United States v. Zubaydah

Despite the Biden administration’s approval of eighteen transfers, thirty-nine detainees remained at the military prison in the U.S. Naval Station in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba as of January, 2021. Zayn al-Abidin Muhammad Husayn is one of those thirty-nine. 

Held without charge by the United States for almost two decades, Zayn al-Abidin Muhammad Husayn, otherwise known as Abu Zubaydah, not only petitioned a federal court for his release, but also seeks to compel the United States Government to declassify evidence surrounding his treatment by the CIA prior to his arrival at Guantánamo Bay. 

Facts of the Case:

Since 2011, the Supreme Court of the United States has not ruled on a case concerning state secrets privilege.  This judicially created, evidentiary privilege allows the federal government to resist court-ordered disclosure of information during litigation if there is a reasonable danger that such disclosure would harm the national security of the United States. State secrets privilege has a deep-rooted history in U.S. law, as the United States is able to assert such authority in coherence with Article II executive powers. However, the modern framework and application of the privilege was established vis-à-vis the 1953 Supreme Court ruling in United States v. Reynolds.  Based on the premise that the government invokes privilege to withhold information in civil proceedings, the Justices of the Vinson Court faced the question of whether or not the trial court must view the point on which evidence is withheld in the plaintiff’s favor. The Court held that cause for privilege must be reasonably demonstrated by the government. If reasonable danger of disclosure to national security is found, the government may withhold information for reasons of national security even when that information is vital to the plaintiff’s case. In effect, the U.S v. Reynolds ruling established the process through which the government is granted state secrets privilege: it may be invoked only after personal consideration by the head of the governmental department with control over the information about which the case is concerned.

After granting the United States’ petition for a writ of certiorari last spring, the United States Supreme Court heard the oral argument of United States v. Zubaydah, a case concerning the state secrets privilege, on October 6, 2021. 

In 2002, Abu Zubaydah was identified by the CIA as a high-ranking al-Qaeda official and known associate of Osama Bin Laden. Just six-months after Congress’ ruling to pass the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) in the pursuit of those behind the terrorist attacks, Zubaydah was captured in Pakistan. Whether or not this identification and subsequent target for capture was based on erroneous or insufficient evidence is disputed. After U.S. military forces captured Zubaydah, he was transferred to black sites in various foreign nations, including Poland. The United States has declassified the details of Zubaydah’s torture while in CIA custody prior to his arrival at Guantánamo Bay in 2006; he was undoubtedly subjected to waterboarding, confinement, stress positions, and sleep deprivation among other acts of torture. 

Despite the United States declassification of information regarding Zubaydah’s imprisonment and torture, the government has refused to officially confirm that Zubaydah’s detention and torture took place at a black site in Poland. Zubaydah’s attorneys filed an application with the European Court of Human Rights. The court found “beyond a reasonable doubt” that Zubaydah had been imprisoned at a detention center in Poland. Thus, the Polish government was compelled to reopen its investigation into this case and requested evidence from the United States. The United States government denied their request on the grounds that the evidence sought in Zubaydah’s case would pose a risk to national security. 

In this habeas corpus mission for Zubaydah’s release, his lawyers filed with the United States district court in Washington, DC. However, they were met with a ruling in favor of the U.S. government’s application of the state secrets privilege. The district court’s ruling was primarily rooted in two declarations by former CIA Director Pompeo that such disclosure and testimony by Bruce Jenson and James Mitchell – the two CIA contractors responsible for the interrogation techniques used on Zubaydah –  would endanger national security. 

However, on an appeal, a panel on the Ninth Circuit court further reviewed the evidence and rejected the United States assertion of the state secrets privilege. The Ninth Circuit deemed it a “blanket assertion” on the premise that not all of the information sought by Zubaydah and his attorneys was a state secret. 

The United States contends that not only did the Ninth Circuit err by failing to utilize Pomeo’s judgment regarding the national security risk posed by Jensen and Mitchell’s testimonies, but the judges also erred to respect the precedent set by CIA v. Sims that denotes the power and responsibility to engage in the assessment of information to the CIA Director rather than the court. 


