Other Issues

Other Issues

  • 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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  • 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
    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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  • 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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  • Vaccines and IP Preparedness in the Coronavirus Outbreak
    The COVID-19 pandemic has shed renewed light on the importance of research and development (R&D) on biopharmaceutical products needed to prevent or lessen the burden posed by outbreaks of infectious diseases. Among these, the need for new vaccines has become of paramount importance. While a race to develop different types of vaccines unfolds at unusual speed, there are still significant shortcomings in the ecosystem that leads to the production and dissemination of vaccines targeting infectious diseases like COVID-19. In the…

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  • South Dakota’s COVID-19 Response is a Battleground for Tribal Sovereignty
    In a May 5 post Assistant Attorney General for the Navajo Nation Department of Justice Paul Spruhan argued that Indian tribes should have authority to restrict movement through their territories in order to stem the tide of the COVID-19 epidemic. Those very principles are now being put to the test in South Dakota, where Gov. Kristi Noem has demanded that Oglala Sioux tribal leaders remove the checkpoints set up to regulate traffic through the reservation. Gov. Noem has previously come…

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  • Sorry, Not Sorry: Temporary Practice in a Pandemic
    The American Bar Association (ABA) Board of Governors has issued a policy resolution urging states to adopt emergency rules that would authorize recent law graduates to engage in supervised law practice until the COVID-19 pandemic allows administration of the next bar exam. The ABA’s guidance encourages states to terminate these limited licenses if an applicant does not take or pass a bar examination by the end of 2021. This resolution sends a mixed message: On the one hand, emergency licensing…

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  • COVID-19 and Indian Country: A Legal Dispatch from the Navajo Nation
    There has been much press coverage on the Navajo Nation’s struggle to contain the spread of COVID-19 on its lands. As of May 2, 2020, the Nation has 2,373 confirmed cases, and more than seventy deaths from the virus. These reports have noted the practical impediments the Nation faces in responding to the pandemic, including a high population of people with pre-existing health problems, the lack of easy access to health care, and the significant number of families without running…

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  • Protecting Our Health Care Providers from Liability in a Pandemic
    While COVID-19 creates profound medical concerns for health care providers, it also creates fear of potential lawsuits. Clinicians are forced to ration scarce resources, such as ventilators, when there is an inadequate supply. Medical professionals describe chaos in hospitals that makes it extremely difficult to treat all patients appropriately. Patients have had elective surgeries postponed indefinitely. Worse yet, some, including cancer patients, have had essential operations cancelled. All of these circumstances could lead to serious patient harm and subsequent litigation….

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  • Essential but Excluded: Vending in the Time of Corona
    Immigrants, those with legal status and those without, individuals returning from incarceration, and individuals with time-consuming childcare and other family obligations often look to start microenterprises like street vending to provide for themselves and their families. However, many municipalities in the United States apply a penal approach to street vending, criminalizing it as a form of vagrancy. Even Los Angeles, a city known for its street vending culture, criminalized the practice outright until 2019. Other cities have permitted vendors to…

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