Reproductive Rights: An Uncertain, Ever-Evolving Tale: Part I

Abstract: With the Trump administration in power, the future of many policies, including those pertaining to reproductive rights, are uncertain. President Trump has taken many hardline stances, including his vow to appoint conservative judges to federal courts that will affirm pro-life policies. His recent Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch, suggests that Trump intends to continue advancing conservative policy goals. In recent years, conservative state legislatures have ruled in favor of more stringent abortion regulations. Yet, in the summer of 2016, the Supreme Court ruled 5-to-3 against a Texas regulation of abortion clinics in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt. The impact of this ruling will depend, in part, on Trump’s nominees to the federal courts. The potential for a steadfast Democratic opposition to these nominees creates further uncertainty for the future of the high court as well as the partisanship of American politics in general.

Author: Taylor Leighton is currently a second-year at the University of Chicago, pursuing a double major in Public Policy and Psychology.

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Affirming Justice: More Than Just an Acceptance Letter (Part II)

Abstract: Race-relations have been at the forefront of public discussion in the United States. The ruling in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin et al. augments this discourse by solidifying past Supreme Court precedents in regards to affirmative action. The Court’s opinion, while reiterating the belief that race should be of minimal impact, upheld the use of race-based affirmative action policies. This paper details the key points in the Fisher decision as well as delineates why race requires consideration in college admissions processes. As a central feature of many people’s identities, race plays a significant role in determining life outcomes. While some people adhere to the color-blindness philosophy because they believe equality cannot be achieved if race is a factor in decisions, this perspective inadequately assesses the systemic inequality in today’s world that is the result of historic prejudice on the basis of race. Due to the historical misapplication of race, equality can not be achieved by neglecting racial considerations.

Author: Taylor Leighton is currently a second-year at the University of Chicago, pursuing a double major in Public Policy and Political Science.

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Affirming Justice: More than Just an Acceptance Letter (Part I)

Abstract: Race-relations have been at the forefront of public discussion in the United States. The ruling in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin et al. augments this discourse by solidifying past Supreme Court precedents in regards to affirmative action. The Court’s opinion, while reiterating the belief that race should be of minimal impact, upheld the use of race-based affirmative action policies. This paper details the key points in the Fisher decision as well as delineates why race requires consideration in college admissions processes. As a central feature of many people’s identities, race plays a significant role in determining life outcomes. While some people adhere to the color-blindness philosophy because they believe equality cannot be achieved if race is a factor in decisions, this perspective inadequately assesses the systemic inequality in today’s world that is the result of historic prejudice on the basis of race. Due to the historical misapplication of race, equality can not be achieved by neglecting racial considerations.

Author: Taylor Leighton is currently a second-year at the University of Chicago, pursuing a double major in Public Policy and Political Science.

 

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The James Comey Fiasco: A Primer

Abstract: On October 28, 2016, just ten days before the presidential election, Director of the F.B.I. James Comey wrote a letter to congress announcing that he would be reopening the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s handling of confidential materials on her private email server. In the wake of Clinton’s shocking defeat, some pundits and politicians have argued that Comey’s actions could potentially have influenced the outcome of the election. In this piece, I will examine the legal precedent (or lack thereof) in Comey’s actions, as well as the potential ways in which Comey may have broken the law through a violation of the Hatch Act.

Author: Andrew Stone is a third-year in the College majoring in philosophy.

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Self-Contradictions in Statutes: Clean Power Plan

Abstract: The litigation surrounding President Obama’s Clean Powers Plan poses an interesting legal question. The Clean Air Act of 1990, on which the Clean Power Plan was based, is the result of an imperfect integration of House and Senate Amendments resulting in a contradictory section. In one version of the Act the federal government has a legitimate claim to regulating carbon emissions of factories already being regulated for emissions of other pollutants and in another version such an action is expressly forbidden. Such a minor and previously forgotten error thus prompts a debate between whether it is the role of the Courts to consider the intent of Acts when derivative initiatives come before the Court.

Author: Mary Gen Sanner is a third year student in the College majoring in History, Law Letters and Society, and Political Science.

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