The state secrets privilege is an evidentiary rule rooted in Article II of the U.S. Constitution and materialized through U.S. legal precedent. However, the privilege has been contested by citizens and government officials for decades. The United States is arguing that state secrets privilege is ultimately critical to safeguarding national security, as they oppose the notion that the courts possess the ability to access confidential sources in order to litigate. Citizens, on the other hand, have contended that the state secrets privilege has been abused by the federal government to evade public scrutiny of wrongdoings. The Bush administration has often been accused of transforming the privilege into a weapon to shut down lawsuits challenging government activity. 

The Guantánamo Bay prison has posed a serious dilemma for three administrations due to the myriad of international human rights violations and subsequent charges. The prison is linked not only to the war on terror, but also numerous constitutional violations in the treatment of detainees. 

In United States v. Zubaydah, the Supreme Court faces the question of whether or not the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit erred in its rejection of the federal government’s assertion of the state secrets privilege. The founding principle of checks and balances in the federal government comes into play in debate over the limits of state secrets privilege. This case is hotly contested by human rights groups, constitutional rights group, citizens, and government officials alike due to the controversial history of Guantánamo Bay, the state secrets privilege, and the relationship between the war on terror and these two entities. The eventual outcome has the potential to aggravate various groups, including the Council on American-Islamic Relations and the 9/11 Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, who suggest that a ruling in favor of the United States would counter the necessary judicial scrutiny in order to restore the public’s faith in the integrity of the government. A ruling in favor of the United States could amplify concerns about potential abuses of the privilege. On the other hand, a ruling in favor of Zubaydah could alter our current understanding and practice of the state secrets privilege and potentially “check” the power of the CIA and the intelligence community as a whole. 

Halle Wagner is from West Hartford, CT, studying Public Policy and French.


Leandro v. State of North Carolina

For the last 28 years, North Carolina public school districts have been fighting to provide all students with the right to a “sound basic education.” 

In 1994, five low-income school districts (Cumberland, Halifax, Hoke, Robeson, and Vance Counties) and families of those districts filed a lawsuit against the state of North Carolina for failing to provide “equal opportunity to a sound basic education.” The case was named Leandro after Robert Leandro, one of the children whose mother filed a lawsuit.

During the lawsuit, a “sound basic education” was defined as one that includes trained teachers and principles, who receive additional, specialized training, with a school that can provide educational resources and support programs for learning capabilities or career development. The claim argued these basic necessities were not met, providing evidence of overcrowding in classrooms, a lack of resources, and poorly trained teachers. Hoke County, for example, only had about $3700 to spend per student, while more affluent districts, like Durham, had over $5700.

Despite growing evidence that public schools did not all provide a basic education, the North Carolina Court of Appeals ruled against the school districts in 1996, claiming that the state’s Constitution guaranteed equal access to education, but did not set “a qualitative standard” for education. 

In 1997, the North Carolina Supreme Court unanimously reversed the decision saying “the North Carolina Constitution… guarantee[s] every child of this state… a sound basic education in our public schools.” The Supreme Court did find that this constitutional right was violated.

After a decade, the case was reexamined because of a growing number of lawsuits (concentrated in Hoke County) suing the state for access to higher quality education. A series of hearings explored whether “at-risk” students were given equal access to a “sound education.” The court ruled that not all students had access to their constitutional right, especially students in pre-kindergarten or students considered “at-risk.” The case was then renamed Hoke County Board of Education v. State. 

For two decades, under the control of Judge Mannings, the North Carolina Supreme Court continued to find that the right to a sound basic education had been violated but failed to act on it. When Judge Mannings was unable to return to court in 2015, he reassigned to Judge David Lee, ordering Lee to create a “plan of action”.

Progress accelerated under Judge Lee, and in 2017, Governor Roy Cooper created a commission dedicated to carrying out a “plan of action” based on the recommendations and reports of West-Ed, a third-party, independent consultant hired to analyze the root causes and various solutions of educational disparities in North Carolina.

West-Ed submitted a report in 2019, which included a recommendation for billions of dollars in spending. It contained 7 elements for a school district to be considered a provider of a basic sound education: (1) Teacher development and hiring that ensures well-trained teachers in classrooms, and competitive pay. (2) The same standard for principals. (3) A system that provides funding and resources to each student, especially those considered “at-risk.” (4) A system that tracks student performance, to ensure a basic education is provided. (5) Financial support, particularly for low-performing schools or districts. (6) Pre-kindergarten access. And, (7) Post-high school or career preparatory opportunities, resources, and support.

