Welcome to the SLU Law Journal Online! Here, we publish short pieces by students that provide insight and unique perspectives on the hottest legal issues currently facing our community, our nation, and our world. Please check back often as there is always new content being published.
Force majeure clauses have saved many businesses that have been unable to perform their contractual obligations during the COVID-19 pandemic. In this article, Mike Zawalski discusses case law on force majeure provisions in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In her first opinion, Justice Amy Coney Barrett wrote an opinion that limits the Freedom of Protection Act. In this article, Blake Stocke will explore how her opinion interprets the Act, and what we can learn from this opinion moving forward.
In this article, Kaitlin Carpenter discusses Zoom’s dark side in a practice called Zoombombing, and also provides an update on the lawsuit addressing this problem.
The Grain Belt Express, a large-scale wind energy transmission line that will span across much of the Midwest, may now be blocked from proceeding in Missouri if House Bill 527 passes in the state Senate. In this article, Jeff Becker advocates against the passage of the bill, arguing that it is contrary to the state's public interest because it would deprive Missourians of the substantial benefits the project, both economic and environmental.
One of the more polarizing political issues of 2021 was when social media platforms like Twitter permanently banned President Donald Trump from their platforms. As the law stands, most experts agree that the First Amendment does not restrict online social media platforms from exercising broad discretion to censor content or individuals. However, even if social media platforms have a right to unilaterally ban users from their platforms, should they? More importantly, should we let them? In this article, Patrick Ganninger explores these important questions.
Within two weeks of the new administration, President Biden sought immediate review of the long existing Public Charge Rule and former President Trump's changes to it. In this article, Jacquelyn Sicilia discusses the recent litigation on the Public Charge Final Rule and where it stands today.
The 2020 election is in the past for most Americans, but not for Iowans who live in the Second Congressional District where a contested election challenge is just beginning. Dylan McCloskey discusses how a contested election works and what impact this may have on our democracy.
*Photo by Darren Halstead on Unsplash
My Body, My Temple: The Constitutional Requirement for Religious Exemptions to a COVID-19 Vaccination Mandate
While the COVID-19 crisis has caused many to fear the threat that the virus poses to the health and safety of themselves and their loved ones, for others, and particularly for those with certain religious beliefs, the cure is worse than the disease. The possibility of a government mandated vaccine has caused extreme anxiety for many Americans. In this article, Ben Davisson discusses the constitutionality of mandatory vaccination programs and how such programs may come into conflict with the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment.
Lee Hiromoto M.D., J.D.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), enacted by the US Congress 1996, laudably protects medical privacy in healthcare settings. However, this federal law has created a culture of fear that limits current efforts to address the COVID-19 pandemic. Healthcare providers, who are covered by HIPAA, may be reluctant to disclose information about outbreak clusters for fear of violating the law. Healthcare organizations, who are also covered by the law, still rely on fax machines to avoid violating HIPAA’s data security requirements. And the scrupulous rule-following in healthcare has given independent life to a HIPAA boogeyman. Thus, officials who are not covered by the law (e.g. schools) withhold or deter the release of valuable information—even when HIPAA does not apply to them. The Executive has taken some action to relax HIPAA in these unprecedented times and should take further action, along with Congress, to balance privacy rights with the need for greater transparency in the fight against COVID-19.
The new relief bill has extended the eviction moratorium another month. In this article, Matt Donahoe discusses whether this will provide tenants the necessary protection to avoid an eviction crisis as well as whether the moratorium is an infringement upon a landlord’s constitutional rights.
In United States v. Arias, the Eighth Circuit ordered documents to be produced on the basis of the Confrontation Clause. Despite creating a circuit split, in this article Ryan Gallagher argues that the holding is correct.
President Trump signed the Due Process Protections Act into law on October 21, 2020. Allyson Benko discusses how Federal judges must now remind prosecutors on the record of their obligation under Brady v. Maryland to disclose exculpatory evidence to the defense in every criminal case.
Madison County, Illinois is a favorite venue among forum shoppers. Jamison Winters discusses how, by recognizing Bristol-Myers Squibb’s narrowing of the relatedness standard in specific personal jurisdiction, the recent Illinois Supreme Court decision in Rios v. Bayer may work to discourage forum shopping in venues like Madison County.
