Analysis and Commentary Posted in 2015-04

Interstate Marriage Recognition: When History Meets the Supreme Court


Hofstra University law professor Joanna Grossman discusses one aspect the same-sex marriage case that the U.S. Supreme Court is hearing today, Obergefell v. Hodges. Specifically, Grossman considers whether the Fourteenth Amendment requires a state to recognize out-of-state marriages in the context of the history of interstate marriage recognition laws.

How Best to Understand State Religious Freedom Restoration Acts (RFRAs): Part One in a Two-Part Series of Columns


UC Davis law professors Vikram David Amar and Alan Brownstein discuss state religious freedom restoration acts (RFRAs). In this first of a two-part series of columns, Amar and Brownstein argue that whether a state RFRA should apply in private litigation should be determined on a case-by-case basis.

Afterbirth: The Supreme Court’s Ruling in Young v. UPS Leaves Many Questions Unanswered


Hofstra University law professor Joanna Grossman and University of Pittsburg law professor Deborah Brake continue their discussion of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Young v. UPS, in which the Court held that a pregnant UPS driver who was denied a light-duty accommodation that was routinely made available to other employees with similar lifting restrictions should have the opportunity to prove that the employer’s denial was discriminatory.

R.I.P. Stanley I. Kutler


Former counsel to the president John W. Dean reflects on the life and achievements of American historian Stanley Kutler. Dean describes Stanley’s role in setting the public record straight with respect to Watergate and laments that the New York Times never seemed to quite understand Watergate, as evidenced by its gratuitously repeating a false charge about Stanley’s book in its obituary on him.

Have You Seen the Tape?


Cornell University visiting law professor Joseph Margulies comments on the recent death of Walter Scott, an unarmed black man whose murder by a police officer was caught on video and seen by the world. Margulies argues that Scott’s murder, while highly unusual and anomalous in some ways, also exemplifies the relationship between law enforcement and black citizens.

Some “Teachable” First Amendment Moments in the Supreme Court’s Oral Argument About Confederate Flags on Texas License Plates


UC Davis law professor Vikram David Amar comments on the case currently before the U.S. Supreme Court regarding Texas’s rejection of a custom license plate application that included the Confederate flag. Specifically, Amar considers three First Amendment issues raised during the recent oral argument for that case.

Competing Values in the Conviction of a Woman for Feticide


Cornell University law professor Sherry Colb discusses a recent criminal case out of Indiana, in which a woman was convicted and sentenced for feticide. Colb argues that while the situation as a whole is a tragedy, it also highlights a failure of the State of Indiana to have empathy for women in pain whose circumstances call for mercy rather than a pure retributive impulse.

How Breast Exams Are Like Dog Sniffs


Cornell University law professor Sherry Colb compares medical screening tests with dog sniffs for narcotics with respect to their propensity to yield Type I errors—also known as false positives. In particular, Colb references Justice Souter’s dissenting opinion in Illinois v. Caballes, in which he opined that the possibility that dogs would incorrectly indicate the presence of narcotics and lead to an invasive search meant that such dog sniffs constitute searches for Fourth Amendment purposes.

Meet our Columnists

Vikram David Amar

Vikram David Amar is the Dean and Iwan Foundation Professor of Law at the University of Illinois College of Law on the Urbana-Champaign campus. Immediately prior to taking the position at Illinois i... more

Neil H. Buchanan

Neil H. Buchanan is an economist and legal scholar and a Professor of Law at The George Washington University. He teaches tax law and tax policy, and he has taught contract law, law and economics, and... more

Sherry F. Colb

Sherry F. Colb is the C.S. Wong Professor of Law at Cornell University. Colb teaches courses in constitutional criminal procedure, evidence, and animal rights. She has published articles in a variet... more

John Dean

John Dean served as Counsel to the President of the United States from July 1970 to April 1973. Before becoming White House counsel at age thirty-one, he was the chief minority counsel to the Judiciar... more

Michael C. Dorf

Michael C. Dorf is the Robert S. Stevens Professor of Law at Cornell University Law School. He has written hundreds of popular essays, dozens of scholarly articles, and six books on constitutional law... more

Joanna L. Grossman

Joanna L. Grossman is the Ellen K. Solender Endowed Chair in Women and Law at SMU Dedman School of Law.  She is an expert in sex discrimination law. Her most recent book,  more

Marci A. Hamilton

MARCI A. HAMILTON is the Robert A. Fox Leadership Program Professor of Practice, and Fox Family Pavilion Resident Senior Fellow in the Program for Research on Religion at the University of Pennsylvani... more

Joseph Margulies

Mr. Margulies is a Professor of Law and Government at Cornell University. He was Counsel of Record in Rasul v. Bush (2004), involving detentions at the Guantánamo Bay Naval Station, and in more

Anita Ramasastry

Anita Ramasastry is the UW Law Foundation Professor of Law at the University of Washington School of Law in Seattle, where she also directs the graduate program on Sustainable International Developmen... more

Lesley Wexler

Lesley Wexler is a Professor of Law at the University of Illinois College of Law. Immediately prior to taking the position at Illinois, Wexler was a Professor of Law at Florida State University, whose... more