Month: November 2021

International Law

H.R.4686: US Sanctions on Cambodian Military Officials

November 29, 2021 Jacob Margolis 0

On Sept. 28, 2021, the United States House of Representatives passed H.R.4686, The Cambodia Democracy Act of 2021. This bill requires that the president impose sanctions on Cambodian individuals who commit acts that directly undermine democracy. While the bill has yet to be passed by the Senate, the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control were able to impose the sanctions under the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act, which gives the department the right to sanction individuals and entities accused of human rights violations which would include, as in this case, corruption. Such violations that the legislation describes are in reference to attempts at collusion by members of the Cambodian Ministry of National Defense, Chau Phirun and Tea Vinh. These military officials, who have most recently been stationed at the Chinese-Cambodian Ream Naval Base, allegedly inflated the costs for new construction on facilities at the base and then […]


Pre-Law Guide: An Interview with Pre-Law Advisor Patrice Barley

November 21, 2021 Dianne Kim 0

Summary: Dr. Patrice Barley is Duke University’s newest Pre-Law Advisor and Academic Dean. She graduated with a Juris Doctor degree from Duke University School of Law in 2005 and practiced for 3 years before coming back to Duke to work at the Organization for Tropical Studies. She recently became Duke’s undergraduate Pre-Law advisor, and Juris sat down with her to discuss the resources and words of wisdom she wants to share with students interested in pursuing a career in law. The term “Pre-Law” at Duke can often be misleading––there are no required courses and a “Pre-Law track” is technically non-existent in an academic context. Dr. Barley said, “Pre-Law at Duke basically means you are on a path to figuring out if law school is the path for you during an undergraduate setting.” There is essentially no commitment attached to the term, unlike the Pre-Health track which requires a multitude of […]

International Law

COP26 Recap: Renewed Urgency, But Will It Be Enough?

November 19, 2021 Erin Yu 0

The COP26 UN Climate Summit that was scheduled from Oct. 31 to Nov. 12 ran into overtime and officially ended on Nov. 13 with approximately 200 countries agreeing to an 11-page Glasgow Climate Pact that has been met with both celebration and criticism from around the world. Some of the most highly-praised commitments to come out of the summit were led by ambitious agreements on deforestation, methane, and carbon markets. More than 100 countries, notably the U.S. Brazil, China, and Russia, agreed to end deforestation by 2030. A similar commitment was made for methane emissions with more than 100 countries vowing to cut methane emissions by 30% in the next 10 years. New rules for the carbon market struck a particularly positive note for climate activists internationally. These rules aim to close loopholes in the carbon market by eliminating double counting of carbon emissions and thus keeping countries more strictly […]

Case Law

The Constitutionality of Vaccine Mandates

November 17, 2021 Megan Gerges 0

It has been almost 22 months since the first U.S COVID-19 case, and the country has lost over 750,000 lives in that time span. This pandemic has not only generated massive change in how people structure their lives, but it has also raised important questions and debates about the role of government in public health and the constitutionality of certain public health measures.  This past September, Joe Biden directed the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, a regulatory agency with the Labor Department, to require private businesses with 100 or more employees to implement either COVID-19 vaccine mandates or require weekly testing. In early November, the order was officially given. There are many angles and complexities to this policy but it raises the general constitutional question of whether the federal government has the power to implement national vaccine mandates.  The United States has a long history of mandatory vaccines going back […]

Case Law

Carson v. Makin

November 15, 2021 Halle Wagner 0

In a 5-4 panel on June 30, 2020, the United States Supreme Court ruled to reverse and remand the Montana Supreme Court’s ruling on Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue. Thus, the Supreme Court concluded that tax-credit funded scholarships meant to help students attend private schools cannot exclude religious institutions from receiving funding simply because they are religious. However, next month on December 8, the Supreme Court will hear Carson v. Makin, a critical case concerning a challenge to the Maine Department of Education’s use of state tuition dollars to supplement nonsectarian schools. The justices will address the question of whether or not a state violates the constitution by operating a program providing students with money to attend private schools but inhibits them from attending schools providing religious instruction. As this question was left unresolved in Espinoza last summer, the Carson case demonstrates the potential to overturn the precedent set […]

