Articles by William Tong

US Law

Internal Revenue Service or International Revenue Service?

October 25, 2018 William Tong 0

What does the eastern African nation of Eritrea have in common with the United States? Not much, aside from a shared practice that makes the two countries absolutely unique in the entire world: the practice of collecting income taxes based on citizenship as opposed to residency. The overwhelming majority of tax-collecting jurisdictions on Earth are based on the concept of residency, whereby the tax laws of a jurisdiction define a set of criteria to determine whether a person is considered a resident in said jurisdiction. For instance, two common components of residency tests include, first, the circumstances in which a particular length of physical presence within a jurisdiction would count toward residency, and second, a threshold of length of physical presence above which residency is ascertained. Most jurisdictions also have a clause that allows for stays or visits that do not contribute to residency, such as transitional presence and various […]

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 […]

International Law

A Pen Without a Sword: The International Criminal Court

April 6, 2017 William Tong 0

International criminal law is defined by lofty goals. The branch of law seeks to establish direct criminal responsibility for individuals across state lines by creating transnational mechanisms for adjudication and enforcement of international human rights treaties. The main body for this adjudicative process is the International Criminal Court, (ICC) established by the 1998 Rome Statute. Although the ICC is supposedly the court of last resort for individual criminal activities, it is plagued by problems. The first problem concerns a lack of stakeholders. Several major countries currently do not participate in the ICC. The United States and Russia, while signatories to the Rome Statute, have yet to ratify it. China and India are not signatories at all. Additionally, multiple African nations such as Burundi, South Africa, and Gambia have recently exited from the ICC. Several others, including Uganda and Kenya, seem likely to follow suit. This mass exodus from the stems largely from accusations that the ICC is biased against African nations. In an official statement, the Gambian government noted that “there are […]