U.C. Davis School of Law professor Vikram David Amar describes a recent incursion by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit into California’s direct democracy system. Amar explains the U.S. Supreme Court precedents that led the Ninth Circuit to its conclusion, and he calls upon the Court to cut back or overrule its prior erroneous decisions to avoid future injuries to state direct democracy systems.
Cornell University law professor Michael Dorf discusses Scotland’s recent vote to stay in the UK and considers the broader question of when secession votes should be held, as a matter of international and domestic law.
John Dean, former counsel to the president, comments on a recent case between two private parties in which the U.S. Attorney General intervened and sought dismissal, citing the “state-secrets privilege.” Dean explains the questionable history of this privilege and explains why blind adherence to it can be dangerous.
Cardozo Law professor Marci Hamilton argues that the Islamic State is, in fact, a religion, despite how President Obama characterized it in his recent address to the nation. Hamilton calls upon the President to speak out against all actors who, in the name of their religion, commit crimes or terrorism.
Cornell University law professor Sherry Colb differentiates state bans on incestuous marriages from bans on same-sex marriages by looking at the governmental interests the bans purportedly serve and the harm done to their targets. Colb argues that the U.S. Supreme Court can, if it wishes, use this distinction to strike down bans on same-sex marriages without also having to rule on bans on incestuous marriages.
Hofstra University law professor Joanna Grossman and University of Pittsburg law professor Deborah Brake comment on a recent lawsuit filed by Leigh Castergine against her former employer, the New York Mets, alleging pregnancy discrimination. Grossman and Brake argue that based on Castergine’s allegations, she is likely to prevail in her case; however, they describe the inconsistent results in many seemingly similar pregnancy discrimination cases across the country.
Chapman University law professor Ronald Rotunda comments on the IRS monitoring of religious groups. Rotunda argues that the government agency’s actions run counter to the guarantees of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
Guest columnist and University of South Carolina School of Law professor Seth Stoughton discusses the police response in Ferguson, Missouri, and explains ways the situation could have been handled better. Stoughton argues that any confrontation between officers and citizens should be handled with the long-term relationship between the police and the community in mind.
George Washington University law professor and economist Neil Buchanan comments on the minor nationwide debate over reclining one’s seat on an airplane. Buchanan argues that one reporter’s claim that the debate is “an excellent case study for the Coase Theorem” manifests a fundamental (yet common) misunderstanding of that theorem.
Cornell University law professor Michael Dorf comments on two recent rulings on state bans on same-sex marriage—one by the U.S. District Court for the District of Louisiana upholding that state’s ban and the other by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit striking down bans in Indiana and Wisconsin. Dorf explains how a comparison of these two rulings reveals weaknesses in the case against marriage equality.
University of Washington law professor Anita Ramasastry discusses the crypto-currency Bitcoin and how different authorities have come to different conclusions as to whether it is money.
John Dean, former counsel to the president, comments on a recent Newsweek story by David Cay Johnston highlighting the noted and untruthful biographer C. David Heymann. Dean explains how the dysfunctional body of First Amendment law has allowed Heymann to get away with publishing many lies and false information about a handful of public figures.
Cardozo law professor Marci Hamilton describes how granting accommodations under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) is a slippery slope. Hamilton draws upon a recent decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit for illustration.
Cornell University law professor Sherry Colb considers whether a person should have a right to self-representation in criminal proceedings. Colb describes a recent decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit on the issue and discusses why such a right might be valuable.
Hofstra University law professor Joanna Grossman chronicles the story of the late Anna Nicole Smith, who sought to share in the estate of her husband J. Howard Marshall II but after twenty years of litigation ended up with nothing.
UC Davis law professor Vikram David Amar discusses a recent decision by the California Supreme Court temporarily blocking an “advisory” measure from appearing on the ballot. Focusing on the opinion by Justice Goodwin Liu, Amar describes three main weaknesses in the rationale behind disallowing the legislature from placing the advisory question (or any advisory question) on the ballot.
George Washington University law professor and economist Neil Buchanan explains why cash payments to college athletes does not solve the problems plaguing college athletics.
In light of recent events in Ferguson, Missouri, Cornell University law professor Michael Dorf weighs the benefits and costs of equipping police officers with wearable cameras to record encounters with citizens. Dorf concludes that while there are some risks inherent in the practice, it would be a good first step toward reducing the frequency of tragedies resulting from police–citizen confrontations.
Guest columnist and professor of law and government at Cornell University, Joseph Margulies discusses the use of the term “torture” in American media and the public sphere. Margulies describes the change in language after 9/11 and explains the significance of the word’s return to the public’s vocabulary.
John Dean, former counsel to the president, comments on the recent indictment of Texas Governor Rick Perry. Dean cautions against falling for Perry’s and even some Democrats’ quick dismissal of the indictment as politically motivated and lacking sufficient basis. Dean argues that only Perry, not his special prosecutor, may have abused his power.