Issue Archives

There are currently over a million people enslaved in the United States. Under threat of horrendous punishment, they cook, clean, and even fight fires. They do this not in the shadow of the law but with the express blessing of the Thirteenth Amendment’s Except Clause, which permits enslavement and involuntary servitude as punishment for a crime.

Despite discussions of this exception in law reviews, news reports, and Netflix documentaries,...

Imagine the Supreme Court issuing an emergency order that signals interest in departing from precedent, as if foreshadowing a change in the law. Seeing this, should the lower courts start ruling in ways that also anticipate the law of the future? They need not do so in their merits rulings. That much is clear. Such a signal does not create new binding precedent. Rather, it reflects the Justices’ guess about the future of the law—and what if...

In criminal proceedings, courts are increasingly relying on automated decisionmaking tools that purport to measure the likelihood that a defendant will reoffend. But these technologies come with considerable risk; when trained on datasets or features that incorporate bias, criminal legal algorithms threaten to replicate discriminatory outcomes and produce overly punitive bail, sentencing, and incarceration decisions. Because regulators have failed...

The Colorado River Basin is drying up, and with it, the water supply of seven states in the American West. Historically, the West relied on consumption-based laws to fuel development despite the arid landscape. The Colorado River Compact allocated water among the states, but those allocations suffered from two basic flaws: (1) The agreed-upon water flow of the river was based on a particularly wet season in the region, and (2) the Compact was not...

In a historical moment defined by massive economic and political inequality, legal scholars are exploring ways that law can contribute to the project of building a more equal society. Central to this effort is the attempt to design laws that enable the poor and working class to organize and build power with which they can countervail the influence of corporations and the wealthy. Previous work has identified ways in which law can, in fact, enable...

Integration has long been a central tenet of U.S. disability law. In both doctrine and scholarship, however, disability integration has been understood to operate in only one direction: integrating disabled persons into mainstream society. This conventional approach has overlooked a different model, inverse integration, whereby nondisabled persons enter or participate in disability-focused settings or activities. As this Article demonstrates, inverse...

Social Security is funded by a regressive tax in which wages below the wage cap ($160,200 in 2023) are taxed at a flat rate but wages above the cap are taxed at zero. To address this normative shortcoming and make Social Security progressive, this Piece proposes eliminating the wage cap and using the resulting additional revenue to fund a zero-rate Social Security tax bracket analogous to the standard deduction of the federal income tax.

IRS...

CORPORATE RACIAL RESPONSIBILITY

Gina-Gail S. Fletcher* & H. Timothy Lovelace, Jr.**

The 2020 mass protests in response to the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor had a significant impact on American corporations. Several large public companies pledged an estimated $50 billion to advancing racial equity and committed to various initiatives to internally improve diversity, equity, and inclusion. While many applauded corporations’ willingness to engage with racial issues, some considered it further evidence of corporate capitulation...

This Note addresses the ever-growing series of privacy laws being enacted throughout the United States and the danger that the “opt-out” data collection system poses to many populations. There is a disparity in the level of “digital literacy” throughout the United States, and as more consumer data privacy laws emerge and continue to replicate the existing legislation, that disparity deepens.

Patterns among who does and who does not...

CONGRESS’S UNTAPPED AUTHORITY TO CERTIFY U VISAS

Elora Mukherjee,* Fatma Marouf** & Sabrineh Ardalan***

A crucial path to legal status for immigrant victims of crimes is the U visa, which Congress established with strong bipartisan support to protect victims of particular crimes who are helpful to law enforcement. Because the U visa was intended to encourage reporting of crimes, the application requires a certification form to be completed by a federal, state, or local authority that is investigating or prosecuting the alleged offense. Arbitrary...