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Published Student Articles 2010
The New York City Law Review is proud to honor the student scholars publishing in the Law Review this year.
Jonathan F. Harris
Worker Unity and the Law: A Comparative Analysis of the National Labor Relations Act and the Fair Labor Standards Act, and the Hope for the NLRA's Future, 13 N.Y. City L. Rev. (forthcoming in 2010).
Jonathan Harris, the 2009-2010 Associate Editor for the Public Interest Practice section of the New York City Law Review, has written a note that compares the federal courts' and Congress's treatments of the National Labor relations Act (NLRA)-an act meant to protect workers' collective rights by encouraging worker unity and collective bargaining-and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)-meant to protect workers' individual rights through minimum wage and hour standards. Jonathan's note focuses on the Acts' relative coverage of employees and employers, demonstrating how Congress and the courts have decreased the scope of coverage under the NLRA, while increasing the scope of coverage under the FLSA. Jonathan hypothesizes that these trends result from a broader attempt by business interests, long dominant in national politics, to divide workers. Business interests figure that individual workers' fighting for minimum rights that are already statutorily guaranteed under the FLSA is less dangerous than workers using the NLRA to collectively co-determine, along with their employers, the terms and conditions of their employment. This concrete comparison between the two Acts is essential in understanding the modern effectiveness of federal statutory worker protections.
Additionally, Jonathan's note discusses the future of the NLRA. Some labor activists argue for repealing the NLRA because it has become an obstacle to worker organizing. The note responds to this call for the NLRA's demise by demonstrating how, despite its systematic dismantling over the years, the NLRA is still a very powerful tool to support worker organizing.
Jonathan's note is particularly timely, given these difficult economic times and organized labor's essential role in lifting the working class and middle class into positions of financial security. Additionally, this Congress may be considering the Employee Free Choice Act, discussed in Mr. Jonathan's note, which would reverse many of the incursions into the NLRA and bring federal labor policy back to its core mission of encouraging worker organizing.
Jonathan has a unique and multidisciplinary perspective on federal labor law, having worked as a full-time organizer in the labor movement for several years. He was involved in many union campaigns and saw both positive and negative effects of labor law on organizing efforts. Since starting law school, Jonathan has closely studied both the NLRA and the FLSA, and has directly assisted workers attempting to enforce their rights under both Acts. He plans to continue this work after law school as a Skadden Fellow at Manhattan Legal Services. In writing this note, Jonathan consulted with CUNY Law Professor Shirley Lung, former National Labor Relations Board Member Dennis P. Walsh, and Penn State Law Professor Ellen J. Dannin.
Jonathan is a 2010 recipient of the prestigious 2010 Burton Award for Distinguished Legal Writing for his note.
Material Support and the First Amendment: Eliminating Terrorist Support by Punishing Those With No Intention to Support Terror?, 13 N.Y. City L. Rev. (forthcoming in 2010).
Abuse of the Material Witness: Suspects Detained as Witnesses in Violation of the Fourth Amendment, 36 Rutgers L. Rec. (2009).
Brad Parker is a third-year student at CUNY. He participated in the International Women's Human Rights Clinic in his third year and has worked on various domestic and international human rights issues. In law school, he studied international criminal law, international human rights law, and Islamic law at the American University in Cairo. He worked on child rights issues affecting children in the Middle East, such as the denial of fair trial rights and arbitrary detention, while interning at Defence for Children International-Palestine Section in Ramallah. During his third-year he worked as a law clerk at the plaintiff-side firm of Outten & Golden, a firm representing employees in all areas of employment law. After graduation, Brad seeks to use progressive human rights lawyering to challenge systemic discrimination and to enforce violations of international labor rights. Brad is an Associate Articles Editor of the New York City Law Review.
Brad's article discusses the federal terrorism support statutes that ban and criminalize the provision of material support to designated foreign terrorist organizations (FTO). Specifically, the article focuses on how the laws have been broadly reinterpreted and applied outside of their original scope following the September 11 attacks. He argues that the prohibition should be viewed as a violation of the First Amendment because in certain cases the terrorism support statutes are not in accord with Scales v. United States and Brandenburg v. Ohio. The broad interpretation of the material support prohibitions is a throwback to McCarthyism and unconstitutionally criminalizes the provision of advice only when offered to certain disfavored political organizations. He asserts that material support statutes should be narrowly drawn, requiring specific intent to further the illegal aims of an FTO in order to prevent misguided prosecutions against individuals that have no intention to support the illegal aims of a designated FTO.
