Case Law

North Carolina League of Conservation Voters v. Hall (Harper v. Hall)

April 7, 2022 Nicole Masarova 0

Facts: Gerrymandering was a tool used heavily during the late 90s and early 2000s,  in cases such as Shaw v. Reno and Vieth v. Jubelirer. It is an intentional attempt to increase the power of one political party in approaching elections through the manipulation of district mapping. Harper v. Hall is a case that demonstrates that the practice remains pervasive in modern politics. Filed on November 17, 2021, the case was centered on a recent gerrymandering attempt in North Carolina. The claim asserted that the proposed maps for the 2022 elections, also called the Enacted Congressional Plan, violated the “Free Elections Clause, Equal Protection Clause, and Free Speech and Free Assembly Clauses” of the North Carolina Constitution, which would thus violate the right to a fair and equal election. The goal of the suit was to block the adoption of these maps, with the hope of redrafting them. However, if […]

International Law

UN Orders Russia to Cease Operations in Ukraine

April 4, 2022 Jacob Margolis 0

The invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces on February 24th shook the world, as well as international affairs organizations such as the International Court of Justice (ICJ) at the United Nations (UN). Just three days after these events transpired, Ukraine filed a suit to the ICJ calling out Russian military forces for having manipulated “the concept of genocide” in order to justify their invasive actions. On March 16th, the ICJ responded with a ruling that Russia must “immediately suspend the military operations that it commenced on 24 February.” More specifically, Russia has been asked to not only suspend current military operations and retract their deployments, but to also make sure that any Russian-backed units, whether they be paramilitary or “irregular units,” cease their respective activities immediately. The Court came to their verdict on a 13-2 vote, with Russian ICJ Vice-President Kirill Gevorgian and Judge Xue Hanqin of China dissenting.  The […]

International Law

The Gambia v. Myanmar Reaches Second Round of Hearings

March 28, 2022 Polyna Uzun 0

On Nov. 11th, 2019, The Gambia brought charges against Myanmar before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) citing that the ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya people in the Rakhine State of Myanmar was in violation of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. There have been two rounds of hearings, the first in Dec. 2019 and the second round concluding on Feb. 28th. The Gambia’s charges stem from events dating back to 1977 when Myanmar launched Operation King Dragon which was the military’s first crackdown on the Rohingya, the country’s Indo-Aryan ethnic group. The native minority population was then deprived of their citizenship and declared illegitimate. What followed were massacres, gang rape, torture, apartheid, torture, starvation, destruction, and displacement. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called the Rohingya, “one of, if not the, most discriminated people in the world.” After the military crackdown, the escalation of violence […]

International Law

UN Orders Uganda to Pay War Reparations

March 16, 2022 Jacob Margolis 0

On Wednesday, Feb. 9th, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) at the United Nations (UN) ordered that Uganda pay $325 million in war reparations to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The dispute was first brought to the UN in 1999, and this new ruling comes 17 years after the UN had initially found Uganda to have breached international law by violating the principle of non-intervention in the DRC. This charge entails infringing on the right of a sovereign state to conduct its internal affairs without outside intervention. Additionally, they allegedly breached human rights law through the brutalities committed by their army on the people of the DRC. The conflict, which officially lasted from 1998-2003 and involved both rebel incursions and outsider attacks, was believed to have brought about a devastating hundreds of thousands of deaths, though there is no official confirmation on the exact amount, as well as […]

Case Law

United States v. Zubaydah

March 15, 2022 Halle Wagner 0

Despite the Biden administration’s approval of eighteen transfers, thirty-nine detainees remained at the military prison in the U.S. Naval Station in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba as of January, 2021. Zayn al-Abidin Muhammad Husayn is one of those thirty-nine.  Held without charge by the United States for almost two decades, Zayn al-Abidin Muhammad Husayn, otherwise known as Abu Zubaydah, not only petitioned a federal court for his release, but also seeks to compel the United States Government to declassify evidence surrounding his treatment by the CIA prior to his arrival at Guantánamo Bay.  Facts of the Case: Since 2011, the Supreme Court of the United States has not ruled on a case concerning state secrets privilege.  This judicially created, evidentiary privilege allows the federal government to resist court-ordered disclosure of information during litigation if there is a reasonable danger that such disclosure would harm the national security of the United States. State […]

