Congress

Marking the End of Forced Arbitration in Sexual Misconduct Cases

                                                                                                             (Source)            On February 10, 2022, the U.S. Senate passed the “Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act of 2021.” This bipartisan bill seeks to amend the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”) to make it easier for victims of sexual misconduct to litigate their legal claims in court instead of being forced to arbitrate. The bill invalidates and renders unenforceable pre-dispute arbitration agreements in cases involving sexual assault or sexual harassment. It fixes the ‘broken system’ by barring businesses and employers from using forced arbitration clauses in employment contracts to silence the victims of workplace sexual misconduct. The Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”) applies to employment contracts except those involving employees working in interstate transportation. Section 2 of the FAA states that written agreements to arbitrate “shall be valid, irrevocable, and enforceable, save upon such grounds as exist at law or [read more]

Why is tuition rising and what can we do about it?

                                                                                                          (Source) Tuition is rising at an extraordinary rate. Over the past 20 years, the average tuition and fees have increased by 144% at private universities, and by over 170% at public universities. Over the same period, inflation has only increased by 54%. This phenomenon is not happening due to a single factor. While many theories try to explain how this phenomenon arose, I will explore some of the predominant ones, and then discuss some ways we can try to solve the issue of rising tuitions. The first theory stems from the Bennett Hypothesis. The idea is that the more money students can borrow, the more colleges are able to charge. Currently, the government can give students federal loans up to the cost of attendance.  Since students can borrow up to whatever the cost of attendance is, there is much less demand elasticity due to the price. Thus, [read more]

I See You, Survivor: A Call to Dismantle the Troubled Teen Industry

(Source) The “Troubled Teen” Industry is composed of various Congregate Care Facilities or Congregate Care Programs (CCFs/CCPs) that claim to provide housing and treatment for teens displaying “troubled” behaviors such as addiction, eating disorders, low self-esteem, general disobedience, and at times even targeting sexual orientation and gender identity. These facilities are often privately run by various companies, nonprofits as well as faith-based organizations. There are anywhere from 120,000–200,000 teens estimated to be currently enrolled in these CCF/CCPs. Despite the deceptively benign intentions behind the programs, the experiences of the youth forced into these programs are often anything but pleasant.  These programs often limit and manipulate communication between parents and their children, inflicting a form of punishment known as “Code Silence.” This punishment isolates the child not only from contacting their loved ones at home but also isolates them from others residing at the program by not allowing them to speak. The Breaking Code Silence movement is meant to counter the indoctrinated command to remain silent and urges victims to speak out. Social media has long been used as a means of political activism, so it was no surprise when victims of the “Troubled Teen” Industry took to the social media [read more]

Reforming Stock Trading Inside the Beltway

(Source) Insider trading carries with it the possibility of civil and criminal penalties for members of the general public. Yet, members of Congress have enjoyed freedom from punishment for engaging in the misappropriation of information they receive in the service of their jobs. The complex history of securities law is built upon case law which has failed to reach congresspersons due to the lack of a binding fiduciary obligation between them and the general public. The existing structure of representation—where legislators are expected to act in the best interest of their constituents—is irrelevant in the application of insider trading law to members of Congress. In order for there to be a binding obligation to refrain from engaging in insider trading, there must first exist a fiduciary duty between a trader and a communicator of material, nonpublic information. In the case of members of Congress, that relationship does not exist since their duties to the American people are based on representation as opposed to a fiduciary obligation.  This glaring loophole left open by case law has allowed some members of Congress to outperform the market, the general public and even some hedge fund managers for decades. This, along with the fact [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]

A Rushed Effort to Initiate Tax Legislation

On Wednesday, September 27, 2017, the White House and Congressional Republicans revealed a new tax plan. Obtained and reported by the Washington Post, Congress released a nine-page document titled, “Unified Framework for Fixing Our Broken Tax Code,” which summarizes the proposed tax code reformations. With this tax plan, President Trump expects to bring “revolutionary change” to the United States, especially to the middle class and American businesses. One of the single greatest revisions that Congress’ plan proposes is the transition of the U.S. from a worldwide to a territorial based tax system. That is, the United States would depart from its position to tax U.S. citizens and corporations on worldwide income. To better explain how the current worldwide tax system works, here is an example. Currently, a U.S. Corporation that receives a dividend from a foreign corporation will be taxed both in that foreign country and by the U.S. Under this worldwide system, a U.S. corporation is allowed to credit a portion of the foreign corporate income tax, or, “deemed to have paid” a portion of the foreign income tax, if the U.S. corporation owns at least 10% voting stock in the foreign corporation (S 902(A) of the Internal Revenue [read more]

Vaccine Torts and Bruesewitz v. Wyeth

Professors Jeff Van Detta and Joanna Apolinsky comment on Bruesewitz v. Wyeth, which ruled that federal law immunized vaccine-manufacturers from design-defect tort claims under state law. The Supreme Court cited Detta and Apolinsky's article "Rethinking Liability for Vaccine Injuries", published in the JLPP, in their holding. [read more]