Case Law

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

April 27, 2021 Angikar Ghosal 0

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 […]

Case Law

State of Minnesota v. Francios Momolu Khalil

April 27, 2021 Megan Gerges 0

Facts: On March 24, 2021 the Supreme Court of Minnesota ruled in State of Minnesota, Respondent v. Francois Momolu Khalil, Appellant. Francois Momolu Khalil was convicted of one count of third-degree criminal sexual conduct for raping an intoxicated woman while she was unconscious in 2017. J.S, the victim, had been drinking alcohol and had taken a prescription narcotic when she and a friend were approached by Khalil and two other men who invited them to a party. They went, only to find that there was no party. While there, J.S passed out on the couch and awoke to find Khalil sexually assaulting her. Despite her protests for him to stop, he continued.   Both the State and Khalil agree that a fifth-degree criminal sexual conduct (non consensual sexual conduct) would have been appropriate based on the facts of this case. However, for first time offenders, this would result only in a […]

International Law

A New “Gold Standard”: The European Union Proposes Significant Regulations on Artificial Intelligence

April 24, 2021 Jacob Rosenzweig 0

Artificial intelligence (AI) conjures a range of images from the astonishing to the abominable. AI refers to a variety of technologies that are capable of analyzing large sets of data and using what they learn to inform decisions. Although machine learning technology has proved useful in the field of medicine to discover and develop new treatments—thereby saving lives—it is also apparent that AI is rife with dangers. AI has the potential to threaten citizens’ fundamental rights, with applications such as facial recognition in public spaces.  Aiming to channel the massive potential of AI to do good for society and limit its application where dangerous, on April 21 the European Union (EU) unveiled an array of proposed regulations to make Europe the “gold standard” for AI innovation and consumer protection. While the EU is eager to foster technological innovation and compete with global tech leaders China and the U.S., its sweeping […]

International Law

Italy and the Continental Double Standard: Breach of EU Asylum Policy

April 23, 2021 Shreya Joshi 0

At first glance, Italy seems to view its governments the way that teenage girls view outfits on their Instagram feed: they must be changed every post, and are never to be repeated. No other explanation is immediately apparent, considering that Italy has had over 75 governments in the past 75 years. Essentially, Italy cycles through Prime Ministers and cabinets basically every year. In February, they were able to settle on a new Prime Minister, Mario Draghi, who is dragging Italy out from the EU South. Draghi’s administration is a supposed light for Italy. Ending years of political turmoil, he has framed himself as something of an Italian Macron or Merkel, bridging the left-right divide and offering expertise as the former president of the European Central Bank. Draghi has won support from the populist Five Star Movement (party of Giuseppe Conte, former Prime Minister), as well as the right-wing League (party […]

Case Law

Pereida v. Wilkinson

April 21, 2021 Megan Gerges 0

Facts:  In the midst of discussions regarding the surge of immigration on the southern border, the Supreme Court recently ruled against Clemente Pereida, an undocumented immigrant who arrived almost 25 years ago. Pereida, who has a wife and three children, including an American citizen and a DACA recipient, was convicted for criminal impersonation under a Nebraska state law after using a fake Social Security Number to obtain a job- a conviction that came in the midst of a removal proceeding against him for unlawful entry. Under the federal Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), undocumented immigrants who have been in the country for a minimum of 10 years, have “good moral character,” have not been convicted of particular crimes (including crimes of moral turpitude), and have relatives that are American citizens or legal residents for whom the removal would create an “‘exceptional and extremely unusual’ hardship” become eligible to request a […]

International Law

Honesty is the Best Policy: Greenwashing in Europe

April 21, 2021 Erin Yu 0

“100% organic,” “environmentally conscious,” and “eco-friendly” are some common labels stuck onto a wide range of products today, but just how accurate are these claims? A 2021 study by the International Consumer Protection Enforcement Network examined 500 company websites and reported that 40% presented misleading claims about product sustainability. In recent years, many companies have made false claims about the supposed environmental benefits of their products as a means of attracting consumer interest and increasing sales, a tactic also known as “greenwashing.” While greenwashing has been a marketing staple for years, consumers have begun calling out large companies for their deceptive marketing strategies. Volkswagen found itself at the center of a recent greenwashing scandal when it promoted its use of “clean diesel” but was later exposed for using a special device in its cars to cheat emission tests.  This month, the European Union passed new legislation called the Sustainable Finance […]

