The Obamacare Website Debacle – What it Tells us About the Affordable Healthcare Act

By Y.R. October has been a pretty wild month in Washington D.C.  The month kicked off with a 16 day shutdown of the Federal Government, a shutdown that soured the country’s already dim view of the Federal Government.  The shutdown was born out of the GOP’s desire to defund or at least delay The Affordable Care Act/Obamacare.  The shutdown ended with the House Republicans essentially folding their overplayed hand and receiving no concessions regarding their Obamacare agenda. While no politician came out of the shutdown smelling like a rose, it seemed that one takeaway from the weeks of the standoff was that Obamacare was here to stay . . . and then people tried to sign up with the website. The website, Healthcare.gov, went live on October 1st and the launch has been an epic disaster. It is undeniable that critics of Obamacare were eager to find any flaws they could with the new legislation, but it is equally undeniable that some severe


Philip Chism And The Difficulty Of Convicting Minors

by B.R. People can be absolutely disgusting. My significant other began teaching in a public high school the same week that Philip Chism allegedly slashed 24-year-old teacher, Colleen Ritzer, to death with a box cutter he stole from his art class. What Chism is accused of doing is absolutely disgusting.  As far as I am concerned, there is no coming back for Chism.  It doesn’t matter to me that he is 14.  Nothing lessens his crime.  His actions, if true, violated the sanctity of a school building, abused the trust of the school’s teachers and faculty, and stoked an argument for teachers to be armed with lethal weapons. I remember my teachers putting on TV coverage of the 1999 Columbine High School massacre in fifth grade.  I remember not being able to understand what those children in Colorado did.  It was shocking.  Otherworldly. This week’s tragedy left me wondering if post-Columbine


New Fashion Model Laws: A Small Step In The Right Direction

by S.R. The fashion industry has been under a lot of scrutiny for allowing teens to work lengthy hours in harsh conditions, far beyond what is acceptable in other industries due to child labor laws. Yet, recently Mario Cuomo decided to take a stand in New York, which is largely the epicenter of the fashion industry in the United States, and host to renowned events such as New York Fashion Week. The piece of legislation he signed into effect last week officially recognizes fashion models under the age of 18 as child performers. The bill requires employers to provide on-site nurses to ensure the models are healthy, chaperones, and additionally places limits on how many hours a young girl can work, how late they can work, and how often they can be used. Sanctions for violating this law will first start with fines in increasing amounts, but after the third


Tolerance of Global Terrorism and the Aftermath of Danny Pearl

by J.O. What is it about the American psyche that enables global terrorism –the character of which offends every rudimentary notion of morality- to become tolerated in public discourse? I find myself turning to our government’s progressive guarantee of transcendence within our borders. Under the Obama administration our government has fought to eliminate the application of old categories such as race, economic classes, left, right, blue and red. And in these matters, the transcendence offered is genuinely honorable. Unfortunately, not everything is so fittingly susceptible to transcendence, and we must be careful not to lull ourselves into thinking this logic is the way of the world.  Radical Islamists will not be less dangerous by being contextualized with threats such as global warming or Eric Snowden. Nor will Iran be dissuaded from using nuclear weapons because President Obama has restored a sense of national security we have so quickly cozied up


Recap: “A Mighty Heart” with Daniel Jonah Goldhagen and Bret Stephens

by K.G. When the Daniel Pearl abduction and murder occurred some 11 years ago, it seemed so wrapped up in the post-9/11 amalgam of terribleness that I failed to consider the incident on its own terms. Pearl was no fanatical Anti-Muslim/Pro-America openly Zionist journalist.  He was a citizen of the world, a fact that makes his murder that much more difficult to swallow.  In A Mighty Heart, Pearl is depicted as polite and decent; the type of person who would ask an ordinary taxi driver about his family and children.  Pearl’s journalism was fair and non-judgmental; his cultural pieces display extreme acceptance, and his articles on the violence in the Middle East post-9/11 were unbiased (he exposed the mistaken bombing of a pharmaceutical plant by the United States). Why would the terrorists target someone whose objectives were so plainly good-willed? The obvious answer is that Daniel Pearl was Jewish, and