Poll Watching: You and What Army? An Analysis of Voter Intimidation Concerns in the 2020 Presidential Election
In light of President Donald Trump's recent calls for his supporters to monitor polling places, Emily Lapp discusses the differences between lawful poll watching and voter intimidation.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought nationwide trials and tribulations but in Illinois, it has brought further complications to an already struggling Department of Children and Family Services. In this article, Josie Finch discusses the consequences of isolation and economic issues on at-risk children in Illinois as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Filling a Supreme Court Vacancy: The Legality of Confirming Amy Coney Barrett during an Election Year
In light of the recent Supreme Court nomination of Amy Coney Barrett by President Donald Trump, Ryan Krutz discusses the legality of confirming her during a presidential election year.
Top Executives Forgoing Their Salaries in the Face Of COVID-19: A Benevolent Act or Deceitful Trick?
As financial hardship hits us all in the wake of COVID-19, affluent executives of top companies have announced relinquishment of their 2020 salaries. While appearing to be to sharing the financial suffering with their lower employees, Lauren Sullivan dives into the question of how much these executives are really “sacrificing.”
In light of the recent passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Erin O'Leary discusses what Justice Ginsburg’s death means for the election and the future of the Supreme Court.
Halloween is creeping closer, which means many people will be watching scary movies, telling ghost stories, and visiting haunted houses. While you might want to keep the hauntings out of your own home, you could be at the will of the seller. Lindsey Fafoglia analyzes seller's disclosure laws as they relate to paranormal activity.
Sinead McGonagle analyzes the implications and potential legal issues of both the U.S. Government and Netflix's use of the term "Space Force" under current trademark law.
Pre-trial detainees make up more than 70% of the U.S. jail population. Dylan Ashdown discusses the frequently discriminatory bail practices across the United States and how some jurisdictions are starting to do away with cash bail.
On August 6, 2020, President Trump issued an executive order to deal with a supposed national emergency: TikTok. Jenna Koleson discusses how this severe response to abstract national security concerns sets a dangerous precedent for democracy.
Wyoming's electioneering law is among the most expansive in the country. In this article, Alex Beezley examines a recently filed lawsuit challenging the law and predicts how the court will decide the case based on the Supreme Court's reasoning in Burson v. Freeman.
Will Saunders discusses quantum computing technologies and their ability to speed up our manufacturing processes through synthesizing new medications and detect deficiencies in our current supply chain structures to combat widespread diseases and prevent further spread. From complex molecular modeling to simulating future outbreaks, quantum technologies offer a means for better predictability and optimization for handling future outbreaks
COVID-19 and Public Accommodations Under the Americans with Disabilities Act: Getting Americans Safely Back to Restaurants, Theaters, Gyms, and “Normal”
Frank Griffin M.D., J.D.
THIS IS A PRELIMINARY EXPEDITED VERSION OF THE OFFICIAL ARTICLE TO BE ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN SAINT LOUIS UNIVERSITY LAW JOURNAL VOLUME 65 NUMBER 2
COVID-19 permanently changed the way places of public accommodation like restaurants, theaters, medical facilities, arenas, gyms, and many other proprietors of mainstream American activities must operate in order to accommodate people with newly-defined, COVID-19-related disabilities under Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The required modifications will affect all patrons and employees of these establishments. Under the ADA, places of public accommodation are barred from discriminating against people with disabilities in the full and equal enjoyment of goods, services, and facilities. Infectious diseases like tuberculosis and HIV have been categorized as disabilities under the ADA, and COVID-19 is defining new categories of individuals with disabilities (including individuals vulnerable to COVID-19 complications) as revealed in this paper. Places of public accommodation will be required to establish non-discriminatory methods to identify “direct threats,” to modify policies and procedures for COVID-19-related disability groups identified here, and remove structural barriers that discriminate against those same groups. Controversial measures like fever checkpoints, mandatory face masking, and required social distancing are discussed in depth and analyzed in light of the ADA’s requirements.