Subtly Selling the System: Where Psychological Influence Tactics Lurk in Judicial Writing

Anne E. Mullins*

“The opinion, as an expression of judgment, is an essay in persuasion. The value of the opinion is measured by its ability to induce the audience to accept the judgment.”

As a nation, we are deeply committed to the rule of law. Particularly with the rise of law and economics, we think of the people served by the judicial system as rational actors. And, while many of us recognize that our courts are inherently political institutions, we still think of our judges persuading us with only solid legal analysis. But we are not always rational actors, and judges do not persuade us with only their analysis. Judges capitalize on psychological tactics that influence us to do what they tell us to do or to conclude that their decisions are, in fact, the correct ones. These are the same tactics that market participants of all stripes, from big businesses to fundraising charities to kids selling lemonade, use to get what they want.

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Silence Is Golden… Except in Health Care Philanthropy

Stacey A. Tovino*

Imagine a forty-year-old woman who has been diagnosed with stage IV colorectal cancer and who has less than a ten percent chance of living five years from the date of her diagnosis. The woman’s physician, who specializes in oncology and practices at a hospital affiliated with a major academic medical center, recommends a combination of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation to treat the woman’s cancer. This article addresses the permissible scope of uses and disclosures of the woman’s individually identifiable health information that may be made by the hospital and the physician for the purpose of attempting to raise funds for the hospital’s own benefit.

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“To Corral and Control the Ghetto”: Stop, Frisk, and the Geography of Freedom

Anders Walker*

Behind police brutality there is social brutality, economic brutality, and political brutality. — Eldridge Cleaver

Few issues in American criminal justice have proven more toxic to police/community relations than stop and frisk. To take just one example, federal judge Shira Scheindlin recently declared that stops lacking “individualized reasonable suspicion” had become so “pervasive and persistent” in New York City that they not only reflected “standard [police] procedure,” but had become “a fact of daily life” for minority residents. Scheindlin promptly ordered “immediate changes to the NYPD’s policies,” meanwhile recalling the Supreme Court’s observation in Terry v. Ohio that “the degree of community resentment” caused by a particular police practice could influence judicial “assessment” of that practice.

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Abortion and the Constitutional Right (Not) to Procreate

Mary Ziegler*

With the growing use of assisted reproductive technology (“ART”), courts have to reconcile competing rights to seek and avoid procreation. Often, in imagining the boundaries of these rights, judges turn to abortion jurisprudence for guidance. This move sparks controversy. On the one hand, abortion case law may provide the strongest constitutional foundation for scholars and advocates seeking rights to access ART or avoid unwanted parenthood. On the other hand, abortion jurisprudence carries normative and political baggage: a privacy framework that disadvantages poor women and a history of intense polarization.

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Vape Away: Why a Minimalist Regulatory Structure is the Best Option for FDA E-Cigarette Regulation

Nick Dantonio

People smoke to get a buzz. Plain and simple. Every time a person decides to smoke a cigarette they make a personal costbenefit decision. The benefits of smoking often include improved concentration and mood as well as providing sedative and euphoric effects. On the other hand, the costs of smoking traditional, combustible cigarettes are quite high. The adverse effects of smoking combustible cigarettes have become common knowledge over the past fifty years, beginning with the required warnings on cigarette packs in the 1960s, as countless studies have affirmed the link between cigarette smoking and a seemingly endless list of negative health effects.

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America’s (Not So) Golden Door: Advocating for Awarding Full Workplace Injury Recovery to Undocumented Workers

Paul Holdsworth

Long before President John F. Kennedy famously proclaimed the United States of America a “nation of immigrants,” the Statue of Liberty stood above New York Harbor as a beacon of our nation’s historically rich immigrant background. Since 1886, Lady Liberty has triumphantly posed as a proud symbol of freedom, refuge, and opportunity. At the base of her iconic pose, Emma Lazarus’ immortal poem poignantly calls for the world’s tired and poor, and exhorts them to enter by the “golden door.” Americana symbolism aside, this exhortation has proven quite paradoxical. Immigration has provided our country with unquestionable cultural richness, yet, at times, the country’s treatment of immigrants has contradicted fundamental notions of fairness and decency.

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Two Dads Are Better than One: The Supreme Court of Virginia’s Decision in L.F. v. Breit and Why Virginia’s Assisted Conception Statute Should Allow Gay Couples to Legally Parent a Child Together

Lauren Maxey

In May 2012, Roanoke Athletic Club in Virginia revoked a family club membership from two dads and their two-year-old son Oliver, after discovering that the two dads were gay and that they did not qualify for club membership. William Trinkle, Juan Granados, and Oliver applied for membership at the athletic club so that they could enjoy the summer by the pool as a family. Trinkle purchased a family membership and club officials approved his application, but soon after the family started using the facilities, the operations director contacted the couple. The director revoked their membership because they did not qualify under the club’s definition of a family. Thus, Trinkle, Granados, and Oliver were denied a family membership simply because of Trinkle’s and Granados’ sexual orientations. In addition, Oliver was denied the access available to children of heterosexual couples. Although the athletic club later changed its definition of a family to allow families like Trinkle, Granados, and Oliver to gain membership, this event highlights one of the many problems gay dads face in Virginia as a result of the current state of Virginia law regarding legal parentage.

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