Tag: Ava Fisher

Recidivism and Reentry: The Perils of Civil Death

by: Ava Fisher (Prison Writing Competition winner, 2021)


The criminal justice system in the U.S. has long represented a response to a very fundamental belief of democracy: the concept of the social contract. Social contract theory is rooted in ancient political theory that inspired the very birth of democracy itself. However, a contemporary understanding that has been implemented in much of western governance draws its influence from the discourse of enlightenment thinkers such as John Locke, Thomas Hobbes, and Jean Jacques Rousseau.[i] This idea of the social contract revealed that in order to receive protection of property and life by the State, individuals had to sacrifice personal liberty. This sacrifice was viewed as the action to forgo man’s intrinsic nature to pursue brute power and war against his brethren in favor of society, community, and governance.[ii]

The Post- Shelby Landscape: The Role of Federalism in Elections

by: Ava Fisher


The Voting Rights Act of 1965 (VRA) marked a significant congressional response to racially discriminatory election laws [i]. While the Fifteenth Amendment attempted to enfranchise racial minorities, it lacked means of enforcement [ii]. In response, the VRA established federal authority over state election laws [iii]. This federal enforcement power derived from preclearance through Section 5 of the VRA. States covered under preclearance, determined by the coverage formula of Section 4(b), were required to submit proposed changes to election laws to the U.S. Department of Justice. The coverage formula pertained to states that were found to employ discriminatory election practices, as determined by measures of African American political participation in 1964 [iv]. This practice of preclearance remained in effect from the adoption of the VRA in 1965 until the 2013 ruling of Shelby County v. Holder [v]