Emory Law Journal

Volume 64Issue 4

The Fracking Revolution: Shale Gas as a Case Study in Innovation Policy

John M. Golden & Hannah J. Wiseman | 64 Emory L.J. 955 (2015)

The early twenty-first century has witnessed a boom in oil and natural gas production that promises to turn the United States into a new form of petrostate. This boom raises various questions that scholars have begun to explore, including questions of risk governance, federalism, and export policy. Relatively neglected, however, have been questions of why the technological revolution behind the boom occurred and what this revolution teaches about innovation theory and policy. The boom in U.S. shale gas production reflected long-gestating infrastructure developments, a convergence of technological advances, government-sponsored research and development, the presence or absence of intellectual property rights, rights in tangible assets such as land and minerals, and tax and regulatory relief. Consequently, the story behind the boom reaches far beyond the risk-taking and persistence of George Mitchell, whose independent production company achieved pioneering success with hydraulic fracturing (fracking) in Texas’ Barnett Shale. Indeed, the broader story demonstrates how a blend of distinct policy levers, reasonably adjusted over time, can combine to foster a diverse innovation ecosystem that provides a robust platform for game-changing innovation.

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Lobbying in the Shadows: Religious Interest Groups in the Legislative Process

Zoë Robinson | 64 Emory L.J. 1041 (2015)

The advent of the new religious institutionalism has brought the relationship between religion and the state to the fore once again. Yet, for all the talk of the appropriateness of religion–state interactions, scholars have yet to examine how it functions. This Article analyzes the critical, yet usually invisible, role of “religious interest groups”—lobby groups representing religious institutions or individuals—in shaping federal legislation. In recent years, religious interest groups have come to dominate political discourse. Groups such as Priests for Life, Friends Committee on National Legislation, Women’s Christian Temperance Union, and American Jewish Congress have entered the political fray to lobby for legislative change that is reflective of specific religious values. These religious interest groups collectively spend over $350 million every year attempting to entrench religious values into the law. These groups have become the primary mechanism for religious involvement in federal politics, but, surprisingly, the place and role of these groups has yet to be examined by legal scholars. This Article shows that the key features of religious interest groups reflect significant tensions within the emerging project of religious institutionalism.

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