Why Race Matters in Louisiana’s Capital Punishment System

In a scathing critique of McCleskey v. Kemp (1987), the Los Angeles Times compared the plurality decision to the likes of Dred Scott (1857), Plessy (1896), and Korematsu (1894). “Pilate-like, the Rehnquist Supreme Court has washed its hands of any responsibility to reject the death penalty on racist grounds” (Bedau, 1987). Even when presented with […]

A More Stringent Theory of Democratic Citizenship

Expanding the political franchise to include the interests of as many as possible is a laudable goal. It seems intuitive that allowing more people to participate in the political process will yield more favorable policy outcomes for everyone, thereby increasing the soundness of our democracy.  Donaldson and Kymlicka take this idea to an extreme, arguing that […]

The Efficacy of International Human Rights Courts: A Case Study of Uganda

The general consensus in the current literature on the efficacy of international human rights courts is rather positive. Kim and Sikkink (2010), Meernik (2003), and Akhavan (2009) agree on their ability to improve human rights through a number of legal and social means. However, Snyder and Vinjamuri (2003) remain more skeptical about their effects compared […]

15 Million Sterilizations to American Purity: The Past, Present, and Future of Buck v. Bell

Abstract In 1914, standing in Battle Creek, Michigan, a prominent eugenicist proclaimed that 15 million sterilizations over the next 65 years would be necessary to protect the purity of the American people. While he would not realize this goal, he would play an active role in the passage of laws permitting sterilization and in the […]

Cruel and Unusual History: Exploring the Case Law that Shaped the Eighth Amendment

The American judicial system ensures the continuation of democracy. But the democracy of the American judicial system is entirely dependent on the civil liberties housed in the Bill of Rights. Within the Bill of Rights are special protections for everyone involved in the judicial system, included those who are criminally accused. Everyone is entitled to […]

Political Offenses in Extradition Law and the Case of Edward Snowden

In an increasingly globalized world, international law is playing a larger role in mediating transnational criminal justice. Extradition law, in particular, presents a venue through which states can negotiate the transfer of criminals and enter into treaties that provide for reciprocity and legal structure. This essay will engage with a brief history of general extradition […]