Where Is The Moral Justice In Crimea?

by I.S. From a legal and political standpoint the decision to annex Crimea was simply outrageous, to quite literally the entire world.  However, what happens when we start to consider the desires of the people who actually live in Crimea.  The people, who voted, had a referendum and came out on the other side.  The ones who speak Russian, live their lives as ethnic Russians, but have not historically, since the separation, been part of the Russian Federation.  Is the world, purely from a legal and political standpoint allowed to say, no you cannot be part of the country you ethnically and culturally feel most at home.  You speak the same language, you share cultural traditions, but because the rest of the world says so, you cannot join the rest of your “tribe.” Should it matter to us at all that the great majority of the people outraged by this


Death of the Student Athlete: The NCAA and Northwestern University Football’s Union

by S.S. On March 26, 2014, the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) in Chicago granted Northwestern University football players the right to unionize (a monumental ruling that could drastically alter the institution of college athletics as we know them today.  In short, this decision grants the Northwestern football players the right to vote on whether they want to be represented by the College Athletes Players Association (“CAPA”), who initiated this action with support from the United Steelworkers Union.  The most profound part of this decision by NLRB Regional Director Peter Ohr is his conclusion that: “players receiving scholarships to perform football-related services for the Employer under a contract for hire in return for compensation are subject to the Employer’s control and are therefore employees [under NLRA § 2(3)]…”.  This characterization of NCAA athletes as employees has the potential to shatter the entire foundation of American college athletics—the idea (or myth)


Does Free Speech Apply to Sperm?

by K.S. A custody battle in California over a child conceived through artificial insemination has become a controversial First Amendment debate.  Jason Patric, a Hollywood actor, and his ex-girlfriend, Danielle Schreiber, are engaged in a custody fight over their four-year-old son, Gus.   California law dictates that the mother of the child will receive full custody unless parental rights are established in writing before conception through artificial insemination. As part of his campaign to obtain custody of Gus, Patric created the organization Stand Up for Gus to raise awareness of parental alienation for fathers in similar situations.  Patric has used Gus’s name and likeness as part of the promotional campaign surrounding Stand Up for Gus.  Schreiber subsequently sued Patric, allegedly that Patric is exploiting Gus for his own fame and using the media to garner support for his case.  At stake in the lawsuit is an injunction that would bar Patric


Outlawing Death

by C.K.   I have been unable to see anything in capital punishment but a penalty the imagination could not endure, and a lazy disorder that my reason condemned. —Albert Camus, Reflections on the Guillotine   Due to the seemingly unwavering string of acts of extreme violence in America, there has been a resurgence in public debate about capital punishment. It’s always surprising to hear the alacrity of condemnation coming from the mounts of so many of my compatriots.  They make it seem like the death penalty is the only rational end to dealing with a mass murderer. Can that be so? After intently absorbing, in person, through the media, off the written page, the arguments of many pro-capital punishment claimants, I struggled to find anything convincing in the conclusions that they reached. Let’s first tally the three most common arguments that repeatedly came from the mouths and the minds of death


Examining The Effects Of Michigan’s Insurance Laws On Abortions

by R.S. In March 2014, the State of Michigan passed a law prohibiting insurance companies from covering abortion services unless customers purchase “riders” to their plans ahead of time.  Effectively, this law (termed the “Rape Insurance Law” by local Democrats) will make it illegal for insurance companies to provide coverage for abortion procedures on regular medical coverage plans.  To get coverage, women will have to sign a separate rider, and pay extra for the added insurance.  And these rules will apply even in the event that the woman is seeking to abort a pregnancy caused by rape or incest (hence the nickname), or out of a threat to her life or health.  But perhaps most alarmingly, coverage will only be available through employer-based insurance plans.  Meaning, women who buy their own individual policies cannot purchase the abortion rider, and must bear the full financial burden of any abortion procedures on


