Texas Law Review

Edited and published by the students at the University of Texas School of Law, the Texas Law Review is a leading publication of legal scholarship. Texas Law Review contains articles by professors, judges, and practitioners, in addition to reviews, essays, commentaries, and student notes.

Articles from Vol. 81, No. 7, June

Commitment and Constitutionalism
I. IntroductionEconomists, social scientists, and legal theorists sometimes argue that constitutional practices can usefully be understood as commitment devices. By enshrining various aspects of procedure or substance in a written document that announces...
Commitment Problems in the Theory of Rational Choice
The self-interest variant of the rational choice model favored by economists and many other social scientists paints an unflattering portrait of human nature. The model concedes, for example, that homo economicus might volunteer in a United Way campaign...
Don't Burn Your Bridge before You Come to It: Some Ambiguities and Complexities of Precommitment
I. IntroductionThe idea of precommitment (or "self-binding") is very old. Besides the paradigmatic Homeric story of Ulysses and the Sirens, an early discussion occurs in Seneca's On Anger:[T]he great Julius Caesar . . . exploited his victory in the civil...
"Paying the Alligator": Precommitment in Law, Bioethics, and Constitutions
People often try to control events in the future by choosing at Time 1 to reduce their options at Time 2. When Time 2 arrives they may regret their "precommitment" and wish that they were free to make a different choice. Sometimes other people have to...
Precommitment: A Misguided Strategy for Securing Death with Dignity
Precommitment is a seductive concept in bioethics. Many see it as a way for people to answer all sorts of biomedical questions about the future, such as whether to participate in dementia research or whether to have children posthumously. Precommitment...
Precommitment Analysis and Societal Moral Identity
I. IntroductionWhen precommitment theorists state that "an individual has made a precommitment," they mean that he has chosen in the present to do something (or not to do something) in order to alter the way in which he will respond to particular situations...
"Precommitment" and "Postcommitment": The Ban on Torture in the Wake of September 11
The day we stop condemning torture-although we tortured-the day we become insensitive to mothers who lose their guerilla sons-although they are guerillas-is the day we stop being human beings.1I. The Fundamental Precommitment Against Torture"Torture...
Precommitment in Bioethics: Some Theoretical Issues
I. IntroductionPrecommitment is a strategy thought to be widely used in medicine and health care. In this Essay, I consider several examples of such use to raise some theoretical questions about precommitment. The following apparent uses of precommitment...
Precommitment Issues in Bioethics
Precommitments are strategies used by individuals to rearrange the payoff structure for later decisions in order to influence the choices that are made at a future time. When that time arrives, the precommited person may regret his or her prior choice...
Precommitment Theory and International Law: Starting a Conversation
Precommitment theory has already demonstrated its explanatory power in settings far beyond the interpersonal arena set forth by Jon Elster and Thomas Schelling a generation ago. Its most significant application in the legal realm has been in the area...
The Enabling Role of Democratic Constitutionalism: Fixed Rules and Some Implications for Contested Presidential Elections
In teaching a course on the constitutional law governing the political process, it is my custom to open the first day of class with what I describe as a modern-day parable. As presented to the students, the events concern a precipitous and heated confrontation...
The Politics of Constitutional Design: Obduracy and Amendability-A Comment of Ferejohn and Sager
I. IntroductionIn constitutional design, no less than in constitutional law, the important questions often turn on "considerations of degree."1 They are ill understood in categorical terms. Amendability is such a question. Thus, I think John Ferejohn...