Law Quarterly

The Value and Role of Supreme Court Dissents

Sep
27

In a time in American political and legal life, when the deep and often long-lasting impact of the Supreme Court is at the nexus of contentious, and even vitriolic, debate over core Constitutional issues, the nature and history of Supreme Court dissents is worthy of consideration. Dissenting opinions can be minority views that, through the power of their reasoning and arguments, lay the groundwork for later majority opinions and new legal precedent. Historically, this has given rise to the best and most influential dissents (more…)

Lethal Expression: Free Speech and Encouraging Suicide

Sep
27

The American political experiment was designed to promote free expression and “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”– going so far as to etch these ideas into its founding documents. While scarcely anyone objects to the core of these principles, disagreement looms at the edges. When these values appear to collide, which prevails? Are acts of free expression–exercises in liberty–that appear to incentivize, encourage or valorize the termination of one’s life and the discontinuation of one’s pursuit of happiness afforded constitutional protection? (more…)

50th Anniversary of the 1968 Democratic Convention Brings Changes to the Democratic Party

Sep
27

“The whole world is watching. The whole world is watching,” chanted anti-war protesters on the streets of Chicago as they marched with the spirit of anti-war sentiment in their hearts.1 Chicago police, armed with tear gas and clubs, did everything in their power to prevent the protesters from interrupting the 1968 Democratic National Convention. It was a battle of old and new, establishment and anti-establishment. Within the convention, a split in the Democratic party over their platform on the Vietnam War matched the ferocity of the protesters outside. This August 26th marked the 50th anniversary of the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago, and we are once again reminded of this battle. (more…)

The Legality of Venereal Diseases: To Protect or Be Served

Sep
27

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), sexually transmitted diseases in the United States are on the rise, breaking 2016’s record with 2.3 million cases of syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia diagnosed in 2017. This is in formation with what is now a four year-long steady increase of diagnosed STDs.[1] Before the 1970s, STDs were commonly referred to as ‘venereal disease’ or ‘VD’. The colloquial name change came with the destigmatization of casual sex, which subsequently resulted in an increase of individuals with such diseases. However, ‘disease’ does not accurately represent subclinical symptoms. Thus, sexually transmitted infections or ‘STIs’ became the more familiar term in the 1980s. STIs include genital herpes and trichomoniasis.[2] (more…)

Mental Disability and Capital Punishment

Sep
27

Thirty-three years ago, in 1985, Vernon Madison shot and killed a police officer, and shot and injured his girlfriend while on parole. Madison had three trials, arguing during the first two that he was mentally ill and in the third that he was acting in self-defense and thus should be considered not guilty. He was sentenced in 1994 after a jury recommended life without parole. In January of 2018, Madison was set to be executed. He was evaluated and it was determined that he understood enough to know what he was being executed for. Madison filed a petition, arguing that he was not competent enough but did not receive an answer until the day of his scheduled execution. He ate two oranges as his last meal and did not have any final words. Half an hour prior to the execution, however, Justice Clarence Thomas put a stay on his execution. (more…)

You Can’t Sue a Car

Sep
27

With companies such as Tesla, GM, and even Uber racing to make the next breakthrough in transportation technology, the dream of streets lined with cars that drive themselves is now more than ever less of a possibility and more of an inevitability. A country, and eventually the world, where vehicles are driven autonomously and without the need for human operation seems likely at this point due to the fact that without the possibility of human error and misjudgement, autonomous vehicles will be a safer and more easily and widely accessible alternative to human-driven vehicles. However, no machine is without its malfunctions, and when an autonomous vehicle causes harm, upon whom will the liability fall according to the law? (more…)