Weather Update: Blizzard Covers up Human Rights

Jordan E. Culley*

The American gaming company Activision Blizzard, Inc. (Blizzard) made international headlines with its decision to ban players for supporting the Hong Kong protests.  See Matthew Gault, Blizzard’s Hong Kong Screw-Up Is Officially an International Incident, Vice (Oct. 8, 2019, 5:24 PM), https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/bjw535/blizzards-hong-kong-screw-up-is-officially-an-international-incident.  In an official Blizzard broadcast on October 6th, 2019, a player named Blitzchung declared his support for Hong Kong’s protest movement during a post-tournament interview.  See id.; Zach Beauchamp, One of America’s Biggest Gaming Companies Is Acting as China’s Censor, Vox (Oct. 8, 2019, 12:10 PM), https://www.vox.com/2019/10/8/20904433/blizzard-hong-kong-hearthstone-blitzchung.  Two days later, Blizzard sanctioned Blitzchung by suspending him for a year, required him to forfeit thousands of dollars in prize money from 2019, and fired the commentators who conducted the interview.  See Beauchamp, supra.  Blizzard supported these sanctions by citing to § 6.1(o) of its Hearthstone Grandmasters Official Competition Rules.  See id.  This rule states:

Engaging in any act that, in Blizzard’s sole discretion, brings you into public disrepute, offends a portion or group of the public, or otherwise damages [sic] Blizzard[’s] image will result in removal from Grandmasters and reduction of the player’s prize total to $0 USD, in addition to other remedies which may be provided for under the Handbook and Blizzard’s Website Terms.

Continue reading “Weather Update: Blizzard Covers up Human Rights”

Equitable Goals, Meet Community Stakeholders: School Redistricting in Howard County

Jonathan Lucido*

I.  Introduction

Howard County, Maryland ranks third among the wealthiest counties in the United States.  See Gaby Galvin, The 10 Richest Counties in the U.S., U.S. News (Dec. 6, 2018), https://www.usnews.com/news/healthiest-communities/slideshows/richest-counties-in-america?onepage.  Additionally, the Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) is ranked as the best school district in the entire state of Maryland.  Ivan De Luce, The Best Public-School District in Every State, Bus. Insider (May 23, 2019, 1:41 PM), https://www.businessinsider.com/the-best-school-district-in-every-state-2019-5; Howard County Public Schools, Niche, https://www.niche.com/k12/d/howard-county-public-schools-md/ (last visited Oct. 19, 2019).  However, the benefits of having the highest ranked school district and access to quality educational programs comes with a cost, as Howard County has one of the highest property tax rates in Maryland.  See generally 2019–2020 Md. Dep’t Assessments & Tax’n County & Municipality Tax Rates, https://dat.maryland.gov/Documents/statistics/Taxrates_2019.pdf.Continue reading “Equitable Goals, Meet Community Stakeholders: School Redistricting in Howard County”

Seila Law LLC v. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau: A Fixed Fight Reaches the Supreme Court

 Andrew Will*

In 1977, former President Richard Nixon sat down for a series of interviews with relatively obscure British television presenter David Frost.  See Transcript of David Frost’s Interview with Richard Nixon, Teaching Am. History, https://teachingamericanhistory.org/library/document/transcript-of-david-frosts-interview-with-richard-nixon (last visited Dec. 12, 2019).  In Part 3 of the televised series, President Nixon famously told Frost, “Well, when the President does it, that means it is not illegal.”  Id.  Although referring to matters of national security, Tricky Dick’s words capture the essence of the unitary executive theory.  See Tom Head, Unitary Executive Theory and the Imperial Presidency, ThoughtCo., https://www.thoughtco.com/unitary-executive-theory-the-imperial-presidency-721716 (last updated Sept. 17, 2019).  Proponents of the unitary executive theory believe that Article II of the Constitution vests the President with all executive power, and they seek to contest any limits to presidential authority.  See id.  On October 18, 2019, those in the unitary executive’s corner scheduled their latest prize fight.  See Amy Howe, Justices to Review Constitutionality of CFPB Structure, SCOTUSblog (Oct. 18, 2019, 3:56 PM), https://www.scotusblog.com/2019/10/justices-to-review-constitutionality-of-cfpb-structure/.  Granting certiorari to a Ninth Circuit decision, the Supreme Court agreed to hear a challenge to the statutory restrictions protecting the director of the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB) from presidential removal.  See id.  The Court will now weigh in on a decades-long constitutional bout between the Legislative and Executive Branches.  See id.  Although independent agencies have survived previous rounds, the Roberts Court seems poised to declare the CFPB down for the count.  See id. Continue reading “Seila Law LLC v. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau: A Fixed Fight Reaches the Supreme Court”

Education Funding Formulas: With Kirwan Commission Prepared to Finish Their Work, Stage is Set in Annapolis for Contentious Legislative Session

Matthew Bendorf*

As senators and delegates throughout the State of Maryland prepare for their annual descension to the State House in Annapolis, leaders of both chambers have established the core issue for the upcoming session.  At the top of the legislature’s list of priorities for the upcoming ninety-day session will be continued efforts on the first reformation of the state’s education system in seventeen years.  Kate Ryan, Maryland House Speaker Said Education Bill Will Be Top Priority, WTOP (July 24, 2019, 4:10 AM), https://wtop.com/maryland/2019/07/marylands-house-speaker-says-education-bill-will-be-number-one/.Continue reading “Education Funding Formulas: With Kirwan Commission Prepared to Finish Their Work, Stage is Set in Annapolis for Contentious Legislative Session”

The ADA and the Internet: Accessibility for All

Meredith Ashley*

Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) “prohibits places of public accommodation from excluding disabled persons thus depriving them of the goods and services offered.”  Margaret C. Jasper, Legal Almanac Series: The Americans with Disabilities Act § 4:1, Westlaw (database updated Oct. 2012).  In essence, all public businesses that function for public use are “places of public accommodation,” and accordingly, are mandated to follow ADA regulations.  Id.  The ADA requires businesses to create ways in which individuals with disabilities may utilize their services, which includes establishing auxiliary aids such as readers, assistive listening devices, and braille.  Id.  However, the ADA does not require a business to “provide an auxiliary aid that would result in an undue burden or in a fundamental alteration in the nature of the goods or services provided.”  Id. § 4:4. Continue reading “The ADA and the Internet: Accessibility for All”