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Too Much “Acting,” Not Enough Confirming: The Constitutional Imbalance Between the President and Senate Under the Federal Vacancies Reform Act

Christopher D. Johnson, B.S., Northwestern University, 2014; Cornell Law School, J.D. Candidate, 2021.

“While the recent uproar over acting service largely stems from perceived abuses of the Federal Vacancies Reform Act during Trump’s presidency, it is properly understood as a foreseeable consequence of the structure of the legislative lever that the President—any president, not just President Trump—can pull to temporarily fill key positions in the Executive Branch absent Senate consent. This Note charts a path toward fixing that structure. . . .

This Note proceeds as follows. Part I describes the Federal Vacancies Reform Act’s basic mechanics, highlights aspects of the statute this Note’s proposed changes seek to address, and details Trump Administration controversies illustrating how, with regard to the process of filling the upper ranks of executive agencies, the FVRA amplifies presidential authority to the detriment of the Senate’s authority. Part II analyzes the FVRA’s constitutional foundation, delineates the key tension in the statute flowing from the nexus between the President’s take care obligation and the Senate’s advice and consent function, argues that the FVRA aids the former at the expense of the latter, and contextualizes this argument by describing the increasing Senate resistance the President must overcome in today’s appointments process. Part III sets forth changes to the FVRA in view of its constitutional imbalance between the Take Care Clause and Senate advice and consent.”

Nov 2020

The Death of Retaliatory Arrest Claims: The Supreme Courts Attempt to Kill Retaliatory Arrest Claims in Nieves v. Bartlett

Michael G. Mills, B.A., Siena College, 2018; Cornell Law School, J.D. Candidate, 2021.

“The Supreme Court’s recent decision in Nieves v. Bartlett threatens to render retaliatory arrest lawsuits superfluous and allows officers to flagrantly chill speech without repercussion. An officer violates the First Amendment when she arrests an individual because of his protected speech. Prior to the Supreme Court’s decision in Nieves, the individual could bring a lawsuit against the officer under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for depriving the individual of his First Amendment rights. Nieves, however, required the individual to show that the officer lacked probable cause for the arrest. This requirement nearly eliminates retaliatory arrest claims since it is incredibly easy for an officer to show probable cause. Even if the individual could show the officer lacked probable cause, the individual could have already sued the officer for a false arrest. Thus, retaliatory arrest claims are now superfluous and no longer serve any purpose in discouraging officers from chilling free speech. The decision’s negative effects will be compounded with the increasing number of retaliatory arrests during protests of recent police killings of Black individuals, including George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.

The Court did create an exception in Nieves for when an officer had probable cause but normally would not exercise her discretion to arrest. For example, when an officer arrests an anti-police protester for jaywalking. Nonetheless, the Court suggested such a high standard to govern this exception that very few retaliatory arrest claims will succeed. Instead, lower courts should adopt a less stringent standard. This Note advocates that lower courts adopt a burden-shifting test used in employment discrimination cases. This standard is more realistic for plaintiffs to satisfy, and thus, will allow the Nieves exception to deter officers from chilling speech.”

Nov 2020

Disciplinary Sodomy: Prison Rape, Police Brutality, and the Gendered Politics of Societal Control in the American Carceral System

David Eichert, PhD Candidate, London School of Economics; Cornell Law School 2020.

“This Note engages with critical legal scholarship about gender and race to reframe discussions about sodomy in American law. Instead of concentrating on the history and constitutionality of sodomy bans, I instead demonstrate how disciplinary sodomy remains an intrinsic part of the American carceral system. I detail several scenarios in which anal rape and the threat of anal rape have been used by prison staff and law enforcement agents to control male bodies in the American carceral system. I then identify the “audiences” of this violence, demonstrating how ideas of sexuality, gender, and race are weaponized against marginalized populations to reinforce power hierarchies in American society.”

Sep 2020

Developing a Digital Property Law Regime

Kevin Dong, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, B.A., Philosophy & Political Science, 2014; Cornell Law School, J.D., 2020.