Case Law

An Epic Battle Against Apple

November 11, 2021 Isabel Rask 0

Facts of the Case Epic Games, Inc. v. Apple Inc. is a recent high-profile lawsuit involving antitrust laws in the state of California. It has the potential to pave new paths for content creation companies, such as game developers like Epic, to profit from their products without certain traditional restrictions.  The story began in August 2020, when Epic Games, the owners of the extremely popular game Fortnite, created their own in-app payment system to bypass Apple’s App Store payment system. Typically, Apple takes a 30% revenue cut of any purchases made within apps, citing their role as distributors and required digital upkeep as grounds for the built-in charge. In response to Epic’s direct payment system, Fortnite was promptly removed from the App Store and Epic Games quickly filed a preliminary injunction against the tech giant. While ten counts of various kinds were levied against Apple, all but one were struck […]

International Law

Lithuania and Belarus: New Policy Surrounding Iraqi Immigrant Crisis

November 9, 2021 Jacob Margolis 0

Lithuania has seen a recent influx of Iraqi immigrants. Just south of the country lies Belarus where many of these migrants have been coming from. In normal years, Lithuania catches about 70 “unlawful” migrants in total from this country. Due to recent tension between the European Union (EU) and Belarus, however, those numbers have increased to over 470 people in June of this year and 2,600 in July. On May 23, 2021, Belarus “sparked uproar” as they forced an EU passenger jet to land in Minsk, the country’s capital, where they then proceeded to abduct a “high-profile dissident passenger.” In response to this act of air piracy, the EU imposed sanctions on the country, attempting to prevent future crises from arising. Belarus President Alyaksandr Lukashenko has retaliated by facilitating illegal migration which Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda has called a “state-sponsored weapon.” Allegedly, Lukashenko threatened to allow human traffickers and drug […]

International Law

UN Resolution 48/13: A Right To Life, Liberty, Property… and Environment

November 9, 2021 Erin Yu 0

On Oct. 8, 2021, the United Nations Human Rights Council formally recognized a clean and safe environment as a human right in the landmark resolution 48/13. This resolution acknowledges that human wellbeing has been threatened by climate change and encourages countries to protect the environment in order to better uphold the rights of their people. 43 countries voted in favor of the resolution led by Costa Rica, the Maldives, Switzerland, Morocco, and Slovenia. Though resolution 48/13 is more of a symbolic gesture than any direct action, it is accompanied by a substantive second resolution that establishes Special Rapporteurs, independent experts who “report and advise on human rights from a thematic or country-specific perspective,” to examine the effects of climate change on human rights. At a time when environmental concerns and calls for action are rising globally, the passage of these resolutions are certainly not surprising e.  The possibility of such […]

Case Law

Hog Farm Lawsuits of North Carolina

November 8, 2021 Nicole Masarova 0

Facts:  Murphy-Brown, a branch of the hog-production-industry superpower, Smithfield, was sued in 2014 by over 500 citizens in North Carolina for environmental damage, affecting community health and property enjoyment. These claims were condensed into 26 cases, the first five of which went to trial. Of those five, Murphy-Brown attempted to appeal one district court’s decision to a Fourth Circuit Court which rejected the appeal in November 2020. The decision of the district court heavily stemmed from damages citizens suffered as a result of these hog farms processing pigs at a massive scale. The pigs were held in CAFOs (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations), essentially metal warehouses where pigs risked suffocation due to the close proximity. Because workers were unable to clean fecal waste in such confined spaces, metal slats in the floor collected and ejected the waste into open-air lagoons. In this particular case, the hog farm produced 153,000 pounds of […]

US Law

Is Checking Your Personal Emails at Work a Federal Crime? 

November 7, 2021 Vineet Chovatia 0

In Van Buren v. United States, the Supreme Court ruled six to three in favor of Nathan Van Buren, a Georgia Police Sergeant, establishing the reach of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) in convicting individuals for improper use of “authorized information.”  By clarifying the previously vague definition of “improper use,” the ruling will protect Americans from a judge’s subjective interpretation and potentially dangerous application of the law.  Van Buren, a police sergeant from Cumming, Georgia, asked a known criminal, Andrew Albo, for a large sum of money. In response, Albo reported the request from Van Buren to the police who then referred the case to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The FBI then conducted a sting operation by having Albo demand that Van Buren determine whether an individual was an undercover officer in exchange for the money. Van Buren, using the license plate database to which he […]