Still Heroes Among Us

It’s a wonder that anyone comes to the aid of a person in distress in our society.  Our legal system not only fails to impose a duty to rescue on individuals, it holds individuals who choose to try to help someone liable for any damages they may cause during their rescue attempt. Despite this, we still hear stories of such heroism on a daily basis. How can we explain these “irrational” decisions to rescue? The answer is that, despite our legal systems best efforts to the contrary, people still feel a moral obligation to those in peril and will risk personal liability to do what is right. One can barely open a newspaper without reading a story about a heroic stranger who saved someone in danger. One recent example was the story of Fabrice Muamba, and the doctor who came to his rescue. On March 18, Fabrice Muamba, who plays


US Supreme Court Reconsiders Citizens United Ruling

A Montana Supreme Court ruling will force the United States Supreme Court (SCOTUS) to reconsider their highly controversial Citizens United ruling. The Citizens United ruling allows corporations or sponsors to spend unlimited amounts of money on campaigns in support of a political candidate of their choice, and thus ensuring the candidate’s allegiance to their financier. The SCOTUS’s interpretation of our constitutional right to freedom of speech is at the heart of this decision. The SCOTUS agreed to hear a case that involves this familiar topic of campaign finance. The Montana Supreme Court ruled that Citizens United only applies to federal elections. Corporations in Montana were obviously unhappy that campaign financing is limited within their state. Montana has a century old tradition of limiting campaign expenditures. This case marks the first time that the Citizens United ruling will be tested. Supreme Court Justice Breyer commented that this Montana case will, “give


A Reflection on Citizens United Ruling

I have a few thoughts on the Citizens United decision. When I first began researching the decision I was torn on which side was “right”. On the one hand, you have the argument that the government should not and does not have the power to prohibit any form of political speech that advocates the election of a political candidate. On the other hand, there are concerns that elections will essentially be bought by corporate interests. To me, these two sides are both concerned with the same question. What does freedom mean? At first I questioned whether it would contradict the idea of a free nation if political speech were prohibited. Shouldn’t people (or the people in charge of corporate treasury money) be able to spend money on financing campaigns for the political candidate of their choice? Shouldn’t they be free to do so? I don’t mean to get too philosophical,


Secret Service Scandal Reignites Prostitution Legalization Debate

By Amy Y. An incident involving 11 Secret Service agents on a security detail in Cartagena, Colombia earlier this month has drawn worldwide attention for accusations of misconduct involving prostitutes.  The incident allegedly occurred when the agents brought prostitutes to a hotel while on a security detail in advance of President Obama’s trip for the Summit of the Americas.  Prostitution is legal in Colombia; however, the actions of the agents are not acceptable by Secret Service standards and are a breach of the agency’s conduct code.  So although no criminal violations are alleged in this case, the attention drawn to the Secret Service scandal has sparked increased debate over the issue of legalizing prostitution. Those in favor of legalizing prostitution believe it would reduce crime, improve health through required STD and HIV/AIDS testing, increase tax revenue, and get prostitutes off the streets. Proponents of legalization contend that prostitution is a


What a Waste of Money

By Raymond C. Taxes are terrible. Nobody likes paying them. In the United States, it is estimated that $400 billion to $500 billion dollars worth of taxes go uncollected per year due to evasion and non-compliance. Another $100 billion gets lost through offshore banking. Ouch. These are eye-popping figures and would certainly go a long way to help solves some of the budget problems we are currently dealing with. There is however one little problem, nobody seems to know how to deal with this problem of tax non-compliance. Here is a story that deserves some ridicule. On February 8th Harry Redknapp, the current coach for English soccer team Tottenham and Milan Mandaric, the owner of Sheffield Wednesday, were acquitted on charges of tax evasion after five years of investigation and court proceedings. The details of the case are pretty common for tax evasion trials; it involved a bank account in


Going Nuclear?

By Raymond C. On February 9th 2012, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission approved two new reactors at the Vogtle nuclear plant in Georgia. As controversies go, nuclear power plants are near the top of the list. This is especially so after an earthquake and tsunami caused a meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in Japan. This begs the obvious question, what is behind our commitment to this technology? Why are we messing with it? The answer, it seems, lies in our desire to become energy independent and to become more green. The United States is the second highest consumer of energy in the world, at 19 percent of world energy demand, only recently losing the title to China in 2011. We are also the highest consumers of oil, at 21 percent of global demand. To satisfy this thirst for energy, the United States imported 11.4 million barrels of petroleum per


Exonerated After Twenty-Five Years Behind Bars

By Marisa Winoker In 1987, Michael Morton was convicted of brutally murdering his wife and sentenced to life in prison.  Yet, after serving near twenty-five years behind bars, Morton has recently been released; DNA testing has proved that another man, an already convicted felon, is responsible for the murder. Morton is thankful that he was not on death row because it gave the Innocence Project “time to do their thing.”  The Innocence Project is “dedicated to proving the innocence of wrongly convicted people through the use of DNA testing, and to reforming the criminal justice systems to prevent future injustice.” After District Judge Sid Harle set Morton free, he stated: “You have my apologies . . . We do not have a perfect system of justice, but we have the best system of justice in the world.”  How could an apology ever justify the system’s inexcusable failure?  How could this apology ever make Morton whole


The Book of Mormon: The Good and The Bad of Religion

By S.S. The Book of Mormon is the new hit Broadway musical from the creators of the hit TV Show, South Park, Matt Stone and Trey Parker. The play is the story of two young Mormons who are sent together on their mission to Uganda, and hilarity ensues. The Book of Mormon won 9 awards at last year’s Tony Awards and has received overwhelmingly positive reviews. I have been lucky enough to see this wonderful play since it opened last year, twice. What you get with the Book of Mormon, after you take away all the jokes and cursing, is a lesson about the power of religion, how it can be used correctly, and how it can be used incorrectly. The Book of Mormon, to put it so crudely, is about one Mormon, Elder Price, learning that maybe everything he’s been told to believe his whole life isn’t true, and


Porgy and Bess

By D.G. “Summertime… and the livin’ is easy.” These are the opening lyrics to the Gershwin’s “Porgy and Bess.” After having watched it, I want my money back! I sat for two hours as the cast embodied stereotypical images of African-Americans all over the stage. Every possible stereotypical image of African-Americans you could imagine was there on the stage. And they suffered from hardships one assumes plagues all African-Americans: drug abuse, poverty, and violence. The story takes place in Catfish Row, a fictitious town in South Carolina.  It is a tale of an African-American woman who is torn between a host of men.  First, there’s Crown–her abusive and possessive lover, who commits murder in opening segments of the story. Then, there’s Porgy–a crippled beggar who falls in love with her and struggles to save her from her old ways. Porgy also resorts to murder later in the story.  And finally,


The Good Wife's Dig at Law

On April 22nd’s episode of “The Good Wife,” the characters of the firm Lockhart & Gardner are asked to represent a judge who is being investigated for misconduct during his days as a prosecutor. Specifically, he prosecuted a man for killing his wife, only to have DNA evidence exonerate the convicted murderer 22 years later. This episode was filled with scenes and dialogue exploiting the injustices of Chicago’s (and America’s) just legal system. For instance, the accused judge displays no remorse for his actions of prosecuting an innocent man. Rather, he explains his actions away as being what any prosecutor would do in the same situation with the same evidence. And, truthfully, he’s probably right. Moreover, Alicia Florrick (the show’s protagonist) and the other attorneys working on the case convince their client that the only way he is going to be able to get past the charges of judicial misconduct