Podcast: Abandoned DNA and the Fourth Amendment with Dr. Thomas Holland

This episode features Isha Agarwal, STLR Staffer, talking with Dr. Thomas Holland about DNA and the Fourth Amendment As DNA analysis becomes more ubiquitous in our lives and in the criminal justice system, it is important to examine the current legal landscape of abandoned evidence in the context of genetic data. Abandoned evidence has a long and rich judicial history, from Russian spies to prison barbers. But abandoned DNA may not fit so neatly into Continue Reading →

Podcast: Compulsory Vaccine Laws with Vincent Racaniello and Erwin Chemerinsky

This episode features Sam Matthews, STLR Executive Submissions Editor, discussing the constitutionality of compulsory vaccine laws Professor Vincent Racaniello of Columbia University and Dean Erwin Chemerinsky of Berkeley Law School. — Vincent Racaniello is Higgins Professor of Microbiology and Immunology at Columbia University. He has done laboratory research on viruses for over 30 years. Following on his belief that scientists must communicate their work to the public, he has co-authored a virology textbook, distributed videocasts Continue Reading →

Podcast Episode: Moran Yemini on The New Irony of Free Speech

This episode features Jennifer Ange, STLR Staffer, talking with Dr. Moran Yemini about the freedom of speech in the new digital age. In his recent article published on STLR, Dr. Yemini argues that the digital age presents a new irony of free speech. The popular concept that the Internet promotes freedom of expression may be too simplistic. In his view, the Internet, while it strengthens our capacity of expression, also limits the liberty aspect of Continue Reading →

IPRs and Sovereign Immunity

IPRs and Tribal Sovereign Immunity On July 20, 2018, the Federal Circuit held in Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe v. Mylan Pharmaceuticals, Inc. that Native American tribes cannot assert tribal immunity to avoid inter partes review (IPR) proceedings. IPR proceedings, enacted under the America Invents Act and conducted by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), allow parties to challenge patent claims’ novelty or nonobviousness over certain forms of prior art. Pharmaceutical company Allergan sued competitor Mylan Continue Reading →

A Federal Anti-SLAPP Law Would Make CDA 230 More Effective

This article was published originally on Techdirt.com, and was co-authored with Evan Mascagni, the Policy Director at the Public Participation Project. Re-published with the permission of Techdirt. Collateral Censorship and Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act Lawsuits against institutions that transmit speech, such as newspapers and blogs, impose costs that those institutions act to avoid—if necessary, by preemptively censoring any third-party speech that increases their exposure to legal liability. The purpose of Section 230 of Continue Reading →

Can Electronic Surveillance Constitute a Search of Private Property Under the 4th Amendment? Gorsuch’s Comments Raise New Questions.

At oral argument in Carpenter v. United States, now awaiting final decision, Justice Gorsuch raised the possibility that individuals have a property right in their data. Specifically, Gorsuch suggested that a customer of a cellular provider had a property interest in location data that police had obtained from the provider without a warrant. This is relevant in a Fourth Amendment context because government trespass against private property is a form of “search.” But there is Continue Reading →

Gill v. Whitford and the Math of Gerrymandering

On October 3, 2017, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Gill v. Whitford, 137 S. Ct. 2268 (Mem) (2017), the latest case to reach the court contesting partisan gerrymandering. First coined in 1812 to lampoon a Massachusetts governor (Elbridge Gerry) and a particularly ugly congressional district (allegedly resembling a salamander), gerrymandering is the practice of crafting voting districts to give one group an electoral advantage over another. Erica Klarre, Gerrymandering Is Illegal, But Only Mathematicians Can Continue Reading →

Facebook, Censorship, and the First Amendment

Recently, over 70 civil rights groups wrote to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, demanding transparency in the company’s censorship of user posts. Complaints about Facebook’s censorship arose earlier this year when Gizmodo reported that Facebook’s “trending news” section was intentionally manipulated to hide stories of interest to conservative readers. In response to these allegations, the Senate Commerce Committee sent Zuckerberg a letter requesting an explanation of Facebook’s practices in populating its “trending news” section. The Committee Continue Reading →

If You’re Going to Delete All My Facebook Posts, Then You Might As Well Do It Right

Judicial benchslap stories are juicy legal fodder, and this story was no different. Recently, the legal community eagerly gossiped about a federal judge that lashed out against a well-known New York law firm. The offense? Judge Nicholas Garaufis of the Eastern District of New York was infuriated that the firm had sent a mere junior associate instead of a partner to a hearing on two cases that “implicate[] international terrorism and the murder of innocent people Continue Reading →

ACLU’s Latest Challenge to Government Mass Surveillance: Wikimedia et al. v. NSA

The Wikimedia Foundation, the nonprofit organization that runs Wikipedia, filed suit against the NSA to stop Upstream surveillance because mass surveillance violates the privacy necessary for the free exchange of knowledge in the Wikimedia community. Plaintiffs also include the Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and other advocacy organizations whose activities are affected by NSA mass surveillance due to violations of privacy rights. Upstream surveillance is the NSA’s surveillance of the Internet traffic through the Internet Continue Reading →