Books

Extending Rights’ Reach: Constitutions, Private Law, and Judicial Power. OUP: 2018.

Constitutional rights protect individuals against government overreaching, but that is not all they do. In different ways and to different degrees, constitutional rights also regulate legal relations among private parties in most legal systems. Rights can have not only a vertical effect, within the hierarchical relationship between citizen and state, but also a horizontal one, on the citizen-to-citizen relationships otherwise governed by private law.

In every constitutional system with judicially enforceable constitutional rights, courts must make choices about whether, when, and how to give those rights horizontal effect. This book is about how different courts make those choices, and about the consequences that they have. The doctrines that courts build to manage the horizontal effect of rights speak to the most fundamental issues that constitutional systems address, about the nature of rights and of constitutionalism itself. These doctrines can also entrench or enhance judicial power, but in very different ways depending on the legal system.

This book offers three case studies, of Germany, the United States, and Canada. For each, it offers a detailed account of the horizontal effect jurisprudence of its apex court-not in isolation, but as a central feature of a broader account of that country’s constitutional development. The case studies show how the choices courts make about horizontal rights reflect existing normative and political realities and, over time, help to shape new ones.

Proportionality Balancing and Constitutional Governance: A Comparative and Global Approach (with Alec Stone Sweet). OUP: 2019.

This book focuses on the law and politics of rights protection in democracies, and in human rights regimes in Europe, the Americas, and Africa. After introducing the basic features of modern constitutions, with their emphasis on rights and judicial review, the authors present a theory of proportionality that explains why constitutional judges embraced it. Proportionality analysis is a highly intrusive mode of judicial supervision: it permits state officials to limit rights, but only when necessary to achieve a sufficiently important public interest. Since the 1950s, virtually every powerful domestic and international court has adopted proportionality analysis as the central method for protecting rights. In doing so, judges positioned themselves to review all important legislative and administrative decisions, and to invalidate them as unconstitutional when such policies fail the proportionality test. The result has been a massive – and global – transformation of law and politics. The book explicates the concepts of ‘trusteeship’, the ‘system of constitutional justice’, the ‘effectiveness’ of rights adjudication, and the ‘zone of proportionality’. A wide range of case studies analyse: how proportionality has spread, and variation in how it is deployed; the extent to which the U.S. Supreme Court has evolved and resisted similar doctrines; the role of proportionality in building ongoing ‘constitutional dialogues’ with the other branches of government; and the importance of the principle to the courts of regional human rights regimes. While there is variance in the intensity of proportionality-based dialogues, such interactions are today at the very heart of governance in the modern constitutional state and beyond.

U.S. Administrative Law: A Casebook. 2d ed.: 2021. Also available for free download.

The number of administrative law texts is vast. The approach of this one, now in its second edition, is simple. It is: (1) to focus on the richest and most canonical cases; (2) to provide more extensive extracts of them than most casebooks; and (3) to keep the notes to a bare minimum. This manuscript reflects the current state of the law as of February 2021, but also includes some older classics that many contemporary casebooks cut. The text includes older cases because they are foundational; because they frequently lay out core concepts clearly; and because arguments about historical practices and precedents currently enjoy substantial weight in administrative law discourse. Students whose knowledge of caselaw only goes back a couple of decades will be ill-equipped to make or parry arguments rooted in older legal developments.