The Unconstitutionality of Justice Black

31 Pages Posted: 22 Mar 2019 Last revised: 30 Jul 2019

See all articles by William Baude

William Baude

University of Chicago - Law School

Date Written: June 14, 2019


In Ex Parte Levitt, the Supreme Court denied standing to a pro se litigant making esoteric claims against the appointment of Justice Hugo Black. The Court’s short opinion is now an unremarkable mainstay of modern federal courts doctrine. But the case merits closer examination. Indeed, Levitt’s challenge was probably meritorious, and Hugo Black’s appointment unconstitutional. Moreover, the Court’s standing analysis was probably wrong – though there might have been other reasons to deny the challenge. And finally, the case’s aftermath raises intriguing questions about the Supreme Court’s role in politics and constitutional law. But don't worry – his opinions are safe.

Keywords: Supreme Court, Hugo Black, Justice Black, Levitt, Ex Parte Levitt, compensation, appointment, unconstitutional, standing, federal jurisdiction, federal courts, emoluments, New Deal, Book of Job

Suggested Citation

Baude, William, The Unconstitutionality of Justice Black (June 14, 2019). Forthcoming, Texas Law Review, Vol. 98, 2019 , U of Chicago, Public Law Working Paper No. 707, Available at SSRN:

William Baude (Contact Author)

University of Chicago - Law School ( email )

1111 E. 60th St.
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

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