In 2008, venture capitalist and Silicon Valley luminary Vinod Khosla acquired a coastal property in San Mateo County, California for $32.5 million. The property included a stretch of coastline known as Martins Beach—a “crescent-shaped strip of sand” enclosed by “seventy-five foot cliffs” stretching into the Pacific Ocean to the north and south. The coastal geography only allowed access to Martins Beach through Khosla’s property along Martins Beach Road. For nearly a century, Khosla’s predecessors-in-interest, the Deeney family, had invited the public to use Martins Beach Road to access the beach for a small fee. The Deeneys erected a billboard welcoming the public, and constructed a parking lot, public restrooms, and a convenience store to serve beachgoers, who for generations came to surf, fish and enjoy the scenery. After continuing the Deeneys’ tradition for two years, in 2010 Khosla locked the gate across Martins Beach Road, which bore a new sign reading: “Beach Temporarily Closed for Repair.”
Global food insecurity is an international crisis, persisting despite continued efforts to find a long-term solution. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), “food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical social, and economic access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food, which meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life.” Unfortunately, this standard has proven impossible to meet: roughly one in eight people—842 million—suffer from chronic hunger, with 805 million people unable to receive sufficient nourishment. Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) is often cited as the most impoverished region because hunger is most prevalent in these nations (at 25%).  Other African nations, including the Central African Republic and South Sudan are similarly vulnerable to food insecurity, with the latter finding itself on the brink of famine. Yet world hunger is not isolated to Africa. The largest population of hungry people—500 million—actually reside in Asia, and 98% of food insecurity exists in developing nations around the world. This means that there are more hungry people in the world than the combined populations of the U.S. Canada, and the European Union.
Alexandra Van Baars
The Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA) of 1972 was designed as a means for states to achieve “the effective management, beneficial use, protection, and development of the coastal zone.” Although the CZMA has been effective in certain areas, there are other portions of the CZMA that have become ineffective with the rapid sea level rise contributing to shoreline change in the United States coastal zones. This Note addresses the areas that need improvement and makes a number of proposals for how to increase the effectiveness of the CZMA as a whole.
My Note begins with the story of Bergen County police officers Saheed Baksh and Jeffery Roberts. On August 12, 2010, Officer Baksh was in vehicular pursuit of a burglary suspect. After passing through six towns, the suspect’s vehicle finally came to rest. Officer Baksh exited his patrol vehicle and allegedly fired two shots at the suspect, who tried to escape on foot, but he missed both times. Officer Roberts responded to the scene shortly thereafter, where he allegedly assisted Baksh pick up the shell casings in an attempt to cover up the shooting. The two officers were indicted on charges of official misconduct, tampering with evidence, and making false statements to investigators. The trial eventually ended in their acquittal and subsequent reinstatement. After the trial, a malicious prosecution action against Bergen County prosecutor John Molinelli and an action for indemnification of legal fees for the acquitted officers loomed. To avoid further litigation, Bergen County settled with Baksh and Roberts by reimbursing them $1.12 million for legal fees and back pay. A claim has been filed with the county’s insurance, but it is unclear if it will cover the settlement.
Pressing environmental issues such as climate change, loss of habitat and biodiversity, overpopulation, and resource shortage involve complex adaptive systems that adhere to ecological principles. While ecological observation has historically been limited to local scales, conceptual and technological advances are now revealing causative relationships in environmental degradation globally. With such advances, it is plausible that ecological causation showing environmental injury will be much more than “pure speculation.” The judiciary’s receptiveness to evolving ecological principles directly affects environmental standing. This Note discusses the possibility of an “ecosystem nexus” acceptable to the federal judiciary that satisfies the Article III standing requirements of causation, traceability, and injury-in-fact.
Acts of police violence are common in today’s news. Police officers are no strangers to using violence to achieve their means. In recent years, excessive police force has occurred in tandem with military-style weapons and tactics. Particularly, the events that transpired in Ferguson, Missouri beginning in August 2014 attracted worldwide media attention. Police used heavy-handed tactics and military equipment to quell protests. Images from Missouri instilled a sense of fear and tension between the people of the United States and law enforcement officers, whose tactics mimicked those used in war against enemies.
This student Note questions whether citizens have a First Amendment right to record police in their official capacities. This Note asserts that citizen whistleblowing increases accountability because, when police action goes unchecked, instances of misconduct increase. The circuits are split over whether the right to record police action is clearly established, and thus some courts have provided qualified immunity to police who stop citizens from recording police activity while others have not.
Individuals suffering from treatment resistant mood disorders deserve to have safe and immediate access to any unconventional method of treatment that produces significant results. The health and wellbeing of its citizens is a legitimate state interest. Federal regulation of hallucinogens directly impedes on the distinct state right to regulate a legitimate state interest. The Federal Government must reclassify hallucinogens in order to facilitate research, ensure patient access, and permit its legal regulation.
Colorado and Washington have implemented systems to regulate and sell marijuana. Other states are following suit. But the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) lingers over businesses attempting to buy and sell marijuana in those states. One scholar has referred to the various provisions of that Act as the heads of a hydra: solve one problem, and two more sprout up. This Note focuses on one problem that the Act causes in particular—it disrupts contract formation. This Note argues that the CSA may preempt any state law which authorizes conduct that the CSA prohibits. It argues that the Restatement’s approach to contracts against public policy suggests that courts should enforce marijuana-related contracts. Finally, it argues that relatively little federal action would be necessary to solve this problem; Congress would not have to repeal the CSA or remove marijuana from the list of scheduled substances.
Nations around the world are feeling the effects of climate change. The international community now accepts that climate change is spurred by human action, and the consequences of climate change will be severe. One consequence is the emergence of Environmentally Displaced Persons. Environmentally Displaced Persons, defined by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, are those “who are displaced from or who feel obliged to leave their usual place of residence, because their lives, livelihoods and welfare have been placed at serious risk as a result of adverse environmental, ecological or climatic processes and events.” There are fifty-one island nations around the world that identify themselves as Small Island Developing States (SIDS). Many of these nations are also included in the United Nation’s grouping of Least Developed Countries, and as such have contributed very little to the carbon emissions that cause climate change (less than 1% of global emissions).