Exploring New Approaches to Unsettled Legal Questions

Tag: Preemption

A Growing Need for Data Privacy Protection: Federal Preemption in the Data Privacy Arena

by Mark Vandenberg*

Data privacy is a burgeoning concern for the United States because federal telecommunications law was last meaningfully updated in 1996. The sheer amount of data collected about people’s private lives—which is now often publicly available—was simply unimaginable to lawmakers at that time. In the face of federal inaction on this problem, states have begun to move forward with their own data privacy protection laws, leading to questions regarding federal preemption. In this Contribution, Mark Vandenberg (’22) argues that neither field nor conflict preemption stand in the way of states working to protect their citizens with more robust data privacy laws and regulations.

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.

The ‘P’ is Not For Privacy: Preventing Private Enforcement of HIPAA

by Ryan Knox*

Can plaintiffs bring state law claims of negligence per se based only on alleged violations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)? In this Contribution, Ryan Knox (’19) discusses the interaction of HIPAA with state negligence claims and the legal and policy reasons challenging these private claims. This Contribution ultimately argues that negligence per se claims under state law should not be permitted to be brought when based only on alleged HIPAA violations.

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