Immigration courts in the United States are facing the largest case backlog recorded since 1998. Due to a regulation imposed by Attorney General Jefferson Sessions, immigration judges are directed to complete 700 removal cases a year. Deciding 700 cases a year roughly equates to deciding a case every 2.5 hours. Immigration judges are overworked and increasingly left demoralized by directives imposed by the Trump Administration. Rightfully so, immigration judges are tasked with deciding numerous asylum decisions—pertaining to life and death situations—each day. Immigration judge Dayna Leigh Marks describes the process as “holding death penalty cases in traffic court.” Asylum hearings feel this way to immigration judges because they are tasked with deciding whether asylum applicants deserve protection from the U.S. on account of persecution in their home countries. Asylum applicants are often fleeing violence from countries where the government is unwilling or unable to protect them.
At the passage of the Wilderness Act in 1964, its proponents were largely wrapped up in concerns about development encroaching on wildlands, the extensive creep of new roads, and the impact of intensive and extractive land management. Today, conservationists and environmentalists see in the foreground of their challenges another issue that went unaddressed at the passage of the Wilderness Act: climate change. Howard Zahniser, the primary author of the Wilderness Act, died mere months before he could have witnessed President Johnson sign the bill into law. And it was only the following year that Johnson had his science advisory committee evaluate other ecological issues with a report that may contain the earliest recognition in the US government of the greenhouse effect and the atmospheric impact of fossil fuels. The way we grapple with our effects on the natural world has shifted monumentally in the half-century since 1964. In debates on the ramifications of climate change, the voices of the architects of the Wilderness Act are thus lamentably absent.
Under existing State Law,Vermont agritourism operators are liable to visitors who are injured on their property. This framework seems to prioritize Vermont’s tourists and consumers, but does it?
Vermont is best known for its rolling green valleys, maple sugar farms, and dairy. It is the second least populated State in the U.S., but a place worth visiting for those who enjoy outdoor activities, beautiful foliage and good food. Specifically, “great food traditions like cheese, chocolate, and ice cream” have travelers adding Vermont to their bucket lists. Moreover, as U.S. consumers increasingly demand local, sustainably produced food, the Green Mountain State has built a reputation as a “center for agritourism.”
The work of federal administrative agencies has significant societal influence. These agencies are “prime instruments for effectuation of governmental policies and programs, regulatory and non-regulatory.” Because of this substantial power, “[c]ontrol, review and improvement of the agency process have become increasingly major concerns of the legal system generally, and of administrative law particularly.” The Administrative Procedure Act (APA) regulates the procedural processes federal agencies must comply with. Historically, as the amount of federal agencies increased, the need for standardization and a method to guarantee “administrative impartiality” arose.
Qualified immunity protects government agents even in the face of blatant constitutional violations. These violations may range from violated free speech to the use of excessive force which results in death. Recently, the need for a modified use of the qualified immunity defense has become apparent with the shootings of unarmed individuals at the Mexico-United States border. United States Border Patrol Agents (Agents) killed or caused the death of at least 90 people since January 2010. These actions include negligent care provided to people in their custody, serial killings, and shootings near the border. The qualified immunity doctrine protects government agents from civil liability from claims brought by citizens unless: (1) the official violated a constitutional right; and (2) that right was clearly established at the time of the alleged action. Further, as part of the second prong, the clearly established standard is based on whether a reasonable person would have known that right was clearly established at the time of the alleged action. Qualified immunity is a common law doctrine, judicially-created, and has not been codified. A codified qualified immunity test would bar a defense of qualified immunity for certain violations and allow individuals civil suits to go forward and see a form of justice.
The private sector’s contributions to environmental degradation raises concerns about the wisdom, ethics, and sustainability of shareholder primacy, the prevailing corporate governance theory in the United States. In 1997, the Business Roundtable (BRT), the trade association of record for America’s leading CEOs, produced a formal statement of corporate purpose: “The paramount duty of management and of boards of directors is to the corporation’s stockholders.” This statement reflected both the heady economic days of the dot-com economy and the legal framework that enabled the ethos of that era.
The world’s oceans are plagued by a myriad of problems, such as climate change, ocean acidification, overfishing, and pollution. Coastal nations can regulate and ostensibly protect the waters within their Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ), which are areas of the ocean that extend from the coast out to 200 nautical miles. EEZs exist under the United Nations Law of the Sea Convention (UNCLOS), which formally grants coastal nations sovereign rights for these waters. This gives nations the ability to regulate and to further the protections and preservation of the ocean; for instance, coastal nations can create marine protected areas within their EEZ to benefit biodiversity, ecosystem health, and commercial fishery stocks.
What do morning commutes, road trips, writing papers, and exercising all have in common? Stress and apprehension, perhaps? But much more probable, music.
Music is at the essence of everyday life. It is at our fingertips, and is accessible for each and every part of our day. However, it has not always been this way. In the past ten years, music has undergone prolific changes—not merely in terms of genre, but in terms of consumption. Long gone are the days of over-zealous children begging their parents to go to Target to secure the newest Taylor Swift album. Now, children beg their parents for a credit card so they can purchase Spotify premium, have access to over 50 million songs, and never step foot in a store to purchase music again. In 2018, Americans streamed over 900 billion songs, while only purchasing 32 million CDs. As it pertains to the music industry, record labels have also noticed this recent trend; from 2004–2015, “revenues from physical sales declined from $15.3 billion to $2 billion, while digital revenues increased from $230 million to about $4.8 billion.” Put another way, digital downloads during this same span of time increased from 1.5% of industry revenues to 40%. This shift is attributable to recent technological advancements where higher-bandwidth internet connections and digital data compression allow for rapid transmission of recorded music files across the internet—completely transforming how the United States consumes music.
Theophilus O. Agbi
The Fourth Amendment protects an individual’s right to privacy. However, applying these protections in the public sphere is a tricky endeavor. For starters, one must balance individual privacy rights with public safety. This means factoring in law enforcement’s need to access private information in order to protect the public. Overlaying this calculation is modern technology, which allows people to quickly store and access massive amounts of data in previously unimaginable ways.
There is a scientific consensus—with 97% of scientists in agreement—that humans are adversely contributing to climate change by continuously emitting greenhouse gases, predominately carbon dioxide (CO2). We are already beginning to feel climate change’s effects on ecosystems and human systems.  Some examples are sea level rise, extreme weather, economic collapse, food shortage, and negative impacts on human health. Some of these effects are, and will continue to be, permanent. To stave off the most devastating impacts society would need to promptly reallocate resources (energy, land, infrastructure, etc.).