On Sex Trafficking in NYC

By: Michelle Herman In one of my classes last week we spent the entire class discussing human sex trafficking in New York City.  Particularly, we focused on the sex trafficking on minor children.  The majority of prostitutes in New York City are young girls under the age of 18.  We watched a video entitled “Very Young Girls” which will air on Showtime on December 11th.  Some of these girls first entered prostitution when they were only 12 years old.  In one case a girl was picked up by a pimp who pretended to be interested in a relationship and after a few weeks informed her that he was in fact a pimp.  In another case the pimp took on a fatherly role to a girl in need of parents.  The pimps convinced the girls that they “had to make money” for the pimp by prostituting themselves out and selling their


Young Frankenstein

By: Sara Ehrlich I attended Mel Brooks’ soon-to-be-defunct Broadway production of Young Frankenstein last night.  In the play, when the townspeople realize that Dr. Frankenstein has created a monster, their leader riles them up and they gather to hang the doctor as per the laws of Transylvania.  They swarm his castle with pitchforks and torches, and pound down the door.  Upon seizing Dr. Frankenstein, the mob doesn’t give him a chance to explain; rather they escort him directly to the gallows.  While presented in a lighthearted fashion, two important lessons emerge from the townspeople’s reaction that provide food-for-thought for any law student.  First, it is essential that when applying law a Judge (or, in this case, the people) takes into account all factors and doesn’t simply apply the most literal interpretation because that’s the easiest way out.  Second, Judges must be very careful not to use the law to push


Cyber Suicide

By: Ndidi Igboeli On November 19th, 2008, 19-Year old, Abraham K. Biggs committed suicide on Wednesday while broadcasting himself on video site, Justin.tv.  He announced his intentions on bodybuilder.com. Some commentators were allegedly egging him on.  Biggs overdosed on pills while on camera and appeared to be breathing for hours until watchers realized he might be serious, at which point they alerted the police. Biggs’ father subsequently condemned both viewers and the site’s operators, calling for tougher regulation of the internet. In the context of a duty to rescue where the distressed is not physically available to be rescued, where they may be states, even miles away across a computer screen, does that duty still exist and can there still be a nation of bystanders? Our cybersuicide innocent bystanders are technologically connected, not in space, but  rather by wires and by the cyberworld. The low costs of distributing speech over


The Homeless Man Hypothetical, HR, and the Law

By: Guillermo Stampur Biking uptown along Broadway this afternoon after handing in my final exam, I noticed a homeless man talking to two well-dressed ‘corporate looking’ older men – they turned out to be missionaries. They were wearing pretty nice clothing, hair parted to the side, and held small brief-case like looking bags. The homeless man was sitting on a milk crate with a sign that read, “Ask me anything for 1 dollar.”  Having just taken my Human Rights and the holocaust final, I could not resist hopping off my bike and entering the discussion. Having just thought about our legal system’s obsession with the body and things material and having actually used the homeless man hypothetical in my take-home exam, i gingerly approached the three men and asked, ” Do you think humans have any fundamental rights?” Taken aback by the frankness of my question,  the two  men in


So bog it is.

By: Kellen Stevens So here it is. Not much by any stretch of anything, but sitting here nonetheless. Well, rather less sitting, more progressing, traveling perhaps, or one could even say proclaiming its birthright as a thought. The thing is, the older I get, the more prevalent this phenomenon becomes, at least in my perception, and probably because I cannot help but notice it. Cambodia had to be the place where it first struck. Or if not the place of first impression, then definitely where it began to stick, to nag me, and altogether put a damper on what seemed like what could have been a rather pleasant summer working abroad. Maybe it would be easier if described what exactly I did in this monsoon inclined environment, before I state what I observed. I worked with a consulting group. Not just any consulting group, but one that catered to non-profits.


My Grandfather's Holocaust Experience

By: Jessica Fliegelman When my grandfather was alive, I had no interest in hearing his story. His mother and sisters had been murdered, that much I knew, but I knew nothing of his own experience in concentration camps and his journey to America. And I had no desire to know. My grandfather was a man of few words. When I spoke to him after Shabbos, he said the same thing every week- just be happy and healthy. Our conversations were never extensive. We would sit and watch television together. He would accompany my grandmother and I to the mall, and would sit quietly somewhere in the food court while the two of us shopped. I learned extensively about the Holocaust growing up. My school made a production of it each year and frequently Holocaust survivors were guest speakers. I attended fundraisers for Yad Vashem and every trip to Washington DC


On the Torture Report

By: Joe Reiss My post is in response to this morning’s New York Times editorial titled The Torture Report.  In this article, the author urges the government to bring criminal charges against former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, his legal counsel, William J. Haynes, and other top officials, including the former White House counsel Alberto Gonzales and David Addington, Vice President Dick Cheney’s former chief of staff. The author points to the abuse, torture and death that occurred at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay and discusses how those incidences are a direct result of the policies enforced by the officials at the top. The author then discusses how the CIA’s interrogation practices violate countless laws, and the importance of following these laws in order to maintain America’s good image in the rest of the world. As horrible as torture is, I strongly disagree with a number of the propositions advanced in


Shakespeare and Law and Order

By: Yasmin Zainulbhai A comment Sam Waterston made during his conversation with Professor Rosenbaum before Thanksgiving has particularly stuck with me. In discussing his performance as Polonius in Hamlet this summer, Mr. Waterston noted that performing in a Shakespearean play is not necessarily so different from performing in the television show “Law and Order.” He explained that a near universal theme of all of literature is the search for truth, and that this search is evident in narratives as varied as those of a Manhattan DA on television and Polonius in a Shakespearean play. One of our goals in Professor Rosenbaum’s Law and Literature class is to explore the popular culture’s fascination with the law.  Mr. Waterston’s suggestion is that the subject of both legal and non-legal dramas is the search for truth, and that the presence of the law only creates a difference in form. I found this suggestion


I Believe in Harvey Dent

By: Matt Stark With the recent DVD release of this year’s biggest blockbuster, The Dark Knight, I began thinking about the commentary that the film makes on the law.  While the Joker, played by Heath Ledger in an Oscar-worthy performance, gets most of the attention from fans and the media, I find the dynamic between Bruce Wayne/Batman and Harvey Dent to be the most interesting element of the film. Harvey Dent is Gotham City’s District Attorney.  He represents the uncompromising moralist, eager to clean up Gotham and to fight the corruption that has infiltrated the city’s government.  Batman is Gotham’s “silent guardian” and “watchful protector.”  He’s a vigilante who apprehends criminals that have until that point evaded the grasp of the law.  Batman works as a sort of agent for the law, helping it along.  He never takes justice into his own hands, and he is governed by one personal


Law and the Opera

By: Emily Wei Last night I watched the opera Lucia de Lammermoor, and like most dramatic stories, it involved a woman who falls in love with a guy on the wrong side of the tracks, as it were.  Again, as most stories go, they promise themselves to each other out of true love and under the witness of heaven, and the guy has to leave for just enough time that something can go wrong.  Of course, her plotting family decides that she needs to marry someone else, convinces her that her lover has been unfaithful, and the scene’s climax is Lucia and her new husband’s signing of the marriage contract.  When Lucia realizes she had been duped, she goes crazy, sings some great arias, and then dies.  In the process she kills her husband by law and inspires her lover to also kill himself.  Very dramatic, indeed. This plot reflects