Paula Z. Segal
A More Inclusive Democracy: Challenging Felon Jury Exclusion in New York, 13 N.Y. City L. Rev. (forthcoming in 2010).
Paula Z. Segal is a second-year student at CUNY Law School. Before starting law school, she taught English to Speakers of Other Languages in CUNY's Adult and Continuing Education Program and was a teacher trainer. At CUNY Law, she has continued to build on her teaching experience as the Coordinator of the Street Law Team - bringing Know Your Rights Workshops to public school students and community groups throughout the five boroughs. She is particularly interested in working through law, education, and organizing to equalize conditions of life in different places in the city and beyond. She works on issues of access to healthy food and green space, education and participation in the mechanisms of "democracy." Her paper on felon jury exclusion developed out of a research project she started as a Haywood Burns Intern at Community Service Society of New York in the summer following her first year of law school. She is grateful to Professor Ruthann Robson for her guidance in turning this research into a scholarly article.
Housing is Harm Reduction: The Case for the Creation of Harm Reduction Based Termination of Tenancy Procedures for the New York City Housing Authority, 13 N.Y. City L. Rev. (forthcoming in 2010).
Megan Stuart is a proud 2009 CUNY Law graduate. While at CUNY, she was able to learn about various aspects of poverty law through the Economic Justice Project, independent studies, and amazing professors. Megan likes walks down housing court hallways, sunsets over Brooklyn from the welfare hearing office, and conversations in the NYCHA hearing waiting room. Megan is currently a Staff Attorney at the Urban Justice Center, where she is able to represent tenants at NYCHA termination hearings.
Published Student Articles 2009
The New York City Law Review is proud to honor the student scholars publishing in the Law Review this year.
Payne, Victim Impact Statements, and Nearly Two Decades Of Devolving Standards Of Decency, 12 N.Y.C. L. REV. (forthcoming 2009).
Joseph Frankel graduated from CUNY in 2008. He focused mostly on criminal defense work, participating in Professor Kirchmeier's Capital Punishment class during his second year and the Defender's clinic his third year. He also worked with the New Hampshire Public Defenders who were representing Michael Addison at the time. Most of the work was pre-trial legal work with a focus on constitutional issues. The sad postscript to Joseph's paper is that as of December 2008, Michael Addison is the first person to be sentenced to death in New Hampshire since 1939. Victim impact evidence played a large role in the trial.
Joseph's article argues that victim impact evidence has no place in capital sentencing because it results in arbitrary sentences. "Death is different," and as such, a capital jury's sentencing discretion must be controlled by "clear and objective standards as to produce a non-discriminatory application." A capital sentencing statute must also provide a "meaningful basis for distinguishing the few cases in which the [the death penalty is imposed] from the many cases which it is not." Joseph argues that victim impact statements are irrelevant and arbitrary.
"Purgatory Cannot Be Worse Than Hell": The First Amendment Rights Of Civilly Committed Sex Offenders, 12 N.Y.C. L. REV. (forthcoming 2009).
Tanya Kessler is a third year student at CUNY. While many have rightly criticized sex offender civil commitment on habeas corpus, double jeopardy and procedural due process grounds, little attention has been paid to the associated infringements on First Amendment rights. Although the Supreme Court has upheld sex offender civil commitment on the basis that it is not punitive and is therefore unlike imprisonment, when considering First Amendment claims by civilly committed sex offenders, federal courts apply the prison standard. Tanya argues that the application of this standard, which is extremely deferential to "penological" interests, indicates civilly committed sex offenders' untenable status: treated like prisoners, they lack the procedural protections afforded criminal defendants.
States of Resistance: The REAL ID Act and the Limits of Federal Deputization of State Agencies in the Regulation of Non-Citizens, 12 N.Y.C. L. REV. (forthcoming 2009).
Shirley Lin is a second year student CUNY, where she has been able to examine in depth the interactions between race, policy, and the law in her coursework and independent study. She credits her professors and the Law School's unique approach to legal education for enabling her to fully engage in interdisciplinary research into an issue she found legally compelling-the fierce and politically diverse opposition to federal legislation, passed with little debated, that attempts to strong-arm states into denying driver's licenses to undocumented immigrants and other non-citizens and into implementing strict federal requirements at state DMVs.
