Month: March 2021

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 […]

International Law

The Never-Happening Change: Why Israel is having its Fourth Election

March 24, 2021 Shreya Joshi 0

Elections are often a tumultuous time in any country. An election that seems to never end, however, drums up a lot of unrest. Throw in a pandemic in the middle, and suddenly, Israel’s political crisis is more dire than ever. Israel’s political system is Parliamentary, which encourages a multi-party system. Any party that receives at least 3.25% of the vote is allotted seats in the Knesset, or the Parliament proportionately, totalling 120 seats. As in other countries with Parliamentary systems, it is difficult for one party to gain a majority; instead, government participants shoot for pluralities and form coalitions. Unfortunately, creating stable coalitions is not the easiest thing to do. One lawmaker, generally the head of the party with a plurality, is given four weeks to form a coalition by Israel’s president, who is currently Reuven Rivlin. If the first lawmaker fails, the President nominates a second. Parliament itself can […]

International Law

The European Commission Initiates Legal Proceedings Against the U.K. Over Its Trade Policy in Ireland

March 22, 2021 Jacob Rosenzweig 0

The European Union and the United Kingdom have engaged in seemingly interminable legal negotiations since 2016, when U.K. voters approved a motion to depart from the confederation in a “Brexit” referendum. Almost five years and three Prime Ministers later, the U.K. has yet to work out some of the details. Recently, the island of Ireland has become a cauldron of resentment between the two parties. Northern Ireland, which is part of the U.K., shares a long and unfortified border with the Republic of Ireland, an arrangement that both countries desire to maintain. Ensuring that a physical barrier would not separate the two countries required a provision of the Brexit agreement called the Northern Ireland Protocol. This Brexit fixture has been controversial among Unionist parties within Northern Ireland and its implementation would have dire consequences for trade between N.I. and the rest of the U.K. When Prime Minister Boris Johnson unilaterally […]

International Law

Japanese Court Rules Same-Sex Marriage Ban Unconstitutional

March 21, 2021 Hyonjun Yun 0

On March 17, Sapporo District Court in Hokkaido, Japan ruled that the country’s same-sex marriage ban is unconstitutional. The ruling was in favor of a lawsuit filed by six people (two male couples and one female couple) in 2019. The plaintiffs sued for 1 million yen ($9,168.42) for the pain of not being able to legally marry. While the court ruled that the marriage ban is unconstitutional, it rejected the plaintiffs’ demand for compensation.  Judge Tomoko Takebe cited that the ban violated Article 14 of the Constitution that states “there shall be no discrimination in political, economic or social relations because of race, creed, sex, social status or family origin.” Judge Takebe pointed the government’s failure to provide the benefits of married, heterosexual couples as discriminatory by stating, “Sexual orientation cannot be changed or selected by a person’s will. It is discriminatory treatment… that they cannot receive even some of […]

US Law

Free Speech on College Campuses: Protecting a Fundamental Aspect of the University

March 19, 2021 Andrew Touma 0

On March 8, 2021, the Supreme Court issued a ruling in favor of a college student contending that his First Amendment rights were violated by the school’s policies. By an 8-1 decision in Uzuegbunam v. Preczewski, both liberal and conservative justices of the Supreme Court defended a pillar of both the modern university and the United States: the right to speak freely, regardless of whether it is convenient to others.  In 2016, Chike Uzuegbunam, an Evangelical Christian at Georgia Gwinnett College, in an attempt to share his faith with his classmates, stood outside of the campus library and handed out religious literature to students who expressed interest. Shortly after, campus police approached Uzuegbunam and notified him that he was in violation of the college’s “Freedom of Expression Policy.” This regulation held that any student who sought to engage in expressive activities must reserve a spot in one of the two […]

