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Why the Buffalo Gunman Faces Both State and Federal Hate Crime Charges

Why the Buffalo Gunman Faces Both State and Federal Hate Crime Charges

On May 14, an avowed white supremacist fatally shot ten Black people and wounded three others at a Buffalo, New York supermarket. The State of New York has since charged the gunman with not only first- and second-degree murder but also domestic terrorism and hate crimes. At the same time, the U.S. Department of Justice has charged the shooter with thirteen counts of federal hate crimes. But is the federal prosecution redundant? The answer to that question carries implications for both federalism and hate crime enforcement. In some instances, major…

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State and Local Climate Lawsuits are 4-1 at the Federal Circuit Courts

State and Local Climate Lawsuits are 4-1 at the Federal Circuit Courts

On May 23, 2022, the First Circuit upheld a decision from the  United States District Court for the District of Rhode Island to remand Rhode Island’s climate change lawsuit back to state court. This marks the fourth time a federal circuit court has upheld a decision remanding a government’s climate change lawsuit against fossil fuel companies, the other three being cases from Baltimore, Maryland, San Mateo County, California, and Boulder, Colorado. For the fossil fuel companies, this pattern is a stark string of losses, forcing the…

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Greener Tomorrow: Latin America’s Role in the Clean Energy Transformation

Greener Tomorrow: Latin America’s Role in the Clean Energy Transformation

Introduction Latin America has emerged as a hotbed for renewable energy production. In recent years, renewable energy in the region has emerged as a promising business, fueled by a varied range of resources, diversification efforts, increasing demand for energy, and steadily decreasing technological costs.  At the end of 2021, Latin America had “more than 16.5 [gigawatts] of installed renewable capacity,” accounting for roughly 25% of consumed energy. That figure is expected to increase by about 9% in 2022 to 18 gigawatts (GW)….

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Illinois Insights for How Biden Can Fill the District Court Bench

Illinois Insights for How Biden Can Fill the District Court Bench

Now that Joe Biden has completed his first year of service as President of the United States and the U.S. Senate Democratic majority has concluded the initial session of the 117th Congress, how the chief executive and this upper chamber majority can best fill myriad district court vacancies needs scrutiny. President Biden’s White House and the razor-thin Democratic Senate majority actually realized considerable success in nominating and confirming twenty-nine district court judges throughout 2021. When the second session of the…

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When Federal & Local Rules of Civil Procedure Collide: Why District Courts Should Extend Plaintiff’s Time to Respond to a Motion to Dismiss to 21 Days

When Federal & Local Rules of Civil Procedure Collide: Why District Courts Should Extend Plaintiff’s Time to Respond to a Motion to Dismiss to 21 Days

This piece explores a conflict between the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP) and the Local Rules of Civil Procedure (LRCP) that occurs in many federal district courts. Specifically, FRCP 15(a)(1)(B) (Rule 15) grants the plaintiff an express right to “amend [her complaint] once as a matter of course within . . . 21 days after service of a motion under Rule 12(b)” (a motion to dismiss). However, many federal district courts’ LRCP give the plaintiff only fourteen days to respond to…

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Overturning Qualified Immunity

Overturning Qualified Immunity

For decades, qualified immunity has been an evolving controversial legal doctrine. In light of renewed calls to extinguish the defense in state legislatures and Congress, this post adds to the chorus of voices questioning the legal premises of qualified immunity. This post first analyzes the doctrine against the backdrop of racist policing, and second in the context of police mishandling gender-based violence claims. In both examples of police misconduct, qualified immunity prevents officer accountability for civil rights violations of constitutionally…

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Unequal Pay for Better Play: The USWNT’s Fight Against Gender Discrimination

Unequal Pay for Better Play: The USWNT’s Fight Against Gender Discrimination

The popularity of women’s soccer in the United States has skyrocketed over the past few decades, particularly since the United States Women’s National Team (WNT) won the 2019 FIFA World Cup. The WNT’s success vastly overshadows the performance of the United States Men’s National Team (MNT), which has not won a single major world tournament. For example, . The MNT has not won any Olympic gold medals nor a World Cup, whereas the WNT has won four Olympic gold medals…

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Brnovich v. DNC: The New Test for Voting Rights

Brnovich v. DNC: The New Test for Voting Rights

In the wake of the 2020 election, a wave of restrictive voting laws were enacted across the nation. And as the January 6th attack showcased the fragility of our democracy, voting rights are top of mind for many. This is why all eyes were on the Supreme Court as it took on Brnovich v. DNC: not only the most consequential election law dispute in nearly a decade (since the 2010 Citizens United decision) but the Court’s first “vote denial” case…

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COURT IS DRAG: WHAT CITIZENS UNITED REVEALED ABOUT WESTERN IDENTITY POLITICS

COURT IS DRAG: WHAT CITIZENS UNITED REVEALED ABOUT WESTERN IDENTITY POLITICS

“The East is waiting to be understood by the Western races, in order not only to be able to give what is true in her but also to be confident in her own mission.”  – Rabindranath Tagore, “Creative Unity” (1922). * * * I came to law school because I seek nirvana. Because in my meditations three and four summers ago, I felt my country’s law, and indeed, its language itself, blocking my way to myself. This conflict of mine…

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Motions to Bifurcate: Procedural Qualified Immunity for Municipalities

Motions to Bifurcate: Procedural Qualified Immunity for Municipalities

Qualified immunity is getting a lot of well-deserved attention these days. The doctrine protects individual state actors—and by extension, their government employers—from liability when they have violated a constitutional right if that right was not “clearly established in law.” Protests over police brutality and demands for accountability have brought qualified immunity into the public spotlight. These conversations about individual accountability are important. But as necessary as they are, we cannot ignore the legal mechanisms for and barriers to institutional accountability…

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