Author: University of Baltimore Law Review Staff



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The Center on Applied Feminism at the University of Baltimore School of Law seeks paper proposals for the Twelfth Feminist Legal Theory Conference.  We hope you will join us for this exciting conference on April 2 and 3, 2020.  The theme is Privacy. As always, the conference focuses on the intersection of gender and race, class, gender identity, ability, and other personal identities. We are excited that Dr. Leana Wen, President and CEO of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, has agreed to serve as our Keynote.

We are at a critical time for a broad range of privacy issues. State level abortion bans have put a spotlight on the importance of decisional privacy to women’s equality. Across America, advocates are fighting for reproductive justice and strategizing to preserve long-settled rights. At the same time, our informational privacy is increasingly precarious. Data brokers, app designers, and social media platforms are gathering and selling personal data in highly gendered ways. As a result, women have been targeted with predatory marketing, intentionally excluded from job opportunities, and subject to menstrual tracking by marketers and employers. In online spaces, women have been objectified, cyber-stalked, and subject to revenge porn.  With regard to physical privacy, the structural intersectionality of over-policing and mass incarceration impacts women of color and other women.  And while a man’s home may be his castle, low-income women are expected to allow government agents into their homes – and to turn over reams of other personal information — as a condition of receiving state support. In addition, families of all forms are navigating the space of constitutionally-protected family privacy in relation to legal parentage, marriage and cohabitation, and child welfare systems.

We seek submissions of papers that focus on the topic of Applied Feminism and Privacy.  We will interrogate multiple aspects of privacy, including its physical, decisional, informational, and family dimensions. This conference aims to explore the following questions:  Is privacy dead, as often claimed?  If so, what does this mean for women? How can privacy reinforce or challenge existing inequalities?  How has feminist legal theory wrestled with privacy and what lessons can we draw from past debates? What advocacy will best advance privacy protections that benefit women? How do emerging forms of surveillance impact women? Can intersectional perspectives on privacy lead to greater justice? Who defines the “right to privacy” and what do those understandings mean for women? How is privacy related to other values, such as autonomy, anti-subordination, vulnerability, justice, and equality?

We welcome proposals that consider these questions and any other related questions from a variety of substantive disciplines and perspectives. The Center’s conference will serve as a forum for scholars, practitioners, and activists to share ideas about applied feminism, focusing on connections between theory and practice to effectuate social change. The conference will be open to the public.

To submit a paper proposal, by Friday, November 1, 2019, please complete this form and include your 500 word abstract:

We will notify presenters of selected papers by early December. About half the presenter slots will be reserved for authors who commit to publishing in the annual symposium volume of the University of Baltimore Law Review, our co-sponsor for this conference. Thus, the form requests that you indicate if you are interested in publishing in the University of Baltimore Law Review’s symposium issue. Authors who are interested in publishing in the Law Review will be strongly considered for publication. The decision about publication rests solely with the Law Review editors, who will communicate separately with the authors. For all presenters, working drafts of papers will be due no later than March 20, 2020. Presenters are responsible for their own travel costs; the conference will provide a discounted hotel rate as well as meals.

We look forward to your submissions. If you have further questions, please contact Prof. Margaret Johnson at For additional information about the conference, please visit

Issues to Watch

Cruel and Unusual Payment: The Supreme Court Incorporates the Excessive Fines Clause of the Eighth Amendment to the Fifty States in Timbs v. Indiana.

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*Emily Schreiber

On Wednesday, February 20, 2019, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg announced the unanimous judgment of the Supreme Court in Timbs v. Indiana: the Excessive Fines Clause of the Eighth Amendment of the United States Constitution applies to the states through the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.  Timbs v. Indiana, 139 S. Ct. 682, 687 (2019).  Timbs “pleaded guilty in Indiana state court to dealing in a controlled substance and conspiracy to commit theft.”  Id. at 686.  His sentence included one year of home detention, five years of probation, and costs and fees of $1,203.  Id.  When Timbs was arrested, law enforcement seized his Land Rover vehicle, which Timbs had purchased with money from his deceased father’s life insurance policy.  Id.  The state of Indiana hired a private law firm to bring a civil suit for forfeiture, given law enforcement’s belief that Timbs used the vehicle to transport heroin.  Id.  Despite the trial court’s finding that the vehicle was used to transport heroin, in violation of criminal law, the request for forfeiture was denied, as “Timbs had recently purchased the vehicle for $42,000, more than four times the maximum $10,000 monetary fine assessable against him for his drugs conviction.”  Id.  Though the Court of Appeals of Indiana affirmed the trial court’s decision, the Indiana Supreme Court reversed, finding “that the Excessive Fines Clause constrains only federal actions and is inapplicable to state impositions.”  Id.  Thus, the Supreme Court of the United States ultimately granted certiorari to decide the issue of whether the Eighth Amendment’s clause could properly be applied to the states.  See id.