Case Law

California v. Texas: Another Challenge to the Affordable Care Act

March 17, 2021 Megan Gerges 0

In 2012, the Supreme Court decided NFIB v. Sebelius, which involved the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”), originally passed by Congress in 2010. Specifically, its “individual mandate” (Section 5000A) has been highly controversial because it forced many Americans to either buy a minimum amount of health insurance or pay a “shared responsibility penalty.” In NFIB, the Court invalidated the individual mandate under Congress’s commerce powers but upheld it as part of Congress’s taxing powers. In 2017, a Republican-controlled Congress set the individual mandate to zero dollars but left the rest of the ACA intact. Texas and other states sued, generating another constitutional challenge to the individual mandate. They additionally argued that if it is unconstitutional, then the entire ACA is invalid because it is impossible to sever the individual mandate from the rest of the law. California and other states have defended the ACA in response.  Oral arguments […]

International Law

Hate Thy Neighbor: How Ethiopia’s Federal Government Is Committing Potential War Crimes Against Its People

March 7, 2021 Jacob Rosenzweig 0

Little was initially known on November 4, when Ethiopian federal forces invaded their own region, as the events were transpiring. The country’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed shut off internet access to the people of Tigray, a region in northern Ethiopia along the border of Eritrea, and cut off their communication with the outside world as his troops engaged in conflict with the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (T.P.L.F), the region’s ruling faction. The intelligence that has come to light three months after the conflict began provides damning details about the suffering endured both by the residents of Tigray and by the swathes of Eritrean refugees present in the region. Horrifying as may be Ethiopia’s incursion against the people of Tigray, especially shocking is that the nation’s leaders invited Eritrean military forces to join them in the oppression of its own citizens. The seeds for Ethiopia’s invasion of the Tigray region were […]

US Law

The Courts’ Fight with the Executive Branch in NC Education Policy

March 7, 2021 Jonah Perrin 0

The state of North Carolina violates its constitution daily. The governing document of the state declares that it must provide a “sound, basic education for all.” And yet, multiple courts have found that the state of North Carolina does not meet this standard. This standard and the state’s meager response constitute a major topic of education law in North Carolina for the past 25 years.  The court case Leandro v. State of North Carolina (referred to as Leandro from here on) drives the debate around education in North Carolina. As is the case in other states, property taxes from local areas fund much of the education system in North Carolina, meaning that public schools will look much better in the suburbs of Charlotte than in the rural northeastern part of the state, even though both are managed by the same building in Raleigh. In 1994, students from lower-income backgrounds filed […]

International Law

Canary in a Coal Mine: Germany’s Democratic Warning Mechanism

March 5, 2021 Shreya Joshi 0

Over the past five years, a resurgence of far-right rhetoric in the United States and Europe has altered the political landscape in the self-proclaimed Western world. Internet activity, especially on platforms such as Facebook, has encouraged echo chambers, leading many further right, extremizing views and encouraging political action. One such party, the Alternative for Deutschland (AfD) was formed in 2013 by Alexander Gauland as a Eurosceptic movement rejecting liberalism. For its first round of election, the party failed to find enough support to unseat any existing members of the German parliament. The AfD found it’s gold mind of support after the Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel,’s 2015 decision to allow over one million undocumented refugees from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) to enter into Germany. It quickly transitioned into an anti-Islamic party, one that trivialized the Holocaust and found a base in reviling immigrants. Capitalizing on the influx […]

International Law

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy Found Guilty Of Corruption

March 5, 2021 Hyonjun Yun 0

On March 1st, former French President Nicolas Sarkozy was sentenced to three years on charges of corruption and influence peddling. Sarkozy was president of France from 2007 to 2012.  Uncovered during a campaign finance investigation against him, Sarkozy was accused of attempting to illegally peddle information from a magistrate Gilbert Azibert by offering the magistrate a prestigious position in Monaco over a phone call. Though Azibert never received the position, the nature of the conversations being a “clearly stated promise” places it under France’s strict corruption laws, which are suggested to be the blueprint for EU-wide corruption policies.. Magistrate Gilbert Azibert was also found guilty and sentenced to two years in prison. At the time of the accusation, Sarkozy was already being investigated over claims that he received illegal payments from the cosmetics company L’Oréal’s heiress Liliane Bettencourt during his 2007 presidential campaign. The prosecution states that Sarkozy attempted to […]