Case Law

First Amendment Rights of Judges and other Public Employees (Part I of IV): Rutan v. Republican Party of Illinois (1990)

April 9, 2021 Angikar Ghosal 0

What extent do judges, or public employees in general, have freedom of speech under the First Amendment? What kind of speech, expression or even association in groups, could disqualify a person from seeking such public office, to ensure that defendants have their due process rights under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments protected? What evidence can be used to judge the merit of such claims, and judge the judge themselves? How does this relate to the ethical standards for judicial recusal? The Senate confirmation hearings of Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Amy Coney Barrett saw an unusually reticent Barrett, unwilling to express opinions on matters of even the slightest legal controversy. Her silence could certainly be due to the politicized controversy regarding her nomination, however a larger trend has emerged. On one hand, the candidature of a nominee gets boosted by the presence of a significant paper trail if the […]

International Law

The Fire Waiting for a Match: Ethiopia’s Civil War

April 7, 2021 Shreya Joshi 0

Most nations in Africa are multi-ethnic today because the state boundaries were arbitrarily drawn up in the Berlin Conference of 1884. Ethnicities refer to tribal identity, language, cultural history and other factors that unite a peoples. Ethiopia is different for a couple reasons. For one, it has drawn its own borders, yet is still a multi-ethnic nation. Apart from five years of occupation by Mussolini, the country boasts never having been colonized, which makes their multiethnic nature even more interesting. Today, the country is made of eighty different ethnic groups, home to the Ethiopian Orthodox Christian church since the 4th century and a tumultuous democracy. Tensions have always been high between these groups. Ethiopia  was originally composed of the Amhara, Tigray, and Oromo groups. The original monarchy of Ethiopia acted almost as an empire, subjugating multiple ethnic groups under the narrative of being Christian and speaking Amhara. This began the […]

International Law

New Zealand Approves Miscarriage Paid Leave

April 5, 2021 Hyonjun Yun 0

On March 25th, New Zealand’s Parliament unanimously approved a bill that provides three days of paid leave for women and their partners who suffer a miscarriage or stillbirth. A miscarriage is defined as the death of a fetus before the 20th week of pregnancy, and a stillbirth is the death after the 20th week of pregnancy. The legislation does not apply to pregnancies ended by abortion. The Bereavement Leave for Miscarriage Bill was introduced by member of Parliament Ginny Andersen in 2019.  Andersen, Labour MP, said, “The bill will give women and their partners time to come to terms with their loss without having to tap into sick leave.” The three days of paid leave will be separate from sick leave as Andersen explains, “Because their grief is not a sickness, it is a loss. And loss takes time.”  This law is bound to have a large, positive impact. Facing […]

International Law

UK’s New Crime and Policing Bill: Reforming Protest Amid Fear, Frustration and Mourning

March 27, 2021 Cameron Page 0

Introduction: Just days after Sarah Everard’s body was discovered in the South East county of Kent, and as peaceful demonstrators in mourning endured disturbing heavy-handedness by the London Metropolitan Police, a new crime and policing bill – which threatens to “seriously curb the ability of citizens to protest” – overcame a key hurdle in the UK House of Commons. The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill 2021 is an accumulation of proposed legislation which aims to reform the criminal justice system, crush the UK’s record of public dissidence, and support offender rehabilitation, among other things. Critically, though, proposed amendments to both the Public Order Act 1986 and the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 would limit citizens’ rights to protest and grant police officers greater power to intervene by force. As Everard’s death at the hands of a London Metropolitan Police officer has heated discourse about the dangers, abuse […]