US Law

US Law

Power In Persistence: Unwrapping The Chicago Teachers’ Strike

November 18, 2019 Allison Kunstler 0

On Oct. 17, a Teacher’s Strike in Chicago erupted, keeping children and teachers out of the classroom for eleven days. The strike incurred after the Chicago Teachers’ Union and mayor Lori Lightfoot failed to reach an agreement for the new CBA. Ultimately, a compromise prompted the return to school, as union members were granted a raise, increased funding for sports and oversized classrooms, as well as five days to make up for the eleven days lost to the strike.    What Is a Teachers’ Strike? A strike is defined as “an organized refusal to work by employees as a means of protest. . . It is a tactic that may be used during contract negotiations if employees and employers cannot agree on terms of employment.” Since strikes are currently illegal in the majority of American states, “walkouts” have become a common replacement. The two convey barely noticeable differences and accomplish […]

Former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli speaking in Washington, D.C. Photo taken by Gage Skidmore.
US Law

The Legality Of Trump’s Public Charge Rule

November 13, 2019 Ellen Wang 0

A nationwide injunction has been issued against the Trump Administration’s new “public charge” rule, which attempts to link immigration status to individual income and usage of public welfare programs. While the actual number of immigrants affected by the Department of Homeland Security’s enforcement of these rules is relatively restricted and the policy is currently on hold, the damage has already been done. Large numbers of immigrants have already unenrolled from welfare programs out of fear and confusion.  Historical Background of “Public Charge” First introduced in the Immigration Act of 1882, the term “public charge” has been used to refer to prospective immigrants that are unable to take care of themselves due to poverty or disabilities. Being classified as a “public charge” constituted grounds for denial of legal entry or citizenship because the potential immigrant was viewed as far too dependent on the U.S. government.  Although a seemingly restrictive rule, few […]

US Law

Federal Judge Blocks Alabama’s Controversial Abortion Bill

November 11, 2019 Natalia Nunez 0

The Alabama Human Life Protection Act In May 2019, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey signed into law the Alabama Human Life Protection Act (AHLPA), which was scheduled to take effect in November 2019. The bill criminalizes abortion by prohibiting the “performance or attempted performance” of abortions in Alabama, with the only exceptions being those performed “to avoid a serious health risk to the unborn child’s mother” and where the “unborn child has a lethal anomaly.” Abortions performed following rape or incest are considered felony offenses under the AHLPA if they do not satisfy one of the exceptions. In addition, the AHLPA bans abortions for “an unborn child in utero at any stage of development,” omitting a time restriction commonly found in abortion laws in other states. The AHLPA outlines specific classifications and ramifications for the performance and attempted performance of an abortion in Alabama. Legislative Attorney Jon O. Shimabukuro of the […]

US Law

Movement Toward Legislation Protecting Against Deepfakes

November 9, 2019 Noah Charlick 0

Introduction Deepfakes are media, primarily videos, which have been manufactured or doctored using advances in artificial intelligence. It is difficult or impossible to distinguish between deepfakes and real life, demonstrating clear and serious implications for our trust in media as technology continues to progress. Since a viral video posted in August making Bill Hader morph into Tom Cruise while doing impressions on a talk show, deepfakes have greatly risen in popularity. Deepfakes have also recently begun to demonstrate their destructive power. For example, a deepfake video surfaced in May, in which Speaker Nancy Pelosi appeared to be drunk or impaired. Henry Farid, professor of computer science at the University of California Berkeley, said this is just the tip of the iceberg of the manipulation of media. While convincingly altering video has long been a difficult but possible task for humans to accomplish, deepfake videos can now be made by allowing […]

US Law

An Evaluation of Facebook’s Free Speech Policies

November 1, 2019 James McIntyre 0

After Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg recently spoke at Georgetown University and testified on Capitol Hill in front of the House Financial Services Committee, Facebook and its free speech policies have once again come under harsh scrutiny. For years, Facebook has faced a wide range of criticisms regarding its free speech policies, many of which are back under public debate, after recent appearances by Mark Zuckerberg. A widely cited example of Facebook’s problems with free speech can be observed in the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election when Facebook allowed misleading and factually inaccurate ads to run on its platform. Created by Russian “trolls,” these ads were disseminated from fake accounts that were not connected to actual people. Also, Facebook’s guidelines for removing hate speech have been accused of being insufficiently restrictive. One horrific example of this came last year when Facebook was used as a mechanism to help spark a genocide […]

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

October 25, 2019 Lucy Callard 0

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 […]

US Law

Should Animals have Habeas Corpus Rights?

