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Daily Archives: September 25, 2018

Supreme Court October Term 2017: A Review of Selected Major Rulings Supreme Court October Term 2017: A Review of Selected Major Rulings, September 19, 2018.

“On October 2, 2017, the Supreme Court began one of the most notable terms in recent memory. The latest term of the Court was the first full term for Justice Neil Gorsuch, who succeeded Justice Antonin Scalia following his death in February 2016. The October Term 2017 was also the last term for Justice Anthony Kennedy, who retired in July 2018. With nine Justices on the Court for the first time at the beginning of a term since October 2015, this past term witnessed the High Court issuing fewer unanimous opinions and more rulings that were closely divided relative to previous terms. The increased divisions on the High Court during the October Term 2017 may have been a product of the nature of the cases on the Court’s docket, with the Supreme Court hearing a number of high-profile matters implicating issues of considerable interest for Congress and the public at large. For instance, during its last term, the Court considered a challenge to President Trump’s so-called travel ban, several redistricting disputes concerning partisan gerrymandering, and a dispute that pitted a state government’s interests in enforcing certain civil rights laws against the interests of those who object to same-sex marriage on religious grounds. Some of the Court’s most highly anticipated rulings resulted in opinions where the Justices avoided resolving core issues of dispute, such as the Court’s rulings on partisan gerrymandering, in which the legal challenges were largely dismissed on procedural grounds, or the Court’s opinion in the case of a baker’s refusal to make a cake for a same-sex wedding, which was decided on narrow grounds peculiar to the case before the Court. Nonetheless, the October Term 2017 resulted in several far-reaching opinions. Perhaps most notably, the last term for the Court saw the overturning of several long-standing precedents, including (1) two 20th Century cases interpreting Congress’s Commerce Clause power to limit the states’ ability to require certain out-of-state retailers to collect and remit sales taxes; (2) a 1977 ruling requiring nonconsenting members of public employee unions to pay certain fees as a condition of employment; and (3) a long-criticized 1944 case that sanctioned the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. Of particular note are seven cases from the October Term 2017 that could impact the work of Congress: (1) Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis, which upheld the enforceability of certain agreements between employers and employees to arbitrate labor disputes in lieu of class and other collective actions; (2) Carpenter v. United States, which interpreted the Fourth Amendment to impose certain limits on the warrantless collection of the historical cell phone location records of a criminal suspect; (3) Murphy v. National Collegiate Athletic Association, a case that held that Congress, by prohibiting a state from partially repealing a state law, impermissibly commandeered the powers of the state; (4) Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, Council 31, which held that agency fee arrangements that require nonconsenting public employees to contribute a fee to a public employee union violate the First Amendment; (5) National Institute of Family and Life Advocates v. Becerra, a case that concluded that a California law imposing various notice requirements for certain facilities providing pregnancy-related services likely violated the First Amendment; (6) Trump v. Hawaii, which rejected a challenge to the lawfulness of President Trump’s so-called travel ban; and (7) Lucia v. Securities and Exchange Commission, which concluded that the appointment of administrative law judges within the Securities and Exchange Commission did not comply with Article II of the Constitution.”

Study – Climate change is destroying our national parks at an alarming rate

Washington Post: “…By 2100, visitors walking the grounds of California’s Joshua Tree National Park may view exhibits showing what will have been lost — the spiky yucca palms that inspired the park’s name, dwindled to a few rare husks. Climate change could kill most of the park’s iconic trees, wildfires may transform the towering conifer… Continue Reading

Digital Deceit II: A Policy Agenda to Fight Disinformation on the Internet

“Digital disinformation poses a grave threat to our democracy and demands a new social contract between consumers and internet companies that is rooted in transparency, privacy and competition, according to a new report co-published by the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School and New America, the Washington, D.C.-based… Continue Reading

Protecting Free Speech and Academic Freedom in Universities

Cram, Ian and Fenwick, Helen, Protecting Free Speech and Academic Freedom in Universities (September 2018). The Modern Law Review, Vol. 81, Issue 5, pp. 825-873, 2018. Available at SSRN: or “Restrictions on speaking events in universities have been created both by recent student‐led efforts at ‘no‐platforming’ and by Part 5 of the Counter‐terrorism… Continue Reading

These Police Drones are Watching You

POGO: “…Existing technology that is affordable and in wide use allows law enforcement to spy on individuals over huge distances. The most prominent example is the DJI Zenmuse Z30 camera, which can be affixed to commonly used drone models such as the Inspire 2 and the Matrice. Chinese manufacturer DJI, the drone maker most favored by U.S. law enforcement, promotes the… Continue Reading

Firefox Monitor arms you with tools to keep your personal information safe

“Your right to be safe from hackers starts here. Firefox Monitor arms you with tools to keep your personal information safe. Find out what hackers already know about you and learn how to stay a step ahead of them… Stay safe with Firefox Monitor protection. Sign up for Firefox Monitor. You’ll get a full report… Continue Reading

The Supreme Court’s Overruling of Constitutional Precedent

Via – The Supreme Court’s Overruling of Constitutional Precedent Updated. Report#: R45319. Author(s): Brandon J. Murrill. Date: September 24, 2018. “By exercising its power to determine the constitutionality of federal and state government actions, the Supreme Court has developed a large body of judicial decisions, or “precedents,” interpreting the Constitution. How the Court uses… Continue Reading

Tracking Over 2 Million ICE Arrests: A First Look

“The latest available case-by-case data now allows the public for the first time to track in some detail over 2 million ICE arrests from October 2008 through June 2018. Simultaneously released with this report is the first edition of TRAC’s “ICE Arrests” app. Here, users can examine ICE arrest activity along 15 separate dimensions. The… Continue Reading

Safari’s “Siri Suggested” Search Results Highlighted Conspiracy Sites And Fake News

BuzzFeedNews: “Apple’s Safari, one of the internet’s most popular web browsers, has been surfacing debunked conspiracies, shock videos, and false information via its “Siri Suggested Websites” feature. Such results raise questions about the company’s ability to monitor for low-quality information, and provide another example of the problems platforms run into when relying on algorithms to… Continue Reading

The Network of Law Reviews: Citation Cartels, Scientific Communities, and Journal Rankings

Perez, Oren and Bar-Ilan, Judit and Cohen, Reuven and Schreiber, Nir, The Network of Law Reviews: Citation Cartels, Scientific Communities, and Journal Rankings (August 31, 2018). Modern Law Review, Forthcoming 2018/2019. Available at SSRN: “Research evaluation is increasingly being influenced by quantitative data. The legal field has not escaped the impact of such metrics.… Continue Reading