What Is This Thing, Unity? Part I

Cornell professor Joseph Margulies examines the concept of national unity, its meaning, and its implications in the context of recent calls for unity following tragic events. Professor Margulies argues that while unity on broad goals may be achievable, disagreement on means to achieve those goals is not only inevitable but also a healthy feature of democracy, challenging the notion that unity is always desirable or attainable in a diverse society.

In the Wake of Biden’s Withdrawal, We Should Remember That the Republican Convention Delivered a Masterclass in Hiding the Ball and Lying by Omission

Amherst professor Austin Sarat discusses the Republican National Convention’s strategy of downplaying controversial issues like abortion, the January 6 insurrection, and election denialism. Professor Sarat argues that the GOP employed a “hidden ball trick” to conceal their true positions on these topics, deceiving voters and potentially harming democracy in their pursuit of power.

Is Informed Consent Necessary When Artificial Intelligence is Used for Patient Care: Applying the Ethics from Justice Cardozo’s Opinion in Schloendorff v. Society of New York Hospital

Surgeon and bioethicist Charles E. Binkley discusses the ethical implications of using artificial intelligence (AI) models in clinical decision-making, particularly focusing on patient informed consent. Dr. Binkley argues that patients should be fully informed about the use of AI in their healthcare, not only as patients but also as data donors and potential research subjects, to maintain autonomy, transparency, and trust in the physician-patient relationship.

The Republican National Convention Sends a Wake-Up Call to Elite Colleges and Universities: They Will Need to Fight for Their Survival if Donald Trump Wins in November

Amherst professor Austin Sarat discusses the potential threats to American higher education, particularly elite institutions, in the event of a Republican victory in the 2024 election. Professor Sarat argues that colleges and universities, especially prestigious ones, need to urgently develop a concrete political strategy to counter the GOP’s plans to reshape higher education through defunding, ideological attacks, and enforced “reforms” that could fundamentally alter their approach to education and threaten their survival.

A Fourth Tragedy of Political Violence

University of Toronto visiting law professor and economist Neil H. Buchanan discusses the aftermath of a recent shooting incident at a Donald Trump rally, exploring the various narratives, conspiracy theories, and political implications that have emerged. Professor Buchanan argues that the deeply polarized nature of current American politics makes it nearly impossible for people to agree on a shared understanding of events, potentially exacerbating political divisions and undermining the democratic process.

What Does It Mean to Reject Demonization?

Cornell professor Joseph Margulies discusses the concept of demonization in society, particularly in light of a recent attempted assassination of former President Donald Trump. Professor Margulies argues that rejecting demonization requires more than just avoiding certain language; it demands recognizing our own capacity for evil, abandoning the notion that eliminating a single person or group will solve all problems, and ultimately accepting that there is no “them,” only “us.”

Remembering Not to Forget

Amherst professor Austin Sarat discusses recent events in American politics, including a Supreme Court decision on presidential immunity, President Biden’s debate performance, and an assassination attempt on former President Trump. Professor Sarat argues that these events have been traumatic for the nation and warns against allowing them to induce collective amnesia about Trump’s past actions and rhetoric, emphasizing the importance of remembering the full context as the country approaches the 2024 election.

After the Supreme Court’s Bissonnette Decision: Applying the Transportation Worker Exclusion Under the Federal Arbitration Act, Part II

In this second of a two-part series, arbitrator and mediator Barry Winograd continues to explore the challenges in interpreting the transportation worker exemption under Section 1 of the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) and proposes a solution. Mr. Winograd suggests that courts should look to established labor and employment laws, such as the National Labor Relations Act, Railway Labor Act, and Fair Labor Standards Act, for guidance in determining who qualifies as a transportation worker, rather than relying on vague qualifiers created by the courts.

Three Tragedies of Political Violence

University of Toronto visiting law professor and economist Neil H. Buchanan discusses the recent shooting at a Trump rally and its implications for American politics and society. Professor Buchanan argues that the incident represents three interconnected tragedies: the personal loss of life and injury, the failure of the political system to prevent such violence, and the inability of the public to reach a consensus on what actually happened due to the current polarized and conspiratorial political climate.

Political Violence’s Potency

Cornell Law professor Michael C. Dorf discusses the variable effectiveness of political violence, particularly assassination attempts on political figures, and the challenges in preventing such acts. Professor Dorf argues that while political violence is widely condemned, it can sometimes achieve its intended goals, and that effective prevention requires not only heightened security measures but also stricter gun control laws, which the United States has been reluctant to implement.

After the Supreme Court’s Bissonnette Decision: Applying the Transportation Worker Exclusion Under the Federal Arbitration Act, Part I

In this first of a two-part series, arbitrator and mediator Barry Winograd examines the Supreme Court's recent decision in Bissonnette v. LePage Bakeries and its impact on the interpretation of the transportation worker exemption under Section 1 of the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA). Mr. Winograd argues that the Court’s current approach to determining who qualifies as a transportation worker has led to increasing uncertainty and inefficiency in litigation, potentially transforming the FAA from a procedural statute into a de facto substantive employment law.

The Trump Assassination Attempt Is the Latest Threat to America’s Already Fragile Democracy, But It Is Not the Only One.

Amherst professor Austin Sarat discusses the attempted assassination of former President Donald Trump and its implications for American democracy and political violence. Professor Sarat argues that this event, combined with ongoing efforts to undermine election integrity and the increasing acceptance of political violence, poses a significant threat to the stability of American democracy and the principles of free and fair elections.

Who Believes in You?

