Law

Who Owns Software?

Gerardo Con Diaz— When we own something, we can usually explain what that thing is. My car is an object that I recognize, and the blog posts I write are texts that I can identify rather quickly. It wouldn’t be difficult for me to tell whether someone took my car

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What Got Antivaxxers to Vax in New York City

Richard Robb— In fall 2018, measles returned to New York City. It was hardly surprising, given the alarmingly widespread resistance to vaccination. According to a recent survey, 2% of Americans believe vaccines are unsafe and ineffective and another 6% believe the side effects of vaccination outweigh the benefits. Many antivaxxers maintain

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Public Hearings and Presidential Privilege in Impeachment Proceedings

Charles L. Black, Jr.— SHOULD HEARINGS BE PUBLIC?  There may be early stages in the investigation process in the House when confidentiality should be maintained. Public disclosure of raw evidence, not yet evaluated as to credibility or relevance, might do some harm, and can do no good. In the later

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The Battle over Source Code

Aram Sinnreich— Professional prognosticators and commentators often treat the development of media technology as a one-way street, an inevitable series of magical innovations leading to an equally inevitable set of disruptions in business, culture, and society. In reality, of course, the process is far more complex. Technology developers and media

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Rethinking the History of Religious Freedom

Robert Louis Wilken— In the Supreme Court case Minersville School District v. Gobitis, 1940, that upheld compulsory pledging of allegiance to the U.S. flag in schools, Justice Felix Frankfurter, writing for the majority, said: “Centuries of strife over the erection of particular dogmas as exclusive or all-comprehending faiths led to

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Of Holy Rivers and Human Rights: Protecting the Ganges by Law

Sudipta Sen— On March 20, 2017, the highest court in the state of Uttarakhanda, India declared the river Ganges (known as the Ganga in India) and its main tributary Yamuna as rights-bearing “living entities,” effectively granting them the legal status of personhood. Uttarakhanda is a northern Indian state that borders

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The “Seriatim Practice” of the Supreme Court

Paul W. Kahn—   We can imagine a state in which courts issued judgments without explanation. The need to settle disputes requires some form of adjudicatory mechanism; it does not necessarily require explanation of the decisions. When there is explanation, the form of presentation has varied over time. The American

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Why Liberalism Failed

Patrick J. Deneen— A political philosophy conceived some 500 years ago, and put into effect at the birth of the United States nearly 250 years later, was a wager that political society could be grounded on a different footing. It conceived humans as rights-bearing individuals who could fashion and pursue

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National Emergencies and the Rise of Presidential Unilateralism

Benjamin Ginsberg— President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency to help provide funding for a border wall has touched off a furious controversy with many commentators pointing to what they see as another abuse of power by Trump. Unfortunately, though, President Trump is merely following the well-worn path of unilateral

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On “Chefs,” Wedding Cakes, and Corporate Personhood

Kent Greenfield— I was driving the other day with my kids in the car. Henry, like most five-year-olds, is full of questions. “Where do people come from?” “If you could be any animal, what would it be?” “When is my Thor Halloween costume going to arrive?” But this day, his

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