Exploring New Approaches to Unsettled Legal Questions

Tag: William B. Bryant-Luke C. Moore Civil Rights Competition

You Vote What You Eat? Assessing the Constitutionality of Prohibitions on Food Distribution to Voters

by Shara Safer*

A con­tro­ver­sial Geor­gia law, the Elec­tion Integri­ty Act of 2021, pro­hibits non-prof­it orga­ni­za­tions from hand­ing out food or water to indi­vid­u­als wait­ing in line to vote. This Con­tri­bu­tion argues that the law con­sti­tutes an uncon­sti­tu­tion­al restric­tion on free speech in a pub­lic forum.

Solitary Confinement Imposed in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic Entitles Incarcerated Individuals to Procedural Due Process

by Julia Leff*

After med­ical experts advised social dis­tanc­ing and quar­an­ti­ning in response to the COVID-19 pan­dem­ic, many pris­ons assigned incar­cer­at­ed per­sons to soli­tary con­fine­ment. This sit­u­a­tion rais­es the ques­tion of whether an incar­cer­at­ed indi­vid­ual is enti­tled to due process when they are placed in indef­i­nite soli­tary con­fine­ment for their med­ical pro­tec­tion or to pre­vent the spread of a virus. In this Con­tri­bu­tion, Julia Leff (’22) argues that the uncer­tain­ty regard­ing the length of the COVID-19 pan­dem­ic is suf­fi­cient to pro­vide an incar­cer­at­ed indi­vid­ual his right to pro­ce­dur­al due process under the Four­teenth Amendment. 

Evolving Standards of Decency: Solitary Confinement and the Eighth Amendment

by Jane M. Mahan* 

The Eighth Amend­ment pro­hibits cru­el and unusu­al pun­ish­ments. But prov­ing an Eighth Amend­ment vio­la­tion based on dan­ger­ous or unfit prison con­di­tions is dif­fi­cult because it requires a show­ing of sub­jec­tive cul­pa­bil­i­ty on the part of prison offi­cials. Fed­er­al courts have grown increas­ing­ly aware of the harm­ful nature of soli­tary con­fine­ment, par­tic­u­lar­ly for juve­niles, the men­tal­ly ill, and inmates with spe­cial med­ical needs. In this Con­tri­bu­tion, Jane M. Mahan (’22) argues that the place­ment of vul­ner­a­ble inmates in soli­tary con­fine­ment for a peri­od exceed­ing fif­teen con­sec­u­tive days should be per se uncon­sti­tu­tion­al under the Eighth Amendment.

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