Law Quarterly

What is Arbitration and Why Should I Care?

Sep
27

Most can agree that Netflix has become somewhat of a college staple, but unlike ramen or coffee, its enjoyment is accompanied by an esoteric legal issue. For those that have an account, think back to when it was first created. When prompted with the terms and conditions, did you take the time to fully read over their contents? The majority would sneer at that concept, but in that dreary block of text lays the arbitration clause (“Netflix Terms of Use”): a provision denying users the right to trial by jury or participate in class action lawsuits against the company. While seemingly a very nefarious manipulation of words, these clauses, as interpreted by the courts, are for the most part beneficial to society. (more…)

The Problem of Judicial Efficiency

Sep
27

Jurisprudence has long obeyed the criteria of fidelity to body of law incorporating statutes, precedents, and of course the Constitution. The Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) of 1925 was enacted in response to widespread judicial hostility to arbitration, a process by which parties refer, usually voluntarily, their disputes to be resolved informally by a third party based on the arguments and evidence they present. This has led to disagreements in recent years over whether arbitration as specified in consumer contracts are enforceable, finding its way to the Supreme Court. The issue itself isn’t arbitration, but what it entails- class-action waivers. The decisions in the cases are part of a larger trend towards judicial efficiency through arbitration and the transformation of class-action suits. (more…)

Why We Need Net Neutrality

Sep
27

Over the past few years there has been a great deal of discussion in the media about net neutrality. Unfortunately, many still don’t completely understand the issue and why it is so important for the average person. To begin, let’s examine the importance of the internet to everyday people. Broadly speaking, a lot of people take for granted how much the internet impacts their daily lives. Whether it’s checking social media, getting an Uber or Lyft, watching Netflix, or even ordering groceries, the internet is everywhere in the daily lives of people in developed nations. Without reliable, speedy internet many of these things that we take for granted would be far more difficult if not impossible to access. An example of this dependence is exemplified when your internet goes out for an extended period of time. In the day and age in which we live, this scenario is practically akin to how it was to lose power in your home in the 20th century. Whether we like it or not, not having speedy and accessible internet hampers our ability to do many of our ordinary daily activities. (more…)

The Theories of Statehood in the Context of International Law

Sep
27

From minor skirmishes between sedentary tribes at the start of the Neolithic Revolution to modern global conflicts, the idea of statehood and sovereignty has been a contentious topic influenced by individual and societal desires to create, govern, and possess a personal segment of the earth. Several events in particular marked revolutionary shifts in the discourse surrounding statehood, including the Treaty of Westphalia, the surge of nationalism leading up to World War I, and the Montevideo Convention. Amongst changing geo-politics, shifting borders, and increasing territorial conflicts, discourse surrounding statehood stems from one central question: what makes a state? (more…)

Mens Rea Reform and the Modern Regulatory State

Sep
27

During the spring of 2016, prior to the election of Donald Trump, Congress, without much fanfare, drafted and considered legislation for comprehensive criminal justice reform. This reform was primarily aimed at reducing mandatory minimum sentencing. However, many congressional Republicans, such as Congressmen Orrin Hatch and Jim Sensenbrenner, supported adding mens rea reform to the comprehensive criminal justice legislation. The subsequent dispute over the mens rea addendum fell mostly along partisan lines and ultimately derailed the entire legislative effort. (more…)

Dangerous Precedents for the Future of Internet Usage

Sep
27

The Silk Road was an online peer-to-peer, reputation-based online market. It differed from standard shopping websites like Ebay and Amazon in that it was created to run through the TOR network, and transactions on the site were conducted in an anonymous cryptocurrency; Bitcoin. The combination of these two aspects, as well as other encryption measures taken by the site’s creator, made all sales on The Silk Road completely anonymous and thus untraceable by law enforcement. This allowed for the proliferation of illicit sales on the website, which sold everything from drugs to hacking services to fake IDs. The anonymity of the website allowed both buyers and sellers to operate beyond the scope of the law and so naturally, the FBI shut it down and had its creator arrested. (more…)