The Food and Drug Administration: Regulation of Electronic Cigarettes

Author: Stephanie Scott, Associate Member, University of Cincinnati Law Review

With so much of our daily lives being regulated by government agencies, it should come as no surprise that when a new product market emerges an administration will have something to say about it. Americans have been struggling with tobacco addictions since the early 1900s, and entrepreneurs have invented everything from hypnosis tapes, to nicotine gum, to skin patches to try and help users kick the habit. In the past few years, however, a new phenomenon has hit the states: the electronic cigarette. Continue reading

Conspiracy and the Scope of the Hobbs Act

Author: Chris Gant, Contributing Member, University of Cincinnati Law Review

“You see that right there? Special Investigations Unit. Special. Get it? Ten grand. First of each month. Deliver it right here.”[1] This excerpt from the film American Gangster is an example of how a corrupt law enforcement officer might extort a criminal like Frank Lucas into paying bribes. Congress enacted the Hobbs Act in 1946 to prohibit public officials from obtaining property from others by extortion.[2] Continue reading

Tinker Extended: Students’ Protection or School Tyranny?

Author: Brooke Logsdon, Associate Member, University of Cincinnati Law Review

Taylor Bell, a high school senior, created a rap song regarding allegations that coaches sexually harassed Bell’s classmates.[1] Hoping to raise awareness to the issue, Bell posted his rap on Facebook, where it made its way to the school community.[2] The rap identified the coaches, and contained the lyric, “You fucking with the wrong one, going to get a pistol down your mouth.”[3] Upon hearing about the rap, the school district suspended Bell for threatening a teacher—a “severe disruption” under school policy.[4] After a disciplinary hearing, the school suspended Bell for seven days and placed him in an alternative school for the remainder of the grading period.[5]

The issue is whether a school violates constitutional rights to freedom of speech Continue reading

Governmental Invasion of Privacy: Warrantless Cellphone Tracking

Author: Maxel Moreland, Associate Member, University of Cincinnati Law Review

Cell phone use is now an essential part of daily life. Individuals use cell phones for entertainment, business, and as their main source of communication. The Stored Communications Act (“SCA”) allows a court to issue an order compelling third-parties to disclose stored electronic records to the government so long as the government reasonably believes that the records are relevant to a criminal investigation.[1] However, the standard for securing a traditional warrant—probable cause—is markedly higher than the SCA’s reasonable belief standard. Continue reading

 Deflated Again: The Court Got It Wrong in “Deflategate”

Author: Gabriel Fletcher, Associate Member, University of Cincinnati Law Review

Under the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) of 2011, the National Football League (NFL) Commissioner, Roger Goodell, has the power to punish players for conduct detrimental to the integrity of the game of professional football. The NFL accused Tom Brady, the quarterback of the New England Patriots, of being generally aware that his team’s equipment staff engaged in deflating footballs below the NFL’s specified football inflation range. The deflated footballs were said to give Brady and the Patriots a competitive advantage because deflated footballs are “easier to catch, grip, and throw;” particularly in inclement weather.[1] Continue reading

Limits on Judicial Elections: A Thing of the Past?

Author: Andrea Flaute, Associate Member, University of Cincinnati Law Review

From basic speech restrictions to an outright prohibition on personally solicited campaign funds, judicial candidates, prior to the decisions in Republican Party of Minnesota v. White and Williams-Yulee v. Florida Bar, lacked the basic leeway given to every other candidate to control their campaign.[1] In the wake of White, candidates in judicial elections are now permitted to speak freely about disputed legal and political issues.[2] However, the Supreme Court decision in Williams-Yulee maintained that those same judicial candidates are still barred from personally soliciting campaign funding.[3] Continue reading

To Pay or Not to Pay: Should Interns be Considered Employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act

Author: Brynn Stylinski Contributing Member University of Cincinnati Law Review

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires employers to pay every employee a minimum wage and to pay overtime for any hours worked over forty hours per week. However, whether a worker qualifies as an employee has been debated for years.[1]  Earlier this year, the Second Circuit reversed a New York district court’s finding that a group of unpaid interns were employees under the FLSA and thus entitled to minimum wage and overtime payments (employee wages).[2]   Continue reading

Defining Lawful Activity in a State Employee Lifestyle Anti-Discrimination Statute

Author: Stephanie Scott, Associate Member, University of Cincinnati Law Review

With many states legalizing marijuana for both medical and recreational use, employers have been faced with the difficult question of whether they can fire an employee for legally engaging in marijuana use. Employers generally have the right to fire employees for a good reason, a bad reason, or no reason at all.  However, many states, including Colorado, have passed lawful activity statutes conferring broad protection to its citizens from termination. Colorado also passed a state-constitutional amendment (Amendment) allowing citizens to engage in medical marijuana use, in contradiction with federal law, and its citizens have relied on that protection.[1] Continue reading

Criminalization of HIV in Ohio

Author: Jordie Bacon, Associate Member, University of Cincinnati Law Review

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1.1 million Americans are living with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV).[1] In Ohio alone, there are 19,352 people who have been diagnosed with HIV.[2] In response to the Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) Crisis of the 1980s, many states enacted HIV criminalization statutes as a public health precaution.[3] Proponents of criminalizing HIV non-disclosure argue that it deters transmission between those who know they are infected and any sexual or drug use partner, Continue reading

The FTC and Cybersecurity: Unfair Business Practices or Unfair Business Expectations

Author: Brooke Logsdon, Associate Member, University of Cincinnati Law Review

National Cybersecurity, or the lack thereof, has frequently been front and center in our national news these days. Despite the recent increase of cyber-attacks on corporate entities such as Target, Ashley Madison, and Anthem,[1] Congress has yet to pass an adequate cybersecurity bill that would protect our government, our infrastructure, and our private sector from cybersecurity attacks.[2] When Wyndham Hotels fell victim to cyber-attacks in 2008, it decided to fight the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) authority to declare business practices “unfair.” Continue reading