Remote vs. In-Person Testimony in Hong Kong Courts

Remote vs. In-Person Testimony in Hong Kong Courts

Should the pursuit of effective scrutiny of witnesses override public health considerations and the witness’s right to health? Recently in Hong Kong, there has been a debate on whether a witness can choose to give evidence via video-conferencing facilities (VCF) during the COVID-19 pandemic. Contrary to the practices of allowing remote testimony in other jurisdictions such as Australia and the UK, a number of Hong Kong judges oppose witnesses giving evidence via VCF. These judges openly voice the concern—based on…

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Circuits Are Splitting Hairs over Morphed Child Pornography

Circuits Are Splitting Hairs over Morphed Child Pornography

Many will remember 2020 for the various panics it revived: America’s second greatest toilet paper shortage since the 1970s, its first great pandemic since 1918, and another financial crisis. The year also brought back another moral hysteria commonly visited in America’s past: child porn panic. Tech companies caught flack for announcing a surge in child pornography being traded on their platforms, while simultaneously planning to encrypt messages that would prevent detection of those very same materials in the name of…

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How to Stop Sentencing Children to Death by Incarceration

How to Stop Sentencing Children to Death by Incarceration

The Supreme Court in April handed down its decision in Jones v. Mississippi, a ruling that permits sentencing judges to condemn children to spend life in prison without the possibility of parole without entering a finding that the child is, in the court’s words, “permanently incorrigible.” This was wrong. Importantly, however, the case did not present the question of whether juvenile life without parole is constitutional at all. As a result, there is still a way for the Court to…

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Dew-Becker v. Wu: Daily Fantasy Sports as Gambling

Dew-Becker v. Wu: Daily Fantasy Sports as Gambling

Fantasy sports contests, enjoyed by millions of Americans, are probably not the first thing people think of as “gambling,” which is tightly regulated in most United States jurisdictions. Indeed, while state regulation of gambling is widespread, “fantasy sports are legal in most states.” However, new daily fantasy sports (DFS) platforms have muddied fantasy sports’ legal standing. While DFS is now legal in forty-three states, including Illinois, some have argued DFS is gambling (including, as detailed below, former Illinois Attorney General…

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Too Close for Comfort: Congressional Insider Trading and Why Accountability Still Matters in Congress

Too Close for Comfort: Congressional Insider Trading and Why Accountability Still Matters in Congress

Under the insider trading laws that apply to Congress, legal liability is hard to prove and convictions are even harder to place; this should not sit well with the American people. Members of Congress are no strangers to scandal. Every year reveals a new controversy involving behavioral misconduct, campaigns, or, more frequently, money. Therefore, it should come as no surprise to the American people that multiple Senators have been accused of insider trading for trading hundreds of thousands of dollars…

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Economic Loss at Maritime Choke Points

Economic Loss at Maritime Choke Points

Ever had a bad week? At least you’re not the captain of the Ever Given—the Empire State Building-sized container ship that brought the global economy to its knees for nearly six days by getting stuck in the Suez Canal. Heralded as “the ship that launched a thousand memes,” the Ever Given sparked some of 2021’s best online content so far. Hilarious and absurd? Definitely. But a joke? Absolutely not—the blockage cost $9.6 billion to global trade each day. The Ever…

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Thole, Trusts, and Standing Discussed

Thole, Trusts, and Standing Discussed

Would the Supreme Court rather stand by its strict standing doctrine than hold fiduciaries accountable for gambling Grandma’s retirement gains away? It seems the answer is yes. In its June 2020 decision, Thole v. U.S. Bank, the Court held that beneficiaries of a defined-benefit retirement plan lack Article III standing to bring a claim for breach of fiduciary duty, even when improper investment by the plan’s asset managers results in underfunding. In other words, yes: fiduciaries of retirement plans are…

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Religious Practice, the Pandemic, and the US Supreme Court

Religious Practice, the Pandemic, and the US Supreme Court

Introduction In a 5–4 vote on November 25, 2020, the Supreme Court of the United States issued its decision in Roman Catholic Diocese v. Cuomo, granting injunctive relief (pending appeal) to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn, two synagogues, and other individuals (“applicants”) against Executive Order 202.68. The Order, issued by the Governor of New York, restricted the number of individuals allowed in houses of worship due to the COVID–19 pandemic. The issue in the case concerned the Free Exercise…

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In Hot Pursuit of Reasonableness

In Hot Pursuit of Reasonableness

This February, after a year of mass protests, which forced into the national spotlight the longstanding problems of racism and brutality in law enforcement, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral argument on a case with significant implications for citizen–police interactions. In Lange v. California, the Court will decide whether to categorically extend the “hot pursuit” doctrine to misdemeanor arrests. Generally, a police officer is required to obtain a valid warrant before entering or searching a person’s home. The hot pursuit…

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Mail-In Voting and the Twenty-Sixth Amendment in the Time of Coronavirus

Mail-In Voting and the Twenty-Sixth Amendment in the Time of Coronavirus

The right to vote is one of the most essential tenets of our liberal democracy, but in the chaos of the COVID-19 pandemic, many United States citizens had to weigh the importance of their health against the importance of exercising their suffrage. Accordingly, several states considered and promulgated new voting rules allowing for far safer voting means such as early and mail-in voting. That is not to say that these procedures were not already widespread; before 2020, the majority of…

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