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 […]

US Law

Supreme Court Rejects Challenges to Vaccine Mandates in “Shadow Docket” Rulings

November 2, 2021 Andrew Touma 0

In a pair of emergency docket decisions, the Supreme Court rejected two appeals challenging coronavirus vaccine mandates in educational settings. In the first, decided by Justice Amy Coney Barrett, a group of Indiana University students contested the constitutionality of a vaccine mandate for students. In the second, decided by Justice Sonia Sotomayor, New York City public-school employees opposed an executive order to require proof of vaccination. These rulings bolster judicial support of vaccine mandates amidst nationwide debates of COVID-19 vaccination requirements and discredit critiques of emergency docket proceedings. Both cases attempted to exploit the Court’s emergency docket, colloquially referred to as the “shadow docket” for its alleged lack of transparency. The emergency docket consists of urgent requests to the Supreme Court that permit rulings in the form of short summary decisions, as opposed to the standard full briefing and oral argument. These appeals are given to the Justice who oversees […]

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 […]