals with disabilities to assess whether the accommodation would meet their needs. The Court dismissed the appeal of Acheson Hotels on mootness grounds.[2] I briefly explore the peculiar way...

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The Next Big States’ Rights Case Might Not Be What You Think – O.H. Skinner & Beau Roysden

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The Next Big States’ Rights Case Might Not Be What You Think – O.H. Skinner & Beau Roysden

Download PDF The Next Big States’ Rights Case Might Not Be What You Think A Supreme Court Petition Out Of Hawaii Could Reshape The State Sovereignty Landscape O.H. Skinner & Beau Roysden* The arguments have ended for the 2023 U.S. Supreme Court term, with blockbusters soon to be decided.  As some of us start to look over the horizon to the 2024 Supreme Court term, which is just starting to come into focus, there is a blockbuster state sovereignty case from the Hawaii Supreme Court that is looming as a potential addition to the argument...

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Textualism and the Eighth Amendment – Judge Thomas M. Hardiman

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Textualism and the Eighth Amendment – Judge Thomas M. Hardiman

Download PDF Textualism and the Eighth Amendment Judge Thomas M. Hardiman* Thank you for the generous invitation to be part of the Laurence Silberman Distinguished Judicial Lecture Series. Judge Silberman was my administrative law professor at Georgetown over thirty years ago. Unfortunately, at that time I had neither an appreciation for the value of judicial clerkships nor an understanding of the privilege of being taught by one of the lions of the D.C. Circuit. I’m sorry that Judge Silberman isn’t with us to comment on my remarks—no doubt...

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BASIC RIGHTS AND INITIATIVE PETITION 23-07: ARE THE PREBORN “NATURAL PERSONS” UNDER THE FLORIDA CONSTITUTION? – David H. Thompson

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BASIC RIGHTS AND INITIATIVE PETITION 23-07: ARE THE PREBORN “NATURAL PERSONS” UNDER THE FLORIDA CONSTITUTION?  – David H. Thompson

Download PDF Basic Rights and Initiative Petition 23-07: Are the Preborn “Natural Persons” Under the Florida Constitution? David H. Thompson* An initiative petition entitled “Amendment to Limit Government Interference with Abortion” has been circulating in Florida since May 2023. The proposed amendment, which would effectively ban pro-life legislation, recently garnered enough signatures to trigger review by the Florida Supreme Court. At oral argument, Florida’s Chief Justice asked whether an unborn child is covered by the basic equality...

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BEYOND LAW? A SOCRATIC DIALOGUE INSPIRED BY BAUDE’S “BEYOND TEXTUALISM?” – Evan D. Bernick

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BEYOND LAW? A SOCRATIC DIALOGUE INSPIRED BY BAUDE’S “BEYOND TEXTUALISM?” – Evan D. Bernick

Download PDF Beyond Law? A Socratic Dialogue Inspired by Baude’s “Beyond Textualism?” Evan D. Bernick* On February 27, 2023, Will Baude delivered the annual Scalia Lecture at Harvard Law School.[1] “Beyond Textualism?” invites legal conservatives to supplement textualism with a theory of law that includes unwritten as well as written rules. As Will concludes: “We sometimes need to use other legal rules, unwritten law, and doing so is completely consistent with the reasons that we use legal texts.”[2] Like all of Will’s work, it is engaging,...

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Ohio v. EPA Oral Argument and Standards of Review on the Emergency Docket – Thomas Koenig

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Ohio v. EPA Oral Argument and Standards of Review on the Emergency Docket – Thomas Koenig

Download PDF Ohio v. EPA Oral Argument and Standards of Review on the Emergency Docket Thomas Koenig* The Supreme Court held oral argument this morning in Ohio v. EPA.  The oral argument offers some insights on the potential for the Court to clarify its standard of review for assessing attempts to temporarily halt administrative action. In the case, a number of States and private industry are asking the Court to “stay” the EPA’s implementation of its new “Good Neighbor” rule for ozone.  The rule requires certain upwind states to reduce their...

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Ideological Leanings in Likely Pro Bono Biglaw Amicus Briefs in the United States Supreme Court – Derek T. Muller

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Ideological Leanings in Likely Pro Bono Biglaw Amicus Briefs in the United States Supreme Court – Derek T. Muller

Download PDF Ideological Leanings in Likely Pro Bono Biglaw Amicus Briefs in the United States Supreme Court Derek T. Muller* Each term, the United States Supreme Court receives hundreds of amicus briefs filed in merits docket cases. These totals have increased over the years,[1] and these briefs have found increasing influence in front of the Court.[2] Many of the largest law firms file amicus briefs before the United States Supreme Court.[3] These amicus briefs are often pro bono, which means the clients do not pay for the firm to file the...

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