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Category: Board member contribution

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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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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A Matter of (Statutory) Interpretation: Bostock and the Differences Between Originalism and Textualism

A Matter of (Statutory) Interpretation: Bostock and the Differences Between Originalism and Textualism

In June of 2020, Justice Gorsuch delivered the majority opinion for the Supreme Court in the landmark case Bostock v. Clayton County, holding that discrimination against employees for their sexual orientation or gender identity is effectively discrimination because of sex, and is thus barred by Title VII. In dissent, Justice Alito wrote that the “Court’s opinion is like a pirate ship. It sails under a textualist flag, but what it actually represents is a theory of statutory interpretation that Justice…

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The Necessity of Firearm Stores During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The Necessity of Firearm Stores During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Gun owners and would-be gun purchasers are arguing that state measures to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus infringe on their Second Amendment rights. To the extent the premise is correct—the Second Amendment guarantees access to a firearm store—it’s not clear that their conclusion follows. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, forty-five states have issued statewide stay at home orders. These orders are based upon guidance from the Center for Disease Control and other public health agencies that have…

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The Poison Pills: Is Trump Negotiating NAFTA’s Dissolution?

The Poison Pills: Is Trump Negotiating NAFTA’s Dissolution?

Following informal talks in Washington at the beginning of April, NAFTA negotiators missed another deadline when they were unable to resolve key issues in the renegotiation in time for the Summit of the Americas. Missing deadlines due to deadlock has been a recurring theme of the renegotiation process, which began back in August 2017. Since calling NAFTA the “worst trade deal ever made,” President Donald Trump has pursued an aggressive negotiation strategy, which appears to tip the balance of the…

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From Somers to Winter: Chilling Internal Whistleblowing in Private Companies

From Somers to Winter: Chilling Internal Whistleblowing in Private Companies

On February 21, 2018, the Supreme Court issued its opinion for Digital Realty Trust, Inc. v. Somers—a landmark decision denying Dodd-Frank anti-retaliation protection for internal whistleblowers in private companies. Congress passed the Dodd-Frank Act in 2010, intending to “promote the financial stability of the United States by improving accountability and transparency in the financial system.” The law came eight years after Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX)—an act that empowered whistleblowers to play a pivotal role in catching corporate fraud in public companies and…

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Section 230 and Fake News

Section 230 and Fake News

Facebook brands itself as a company that aims to “give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together.” However, following the 2016 presidential election, the social media platform has come under growing scrutiny as part of a larger concern of Russian interference in the election. That concern is culminating this week with Facebook founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, testifying in Congress regarding Facebook’s alleged violations of user privacy in its dealings with the political data mining…

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Opioid Litigation Nationwide May Leave States with New Funding to Combat the Epidemic

Opioid Litigation Nationwide May Leave States with New Funding to Combat the Epidemic

As the country continues its efforts to combat the opioid epidemic, states are poised to receive new sources of funding from lawsuit settlements with drug distributors. Following the success of a claim in 2007 against Purdue Pharma, hundreds of plaintiffs—ranging from small towns and counties to larger cities and states—are joining the wave of litigation. To speed up the process, many of these cases have been consolidated; one federal judge in the Northern District of Ohio is currently presiding over…

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Article III Standing in Biometric Privacy Suits

Article III Standing in Biometric Privacy Suits

As the use of biometric technology has grown increasingly prevalent in our everyday lives, the legal issues surrounding its use have rapidly developed. Ranging from facial recognition technology employed by social media providers to fingerprint technology adopted by employers, biometric technology has important societal implications. While many find ease and benefit in its uses, others sense a justifiable wariness over its proliferation. Biometric technology consists of an individual’s private and unique biologic identifiers. Such information in the hands of large…

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