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…

Read More Read More

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…

Read More Read More

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…

Read More Read More

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…

Read More Read More

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…

Read More Read More

Poetic Justice: Federal Convictions for Insurrection Would Strip Pensions and VA Benefits from Former Servicemembers

Poetic Justice: Federal Convictions for Insurrection Would Strip Pensions and VA Benefits from Former Servicemembers

To the disappointment of many of us who have served in the U.S. military, current and former servicemembers participated (in disproportionate numbers) in the well-documented January 2021 insurrection in our nation’s Capitol. Active members of the Armed Forces may face consequences in the military justice system, including punishment by the court-martial under the Uniform Code of Military Justice as well as administrative sanctions such as less than honorable discharge. As the US Department of Justice prosecutes the insurrectionists, a question…

Read More Read More

Beyond Investment in Research: What COVID-19 Policymakers Can Learn from the HIV/AIDS Epidemic

Beyond Investment in Research: What COVID-19 Policymakers Can Learn from the HIV/AIDS Epidemic

Widespread investment in biomedical research has made many Americans tentatively optimistic about the resolution of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the public sector, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act has provided nearly $10 billion in funding for therapy and vaccine development through agencies like the NIH and CDC. This effort has culminated in two important milestones: the discovery that remdesivir, a drug developed to treat Ebola, reduces morbidity for patients hospitalized with severe COVID-19, and the introduction of…

Read More Read More

The Right to Education in the Midst of a Pandemic

The Right to Education in the Midst of a Pandemic

COVID-19 exposes the necessity of accessible education for all students and begs us to reconsider education as a fundamental right under substantive due process. In light of this current health crisis, now is the time to consider the many inequities in access to education that have existed for centuries. As schools across the nation consider their modality of instruction for the school year, equitable education for students should be a primary concern for government, policy makers, and school systems. This…

Read More Read More

Protecting Disabled and Aged Patients From Discriminatory Triage Protocols

Protecting Disabled and Aged Patients From Discriminatory Triage Protocols

With COVID-19 cases surging across the country, many hospitals will soon face the unthinkable—having too few resources to treat all patients in need. Already overrun, some hospitals have had to make the choice to ration Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds, ventilators, and other lifesaving care. Anticipating increased demand, many states have issued Crisis Standards of Care (CSC) that include guiding principles and criteria for allocating scarce resources. Patient advocates have challenged the triage protocols incorporated into some state CSC guidelines…

Read More Read More

Justice Barrett, Purposivism, and the Affordable Care Act

Justice Barrett, Purposivism, and the Affordable Care Act

Between President Trump’s nomination of now-Justice Amy Coney Barrett to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s former Supreme Court seat and her confirmation, the Justice and her nomination dominated headlines and monopolized what remained of American attention spans already saturated by an election and the COVID-19 pandemic. With Senator Kamala Harris’ dual role as the democratic nominee for Vice President and a member of the Judiciary Committee, much of that attention focused on her questioning of Justice Barrett. But Justice Barrett’s response…

Read More Read More