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US Law

Increasing Demands For Reform of Social Media Liability Law

October 24, 2020 Ellen Wang 0

Summary: In May of 2020, President Trump issued an executive order to reform Section 230 – a crucial part of the 1996 Communications Decency Act that provided liability protection for internet companies and granted them the right to moderate their sites as they saw fit. While both Democrats and Republicans have increasingly demanded reform of Section 230 over the last few years, they’ve done so for different reasons. President Trump, the Department of Justice, and the FCC have catapulted discussions for the reform of Section 230 into the spotlight.   Creation of Section 230 Casually named to be the “most consequential law governing speech on the internet,” Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act was initially created to protect young internet companies from legal liability and allow innovation to flourish. The two primary components of Section 230 are centered on providing immunity to internet companies for the content created […]

Case Reviews

United States v. Robert Boling, Jr. et al – Assessing Federal Action To Address Elder Fraud

October 20, 2020 Cameron Page 0

Facts of the Case United States of America v. Robert Boling Jr., et al. details the indictment of five individuals for the perpetration of a multifaceted identity-theft and fraud scheme targeting thousands of United States veterans and service members between July 2014 and July 2019. Frederick Brown–a former U.S. Army civilian medical records administrator–exploited his post by illegally providing Robert Boling, Jr. with personal identification information (PII) belonging to thousands of U.S. military-affiliated individuals, including active service members and their dependents, employees of the Department of Defense and, predominantly, veterans. Boling then co-conspired with Allan Kerr and Jongmin Seok, utilizing the stolen PII data to access and steal from victims’ bank accounts, disability funds, and veteran benefit pay-outs via the Department of Defense benefits portal. Thereafter, Trorice Crawford recruited upward of thirty individuals as “money mules” to launder the stolen funds. Crawford then facilitated the remittance of these funds to […]

International Law

Be Careful With What You Say About The President: The Philippines’ New Terror Bill

October 19, 2020 Vanessa Real Williams 0

What is the Anti-Terrorism Act?  In early 2020, the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 was introduced in the Philippines as a replacement to the 2007 Human Security Act. The Act includes a broad definition of terrorism, including acts “to provoke or influence by intimidation the government or any of its international organization… or seriously undermine public safety…” It also includes dissent under the conditions that “it creates a serious risk to public safety.” Aside from the broadened definition of terrorism, human rights groups foresee issues due to the Act creating an Anti-Terrorism Council made up of members selected by the president who can call in specific people for questioning at their discretion.   Furthermore, the 2007 Act required authorities to take suspected terrorists to a judicial official within 3 days of their apprehension but, this new law gives authorities the ability to hold suspected terrorists for up to 24 days before obtaining […]

US Law

Breaking Down Income Discrimination in the Housing Voucher Program

March 4, 2020 Noah Charlick 0

How Housing Vouchers Work  The Section 8 Housing Voucher Program, also known as the Housing Choice Voucher Program, provides rental assistance to low-income Americans. In 2018, the program provided more than 2.2 million households and 5 million people with rental assistance.  Vouchers help make housing affordable for low-income individuals. Holders pay 30 percent of their monthly adjusted gross income income toward rent and utilities, while the government pays the remaining cost. If the tenants do not have any income, they pay up to a maximum amount of $50 per month. To determine eligibility for the Housing Choice Voucher Program, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) sets income limits. Income limits vary by location and are based on calculations of the median income and fair market rent in the area in which the given family chooses to live. When allocating vouchers, 75 percent of recipients must be “extremely low-income,” […]

US Law

California Regulators Approve Wildfire Fund

March 2, 2020 Ellen Wang 0

Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), the largest utility company in the country, has been held responsible for multiple wildfires over the past few years. These fires have burned tens of thousands of acres of land, destroyed thousands of homes and structures, and killed tens of thousands of people. In January of 2019, PG&E filed for bankruptcy protection after estimating that the company faced over $30 billion in wildfire liabilities. After being found responsible for the most destructive wildfire in California history just months later in May, PG&E faced an additional $10.5 billion in liabilities. Given the severity and urgency of the issue at hand, Governor Gavin Newsom signed comprehensive wildfire legislation within a week of the fire. After hearing arguments that this bill, Assembly Bill 1054, could be unfair and unconstitutional, the California Public Utilities Commission determined that there was no constitutional issue at hand. Thus, final approval was granted […]

