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Volume 73, Issue 5


The Sovereign in Commerce

by  Kate Sablosky Elengold & Jonathan D. Glater

The federal government is increasingly a commercial actor, providing retail services directly through its own agencies and indirectly through private-sector contractors. Government involvement with and in the private sector is intended to capitalize on the expertise and efficiency of businesses, benefit taxpayers, and promote public ends. Yet this involvement also confers advantages that benefit the…


Law, Land Use, and
Groundwater Recharge

by  Dave Owen

Groundwater is one of the world’s most important natural resources, and its importance will increase as climate change continues and the human population grows. But groundwater management has traditionally been governed by lax and uneven legal regimes. To the extent those regimes exist, they tend to focus on the extraction of groundwater rather than the…


Reviewing Extraditions to Torture

by  Nitisha Baronia

In 1990, the United States ratified the Convention Against Torture (CAT), codifying a global commitment to refrain from transferring any person to a country where she may face torture. While the United States has steadfastly implemented the convention’s prohibition on deportations that result in foreign torture, American courts have failed to enforce CAT in cases…


Trading Power

Tariffs and the Nondelegation Doctrine
by  Cameron Silverberg

President Trump launched a global trade war when he imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum imports in early 2018. The President’s authority for imposing these tariffs came from an exceedingly vague statutory provision, section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, which allows the executive branch to tax or block imports that “threaten to…

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Recent Online Essays

Race, School Policing, and Public Health

The central claim of this Essay is that school policing is an obvious public health issue. It sits at the nexus of two critical social determinants of health—education and racism—and requires targeted attention as such. Understanding school policing as a public health issue has significant potential benefits and practical implications, especially for the antiracist health-equity movement.

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The Mark of Policing

Race and Criminal Records

This Essay argues that racial reckoning in policing should include a racial reckoning in the use of criminal records. Arrests alone—regardless of whether they result in convictions—create criminal records. This Essay employs the sociological framework of marking to show how criminal records entrench racial inequality stemming from policing.

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Law and Order as the Foundational
Paradox of the Trump Presidency

This Essay scrutinizes the feuding between the Trump White House and various federal law enforcement agencies, concurrent with criminal lawbreaking in the Trump Administration, in an effort to extend scholarly understanding of the relationship between law-and-order politics and popular regard for rule-of-law principles.

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To ‘Defund’ the Police

Much public debate circles around grassroots activists’ demand to “defund the police,” raised in public consciousness in the summer of 2020. Yet confusion about the demand is pervasive. This Essay adopts a literal interpretation of “defund” to clarify and distinguish four alternative, substantive policy positions that legal reforms related to police funding can validate. It argues that the policy debates between these positions exist on top of the ideological critique launched by grassroots activists, who use the term “defund the police” as a discursive tactic to make visible deeper transformations in government practices that normalize the structural marginalization of black people enforced through criminal law.

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Medical Civil Rights as a Site of Activism

A Reply to Critics

Many continue to diagnose civil rights problems and their solutions using medical frames. Are these policymakers, backed by activists, wrong to do so? The answer, according to legal scholarship that has explicitly considered the question, seems to be yes. While the legal scholarship has emphasized the harms of using medical discourse, it has not explicitly considered its benefits across social movements—and there are several. Rather than suggest that these activists have miscalculated, this Reply seeks to understand why activists and policymakers have deployed medical frames. Further, recognizing that medical discourse and the rights—and burdens—it produces are malleable, this Reply seeks to explore ways in which to further its social justice possibilities.

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