The West-Ed report also notably included evidence of disproportionate impact on certain students. The report found that English learners, low-income students, students with learning disabilities, students of color, and more, were disproportionately impacted compared to their white classmates or students in affluent districts. The consequences of attending a poorly-funded school were exacerbated for these students. Due to the insufficient funding, these students were not given the support they needed to succeed.

Finally, in March 2021, Judge Lee signed an order that mandated North Carolina to implement an eight year plan incorporating these seven elements. Judge Lee also ordered North Carolina to provide $1.7 billion, dedicated to increasing funding for public schools and education.


This case is a clear example of the systemic racism still present today. Both WestEd’s findings and North Carolina’s census reports conclude that “many underfunded districts ha[ve] high African American enrollment.” As a result, students of color are disproportionately impacted in public education, receiving a poorer quality of education and attending poorly funded schools. While there appears to be policy change happening, only time will prove its efficacy.

Certain politicians have also claimed that this case breaches the “checks and balances” integrated into the federal government. When Judge Lee ordered North Carolina to incorporate the plan, he suggested that he could hold legislators in contempt for failing to comply. 

Senator Deanna Ballard loudly criticized this approach, arguing the court has no authority over the legislative branch. Governor Cooper responded to the legislator’s concern, saying “Legislators can’t simply erase this right because they don’t like it.” Most politicians in North Carolina stand by Governor Cooper, grateful for the push for reform.


Nicole Masarova is from Foster City, California, studying Public Policy.


First Amendment Rights of Judges and other Public Employees (Part II of IV): Republican Party of Minnesota v. White (2002)

Judges are meant to be nonpartisan parts of the government, as has been emphatically mentioned by Chief Justice Roberts. Although Supreme Court justices can themselves pretend that the position of federal justices is completely devoid of partisan taint, and only considers the law from an unbiased matter, reality shows otherwise. The extreme politicization of judicial confirmations, including those of Justices Gorsuch, Kavanaugh and Barrett, make us realize that indeed, many legal conundrums do not have an obvious, explicit formulation in the law. Entirely opposing viewpoints could be argued for, with the argument pretending to trace back to some clause in the Constitution through a flimsy line of logic. There is simply no ‘right answer’ according to the law, it simply depends on which side the judge supports – views remain irreconcilable. For example, even scholars who are otherwise personally supporters of access to abortion have considered Roe v. Wade to be poorly based on constitutional law, because the link from the Due Process Clause to right to privacy to right to abortion is a stretch of logic. So, if abortion is not mentioned in the Constitution anywhere, how a judge will rule on abortion merely depends on his personal views. Thus, both sides can accuse judges of ‘judicial activism’.

Justice Ginsburg, during her confirmation hearings, refused to elaborate on her opinion on issues like the death penalty, because she felt that she could have to vote on it, if confirmed. She might have been overwhelmingly voted in by the Senate, but future hearings like that of Justice Barrett have seen support divided on partisan divisions, despite a similar silence on “matters of policy”. Clearly, through past writings and previous decisions, it is often easy to note where a judge stands on a particularly contentious issue. So, both silence and explicit discussions by judge nominees seem to be merely a matter of protocol.

Let us examine the case now. Minnesota had a state judicial code of ethics with an ‘announce clause’ that constrained candidates seeking to be elected as judges from discussing issues that could come before them if elected and announcing their views. Gregory Wersal, a candidate for the position of Associate Justice in the Minnesota Supreme Court, had earlier distributed literature critical of several Minnesota Supreme Court decisions. An ethics complaint filed in 1996 when he first ran for the office was dismissed, and in 1998, when he ran again, he filed a suit in the Federal Court, joined by the Republican Party of Minnesota, that the ‘announce clause’ violated his freedom of speech and prevented a meaningful campaign, as the voters could not know his positions before deciding whom to vote for.

Both the District Court and the Federal Court of Appeals ruled that the ‘announce clause’ was legal, but the Supreme Court, on reappeal, ruled 5-4 that the ‘announce clause’ was unconstitutional because it prohibited a judicial candidate from stating his views on any specific legal question within the province of the court for which he is running, except in the context of discussing past decisions—and in the latter context as well, if he expresses the view that he is not bound by stare decisis. In the main opinion authored by Justice Scalia, speech about the qualifications of candidates for public office was considered at the core of the First Amendment and could not be violated. The clause was not narrowly tailored enough to survive the legal process of ‘strict scrutiny’ for a compelling state interest. The opinion of the court also refutes Justice Ginsburg’s dissent (covered later) and maintains that the Announce Clause restricts the ability for a fair election. It is impossible for a judge to have no preconceived opinion regarding any legal issue – the fitness of a judge more so depends on the degree of openness to consider arguments of both parties. Justice Kennedy, when concurring, went even further, that state interest should not even be considered, and that content-based speech restrictions that do not fall within any traditional exception should be invalidated without inquiry into narrow tailoring or compelling government interests.

