The Yale Law Journal


Dissent and the Rule of Law

20 Jan 2018

Since President Trump’s inauguration last January, communities across the country have mobilized to resist the administration’s policies. This Collection studies the meanings, motivations, and challenges of modern dissent. From modern environmentalism to government surveillance, these Essays explore the role of dissent in Ferguson, Standing Rock, the Senate, and sanctuary cities.


Why Rely on the Fourth Amendment To Do the Work of the First?

Alex Abdo

Government surveillance threatens not only individual privacy but also the freedom to dissent. Yet courts typically evaluate the lawfulness of surveillance solely through a Fourth Amendment lens rather than the First. This Essay briefly sets out how the First Amendment might once again become a bulw…


Environmental Justice and Tribal Sovereignty: Lessons from Standing Rock

Mary Kathryn Nagle

The Standing Rock protests represent the latest iteration of longstanding tribal dissent against an environmental law framework that overlooks their interests. This Essay contends that the environmental movement’s failure to advocate for the restoration of tribal sovereignty has also left intact a l…


The First Amendment Freedom of Assembly as a Racial Project

Justin Hansford

Beginning with the author’s experience of being arrested as a legal observer during a Ferguson protest, this Essay explores the First Amendment freedom of assembly’s fragile protection for those who fight for racial justice, arguing that civil rights movements have always been and continue to be dis…


Local Action, National Impact: Standing Up for Sanctuary Cities

Christine Kwon & Marissa Roy


Over the past year, cities have emerged as crucial sites of resistance. Using San Francisco and the sanctuary city litigation more broadly as a case study, this Essay argues that cities can and should take advantage of the Constitution’s federalism protections to resist federal intrusion onto loc…


Dissent in the Senate

Michael J. Gerhardt

While dissent is often associated with the judiciary, Senators also dissent to vent frustration, vindicate legal principles, mobilize constituencies, and destabilize the status quo. Through three case studies, this Essay traces the role and purpose of dissent in the Senate, which enriches our broade…