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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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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Joe Biden, Donald Trump, and Lower Court Appointments

Joe Biden, Donald Trump, and Lower Court Appointments

President Donald Trump seized the public’s attention when he capitalized on the passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg by promptly nominating her successor, Amy Coney Barrett, and duly cementing a powerful conservative majority on the Supreme Court before Americans could even appropriately celebrate the life of the pathbreaking jurist. This accelerated Senate confirmation one week before the presidential and senatorial elections illuminates the extreme hypocrisy of President Trump and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (KY), who refused to…

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The Disregarded Canary: On the Plight of Black Women Voters

The Disregarded Canary: On the Plight of Black Women Voters

“De nigger woman is de mule uh de world so fur as Ah can see.” – Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God In American politics the Black woman voter is both mule and canary. Black women vote at higher rates than most demographics, and overwhelmingly and consistently vote for  Democratic candidates—not because there is anything to gain but because doing so is necessary for the survival of the republic. Yet, two years after commentators declared 2018 to be…

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Welcome to the Real World of Extradition

Welcome to the Real World of Extradition

Following multi-jurisdictional prosecution efforts, the infamous child pornography site Welcome to Video was shut down, and a grand jury in D.C. indicted the site’s operator, Korean National Jong Woo Son. Based on the indictment, the U.S. government requested extradition of Son pursuant to the Korea Extradition Treaty. Recently, however, the Seoul High Court—the sole judicial organ empowered to hear and decide extradition cases in the Republic of Korea without right to appeal—turned down that request, generating public outcry that the Korean…

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Can President Trump Withhold Funds When States Expand Vote-by-Mail?

Can President Trump Withhold Funds When States Expand Vote-by-Mail?

In now-deleted tweets by President Trump, Trump claimed that Michigan sent “absentee ballots to 7.7 million people ahead of Primaries and the General Election.” He alleged that the move was done “illegally and without authorization by a rogue Secretary of State” and continued onward to say “I will ask to hold up funding to Michigan if they want to go down this Voter Fraud path!” Of course, the Secretary of State of Michigan had done nothing of the sort; instead,…

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