Jesse Merriam

About Jesse Merriam

Jesse Merriam is an assistant professor at Loyola University. He holds an M.A. and Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University and a J.D. from The George Washington University Law School.

Losing is Contagious: Inconsistent Conservatism Leads to Crushing Consistency on Courts

The U.S. Supreme Court recently avoided deciding a closely followed transgender-rights lawsuit over public-school bathrooms, instead sending the case back to the lower court. But another sexual-orientation lawsuit, State of Washington v. Arlene's Flowers, may soon come before the high court. This case arose after Arlene’s Flowers, a flower shop owned by Barronelle Stutzman, refused

By | 2017-03-13T22:24:54+00:00 March 14th, 2017|

With Gorsuch, Trump Picked the One Man Who Would Check His Power

The day after a Supreme Court nomination announcement is like Christmas morning for court watchers. It’s even more special, really, because we only get a Supreme Court nomination every five years or so. We spend the day analyzing the nominee from every imaginable perspective—contemplating what his academic credentials, legal experience, judicial record, or even biographical

By | 2017-02-02T15:00:22+00:00 February 1st, 2017|

Gorsuch May Be in the ‘Scalia Mold,’ But He’s No Scalia Clone

President Trump kept his promise in choosing a Supreme Court nominee “in the mold of Justice Antonin Scalia.” Now, as hard as it is to predict the twists and turns of any Supreme Court nomination, here’s an easy prognostication: progressives will disparage any Republican nominee as a mere “Scalia clone.” That happened with Chief Justice John Roberts.

By | 2017-02-01T09:20:33+00:00 February 1st, 2017|

Law Professors Not “Above the Fray” in their Opposition to Sessions

Attorney General-nominee U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) is sworn in at his Senate confirmation hearing on January 10, 2017. More than 1,500 law professors signed a letter opposing him—as if it matters. The U.S. Senate this week will almost certainly vote to confirm Jeff Sessions of Alabama as the next attorney general. One

By | 2017-01-18T21:45:46+00:00 January 18th, 2017|

A Fractured Coalition on Judicial Nominees

Mark Pulliam, a prolific legal writer and commentator on American conservatism, recently provided a Kirkian assessment of libertarians, wherein he argued that libertarians have exercised too much pull over the legal conservative movement. Pulliam exhorts President-elect Trump to resist the libertarian temptation in nominating federal judges. In particular, Pulliam objects to the endorsement of “judicial engagement” by

By | 2017-01-15T18:54:26+00:00 January 15th, 2017|

Sanctuary Cities and Marquess of Queensberry Rules

In a controversial 1992 free-speech case, Justice Antonin Scalia famously proclaimed that the government may not “license one side of a debate to fight freestyle, while requiring the other to follow Marquess of Queensberry rules.” That is exactly what 21st-century political discourse looks like: One side is fighting freestyle—punching below the belt, biting, doing anything

By | 2016-12-07T13:19:43+00:00 December 7th, 2016|

Make the Supreme Court Great Again

It’s called “Make the Supreme Court Great Again.” Or at least that’s how President-elect Donald Trump would likely describe the task at hand. Let’s start with what we know about this task. We know that the court’s future is something that resonated particularly strongly with Trump voters. According to national exit polls, 21 percent of

By | 2016-11-12T10:54:18+00:00 November 12th, 2016|

Delusional Originalists Against Trump

More than 50 originalist legal scholars and practitioners recently earned praise from the Left in signing a statement supporting Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. These “originalists” insist they “are under no illusions” about Clinton’s hostility to their preferred mode of constitutional interpretation. Nevertheless, contra my diagnosis, they are confident originalism remains alive and well, and

By | 2016-10-28T00:14:53+00:00 October 27th, 2016|

Conservative Legal Movement Moves Steadily Left

By sebastien lebrigand from crépy en valois, FRANCE [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons. In The Devil’s Advocate, an otherwise forgettable movie, Al Pacino, playing Satan in human form, asks the protagonist: “Who in their right mind . . . could possibly deny the 20th century was entirely mine?” One might ask