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Author: dohers

Washington and Lee Law Review - dohers

Note

by Charisma Hunter

Policing Black bodies serves at the forefront of the American policing system. Black bodies are subject to everlasting surveillance through institutions and everyday occurrences. From relaxing in a Starbucks to exercising, Black bodies are deemed criminals, surveilled, profiled, and subjected to perpetual implicit bias when participating in mundane activities. Black people should have the same protections as white people and should possess the ability to engage in everyday, commonplace, and routine activities.

The Fourth Amendment was not drafted with the intention of protecting Black bodies. In fact, Black bodies were considered three-fifths of a person at the drafting of the United States Constitution during the Constitutional Convention in 1787. During the period of Reconstruction in 1868, the Fourteenth Amendment was ratified to remedy racial injustices and to provide Black people with equal protection under the law.

The Supreme Court’s jurisprudence on whether the Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process Clause selectively incorporates basic freedoms and rights outlined in the Bill of Rights is nearly incomprehensible. For example, the Supreme Court, in a piecemeal fashion, has found that the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment should be construed to require police and the judiciary to acknowledge and respect basic rights found in the amendments, such as the Fourth and Eighth Amendments. Yet, for over fifty years after the ratification of the Reconstruction Amendments, the Court refused to acknowledge that the Due Process Clause was designed to protect the rights of individuals against the state.

The Black Fourth Amendment will repair and remedy the discriminatory policing of Black bodies. The Black Fourth Amendment will repair and remedy the Court’s Fourth Amendment jurisprudence by creating a rebuttable presumption, making prosecutors and the state prove that the officer had an actual reasonable suspicion or probable cause basis to arrest a Black person, instead of mere subjective ideas and preconceived notions. Through this measure, the Black Fourth Amendment will carry out what the Fourteenth Amendment’s enigmatic Due Process Clause was intended to do—to incorporate substantive due process rights, such as those rights outlined in the Fourth Amendment, and to guarantee equal protection to Black people through the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause.

Article

by BJ Ard

This Article intervenes in the longstanding debate over whether creative production is possible without exhaustive copyright protection. Intellectual property (IP) scholars have identified “negative spaces” like comedy and tattoo art where creativity thrives without IP, but critics dismiss these examples as niche. The video game industry allows for fresh headway. It is now the largest sector in entertainment—with revenues greater than Hollywood, streaming, and music combined—yet IP does not protect key game elements from duplication. Participants navigate this absence using non-IP strategies like those identified in negative-space industries: AAA developers invest in copy-resistant features while indie game developers rely on community norms. The answer to whether creative production is possible within IP’s negative space even in a capital-intensive industry is thus a decisive yes.

Studying this industry also compels us to go beyond surface-level questions of whether creative production is possible and to grapple with how the configuration of IP and non-IP protections shapes what is produced and how this configuration favors some creators over others. The industry likewise pushes us to recognize that the stability of these regimes is contingent on broader features of technology, the economy, and society at large. In fact, the industry has come full circle from a sector where copying plagued the industry, to one where it became a non-issue, to one where it has reemerged as a problem in mobile gaming.

The video game industry is also crucial for study because it embodies the state of creative production in the information age. Scholarship has long treated legacy industries like Hollywood and music as paradigmatic without attending to the complex realities of modern creative production and the importance of going beyond IP to understand how these industries work. It is time we moved past the conceptual divide between “full IP” and negative spaces to interrogate the overlapping but partial legal protections across both sides of the line.

Article

by RonNell Andersen Jones and Sonja R. West

At this moment of unprecedented decline of local news and amplified attacks on the American press, scholars are increasingly turning their attention to the Constitution’s role in protecting journalism and the journalistic function. Recent calls by some U.S. Supreme Court Justices to reconsider the core press-protecting precedent from New York Times Co. v. Sullivan have intensified these conversations. This scholarly dialogue, however, appears to be taking place against a mistaken foundational assumption that the U.S. Supreme Court continues to articulate and embrace at least some notion of freedom of the press. Yet despite the First Amendment text specifically referencing it and the Roberts Court’s claims of First Amendment expansiveness, freedom of the press is quietly disappearing from the Court’s lexicon.

Our individually coded dataset, capturing every paragraph mentioning the press written by all 114 Justices in the 235-year history of the Court, shows that in the last half-century the Court’s references to the concept of freedom of the press have dramatically declined. They are now lower than at any other moment since the incorporation of the First Amendment. The jurisprudential desertion of this concept is evident in every quantitative and qualitative measure we analyzed. Press freedom was once a commonly adopted frame, with the Court readily acknowledging it on its own and as a coexisting First Amendment right alongside the freedom of speech. Indeed, Justices routinely recognized this right in cases not involving the press. The data reveal that this practice is a thing of the past. Gone are not only the ringing, positive endorsements that situated freedom of the press as valuable, important, or central to democracy but also the bare acknowledgements of the right at all. A close investigation of individual Justice’s patterns, moreover, reveals that there are no true advocates of the right on the current Court and that most of the current Justices have rarely, if ever, mentioned it in any context.

