The Border Wall Emergency Declaration—Power Grab or Culmination of Expansive Presidential Authority?

Andy Carr

On Friday, February 15, 2019, President Donald Trump issued his long-awaited national emergency declaration concerning the U.S.-Mexican border, namely, to unlock billions for the construction of the wall.  Lawmakers’ initial reactions were—at best—cautious, if not alarmed, by the latest executive action.  Shifting appropriations via presidential decree raises obvious separation-of-powers concerns, as discussed further below.  But even more pragmatically, “many lawmakers in both parties regard the prospect of a [P]resident shifting billions of dollars of funding into a new project as a worrisome precedent even if the courts uphold the plan.”  Countless pieces undoubtedly will interrogate the proclamation and its legal implications over the months and years to come, but this essay offers a starting point and a first-run analysis.  The following explores the general theoretical and doctrinal frameworks for understanding the bounds of executive power, especially as it relates to the countervailing authority of Congress.  This essay concludes by applying both theoretical and doctrinal lessons to the border wall proclamation, finding it unlikely to be overturned if and when it reaches the Supreme Court—at least not in its entirety.  A range of interrelated concerns are further explored, suggesting avenues for further research and analysis. . . .


Read More

Life Beyond the Profile: What Happens to One's Assets After Digital Death?

By Diandra Franks

In our current Information Age in which so much time is spent behind the surface of a screen, an enormous and ever-increasing amount of one’s assets are stored within the confines of the World Wide Web. Whether or not the online asset is sentimental or financial, these accounts (social media, email, cryptocurrency, etc.) require users to create complicated, case-sensitive passwords as protection. This practice begs questions: What happens to online accounts when someone dies? Should friends and heirs be allowed to breach traditional notions of privacy to preserve a loved one’s memory? . . .

Read More

Checkpoint Consciousness: Exploring Legal Limitations and Inconsistencies in the Religious Use of Entheogenic Drugs

By Annie Vozar

Over the past several decades, the legal status of the use of drugs for religious purposes has fluctuated. Some religions employ various intoxicating substances to communicate with God or gods, to promote spiritual growth and contemplation, or to receive visions. Because possession of many of these drugs is criminalized, a growing number of legal cases address the opposing interests of the government and the individuals who use drugs for religious purposes. These cases have so far primarily concerned the use of psychedelic drugs such as mescaline (found in peyote) and dimethyltryptamine (“DMT”) (found in ayahuasca tea). While precedent in these cases may apply to related psychedelic drugs—such as psilocybin mushrooms—litigation concerning other substances—such as marijuana—has proven less successful. . . .

Read More