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Issues

SPRING 2019
by Raphaëlle Soffe

“Every man, as long as he does not violate the laws of justice, is left perfectly free to pursue his own interest his own way, and to bring both his industry and capital into competition with those of any other man.”

Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations (1776)

by Lucky Wickings

In this article, I explore the often contradictory statistics regarding undocumented immigrants and whether or not the majority show up for their court dates regarding their citizenship cases. While the numbers range from a rate of 43% failure to appear in court, or 25%, or even that 100% in fact do show up, there are extraneous reasons for why undocumented immigrants miss their court dates. It is not simply because they are trying to spend a few more years on the run, evading judges and immigration officials. It is also important to note that the drastic difference in the numbers from different sources sheds light on a few of the many of the issues with immigration law and reports about it.

by Jason Yoo

The Money Follows the Person Rebalancing Demonstration is a program under Medicaid that helps seniors and people with disabilities in institutionalized care to transition back into the community with federal support. While it is widely accepted as a necessity in improving the quality of life for some of the demographic, there exist opponents who believe the program to be cost ineffective and a waste of federal funds. This short article seeks to unpack some of the arguments made on both sides.

by Jacob Blair

In present day America, gun control legislation continues to be a hot button topic. With every mass shooting comes a fresh wave of lobbyists arguing for stricter gun control and a  removal of certain firearms. These waves are often met with renewed opposition against such strict legislation. While the pro-gun side often cites the second amendment as reasoning, both sides fail to recognize the importance of the fifth amendment when it comes to gun control. It is imperative to evaluate gun control legislation under both a utilitarian and autonomous framework to see the role the government must play in gun control.

by Charles Vaughan

The topic of insurance has long been barred from the courtroom, but we ask to what avail? Could the mention of insurance truly be worthy of a mistrial? It is found when insurance is present in the courtroom, it may entice the jury to compensate a plaintiff inefficiently. It is also found that the purpose of the adversarial system is to persuade the jury to award damages with evidence pertaining only to the specific incident rather than the presence of insurance, where a jury could be misled to award the plaintiff improperly due to insurance having the perception of insulating the defendant.

by Margaret Wilson

The human and economic toll of the current U.S. opioid epidemic reflects a crisis needing urgent remedy. Thousands of lawsuits have been filed against doctors, hospitals, pharmacies, and pharmaceutical manufacturers and distributors over their roles in the epidemic. This tobacco litigation established historical precedent for an innovative public tort model being currently utilized in opioid litigation. The power of litigation as a tool to effect public health change arises in part from the court of public opinion, driven by document discovery disclosures and media attention exposing industry malfeasance. Rather than reject, due to weaknesses of the tobacco Master Settlement Agreement, the potential of litigation to address the opioid crisis and provide crucial funding to state and local governments, opioid litigation can build on the historical example of Big Tobacco and other public tort litigation to better ensure its efficacy by improving the direction of funds under a potential large-scale opioid settlement.

by Natalie Dabkowski

In recent years, the Polish government has undertaken a series of judicial reforms, many of which have been called into question for their politicization of court operations and threat to the independence of the judiciary. While contrary to broader European principles, this development is not altogether unexpected, reflecting Poland’s difficulty in reconciling its communist past with modern development. A historic absence of clarity in the differentiation between political and judicial institutions has enabled the emergence of an uncertain understanding torn between compensating for past political injustices and clearly defining the foundational principles of the judicial system.

by Brian Conwell

Four years ago, 21 young people sued the federal government for its contribution to climate change. The questions posed in this case largely haven't been discussed in previous jurisprudence. This is a groundbreaking case that will likely pose new questions in the field of environmental law.

by Ryan Chung

Voice cloning and facial cloning are new technologies that have incorporated AI and deep learning to improve the human-machine interface and personalize much of the interactions. However, as with any technology, this form of AI has unavoidable legal implications and potentially detrimental consequences when in the wrong hands.

by Cameron Decker

This article explores the legal, social, and governmental ramifications of the New York State Child Victims Act. The Act was passed in February of 2019 and extends the statute of limitations for bringing suits regarding sexual exploitation of minors, creating a one-year grace period for previously excluded cases, and dismissing the need for a Notice of Claim. New York State’s quickly changing legislation is the result of shifting political moods within the state, as well as growing public support for victims of abuse-- young and old-- in the face of a scandal involving child abuse within the Catholic Church.

by Kunal Kanaparti

The refusal of some states to comply with the Affordable Care Act's call for Medicaid expansion has created a massive health care coverage gap. Eliminating this gap is exigent, and the most efficient way to go about this is to amend the ACA so that the federal government defrays a larger portion of Medicaid expansion costs.

by Marta Lasota

In light of the #MeToo movement, this article seeks to answer whether changes in the law could lead to a substantial reduction in sexual harassment in the workplace. I offer an alternative lens through which to view sexual harassment employment law. I highlight one way in which the language of sexual harassment law (under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964) could be reevaluated, starting with the “reasonable person” standard. This article argues that the “reasonable person” standard should be viewed through both a power-conscious and intersectional lens. Meaning, we should be aware of how identities of race, class, gender, age, and sexual orientation (among others) intersect and how these identities compare in workplace and societal power hierarchies. Ultimately, I call attention to Catharine MacKinnon’s idea of “butterfly politics” as a metaphor for systemic change. By applying a power-conscious and intersectional lens to the system’s smallest components – the victims of sexual harassment and the words that represent that individual in the law – we can then tackle the broader systems of power that still perpetuate sexual harassment in 2019.