The Legal Claims From MH Flight 370

by T.S. After the tragic disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, many have wondered if the families of the victims have any legal recourse.  Under the Montreal Convention, an agreement governing international air carriers, airlines must pay the relatives of each victim $150,000 to $175,000 in the event of a fatal accident.   According to Article 21(2) of the Convention, an airline is liable for a plaintiff’s damages unless the airline can prove that it was without fault or the accident was caused solely by a third party. It is likely that the victims’ families will prevail under the Convention as Malaysia Airlines will have difficulty proving that the airline was not negligent considering that two of the passengers used stolen passports to board the plane.  Additionally, many experts have suspected that a catastrophic mechanical failure or fire caused the plane to fail.  Thus, Boeing Co., the manufacturer of Flight 370’s aircraft,


Rediscovery Of Stolen Art Raises Legal, Moral Questions

by G.S. Even when we don’t repeat history, we live in its wake.  Recently, the discovery of over 500 pieces of artwork in the home of an heir of a Nazi-era art dealer has incited discussion of not only ownership, but on a visceral level, guilt.  Cornelius Gurlitt, the owner of the pieces, has captured the media’s attention under suspicions that the artwork was obtained by theft or through sale under duress during Mr. Gurlitt’s father’s tenure as a buyer of artwork for Hitler and ultimately the Führermuseum. The response to these allegations has been one of judgment and for many a call to action.  The intuitive response is that the artwork no more belongs in Mr. Gurlitt’s hands than it did in the hands of the man who commissioned the acquisition.  However, even as I write these words, the question remains, where do right, wrong, and legal intersect? As


The Diamond Parting Gift

by A.S. This weeks’ Internet lesson: Texting can be expensive! In July 2012, Louis J. Billittier Jr. broke up with his fiancé over text message. The jilted bride-to-be, Christa M. Clark, responded: “Your doing this through a text message????” to which Billittier replied: “Plus you get a $50,000 parting ring. Enough for a down payment on a house.” Those words proved decisive once Billittier sued his former fiancé for refusing return the nearly three carat, four-prong diamond engagement ring. In fact, those fateful words were enough to convince New York State Supreme Court Justice Russell P. Buscaglia that Billittier had relinquished his right to reclaim the ring, which was considered a “parting gift” that was not contingent on marriage. According to The Buffalo News, “[t]he state’s established law normally sides with would-be grooms. They have a legal right to claim the ring back if there is no marriage, even if


I Got 99 Problems And Student Debt Is One

by J.R. A recent report shows that Americans owe more than $1 trillion dollars in student loans.  A big chunk of that change surprisingly comes from…you guessed it, graduate school students.  During the 2012-2013 school year, despite only making up around 17.5% of all students in higher ed., graduate school students such as the JDs, the MDs, the PhDs, the MBAs were accountable for 41% of all federal borrowing!  That is more than double their share of the pie. This percentage reflects the stark realities that not only are graduate school tuitions staggeringly expensive but schools also do not provide sufficient scholarships and grants for graduate programs. Add to that cost of living and textbooks and you are easily left with a six-figure range deep in the red (for reference, I can provide that Fordham Law school’s estimated cost of attendance is $77,722 per each of the three years, which


NFL Offseason Puts Players And Gang Activites in Spotlight

by B.N. Recently star football player, DeSean Jackson, was released by his former team, the Philadelphia Eagles, for having alleged “gang ties.” In a sport where contracts are not guaranteed, (meaning a team can cut a player at any time and not pay the remainder of his contract) commentators around the sport have voiced concern that the Eagles used this reasoning as an excuse to cut DeSean and to rid the team of a salary and player they no longer wanted. While this seems to be the team’s rightful decision to make at first glance, it may also have a negative impact on the sports’ large African American population and other minorities throughout the sport. In the 2011 the NFL included an anti-discrimination policy to their latest collective bargaining agreement, in order to protect players from possible discrimination issues in addition to them having to follow federal and New York