The Day After the Trump Trial Verdict

Amherst professor Austin Sarat discusses the potential outcomes and implications of the jury’s verdict in Donald Trump’s hush money and election interference trial in New York. Professor Sarat argues that regardless of the verdict, Trump has been more effective than his critics in shaping public opinion about the trial’s fairness, which may have significant consequences for the 2024 presidential election and beyond.

This Country’s Legal and Political Institutions Are in Trouble, and Trump Likes It That Way

Amherst professor Austin Sarat discusses former President Donald Trump’s recent attacks on the legal system and Congress, highlighting how his rhetoric exploits and exacerbates the American public's growing mistrust and disillusionment with these institutions. Professor Sarat argues that even if Trump is defeated in the upcoming election, the U.S. must address the underlying issues causing this vulnerability in order to restore public confidence and ensure the survival of American democracy in the face of Trumpism.

Regulating Civil Disobedience on Campus

Cornell Law professor Michael C. Dorf discusses how colleges and universities should handle student protests that violate campus rules, exploring whether such rule-breaking can be considered civil disobedience and what disciplinary consequences may be appropriate. Professor Dorf argues that while protesters should face consequences for rule violations, universities should consider showing some leniency for peaceful protests involving minor infractions, and that developing fair policies requires an inclusive process involving students, faculty, staff and administrators, as well as robust due process protections.

Could the Consumer Protection Finance Bureau (CFPB)’s Victory in the Supreme Court Last Week Boomerang to Disempower the Bureau and Invalidate its Regulations? Not if the Case is Read Carefully and Properly: A Response to Professor Hal Scott’s Wall Street Journal Op-Ed

UC Davis Law professor Vikram David Amar discusses a recent Supreme Court decision holding that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) funding mechanism, which draws money from the Federal Reserve System rather than yearly congressional appropriations, does not violate the Constitution’s Appropriations Clause. Professor Amar argues against the view expressed in a Wall Street Journal op-ed that this ruling could turn into a “stunning defeat” for the CFPB due to the Fed’s recent operating deficits, asserting that the Court’s decision merely rejects the Appropriations Clause as a basis to challenge the CFPB’s funding and does not affirmatively rely on that Clause to justify the Bureau’s operations.

Progressives Need to Take the Gloves Off and Play Hardball with Our Rogue Supreme Court

Amherst professor Austin Sarat discusses the increasingly partisan and unethical behavior of the conservative majority on the U.S. Supreme Court, providing examples of actions by Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas that he argues undermine public trust in the institution. Professor Sarat contends that progressives in Congress need to take more aggressive action, beyond speeches and task forces, to hold the Court accountable and rein in rogue behavior, suggesting they use their oversight powers to subpoena justices and potentially reduce the Court’s budget.

Implementation of the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act: Final(ly) Regulations

Stanford Law visiting professor Joanna L. Grossman discusses the recently enacted Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) and its accompanying regulations from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which provide protections and reasonable accommodations for pregnant workers. Professor Grossman explains key aspects of the new law and regulations, emphasizing that they will help countless workers maintain their jobs during pregnancy and childbirth while also combating stereotypes about women's labor force attachments and ultimately benefiting both employees and employers.

Should Prosecutors Worry About Having Jewish People on Capital Juries?

Amherst professor Austin Sarat discusses the systematic exclusion of Jewish people from death penalty juries in Alameda County, California, and explores Jewish perspectives on capital punishment. Professor Sarat argues that while Jewish religious texts mention capital punishment, rabbinical interpretations and Jewish history have made many Jews wary of the death penalty, and the discriminatory practices in Alameda County highlight the need to end capital punishment altogether.

Death Penalty States Beware: Nitrogen Hypoxia Is Not the Solution to America’s Long History of Inhumane Executions

Amherst professor Austin Sarat discusses the recent adoption of nitrogen hypoxia as a method of execution in several U.S. states, focusing on Alabama’s recent executions and other states considering or implementing this method. Professor Sarat argues that, despite proponents’ claims, nitrogen hypoxia is not a humane or problem-free method of execution, but instead echoes the unfulfilled promises made about previous execution methods like electrocution, gas chambers, and lethal injection.

Winter in Day Hall

Cornell professor Joseph Margulies comments on a pro-Palestinian encampment set up by student activists at Cornell University, which the author views as a peaceful protest in line with the university’s stated values. Professor Margulies shares an opinion piece he wrote in the student newspaper, The Cornell Daily Sun, in which he criticized the university administration’s cold response to the encampment, arguing that the students’ demands for divestment, acknowledgement, disclosure, and absolution are just, and that Cornell is failing to live up to its reformist ideals by deriding the protesters and remaining silent on the issues they raise.

Political Animals: What Kristi Noem’s Dog Killing Says About the Rest of Us

Cornell Law professor Michael C. Dorf discusses Republican politicians, particularly Kristi Noem, and their involvement in controversial incidents related to animal cruelty. Professor Dorf argues that while the outrage directed at these politicians for their mistreatment of individual animals is justified, it is hypocritical for most people to condemn these actions while continuing to participate in a food system that causes immense suffering to billions of animals.

