Volume 38, Issue 2 – Katya Assaf†
This article touches upon one of the most disputed concepts in philosophy and legal theory: the concept of freedom. While there is a broad consensus that freedom is one of the most important ideals that every society must seek to achieve, there is much disagreement on the question of what freedom is. This article aims to point out that the understanding of freedom in the U.S. legal system is too narrow. While the legal system very extensively protects the aspects of freedom that fall into the narrow perception of this concept, it often disregards other significant aspects of freedom.
Volume 38, Issue 2 – Mary Ann Mason† and Jaclyn Younger††
Pregnancy discrimination is a little known area covered by Title IX. According to the Title IX regulations, areas of prohibited discrimination include: admissions; hiring; coursework accommodations and completion; pregnancy leave policies and status protection upon return from leave; and health insurance coverage. These regulations will soon get more attention as the Obama Administration insists on Title IX dissemination and compliance in an effort to stop the leaky pipeline for women in the STEM fields. Research shows that pregnancy and childbirth are the major reasons why women drop out of research science in much greater numbers than men; this dropout is most likely to occur among graduate students and postdoctoral fellows who are in their peak childbearing years. A similar pattern of dropout can be seen in all fields, including related professional schools. Research also reveals that there are currently few established policies in higher education which adequately address pregnancy and childbirth in formal policies for students.
Volume 38, Issue 2 – Tara Urs†
In Kennedy v. Louisiana, the Supreme Court noted that the problem of “unreliable, induced, and even imagined child testimony” creates a “special risk of wrongful execution in some child rape cases.” Indeed, empirical research has repeatedly demonstrated problems with accuracy in children’s accounts of their own experiences. Although the research and commentary in this area has focused on how allegations of child sexual abuse are addressed in the criminal justice system, these studies have much broader implications: every year, state officials conduct millions of interviews with children in the context of child welfare investigations. These investigations have serious consequences for families—for instance, they can lead to the placement of a child in foster care or the termination of parental rights. This article examines the reliability of child welfare determinations by looking at a subset of the information investigators consider: children’s statements about their past experiences. First, this article reviews empirical research on suggestibility, lie-telling behavior, and the capacity of adults to detect lies in children. The article then examines the impact of structural features in the child welfare system, and posits that these structural features do not facilitate the proper evaluation of child statements. The article concludes by proposing legal reforms to improve the reliability of child welfare determinations. Ultimately, this article aims to defend the proposition that caring deeply about children and their safety does not necessarily mean the child welfare system should rely on what children say.
Volume 38, Issue 2 – Joanna Zhang†
Since the mid-twentieth century, there has been a profound cultural shift in the way Americans approach intimate relationships. Gone are the days of marriage as the predominant site for sexual activity, shared identities and resources, childbearing and childrearing, and fixed domestic roles. The conventional script of the breadwinner male and homemaker female marrying, having children, and growing old together “til death do us part” is largely a relic of the past. We have since seen marked increases in divorces, women entering the paid work force, same-sex relationships, births outside of marriage, and cohabitation (in lieu of and preceding marriage). Americans are now cycling through multiple and shorter partnerships in a landscape of frequent divorce, frequent marriage, and frequent short-term cohabitation. Not only has the menu expanded beyond marriage as the sole option, but the once-fixed ingredients of marriage have given way to abundant personalization, evoking a choose-your-own-adventure feel. As sociologists have recognized, marriage has undergone a “deinstitutionalization.”