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Fall 2009 - Volume 2 Number 1 - Articles

Critical Enculturation: Using Problems to Teach Law

It is easy to lose oneself in both the excitement and enormity of the challenge that has become legal education. The recent publications of Best Practices for Legal Education and Educating Lawyers have reminded us that law teachers are shouldered with a task that extends beyond bar passage, duties that are felt beyond the teacher's own knowledge, and privileges that cannot be enjoyed in isolation, with paper and pen, in the law professor's office. Law teaching practices should focus on effective learning, and so the call has been made to reassess our teaching practices.

Writing at the Master's Table: Reflections on Theft, Criminality, and Otherness in the Legal Writing Profession

The alert came over the university email one Friday afternoon. There had been a rash of burglaries in the vicinity of the university where I was employed as a legal writing professor. The culprits? Two finely dressed thirty-something women, and a white male in his mid-fifties. These well-heeled bandits gained entrance into various buildings and offices through trickery and deceit. Asking for fictional persons, they were given access to offices where they stole valuables from unsuspecting occupants. Of particular interest to me was that one of the offenders was described as a nicely dressed Black woman in her early thirties. I was nicely dressed, though not yet thirty, a woman, and definitely Black. I was a suspect.

Convergence in Electronic Banking: Technological Convergence, Systems Convergence, Legal Convergence

Walk through a neighborhood arts and craft fair and witness the convergence of payment systems firsthand: the jeweler manually makes a carbon copy of your Visa or will take a check if it is all you have; the glass blower accepts credit and debit cards with her wireless card reader; the woodcarver submits all payment information on his portable laptop; and the t-shirt vendor lets you take home a souvenir after submitting your card information via iPhone.1 From paper to Wi-Fi, the payment mediums and the systems through which they travel are becoming increasingly interchangeable.

Secret Indictments: How to Discourage Them, How to Make Them Fair

The United States should discourage secrecy in criminal prosecutions through both its legal doctrine and policy. While secrecy is necessary in some circumstances, as a general matter, it threatens constitutional rights and contravenes our fundamental notions of fairness in the criminal adjudication process. In light of this, Rule 6 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure (FRCRP) and the prevailing common law of secret indictments in federal courts must be reformed.

The Federal Judiciary Salary Crisis

The federal judiciary is revered in the legal world and stands as a testament to the virtues of our system of justice. As with any institution, its reputation is a function of the professionalism, intelligence, and hard work of its past and current members. Nominees for federal judgeships go through a rigorous vetting process,1 which to date has yielded an exceptionally qualified judiciary. Unfortunately, Congress has not treated federal judges with the dignity that they deserve when it comes to salary considerations. Judicial pay has not increased commensurate with that of other federal employees, nor kept up with inflation.

Current Issue | Notes

Why the Americans With Disabilities Act Amendments Act is Destined to Fail: Lack of Protection for the "Truly" Disabled, Impracticability of Employer Compliance, and the Negative Impact it Will Have on Our Already Struggling Economy

On September 25, 2008, former President George W. Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendment Act of 2008 (ADAAA), setting into motion perhaps the most extensive change to employment law in the last decade. The ADAAA, which took effect on January 1, 2009, aims to reinstitute the original congressional intent behind the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), the Act that grants employment protection to the disabled, which many believe was destroyed by a sequence of Supreme Court rulings that narrowed the definition of "disabled." Notwithstanding Congress's good intentions, the ADA was unsuccessful at integrating the disabled into the American workforce, and the ADAAA is likely to be just as unsuccessful as its predecessor. This Note aims to explain and analyze the inherent failings of the ADAAA.

The Constitutionality of Teacher Certification Requirements for Home-schooling Parents: Why the Original Rachel L. Decision was Valid

In March 2008, the California Court of Appeal decided In re Rachel L., in which California's compulsory education statute was interpreted to effectively prohibit parents from home schooling their children unless they possessed state teaching certifications. Although this case concerned a troubled family with a history suggesting that compulsory public schooling might be preferable in their case, the impact of the court's decision was far greater. Over 200,000 children were then being home schooled in California, many by parents with no teaching certification. The Rachel L. decision made this method of home schooling illegal. Amidst great public backlash, the Court of Appeal reheard the case in August 2008. The court reinterpreted the statute, holding that it implicitly allowed uncertified parents to teach their children at home.

Regulating Executive Compensation in the Wake of the Financial Crisis

After it was revealed that Wall Street executives rewarded themselves with nearly twenty billion dollars in bonuses for their 2008 performances, President Obama admonished that such behavior "is the height of irresponsibility. It is shameful. And part of what we're going to need is for folks on Wall Street who are asking for help to show some restraint and show some discipline and show some sense of responsibility." Although the majority of Americans may agree with President Obama's assessment, Senator Christopher Dodd perhaps more closely reflected the public's true sentiment when he observed that "'this infuriates the American people.'"

The Intersection of the Fourth and Fifth Amendments in the Context of Encrypted Personal Data at the Border

On December 17, 2006, Sebastian Boucher crossed the U.S.- Canadian border into the United States. At the border inspection point in Vermont, the interviewing border agent either thought something was suspicious or perhaps just randomly chose to send Boucher to secondary inspection. Or maybe it was just plain bad luck. Whatever the specific reason, travelers regularly get sent to more thorough secondary inspections at the border every day. But on that particular day, it was the beginning of Boucher's problems.