Footnotes (119)



Second Opinions

Adrian Vermeule

Harvard Law School

July 21, 2010

Harvard Public Law Working Paper No. 10-38
Harvard Law and Economics Discussion Paper No. 673

There is a burgeoning literature on second opinions in professional contexts, as when patients or clients seek advice from a second doctor or lawyer. My aim, by contrast, is to analyze second opinions as a central feature of public law. I will try to show that many institutional structures, rules and practices have been justified as mechanisms for requiring or permitting decisionmakers to obtain second opinions; examples include judicial review of statutes or of agency action, bicameralism, the separation of powers, and the law of legislative procedure. I attempt to identify the main costs and benefits of second opinions, to identify conditions under which second-opinion arguments prove more or less successful, and to consider how the lawmaking system might employ second-opinion mechanisms to greater effect. I claim, among other things, that the Supreme Court should adopt a norm that two successive decisions, not merely one, are necessary to create binding law.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 34

Open PDF in Browser Download This Paper

Date posted: July 21, 2010 ; Last revised: August 17, 2010

Suggested Citation

Vermeule, Adrian, Second Opinions (July 21, 2010). Harvard Public Law Working Paper No. 10-38; Harvard Law and Economics Discussion Paper No. 673. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1646414 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1646414

Contact Information

Adrian Vermeule (Contact Author)
Harvard Law School ( email )
1525 Massachusetts
Griswold 500
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Feedback to SSRN

Paper statistics
Abstract Views: 1,564
Downloads: 214
Download Rank: 112,468
Footnotes:  119