US Law

President Biden’s Supreme Court Nominee

February 28, 2022 Megan Gerges 0

In late January of 2022, it was announced that Justice Stephen Breyer would be retiring after almost 30 years on the Supreme Court of the United States. A liberal Bill Clinton appointee, Justice Breyer has been a part of many influential Court decisions including United States v. Virginia (1996), Stenberg v. Carhart (2000), Grutter v. Bollinger (2003), Obergefell v. Hodges (2015), Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt (2016), and Mahanoy Area School District v. B. L. (2021).  Following this announcement, President Biden reaffirmed his campaign promise to nominate the first Black female justice to the Supreme Court. This generated criticism from some Republicans who argue that President Biden’s vow is offensive because it focuses on the identity of the nominee rather than on who is the best qualified candidate. Democrats argue that it is important to take into consideration demographics so that the Supreme Court is a representative institution, and that […]

No Picture
US Law

Democrats Must Get Their House in Order or They May Lose it

February 21, 2022 Vineet Chovatia 0

In January 2021, the Democratic Party assumed power in both houses of Congress and the White House with plans to pass landmark legislation on voting rights, climate change, and infrastructure. Just a year later, with the Build Back Better plan stalled and no viable path to passing voting rights reforms, the Democrats find their agenda sputtering and their momentum all but lost. Losses across the board in 2021 statewide races have led to many Democrats projecting large-scale defeat in the 2022 midterm elections.  After President Biden maintained an approval rating above 50% for the first several months of his presidency, his approval rating has sunk to 41% in recent polling. Along with  President Biden’s worsening approval, the Democratic Party has seen much of its gains following the 2021 election lost to the GOP. In a 14 point backslide, only 42% of Americans identify as Democrats with the GOP gaining considerable […]

International Law

Russo-Ukrainian Crisis and Rising Oil Prices Threaten Climate Change

February 18, 2022 Erin Yu 0

Global tensions, as well as oil prices, have soared to new heights following recent threats of a potential Russian invasion of Ukraine. While discussion surrounding the conflict has thus far been centered on implications to national security and foreign relations, the issue is also set to have major effects on climate change efforts that countries around the globe have been developing for years.  The histories of Russia and Ukraine are deeply intertwined, and conflict between the two countries has existed for generations, from Ukraine’s entrance into the Soviet Union in 1922 to its independence in 1991. Since 1991, Russia has persistently refused to acknowledge Ukraine’s independence, as demonstrated by Russia’s invasion and annexation of Crimea in 2014 and a series of Russian cyber attacks between 2016 and 2017. Russia also continues to maintain a military presence near Ukraine, currently stationing nearly 130,000 troops at the Ukrainian border. In December 2021, […]

Case Law

Leandro v. State of North Carolina

February 16, 2022 Nicole Masarova 0

For the last 28 years, North Carolina public school districts have been fighting to provide all students with the right to a “sound basic education.”  In 1994, five low-income school districts (Cumberland, Halifax, Hoke, Robeson, and Vance Counties) and families of those districts filed a lawsuit against the state of North Carolina for failing to provide “equal opportunity to a sound basic education.” The case was named Leandro after Robert Leandro, one of the children whose mother filed a lawsuit. During the lawsuit, a “sound basic education” was defined as one that includes trained teachers and principles, who receive additional, specialized training, with a school that can provide educational resources and support programs for learning capabilities or career development. The claim argued these basic necessities were not met, providing evidence of overcrowding in classrooms, a lack of resources, and poorly trained teachers. Hoke County, for example, only had about $3700 […]

Case Law

The Texas Abortion Law: What happened

February 12, 2022 Hanrui Huang 0

Introduction: For months, most women in Texas were not able to have legal abortions. A law passed by the Texas legislature, S.B. 8, both prohibited women from receiving abortions six weeks into pregnancy and allowed any private citizen to sue for damages against a person who “aids or abets” such abortions. The number of legal abortions in Texas fell 50% in September of 2021 compared to the same month in 2020. While states in the past had implemented abortion bans in a similar vein as Texas, there was no precedent for a state delegating the task of enforcing to citizens.    Facts of the Case(s): The Supreme Court agreed to hear two challenges against S.B. 8, one from the Department of Justice (D.O.J.) and another from Whole Woman’s Health. The first, from Whole Woman’s Health, asserted that Texas’s law violated a constitutional right to abortions guaranteed by Roe v. Wade and […]