Justice O’Connor did join the majority opinion, but in her concurring opinion, she brought out some bigger unresolved issues regarding the process of judicial nominations. Later, she had mentioned that she questioned her decision in this case later on. At the time of ruling, she questioned the process of judicial elections at the state level and its possible flaws. In the USA, federal judicial positions are confirmed by the Senate on nomination by the President. Of course, different political and otherwise groups do lobby candidates to the President for nomination. Depending on the party in control of the Senate, candidates can get selected or rejected. State-level judicial positions, however, still depend on elections, and they are voted in by the populace.

Justice O’Connor’s concurring opinion reminded us that if judges are subject to regular elections, they can never be completely impartial – this is because, if they rule an unpopular opinion based on the laws, the unhappy public could vote her out in the next election! Moreover, judicial campaigns, like any other campaigns, need a lot of funding, and unless a candidate is very wealthy, they need donations from companies and organizations, and this could raise potential for conflict of interest. Some states follow the Missouri Plan, where judges are nominated by a commission and selected by the governor, and only face a retention election in front of the public after 12 months. In so far as a judge becomes ‘partial’ to respect popular sentiment, mob rule supersedes established law. Thus, Justice O’Connor was skeptical about judicial elections in the first place.

While this process lessens the problem, not all states follow this plan. Even if elected officials select judges, decisions to confirm or reject a judicial candidate become intertwined with the elected official’s future political support. Consider the 2020 elections, where the state of Maine overwhelmingly supported the Democrat Presidential candidate Joe Biden, but still voted Republican Senator Susan Collins into another term. Her final vote against the confirmation of Justice Barrett meant a lot of otherwise Democrat voters retained faith in her.

There were two dissents – one by Justice Ginsburg (joined by Justices Souter, Stevens and Breyer). The other dissent was by Justice Stevens (joined by Justices Ginsburg, Souter and Breyer). The former dissent, scathing in nature, pointed out the more idealist stance that judges should be considered as non-political actors providing justice. Thus, even if judges are subject to election, their selection process should not be identical to political actors. The limitations and statutes of the Announce Clause in Minnesota were perfectly reasonable in which statements framed at a level of generality or qualified statements are permitted. However, the code of conduct did not allow statements that indicated full commitment to a position on an issue as it would indicate how the person, if a judge, would rule on all possible issues. Justice Ginsburg considers the remaining of this separation as a goal in the interests of the State, which it can enforce.

Angikar Ghosal is from Kolkata, India, studying Mathematics and Computer Science with a minor in Economics.

Getting The Supreme Court Back “In Whack”


Put simply by former Vice President and Democractic Presidential candidate Joe Biden, the Supreme Court is “out of whack.” If elected, Biden says he will convene a bipartisan commission of legal scholars to study possible ways to reform the federal judiciary and make recommendations within 180 days.

If Democrats take both the White House and Senate come election day, they have a number of options to consider, each with its own set of legal and political hurdles that must be cleared. 

Here are four of the proposals gaining the most traction:

Court Packing

Google searches for the phrase “court packing” skyrocketed to their highest frequencies in five years just days after the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Court packing entails adding more judges to a court than there currently are in order to restore ideological balance to the bench. Progressive democrats have discussed the possibility of adding either two or four liberal justices to the court as the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett this week will solidify a 6-3 conservative majority for years to come. 

The process of packing the court is relatively easy, only requiring the passage of legislation by Congress and approval by the President. The Constitution says nothing about how many justices must be on the Supreme Court, just that a Supreme Court should exist. The size of the court has also fluctuated over time as several different presidential administrations expanded and shrank the court between 1789 and 1869 for a variety of reasons.

