They’re Watching You: How the NCAA Infringes on the Freedom of Families

Not to pile on, but for a high visibility organization, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is truly unique in what it continues to get away with. The Association is so bold that it has normalized behavior that was deemed anachronistic centuries ago. 2 As March Madness fades from memory and the NFL draft looms on the horizon, it seems as good a time as any to remind ourselves of the many ways in which the NCAA is based on deeply troubling foundations. Sometimes by focusing on the low hanging fruit we miss some of the more bothersome and egregious injustices of the college system that disproportionately disfavors those who are most talented, poor, and of color.

This Essay argues that the NCAA’s surveillance of the family and enforcement of its rules amount to a sumptuary restraint on the families of talented NCAA athletes. In order to keep its cartel in place, the NCAA must bar not only the athlete but everyone in his family from extracting any value from his talent. Luxury purchases are in effect barred for poor families. This is where the NCAA’s enforcement and investigative arms step in. Disproportionately, the families of black athletes are put on notice that any signs of extravagant consumption (that is, beyond the level they should be able to afford) will lead to investigations and potential suspensions. At the moment when these families should be happiest, they have to worry lest they give off any appearance of living beyond their means. I argue that the NCAA’s rules disproportionately disadvantage poor individuals of color. This underscores the inherently unjust nature of the college sports system and the complicity required to keep it in place.

Negotiating Environmental Federalism: Dynamic Federalism as a Strategy for Good Governance

I begin with great thanks to the Wisconsin Law Review for the opportunity to be a part of this timely and important conversation about executive power and administrative governance. I have been invited here to share my work on negotiated federalism, which explores the way that good multiscalar governance is often the product of intergovernmental bargaining among decision makers at various levels of government. As I have described in this work, negotiations are sometimes conducted purposefully, in statutorily prescribed ways, and elsewhere more serendipitously or even inadvertently, as a byproduct of the wider political process. The privileged constitutional status of the federal and state governments brings special attention to the negotiations that take place among state and federal actors, but similar dynamics apply in negotiations involving local, regional, national, and international actors. And while all three branches of government participate in different forms of negotiated governance (some more and less obvious), the executive branch features especially prominently in these efforts.

For this symposium, I would like to distill a few important points from my research about the need for negotiated governance and the options for accomplishing it.

The International Criminal Liability of United States Government Lawyers Authorizing Torture

Mary H. Hansel

In a matter of weeks, the International Criminal Court (ICC) is expected to open a full-fledged investigation into the “war crimes of torture and related ill-treatment, by United States military forces deployed to Afghanistan and in secret detention facilities operated by the Central Intelligence Agency.” Pursuant to the principle of complementarity, the ICC cannot take the case if the United States has conducted its own investigation and decided against prosecution “unless the decision resulted from the unwillingness or inability of the State genuinely to prosecute.”

Originalism, Natural Born Citizens, and the 1790 Naturalization Act: A Reply to Saul Cornell

Michael D. Ramsey

In his essay, The 1790 Naturalization Act and the Original Meaning of the Natural Born Citizen Clause: A Short Primer on Historical Method and the Limits of Originalism, Professor Saul Cornell uses the debate over the Constitution’s natural born citizen clause to illustrate what he regards as the shortcomings of originalist methodology. He makes three main points: (1) that historians’ methodology is different from and superior to the approach of originalist legal scholars; (2) that originalist scholars have reached an erroneously broad reading of the 1790 Naturalization Act; and (3) that, as a result, originalist scholars have misread the natural born citizen clause. I believe each of these points is mistaken. This response addresses them in turn.

Bond v. Floyd and Expressive Proscriptions on the Partisan Gerrymander

Terry Smith

In Bond v. Floyd, the United States Supreme Court held that members of the Georgia Assembly could not deny civil rights activist Julian Bond his oath of office based on his antiwar statements. Bond, duly elected by his constituency, enjoyed “the widest latitude to express [his] views on issues of policy.” Bond’s right to speak was not merely an individual right; rather, his freedom of speech enabled his constituents to “be represented in governmental debates by the person they have elected to represent them.”

