The Parent Trap: Addressing the Legal Anomaly Blocking the Annulment of Same-Sex Adult Adoptions

(Source) The Supreme Court’s fateful decision in Obergefell v. Hodges will forever be an incredible achievement for the LGBTQ+ community. The landmark case declaring same-sex marriage legal across all 50 states celebrated its sixth anniversary this past June. Even still, with rampant discrimination, elevated homeless rates, and higher chances for sexual assault, the LGBTQ+ community has a tumultuous road ahead to achieve full equality. Simply granting the right to marry is not enough; as it stands, some gay couples are unable to access their constitutional right at all. This frustrating barrier finds its roots in a lack of legislation addressing the pre-Obergefell practice of adult adoption between gay partners.   Before the gay rights movement spearheaded successes like the Obergefell decision, LGBTQ+ couples had few means of acquiring legal status as a family. With limited options at hand, gay couples in the 1980s began to use adult adoption, in which one partner legally adopted the other, to ensure their partner’s inheritance, property, and hospital visitation rights. Unlike domestic partnerships, adult adoption allowed gay couples to achieve a “pseudo marriage” status, even if this meant that legally the couple would be considered parent and child. This was a common practice nationwide, especially [read more]

Easing H-1B Visa Cap for International Public Defenders: a Way to Resolve Current Shortage of Public Defenders

(Source) Although lack of funding, high caseloads, and shortage of attorneys are nothing new in America’s public defense system, the pandemic has worsened the problems to a new level.  As many courts in New England began to reopen after a long period of closure due to the pandemic, many public defenders were facing a large number of stacked up cases whose proceedings were suspended during court closure.  As a result, public defenders now bear much heavier workloads and many of them simply decided to leave the office or stop taking new cases due to the unbearable caseloads, leaving their co-workers even more work.  Such heavy workloads also endanger their clients’ deserved quality defense.  Each criminal case requires hours of legal research, investigation, and client correspondence.  A public defender working on too many cases cannot invest enough time in each case, and would therefore fail to provide quality defense for their clients.  At the same time, international students interested in becoming public defenders are discouraged from doing so due to difficulties obtaining a working visa in the US.  But there exists one solution to both problems: granting non-citizen public defenders’ exemption from the H-1B visa cap.  This solution may incentivize international [read more]

Addressing Voter Registration Disparity Between States: How States Can Induce Voter Registration by Following California’s Framework

(Source) I. Voter registration disparity and the effects of COVID-19 on voter registration The 2020 presidential election revealed a remarkable 168,310,000 registered voters. In comparison, the 2016 presidential election boasted 157,600,000 registered voters. The rise in registered voters is a promising trend because voter registration is directly tied to votes cast and an active electorate reflects fair governance. The increased registered voters in 2020 are even more impressive given the challenges that states faced with adapting to registering voters throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. However, while some states excelled in registering their citizens to vote, other states, like Wisconsin and Colorado, came short in raising voter registration rates.  The challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic coaxed California and six other states to adopt “all-mail voting” for 2020 election voters. California’s voter registration process allows citizens to register to vote online or mail. In a state where vote-by-mail is utilized, California’s voter registration and turnout rates are promising. In Orange County, California, lower-income and diverse voters saw a voter increase of 42% which comprised the majority of the rise in total California voters. Voter outreach groups credit the state’s decision to mail voter forms to registered voters for the increase in turnout. However, [read more]

The Great American Shopping Mall: Past, Present, and Future

(Source) The first shopping mall opened in 1956. From then on, the number of shopping malls grew exponentially each year. From 1970 to 2002, over 800 shopping malls were built in the United States. However, shopping mall growth began to stagnate in the 2000s. Various external factors were developing in the 2000s which may have played a role in the gradual decline of shopping malls, such as growing e-commerce, developers preferring open-air shopping centers, and competition with newer malls. This decline was exacerbated by the 2008 financial crisis. As consumers were struggling financially, retail sales declined. Department stores, which played a large role in bringing in consumers, began declaring bankruptcy and closing their stores. Landlords had trouble securing capital and refinancing debt. All of these factors led to many retail store bankruptcies and closures following the 2008 financial crisis, further propelling the decline of shopping malls. More recently, the COVID-19 pandemic has again put a significant strain on shopping malls. In March 2020, shopping malls were shut down and would not reopen for many months. For example, some shopping malls in New York were only beginning to partially open in July 2020.  E-commerce, which was already growing year-over-year, grew even [read more]

Stockholders Rejoice: The Changing Landscape of Section 220 of the Delaware General Corporation Law

(Source) Delaware is king of the corporate world. More than half of all publicly traded companies on U.S. stock exchanges, including two-thirds of the Fortune 500, are incorporated under Delaware law; more than 300,000 of these companies, including corporate behemoths such as Coca-Cola and Verizon, list the same building as their address of incorporation. Though there is a robust body of scholarship exploring whether Delaware will be ousted from its throne of corporate dominance, the nation’s second smallest state remains, and will likely remain for the foreseeable future, the destination of choice for the vast majority of businesses seeking to incorporate in the United States.  Delaware likely would not maintain its position of corporate dominance were it not for the internal affairs doctrine. The internal affairs doctrine mandates that the internal affairs of a corporation—such as the way that a corporation’s shareholders vote on its board of directors—be governed by the laws of the state in which a corporation is incorporated. The judges who interpret the Delaware General Corporation Law (“DGCL”), the statute that sets the rules of corporate governance for the hundreds of thousands of corporations who call Delaware home, thus serve as some of the nation’s preeminent regulators [read more]