US Law

US Law

Plyler v. Doe: Undocumented Students and Post-Secondary Education

November 13, 2018 Isadora Toledo 0

Summary: Plyler v. Doe lay the groundwork for states to recognize the value of awarding education to every group, regardless of citizenship status. Yet the evolution of education means that over thirty years later, its shortcomings are impossible to ignore. Perhaps even from its conception, American society has recognized the value of education. Over a decade ago, Chief Justice Warren regarded education as “perhaps the most important function of state and local governments” – a “right which must be made available to all on equal terms.” In a country whose history is fraught with battles for liberty, various marginalized groups – from indigenous peoples to Latinx communities – have struggled to claim this right. And for many, specifically undocumented immigrants, the struggle continues. As immigration and naturalization policies increasingly come to conflict with education, questions of who deserves what and why are brought to the forefront. Although the struggle for […]

US Law

Change and Controversy: A Review of Hate Crime Laws in America

November 7, 2018 Thomas Huck 0

Pittsburgh. Kroger. Package bombs. Over the past two weeks, the United States has been recovering from three different attacks. As the perpetrators of each face charges, the question of motivation for these hate-fueled attacks is being brought up across the nation. For the courts, the question of what constitutes a hate crime is an especially important one. Amid efforts to reform hate crime statutes, the Department of Justice released a new hate crimes website to provide resources for law enforcement agencies. Although the Department has “increased training of federal, state, and local law enforcement officers to ensure that hate crimes are identified and prosecuted to the fullest extent possible,” a report from California State University, San Bernardino, indicates that the number of hate crimes across the nation continues to rise. These studies only tell half of the story. A majority of hate crimes that were committed between 2011 and 2015 […]

US Law

Who Should Have The Final Say In A Child’s Healthcare: Family or Physicians?

November 6, 2018 Isabella Caracta 0

Summary: There is often controversy over who knows best for a child needing medical attention. It is important to review current law and ethical practices and understand their implications on minor patient care. Decision making in healthcare often diverges when it comes to adults and children. When dealing with children, there is usually a “three-way relationship among the minor patient, the patient’s parents (or guardian), and the physician.” Although minors are considered to not have the capacity to make healthcare decisions on their own, the American Medical Association (AMA), encourages physicians to “engage minor patients in making decisions about their own care to the greatest extent possible.” When this aforementioned “extent” is reached, and concrete medical decisions must be made, it is required under the law to obtain consent from a parent or guardian. Legally, minors need parental consent for non-emergent care. Outlined in the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active […]

US Law

Social Media Privacy in Employment

November 6, 2018 Jacob Turobiner 0

Summary: As more employers use social media to evaluate a job candidate, it is raising questions of privacy rights of employees across various states. Background For years, job applications have been comprehensive, with employers requiring a plethora of information from the candidate. In the digital age, employers have access to a treasure trove of personal information: social media. It has become common practice for employers to look into one’s social media records. In 2008, about 34 percent of employers used social media in the hiring process. By 2013, this percentage jumped to 77 percent. A simple Google search can provide a mountain of information about someone–good and bad. It is entirely legal for an employer to do online research on a job candidate, however, an employer could go further and infringe on privacy rights. These types of laws vary greatly between states. What an Employer Can Do There is no […]

US Law

Keeping Our Participants Alive: Drug Court Successes, Failures, and the Opioid Epidemic

November 3, 2018 Isadora Toledo 0

Summary: Despite their successes, traditional drug courts fail to help opioid addicts. The creation of an opioid-specific intervention court attempts to change this. Fewer things have swept the nation as quickly or as violently as the opioid crisis. Claiming the lives of some 64,000 Americans in one year alone, the opioid crisis continues to strain the nation’s society – and its courts, as policymakers and jurists alike struggle to decide what role, if any, the legal system should play. In recent years, the solution to this struggle has been the nationwide development of drug courts. Originally formed in Florida’s Miami-Dade County in 1989 under Judge Stanley Goldstein, over 3,100 drug courts now exist across the country, half of which are adult treatment courts. A type of problem-solving court, drug courts aim to use the court’s resources to address the root causes behind crime. Drug courts specifically are characterized by Judge […]