This Article addresses both the possible causes and the troubling consequences of this decline. It explores strong evidence contradicting many of the initially appealing explanations for the trend, examining the ways in which the phenomenon is unlikely to be solely a function of the Court’s decreasing press-related docket or its reliance on settled law in the area. It also explores data on the interrelationships between ideology and acknowledgement of freedom of the press. The disappearance of the principle of press freedom at the Court may impede the newly revived effort to invoke the Constitution as a tool for preserving the flow of information on matters of public concern.

Article

by Elizabeth Kukura

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, hospitals implemented restrictive visitor policies that have prevented many pregnant people from giving birth with their chosen support people. For some, this meant foregoing labor and delivery support by a birth doula, someone who serves in a nonclinical role and provides emotional, physical, and informational support to birthing people. Given that continuous labor support such as the care provided by doulas is associated with fewer cesareans and other interventions, less need for pain medication, and shorter labors, the promotion of doula care is a promising strategy to ease the maternal health crisis and, in particular, shrink the perinatal health equity gap, as reflected in a pregnancy-related mortality rate for Black women that is three to four times higher than for White women.

As COVID-19 case rates declined and hospitals relaxed their restrictions, some doulas found themselves subject to new hospital credentialing requirements in order to attend births, even though they serve in nonclinical roles and are hired by the birthing person rather than the hospital. This Article explores the often-contested relationship between doulas and hospitals, and between doulas and hospital-based perinatal care providers, against the historical backdrop of other restrictions on birthing companions since birth shifted from the home to the hospital around the turn of the twentieth century. It details the important role doulas play in promoting good perinatal health outcomes and considers why many hospitals and healthcare providers perceive doulas as a threat rather than as a source of value in the delivery room, which results in strategies to restrict doulas through formal and informal mechanisms. This Article suggests that hostility to doulas and restrictions on birth support reflect central qualities of mainstream perinatal care, such as liability-driven decision-making, nonadherence to evidence-based medicine, medical paternalism, and fear, all of which interfere with efforts to improve health outcomes in the midst of a maternal health crisis that disproportionately burdens communities of color.

Ultimately, this Article argues that doula credentialing is a regulatory mismatch that should be abandoned by hospitals as misguided and counterproductive, and instead identifies public and private policy changes, along with related advocacy strategies, that would provide appropriate recognition of doulas within the perinatal healthcare system and serve both patient and provider interests while protecting the autonomy of doulas to operate within their scope of practice. Increased attention to the United States’ maternal health crisis and the opportunity to advance healthcare reforms that incorporate lessons from the pandemic make this a critical time to prevent the widespread adoption of credentialing requirements before they become the default norm, and instead to pursue investment in growing the doula model as an efficient and effective means to improve childbirth experiences and reduce the stark racial inequities in perinatal health outcomes.

Note

by Audrey Curelop

In the twentieth century, the American agricultural industry underwent significant changes—while most food animals were once raised on small family farms, now, over fifty percent are produced entirely inside concentrated animal feeding operations. These large‑scale farming operations house hundreds to thousands of cows, swine, or chickens, which collectively produce hundreds of millions of tons of waste per year. The primary method of waste disposal is land application, a process in which waste is sprayed or spread onto land with no required pretreatment. After land application, waste byproducts make their way into the surrounding air and waterways, posing significant threats to human health and the environment.

This Note challenges this industry‑accepted method of waste disposal. It argues that federal environmental and regulatory law and state nuisance law coincide to effectively protect large‑scale agricultural facilities from liability at a detriment to American health. This Note examines liability carve-outs for industrial farming in three federal statutory schemes: the Clean Water Act, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act. When federal environmental protections fail, affected parties often turn to common law tort redress. But state Right‑to‑Farm laws have effectively barred these claims as well.

Although the products of industrial agriculture are enjoyed by the many, the environmental and health impacts of the farms’ waste disposal systems fall on the few. This Note additionally seeks to highlight the communities most affected—primarily, low‑income communities and communities of color that neighbor the farming operations.

The most comprehensive solution to this health crisis involves an ideological shift in the way the American public conceptualizes the farm-to-table pipeline. This Note ultimately argues that this shift requires a catalyst—a robust federal initiative that disincentivizes hazardous agricultural waste practices and incentives sustainable farming.

