HLPR Blog: Notice and Comment



Plea Bargaining: Lessons Learned, Issues Outstanding

By Milton Heumann*   The classic “you’ve come a long way baby” mantra from the world of tobacco advertising has an analogous application to plea bargaining. Fifty years or so ago, plea bargaining was just emerging from the shadows of the perception of our trial courts, but today it is recognized as occupying the central…


Fighting to Restore Civil Rights and Felon Rehabilitation in Florida

By Eric Allen Kauk* This November Florida will vote on Amendment 4, a measure that would automatically restore the right to vote to 1,487,847 convicted felons who have successfully served their entire sentence and paid their debt to society. Florida lags far behind the rest of the country when it comes to restoring individuals’ civil…


Trump’s Flailing Ratchet: From “Bad Hombres” to “Zero Tolerance”

By Amien Kacou* The Trump administration has made fighting illegal immigration a top law enforcement priority. But, despite the President’s frequent displays of availability bias—if not vicious cynicism—on this issue, it is well-established that immigrants, regardless of legal status or origins, are on average less likely than citizens to commit most crimes. In fact, their…


Obama and the Good Old Days of Federal Prosecution?

By David Patton* These days as a federal public defender, I’m often asked some version of, “Aren’t federal prosecutions horribly unfair and draconian now that Jeff Sessions is heading the Department of Justice?” I usually respond with some version of “Yes, they are.”  What I often leave out is, “And they have been for as…


Federal Hate Crime Prosecutions are Critical, but Are They Enough?

By Melissa Garlick* Three militia members from southwest Kansas were recently convicted on federal civil rights charges and conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction for targeting Somali Muslim immigrants for a plan of mass murder in 2016.  On a recording made available to the jury, one of the defendants said: “The only good…


Epistemic Humility as a Presidential Virtue

By Mark Satta* There are a lot of traits worth wanting in a political leader—relevant experience, good public speaking skills, strong critical thinking skills, a charming personality, empathy, tact, wisdom, diligence, willingness to serve those whom one leads, etc. The current President of the United States seems to lack an unsettling number of these traits,…


The Legal Landscape of Graduate Student Assistant Unionization in the Trump Era

By Jared Odessky* In August 2016, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB or “the Board”) held that graduate student assistants at Columbia University were statutory employees under Section 2(3) of the National Labor Relations Act (“the Act”) with the legally enforceable right to unionize. The ruling extended to private colleges and universities generally and spurred…


The Risks of a Legislative Trend in Response to #MeToo

By Alamea Deedee Bitran* Since the disturbing details of the Harvey Weinstein scandal were released, an influx of harassment allegations have been brought to light. Yet arguably the parameters of the law remain unsuitable to address the root of the problem because of contractual barriers to victims litigating their claims in the public eye.  While…


Roe v. Wade: Past, Present, and Future

By Geoffrey R. Stone* We are living in perilous times. As we contemplate the prospect of another appointment by Donald Trump to the Supreme Court of the United States, the stakes for our nation are extraordinarily high. Among the many issues at risk, perhaps the most important concerns the right of a woman to decide…

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