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Issues

FALL 2019
by Robert Zipper

In 1995, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down The Gun Free School Zones Act of 1990 as unconstitutional in its landmark decision in United States v. Lopez. In the majority opinion, Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist explained that the law exceeded Congress’s authority to legislate under the Interstate Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution. The Chief Justice emphasized that the law “neither regulates a commercial activity nor contains a requirement...in any way connected to interstate commerce.” This decision marked one of the few instances in recent history in which the Court engaged in a responsible interpretation of the Commerce Clause. This article argues that the U.S. Supreme Court should continue to responsibly interpret the Commerce Clause to hold Congress accountable to its limited, defined powers under the Constitution. Doing so is imperative to protecting our nation’s foundational commitment to federalism and state sovereignty. Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations (1776)

The Supreme Court and U.S. v. Lopez:

Preserving Federalism Through Responsible Interpretation

of the Interstate Commerce Clause

by Hannah Martinez

For decades, a divide stood between Muslim Turks and Christian Armenians in the Ottoman Empire. Towards the start of World War I, the Ottomans carried out a quiet genocide of its Armenians, a war crime that was camouflaged not only by the atrocities of World War I but also by insidious legislation that covered up the crimes. Hiding under claims of necessary deportations and false promises, here is how the Ottoman Empire slaughtered tens of thousands of innocents.

by Charlotte Ruhl

Implicit biases are defined as any unconsciously held set of associations about a social group.  In the United States, these unintentional thoughts and beliefs help explain police discrimination within the criminal justice system. Even though crime rates in this country are actually decreasing, the current issue is not centered on trends in crime rates but on the identity of the players representing these statistics. After close examination, it becomes evident that these are racial minority communities that fall victim to biases in policing. These implicit racial biases plague the criminal justice system and have served as an impetus for large-scale public outrage and social protest. It is important to both recognize that implicit biases create extensive problems in this country and simultaneously work towards developing feasible solutions that can institute a positive structural change.   

by Hannah Fontaine

Despite research acknowledging the importance of alternatives to in-court testimony for child victims, there is no national standard for these practices. By applying Supreme Court decisions and case law from around the country with research on the topic, a national standard can be reached to ensure that every case using alternatives to in-court testimony satisfies the defendant’s right to confront and considers the victim’s emotional well-being. Psychological studies have shown the impact of in-court testimony on the long term mental and emotional recovery of children, and empirical studies have shown that children testifying out of court doesn’t increase the chances of a guilty verdict. Given that laws are written to protect vulnerable populations, a procedural standardization of alternatives to in-court testimony would protect both child victims and defendants by ensuring the defendant’s rights are met and the child isn’t unnecessarily traumatized.

by Jordan Ryan

This essay discusses the topic of personhood in business, specifically how rights attributed to people in the Constitution and expounded upon in the Bill of Rights are incorporated to companies, helping to expand their business powers and protect owners and investors from liability for actions of the company. Companies have already successfully been protected under the 1st, 4th, and 14th Amendments, among others. In this paper I conclude that the current interpretation of companies and their protections under the “rights of personhood,” specifically in reference to the case Citizens United v. FEC and their 1st amendment protections, have expanded the rights of companies beyond what the founders had intended.

by Charles Vaughan

Workers’ Compensation Law is not a particularly popular area of discussion in America. Many people are unfamiliar with its intricacies, and this paper gives a brief introduction to the workers’ compensation system in Indiana. Furthermore, we discuss the rationale behind the program, and highlight some strengths and weaknesses. Through a concise economic analysis we highlight potential incentives in workers’ compensation laws that endanger employees and benefit employers. We argue the essential rationale behind workers’ compensation has merit, but employees who are injured in the workplace due to an employer’s negligence should have their right to a common law jury trial reinstated.

