WHEN COMPASSION GOES UP IN SMOKE: WHAT THE SUPREME COURT'S MEDICAL MARIJUANA CASE TELLS US ABOUT OUR GOVERNMENT
FindLaw columnist and Rutgers law professor Sherry Colb discusses the Supreme Court's recent 8-0 ruling in the "medical marijuana" case -- in which the Court held that federal laws prohibiting marijuana use trump state and local laws attempting to create a compassionate use exception. Colb also raises an interesting conflict between the Court's concurrence view in this case, and an earlier opinion in the landmark privacy decision Griswold v. Connecticut.
Monday, May. 21, 2001
WHY THE SUPREME COURT SHOULD OVERRULE THE MASSIAH DOCTRINE AND PERMIT MIRANDA ALONE TO GOVERN INTERROGATIONS
FindLaw columnist and Rutgers law professor Sherry Colb discusses a fundamental criminal procedure question implicitly raised by a recent Supreme Court decision, Texas v. Cobb: Should the Court overrule the Massiah doctrine, which forbids interrogation of an indicted defendant without counsel present? Colb traces the evolution of Massiah, and explains how it differs from the famous Miranda decision that guarantees defendants are "read their rights" before being interrogated.
Wednesday, May. 09, 2001
AMTRAK'S COOPERATION WITH THE DRUG ENFORCEMENT
ADMINISTRATION: A FOURTH AMENDMENT ANALYSIS
FindLaw columnist and Rutgers law professor Sherry Colb discusses Amtrak's
recent admission that it turns over the names of cash-paying passengers to
the Drug Enforcement Administration, and allows drug-sniffing dogs to sniff
those passengers' luggage. Colb explains that under Supreme Court precedent,
even though Amtrak counts as a government actor, its conduct -- perhaps
shockingly -- still would not be held to violate the Fourth Amendment.
Wednesday, Apr. 25, 2001
RACE VERSUS SEX: THE MULTIPLE MEANINGS OF "REVERSE DISCRIMINATION"
FindLaw columnist and Rutgers law professor Sherry Colb notes an odd
difference between "reverse discrimination" lawsuits in the context of sex,
and that of race: Male plaintiffs' "reverse discrimination" victories
(allowing men to be nurses, or stay-at-home parents who receive benefits) are
often victories for women too, but white plaintiffs' "reverse discrimination"
victories (for example, in challenging affirmative action) are often setbacks
for African-Americans and members of other minority groups. Colb explains
the difference, and also discusses the concept of "reverse discrimination" in
two other settings: that of love relationships, and that of adoption.
Wednesday, Apr. 11, 2001
THE FIFTH AMENDMENT RIGHTS OF THE INNOCENT
FindLaw columnist and Rutgers law professor Sherry Colb discusses the recent
Supreme Court decision in Ohio v. Reiner. Colb analyzes the facts behind
Reiner, explains why the Ohio Supreme Court held that a witness who
maintains her innocence cannot also assert her Fifth Amendment right against
self-incrimination, and argues that the U.S. Supreme Court was right to
reverse Ohio's highest court on this issue. Colb also contends that, more
generally, the popular notion that criminal procedure protects only the
guilty -- not the innocent -- is incorrect.
Wednesday, Mar. 28, 2001
WHY A CORRECTED DISABILITY SHOULD STILL COUNT AS A DISABILITY FOR PURPOSES OF EMPLOYMENT DISCRIMINATION LAW
FindLaw columnist and Rutgers law professor Sherry Colb contends that
Massachusetts' Supreme Judicial Court, currently confronted with the
question whether a corrected disability still counts as a disability for purposes of
employment discrimination law, should answer that indeed, it does. The U.S.
Supreme Court has held to the contrary, reasoning that a disability, once
corrected, is no longer a disability. Colb points out, however, that a
person whose hearing is normal by virtue of a hearing aid is still not
viewed by society as equivalent to a person whose hearing is "naturally" normal.
On the contrary, a hearing aid wearer may suffer stigma very similar to that
suffered by someone with hearing loss -- in that both types of stigma are
systematic and societal, not idiosyncratic on the part of an isolated
employer. As a result, Colb argues, both the hearing aid wearer and the
person with hearing loss should be protected by employment discrimination
Wednesday, Mar. 14, 2001
IS USE OF THERMAL HEAT IMAGING A "SEARCH" GOVERNED BY THE FOURTH AMENDMENT?
FindLaw columnist and Rutgers law professor Sherry Colb, a specialist in
criminal procedure, discusses the recently-argued Supreme Court case in
which a criminal defendant challenges his conviction for growing marijuana,
claiming that the government's use of thermal heat imaging equipment to gain
evidence against him constituted an unconstitutional warrantless search.
Colb reviews prior Court precedent, but also employs an ingenious
hypothetical to argue that the Court should go beyond that precedent.
Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2001
REDEFINING THE STATUS QUO TO INCLUDE THE DISABLED
Should Casey Martin win his disability discrimination suit against the PGA
Tour, and gain the right to ride in a golf cart rather than walking between
greens? Was ETS right to respond to a lawsuit by reversing its prior policy
of specially "flagging" the test scores of disabled applicants to business
school? FindLaw columnist and Rutgers law professor Sherry Colb discusses
the way in which these two recent controversies illustrate fundamental
issues in the law of disability discrimination, and relates a personal story
about how even disabled bar exam takers can suffer unfair treatment.
Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2001
IS JUSTICE RONNIE WHITE "PRO-CRIMINAL"? EVALUATING ASHCROFT'S ACCUSATION
FindLaw columnist and Rutgers law professor Sherry Colb discusses the
situation of Justice Ronnie White, the African-American Missouri jurist
federal judicial nomination was torpedoed by then-Senator John Ashcroft on
the ground that White was "pro-criminal." In fact, Colb argues, White's
record shows that he is not "pro-criminal" in any of the senses in which
term is typically understood. At most, White is an independent-minded
dissenter who is rightly sensitive to racism in the courtroom.
Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2001
THE CONTROVERSY OVER THE NETHERLANDS' NEW EUTHANASIA LEGISLATION
FindLaw columnist and Rutgers law professor Sherry Colb examines the
controversial new legislation in the Netherlands which will legalize
physician-assisted deaths, not only for terminal patients but also for those
who, though not terminal, experience unbearable pain that cannot be
As Colb explains, United States "right to die" proponents have taken a
different approach, urging the Supreme Court to recognize the right for the
terminally ill alone. She examines the rationale for limiting "right to
die" protections to terminal patients alone, contending that this
limitation does not accord with the reason "right to die" proponents believe
the right should be recognized in the first place.
Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2001
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