Judicial Remedies and Structural Constitutional Violations
UVA Law Faculty Affiliations
Professor Aziz Huq’s The Collapse of Constitutional Remedies provides a terrific 360-degree tour of the federal courts’ treatment of judicial remedies for constitutional violations. Huq deftly traverses a range of domains, from suits against police officers to habeas petitions to antidiscrimination claims. Highlighting patterns in federal courts’ limitations on remedies in numerous areas, Huq demonstrates the analytic benefits that redound from observing cross-doctrinal patterns instead of viewing each aspect of the law in isolation. Further, Huq places federal courts’ treatment of constitutional remedies in rich historical perspective, emphasizing the evolution of judicial decision-making in connection with social and political trends.
One of the book’s many interesting contributions—and the point on which I will concentrate—is its argument that federal courts have taken different approaches toward different kinds of constitutional violations. According to Huq, federal courts have restricted judicial remedies for constitutional violations stemming from police violence or infringements of individuals’ civil rights. At the same time, federal courts have been more willing to provide remedies in suits seeking to vindicate structural constitutional principles, such as the separation of powers or federalism. The latter types of suits are often litigated by companies objecting to administrative agency regulation.