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Increased Tuition for an Inferior Product: The University’s Guide to Not Caring

(Source) Imagine you decided to go to the dealership to buy yourself a brand-new car. After carefully researching the model and make of car and shopping around for a good deal, you finally decide to make the purchase. When the car gets delivered, you are excited to take it out for a drive, only to realize that the dealer has sent you a Vespa (an electric scooter). You complain to the dealer and they tell you to “make the best” out of a bad situation. You might think this is ridiculous, but it is in fact the experience of almost every university-enrolled student during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is a poorly-kept secret that tuition rates in the United States have risen at an alarming pace. In 1963, the average cost of attending college was $9,918 (adjusted for inflation), while in 2017, the average cost was $23,091. This precipitous increase has led students to borrow alarmingly high amounts and at increasing rates, resulting in a cumulative student loan debt teetering over $1.5 trillion. Today, students are leaving universities crippled by student loans and, in many cases, unable to pay them back. According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, 10.8% of [read more]

Patent Rights in a Pandemic: Does the Race for a Covid-19 Vaccine Mean Inequitable Access?

(Source)   The coronavirus pandemic has changed life as we know it. The world has come a long way since the initial outbreak, but the uncertainty surrounding a potential Covid-19 vaccine persists. Even with mounting uncertainty, the demand for a safe and effective vaccine continues to increase. The Food and Drug Administration’s approvals and authorizations for the Covid-19 vaccine are only some of the obstacles in this respect. Even if these approvals come through and a vaccine becomes marketable, there is no guarantee that the vaccine will be widely accessible. This is where intellectual property starts playing a crucial role in the distribution and affordability of a potentially successful vaccine. If this vaccine is patented, it would grant exclusive rights to the patent holder to exclude others from making, using, importing, and selling the patented innovation for the duration of the patent grant, within the boundaries of the United States. In the pharmaceutical industry, it is necessary to strike a balance between innovation  and the ethical implications of patents for human health. Patent protection is required to stimulate innovation and incentivize pharma companies given the extensive time and resources needed for the development of a new drug. This incentive is [read more]

The Issue Spotter Podcast, Episode 1: An Interview with Ankush Khardori

http://jlpp.org/blogzine/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/Interview-with-Ankush-Khardori-Final.mp3   (Image Source) Please Note: The following transcript has been edited for clarity and concision.  Christina Lee : Hello and welcome to The Issue Spotter podcast. My name is Christina Lee and I am the Senior Online Editor for the Journal of Law and Public Policy at Cornell. Today, we are really excited to welcome you to our first podcast ever, so welcome and thank you so much for tuning in. I’m going to turn it over to our Online Associate, Trevor Thompson, who will introduce our first guest. Thanks again. Trevor Thompson: Thanks, Christina. So, yeah, my name is Trevor Thompson and I’m a 2L here at Cornell Law and I’m very excited to get the podcast rolling for the Issue Spotter. Our guest today, who we’re very excited to have on, is Ankush Khardori. Ankush is an attorney and former federal prosecutor based in Washington, D.C. Until January of this year, he specialized in financial fraud and white-collar crime in the Fraud Section of the Criminal Division of the Justice Department. Before that, he worked at a law firm in New York City and clerked for a judge in the Southern District of New York. He has written on [read more]

Opresión en casa, rechazo en el extranjero: cómo la ley de inmigración de los Estados Unidos decepciona el ejército de batas blancas de Cuba

(Fuente) Introducción Desde febrero de 2020, más de 200,000 personas solo en los Estados Unidos han muerto con COVID-19. Los expertos estiman que más de un millón de personas han muerto con el virus en todo el mundo y, según la Organización Mundial de la Salud, una de cada diez en todo el mundo puede haber contraído el virus en algún momento. Mientras los Estados Unidos y el mundo luchan por recuperarse de los efectos catastróficos de la pandemia del coronavirus, los trabajadores de la salud se han ganado un nuevo sentido de respeto y aprecio, tanto en casa como en el extranjero. En el contexto de esta crisis internacional, y para sorpresa de muchos, un país en particular está ganando un nuevo reconocimiento por su subsidio y difusión de talentosos profesionales de la salud: la República de Cuba. Si bien la exportación de Cuba de un número aparentemente impresionante de médicos y enfermeras no es una novedad para la comunidad internacional, el reciente despliegue de estos trabajadores está atrayendo una atención significativa e, inevitablemente, suscitando algunas preguntas importantes. Específicamente, ¿es el encargo de profesionales de la salud una clase magistral de caridad internacional? ¿O hay algo más siniestro en [read more]

Oppression at Home, Rejection Abroad: How U.S. Immigration Law Disappoints Cuba’s White Coat Army

(Source) Introduction Since February of 2020, more than 200,000 people in the United States alone have died with COVID-19. Experts estimate over a million people have died with the virus worldwide and according to the World Health Organization, one in ten worldwide may have contracted the virus at some point. As the U.S. and the world struggle to recover from the catastrophic effects of the coronavirus pandemic, health care workers have earned a newfound sense of respect and appreciation, both at home and abroad. Against the backdrop of this international crisis, and to many a surprise, one country in particular is gaining newfound recognition for its subsidization and dissemination of talented health care professionals: The Republic of Cuba. While Cuba’s exportation of a seemingly impressive number of doctors and nurses is hardly news to the international community, the recent deployment of these workers is garnering significant attention and, inevitably, raising some salient questions. Specifically, is Cuba’s commissioning of health care professionals a master class in international charity? Or has something more wicked this way come? Unfortunately—and increasingly as seems to be the case in developments involving the Republic of Cuba—when it comes to the Pearl of the Antilles, the devil [read more]

