Author: University of Baltimore Law Review Staff

Issues to Watch

Plan vs. Action: How Special Education Law Is Evolving in the Wake of Endrew


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Kelsey Lear*

Today, a higher number of special education students are benefiting from the dedicated service of the United States education system than ever before.  See Joel McFarland et al., The Condition of Education 2019, Nat’l Ctr. for Educ. Stat., 60 (May 22, 2019), https://nces.ed.gov/pubs2019/2019144.pdf.  Students who qualify “are those identified by a team of professionals as having a disability that adversely affects academic performance and as being in need of special education and related services.”  Id.  During the 2017–2018 school year, 7.0 million students between the ages of three and twenty-one received special education services, which accounted for 13.7% of all public-school students in the country.  Id.  This was an increase from the 6.4 million students who received special education services during the 2011–2012 school year.  Id.  The United States Legislature has sought to protect these students through the implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA).  See generally 20 U.S.C. § 1400 (2012). (more…)

Issues to Watch

A Republic, If You Can Tweak It: The Supreme Court Absolves Itself of Gerrymandering Duties


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Andrew Will*

On June 27, 2019, the Supreme Court failed to purge one of the nation’s most persistent political plagues.  See Rucho v. Common Cause, 139 S. Ct. 2484 (2019).  In the consolidated opinion of Rucho v. Common Cause and Lamone v. Benisek, penned by Chief Justice Roberts, the Court held that partisan gerrymandering presents a nonjusticiable political question in federal courts.  Id. at 2506–07 (citing Baker v. Carr, 369 U.S. 186, 217 (1962)).  The Court’s holding, supported by a 5–4 conservative majority, rendered federal courts powerless to reconcile the political practice of district manipulation.  Id.  (more…)

Issues to Watch

‘Just Do It’: Allyson Felix, Nike, and the Path Towards Ending Pregnancy Discrimination in Professional Athletic Contracts


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Cassandra Brumback*

Allyson Felix (Felix) was once one of Nike’s most marketed athletes.  Allyson Felix, Allyson Felix: My Own Nike Pregnancy Story, N.Y. Times (May 22, 2019), https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/22/opinion/allyson-felix-pregnancy-nike.html.  She holds nine Olympic medals and is the United States’ most decorated female runner of all time.  Id.  However, when Felix told Nike she was pregnant in 2018, Nike proposed a 70% pay reduction.  Id.  This did not sit well with Felix, who fought for a contractual guarantee that she would not be penalized for her pregnancy.  Id.  Nike refused, causing Felix to break from the company and secure a more beneficial contract with the women-focused apparel brand Athleta in July 2019.  Chris Chavez, Allyson Felix Signs Athleta Sponsorship After Nike Dispute for Maternity Policy Change, Sports Illustrated (July 31, 2019), https://www.si.com/olympics/2019/07/31/allyson-felix-athleta-sponsorship-nike-maternity-leave-policy. (more…)

Issues to Watch

Trade War Tweets: Is a Mandate by the President to Order American Companies to Find Alternatives to Chinese Companies a Valid Presidential Power Under the Emergency Economic Powers Act?


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Jenna McGreevy*

President Donald Trump started a Twitter storm on the morning of Friday, August 23, 2019, that continued into the late evening as a new attempt to address the ongoing trade war with China.  See Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump), Twitter (Aug. 23, 2019, 10:59 AM), https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1164914960046133249.  This series of tweets, a common form of communication used by the current President with the American people, caught the attention of many as it issued a new set of “orders” to all American businesses.  See id.  Specifically, President Trump “hereby ordered [American companies] to immediately start looking for an alternative to China.”  Id. (more…)

Issues to Watch

Household Name or Opioid Kingpin: Johnson & Johnson the Target of the Landmark Case in a Series of Opioid Trials


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Micah Millsaps*

In a landmark decision on August 26, 2019, Judge Balkman of the Cleveland County District Court ruled in favor of the State of Oklahoma in its lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson and ordered the company to pay $572 million in damages for its role in the opioid crisis in the state.  Meghan Keneally, Oklahoma Judge Orders Johnson & Johnson to Pay $572M in Opioid Suit, ABC News (Aug. 26, 2019, 5:21 PM), https://abcnews.go.com/US/oklahoma-judge-set-reach-decision-latest-major-opioid/story?id=65193231.  Johnson & Johnson was the first of many pharmaceutical companies to face trial in the nationwide effort to combat the crisis and its lingering effects.  Jan Hoffman, First Opioid Trial Takes Aim at Johnson & Johnson, N.Y. Times (May 26, 2019), https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/26/health/opioid-trial-oklahoma-johnsonandjohnson.html.  Opioid addiction is an ever-growing epidemic, responsible for approximately 400,000 deaths over the past two decades.  Lenny Bernstein & Katie Zezima, Purdue Pharma, State of Oklahoma Reach Settlement in Landmark Opioid Lawsuit, Wash. Post (Mar. 26, 2019, 6:05 PM), https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/purdue-pharma-state-of-oklahoma-reach-settlement-in-landmark-opioid-lawsuit/2019/03/26/69aa5cda-4f11-11e9-a3f7-78b7525a8d5f_story.html.  In light of this epidemic, state and local governments have taken action by initiating lawsuits against those who are accused of being the root of the problem, starting with opioid manufacturers and distributors, and extending to pharmacies carrying opioid drugs. (more…)