October 23, 2019 Natalia Nunez 0

Habeas corpus, which directly translates to “that you have the body,” grants people the right to contest their unlawful detention in a court of law. While this concept has traditionally applied to human beings, recent debates have attempted to extend this right to animals ‘imprisoned’ at zoos, particularly those with proven advanced cognitive abilities. The Beginning of the Debate: Tommy the Chimpanzee Tommy was found by the Nonhuman Rights Project (NhRP) living alone in a cage in a trailer park along Route 30 in Gloversville, New York. He was raised by Dave Sabo, a chimpanzee breeder notorious for mistreating his chimpanzees. Chimpanzees’ natural habitat is in the rainforest, where they develop complex social organizations. However, in Tommy’s cramped quarters, the closest semblances to this environment were painted concrete walls and a television playing cartoons. Tommy remains there today, although his lawyers aim to relocate him to the Save the Chimps […]

US Law

Copyright Protection of Dance

January 26, 2019 Jacob Turobiner 0

Summary: Lawsuits against the popular gaming company “Epic Games” will force federal courts to expand upon copyright laws regarding dance and choreography. Introduction The video game Fortnite has over 200 million registered users, currently making it the most popular video game in the world. However, Epic Games, the creator of Fortnite, is facing multiple lawsuits related to potential copyright infringement. Celebrities and media icons claim the game developers stole their dance moves and, thus, their intellectual property. Millions of Fortnite users buy these dance moves on the game, so the actual dancers behind them want a share of the billions of dollars that Epic Games has generated from the game. While there is no hiding the fact that Epic Games made a profit from dances created by others, that does not necessarily mean that these dances are protected under copyright law. How does something receive copyright protection? In order for […]

US Law

Courthouse Dogs: Witness Comforts, Defendant’s Rights

December 12, 2018 Isadora Toledo 0

Summary: Although the 2013 case People v. Tohom explicitly determined that courthouse dogs are constitutional, the debate over whether or not the court was justified in prioritizing witness’ rights continues. From their beginnings with New York City attorneys in the 1980s, courthouse dogs have become a contentious and sensitive issue. Initially used to comfort abused children during interviews with prosecutors and therapists, courthouse dogs are now being proposed as a nationwide method of accommodating child witnesses inside the courtroom, not just outside of it. Although the 2013 case People v. Tohom explicitly determined that courthouse dogs are constitutional, the debate over whether or not the court was justified in prioritizing witness rights continues. Those who oppose the decision argue that courthouse dogs are especially problematic for defendants. By prejudicing the jury, courthouse dogs jeopardize a defendant’s right to a fair trial. When judges allow courthouse dogs to be present, for […]

US Law

9th Circuit Court Of Appeals Upholds Ban On President Trump’s Attempt To Repeal DACA

December 2, 2018 Isabella Caracta 0

Summary: In 2017, the Acting Secretary of Homeland Security, Elaine Duke, issued a memorandum rescinding the memo that established DACA and setting forth a plan to phase it out. Recent rulings, however, have upheld the DACA program, creating legal barriers to the Trump Administration’s attempt to end it. In 2012, the Obama Administration authored an Executive Branch Memorandum more commonly referred to as DACA, which stands for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. This memorandum was previously entitled “Exercising Prosecutorial Discretion with Respect to Individuals Who Came to the United States as Children,” and was issued by the then Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano. Despite the fact that Congress rejected the program on multiple occasions during the normal legislative process, DACA created a non-congressionally authorized administrative program permitting “certain individuals who came to the United States as juveniles and meet several criteria…to request consideration of deferred action for a […]