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.
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.
The article by Eric Harmon is about the regulatory definition of milk, which defines it narrowly, and the FDA’s potential action to begin enforcing it. The article is focused on that potential and its impact on the plant-based milk industry and labeling of plant-based milks.
Hannah Meehan discusses the removal of the "physical presence" requirement following South Dakota v. Wayfair and Missouri's potential responses.
Airborne Argus?: St. Louis, Persistent Surveillance Systems, and Stabilizing the Lofty Aims of Fourth Amendment Jurisprudence
In October of last year, the City of St. Louis considered implementing an unprecedented aerial surveillance program. In this article, Jacob Schlosser discusses this powerful but legally questionable system.
The future of intellectual property, especially geographical indications, in the UK is increasingly murky. Libby McKown explores what will happen if GIs are used in the fray of hard negotiations about Brexit.
Although the federal government’s First Step Act is a move in the right direction when it comes to addressing criminal justice in America, states bear the responsibility of doing their part. In this article, Christopher Doyle-Lohse addresses the gaps Missouri must fill to achieve criminal justice reform.
The Right to Deregulate: The CFPB’s Authority to Remove the Ability-to-Pay Requirement as it Pertains to Payday Lenders
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is proposing to rescind the rule requiring payday lenders to assess a borrower's ability to repay the loan. This article by Ben Davisson explores the Bureau's authority to rescind its own rule despite the potentially harmful effects on vulnerable low-income consumers.
Ohio State University's attempt to trademark the word 'the' has been described as over broad and an attempt to abuse trademark protections. Alex Baldwin provides a look at other trademark applications that drew criticism from the general public, which might give insight to the application's fate.