Issues to Watch

Preventing Undue Burden on a Woman’s Right to Abortion: The Recent U.S. Supreme Court Decision that Echoes Legal Theories in Roe v. Wade


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Preventing Undue Burden on a Woman’s Right to Abortion: The Recent U.S. Supreme Court Decision that Echoes Legal Theories in Roe v. Wade

Eboni Mosley*

“Reproductive freedom is critical to a whole range of issues. If we can’t take charge of this most personal aspect of our lives, we can’t take care of anything. It should not be seen as a privilege or as a benefit, but a fundamental human right.”

– Faye Wattleton (first African-American and youngest person to be elected president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America)

On June 26, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court invalidated two provisions of Texas House Bill 2 because both unjustifiably made it more difficult for women within that state to get an abortion. Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstedt, 136 S. Ct. 2292, 2300 (2016); see also H.B. 2, 83d Leg., 2d Spec. Sess. (Tex. 2013). The first provision provides: “A physician performing or inducing an abortion . . . must, on the date the abortion is performed or induced, have active admitting privileges at a hospital that . . . is located not further than 30 miles from the location at which the abortion is performed or induced.” Hellerstedt, 136 S. Ct at 2300; H.B. 2 § 2 (codified at Tex. Health & Safety Code § 171.0031). The second provision provides: “[T]he minimum standards for an abortion facility must be equivalent to the minimum standards adopted under [the Texas Health and Safety Code section] for ambulatory surgical centers.” Hellerstedt, 136 S. Ct at 2300; H.B. 2 § 8 (codified at Tex. Health & Safety Code § 245.010(a)). In brief, the first provision makes it more challenging for doctors to qualify to perform abortions. The second provision, essentially, regulates abortion clinics as strictly as hospitals. Hellerstedt serves as a pivotal reminder to state legislatures that women’s access to abortion services cannot be unjustifiably restricted.

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Issues to Watch

The “Textalyzer”: A Violation of the Fourth Amendment or a Life Saving Device?


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The “Textalyzer”: A Violation of the Fourth Amendment or A Life Saving Device?

Marleigh Davis*

With distracted driving statistics revealing the large number of people who dangerously choose to use their cell phones while driving, the question arises of how many accidents occur because of this phenomenon and whether they could be prevented? New York’s legislature is attempting to take action to help end this common practice with a device called a “Textaylzer.” N.Y. Sen. S6325A, 2016 Leg., Sess. (N.Y. 2016). Road patrol officers would each have one of these devices which would be used to see if an individual in a car accident was using a phone at the time of the accident or immediately before it. See id. Is this device, however, constitutional after the Supreme Court held in 2014 that police officers need a warrant to search a phone? See Riley v. California, 134 S. Ct. 2473, 2495 (2014). Can this device be easily compared to the Breathalyzer that is used in the fight against drunk driving? Noah Feldman, Breathalyzers, Textalyzers and the Constitution, Bloomberg (Apr. 28, 2016, 11:56 AM), https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2016-04-28/breathalyzers-textalyzers-and-the-constitution.

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Recognizing the Workplace Rights of Student-Workers: Adapting Labor Law for the 21st Century


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Recognizing the Workplace Rights of Student-Workers: Adapting Labor Law for the 21st Century

William Suggs* 

For over eighty years, workers acting collectively to improve the terms and conditions of their employment have been protected by the National Labor Relations Act.  National Labor Relations Act, ch. 372, § 7, 49 Stat. 449 (1935) (current version at 29 U.S.C. § 151 (2012)).  This means that when workers get together and ask management to do things such as raise wages, improve workplace safety, or recognize a labor organization of their choosing, they are legally protected from retaliation.  Id.  In the decades following the Act’s implementation, membership in labor organizations skyrocketed, and—although union membership is currently at a historic low—workers today are seeking unions in traditionally union-free industries.  This includes writers at new media companies, interns, and even college athletes.  See Jonathan Timm, Can Millennials Save Unions?, Atlantic (Sept. 7, 2015), http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2015/09/millennials-unions/401918/.

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Private Intelligence Contracting in Syria: Can the Department of Defense Outsource Intelligence Analysis?


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Private Intelligence Contracting in Syria:  Can the Department of Defense Outsource Intelligence Analysis?

Janet Franklin*

By allowing contractors to perform intelligence gathering and analysis, is the Department of Defense outsourcing “inherently governmental functions” in violation of the Federal Activities Inventory Reform (FAIR) Act of 1998?  This has long been a subject of debate.  Keric D. Clanahan, Wielding a “Very Long, People-Intensive Spear”:  Inherently Governmental Functions and the Role of Contractors in U.S. Department of Defense Unmanned Aircraft Systems Missions, 70 A.F. L. Rev. 119, 173 (2013).  Compare Walter Pincus, Increase in Contracting Intelligence Jobs Raises Concerns, Wash. Post (Mar. 20, 2006), http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/03/19/AR2006031900978.html (criticizing the outsourcing of intelligence and interrogation activities to private contractors), with Daniel Gouré, Washington Post Series Criticizing Intelligence Contractors Is Short on Evidence, Lexington Inst. (July 20, 2010), http://lexingtoninstitute.org/washington-post-series-criticizing-intelligence-contractors-is-short-on-evidence (arguing that outsourcing intelligence activities is both cost-effective and legal).  With the Department of Defense’s July 2016 announcement that it has awarded a contract to Six3 Intelligence Solutions, Inc. for intelligence analysis services in Syria, this debate will likely be rekindled.  See U.S. Dep’t of Def., Release No. CR-143-16 (July 27, 2016), http://www.defense.gov/News/Contracts/Contract-View/Article/873473; David Choi, The US Is Hiring Military Contractors for Operations in Syria, Bus. Insider (Aug. 9, 2016, 9:03 PM), http://www.businessinsider.com/us-military-contractors-operations-syria-2016-8.  May contractors perform intelligence analysis, and if so, what limitations apply?

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Issues to Watch

MARYLAND’S JUSTICE REINVESTMENT ACT: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW


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Maryland’s Justice Reinvestment Act: What You Need to Know

Brett Smoot*

On May 19, 2016, Governor Larry Hogan signed the Justice Reinvestment Act (JRA) into law.  Proponents of the JRA believe that the Act represents a progressive and necessary step in reforming the state’s criminal justice system.  However, the JRA also represents the largest and most comprehensive criminal justice reform to pass in a generation.  This raises several questions.  What issues caused this legislation to be passed?  What exactly does the JRA do?  What are some of the potential flaws in the Act?  For anyone involved in Maryland’s criminal justice system, the answers to these questions are pertinent.

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