While this option seems straightforward legally, it has complicated political implications. Biden himself opposes court packing as he says that “The last thing we need to do is turn the Supreme Court into just a political football, whoever has the most votes gets whatever they want.” For example, President Franklin D. Roosevelt proposed a bill to expand the Supreme Court in 1937. However, the bill ultimately failed and he drew extensive criticism for proposing the bill with the clear intention of ideologically shaping the court to protect his New Deal legislation.

The Balanced Bench

Former Mayor of South Bend, Pete Buttigieg, proposed the Balanced Bench option while running in the Democratic primaries. This option comes from an influential paper written by Yale Law professors Daniel Epps and Ganesh Sitaraman. The Balanced Bench proposal would first establish a 10 member supreme court, with each party nominating five justices. The 10 justice supreme court would then select five judges from the federal appellate courts to sit with them and hear cases for a year.

The five justices selected by the court are intended to be moderate, centrist judges to maintain the bipartisan representation. However, critics of the proposal argue that the notion of a moderate and centrist judge is inherently subjective and can result in an ideologically skewed court anyway. 

In their paper, Epps and Sitaraman argue that the Balanced Bench option can be enacted via congressional legislation. However, other legal scholars have questioned this simplicity, arguing that a constitutional amendment may be required to implement this plan. 

Term Limits

Representative Ro Khanna proposed legislation in September to implement 18-year term limits for Supreme Court justices. After their time on the Supreme Court, judges would fill out the rest of their lifetime appointments on lower federal courts. Term limits would theoretically lower the stakes of confirmation battles as each president would be guaranteed two opportunities to appoint a justice. Legal scholars and elected officials across the political spectrum have supported term limits, including the current Chief Justice himself

The writers of the constitution made it clear in the second sentence of Article III, Section 1 that they intended for Supreme Court justices to have lifetime tenure to remain independent. For this reason, the legality of legislation imposing term limits is unclear. Some legal scholars believe that allowing for justices to fill their lifetime tenure on lower courts after serving on the Supreme Court could be completely constitutional, allowing for term limits of this nature to be imposed via congressional legislation. Others believe that a constitutional amendment would need to be passed in order to impose term limits, further complicating the process of implementation. 

Jurisdiction Stripping

Jurisdiction Stripping involves congress enacting legislation to strip the federal judiciary of jurisdiction to hear certain types of politically charged cases. For example, Congress could enact laws like the Green New Deal with provisions stipulating that the legislation lies outside the bounds of Supreme Court review.

The constitutionality of such provisions is complicated. Proponents of judicial review argue that the Exceptions Clause of Article III Section 2 gives Congress the power to make “exceptions” and “regulations” to the Supreme Court’s jurisdiction. This was confirmed by the Supreme Court’s decision on Ex parte McCardle in 1869. However, many legal scholars argue that  Jurisdiction Stripping is a violation of the doctrine of separation of powers because it interferes with the courts’ power to decide cases independently.

While likely an effective means of reining in the power of the Supreme Court, the viability of Jurisdiction Stripping as a means of judicial reform is both legally and politically unclear. When advising the Regan Justice Department, now-Chief Justice Roberts defended the use of Jurisdiction stripping to achieve political goals. Alternatively, the practice could create a “race to the bottom” under which each party would be able to protect more and more legislation from judicial review and further restrict the court whenever they control congress.

Whether Biden wins or loses, calls to reform the Supreme Court are unlikely to go away. They have only been growing louder since Republicans refused to consider Merrick Garland, Obama’s nominee to replace Antonin Scalia in 2016. Regardless of which option is ultimately championed by either a Biden administration or the reform movement in general, there are inevitable legal hurdles to overcome in order to fundamentally change the way in which the Supreme Court has operated for over 150 years and get it back “in whack.”

Emma Smith is a Sophomore from Fort Lauderdale, Florida studying Public Policy and Psychology.


Fair Pay to Play Act: California Legislation Threatens NCAA Amateurism Rules

Summary: California’s controversial “Fair Pay to Play Act” makes NCAA rules and regulations on amateurism illegal starting in 2023. The new law has reinvigorated the debate on how the NCAA limits athletes abilities to earn compensation for their name, image, or likeness.

