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To Disclose or Not to Disclose: The Stigmatization of Attorneys with “Invisible” Disabilities

by Rachel Codair

Dec. 10th, 2019 at 9:00 p.m. CDT

The language of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) is clear. It’s purpose is “to establish a clear and comprehensive prohibition of discrimination on the basis of disability” and as outlined in Title I, this applies to employment. So why do many legal professionals with visually indiscernible disabilities choose to conceal their condition in the workplace? Why does a fear of prejudice still keep these people from seeking the accommodations they may need?

[The ADA does not provide an exhaustive list of disabilities it covers; click here for some common examples as well as an elaborated definition of “disability.”]


by Jaleel Washington

In a typical conviction, members of the police force gather evidence and eventually arrest the perpetrator. Prosecutors use this evidence to try to prove that beyond a shadow of a doubt the perpetrator committed the crime. If they are found guilty, sentencing follows, and the rest is history. We do a good job of punishing the right people, but what happens when we punish the wrong person?

According to the Cambridge Dictionary, wrongful conviction, also known as miscarriage of justice, is defined as “a situation in which someone is punished by the law courts for a crime that they have not committed”. Sounds bad, right? Unfortunately, many people in the US have no idea what a wrongful conviction is or how much of an impact it actually has on our society. To fully understand the contents of this post, it is important that I explain three things: 1) what is a wrongful conviction, 2) how it happens, and 3) things being done to help exonerate these innocent people.

Punishment, Prison, & Necessary Changes

by Mackenzi Barrett

In 1992, a hitchhiker killed the man that picked him up. He was sent to prison and then paroled in 2005. In 2011, after earning his baccalaureate degree, Tulane University granted him admission into their law school. His name is Bruce Reilly, and to say that his fellow classmates at Tulane were wary of him would be an understatement, to say the least. However, as a 2011 article by Elie Mystal points out, “what is the point of having a prison system that ever lets people out if those ex-convicts are not to be allowed to try and succeed on the outside? If I am forced to watch Michael Vick prance around every Sunday getting praised and getting rich, why can’t a murderer turn his life around and go to law school?” Although this story may seem shocking, Bruce Reilly’s transformation story is not the first or only of its kind.

Effective Counsel and the Sixth Amendment

by Rachel Sharma

A public defender’s office exists in every city and state in America. These attorneys are appointed to represent criminal defendants who cannot afford to pay for their own, private legal counsel [1]. While these attorneys have heavy caseloads, they are not provided the resources to give each case its due care and thus cannot provide adequate counsel to those they represent. The lack of resources of public defenders amounts to a violation of the Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution, which guarantees a right to have the assistance of counsel.

Human Trafficking: One Step Forward, Two Steps Backwards

by Elizabeth Railey

The implementation of new legislation, such as the FOSTA, has served to exacerbate the sex trafficking epidemic rather than to decrease its proclivity as intended. The release of the documentary I Am Jane Doe in February of 2017 exposed the online aspect of sex trafficking and ignited discussion about the lack of human rights protection provided by existing cyber legislation.[1] Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996, which protected companies from liability due to third party publications,[2] was widely criticized for not doing enough to protect victims of sex trafficking who were advertised and sold on websites such as and The New Yorker referred to Section 230 as a “legal shield” used by internet companies to evade responsibility of their role in enabling sex trafficking.[3] This misconception that Section 230 grants automatic immunity was countered by Doe v. Facebook and others, where Facebook’s motions to dismiss were denied, as the plaintiff argued that Facebook was negligent in “undertaking to protect potential victims of sex trafficking, and for knowingly facilitating and benefitting from the sex trade” which was deemed not protected by Section 230.[4]

Minimum Wage Laws in Alabama

by Kaitlin Tindol

The United States Department of Labor requires that employees be compensated at a federal minimum wage rate of $7.25 per hour.[1] The Department also mandates that employees who work a job where they are regularly tipped more than $30 dollars per month are only required to be compensated by their employers at a wage rate of $2.13 per hour.[2] This is known as the “tipped wage policy.” However, these long-standing traditions of adopting tip wage and the federal minimum wage are beginning to change in many places in response to the rising cost of living. Alabama is one of only 5 states in the United States that does not have state-specified minimum wage laws, along with Mississippi, Louisiana, South Carolina and Tennessee.[3] The people and economic conditions of Alabama could greatly benefit from following the trend of other states who are making adaptive changes in minimum wage, and therefore taking steps by which to ensure their working class earns a living wage.

