Legal Studies Research Paper Series

  • David S. ArdiaNo theory dominates both public and judicial understanding of the First Amendment quite like the “marketplace of ideas.” While faith in free competition among ideas holds tremendous appeal, as an organizing theory for the formulation of First Amendment doctrine it has proven to be deeply problematic. The theory rests on an overly simplified account of public discourse, treating speech as a commodity that can be allocated through market-style transactions, and it has come to embody an extreme version of libertarian economic thinking that is undermining the very democratic processes the First Amendment was intended to serve and strengthen.The […]
  • Leigh Osofsky and Kathleen DeLaney ThomasThe home mortgage interest deduction is over 100 years old. The deduction has been subject to increasing and, at times, withering criticism from commentators. Scholars have argued that the mortgage interest deduction may be a particularly ineffective and regressive way to subsidize homeownership. Other scholars have made the important point that the mortgage interest deduction has a disparate racial impact: homeowners are disproportionately white, so the deduction disproportionately benefits white people at the expense of people of color. Yet, the mortgage interest deduction has retained remarkable and costly staying power despite all the critiques. How […]
  • Carissa Byrne HessickThis report presents the findings of a national study of prosecutor lobbying in state legislatures. American prosecutors are active lobbyists who routinely support making the criminal law harsher. During the years 2015 to 2018, state and local prosecutors were involved in more than 25% of all criminal-justice-related bills introduced in the 50 state legislatures. Prosecutors were nearly twice as likely to lobby in favor of a law that created a new crime or otherwise increased the scope of criminal law than a law that would create a defense, decriminalize conduct, or otherwise narrow the scope of criminal law. […]