Month: October 2017

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 […]