Case Reviews

Aftermath of the Youth Climate Change Lawsuit

January 30, 2020 Dominique Karesh 0

Introduction: In 2015, 21 youth plaintiffs filed a lawsuit against the United States and several executive branch officers, including former President Obama and President Trump. The plaintiffs of the Juliana v. United States suit, who are all between the ages of 12 and 23, argued that government inaction in regards to climate change violated their “fundamental constitutional rights to freedom from deprivation of life, liberty, and property.” The plaintiffs were able to meet the requirements for standing with proof that they were adversely affected by the climate crisis. For instance, Levi Draheim, a 12-year-old plaintiff, had been injured by repeat evacuations during worsening storms. At the time, the Juliana suit was one of many climate change lawsuits making their way to the US court system. The youth lawsuit stood out because it challenged the federal government, rather than fossil fuel companies themselves. As climate change remains a pressing issue, the […]

Case Reviews

Kansas v. Garcia

January 22, 2020 John Markis 0

Kansas v. Garcia focuses on the arrests and subsequent convictions of three men in separate incidents. The eponymous defendant, Ramiro Garcia, who worked as a line cook in Olathe, Kansas, was stopped in 2012 for a simple speeding violation. Upon closer inspection, the police officer on duty discovered that authorities were already searching for Garcia; by seizing his federal employment document, the Employment Eligibility Verification, known colloquially as his I-9, detectives assessed that Garcia had falsified his social security number and charged him with identity theft. Garcia was initially found guilty in Johnson County, yet the Kansas Supreme Court overturned this ruling after appeal because of the fact that the I-9 is a federal document. In effect, the Kansas Supreme Court negated prosecutors’ ability to present federally mandated statutes as evidence of disobedience of state law.    The Supreme Court will thus answer whether states have the capacity to determine their […]

International Law

New Greek Asylum Laws Attempt To Push Asylum Seekers Away

December 2, 2019 Vanessa Real Williams 0

The Current State of Greek Asylum Seekers There are currently more than 96,600 refugees and migrants in Greece. More than 35,000 of these migrants are asylum seekers living on five islands in squalid conditions. As of October 31, 2019 alone, more asylum seekers have arrived in Greece than the total number of asylum seekers that arrived in 2018. Despite the influx of asylum seekers in 2019, Greece is still receiving less compared to 2015 and 2016. On two Aegean Islands holding asylum seekers, families have created shelters on steep hillsides in a struggle to survive. Furthermore, the government cut public healthcare funding for new asylum seekers in July, forcing people to seek help from NGOs or privately fund their own healthcare, which is a big issue for people with chronic illnesses and children needing immunizations to enroll in school. Tensions are rising between migrants and Greek citizens. Asylum seekers on […]

International Law

Climate Change And Its Labyrinth Of Laws

November 27, 2019 Claire Oh 0

The 23rd of September marked an important day for climate protectors worldwide. Sixteen child petitioners — including Greta Thunberg and Alexandria Villasenor — from all around the world presented a legal complaint to the United Nations, arguing that their human rights were being violated by nations that were failing to give legislative attention to the pressing threat of climate change. Their petition shed light on an important aspect of climate change that lawmakers and politicians have been reluctant to address; climate change may not destroy their homes, but it most definitely will destroy their childrens’. The petition  argued that 5 countries, namely Argentina, Brazil, France, Germany, and Turkey, have been “recklessly causing and perpetuating life-threatening climate change [and] have failed to take necessary preventive and precautionary measures to respect, protect, and fulfill the petitioners’ rights.” The complaint, filed under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of a Child, is […]

US Law

Trump Administration’s “Conscience Protection Rule” Struck Down By Federal Judge

November 25, 2019 Noah Charlick 0

The Introduction of the “Conscience Protection Rule” In early May, the Trump administration announced the finalization of a new “Conscience Protection Rule” to bolster protections for religious health care providers. Specifically, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services sought to strengthen the ability of health workers to deny care if certain procedures violated their moral or spiritual beliefs, including abortion, sex-reassignment surgery, sterilization, and physician-assisted suicide. Also known as the Final Rule, the “Conscience Protection Rule” strengthens existing laws including the Weldon amendment, the Church amendment, and the Coates/Snow amendment, which allow doctors, nurses, and other medical providers some freedom to opt out of procedures to which they object on religious or moral grounds. In support of the Rule, Roger Severino, Director of the HHS’s Office for Civil Rights, said, “This rule ensures that healthcare entities and professionals won’t be bullied out of the healthcare field because they decline […]