Exploring New Approaches to Unsettled Legal Questions

Tag: 2020–2021

Publications from the 2020–2021 academic year

Maintaining the Narrow Scope of the Bona Fide Occupational Qualification: Rejecting Gender Discrimination in Bartender Hiring

by Matthew A. Peterson*

This Contribution examines whether a bar can discriminate on the basis of gender in its bartender hiring practices. Matthew Peterson (’21) argues that Title VII’s bona fide occupational qualification (“BFOQ”) exception should not shield bars from gender discrimination liability. The text and purpose of Title VII command a narrow interpretation of the BFOQ exception, and a bar catering to preferences for female bartenders is precisely the type of undesirable hiring practice that Title VII seeks to prohibit. The “essence” of a bar is making and distributing drinks, and the completion of these tasks does not depend upon the gender of a bartender. Courts should not permit bars to justify such discrimination with claims of supporting “authentic entertainment.” Unlike an actor or dancer, whose core job function is performance, a bartender’s primary responsibility is providing service.

Determining the Scope of Primary Liability in Securities Fraud Litigation

by Charles Bloom*

For decades, the private right of action for securities fraud has been narrowed, both by Congress and in the courts. In this Contribution, Charles Bloom (’21) considers the extent to which the Supreme Court’s most recent decision in a securities fraud case reverses that trend. Ultimately, this Contribution will argue that the Court has permissibly expanded private liability for securities fraud, closing certain loopholes created by its earlier precedents.

Necessary or Sufficient? The Applicability of the Exchange Act to Domestic Securities Transactions Under Morrison v. National Australia Bank Ltd.

by William Bristow*

Do Section 10(b) the Exchange Act and SEC Rule 10b-5 apply to securities transactions entered into in the United States where the security is not sold on a national exchange and is valued based on the price of a different security not sold within the United States? In this Contribution, William Bristow (’21) discusses the implications of Morrison v. National Australia Bank Ltd., where the Supreme Court held that the Exchange Act does not apply extraterritorially and thus only applies to domestic securities transactions. This Contribution argues that Morrison’s “transactional test” establishes a sufficient condition for the application of the Exchange Act, not a necessary condition.

Inverting the Scope-of-the-Project Rule: Determining When Government Pre-Condemnation Announcements Should Change the Default Rule for Just Compensation

By Timothy Lyons*

The Fifth Amendment prohibits the taking of private property “without just compensation,” but the optimal method of determining the precise amount of money that will justly compensate the property owner is not always clear. The general rule has been to set compensation at the fair market value of the property at the time the government takes it, with certain exceptions. In this Contribution, Timothy Lyons (’21) argues that when the government makes a well-publicized pre-condemnation announcement, it may be appropriate to compensate the owner based on the property’s value at the time of the announcement rather than its value at the time of the taking.

Seizures Conducted Absent Physical Force: Momentary Compliance Versus Submission

by Dean S. Acheson*

This Contribution examines whether police have effectuated a Fourth Amendment seizure by show of authority when an individual flees from a momentary encounter. Dean S. Acheson (’21) argues that, under Fourth Amendment precedent, pre-flight compliance does not constitute submission to a show of authority in a police interaction that consists of answering brief questions and engaging in evasive behavior.

Are Drug-Free Workplace Policies Discriminatory?

by Tian Lei*

Do state laws that prohibit employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of medical marijuana cardholder status effectively protect cardholder employees? In this Contribution, Tian Lei (’21) argues that when courts recognize and legitimize employers’ interest in maintaining drug-free work-place policies, cardholder employees become especially vulnerable to adverse employment action. This Contribution establishes that drug-free workplace policies often leave cardholder employees with a choice between their health and their job and that the scope and legitimacy of such policies must be interrogated if the law is to protect medical marijuana cardholders from employment discrimination.

An Application of Federal Preemption Law to State Efforts to Legalize Medical Marijuana

by Shrivats Sanganeria*

The federalist model of separation of powers often sets up protracted conflict over the extent to which the federal government is able to preempt the actions of states. Among the growing arenas for such preemption disputes is the field of controlled substances, which the federal government regulates under the Controlled Substances Act (“CSA”). However, several state legislatures have challenged the federal government’s preemptive authority by creating medical marijuana cardholder systems, where individuals can register for a card to obtain and consume medical marijuana. Any such state medical marijuana laws (“SMML”) that were modeled this way would prevent cardholders from being discriminated against by their employers, and shield doctors who prescribe medical marijuana from criminal liability. In this Contribution, Shrivats Sanganeria (’21) argues that any such state statute should be preempted under a theory of obstacle preemption, for the state would have affirmatively authorized conduct that Congress prohibited with the CSA, thus frustrating the purpose of the federal legislation.

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