Issues to Watch

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


No Comments

*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), https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/dc-politics/political-contests-erupt-as-cities-and-hotel-industry-struggle-to-curb-airbnb/2018/10/15/7819efdc-ce34-11e8-a3e6-44daa3d35ede_story.html.  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


No Comments

*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), https://communityimpact.com/houston/lake-houston-humble-kingwood/city-county/2018/10/03/local-animals-shelters-reporting-higher-live-release-rates-amid-montgomery-county-investigation/.  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), http://www.newspressnow.com/news/local_news/are-pit-bulls-man-s-best-friend-or-too-dangerous/article_e4beaabd-9825-5635-86e3-fe3a4c1b9da5.html.  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), http://www.ogemawherald.com/stories/michigan-senate-passes-bill-banning-breed-specific-legislation,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), https://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local/Pit-Bulls-Are-in-Special-Need-of-Forever-Homes-Amid-Bans-491119241.html. (more…)

Issues to Watch

Does Memory Matter?  Implications of Dementia on the Imposition of the Death Penalty


No Comments

*Bridget Mentzer

I.  Vernon Madison’s Crime

In 1985, Vernon Madison was convicted of killing a Mobile, Alabama, police officer.  Matthew Vadum, Supreme Court Considers Whether Dementia Makes Death Penalty Cruel, Epoch Times (Oct. 3, 2018), https://www.theepochtimes.com/supreme-court-considers-whether-dementia-makes-death-penalty-cruel_2677601.html.  The officer was guarding Madison’s then-girlfriend following a domestic dispute, when Madison snuck up behind the officer and shot him twice in the head.  Id.  Madison was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death.  Id.  Madison and his attorneys filed many appeals in the following years, all unsuccessful.  Id.  Madison’s situation changed, however, in 2015 following a series of debilitating strokes.  Id.  These strokes left Madison with significant brain damage leading to long-term memory loss, as well as other chronic conditions that “have rendered him bewildered and confused most of the time.”  Transcript of Oral Argument at *3, Madison v. Alabama, 2018 WL 4746437 (Oct. 2, 2018) (No.17-7505); see also Vadum, supra. (more…)

Issues to Watch

It’s Time to Reform the Supreme Court, But How?


No Comments

*Andrew M. Harvey

During the past few months, there has been a highly contested debate regarding the Supreme Court.  Michael Klarman, Why Democrats Should Pack the Supreme Court, Take Care Blog (Oct. 15, 2018), https://takecareblog.com/blog/why-democrats-should-pack-the-supreme-court; Lee Drutman, It’s Time for Term Limits for Supreme Court Justices, Vox (June 27, 2018, 3:57 PM), https://www.vox.com/polyarchy/2018/6/27/17511030/supreme-court-term-limits-retirement.  It has been said that “democracy doesn’t matter” anymore, and the only true goal is “holding and accumulating power.”  Klarman, supra.  To combat this issue, individuals from both parties have introduced proposals for changing the current composition of the Supreme Court.  See generally Klarman, supra; Drutman, supra.  Two of the proposals that have received the most attention are judicial term limits and court-packing. (more…)

Issues to Watch

It’s Not as Easy as It Looks: Why the NCAA Refuses to Pay College Athletes What They Rightfully Deserve


No Comments

*Liam Edward Rhodes

I.  Plenty of Money to Go Around

To pay, or not to pay, that is the question.  Traditionally, the thought of paying college athletes additional compensation in addition to receiving free cost of attendance was vehemently criticized by those who wanted to protect amateurism and the integrity of college athletics.  Ivan Maisel, Paying Players Might Create Havoc, ESPN (July 15, 2011), http://www.espn.com/college-sports/story/_/id/6768571/legal-issues-arise-paying-student-athletes.  Receiving more than the already large price tag of up to $250,000 in tuition, room and board, school supplies, medical care, physical training, and various educational fees may seem excessive to the ordinary fan.  Id.  However, a mere $250,000, which is only the best-case scenario, pales in comparison to the amount of revenue many top college programs generate from athletics.  See NCAA Finances, USA Today, http://sports.usatoday.com/ncaa/finances/ (last visited Jan. 18, 2019). (more…)