Author: cesullivan4

The Effect of Foundational Law on the Environment

By: Sara Robideaux

Pierson v Post, decided in 1805 and regarding an incident in 1802, is an American legal case involving property law. This case took place in the state of New York and begged the question of rights while pursuing a wild animal. This ruling is considered both foundational and essential in future property law cases.[1]

The Costs of Prison Visitation

By: Kemper Scott

The U.S. alone holds 20% of the world’s prisoners.[1] According to a report by the Prison Policy Initiative, the total cost of maintaining our prison populations for state and federal government and the families of those locked away is up to $182 billion annually.[2] For the families of those locked away, the costs can be severe both financially and socially. In this post, I would like to briefly examine the cost imposed on the families and communities of those incarcerated through the lens of one aspect of prison policy: visitation.

Native Representation and Hope for Environmental Change

By: Tori Myers

Section I: Introduction
The Department of the Interior is responsible for the natural and cultural upkeep of this country. This has been done in different means such as collaborating with legislatures to make services such as the National Park Service and the Bureau of Indian Affairs. These two specific departments heavily interact with Native American communities and land, yet Native Americans have been historically underrepresented in these department positions. The lack of representation can be correlated to the inequitable treatment of Native Americans in the legal system along with the low amounts of political participation and education in some Native communities. While this is a problem that stems from the historic injustice done to tribes, the modern age has shown that there is hope and an optimistic turn in representation for Native Americans within this country with the announcement of tribal members running and being appointed to office.

Britney Spears, Conservatorships, and Reproductive Freedom

By: Anna Vander Kooi

On June 23, 2021, Britney Spears offered her testimony to the court pertaining to her high-profile conservatorship that began thirteen years ago.[1] In this conservatorship, Spears’ personal life and finances were under the discretion of her father, James Spears, with whom the singer has had a tumultuous relationship. There were many jarring moments throughout her 23-minute speech, as she accused her conservators of putting her on heavy medication, forcing her to perform, and withholding the money she’s earned.[2]  What’s more, Spears claimed that her reproductive rights were compromised through the conservatorship. “I was told right now in the conservatorship, I’m not able to get married or have a baby,” she testified, according to a New York Times transcript.[3] “I have a ID [IUD] inside of myself right now so I don’t get pregnant. I wanted to take the ID [IUD] out so I could start trying to have another baby. But this so-called team won’t let me go to the doctor to take it out because they don’t want me to have children, any more children.”[4] Spears’s revelation that she has been subject to forced methods of birth control caused waves within the public. While her accusations were shocking to hear, her experience of limited reproductive freedom is by no means uncommon for individuals under a conservatorship or otherwise deemed disabled. There are several cases that demonstrate the reproductive restraints that conservators have been permitted to oversee for disabled people.[5]

COVID-19’s Implications on the IDEA

By: Reese Rosental Saporito, Northwestern University

The IDEA, or the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, ensures access to public education and aid in school settings for students with disabilities. Over 7.5 million children depend on this aid.[1] However, students have faced eight months of online learning because of the novel Coronavirus. We must continue to enforce IDEA and adapt it to fit the needs of students with disabilities’ learning in 2020.

Raz’s Exclusive Positivism and Judges’ Ability to Make Law: Where Are the Limits?

By: Natalie Guarino, Georgetown University

All legal positivists believe that law’s existence is a result of social facts, not normative value. Within legal positivism, there is a split between inclusive and exclusive positivists. According to inclusive positivists, although law’s existence does not depend on its merits, law can include moral principles. According to exclusive positivists, it is not possible to incorporate moral principles into law. Joseph Raz, one of the twentieth century’s most influential legal philosophers, is an exclusive positivist who believes that the content of law can be understood solely through social facts, not moral principles. [1] In effect, he believes that law cannot include dictates like ‘do what is fair’ or ‘do what is just.’ Raz’s argument for exclusive positivism relies on multiple theses and justifications. This post critiques Raz’s assertion that judges are able to make law by relying on moral considerations without incorporating those moral considerations into law.

Self-Esteem, Gender, and Sexuality: How the Alabama Department of Corrections Limits Individuality and Privacy of Inmates

By: David Ware

Section I: Introduction
The Alabama Department of Corrections states that one of its main goals is to promote esteem building amongst the inmates in its custody.[1] Becoming incarcerated already comes with anxiety and hardship, so it would make sense for our prison system to promote the self-esteem of inmates. There are certain variables that are essential to building and maintaining a high self-esteem, which include privacy and individuality. However, when looking at the mandates, rules, and regulations imposed on prisoners, it is impossible for an inmate to fully enjoy privacy and individuality. Through constant searches and seizures, overcrowding, and lack of personal space, privacy is utterly impossible.[2] Additionally, through the use of regulations surrounding hair and clothing, the Department of Corrections inhibits the self-expression of its inmates, thereby limiting their outward expression of individuality.[3] While these rules and regulations surrounding privacy and individuality impact all prisoners, inmates who are not cisgender and/or heterosexual are hit even harder. For queer individuals, outward expression is paramount to becoming their truest selves.[4] Strict rules surrounding clothing and hair significantly impact the self-expression of queer inmates, and thus high self-esteem is difficult to achieve and maintain. Although the Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) proposes that one of its main goals is esteem building, its strict rules surrounding individuality and privacy make attaining a high self-esteem virtually impossible for inmates, especially those who are queer.