Issues to Watch, Uncategorized

Take a Knee: The $17 Million Cost of an Athlete’s First Amendment Right


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Take a Knee: The $17 Million Cost of an Athlete’s First Amendment Right

Joseph Samuels*

I. Introduction

            In the past year, the National Football League (NFL) and other professional sports organizations have been at the center of national attention as numerous players protest racial injustice and police brutality in America by taking a knee and/or linking arms when the national anthem is played before a game begins.  Mark Sandritter, A Timeline of Colin Kaepernick’s National Anthem Protest and the Athletes Who Joined Him, Sbnation (Sept. 25, 2017, 10:28 AM), https://www.sbnation.com/2016/9/11/12869726/colin-kaepernick-national-anthem-protest-seahawks-brandon-marshall-nfl.  This is not the first occasion where professional athletes have been the focus of national criticism for their stance on prominent social issues.  See, e.g., Jonathan Falk & Brad Eric Scheler, Note, The Professional Athlete and the First Amendment: A Question of Judicial Intervention, 4 Hofstra L. Rev. 417, 417–18 (1976) (discussing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s public attack on the gag-rule, a provision in many professional athletes’ contracts limiting their freedom of speech).  See generally Clay v. United States, 403 U.S. 698 (1971) (reversing the conviction of Cassius Clay, also known as Muhammad Ali, for refusing to submit to induction into the armed forces due to his moral objection to certain types of war, as well as his political and racial objections).  (more…)

Issues to Watch, Uncategorized

 The Rape Kit Backlog: Having the Answers Without the Resources to Decipher Them


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 The Rape Kit Backlog: Having the Answers Without the Resources to Decipher Them

Emily Schreiber*

            Across the country, states are confronted with a daunting dilemma: they may have the DNA to prosecute those who have committed sexual assault, but are lacking either the policies or financial support necessary to make the link.  See, e.g., Christopher Connelly, Donations from Drivers Might Help End Rape Kit Backlog in Texas, NPR (Apr. 12, 2017, 4:32 PM), http://www.npr.org/2017/04/12/523588098/donations-from-drivers-might-help-end-rape-kit-backlog-in-texas; Why the Backlog Exists, End Backlog, http://endthebacklog.org/backlog/why-backlog-exists (last visited Feb. 15, 2018).   (more…)

Issues to Watch, Uncategorized

Environmental Groups Vow to Continue Suing Even If EPA Will Not Settle


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Environmental Groups Vow to Continue Suing Even If EPA Will Not Settle

Caitlin Rayhart*

Is the practice of administrative agencies settling lawsuits brought by advocacy groups, dubbed “sue-and-settle,” an affront to democracy, or a good way to hold administrative agencies accountable when they fail to enforce their own laws and meet their own deadlines?  This divisive practice has come under a lot of scrutiny in recent years, and on October 16, 2017, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt “issued a directive to end ‘sue and settle’ practices within the EPA.”  Sue and Settle: Regulating Behind Closed Doors, U.S. Chamber Com. (Feb. 1, 2018, 3:30 PM), (more…)

Issues to Watch

Self-Defense Goes Cyber: Congress Considers a Bill Permitting Victims of Cyberattacks to “Hack Back”


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Self-Defense Goes Cyber: Congress Considers a Bill Permitting Victims of Cyberattacks to “Hack Back”

Meghan Noone*

Criminal law doctrine has embraced the concept that a person may use deadly force in self-defense, if reasonable, when there is an intruder in his or her home.  See Mark Randall & Hendrik DeBoer, The Castle Doctrine and Stand-Your-Ground Law, Conn. Gen. Assembly Off. Legis. Res. (Apr. 24, 2012), https://www.cga.ct.gov/2012/rpt/2012-R-0172.htm.  But what happens if there is an intruder to his or her computer network?  United States House Representatives Tom Graves of Georgia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona have sought to answer that question with the proposed Active Cyber Defense Certainty Act, which would allow victims of cyber hacking to “hack back” in retaliation under certain circumstances.  See Iain Thomson, US Congress Mulls First ‘Hack Back’ Revenge Law. And Yup, You Can Guess What It’ll Let People Do, Reg. (Oct. 13, 2017, 10:36 PM), https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/10/13/us_hack_back_law/.   (more…)

Issues to Watch

Title IX Revamped: Further Victimizing Survivors


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Title IX Revamped: Further Victimizing Survivors

                       Lauren Fleming*

“But if everything is harassment, nothing is.”  Betsy DeVos.[1]

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 “is a federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in federally funded education programs and activities.”  Office for Civil Rights, U.S. Dep’t of Educ., Questions and Answers on Title IX and Sexual Violence i (2014), https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/qa-201404-title-ix.pdf [hereinafter Title IX Answers].  All educational institutions, including elementary schools and institutions of higher education, that receive federal funding are subject to the Title IX provisions.  Id. (more…)