by Kara Murray

This article discusses the recurring constitutional issue of religious symbols on government property in a modern context.  With the upcoming American Legion v American Humanist Association Supreme Court ruling, this issue has been thrust back under the microscope. I argue that to maintain all citizens’ rights under the First Amendment, and to set a clear future precedent, the government should never permit religious symbols on public property.

by Richard Lin

The Venezuelan political atmosphere has been fraught with tension, divide and corruption since the death of Hugo Chavez and the failures of his successor, Nicolas Maduro. The aftermath of 2018 elections signal a possible shift for the better, with Juan Guaidó challenging Maduro’s legitimacy as president. This article delves into the workings of Guaidó’s challenge to Maduro, the ways in which he developed his own claim to presidency, and the implications that these events may have on Venezuela’s future.

by Michael Wu

Much of the public discourse surrounding the second amendment centers around its final clause, which states that ‘the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed’. Yet much of the general dialogue ignores the equally important first clause of the same amendment, discussing the necessity of a ‘well-regulated militia’. This article highlights the inadequacies of much of the status quo federal-level gun control legislation in addressing the ‘well-regulated’ first clause of the 2nd Amendment and argues for a shift in the public discourse to reframe the debate around gun control in America towards understanding and progress.

by Nathaniel Liberman

The Mueller investigation is over – Mr. Mueller’s report has been submitted to Attorney General Barr, and Mr. Barr has sent Congress a letter summarizing the Special Counsel’s findings. A closer look at that letter, however, raises deeply concerning questions about Mr. Barr’s conclusions. The little we know about Mr. Mueller’s report already includes unresolved issues which must be addressed by the Justice Department and by Congress.

by Bruno Snow

A number of US states are seeking to alter federal abortion laws by passing “heartbeat bills” and “trigger laws.” The timing of these moves makes sense, as the Supreme Court has become increasingly conservative. Nonetheless, these laws have no effect on the present because they have either been ruled unconstitutional or only take effect in a hypothetical, future world. While state legislatures have the right to challenge the federal government in the US system of federalism, the current efforts on this front appear to be misguided.

by Yutian Cai

Following the scandal of Russian interference with 2016 US presidential election and Iranian fake political accounts, Facebook is involved in yet another scandal, this time accused of inciting the Rohingya genocide in Myanmar. Although Facebook has already taken part of the blame for this incident by publicly acknowledging it has been too slow to act in prevention, this paper argues that Facebook is not ethically responsible for this tragedy given that Myanmar military government has violated Facebook’s intention in its use of it as a propaganda platform, and that Facebook arguably could not have unforeseen and thus better prevented this incidence. Instead, this paper recommends that policymakers focus more on attempts to regulate and eliminate inappropriate cyber activities with the help of Facebook instead of letting social media like Facebook take the blame.

by Makeila Jamison

In October 2017, a Federal Bureau of Investigation report was leaked which identified a movement of “Black Identity Extremists” (BIE) who pose a threat to law enforcement. According to the report, there have been a strung of violent premeditated crimes against law enforcement that were orchestrated based on perceived racial injustice in the criminal justice system. Not only does the report speak of a nonexistent movement but it overlooks the truth of racial injustice and amplifies the stereotypical criminality of Black people, giving law enforcement cause to act violently against Black activists and Black people in general. The FBI seems to be following the trajectory they began in the 1960s when they used a counterintelligence program specifically to target Black civil rights organizations, using illegal tactics in the process. All of these factors require that actions be taken to address the situation. The Brennan Center for Justice has made several demands that would help to rectify the impacts of the BIE report and prevent future occurrences of racism, insensitivity and inaccuracy in the FBI.

by Joshua Walton

For decades the landowning class has been profiting billions off of American taxpayers. Farm subsidies have redistributed immense sums of money from the average taxpayer to the wealthiest landowners and agricultural corporations in the world. Along with exploiting domestic consumers, agricultural producers in wealthy countries have also severely exploited foreign countries dumping their subsidize goods on foreign markets, devastating foreign producers in poor countries as well as developing countries’ economies in general. However, after years of negotiations and lobbying by developing countries, the World Trade Organization has made decisions to correct some of these wrongs by abolishing foreign dumping. Wealthy landowners still hold enormous amounts of subsidize wealth and power, but the developed world is fighting back.

by Naomi Davy

The recent lawsuit against Harvard University, in which a group of Asian American students sued the university for discriminating against Asians in their attempt to diversify the campus, has raised questions across the country about the virtues as well as constitutionality of Affirmative Action. Although some view affirmative actions as a means by which colleges and universities can contextualize applications and diversify their student body by factoring race into the admissions process, others see it as overt racial discrimination that is unnecessary in the twenty-first century. The question that prevails to this day is whether or not the Constitution allows for such a provision.

by Humza Jilani

This article is an evaluation of the ongoing case Flowers v. Mississippi before the Supreme Court and the evidence provided by the defense indicating a pattern of racially-motivated peremptory challenges by the prosecution.  It analyzes the jurisprudential context of the case and demonstrates how the precedent set in Batson v. Kentucky (1986) on the role of race in peremptory challenges is relevant to understanding the dynamics at play in the case.

Past Issues

SPRING 2017