Browse By:

Clear Filters x

Volume 18 - Issue 2


#MeToo’s Landmark, Yet Flawed, Impact on Dispute Resolution: The Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act of 2021

Szalai, Imre S. | April 1, 2023

On March 3, 2022, President Joe Biden signed the Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act of 2021 (the Amendment) into law. This Amendment is the most significant change in the last several decades to the Federal Arbitration Act (the FAA), the main federal law governing arbitration since 1925. This landmark Amendment is also the most important federal legislation to arise thus far from the #MeToo movement. The Amendment invalidates predispute arbitration agreements in cases involving sexual harassment or sexual assault, thereby allowing survivors to proceed with their claims in public court with more robust procedural protections. With hundreds of millions of arbitration agreements in place covering consumers and workers, the Amendment can impact access to justice and shape how disputes are resolved. While the goals of the Amendment are laudable, the Amendment suffers from several problems, including poor drafting that leads to at least three different interpretations of its scope. These ambiguities particularly arise when a survivor asserts a sexual harassment claim in addition to other types of claims. Furthermore, it is uncertain whether the Amendment applies in a labor setting with a collective bargaining agreement. The Amendment may also be unconstitutional as applied in certain settings involving state courts and state tort claims. Additionally, the Amendment raises deeper questions about the regulation of arbitration and proper role of arbitration in society. This Article clarifies some of the confusion regarding the Amendment by proposing a particular interpretation of the Amendment’s scope: the Amendment should be construed to cover all claims that have a nexus with a sexual assault or sexual harassment claim. The justifications for the Amendment also suggest that future reforms of arbitration law should address discrimination and other forms of harassment.

Note or Comment

Human Rights, Trans Rights, Prisoners’ Rights: An International Comparison

Butcher, Tom | April 1, 2023

In this Note, I conduct an international comparison of the state of trans prisoners’ rights to explore how different national legal contexts impact the likelihood of achieving further liberation through appeals to human rights ideals. I examine the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, India, Argentina, and Costa Rica and show the degree to which a human rights framework has been successful thus far in advancing trans prisoners’ rights. My analysis also indicates that the degree to which a human rights framework is likely to be successful in the future varies greatly between countries. In countries that are hesitant to adopt a legally internationalist orientation, a human rights framework is unlikely to see much success. Additionally, even countries with robust human rights traditions may be unlikely to apply that framework if the needs and identities of imprisoned trans people are not sufficiently visible in the national public consciousness. However, in countries with significant human rights or international law traditions, as well as a high degree of trans visibility, appeals to a human rights framework will likely lead to success in advocating for further protections for trans prisoners’ rights.

Legally Alone: The Redeemability of Guardianship and Recommendations Toward Equitable Access

Hecker, Patrick | April 1, 2023

American adult guardianship needs reform. Thankfully, there is a small but dedicated reform movement that sheds helpful light on problems of underfunding, inattention, and abuse. While the movement’s efforts are needed, this Note argues it is a mistake to focus solely on the ways the guardianship system is sometimes harmful to people who already have access to guardianship. Few reformers consider the needs of people who would benefit from a guardian but do not have anyone to petition the court on their behalf. This Note first argues that guardianship, despite its detractors, is redeemable. It can be part of a beneficial legal response to the problems of mass-incapacity and loneliness in America. This is especially true for the unbefriended and incapacitated population living in long-term care facilities—a frequently mistreated population. Second, the Note describes how the current legal structure surrounding public guardianship creates a market failure that incentivizes long-term care facilities to petition the wrong residents—residents who would benefit from alternative arrangements. Medicaid billing regulations, expenses related to the petitioning process, and the state of many public guardianship programs all contribute to the market failure. This leaves the unbefriended and incapacitated population without the benefits of a reformed guardianship system and exposes residents who would benefit from alternatives to abuse. The Note closes with recommendations on how to reform the incentive structure to create a cost-neutral petitioning process and a more humane and caring public guardianship service.

Healthcare Inequities in the United States and Beyond Are Taking Black Women’s Lives

McIntosh, Alichia | April 1, 2023

Black women have been dying at devastating rates due to health complications at the hands of the United States’ healthcare and legal systems. This Note explores these distressing rates and how they compare to White women while analyzing the fatalities and diagnoses among several health complications and diseases. These fatalities persist due to the United States’ history of racism—such as the institution of slavery and over 100 years of Black bodies experiencing Jim Crow laws—and the socioeconomic disadvantages Black women disproportionally face. This Note emphasizes that these disparities continue because the United States has failed to implement treaties—which it is has ratified—and to ratify treaties that recognize health care as a human right and prohibit de facto and de jure discrimination. Instead, the United States’ legal system ignores the de facto discrimination that Black women face since the Supreme Court has held that the United States Constitution prohibits only de jure discrimination. Still, the question remains: how can the United States navigate out of the horrific disparities resulting from de facto discrimination and provide Black women a more equitable medical experience in U.S. society? This Note recommends the United States combat these disparities by investing in Black communities, recruiting and training more Black doctors, providing proper medical bias training, performing its obligations under the international treaties it has ratified, and ratifying the treaties is has enacted.

Put Your Money Where Their Mouths Are: A Case for State-Based Investment in Anti-Shaming Policies for School Lunch Programs

Roth, Shayna | April 1, 2023

Despite its goals for feeding hungry students, the federal government’s National School Lunch Program falls short due to a lack of guidance and resources. One consequence of these circumstances is shaming practices where schools use fear, punishment, and socioeconomic segregation tactics to mitigate meal price deficits. The federal government and several state governments attempt, and sometimes succeed, to enact legislation to improve school lunch programs, but efforts are few and far between. This Note draws on effective state laws to advocate for increased legislative action on school meals across all states, specifically addressing and prohibiting shaming practices. Eliminating this barrier to school meals will mitigate socioeconomic stratification in learning environments and better prepare students to engage intellectually with educational opportunities.

The Limits of Wrongfulness: What Exactly is Prohibited by Hobbs Act Extortion?

Weinstein, Duncan | April 1, 2023

The Hobbs Act, 18 U.S.C. § 1951, prohibits, in interstate commerce, “the obtaining of property from another, with his consent, induced by wrongful use of actual or threatened force, violence, or fear.” This Note addresses what makes an act “wrongful.” First, this Note reviews the academic literature on what makes extortion morally and legally wrong and the Hobbs Act’s legislative history. Then, it argues that there are four distinct types of threats under the Hobbs Act: violent threats, litigation threats, reputational threats, and economic threats. Each of these threats are judged by distinct standards for wrongfulness, with two circuit splits complicating the doctrine. This Note evaluates ways that these wrongfulness standards could be unified and finds them unsatisfactory. Instead, this Note suggests that prosecutors should be required to allege specific theories of threat in their indictments as a component of procedural due process.