Unjustified Punishment: The Eighth Amendment and Death Sentences in States that Fail to Execute

Individuals incarcerated in states that have enacted death penalty moratoria do not have their death sentences carried out in a timely and expeditious manner; instead, these incarcerated individuals sit on death row until they are either exonerated or die of natural causes. Individuals on death row in these states sit on death row for over two decades on average. This Article argues that capital sentencing in states that fail to execute individuals on death row, particularly in states with moratoria on the death penalty, violates the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Masking Up: A COVID-19 Face-off between Anti-Mask Laws and Mandatory Mask Orders for Black Americans

Anti-mask laws ban the wearing of masks in public. Popularly understood to prevent Klan activity, these laws are often vague, with a history of selective enforcement. They also clash with the exhortations to wear personal protective equipment to prevent the spread of COVID-19, which by summer of 2020 was encouraged by all states and required by many. […]

Textualism and the Duck-Rabbit Illusion

But in other cases, textualists proceed as if legal texts have an ordinary meaning even when they do not. Judges see a rabbit, or a duck, when other reasonable readers see a duck, or a rabbit. Such judges are “seeing as.” Nonetheless, they insist that they are “seeing that.” They do not think, do not know, and might not even believe, that “someone else could have said of [them]: ‘He is seeing the figure as a picture-rabbit.’” […]

Heroizing Restorative Justice: Steven Universe and Rewriting Justice Narratives through Superhero Cartoons

Steven Universe, a children’s cartoon that follows the lives and adventures of the half-human, half-alien boy Steven Universe and his family of intergalactic space aliens, “the Crystal Gems,” upends these narratives, instead modeling restorative justice principles—empathetic, dialogue-based communication, non-punitive conflict resolution, and communal healing—for children. […]

Watch Where You Walk: Law Enforcement Surveillance and Protester Privacy

Law enforcement has a responsibility to facilitate the rights of civilians, including the First Amendment right to peaceful protest—not to quash expression of those rights. Those who protest and advocate for equality and justice should not have to risk being the victim of the extensive reach of the state while merely exercising their constitutionally mandated rights. […]

Discriminatory Paycheck Protection

Deciding how and whom to protect during this crisis is a quintessentially political choice—among the most central of the current moment. But as these cases show, relief funding during a crisis not only can’t avoid First Amendment scrutiny—the newly expanded funding might actually be what prompts scrutiny of programs that previously spent decades flying under courts’ radar. […]