From September 2017 to August 2018, the National Collegiate Athletic Association, known commonly as the NCAA, reported a revenue of over one billion dollars. Of the 460,000 college student-athletes who participated in NCAA sports in 2017-2018, zero received financial compensation for their athletic performances. Zion Williamson, formerly of Duke Men’s Basketball, and Tua Tagovailoa of Alabama Football are household names; their faces are plastered on posters, and their names flash across television screens around the country. Nevertheless, during their collegiate careers, these star athletes and others like them receive no money for participation in NCAA competition. As the billion-dollar sports industry continues to grow, critics have voiced their disapproval of the NCAA’s requirement of amatuer status. On Sept. 30 in California, this disapproval became state law. 

California Passes the Fair Pay to Play Act

Signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom, California’s “Fair Pay to Play Act,” S.B. 206, states that “an athletic association, conference, or other group or organization with authority over intercollegiate athletics, including, but not limited to, the National Collegiate Athletic Association, shall not prevent a student of a postsecondary educational institution participating in intercollegiate athletics from earning compensation as a result of the use of the student’s name, image, or likeness.” The law also prohibits universities from implementing rules that prohibit student-athletes from earning compensation or denying scholarship from athletes who chose to market themselves.

S.B. 206 does not require universities to pay student-athletes themselves but allows for athletes to seek sponsorships and hire agents without jeopardizing their eligibility to play at California schools. The net cost to California universities under the new law would be zero, as all compensation is paid for by third-party endorsements. However, according to the current NCAA rules regarding amaetuer status, receiving any compensation for one’s likeness renders an athlete ineligible for intercollegiate competition. 

Previous Challenges to NCAA Amateurism

The problems addressed in S.B. 206 mimic other complaints against the NCAA’s amateurism rules, including those raised in O’Bannon v. NCAA. Ed O’Bannon, a former UCLA basketball star, sued the NCAA, claiming their restriction on athletes marketing their name, image, or likeness was an “unlawful restraint of trade,” a violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890, 15 U.S.C. § 1. The ruling affirmed that the NCAA’s rules and regulations are subject to antitrust laws, but that “the Rule of Reason requires that the NCAA permit its schools to provide up to the cost of attendance to their student athletes. It does not require more.” Both sides appealed the decision but the case was never heard by the Supreme Court. While O’Bannon did not win the compensation he felt he was owed, the case brought national attention to the flaws in NCAA rules. In establishing the precedent that NCAA rules must follow antitrust laws and bringing the issue to public debate, the O’Bannon case set the stage for other challenges such as S.B. 206 to the NCAA status quo. 

NCAA’s Response

The NCAA has been vocal in its criticism of S.B. 206 and warned California lawmakers of negative outcomes that will result from its passage. In a letter to Governor Newsom on Sept. 11, the NCAA Board of Directors urged the governor to veto the bill, as it threatens the NCAA’s core belief in establishing a fair playing field for all athletes. Because the law requires schools allow student-athletes to pursue sponsorships, this advantage in recruiting high school athletes would result in California schools being excluded from NCAA competition. The Board of Directors also claims in the letter that the law is unconstitutional, suggesting the NCAA is preparing a legal battle in the coming months before the law is operative in January, 2023. 

The NCAA has over three years before S.B. 206 goes into effect in California. In a statement in the hours following the bill’s passage, the organization admitted to needing change to better support its athletes but continued to voice its disapproval of S.B. 206 as a means to do so. In a warning to other states considering passing similar legislation, the NCAA stated “it is clear that a patchwork of different laws from different states will make unattainable the goal of providing a fair and level playing field for 1,100 campuses and nearly half a million student-athletes nationwide.” It is unclear whether the NCAA will turn to internal reforms or look to challenge the law in court to address S.B. 206, but in any case, amateurism as defined by the NCAA is under threat.

Just the Beginning?

The Fair Pay to Play Act in California may not be the only legislation the NCAA will find themselves fighting in the coming years. Similar bills have been introduced in state legislatures around the country, including Florida and New York, that would allow student-athletes to earn money from their name, image, or likeness. On the federal level, Representative Mark Walker (R-NC-6) introduced the “Student-Athlete Equity Act,” H.R. 1804, which would prohibit organizations like the NCAA from “prohibiting or substantially restricting” an athletes ability to receive compensation for their identity. Only time will tell how S.B. 206 will affect the NCAA and intercollegiate athletics, but as other states and federal officials follow in California’s footsteps, the NCAA is looking at a real battle over amateur sports in the near future. 

Lucy Callard is a sophomore from Cincinnati, Ohio, studying Public Policy with a minor in Classical Studies.