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 […]

Case Reviews

McAdams v. Marquette University: Expanding Academic Freedom

November 13, 2019 Emma Coleman 0

Introduction: Academic freedom encapsulates the protection of the free exchange of ideas among students and faculty of academic institutions. Although the Constitution does not explicitly include the right to academic freedom,  the Supreme Court has repeatedly upheld it, citing the First and Fourteenth Amendments. In essence, academic freedom is necessary to allow institutions of higher education, their students, and their faculty members to function effectively without unreasonable governmental interference or institutional regulation, thereby advancing American society through the acquisition of knowledge.  In the United States, the creation of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) in 1915 formally introduced the notion of academic freedom. In 1940, this organization published its “Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure” which outlined the primary goals of academic freedom at the time.It highlighted the importance of enforcing freedom in pursuing and publishing research, freedom of instructors to teach their discipline, and freedom “to […]

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 […]

International Law

The Far Reaching Implications of Brazil’s Supreme Federal Court Reversal

November 11, 2019 Amanda Turner 0

Rise to the Presidency of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva is the former president of Brazil, whose term ran from 2003 until 2011. President Lula was born in Pernambuco, Brazil on October 27, 1945. He rose to acclaim in 1975, when the Metalworkers’ Union elected him to be president after he had led the legal section of the union. When elected, he spearheaded the movement in Brazil to increase wages for workers. During this movement, President Lula was arrested by the police for breaching Brazil’s National Security Law. This law, created in 1969 during the Brazilian government’s aversion to political opposition, allowed the government the ability to give their own definition to crimes against national security and allowed them to hold people in detention for up to twenty days without a charge.  After the Military Supreme Court released him from jail, President Lula established the […]

Case Reviews

Rucho v. Common Cause—The Future of Partisan Gerrymandering

November 10, 2019 Annika Agrawal 0

Introduction On June 27, 2019, the Supreme Court jointly decided Rucho v. Common Cause and Lamone v. Benisek—two pivotal cases that defined the role of the federal courts in cases of extreme partisan gerrymandering. Gerrymandering is a political technique that has been utilized for centuries by both major political parties in order to stack elections in their favor by drawing legislative boundary maps in such a way that advantage one party. This is often done by packing one party’s supporters into as few districts as possible and/or splitting up that party’s supporters into various districts so they cannot gain a majority. The Supreme Court has heard cases of gerrymandering in the past; however, those issues were tied to racial gerrymandering. These two cases were the first to explicitly question the legality of gerrymandering purely on a partisan basis. Facts of the Case On Jan. 9, 2018, a federal court struck […]

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 […]

International Law

International Law Convention Evaluates Legal Definition Of Gender

November 6, 2019 Claire Oh 0

The legal definition of gender as ‘the two sexes, male and female, within the context of society,’ might change once and for all. The International Law Commission has recently asked the General Assembly to discard the current definition in international law as part of a new treaty on the prosecution of crimes against humanity; as the primary international body that develops and codifies international law, such a request from the ILC carries both significance and symbolic meaning. Indeed, such a change faces much controversy. The Commission had previously announced that it would not change any of the definitions from the Roman Statute in the new treaty (one of which being the current definition of gender). Moreover, the majority of countries do not seem to share the view. As of 2019, only seven countries have allowed the legal change of gender on the basis of self-identification alone; many others require psychiatric […]

Case Reviews

Department of Commerce v. New York: The Question of Citizenship

November 5, 2019 Caroline Kincaid 0

Introduction The United States Census has been taken every ten years since 1790. The census aims to gather information about the population, which is then utilized to calculate the number of seats each state will have in the United States House of Representatives. The census has never directly asked if the respondent is a citizen of the United States. However, under President Donald Trump’s administration, the United States Census Bureau planned to include the question, “Is this person a citizen of the United States,” on the 2020 census form that will be sent to all households in the country.  On June 27, 2019, the United States Supreme Court blocked the plan to include the citizenship question on the census because the government gave a “contrived” reason for requesting the information. However, the court didn’t rule out the possibility of any future citizenship questions.  Why inquiring about citizenship is controversial On […]

International Law

Syrian Officials Charged With Crimes Against Humanity

November 4, 2019 Jonathan Schachter 0

German prosecutors are launching the first worldwide criminal trial over the crimes against humanity committed by the Syrian regime governed by President Bashar al-Assad.  Earlier this month, charges were filed by the German Federal Public Prosecutor against two former officials of Assad’s Syrian General Intelligence Directorate (GID). The case, which is set to take place in early 2020, is a monumental point in the process of taking action against the terror-invoking administration of Syria.  Since 2011, Syrian conflict groups have been at war with one another, targeting different people, most of whom happen to be civilians. In an attempt to take control of the nation, acts of terror, executions, and civilian disappearances have become common occurrences in the corrupt and war-torn land, all of which worry activists and international bodies. Who Are These Mystery Defendants? The two defendants, Anwar R. and Eyad A., have had their last names withheld by […]