Long viewed in a doctrinal silo, Bond in fact dovetails with a maturing opprobrium of the partisan gerrymander. For it seems odd to forbid the state to silence a representative of the people but to permit the state to deprive the people of representation in the first place through the partisan gerrymander. If the First Amendment secured Bond’s speech from censure both in his individual and representative capacity, it makes little sense to permit the state, by use of the partisan gerrymander, to do at an earlier juncture in the electoral process what it could not do after Bond was elected.

Softening Voter ID Laws Through Litigation: Is It Enough?

Richard L. Hasen

In theory, softening of voter identification laws through litigation is a positive development aimed at avoiding disenfranchisement of both voters who face special burdens obtaining an acceptable government-issued identification necessary to vote and of those voters who face confusion or administrative error. In practice, however, softening may do less to alleviate the actual burdens of voter identification laws than to make judges feel better about their Solomonic rulings. In fact, softening devices still leave an uncertain number of voters disenfranchised. These burdens might be justified if there were evidence that state voter identification laws solve a serious problem, but there is no such evidence.

The 1790 Naturalization Act and the Original Meaning of the Natural Born Citizen Clause: A Short Primer on Historical Method and the Limits of Originalism

Saul Cornell

During the 2016 Presidential election a number of constitutional scholars debated Ted Cruz’s eligibility to be President. This was not the first time in recent American history that the meaning of the Constitution’s “natural born citizen” clause was a live issue in American law. The answer to this legal question depends on the particular theory of constitutional interpretation one favors. There has been a good deal of speculation on this issue by scholars of different methodological commitments. Much of the debate focuses on the meaning of the 1790 Naturalization Act, which raises deeper questions about the evolving debate over the legitimacy of originalism as a constitutional theory. Rather than approach the meaning of eighteenth-century constitutional and legal texts in a genuinely historical fashion, originalists have adopted a method plagued by anachronism, which invariably leads to distortion.

Comment: Regulating Virtual Property with EULAs

James Bonar-Bridges

Online games like World of Warcraft and Second Life are intensely successful products that have changed the face of modern entertainment. Contracts between the user and the publisher, called end-user license agreements (EULAs), control these online interactions—and entire virtual worlds. Players must agree to a given game’s EULA before starting the game.

This comment argues that EULAs, which purport to control all facets of the user’s in-game experience, are a poor shield for users of these alternate realities—especially in situations where players have large monetary investments. Part I explores the property interests at stake in these massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) by looking at World of Warcraft, specifically. Part II then explores issues that have arisen with the World of Warcraft and other EULAs in terms of who they bind, what they allow software developers to do to users who exploit flaws in programming, and what they regulate. Finally, Part III questions whether these agreements are enforceable contracts and whether contract law is the appropriate mechanism for regulating virtual property by exploring the alternative enforcement mechanisms of property law, consumer protection law, and criminal law.

Can Mandatory Reporting Laws Help Child Survivors of Human Trafficking?

Jonathan Todres

Once thought of as primarily a criminal justice issue, human trafficking is now recognized as an issue that implicates all sectors of society. Trafficked individuals have been identified in a breadth of industries, including agriculture, manufacturing, construction, mining, fisheries, forestry, health care, hospitality and tourism, domestic service, restaurants, forced-begging operations, and the sex industry. Preventing exploitation across so many sectors requires a comprehensive, coordinated response. In other words, in addition to the criminal justice system, social service professionals, health care providers, educators, businesses, media, and others all have a role to play in addressing human trafficking and its attendant forms of exploitation. As part of the recent push to broaden engagement in anti-trafficking efforts, policymakers and advocates have identified mandatory child abuse reporting statutes as a vehicle for engaging health care providers, educators, and other professionals who work with children to help identify children at risk of or exploited by human trafficking.

The Counterintuitive Costs and Benefits of Clinical Legal Education

Richard E. Redding

Learning experiences often produce outcomes we do not expect. Professor Yackee’s study finding no relationship between a schools’ clinical offerings (measured by “the number of positions available in faculty supervised law clinic courses . . . as a percent of total JD enrollment”) and student employment outcomes (measured by the school’s Law School Transparency employment score) was greeted with skepticism by practitioners and advocates of clinical legal education (hereinafter “CLE”). Law students and recent graduates may also be skeptical given the popularity of clinical courses and surveys finding that many lawyers view their law school clinical experiences as useful in preparing them for law practice, which is often advertised to students and employers as a key benefit of clinics.