One Person, No Vote: How Gerrymandering Will Steal Our Elections if We Don’t Stop It

(Source)   “I propose that we draw the maps to give a partisan advantage to 10 Republicans and 3 Democrats… I think electing Republicans is better than electing Democrats… so I drew this map to help foster what I think is better for the country.” This is an actual, real-life statement made by Representative David Lewis, a Republican member of the North Carolina General Assembly’s redistricting committee. And it wasn’t made at a political fundraiser or at a campaign rally—it was made at an official meeting of the North Carolina state legislature, a body that purports to put the voices of its constituents above its own partisan goals. Even more alarming than the statement itself is the fact that Representative David Lewis and his colleagues were able to do exactly what he proposed, and with the blessing of the U.S. Supreme Court. You may be thinking that Lewis’s statement is disturbing but that we have more important and urgent things to worry about—after all, we are only days away from the November election, and we need to focus all of our energies on getting our friends and family to turn out to vote. If we can do that, then the [read more]

The Cost of Congress Kicking the Can on DACA

(Source)   In 2012, the U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security established Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”) in an attempt to address the issue of deporting immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children, never received legal status, and have lived continuously in the U.S. since 2007. Since its implementation, around 800,000 individuals have benefitted from the program’s provision of employment authorization and temporary relief from deportation. Despite the benefits the program has provided, it does not provide qualified recipients with permanent legal status or a path to citizenship. Furthermore, the program’s administrative implementation and lack of legislative endorsement leave the future of DACA vulnerable to a piecemeal reduction of the program’s benefits through litigation or a complete rescission of the program by the executive branch. This current state of Congressional ambivalence harms DACA recipients and DACA-eligible young people, while also financially harming American communities, businesses, and academic institutions.   DACA Litigation On September 5, 2017, the Trump administration announced that it would rescind DACA, triggering a wave of lawsuits challenging the program’s validity. Parties opposing Trump’s decision to rescind DACA filed ten lawsuits, between January 2018 and June 2020, requesting preliminary injunctions that would require United States Citizenship [read more]

Native Nations & Rural America: An Unlikely Partnership?

(Source) Introduction In the wake of McGirt v. Oklahoma, Tribes across America celebrate the Supreme Court’s reaffirmation of tribal sovereignty and self-governance. In the landmark case, the Court held that the Muscogee Creek reservation had not been disestablished and that criminal jurisdiction remained with the Tribe and the federal government – not the state. This cause for celebration brings with it new economic pressures for Oklahoma Tribes. With criminal jurisdiction, a Tribe must have adequate infrastructure including courts, jails, employees for both, and additional resources related to criminal justice systems. The Court’s decision restored criminal jurisdiction to the Tribe for much of Eastern Oklahoma. The reservation spans over three million acres, and includes the state’s second largest city, Tulsa. Although criminal jurisdiction is limited by the Major Crimes Act, nearly 300,000 Native Americans live within the reservation. Cases involving Native American perpetrators of a crime on the reservation are now directed to the Tribe’s one district court, Okmulgee, where the court and the tribal services are located, is a forty-five minute drive from Tulsa, and an even further drive for individuals from towns at the edge of the reservation.  For successful application, the McGirt ruling demands funding and infrastructure that [read more]

Setting the Course for the Supreme Court: What to Do About the Court’s Politicization

(Source) Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a liberal icon, died on September 18, 2020, and the Supreme Court holds the national spotlight as Trump and the Senate prepare to appoint conservative Amy Coney Barrett to the Court. The public reacted immediately and intensely to Republicans’ decision to push a nominee through the Senate weeks before the election. Some lambasted Trump’s decision as “cynical and insulting to the millions of women who view the late Supreme Court justice as a feminist icon,” while some praised the decision as a “powerful, positive statement.” Much of this rhetoric around the current nomination process reveals, and exacerbates, intense partisan conflict. So, how did we arrive at such a polarized and politicized nomination process for the Supreme Court? Perhaps the Supreme Court never was the independent and high-minded institution we have imagined it was in the past. Rachel Shelden, a history professor at Penn State, points out that “[n]ineteeth-century Americans. . . understood that the Supreme Court would be [partisan],” and that “partisan fidelity — not legal ability — was the primary consideration in presidents’ Supreme Court appointments.” For instance, when John Adams lost to Thomas Jefferson in the 1800 presidential election, he politicized the court [read more]

It’s Time to Break Up Big Tech

(Source)   Introduction Amazon obtained a place in the popular psyche that has far surpassed its principal market function as an online retailer and entertainment provider. The conventional wisdom was that Amazon operated much like the major industrial powerhouses at the turn of the last century—standard oil, railroads, and steel—and thus warranted the same basic sort of legal treatment that its ancestor monopolies received. Perhaps the laws would have to be updated somewhat, but the idea was that Amazon had justly achieved its privileged position in society through free and fair competition in the marketplace. Jeff Bezos was predestined to be next in the line of a venerable lineage of American entrepreneurs whose spiritedness and ingenuity entitled them the rarefied perches they occupy in public life. In short, Bezos’s outsized influence in society today, a consequence of his unprecedented wealth (now upwards of two hundred billion dollars), has enabled him to lobby lawmakers for exceptionally lenient policies—skirting oversight of his company’s adverse working conditions and slyly evading a number of pesky environmental issues—for a handsome return payment deposited in the coffers of both Democratic and Republican lawmakers.  From one point of view, to deny Bezos of his wealth and fame [read more]