Issues to Watch

Prophesizing Pot: LAX Marijuana Policy Highlights the Need for Uniformity

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*Joe Stephan

The internet was set ablaze in late September 2018 after catching a whiff of the official marijuana policy of Los Angeles Airport (LAX), which allows individuals to possess marijuana on airport property in accordance with California state law.  See Lilit Marcus, LAX Airport to Allow Marijuana in Carry-ons, CNN (Oct. 1, 2018),  The five-sentence policy concludes with notices—or perhaps warnings—that TSA screening stations remain under federal jurisdiction and that marijuana laws may be different in the state in which a passenger lands.  LAX Marijuana Policy, L.A. World Airports, (last visited Mar. 7, 2019).  The problem presented by the LAX policy is exactly that—the uncertainty to which the conclusion of the policies allude—as improving the ability to predict legal outcomes is “[f]ar the most important and pretty nearly the whole meaning of every new effort of legal thought . . . .”  Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., The Path of the Law, 10 Harv. L. Rev. 457, 457–58 (1897). (more…)

Issues to Watch

Home Sharing Regulations Coming Soon to a City Near You: The Recent Evolution of Local Short-Term Rental Regulations

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*Elizabeth Strunk

Home sharing has existed in many forms for centuries.  Jamila Jefferson-Jones, Airbnb and the Housing Segment of the Modern “Sharing Economy”: Are Short-Term Rental Restrictions an Unconstitutional Taking?, 42 Hastings Const. L.Q. 557, 561 (2015).  The premise of home sharing has always been “lodging purchased on a time- or space-limited basis . . . .”  Id.  Originally, short-term rentals existed as inns and boarding houses, but recently a home sharing economy has emerged through online platforms.  Id.; Kellen Zale, When Everything Is Small: The Regulatory Challenge of Scale in the Sharing Economy, 53 San Diego L. Rev. 949, 952 (2016).  Globally, short-term rentals have grown from 2012 to 2017 despite efforts to regulate the practice.  Robert McCartney, Political Contests Erupt as Critics and Hotel Industry Struggle to Curb Airbnb, Wash. Post (Oct. 15, 2018),  In fact, home-sharing is forecasted to continue expanding and permanently change the lodging industry.  Id. (more…)

Issues to Watch

Has Canine Racism Reached the End of Its Leash?: The Impending End of Breed Specific Legislation

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*Raquel L. Flynn

In a time where pet ownership has become increasingly popular, more and more people are turning to shelters and rescue dogs to find their forever companion.  See, e.g., Zac Ezzone, Local Animal Shelters Reporting Higher Live-Release Rates Amid Montgomery County Investigation, Community Impact (Oct. 3, 2018, 8:00 AM),  However, with most of the adoptable dogs in shelters being “pit bull” mixes, potential dog owners are turned off from adopting those animals due to local laws.  Zach Barrett, Are Pit Bulls Man’s Best Friend or Too Dangerous?, St. Joseph News-Press (Feb. 4, 2018),  But, over the last few months, many counties have voted down, or even outlawed, breed specific legislation (BSL).  See, e.g., Dominic Trimboli, Michigan Senate Passes Bill Banning Breed-Specific Legislation, Ogemaw Herald (May 15, 2018, 9:30 AM),,107012.  As more dog activists across the country are speaking up, BSL may become a thing of the past in many areas, including in local counties such as Prince George’s County, Maryland.  See id.; Andrea Swalec, DC-Area Pit Bulls Are in Special Need of ‘Forever Homes’ Amid Bans, NBC Wash. (Aug. 17, 2018, 7:01 PM), (more…)