Our Latest Issue: Volume 19, Issue 1

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Volume 18, Issue 2

Volume 18, Issue 1

Volume 17, Issue 2

Hocus Pocus: Modern-Day Manifestations of Witch Hunts

By: Sherwin, Brie D. | November 20, 2023

Witch hunts have never been about facts or evidence; rather they are about beliefs often fueled by fear. Witch hunts of the past persecuted the powerless – typically women or those who did not fit into “societal norms.” More recently, the term “witch hunt” has reappeared with great fervor in the political arena, used by the powerful to generate fear that serves a distinct political narrative that those in power are the true victims. Tweets, sound bites, and political speeches rife with accusations of a “witch hunt” reflect a modern usage which has served to delegitimize the historical context of the term. This Article argues that this modern use of the term “witch hunt” is a misappropriation of what has long been used to describe illegitimate hunts of marginalized groups of people, implicating roles of gender, race, and power. This misuse is happening all while subversive, carefully veiled witch hunts are occurring in cleverly disguised legislation and litigation, supported by anecdotes and “spectral” evidence, and aimed at affecting the rights of historically oppressed groups of people based on their gender and race. This Article aims to remind the reader of what a “witch hunt” looked like in colonial New England and to propose that witch hunts are still alive today – not in the political arena, but in the legal one. Law cannot stand on conspiracy theories or perversions of truth shaped to fit a narrative, fueling fear, and resulting in the need to find a scapegoat. For as we’ve seen in the Salem witch trials, without a legal system rooted in reliable evidence and based on verifiable facts, a society can crumble.

Name Takings

By: Alexander, Gregory S. | November 20, 2023

Personal names are an integral part of our identity. Names belong to us; they are ours. Names are a form of personal property and should be treated as such. Nevertheless, the state, both historically and still today, has perpetrated various forms of abuse of personal names, ranging from outright takings of personal names to official denials of preferred names. This Article surveys the variety of ways in which the state has committed these name-takings, as I call them. It includes historical examples of name denials such as African slaves and Canadian Indigenous school children. It then considers various forms of name discrimination still practiced today. It then briefly surveys the various ways in which the state continues practices that discriminate against people of color, LGBTQ couples and others on the basis of their names. Treating their names as property may be a means of dealing with such abuses.

Belonging Matters: One School’s Strategy for Fostering Community and Confidence Among Students from Historically Excluded Groups

By: Freeman, Alexi & Carlson, Caley | November 20, 2023

For generations, law students from historically excluded and underrepresented groups—including but not limited to students of color, students with disabilities, gender diverse and gender non-conforming students, and students who identify as LGBTQIA+—have been expected to navigate their legal educations “successfully” despite the many challenges they encounter. This article describes Denver Law Ascent, a program at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law that is designed to provide critical supports to such students and cultivate a sense of belonging early on as well as throughout students’ educational journeys. Drawing from evidence-based research and best practices, Denver Law Ascent is one school’s intentional approach to fostering belonging and preparing students for academic success.