Of Mass Torts, Multidistrict Litigation, and Collateral Estoppel: Notes on Justice Thomas’s Dissent from the Denial of Certiorari in E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co. v. Abbott

Laura Dooley and Rodger Citron, both professors of law at Touro University, Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center, discuss the Supreme Court’s denial of certiorari in E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co. v. Abbott, a mass tort case involving the application of nonmutual offensive collateral estoppel in a multidistrict litigation (MDL) context. Professors Dooley and Citron argue that while Justice Thomas’s dissent raises concerns about fairness and due process for the defendant Du Pont, the Court’s denial of certiorari appropriately defers to the lower courts’ fact-specific analysis and recognizes that plaintiffs in mass tort cases have the same right to efficient procedures as corporate defendants, so long as their use is fair.

What Campus Protests May Do to the 2024 Presidential Election

Amherst professor Austin Sarat discusses the recent surge in pro-Palestinian protests on college campuses across the United States and how these protests have become a political issue in the 2024 presidential campaign. Professor Sarat argues that while peaceful protest should be protected, violent and disruptive protests should not be tolerated, and expresses concern that the campus protests, despite their aim to support human rights, may inadvertently help those who seek to undermine human rights and decency both domestically and internationally.

Why Even Ostensibly Peaceful Expressive “Encampments” at Universities Are Not Immune From Restrictions Under the First Amendment, With Special Attention to Some Analogies to Abortion Clinics

UC Davis Law professor Vikram David Amar and professor emeritus Alan E. Brownstein discuss the regulation of student protests and encampments on college campuses, particularly focusing on the balance between protecting free speech and ensuring the safety and functioning of the university. Professors Amar and Brownstein argue that while peaceful protests should generally be permitted, universities have significant interests—such as preventing physical obstruction, noise pollution, unsanitary conditions, and liability issues—that can justify content-neutral time, place, and manner restrictions on encampments, even if evenly enforcing such restrictions during tense situations presents challenges.

Israeli Accountability to Civilians: World Central Kitchen Part II

In this second of a series of columns on Israel’s strike on the World Central Kitchen convey, Illinois Law professor Lesley M. Wexler explores the lack of individual remedies available to the victims of the strike and other civilian casualties in Gaza, particularly focusing on the limitations of tort liability, solatia, and condolence payments, and the UN Register of Damages. Professor Wexler argues that while these avenues for compensation are currently unavailable or unlikely to be pursued by Israel, the question of individual compensation for civilian victims should be addressed as part of a future political resolution to the Israel-Hamas conflict.

What Oklahoma Did to Clayton Lockett Ten Years Ago Changed the National Conversation About Botched Executions

Amherst professor Austin Sarat discusses the botched execution of Clayton Lockett in Oklahoma in 2014 and how it marked a turning point in the public perception of capital punishment. Professor Sarat argues that the repeated failures and mistakes in the death penalty system, exemplified by Lockett’s execution and the disproportionate impact on Black individuals, have undermined the moral justification for capital punishment and strengthened the case for abolition.

Can a Public High School Punish a Student for Asking a Question that Refers to “Illegal Aliens”? Part Two in a Two-Part Series

In this second of a two-part series of columns discussing a recent incident at a North Carolina high school where a student was suspended for using the term “illegal alien” in class, UC Davis Law professor Vikram David Amar and Illinois Law professor Jason Mazzone explore how the dispute might be analyzed applying only the Supreme Court’s seminal decision in Tinker v. Des Moines Independent School District. Professors Amar and Mazzone argue that while schools have some authority to regulate disruptive student speech under Tinker and Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier, the student’s suspension here likely violated due process because he lacked clear prior notice that using this term, which appears in Supreme Court opinions and federal statutes, was prohibited.

Can a Public High School Punish a Student for Asking a Question that Refers to “Illegal Aliens”? Part One in a Two-Part Series

In this first of a two-part series of columns discussing a recent incident at a North Carolina high school where a student was suspended for using the term “illegal alien” in class, UC Davis Law professor Vikram David Amar and Illinois Law professor Jason Mazzone explain the relevant First Amendment case law surrounding student speech in public K-12 schools. Professors Amar and Mazzone suggest that under the Supreme Court’s decision in Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier, which allows schools broad authority to regulate student speech that occurs within the curriculum, the school may have been justified in disciplining the student, but they note that there are still some unresolved questions and complexities that they will address in Part II of their analysis.

Mike Johnson’s Visit to Columbia Ups the Ante in the Right-Wing Attack on Universities

Amherst professor Austin Sarat discusses House Speaker Mike Johnson’s recent visit to Columbia University, which Professor Sarat argues is part of a broader right-wing attack on universities, particularly those with elite reputations. Professor Sarat explains that Johnson’s visit, which called for the resignation of Columbia’s president due to alleged antisemitism on campus, was a politically motivated stunt designed to appeal to MAGA Republicans, and that universities must band together to defend their independence against such outside political interference.

Ten Tips for Success on Law School Exams

UC Davis Law professor Vikram David Amar offers advice to law students on how to perform well on law school exams. Professor Amar’s main points include the importance of outlining before writing, addressing all major course topics, answering the specific questions asked, allocating time and space wisely, showing one's work, anticipating counterarguments, writing clearly, differentiating between settled and debatable issues, being concise, and proofreading responses.

World Central Kitchen Strike, Part I: Investigation and Possible War Crimes

Illinois Law professor Lesley M. Wexler discusses Israel’s attack on a World Central Kitchen humanitarian aid convoy in Gaza, the subsequent investigation, and the limited accountability measures taken by Israel in response. Professor Wexler argues that Israel should pursue more serious criminal accountability and undertake a systematic review of its actions during the Israel-Hamas conflict to address concerns about transparency, neutrality, and compliance with the laws of war, particularly regarding the protection of civilians and aid workers.

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 both Osgoode Hall... 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