by Kyle Felter
by Jordan H. Barton

The invocation of the state secret privilege has consistently been used by the National Security Agency (NSA) to avoid submitting evidence to lawsuits initiated by civil groups interested in challenging the constitutionality of their mass surveillance programs. However, as a staggering amount of the NSA’s mass surveillance programs are increasingly criticized for unconstitutional violations of privacy, it is time that the state secret privilege be fully scrutinized. In this essay, I attempt to highlight the legal background of past lawsuits and the arbitrary nature by which the State Secret Privilege was invoked to reverse them. From here, I argue that the changing precedent of state secret grounds based on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals’ reevaluation of Fazaga v. FBI in February 2019 is sufficient grounds for the Ninth Circuit Court to accept the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s (EFF) appeal to reopen Jewel v. NSA, finally enabling evaluation of the NSA’s mass surveillance techniques under the due process of law.

by Brianna Turner

This article seeks to understand the legal constraints around wage discrimination against black women. By analyzing two major wage discrimination cases brought on by black women, this study hopes to comprehend why intersectional workplace discrimination is not precedent under the law. Furthermore, this article will offer suggestions for how to legally aid black women in the struggle for pay equality. The article will identify and explore two major policies proposed to Congress that might remedy wage discrimination if approved.

by Evan Gates

Law professor David Forman is an expert on indigenous and environmental issues, particularly those that pertain to indigenous Hawaiians. In a short interview, he spoke on various failures of the legal system in following its duty to protect indigenous culture and rights, from cases on gathering rights to the illegal desecration of sacred lands. First documenting the past failures of abuses, we established what seemed already obvious in the shortcomings of the law for indigenous peoples. We then discussed the areas in which Hawaiʻi is beginning to make progress, before finally establishing the necessity of actively confronting injustice in order to further establish the rights of indigenous Hawaiians in a system that has left them in the dark.

by Megan Galbreath

In May 2016, Harvard University announced a set of policies aimed at private single-gender social organizations. Though the social organizations had coexisted alongside the college for decades, Harvard created a task force to investigate the impact of their presence on campus, with the initial goal of reducing sexual assault rates. After further investigation revealed that nearly 90% of non-consensual sexual contact occurred in university housing, rather than at events hosted by single-gender social organizations, the University maintained its policy in the hopes of creating a more inclusive culture amongst an increasingly-diverse student body. In December 2018, several of those single-gender social organizations, along with three John Doe Harvard students, filed federal and Massachusetts state lawsuits to halt Harvard’s policy on the basis of violation of the First Amendment, the Fourteenth Amendment, and Title IX. Today, the lawsuits stand, after a federal judge denied Harvard’s motion to dismiss in August 2019.

by Emily Johns

In the eyes of the law, college-age students are viewed as adults. However, recent developments in neuroscience reveal that college-age students are in fact much less developmentally mature than adults. College years are a particularly vulnerable time for young people due to the changes that occur in their brains. During this period, they are at risk of developing mental illnesses and harming themselves. This article suggests that, in light of this evidence, universities should assume legal responsibility to protect their students from harm by reviving in loco parentis.

by Lawrence Jia

Justice Brett Kavanaugh, in the wake of sexual assault allegations against him, called the confirmation process “a national disgrace.” Those words should be acerbic and jarring to legal scholars who view the Supreme Court as a cornerstone of low-profile stability in comparison to Congress and the executive. In all, Supreme Court justices have occupied a vaulted and legitimately respected chamber in recent years though that relative calm and peace has been disrupted by an overarching trend towards greater political polarization. In the wake of the latest Kavanaugh accusations, the question becomes: how politically immune are judges after nomination and confirmation?

This essay will survey the current child marriage laws in the United States. The essay begins with a brief overview of child marriage laws and how they came about. The essay then remarks on three key areas in which America lacks the necessary provisions to safeguard the rights of children: state laws, immigration programs, and the legal system. The essay concludes by offering that although the United States seeks to eradicate child marriage globally, its efforts and rhetoric have been lackluster and at times internally inconsistent. Throughout the essay, a variety of recommendations are offered by which to bridge the gap between America’s rhetoric and laws surrounding child marriage.

Past Issues