International Law

France: Safe State or Police State?

November 15, 2017 Hunter Snowden 0

Summary: France introduces new controversial terrorism bill but faces large resistance from European Union and human rights organizations. On November 1st, French President Emmanuel Macron signed into law a controversial anti-terrorism bill that would make permanent some of the conditions that were enacted under the state of emergency declared by President François Hollande in 2015. The new bill allows police to search property, conduct interrogations, and make arrests, all without a warrant, should the police believe the suspects to be of a threat to national security. Prior to the declaration of the the state of emergency, such acts would have required approval from a judge. Concerns have been raised by humans rights group from within and outside France. The groups are worried that the vague language of the bill — that allows law enforcement to close mosques that they accuse of preaching hate — will be used to discriminate against […]

International Law

Law and Order: The Philippine War on Drugs

November 8, 2017 Nora Hafez 0

Summary: In the year and a half since Rodrigo Duterte became president of the Philippines, thousands of Filipinos have died as a result of his extreme anti-drug policies.    On June 30th 2016, Rodrigo Duterte assumed office as the 16th president of the Philippines.  He was elected by a landslide, with nearly twice the votes of the runner-up.  During his campaign, Duterte came under fire for everything from expletive-laden speeches in which he compared himself to Hitler to calling his own daughter a “drama queen” after she said she had been raped, yet it was his drug policy that drew the most attention.  In one speech, Duterte famously claimed, “There’s three million drug addicts.  I’d be happy to slaughter them.” Even as mayor of Davao, Duterte was known for being tough on crime. He implemented armed civilian militias who were allowed to target anyone who posed a threat “to public […]

International Law

Rohingya Crisis: What the International Community Should and Can Do

October 30, 2017 Michelle Li 0

By Michelle Xinchen Li | October 30, 2017 Summary: Hundreds of thousands of Rohingyas are fleeing from a persecution of the Myanmar Army. The international community is struggling to classify this persecution and take action correspondingly. Hundreds of thousands of Rohingyas, a Muslim-majority ethnic minority group  in Myanmar, are fleeing across the border amid a mass persecution by the Myanmar Army. As a humanitarian crisis, the persecution has drawn wide criticism. However, from a legal perspective, many questions remain to be addressed: what is the domestic legal basis for the persecution? Does it violate international law? If so, on what grounds should the international community take action? The persecution started in October 2016 when several Rohingya militants attacked and killed nine police officers. The conflict soon triggered a military crackdown against Rohingya people, most of whom live in Rakhine State, a relatively remote region on the Western coast of Myanmar. The […]

International Law

Nepal’s Rock and A Gulf State’s Hard Place: The Ban on Women’s Migrant Labor

October 28, 2017 Joshua Smith 0

By Joshua Smith | October 27, 2017 The export of unskilled migrant labor is a pillar of the Nepali economy, but a cross-section of the nation’s most socio-politically marginalized populations compose the majority of this workforce. Nepal has continually prohibited any legal process for women under age thirty to pursue domestic work in Gulf Countries such as Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the U.A.E. This exhausts most options for the unskilled other than exploitative, unsafe chartering through India’s nearby border. It pits a crisis very common in the homes of those Southern Nepalese: should I risk the danger of an illegal attempt to support my family? Foreign employment plays a vital role in the economic backbone of Nepal with over fifty percent of households receiving remittances from overseas. These payments funneled back from workers abroad made up thirty-one percent of the Nepali GDP as of 2015. Seventy-five percent of these […]

International Law

Catalonia: Civil War or Legal Secession?

October 25, 2017 Hunter Snowden 0

Summary: Catalonia is looking at the best opportunity for secession it has ever had but the Spanish government has deemed it unconstitutional. On October 1, 2017, Catalans stared down armed national police and tear gas to take their first proper steps towards independence from Spain. Meeting large resistance from the federal government in Madrid, Catalonia held a referendum vote to decide whether or not they would remain part of Spain. Despite 90% of the votes cast being in favor of independence, the Spanish Prime Minister went on national TV later in the day to say that “no official referendum had been held” and that any attempt at a referendum was unconstitutional. Are the people of Catalan actually engaging in an act of state-sponsored resistance? If they are not, is this another piece of the plan of the Spanish government to hold onto a part of their country that constitutes over […]