Shirley's piece examines the contradictory constitutional and political issues at play in the tug of war between federal and states' governments over implementation of the law's sweeping and prohibitively expensive changes to states' motorist licensing schemes. The REAL ID Act would affect all 56 U.S. jurisdictions and more than 240 million driver's license applicants or holders, and in Shirley's view, is a stark example of the difficulties of challenging structural discrimination against non-citizens-especially racial and ethnic minorities-in contemporary jurisprudence. The article discusses the design flaws of the REAL ID Act within the context of the nation's traditional "immigration federalism" framework in regulating non-citizens, and evaluates the viability of legal challenges on the grounds of equal protection, due process, federalism principles, and international law.
Shirley wrote a draft of the article last fall while taking the class, The Constitution & Foreign Affairs, and deeply appreciates the care, thoughtfulness, and guidance of her student editors at the New York City Law Review.
Bringing Down the Establishment: Faith-Based and Community Initiative Funding, Christianity, and Same-Sex Equality, 12 N.Y.C. L. REV. (forthcoming 2009).
Anthony is a third year student at CUNY. He participated in the Health Law Concentration in his third year and is primarily interested in universal access to health care. His focus is in civil practice and constitutional civil rights claims. Before law school, Anthony worked as a pharmacy technician, which spawned his interest in ensuring access to health care.
Anthony's article explores the relationship between Christian doctrine and United States law and argues that Christian ideology has become so pervasive in the law that religious interests have often become confused with secular interests. The article proceeds to analyze the effect Christian influence in the law has had upon the rights of the LGBT community and argues that laws which prevent LGBT persons from enjoying equal rights to the their heterosexual counterparts do so because of their Christian origins and, as such, violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. The analysis proceeds through the lens of a recent Supreme Court decision, Hein v. Freedom from Relgion Foundation, Inc., which further weakened the ability of tax-payers to make Establishment Clause based challenges to actions by the Executive Branch of the United States government.
Re-Feminizing Mediation Globally, 12 N.Y.C. L. REV. (forthcoming 2009).
Deborah is a third year student at CUNY. She is interested in pursuing a career that advances civil rights with a focus on women's rights. While in law school, Deborah interned at the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, worked with domestic violence victims at the Queens County District Attorney's Office in the Domestic Violence Bureau, and helped indigent women with matrimonial and Family Court proceedings at inMotion. This past fall, Deborah was enrolled in CUNY's Mediation Clinic where she co-mediated a range of cases in Civil Court, Small Claims Court, and the Center for Mediation Services in Jamaica, Queens. Deborah also second-seated Professors Beryl Blaustone and Cheryl Howard on cases at the New York State Division of Human Rights on employment discrimination cases. Deborah plans to continue mediating and hopes to further contribute to the legal profession through her writing.
Deborah's article was originally written as a law and policy memorandum for Professor Beryl Blaustone's Mediation Seminar. The article argues that international mediations of intractable conflicts do not adequately address women's human rights concerns. It asserts that a new approach based on a feminist perspective of domestic mediation is necessary at the international level for resolving conflicts and including women in the process.
More to Lose Than Your Chains: Realizing the Ideals of the Thirteenth Amendment, 12 N.Y.C. L. REV. (forthcoming 2009).
Mike is a third year student at CUNY. Before coming to CUNY, he worked as a union organizer. In law school, he continued to follow his commitment for workers' rights. After graduation, Mike will be working for Outten & Golden, a firm representing employees in all areas of employment law.
Mike's article is about the constitutional underpinnings of American labor law. Rights of association on the job and the freedom to organize are only guaranteed in our country to the extent that they promote commerce. But an earlier vision of labor rights rooted in the Thirteenth Amendment, which prohibited slavery and involuntary servitude, was once part of our national dialogue. Mike's article explores ways to revisit that discourse, beginning from the premise that all working people share a fundamental common interest in guaranteeing basic liberties in the workplace. The end of slavery during the civil war was part of a continuing struggle to guarantee those liberties-a task that remains uncompleted.
It Takes a Village to Save a Life: Creating a New Model for Capital Defense, 12 N.Y.C. L. REV. (forthcoming 2009).
Alexa Woodward is a third year law student whose legal studies have focused on human rights advocacy in domestic and international law. During her time at CUNY Law, she interned with the Center for Death Penalty Litigation and the Danish Institute for Human Rights, and is currently working on a federal slavery case for the International Women's Human Rights Clinic.
Alexa's piece examines reforms in North Carolina's capital defense structure that have resulted in improved advocacy and greater access to justice for capital defendants. Using North Carolina as a blueprint for potential reforms in other states, the student work looks critically at the effectiveness of multi-faceted, statewide reforms, and how they have taken shape in North Carolina.