In 1801 the Jeffersonian Republicans took charge of Congress, the presidency, and the national administration, determined to roll back the state-building excesses of their Federalist predecessors. In this effort they were partially successful. But the tide of history and the demands of a growing nation confounded their ambitions. While reclaiming democracy they also built administrative capacity.
This Article examines administrative structure and accountability in the Republican era in an attempt to understand the “administrative law” of the early nineteenth century. That inquiry proceeds through two extended case studies: the Jeffersonian embargo of 1807-1809 and the multi-decade federal effort to survey and sell the ever-expanding “public domain.” The first was the most dramatic regulation of commerce attempted by an American national government either before or since. The second began a land office business that dominated the political and legal consciousness of the nation for nearly a century. The embargo tested the limits of administrative coercion and revealed an escalating conflict between the necessities of regulatory administration and judicial review in common law forms. The sale of the public domain required the creation of the first mass administrative adjudication system in the United States and revealed both the ambitions and the limits of congressional control of administration in a polity ideologically devoted to assembly government.
Together these cases describe the early-nineteenth-century approach to a host of familiar topics in contemporary administrative law: presidential versus congressional control of administration, the propriety and forms of administrative adjudication, policy implementation via general rules, and the appropriate role of judicial review. Perhaps most significantly, both the embargo episode and the efforts to privatize the public domain demonstrate the singular importance of internal administrative control and accountability in maintaining neutrality and consistency in the application of federal law. This “internal law of administration” remains both a crucial and an understudied aspect of American administrative governance.
116 Yale L.J. 1636 (2007).
This Article proposes that intellectual property’s close relationship to property stems from the role that information costs play in the delineation and enforcement of exclusion rights. As theorists have emphasized, the nonrivalness of information causes exclusive rights to be more costly in terms of forgone use than in the law of tangible property. But if intellectual property does not solve a problem of allocation, it can play a role in allowing those who find and develop information to appropriate the returns from their rival inputs. It is on the cost side that exclusion emerges as a possible shortcut: exclusive rights in information are simple, indirect, and low-cost devices for solving the problem of appropriating the returns from these rival inputs. Building on a framework that identifies exclusion and governance as complementary strategies for defining property rights, the Article derives some propositions about which factors can be expected to push toward and away from exclusion in delineating entitlements to information. The role that exclusion plays in keeping the system of entitlements over information modular—allowing information to be hidden behind metaphorical boundaries—is both its strength and its weakness. Because exclusion is both more costly and potentially more beneficial as interconnected information becomes more valuable, it is an empirical question whether we would expect more exclusion—and whether it would be desirable. The Article uses this information-cost theory to explain some of the basic differences between the more tort-like copyright regime and the more property-like patent law. The information-cost theory also has implications for suggestive sources of empirical evidence on the structure of entitlements, such as rules within business organizations. Intellectual property, like property in general, can be seen as (at best) a second-best solution to a complex coordination problem of attributing outputs to inputs.
116 Yale L.J. 1742 (2007).
This Note examines Kenya’s recent constitution-writing experience as a case study for designing constitution-drafting processes in emerging democracies. Eight years after Kenya’s constitutional review process began, and after a highly acrimonious drafting period, Kenyans roundly defeated a proposed new constitution in a national referendum. This Note describes Kenya’s experience and considers six lessons on designing a constitution-drafting process. It then proposes how a constitution-drafting process in a country like Kenya might have been more effectively designed.
116 Yale L.J. 1824 (2007).