Category Archives: Current Events

Rethinking Death Penalty Reform: The Case Against Death-qualified Juries

By Anonymous Associate Editor

Since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty through Gregg in 1976, racial bias has continued to pervade its administration.[1] 34.5% of defendants executed have been Black and 55.6% have been white,[2] despite the fact that only 13.3% of people in the U.S. identify as Black, while 77.1% identify as white.[3]  I consider myself an abolitionist regarding the death penalty, as I do not think that it is justified for the state to kill a citizen in any circumstance. However, given these alarming statistics and the dire situation they illuminate, I find that efforts to reform the capital process to reduce racial disparity are also worthwhile. Reformers would do well to focus on the elimination of the death qualification process, as well as Eighth Amendment and Batson challenges to the death penalty. Continue reading

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Trump’s Travel Ban: Is There a Way Out?

By Rita Samaan Associate Editor, Vol. 22 In the wake of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision to block President Trump’s Executive Order 13769 (“Executive Order”), the President vowed to issue “a new executive action . . . that … Continue reading

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The Continuing Significance of the Non-Unanimous Jury Verdict and the Plantation Prison

By Madeleine Jennings  Associate Editor, Vol. 22 In 1934, Oregon voters amended their Constitution to allow for non-unanimous jury verdicts in all non-first degree murder and non-capital cases.[1] The Louisiana Constitution requires unanimity only in capital cases.[2] Grounded in xenophobia and … Continue reading

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Imposition of Identity: Trump’s Immigration Order and the Racialization of Islam

By Asma Husain Associate Editor, Vol. 22 On January 27 of this year, newly-inaugurated President Trump issued an executive order temporarily immigration from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya, and Yemen pending a report from the Department of Homeland Security, to … Continue reading

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Supreme Court Considers Limits of Racial Gerrymandering

By Marcus Baldori Associate Editor, Vol. 22 In the coming months, the Supreme Court is expected to clarify its stance on the legal boundaries of racial gerrymandering. In December 2016 the Supreme Court heard oral arguments for Bethune-Hill v. Virginia State … Continue reading

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Civil Rights Enforcement in the Trump Era

By Ali Boyd Associate Editor, Vol. 22 Online Publications Editor, Vol. 23 In the wake of President Trump’s recent inauguration, millions of people across the world came out in protest of his rhetoric and policy agenda.[1]  The day after the inauguration, the Women’s … Continue reading

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Deterrence and Democracy: Election Law After Preclearance

By Asma Husain Associate Editor, Vol. 22 In 2013, Chief Justice Roberts delivered the Court’s opinion in Shelby County v. Holder, which struck down key provisions of the Voting Rights Act. Considered the crown jewel of the Civil Rights Movement, the … Continue reading

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Betsy DeVos, School Choice, and the Resegregation of American Public Schools

By Laura Page Associate Editor, Vol. 22 The Senate confirmation hearing of Betsy DeVos, the President’s nominee for Secretary of Education, was one of the most contentious and heated in recent history.[1]  Critics contend that the billionaire Republican donor has no … Continue reading

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Reflecting on Race Relations: Thanks Obama

By Marcus Baldori Associate Editor, Vol. 22 In 2008, it was an open question of how race relations would unfold under America’s first Black president. Eight years later, polling shows that 54% of Americans think race relations between Whites and Blacks have gotten … Continue reading

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Presidential Election 2016: Why Democrats’ Frustration with Shelby County May Be Misdirected

By Ali Boyd Associate Editor, Vol. 22 In the midst of a nationwide battle for civil rights, President Lyndon B. Johnson called on Congress to create one of the most expansive protections of voting rights ever seen.  The result, the Voting … Continue reading

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