“In this Note, I will argue that the nature of digital property requires us to radically rethink what types of property rights we have, and that ultimately a new class of specific “virtual property” or “digital property” rights is necessary. In Part I, I give a brief history of the scholarship and debate around virtual property and argue why the virtual property debate is still important today. In Part II, I consider ways in which digital property and physical property may differ, and ultimately argue that Palka’s((Przemyslaw Palka, Virtual Property: Towards a General Theory (Dec. 20, 2017) (unpublished Ph.D. thesis, European University Institute) (on file with Cadmus).)) work on virtual property takes the necessary steps toward a coherent and sensible digital property regime. In Part III, I attempt to create the basis of what a digital property rights regime may look like and suggest future developments to my theory on digital property.”

Sep 2020

Online Symposium on Friday, 10/30—Women on the Front Lines: COVID & Beyond

On Friday, October 30, 2020, 11:00 AM EST to 1:00 PM EST, Cornell Law Review Online will host, Women on the Frontlines: COVID and Beyond, an online symposium that examines the political, economic, social, and legal status of women in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, political turmoil, and racial unrest. To attend the event, register here:….

Oct 2020

Forthcoming in Cornell Law Review Online: Ford’s Hidden Fairness Defect

A consumer saves up to buy a used car. Unbeknownst to him, the vehicle has a design defect—and in a crash, the airbag fails to deploy, leaving his passenger severely injured. Under state law, the injured party has a right to sue the vehicle manufacturer: but where? The obvious forum is the plaintiff’s home forum—it’s…

Sep 2020

Cornell Law Review, Issue 5

Cornell Law Review is proud to announce Vol. 105, Issue 5, with Articles, Essays, and Notes exploring Multidistrict Litigation as a Category; Why Has Antitrust Law Failed Workers?; Legitimate Interpretation—Or Legitimate Adjudication?; Chevron as Construction; International Cultural Heritage Law; and Demanding Trust in the Private Genetic Data Market. Thank you to our amazing authors for…

Sep 2020

Cornell Law Review, Issue 3

We are honored to announce Cornell Law Review’s Vol. 105, Issue 3, a symposium issue created after the Lynn Stout Memorial Conference, held in memory of Professor Lynn Stout. Professor Stout was a well-respected colleague and dear friend of the Cornell Law community, and the Cornell Law Review is proud to be a part of this memorial issue.

Aug 2020

Cornell Law Review, Issue 4

Cornell Law Review is proud to announce Vol. 105, Issue 4, with Articles and Essays exploring Tort as Private Administration; Justice Scalia’s Campaign Against Legislative History; Corporate Privacy; Product Liability Law; and Student Notes that explore the Racial Gap in Financial Services and a Crime-Fraud Exception to Executive Privilege. Thank you to our amazing authors for their outstanding collaboration and patience with us during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Aug 2020

Professor Katyal’s Cornell Article is judged as best 2019 intellectual property law review article

Professor Sonia Katyal’s Article The Paradox of Source Code Secrecy was selected for inclusion in the 2020 edition of the Intellectual Property Law Review, an anthology published annually by Thomson Reuters (West). This article was originally published in 104 Cornell L. Rev. 1183 (2019). Abstract In Lear v. Adkins, the Supreme Court precipitously wrote, “federal…

Jul 2020

Two Cornell articles are selected as among the best 2019 corporate and securities articles in legal journals

Scholars in corporate and securities law were asked to select the best corporate and securities articles from a list of articles published in legal journals during 2019. The following Cornell Law Review articles will be included in the Corporate Practice Comment: Professors Asaf Eckstein and Gideon Parchomovsk’s Article Toward a Horizontal Fiduciary Duty in Corporate…

Jul 2020

Professor Michele Goodwin receives the John Hope Franklin Prize, Honorable Mention

Professor Michele Goodwin is honored to receive the John Hope Franklin Prize, Honorable Mention for her Article The Thirteenth Amendment: Modern Slavery, Capitalism, and Mass Incarceration, which was published in Cornell Law Review‘s Volume 104. This Article exposes how the institution of slavery persists in the American penal system. The article provides a robust historical…

Jul 2020

Ford’s Hidden Fairness Defect

Linda Sandstrom Simard, Cassandra Burke Robertson, & Charles W. “Rocky” Rhodes

Oct 2020

New York Bail Reform: A Quick Guide to Common Questions and Concerns

 Emmanuel Hiram Arnaud & Beulah Sims-Agbabiaka

Oct 2020

A 2020 Agenda For Re-Invigorated Antitrust Enforcement: Four Big Ideas

Edward D. Cavanagh, Professor of Law, St. John’s University School of Law

Jan 2020