Author: jporter11

Psychology and the Law: Jury Compilation

by Emily Kabalin

Law and Psychology are largely intertwined. The purpose of law is to control behavior, and the purpose of psychology is to observe, explain, and predict behavior. Therefore, psychology can help to evaluate the assumptions that law makes about human behavior. Psychologists study laws by focusing on the individual, and how the individual is responsible for his or her own actions. Psychology examines the thoughts and behavior of individuals, which provide reasons for the laws to be established. It is also an important factor within the legal system, as it helps to determine whether a defendant and his lawyer may choose to go to trial or to accept a plea bargain, or whether a juvenile offender may be better off in a residential treatment facility, or whether an ethnic judge or juror will be more sympathetic to a case than a non-ethnic judge or juror. Since the inception of these fields, there has been a constant need to find a balance between the two disciplines. Even with empirical proof, this balance is sometimes difficult to achieve.

Fixing the Fourth Amendment: Software, Surveillance, and Satire

by Samuel Blackington

If the old adage that “knowledge is power” is true, then one’s personal information is a priceless commodity in the highly-digital age we currently live in. To clarify what I mean by personal information, this includes data such as an individual’s fingerprint and even a person’s own face that can all be collected through smart devices that utilize either fingerprint or facial recognition software. Although it is an issue that seems shallow at face value, it encompasses a broader discussion over the surveillance of a person’s devices or even the collection of private data which is contained online.

A Slippery Slope: Redefining Cruel and Unusual Punishment in Madison v. Alabama

by Sierra Stockley


Madison v. Alabama is a case pending a decision from the United States Supreme Court. The case was argued before the Court on Tuesday, October 2, 2018 with Bryan A. Stevenson, Esq., representing the petitioner, Vernon Madison, and Alabama’s Deputy Attorney General, Thomas R. Govan, Jr., acting on behalf of the respondent.

Regarding the issue raised in the case, the Court must decide two crucial points: whether or not a state may execute a prisoner who has no memory of his offense, and more specifically, whether the Eighth Amendment’s language of “cruel and unusual punishment” prohibits a state from executing a prisoner who faces severe cognitive dysfunction and therefore can neither recall the crime nor comprehend the circumstances of his execution.

Female Pioneers in the Legal Profession

by Anna Katherine Sherman

The American Bar Association reports that until the late-1960s, less than 5% of students admitted into law schools were female and there was no legislation in place that required employers to hire women. In the mid-1970’s, the number of female law school students increased dramatically, but women were still not being hired after graduation. Today, the law school student body is about equal between men and women, but the gender disparity is still apparent in the low number of women in top leadership positions at law firms.

Towards a New Theory of International Law

by James Niiler

Since the conclusion of the Peace of Westphalia in 1648, the West – and now by extension the rest of the world – have supposedly relied on the concept of national sovereignty as the guiding principle of international law. However, the true principle of international law is not actually national egalitarianism, but liberalism, the ideological backbone of Western foreign policy.

Liberalism is the belief in the so-called ‘open society.’ It posits the natural state of humanity is one of perfect freedom (Gaus et al., 1996). It champions individualism, egalitarianism, and the democratic process as the ideal methods for social governance. Its economic arm, neoliberalism, seeks to draw the world closer together into the fold of capitalism and free trade; its military arm, neoconservatism, seeks to expand liberalism through armed conquest.

An Inquiry into the Value of Foreign-Born Workers in the Agricultural Sector

by Tanner D’Ortenzio

How much do you spend on a pound of strawberries? Or a gallon of whole milk? Most Americans spend on average $0.99 for a pound of conventional strawberries and $3.27 for a gallon of conventional whole milk. Now, imagine for a moment that our government decided to pass large scale agricultural labor reform focused solely on illegal immigration. This would cause our food prices to raise “over five years by an additional 5 percent to 6 percent and would cut the nation’s food and fiber production by as much as a staggering $60 billion.” (Newsroom) Why is that important? Simply put, our nation heavily relies on the cheap labor supplied by the steadily increasing flow of illegal immigrants. Regardless of your stance on illegal immigration, we need cheap agricultural workers. Our economy demands a continuous, almost instantaneous influx of commodities, especially fruit. In 2017 alone, Americans consumed a staggering 116 pounds of fresh fruit per capita.(Statista) Any action taken towards the mass deportation of working illegal immigrants would result in catastrophic damage to not only the lives of the undocumented workers, but to the thousands of farms and Americans who consume the products they produce.

Another Deal to be Made: Trump’s Strategy in East Asia

by Bowen Gissendaner

Inside the Art of the Deal

When attempting to analyze any actions taken by President Trump, one would be remiss not to consider the field in which he has been most successful, business. Before all else, Trump is a businessman, whose shrewd tactics allowed him to become one of the richest men in New York. Thus, when looking at his political endeavors in East Asia one must do so not with the mind of a politician, but with that of a businessperson. Trump’s trade and military negotiations with China, Japan, and South Korea have all closely mirrored the tactics he uses in negotiations with businesses and corporations. Understanding these tactics, laid out in detail in his book The Art of the Deal, is useful in beginning to understand his policies in East Asia. The book provides an insight into the President’s mentality regarding his role in organizations, namely his businesses, and how he tends to view the world.

Russian Dominance and the Weakening of International Law

by Ethan Roberson

On November 25, 2018 Russian ships opened fire on three Ukrainian ships (two warships and one tugboat) in a narrow, but strategic sea passage, the Kerch Strait, which separates Crimea and mainland Russia. This confrontation resulted in the injuries of at least six Ukrainian sailors, the capture of more than twenty Ukrainian sailors, and, ultimately, the blockade of the entrance to the Kerch Strait by Russia. Russia’s recent antagonism of Ukraine, blatantly and actively breaches international law and remains, at its simplest form, an act of war. However, what is equally troubling, if not more so, is the resounding lack of a strong, unified international response.

Legislative Note: Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal

by Anna Katherine Sherman

Last November, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez became the youngest woman ever to be elected to Congress in the record-breaking midterm elections of 2018. She represents New York’s 14th Congressional District, which includes the Bronx, Queens, and Rikers Island. Since her election, Ocasio-Cortez’s presence in the White House has been somewhat controversial, with some news outlets even calling her “ignorant of everything”. Nevertheless, her support is substantial, as she won her election over the incumbent of 20 years, Joseph Crowley, who was expected to become the next Minority Leader.

Walking the Line: An Inquiry into Our Current Immigration Policies

by Tanner D’Ortenzio

On May 19th, 1921, Congress passed the Emergency Quota Act establishing numerical limits on the total amount of immigrants and the use of a quota system for establishing limits on said immigrants. This landmark piece of legislation was passed due to a large amount of Jewish immigrants leaving Eastern Europe. Fleeing from religious anti-semitism in the forms of violent, targeted riots called pogroms and accusatory blood libels. Based off of the 1910 U.S. Census, this act restricted the annual immigration from any country in the world to three percent of the current U.S. residents of said countries. In use until 1965, the National Origins Formula was the system brought forth from the Emergency Quota Act that restricted the number of unskilled immigrants based on the existing proportions of immigrants in the United States.