Cornell professor Joseph Margulies discusses his upcoming book on social forgiveness, exploring how society can become more forgiving towards those who have committed serious wrongs. Through the stories of Eric, Lucas, and Dante, Professor Margulies illustrates that a key factor in personal transformation and rehabilitation is having someone who believes in the individual’s potential for change, even after they’ve committed terrible acts.

Should Justices Alito and Thomas Be Impeached?

Amherst professor Austin Sarat discusses the recent impeachment articles filed by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez against Supreme Court Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas, providing historical context for impeachment of Supreme Court Justices and examining the specific allegations against Alito and Thomas. Professor Sarat argues that while the impeachment is unlikely to succeed, it is justified given the Justices’ ethical transgressions, and it serves as an important condemnation of their conduct and a reminder of the need to uphold democratic principles and the integrity of the Supreme Court.

A Deep Dive Into Project 2025’s Plan to Subvert the Rule of Law and Use the Department of Justice as an Instrument for Political Oppression

Criminal defense attorney Jon May examines Project 2025, a plan developed by conservative organizations to overhaul the Executive Branch, with a focus on its potential impact on the Department of Justice under a second Trump administration. Mr. May argues that Project 2025 is a roadmap for subverting the rule of law and transforming the DOJ into an instrument of political oppression, warning that its implementation would lead to authoritarian control, the politicization of law enforcement, and a threat to democratic principles.

Biden and the Democrats Who Are Backing Him Need to Stop with the Self-Righteousness: The Stakes Are Too High

Law professor and economist Neil H. Buchanan discusses the debate within the Democratic Party about whether President Joe Biden should continue as the nominee for the 2024 presidential election. Professor Buchanan argues that those calling for an open discussion about potentially replacing Biden are being unfairly attacked and silenced by Biden supporters and contends that having this conversation is crucial for the party’s chances of defeating Donald Trump and preserving American democracy.

Does the Biden Stay-or-Go Debate Matter If We Are Already a Dead Democracy Walking?

Law professor and economist Neil H. Buchanan discusses the potential outcomes of the 2024 U.S. presidential election, focusing on Joe Biden’s performance in a recent “non-debate” event and the broader implications for the Democratic Party and American democracy. Professor Buchanan argues that even if Biden is replaced as the Democratic nominee, Republican efforts to manipulate the electoral system and a heavily biased Supreme Court make a Trump presidency likely regardless of the election results, but he emphasizes that Democrats should still strive to win legitimately to strengthen future resistance against autocratic rule.

World Court Issues Another Puzzling Ruling Against Israel Under the Genocide Convention

NYU Law professor Samuel Estreicher and 3L Klara Nedrelow discuss the International Court of Justice’s May 24, 2024 order granting additional provisional measures against Israel in response to South Africa’s request, including an analysis of the court’s decision and the separate and dissenting opinions of various judges. Professor Estreicher and Ms. Nedrelow highlight the inconsistencies and potential overreach in the court’s decision, emphasizing the lack of consensus among judges and questioning whether the ICJ has exceeded its jurisdiction under the Genocide Convention by ordering measures that may not be directly related to preventing genocide.

Why Amending the Constitution Is the Right Response to the Supreme Court’s Presidential Immunity Decision

Amherst professor Austin Sarat discusses the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision granting presidential immunity from prosecution for official acts and proposes a constitutional amendment as a response. Professor Sarat argues that pursuing a constitutional amendment to overturn this decision is the best way to engage the American people in defending democracy, reaffirming commitment to constitutional governance, and resisting judicial supremacy.

What Would the Framers Do?

University of Pennsylvania professor Marci A. Hamilton examines the current U.S. presidential candidates, Donald Trump and Joe Biden, through the lens of the Founding Fathers’ constitutional principles and concerns about tyranny and abuse of power. Professor Hamilton argues that neither candidate is suitable for the presidency based on the Framers’ ideals, with Biden potentially leading to an ineffective government due to age-related issues and Trump posing a threat to democracy through his authoritarian tendencies, ultimately suggesting that voters should reject both options.

Meet our Columnists
Vikram David Amar
Vikram David Amar

Vikram David Amar is a Distinguished Professor of Law at UC Davis School of Law and a Professor... more

Neil H. Buchanan
Neil H. Buchanan

Neil H. Buchanan, an economist and legal scholar, is a visiting professor at the University of... more

John Dean
John Dean

John Dean served as Counsel to the President of the United States from July 1970 to April 1973.... more

Michael C. Dorf
Michael C. Dorf

Michael C. Dorf is the Robert S. Stevens Professor of Law at Cornell University Law School. He... more

Samuel Estreicher
Samuel Estreicher

Samuel Estreicher is Dwight D. Opperman Professor of Law and Director of the Center of Labor and... more

Leslie C. Griffin
Leslie C. Griffin

Dr. Leslie C. Griffin is the William S. Boyd Professor of Law at the University of Nevada, Las... more

Joanna L. Grossman
Joanna L. Grossman

Joanna L. Grossman is the Ellen K. Solender Endowed Chair in Women and Law at SMU Dedman School... more

Marci A. Hamilton
Marci A. Hamilton

Professor Marci A. Hamilton is a Professor of Practice in Political Science at the University of... more

Joseph Margulies
Joseph Margulies

Mr. Margulies is a Professor of Government at Cornell University. He was Counsel of Record in... more

Austin Sarat
Austin Sarat

Austin Sarat is the William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Jurisprudence and Political Science at... more

Laurence H. Tribe
Laurence H. Tribe

Laurence H. Tribe is the Carl M. Loeb University Professor Emeritus at Harvard University and... more

Lesley Wexler
Lesley Wexler

Lesley Wexler is a Professor of Law at the University of Illinois College of Law. Immediately... more