AuthorLRIRE

#SoWhiteMale: Federal Procedural Rulemaking Committees

Abstract Of the 630 members of a specialized set of committees responsible for drafting the federal rules for civil and criminal litigation, 591 of them have been white.  That is 9 percent of the committee membership.  Of that same group, 513—or 81 percent—have been white men.  Decisionmaking bodies do better work when their members are diverse; these rulemaking committees are no exception.  The...

“Blurred Lines” to “Stairway to Heaven”: Applicability of Selection and Arrangement Infringement Actions in Musical Compositions

In 2015, the “Blurred Lines” verdict catapulted the issue of music copyright infringement into the news. The Ninth Circuit upheld the jury verdict in favor of the Marvin Gaye estate in 2018, shocking the legal and music communities who worry that songwriters can now copyright a vibe. Typically, copyright infringement occurs if someone copies a “substantial” amount of original and protected...

Judicial Racism And Judicial Antiracism: Retelling The Dred Scott Story

Abstract This Essay retells the Dred Scott story as a set of intersecting stories about judicial racism and judicial antiracism.  Part I defines racism and antiracism, then discusses how racist and antiracist ideas are realized through government power.  Next, this Essay visits one of the most prominent moments of judicial racial history: the story of Dred Scott.  Part II walks through the...

“You Write in Cursive, I Write in Graffiti”: How #BlackLivesMatter Reorients Social Movement Legal Theory

This Comment compares and contrasts: (1) analyses and recommendations posited by longstanding Constitutional scholars discussing social movements, with (2) the efforts and achievements by the Black Lives Matter movement. Using the scholarship of Jack Balkin and Reva Siegel as examples, this Comment argues that their prescriptions for social movements that seek to affect changes in constitutional...

Forgiven, Forgotten? Rethinking Victim Impact Statements for an Era of Decarceration

Abstract Laws enacting victim impact statements flourished in the 1980s and 90s, a period defined by draconian crime control measures and mass incarceration.  During an emerging era of decarceration, the effect of victim impact statements on excessive prison sentences has been largely overlooked.  Reshaping retributive laws governing victim impact statements is essential to comprehensive...

Rescinding Admission Offers in Higher Education: The Clash Between Free Speech and Institutional Academic Freedom When Prospective Students’ Racist Posts Are Exposed

Abstract This Article examines the tension between a prospective college student’s First Amendment freedom of speech and a public university’s unenumerated, inchoate right of institutional academic freedom.  The friction between these interests was cast in high relief in 2020 when several schools confronted dual issues: (1) whether to rescind offers of admission to individuals who later were...

When Contact Kills: Indigenous Peoples Living in Voluntary Isolation During COVID

Abstract During the global pandemic, people around the world are at risk of serious illness and death from contact and proximity to other people.  But Indigenous peoples, particularly those in voluntary isolation, have always faced that risk.  International organizations have relied on the right to self-determination as the primary legal grounds to justify the principle of no-contact for...

Post-COVID Courts

Abstract As with so much else in American life, the COVID-19 crisis delivered a gut punch to our justice system.  And the worst is yet to come, as federal and state courts alike are soon to fill with cases reflecting the failing finances and fraying relationships of our sheltered-in-place lives.  But in truth, our courts were already at a crossroads: chronically underfunded, increasingly...