- 50th Anniversary
- Online Edition
- Print Edition
- Donahue Lecture Series
The interpretation and application of the Alien Tort Statute (ATS) has challenged federal courts for the last two decades in the twentieth century. The ATS, a single sentence within the Judiciary Act of 1789, provides United States federal courts with original jurisdiction over “any civil action by an alien for a tort only, committed in violation of the law of nations or a treaty of the United States.” Following a lengthy dormant period, federal courts resurrected the ATS in the 1980s to grant federal jurisdiction over international human rights claims where both the plaintiff and defendant are of foreign origin. In the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, however, courts have struggled to find a consistent approach to adjudicating claims brought against multinational corporate defendants. As ATS jurisprudence has evolved, courts have largely narrowed its application, reducing foreign plaintiffs’ abilities to have their claims adjudicated in American federal courts.
This Note will trace the history of the modern use of the ATS with a focus towards the development of its use against multinational corporations. It will discuss the difficulty courts have faced in limiting the ATS to specific torts, as well as the difficulties courts have faced in applying the ATS in response to the restrictive territorial test outlined in Kiobel. This Note will also argue that a broad and inclusive “touch-and-concern” test to displace the presumption against extraterritoriality creates more problems than it solves. Instead, this Note suggests that such boundaries are best determined by new legislation aimed specifically at the modern day, multinational corporations.
Congress continually adjusts copyright law to correspond with the advent of new technologies, such as the World Wide Web. Through copyright law, Congress aims to incentivize authors to create and disseminate new works without stifling their creativity by providing copyright holders with too much protection. The United States Constitution states copyright protection’s goal: “[t]o promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.” Determining the scope of copyright protection, however, is difficult; some authors want perpetual monopolies in their works while others are willing to allow free access to their works after recouping their initial investment.
Because current protections for digital image copyright owners leave creators and content providers vulnerable to mass infringement, legislative action is required to prevent further copyright transgressions and to ensure creative output thrives. Furthermore, copyright owners like Getty may be able to better protect their online content if digital images became copyright protected under Title 17 of the United States Code. This Note argues that the historical practice of safeguarding authors and publishers, coupled with compelling policy concerns, provide ample justification for extending sui generis copyright protection to digital images.
In a widely fractured decision, the Supreme Court held that a defendant’s constitutional right to confrontation was not violated when an expert provided testimony concerning a DNA profile linking the defendant to his accused crime. In Williams v. Illinois, the Court articulated three different reasons as to why the expert testimony, in the absence of testimony from the primary analyst, did not violate the Confrontation Clause. The plurality decision in Williams produced significant inconsistencies among courts analyzing the issue of expert testimony and defendants’ right to confront their accusers.
This Note will begin by explaining defendants’ right to confrontation and discussing the evolution of the Confrontation Clause through Crawford, Williams, and other seminal cases. The Note will then discuss the lack of uniformity in Confrontation Clause analyses across the country due to the fractured Williams decision. Next, it will examine the unreliability of crime labs and forensic evidence by illustrating crime lab scandals occurring in multiple states. The analysis argues that states should reject the Williams notion of inherent DNA testing reliability, and provide defendants with better protection by requiring the primary analyst to testify to satisfy the Confrontation Clause.
Congress enacted the Lanham Act for two primary reasons: ensuring public confidence that a product is genuine, and preventing misappropriation of that product’s identifiers by “pirates and cheats.”1 Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act prevents federal registration of scandalous, immoral, or disparaging trademarks.2 In In re Tam,3 the Federal Circuit reviewed en banc whether the First Amendment allows the denial of a trademark application that the Trademark Examiner and Trademark Trial and Appeals Board (TTAB) found disparaging.4 Vacating the TTAB’s holding, the Federal Circuit held that the “disparaging” provision of section 2(a) of the Lanham Act violates the First Amendment right to free speech because the government has no legitimate interest in denying registration under the provision.
The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd- Frank Act) reformed federal financial regulation in response to the Great Recession. The Dodd-Frank Act includes incentives and protections for whistleblowers who report violations of federal securities laws. In Berman v. Neo@Ogilvy LLC, the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit considered whether the anti-retaliation provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act protect a whistleblower who does not report violations to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The court held that the statute is sufficiently ambiguous so as to warrant deference under Chevron U.S.A., Inc. v. National Resource Defense Council, Inc. to SEC regulations, which extend protection to internal whistleblowers who merely report violations within their organization. The court’s decision split from the Fifth Circuit—the only other circuit court of appeals that has addressed this issue and deemed that the statute unambiguously required whistleblowers to report to the SEC.