Andrea J. Schweitzer
In accepting the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the 2015 EPSYS, Caitlyn Jenner described her personal transition and experience learning about transgender issues as “eye-opening, inspiring [and] frightening.” In her television series, I Am Cait, Jenner strives to educate the public about transgender problems. Jenner is one of many who have taken on this Herculean feat to bring light to the discrimination transgender people face.
Many are sued simply for engaging in public discourse. Lawsuits brought with the intent of silencing or punishing First Amendment activity are called “SLAPP” suits. SLAPP is an acronym for Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation. SLAPPs are, by their nature, meritless; the plaintiffs have no intention of recovering damages. A David and Goliath element is central to SLAPPs: the suits commonly pit large corporate entities against citizens of modest means who fear the expense and travails of litigation. The judicial system becomes a weapon, and the threat of costly litigation is the ammunition. The end-result chills free speech. A quintessential SLAPP might involve a defamation suit brought by a developer against a community member for circulating a neighborhood petition against the development project.
Before the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus, the small coastal town of Varosha was a popular and glamorous tourist destination. 1974 saw Greeks and Greek Cypriots attempting to annex the island to Greece, after which Turkish forces invaded and ultimately divided the island into the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) and the southern Republic of Cyprus (RoC). During the invasion, many Greek and Turkish Cypriots fled their homes in fear of attack. Estimates say around 165,000 Greek Cypriots and 45,000 Turkish Cypriots—around one-third of the Greek community and 40% of the Turkish—were displaced. The residents of Varosha were amongst those who fled.
Attempting to preserve a fragile ecosystem, spanning across multiple jurisdictional boundaries with diverse stakeholders and complex politics, is an arduous and noble task. Collaborative resource governance institutions are one model used to address such issues in the United States. Examples vary, ranging from large watersheds and regional bays, to local river systems. Large-scale efforts are found in coastal Louisiana; the Chesapeake Bay; the Florida Everglades; California’s Bay-Delta; Lake Tahoe; and along the Columbia, Delaware, Platte, and Colorado Rivers. Of these efforts, Lake Tahoe’s fragile ecosystem, complex politics, and unique governmental jurisdictions—consisting of two states, five counties, and one major city—serve as an excellent case study for examining large-scale resource governance.
On April 20, 2015, the United States Department of Labor (DOL) issued a proposed rule that would impose a fiduciary duty on broker-dealers and others who advise clients regarding individual retirement accounts (IRAs) and employee benefit plans within the meaning of the Employee Retirement Income Act of 1974 (ERISA) and the Internal Revenue Code (Code). Although the DOL’s intent behind the rule is aimed at consumer protection, the unintended consequences of the rule’s implementation, such as higher costs for and decreased access to financial services, are likely to be passed onto the consumer.
The right to trial by jury is a cornerstone of the Anglo-American legal system. Its importance is constantly present in history, from Ancient Greece, to the Magna Carta, to the United States Constitution. Until 1899, American courts tried adults and children together in a single system. However, a new juvenile jury system arose in order to foster leniency towards juvenile defendants, and to shield them from publicity. A counter-movement arose in the 1960s that argued the juvenile justice system was fundamentally flawed because it denied juveniles their Constitutional right to a jury trial. However, in 1971, the United States Supreme Court ruled in McKeiver v. Pennsylvania that the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments did not grant juveniles the right to jury trials.
The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Power Plan is the first time the EPA has set carbon dioxide (CO2) emission guidelines on fossil fuel power plants. The EPA considers the Clean Power Plan a “historic and important step” in reducing the United States’ CO2 emissions, and an example towards addressing global climate change. As a direct result of the Clean Power Plan, the EPA projects the utility power sector will reduce its CO2 emissions to “32% below 2005 levels” by 2030. When predicting this reduction in CO2 emissions, the EPA relied heavily on the growth of renewable electricity generating sources to assist the utility power sector in reaching their emission reduction guidelines. However, not everyone approves of the Clean Power Plan, 27 states and many industries challenge the Clean Power Plan, arguing it is an impermissible construction of the EPA’s authority under the Clean Air Act (CAA) § 111(d).
Until 2015, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the United States Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) had not amended their definitions of “waters of the United States” (WOTUS) since 1979 and 1986, respectively. On May 27, 2015, President Obama announced the EPA and Corps’ jointly proposed Definition of “Waters of the United States” Rule (Clean Water Rule), which was issued under the Clean Water Act of 1972 (CWA). When the final rule was announced, there was immediate pushback. Republican lawmakers proposed bills to overturn the Rule, and different interest groups prepared lawsuits. The EPA, the Corps, and President Obama maintained the new Rule was necessary to protect the waters that so many Americans depend on.
This Note addresses Maine’s legislative options in light of the possible impending doom of demand-response electricity resources in wholesale markets. The Supreme Court is currently reviewing a case that may spell the end of demand-response integration in wholesale markets. Acknowledging this potential issue, the Maine House of Representatives passed “Resolve, to Study Options for a State Demand Response Program” in February 2015. Within, the House requested Efficiency Maine produce a study detailing how Maine could integrate demand-response resources into the state’s retail electricity market. Efficiency Maine is an “independent administrator for efficiency programs in Maine.” In response, this Note proposes one possible solution.
“Predatory lending” encompasses all retail loans that impose “unfair and abusive loan terms on borrowers.” Abusive loan terms can appear in loans ranging from mortgages to short-term consumer loans for several hundred dollars. Regardless of the size, these loans generally have two common elements: the loans’ marketing and documentation lack transparency of cost and terms, and the issuer’s incentives typically undermine the borrower’s needs. These loans generally come with high interest rates and other terms that can trap the borrower in cycles of debt. Payday loans are one form of predatory lending consisting of high interest, short-term loans secured on a postdated check for the borrower’s next “payday.” There were as many as 24,000 payday loan stores nationwide in 2006–2007. This number has declined since then, but payday lending is nonetheless a $46 billion industry today. Although often advertised as emergency loans for unexpected expenses, most of these loans go toward daily living expenses.