Limiting the Pardon Power

Although our government is said to be one of checks and balances, the president’s power “to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offenses against the United States” appears to be unlimited. In granting this power, the Framers deliberately cast structural safeguards aside. Nevertheless, the presidency of Donald Trump prompted a search for limits. This Article examines: (1) whether a president may pardon crimes that have not yet happened (or announce his intention to do so); (2) whether he may pardon …

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State Administrative Review of Local Constraints on Housing Development: Improving the California Model

Starting in the 1970s, the West Coast states coalesced around roughly similar responses to the problem of excessive local restrictions on housing supply. Local governments were charged with making plans to accommodate projected population growth, subject to review and approval by a state agency. In California, a city’s housing plan must also analyze, mitigate, and remove “constraints” to the development of housing in general. This component of the plan has received little attention, and, accord…

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Ashes to Ashes: A Way Home for Climate Change Survivors

“Wow! Yet another big storm heading to Puerto Rico. Will it ever end?”-Twitter post of President Donald Trump, August 27, 20191

In 2020, the United States suffered a record number of named storms, a record number of storms causing $1 billion or more in damage, a derecho that destroyed much of Iowa’s corn crop, and previously unheard-of levels of wildfire frequency and damage in California, Oregon, and Washington. The effects of climate change are causing a crisis of affordable, available hom…

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Animal Rights and the Victimhood Trap

Legal academics recognize that as a general rule, there is no concept so novel and original that it is not a subset of some other well-established, preexisting academic debate. The legal questions that seem most pressing for one social movement are never entirely unique to that movement or that moment. In this sense, animal rights law has more to teach general legal fields than may seem obvious at first blush, and likewise animal lawyers have much more to learn from fields that predate and havi…

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The Right to Travel During the COVID-19 Pandemic

States have responded to the novel COVID-19 pandemic by restricting interstate travel through mandatory quarantines. These actions may have violated the right to travel protected by the Privileges and Immunities Clause. Generally, each state’s action did not implicate the Privileges and Immunities Clause because the quarantine requirement applied to residents and non-residents equally. Additionally, the states’ actions would still be constitutional even if they implicated the right to travel be…

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Reconstructing Claim Construction: How the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit Dismantled Functional Claiming, and How to Bring It Back

A patent’s claims are not interpreted in a vacuum. Rather, they are read in light of the specification. Claims are typically defined in terms of “structure,” i.e., what the invention is; however, a narrow exception—set forth in 35 U.S.C. § 112(f)—allows inventors to define elements of a claim in terms of “function,” i.e., what the invention does. While it is axiomatic that courts should not construe a claim to protect only the embodiments disclosed in the specification, Congress enacted this fu…

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