US Law

The Supreme Court’s Ability to Enforce Rulings

November 1, 2018 Gramal Ralph 0

Summary: The Supreme Court’s move to the right has raised questions of the Court’s ability to enforce its rulings.  To many Americans, the confirmation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh marked the Supreme Court’s move to the ideological right. The country is wondering how this will affect rulings on landmark issues such as abortion, religious liberty, the rights of the LGBTQ community, and more. Americans have long looked at the Supreme Court as an authority to protect the people from unconstitutional executive actions, laws, and statutes. It is often seen as the last line of defense to protect civil liberties. However, the Constitution does not establish a basis for the court to enforce its decisions. In early American history, the Court’s role in government was unknown. The Constitution, in Article III: sections one and two, establishes the Supreme Court as the highest court in the land. It was not until 1803, that […]

US Law

Swartz v. Rodriguez: A Question of Qualified Immunity

November 1, 2018 Phil Ma 0

Summary: U.S. government officials sometimes must make discretionary decisions in split-seconds with only limited information. To protect these officials from personal, civil lawsuits, the idea of qualified immunity was born. However, questions are raised when a discretionary decision kills someone who is not a citizen and it occurs outside of US territory. These are the questions that Swartz v. Rodriguez seeks to answer. Background In October 2012, Lonnie Swartz, a U.S. border patrol agent, shot and killed 16-year-old Mexican national Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez. He was shot approximately 10 times through the border fence that separated the United States and Mexico, all entering the body from behind. Agent Swartz was standing within the United States during the shooting and Mr. Rodriguez was wholly in Mexico. Swartz claimed that the deceased, referenced as J.A. in court documents, threw rocks at him; however, the First Amended Complaint submitted to the courts claim […]

US Law

The Right to Refuse Service and Its Implications on Society

October 22, 2018 Jacob Turobiner 0

Summary: A business owner has the right to refuse service as long as he or she does not infringe upon federal or state discrimination laws. Background Across the nation, businesses display and enforce their right to refuse service. Whether a customer is causing a nuisance or is dressed inappropriately, the business could withhold its services without legal repercussions. Many businesses make their right clear by posting signs with phrases like “We Reserve the Right to Refuse Service to Anyone.” While this statement does hold true in many cases, it depends on the reasoning behind refusing service. The Constitution, federal laws, and state laws protect certain groups of people from discrimination on the basis of being a member of that group in public accommodations, but not all groups are protected. What Constitutes Illegal Discrimination Since the Civil Rights Act of 1964, businesses cannot discriminate against any person on the basis of […]

US Law

California Bail Reform Leaves Both Sides Unhappy

October 21, 2018 Isabella Caracta 0

Summary: California’s new bail reform bill, Senate Bill 10, goes into effect October 2019, but activist groups pull support for SB10. It is a little-known fact that the American constitution fails to guarantee its citizens the right to bail; however, the Eighth Amendment prohibits excessive bail charges. The Bail Reform Act of 1966 affords people charged with non-capital offenses a statutory right to be released, pending trial, based on personal recognizance or personal bond. This act provided people with a statutory right where a constitutional right is lacking. Contrarily, bail systems vary from state to state and can be highly discriminatory against certain racial and socioeconomic groups (particularly African American and Latino minorities). Judges are afforded great discretion as to when a defendant is detained, whether or not bail will be set, and the price of bail. Because inherent prejudices can arise from the current bail systems, there has been […]

US Law

SFFA v. Harvard: A New Era for Affirmative Action

October 16, 2018 Phil Ma 0

Summary: The Supreme Court will have to revisit the issue of affirmative action in SFFA v. Harvard and may drastically change the legal framework in regards to college admissions going forward. Background Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA) sued Harvard University in November of 2014 alleging discriminatory admission standards. SFFA, representing a coalition of Chinese-, Indian-, Korean-, and Pakistani-American organizations across the U.S., contests Harvard’s claim that their holistic admissions process weights race fairly and argues. The coalition claims Harvard’s admissions process violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. SFFA claims that legacy and athlete admissions cannot explain the disparity in admission gaps using statistical analyses of Harvard’s admissions data conducted by Peter Arcidiacono, a labor economist and professor at Duke University. Using the same data, David Card, professor of economics at University of California, Berkeley, reached very different conclusions than Arcidiacono’s. Card’s study has been endorsed by former Federal Reserve […]