Note

by Jessica Matsuda

State legislatures across the nation are continually targeting the rights of transgender individuals with a variety of laws affecting everything from bathrooms to medical care. One particularly invasive type of legislation, the gender-affirming healthcare ban, seeks to prohibit all forms of healthcare that align a person’s physical traits with their gender identity for individuals under eighteen. Bans like this severely impede the treatment necessary for transgender youth suffering from gender dysphoria, which carries serious physical consequences and sometimes fatal psychological repercussions. As legislative sessions pass, more and more states are introducing and actually enacting these bans

Striking down these bans as constitutionally impermissible is vital to ensuring that transgender individuals have equal access to healthcare. As litigators bring important and crucial lawsuits to challenge these bans under the federal Constitution, this Note proposes and explores options under the lesser-known but highly valuable state constitution. Although often ignored, many state constitutions contain enforceable rights that could protect the existence of gender-affirming healthcare, especially if federal constitutional protection is denied at the Supreme Court. This Note specifically dives into the state constitutional right to health as an avenue for greater protection, and argues that the general principles of judicial federalism should protect the rights of transgender individuals in this context. As the federal landscape changes, this Note urges litigators to use all the resources available to prevent unwarranted state interference, including previously unenforced state constitutional provisions. State legislators cannot be allowed to violate their own constitutions in the campaign against transgender individuals, and litigators have the ability and obligation to hold them accountable.

Note

by Molly E. O'Connell

The proliferation of marijuana legalization has changed the relationship between driving and marijuana use. While impaired driving remains illegal, marijuana use that does not result in impairment is not a bar to operating a motor vehicle. Scientists have yet to find a reliable way for law enforcement officers to make this distinction. In the marijuana impairment context, there is not a scientifically proven equivalent to the Blood Alcohol Content standard nor are there reliable roadside assessments. This scientific and technological void has problematic consequences for marijuana users that get behind the wheel and find themselves suspected of impaired driving. Without a marijuana breathalyzer or reliable Field Sobriety Tests, law enforcement officers are forced to find another way to determine impairment. Searching the vehicle for evidence of recent marijuana use can be an attractive option. However, the Fourth Amendment prohibits “search first, find probable cause later” policing. A roadside vehicle search violates a driver’s Fourth Amendment rights if sufficient evidence of impairment is lacking. Until law enforcement can reliably determine marijuana impairment at the roadside, drivers need protection from these unconstitutional searches. This Note addresses how states can disincentivize potential Fourth Amendment violations.

To provide context for this discussion, this Note begins by outlining the history of marijuana’s legal status and summarizing the relevant Fourth Amendment case law. Next, it contrasts the challenges of determining marijuana impairment with the relative ease of testing for alcohol impairment during motor vehicle stops. This Note then presents case studies of three states that each have a distinct legal approach to determining marijuana impairment amongst drivers. Finally, this Note provides prescriptive recommendations for states that have legalized or plan to legalize marijuana. Ultimately, this Note provides the reader with a primer on an important legal issue: how the inability to reliably establish marijuana impairment during a traffic stop creates an incentive for the police to search the vehicle first and find probable cause later.

Development

by Imre S. Szalai

The United States Supreme Court recently issued a fractured decision in Viking River Cruises, Inc. v. Moriana, 142 S. Ct. 1906 (June 15, 2022), a classic David v. Goliath clash between a worker and employer. Can arbitration agreements be used to eliminate group or representative actions brought against employers, where the plaintiff worker is serving as a bounty hunter for the State? Although the majority clearly holds that a worker’s individual claims must be sent to arbitration pursuant to a predispute arbitration agreement, the splintered opinions leave some uncertainty regarding what happens to the representative claims of the other workers. Using the Star Wars universe, this Article clarifies and critiques flaws in the Court’s ruling. The decision provides a new hope and blueprint for protecting the rights of workers and consumers around the country.

Article

by Allison M. Whelan and Michele Goodwin

Abortion rights and access are under siege in the United States. Even while current state-level attacks take on a newly aggressive scale and scope—emboldened by the United States Supreme Court’s June 2022 decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization to overturn Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey—the legal landscape emerging in the wake of Dobbs is decades in the making. In this Article, we analyze the pre- and post-Roe landscapes, explaining that after the Supreme Court recognized a right to abortion in Roe in 1973, anti-abortionists sought to dismantle that right, first thread by thread and now whole cloth. As we explain, these concerted efforts impose unique and uniquely burdensome harms on those living at the intersections of historically marginalized and vulnerable identities, including persons of color, low-income populations, persons with disabilities, and individuals in LGBTQ+ communities. This Article examines the deeply troubling—and now successful—efforts to dismantle Roe and the legal attacks on reproductive freedom. It foreshadows continuing legal efforts to gut abortion rights and new battlefronts related to disability justice and LGBTQ+ equality emerging from the same efforts. Focusing on persons with disabilities, this Article argues that the political movement to deny abortion rights will eviscerate gains made toward disability justice, as well as many other social justice gains such as LGBTQ+ equality.

Article

by Shreya Atrey

This Comment examines the nature of xenophobia and why it seems to fall through the cracks of international human rights law, especially as a form of racial discrimination under the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. It considers an understanding of xenophobia as a sui generis case of intersectional discrimination because it has to do with racial grounds but also perhaps other grounds (such as nationality, religion, language, culture, and class), which makes it difficult to disentangle the basis of xenophobic discrimination as based on strictly racial grounds alone.

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