Privacy or Trespass: The Fight Over the Fourth Amendment

by Rachel Sharma

The Supreme Court of the United States, in its attempts to interpret the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution, has struggled with one overall question: what is the best reasoning to protect people from unreasonable searches and seizures? Earlier case law concerning the Fourth Amendment focused on the property rights of private citizens and their freedom against trespass. However, in 1967, the decision in Katz v. United States changed the Court’s focus from property rights to a right to privacy when considering possible Fourth Amendment violations. Justice Harlan’s concurrence introduced the idea of a “reasonable expectation of privacy”.[1] From this moment forward, the Fourth Amendment could be interpreted as protecting against trespass, “unauthorized intrusion” onto or in property, or as protecting privacy, what a reasonable person would believe is private.[2] Privacy is a stronger rationale than trespass as it provides more comprehensive protection under the Fourth Amendment as technology progresses. This is exemplified in the case United States v. Jones.

The Peculiar Case of Lucy v. Zehmer

by Samuel Blackington

There are two certainties in life which we can hardly debate: that common law is the result of an ever-growing web of statutes and precedents and that getting intoxicated with friends inevitably leads to questionable decisions. However, in the rare instance where these two facts interact, we cannot help but be extremely curious. This rare interaction is what makes the case of ​Lucy v. Zehmer​, a case before the Virginia Supreme Court, so interesting. The case itself revolved around a simple appeal to enforce specific performance, but upon further examination of the facts, it becomes a story about the dangers of alcohol and the standing of napkins as valid contracts in a court of law.

The United States of America v. Portrait of Wally

by Tanner D’Ortenzio

The question, pondered by historians and inquisitive minds alike has garnered a multitude of books, articles, and discussions. What if Adolf Hitler’s paintings had gotten him into art school? As tantalizing as this possibility may seem, the fact of the matter is that the monstrous ruler of the Third Reich used this failure as fuel to systematically seize or demolish all forms of art and culture that he deemed as corruptive to the German people. At the time, this seizure posed little legal ramifications due to the facts that a) The people whose possessions were confiscated were in no position to fight these unjust acts, and b) Nazi officials acquired these possessions “legally” through means of coercion and intimidation. One specific case of this occurred in Vienna in 1938 to an Austrian art gallery owner, who just so happened to be Jewish. The following 63 year-long battle and court case over the ownership of famed artist Egon Schiele’s Portrait of Wally has made waves in the field of art law, and provides us with guidance on how to treat the ownership of Nazi looted art in the future.

“I” is for Impeachment

by Soleil Ozols

On August 12, 2019, an anonymous whistleblower filed a complaint to the Select Committee on Intelligence regarding current President Donald Trump. The contents of the complaint were in regards to whether or not President Trump used his power as president to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 U.S. election.[1] Through multiple reputable sources, the anonymous whistleblower filed the complaint because of the actions that constituted “a serious or flagrant problem, abuse, or violation of law or Executive Order’ that ‘does not include differences of opinions concerning public policy matters” that are consistent with the definition of an “urgent concern” in 50 U.S.C. §3033(k)(5)(G).[2] Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson was the one who reviewed the whistleblower complaint and determined it to be credible, allowing the prospects for an inquisition on the impeachment of President Trump to take form. On September 26, the whistleblower complaint was declassified along with the transcript of a call between President Trump and the president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky. Based on the information brought to light from the complaint and the transcript, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced a formal impeachment inquiry into the accusations against President Donald Trump.