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Category: Professor contribution

Access to Public Lands During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Access to Public Lands During the COVID-19 Pandemic

In an effort to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19, federal, state, and local governments have acted to limit or entirely close off access to public outdoor spaces, such as local playgrounds and state and national parks. As the country begins to reopen, governments have sought to balance the need for public access to these outdoor spaces with the risks posed by such access. Where the risks are too high—whether because of the challenge of ensuring compliance with social…

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Do Prisoners Have a Right to Soap?

Do Prisoners Have a Right to Soap?

In the ongoing litigation regarding prison conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic, one request of the litigants stands out: they want more soap. And sometimes—especially at the district court level—prisoners have been able to get that soap. In a Texas case, Valentine v. Collier, the district court ordered the prison to “[p]rovide [p]laintiffs and the class members with unrestricted access to hand soap and disposable hand towels to facilitate handwashing.” Similarly, in Swain v. Junior, a Florida district court required that…

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Your Right to Sue, Goodnight!

Your Right to Sue, Goodnight!

Oh, the sun shines bright on my old Kentucky home‘Tis summer, the old folks are gayWhere the corn top’s ripe and the meadow’s in the bloomWhile the birds make music all the day Weep no more, my ladyOh, weep no more todayWe’ll sing one songFor my old Kentucky homeFor my old Kentucky home, far away Well the young folks roll all around the cabin floorThey’re merry, all happy and brightBy-and-by hard times will come a-knocking at my doorThen my old…

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Remember the Past: What Can a Governor Do When the Second COVID-19 Surge Comes?

Remember the Past: What Can a Governor Do When the Second COVID-19 Surge Comes?

Back on January 1st we thought that 2020 would bring clarity of vision and foresight. Since then the world has turned upside down; however, long-standing legal precedent of what states can do in times of epidemics and pandemics has not. Many are claiming that it is unlawful for any governmental entity or official, in an effort to reduce COVID-19 infections and deaths, to impose restrictions upon travel, either across state borders or in large crowds within a state. I disagree….

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Experimental Drug Could Curb Emerging COVID Mental Health Crisis

Experimental Drug Could Curb Emerging COVID Mental Health Crisis

As the COVID-19 pandemic evolves, experts warn it is triggering a national mental health crisis. Some say it could cause up to 75,000 U.S. deaths by suicide and drug overdose. Millions may experience lasting grief from losing loved ones, depression due to unemployment, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) from working on the frontlines as healthcare providers and other essential workers.  Traditional medications for mental illness, such as the antidepressants fluoxetine and paroxetine, are ineffective in about half of those who try them….

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Constitutional Constraints on Lawyer Licensing in the Age of COVID-19

Constitutional Constraints on Lawyer Licensing in the Age of COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has profoundly disrupted the courts and the legal profession, just when access to justice is most needed. The public health crisis has generated a host of legal issues in areas as diverse as disaster relief, health law, disability issues, insurance, employment law, criminal justice, domestic violence, and civil rights. The need for lawyers to address these issues is great, but courts are struggling to license new lawyers due to the serious health consequences of administering the bar…

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Custody and Visitation in a Pandemic

Custody and Visitation in a Pandemic

Either voluntarily or through court order, most separated and divorced parents have established parenting plans that outline custody and visitation obligations. But what happens to these orders when a global pandemic rages through our communities?  Can parents unilaterally  refuse to engage in custodial transfers or keep the other parent from visiting while a government shelter-in-place order is in place? Anecdotally, family law attorneys report that the single biggest issue for their clients right now seems to be whether the regular…

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True Causes of Racial Disparities in the COVID-19 Pandemic

True Causes of Racial Disparities in the COVID-19 Pandemic

To the shock of those unfamiliar with racial health disparities in the United States, African Americans (and other racial minorities) have been infected with, and died from, COVID-19 at a much higher rate than white Americans. The explanation given by Dr. Anthony Fauci (Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and high profile member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force), Dr. Jerome M. Adams (United States Surgeon General), and other health professionals is that African Americans…

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COVID Lays Bare the Need for Attending to Second Amendment Theory

COVID Lays Bare the Need for Attending to Second Amendment Theory

As angry protesters, some clad in tactical gear and armed with semi-automatic rifles, storm state capitols to decry COVID-related orders, it’s worth asking why the Second Amendment resides in our Bill of Rights. In District of Columbia v. Heller, the Court held that it was there because the founding fathers wanted to protect the existence of citizen militias. But the reason for codifying the right, said the five-Justice majority, did not confine its substantive scope—of law-abiding citizens “to keep and…

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The Dormant Commerce Clause and COVID-19 State-Ordered Business Closures

The Dormant Commerce Clause and COVID-19 State-Ordered Business Closures

Parties have begun filing lawsuits seeking to “reopen” their states. These lawsuits challenge business closures and stay-at-home orders mandated by state and local governments. The Supreme Court has acknowledged, in the due process context, “the authority of a State to enact quarantine laws and ‘health laws of every description.’” Beyond due process, however, at least one of these lawsuits has raised dormant commerce clause issues, contending that, by ordering businesses to close, the state is unconstitutionally interfering with Congress’ Article…

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