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December 31, 2015

The Ferguson v. JONAH Verdict and a Path Towards National Cessation of Gay-to-Straight "Conversion Therapy"

In the essay, Dubrowski analyzes Ferguson v. JONAH, a landmark 2015 decision in which a New Jersey court held --- for the first time --- that homosexuality is not a disease or mental disorder as a matter of law. Based on this pretrial ruling, a civil jury unanimously found JONAH (a conversion therapy clinic) its co-directors and its chief counselor liable for violation of New Jersey's Consumer Fraud Act. Dubrowski begins by explaining the two-pronged fraud JONAH perpetrated—first, claiming that homosexuality is a disorder, and second, that it can be cured—and continues by arguing that this two-pronged fraud is necessarily perpetrated by all conversion therapists. He then undertakes a survey of the consumer fraud laws of all fifty states, demonstrating that the verdict against JONAH is replicable across the country, and concluding that those injured by the so-called therapy should seek to replicate Ferguson v. JONAH's success.

November 29, 2015

Conversation with Aneil Kovvali on "Who Are You Calling Irrational?"

In this podcast, Aneil Kovvali discusses Who Are You Calling Irrational?, his book review of Cass Sunstein's Why Nudge? The Politics of Libertarian Paternalism, with NULR Online Articles Editor Carlo Felizardo.

October 29, 2015

The Curious Case of Cell Phone Location Data: Fourth Amendment Doctrine Mashup

In the essay, Professor Bedi discusses a prominent issue in Fourth Amendment jurisprudence: whether an individual's cell phone location data is constitutionally protected. The emergence of this data and law enforcement's attempts to utilize it have raised new questions about the reach of the third-party and public disclosure doctrines, which have traditionally rendered the Fourth Amendment inapplicable to seemingly similar data in certain circumstances. Bedi explores these new questions, providing a helpful overview of the different manifestations of this data and a critical survey of lower courts' varying approaches to law enforcement's attempts at securing it. Ultimately, Bedi argues for a new way of understanding the third-party and public disclosure doctrines, arguing that, in the cell phone location data context, attention is best placed on the type of data and the context in which law enforcement acts. 

October 20, 2015

Prosecuting Online Threats After Elonis

In the essay, Mr. Pierce discusses what, exactly, the government must prove before it can, consistent with the First Amendment, prosecute someone who posts threatening messages on Facebook. Last Term, a divided Court wrestled with this issue in Elonis v. United States, reversing the defendant's conviction but leaving an important question unanswered: does the government need to prove that a speaker was reckless with his words or, alternatively, that he specifically intended them to be interpreted as threats? The essay suggests that instead of deciding which standard is best for all online threats, lower courts should adopt libel law’s distinction between public and private targets, and similarly apply a heightened mens rea standard only when the speech at issue targets public figures. A Facebook post containing violent language about one’s elected representative implicates free speech values in a way that an otherwise similarly threatening post targeting one’s ex-wife (like Elonis's) does not.