Recap: “The Exonerated” with Susan Sarandon, Bob Balaban, & Sunny Jacobs

by S.H. and M.M As law students, we read casebooks. A nauseatingly endless array of red, grey and blue casebooks cross our desks over the course of three years. We memorize law and repetively apply them to fact patterns in preparation for the almighty semester-end exam. There are names in the cases, but they are inconsequential. The legal rules matter. The individuals who went to prison or were sentenced to death do not. Or so we are taught. The Exonerated is a film based on the transcripts and interviews of six death row inmates who were wrongfully imprisoned and later exonerated based on DNA evidence. The film was refreshing because it focused on the human element in law. The personal stories came first. The law came second. We were lucky enough to have one of the wrongfully imprisoned as a speaker following the film. Sunny Jacobs was sentenced to death


Moral Justice and Revenge in “The Godfather”

by T.S. When most think of the classic Francis Ford Coppola film, The Godfather, images of violence and the Italian mafia most likely come to mind.  Yet, the film contains an important moral undertone if one can look past the gore.  The film opens with the undertaker, Bonasera, asking the Godfather to avenge the violence committed against his daughter.  The daughter was badly beaten by two men after she refused to engage in sexual activity.  Despite going through the legal process, the American justice system fails Bonasera and his daughter when the two men are released on a suspended sentence. Here, the audience sees the juxtaposition of legal justice and moral justice.  Legal justice tells us that we must bring our grievances to the court and accept the outcomes of a trial.  Additionally, legal justice removes the emotion from a situation and does not allow for vengeance.  Moral justice, however,


CISPA Is Back. This Time, It’s Personal…Data.

by J.R. The much maligned, privacy killing, legislative boogeyman AKA CISPA (not to be confused with the equally hated SOPA) is back on the congressional docket. The purpose of the bill is to increase information sharing between private companies and government entities in order to quickly identify cyber threats and deal with them accordingly. The bill was already defeated once this year, back in the spring, after public outcry over the proposed legislation’s apparent trampling of the modicum of  privacy left on the internet – personal data.  When CISPA the first was introduced, the public was outraged that the proposed legislation seemingly granted government entities the power to indiscriminately pull protected user data from private companies in the name of protecting the homeland (cue Claire Danes cry face).  For the majority of Americans the bill went too far; internet junkies and privacy advocates gave the bill a very public de-pantsing


“Godfather Screening” Featured by New York Times

The Forum is proud to announce that Sunday’s showing of The Godfather and post-screening discussion with Larry King and Mario Cuomo (veritable godfathers in their own right) is the subject of a recap in today’s New York Times. Writing in the N.Y./Region section, Sam Roberts discussed the former governor’s longstanding boycott of the 1972 Francis Ford Coppola classic and his firm position that the film perpetuated Italian stereotypes. All that changed on Sunday, of course, when Mr. Cuomo sat down with Forum director Thane Rosenbaum and Larry King at Fordham Law’s McNally Amphitheater. As Sam Roberts points out: Mr. Cuomo’s change of heart was spurred by the 2013 Forum Film Festival at the Forum on Law, Culture and Society at Fordham Law School, when he accepted an offer long refused. We would like to thank all Forum members who came out on Sunday to watch the film, and to especially thank Larry King


Recap: “Betrayed” with Debra Winger, Arliss Howard, and William H. Webster

by A. M. A few quick thoughts right off the bat: the Time Warner Center screening room is as elegant a   venue for moviegoing you will find in New York City.  I wish my local theater in Chelsea was that nice.  A truly great place to see a film.  Second, Debra Winger (in addition to starring in the film) brought a sharp wit that kept the post-screening discussion insightful, humorous, and engaging. Her rapport with Judge William H. Webster was remarkable considering their seemingly opposite backgrounds. Throughout the discussion Arliss Howard provided a unique perspective on how counterintelligence films are adapted to the big screen, speaking from the experience of being involved in Rubicon and The Man Who Captured Eichmann. Betrayed tells the story of an undercover FBI agent (Debra Winger) assigned to investigate the white-power movement in the American midwest after a Jewish talk-radio host is brutally murdered. The assignment gets