- 50th Anniversary
- Online Edition
- Print Edition
- Donahue Lecture Series
Small businesses are imperative in the United States economy. Small businesses make up 99.7 percent of all employer firms in the United States. These firms employ nearly fifty-five million individuals and provide 42.6 percent of the nation’s private-sector payroll. In addition, small businesses are job creators. Between 1993 and 2013, small businesses accounted for 14.3 million net new jobs, sixty-three percent of net new jobs during that period. Further, these firms are responsible for sixty percent of the net new jobs created since the most recent recession. Additionally, in March 2011, about 900,000 self-employed individuals were unemployed the prior year.
Small businesses, despite their prominence in the economy, account for the vast majority of firm failures. One cause of these failures is inadequate capital. The lack of capital is caused, in part, by the small business capital gap. In order to strengthen the small business environment, the United States economy must bridge this gap. One way to address the disparity between small business capital demand and supply is through the further development of crowdfunding.
Hydraulic fracturing—also known as fracking or hydrofracking—is a highly controversial process used for the extraction of oil and natural gas. To date, regulation at the federal level—by Congress and the EPA—has failed to set clear standards for use of the technique. Many proponents of fracking applaud the positive economic impacts, job creation, and a future of American energy independence that are associated with its use across the United States. There are, however, a number of areas of environmental concern associated with hydraulic fracturing.
Despite widespread criticism and a lack of scientific legitimacy, therapists throughout the United States continue to use Sexual Orientation Change Efforts (SOCE) on patients seeking to change their sexual orientation. SOCE, also known as conversion or reparative therapy, includes a number of methods employed by practitioners to change an individual’s sexual orientation from homosexual to heterosexual. In October 2012, California Governor Jerry Brown signed a law outlawing the practice of gay conversion therapy on patients under the age of eighteen. One year later, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie followed suit by signing a similar law barring gay conversion therapy practices in New Jersey. Since the passage of these statutes in California and New Jersey, Massachusetts and New York have introduced similar bills.
The rise and expansion of technology has allowed cell phones and smart phones to store vast amounts of information. The capacity of data and information contained within the cell phone provides citizens with great access to information all in one small, contained, and mobile place. As technology continues to expand its boundaries, the expectation of privacy in the information stored within one’s cell phone increases as well. The protection of this privacy clashes with the Fourth Amendment’s allowance of reasonable searches and seizures.
The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees the freedom of expression and seeks to foster an environment where individual ideas can freely flourish and develop. While the right of free expression is imperative in a democratic society, it is not an absolute right. The objective of safeguarding the integrity of free expression must be constantly balanced against competing interests. One interest that has clashed with the freedom of expression over the last half-century is the right of publicity.
United States Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall established the long accepted legal definition of a corporation when he stated that a “corporation is an artificial being, invisible, intangible, and existing only in contemplation of law.” Although the legal definition of a corporation explicates its nonhuman status, corporations are viewed as persons in the eyes of the Court. Over time, corporations have slowly gained more and more constitutional protections. Courts have awarded constitutional protections to corporations as long as those guarantees are not “purely personal.” If a constitutional provision’s purpose, nature, and history indicate it is a purely personal guarantee, that provision is not applicable to corporations. Additionally, constitutional protections can apply to corporations but not as fully as these protections do to individual persons.