International Law

“Like A War” : The Venezuelan Protests

October 23, 2017 Nora Hafez 0

Summary: Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has been accused of silencing all political dissent by jailing journalists and tampering with elections. Venezuelans have responded through widespread protests. Nicolas Maduro and the United Socialist Party were elected in 2013, and ever since, his government has faced great criticism for oppressive practices.  The opposing party, the Democratic Unity Roundtable (Mesa de la Unidad Democratica), was founded in 2008 as a coalition of several former parties, in the hopes of preventing the control of the Socialists. The MUD initially led the National Assembly and attempted to enter discussions with Maduro, but in March 2017, he ended the assembly, sparking national protests. While Venezuela technically allows citizens to protest, Maduro specifically banned protests the weekend of the elections. He prohibited all public meetings and demonstrations, gatherings and other similar acts that might “disturb the electoral process.”  Those who violated the ban could have been sentenced […]

US Law

The Psychological Effects of Solitary Confinement: An Evolving Legal Interpretation

October 14, 2017 William Tong 0

By William Tong | October 14, 2017 While it is true that prisoners must be punished, justice and humanity necessitate that they be punished within the limits of the Constitution and accepted standards of human decency. But in contemporary American society, many prisoners are punished in the form of solitary confinement, where they have little access to external stimuli such as books or television, maintain no meaningful social interaction with others, and spend over twenty-two hours a day in barren solitude. In such a sterile environment, inmates can develop “serious psychological” issues ranging from “insomnia and confusion to hallucinations and outright insanity.”   Yet when the mental ramifications of solitary confinement are measured against the constitutional limits of punishment embodied in the Eighth Amendment, courts have consistently failed to find a violation. Although the issue of solitary confinement has been examined by many scholars, the existing academic dialogue surrounding the […]

Case Reviews

Cooper v. Harris

October 4, 2017 Neelesh Moorthy 0

By Neelesh Moorthy | October 4, 2017   Introduction   In May 2017, the Supreme Court struck down two North Carolina congressional districts (CD1 and CD12) as unconstitutional racial gerrymanders. The State argued regarding CD1 that race-based redistricting was done to comply with sections two and five of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. This defense reflected an inherent tension in the Court’s jurisprudence: simultaneously condemning race-based redistricting while mandating it in certain circumstances. Responding to CD12, North Carolina argued that they engaged in partisan, rather than racial, gerrymandering. The Supreme Court rejected both arguments, unanimously for CD1 but split 5-3 with regards to CD12. This article argues that the Court reached the correct outcome for CD1, but ignored its own precedent when evaluating CD12. Whatever one thinks of the outcome of this case, however, North Carolina redistricting is not free from legal contestation. The drafters of CD12 openly acknowledged […]

US Law

The Pandora’s Box of the Criminal Justice System

September 25, 2017 Jenny Jiao 0

By Jenny Jiao |  09/25/17 In 2013, Eric Loomis pled guilty to two charges related to a drive-by shooting in La Crosse, Wisconsin, “attempting to flee a traffic officer and operating a motor vehicle without the owner’s consent.” At his sentencing hearing, the judge relied, in part, on Loomis’s score on a risk assessment algorithm called COMPAS, which deemed him at high risk for recidivism (the tendency for a criminal to reoffend). He was unable to contest the assessment’s result because the inputs and weighting of said inputs were kept secret. Since COMPAS was privately developed by Northpointe Inc., the methodology is considered a proprietary trade secret and therefore is inaccessible to all parties in the court system. Loomis was sentenced to six years in prison and five years of extended supervision. Loomis appealed, arguing that because the assessment’s methodology was kept secret, its usage violated his due process rights to […]

US Law

Redefining Contemporary Community Standards in an Evolving Sociopolitical Climate

September 20, 2017 Rachel Sereix 0

In an evolving sociopolitical climate, the law should further define “contemporary community standards” first prescribed in Roth v. United States. This article will employ the United States v. Pacifica Foundation decision for the purposes of scrutinizing the current Federal Communications Commission regulatory practices while still upholding First Amendment protections. Addressing the broadcasting of George Carlin’s “Filthy Words” monologue, Justice John Paul Stevens found that broadcasting speech which is “patently offensive” yet not necessarily obscene may be subject to restrictions and does not fall under First Amendment protections. Unlike obscenity, speech does not have to appeal to a prurient interest in order to be characterized as indecent. However, it is essential to recognize that the media market has evolved considerably since the Pacifica decision in 1978. One could now argue that what constituted indecent moral standards in 1978 are not considered indecent in 2017. In this advisement report, I recommend that […]