On April 4, 2014, the D.C. district court handed down an opinion on the government’s motion to dismiss in al-Aulaqi v. Panetta. The government won their motion on Bivens grounds—the court declined to find an implied cause of action for due process violations in authorizing a predator drone strike on a citizen pursuant to the rule established in Bivens v. Six Unnamed Known Agents. However, the opinion is a mixed bag for the ACLU as it leaves the plaintiffs in substantially better position on appeal or in related actions than al-Aulaqi v.Read more.
International commercial transactions and the resolution of disputes arising from them depend on the body of international commercial law. The choice of law is particularly critical to dispute resolution in international commercial transactions because the applicable law often determines the outcome of the dispute. International organizations and states have made efforts in the last half-century to harmonize the choice of law in international commercial disputes.Read more.
Gravity has grossed over $700 million at the box office, won seven Oscars, and received near-universal praise from the film cognoscenti and space geeks alike. The film’s popularity and success have made it an excellent target for the scientific community to dissect and fact-check every scene; indeed, rockstar astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson famously tweeted his criticisms and caused a minor commotion on the internet. The legal issues in Gravity are comparatively unexplored, but equally fascinating.Read more.
As the world globalizes, U.S. courts are presented with more foreign legal issues than ever before. For example, the amount of securities related cases filed in U.S. courts against international companies has increased tenfold, from six cases in 1996 to 61 cases in 2011.However, judges have been resistant to the application of foreign law. A key factor behind American judicial rejection of foreign law is that it depends on expert testimony. This is problematic, given that American judges may be unfamiliar with the subject matter. However, some U.S. judges have identified techniques to overcome any discomfort from using expert testimony to apply foreign law.Read more.
On November 1, 2013, The District of Columbia Circuit court heard Gilardi v. Dep't of Health & Human Servs., a case challenging the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s mandate that requires large employers to cover employee’s birth control costs as part of their health insurance plans. Similar to several previous challenges to the mandate heard in other circuits, the employers objected to the requirement on religious grounds. In Gilardi, the employers, who owned produce businesses in Ohio, argued that their Catholic beliefs were burdened by the contraceptive mandate.Read more.
Between the American public and its elected officials lies our system of election administration. With hanging chads and seven-hour lines on Election Day fresh in our collective memory, it is no wonder that 40% of voters stayed at home during the 2012 election. Yet despite universal consensus that low turnout is bad for a democratic government, the most significant proposals, of late, for reform in election law have been measures to create more barriers to voting.Read more.
It’s been two years since George Zimmerman shot and killed Trayvon Martin. Yet people’s emotions over the incident have yet to fade. From the shooting itself to Zimmerman’s controversial acquittal on all charges, tensions still run high.Read more.
Will Judge Scheindlin’s decision that the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk practices are unconstitutional stand? Everyone seems to think so. On November 22, 2013, the Second Circuit denied the City of New York’s motion to vacate two decisions that ordered fundamental changes to the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk practices . . .Read more.
The practice of stop and frisk has roots that extend back to 1968, when the Supreme Court found the practice constitutional in Terry v. Ohio. Since that ruling, the controversial police tactic has become a cornerstone of the NYPD’s efforts to deter crime and reduce the number of guns on the street. Indeed, former New York City Mayor Bloomberg and former NYPD Commissioner Kelly praised the program for causing a steady reduction in crime in New York City.Read more.
Have you ever stopped to consider how the power of eminent domain could be used to prevent foreclosures and remediate the U.S. housing market crisis? Neither had I, until last year, when I read that California’s San Bernardino County proposed using eminent domain to condemn “underwater” (negative equity) mortgages in order to prevent widespread foreclosures.Read more.