November 15, 2021

The Corporate Shadow in Democratic Policing

[Cross-posted from Science]

By Elizabeth Joh

Abstract: Facial recognition, body cameras, and other digital technologies are increasingly commonplace tools of police departments. These provide police with an increased ability to collect vast stores of information on our movements and habits, both online and in real life. These new forms of investigation have led to successes in ways that might not have been possible with traditional policing. But they also raise the specter of unchecked police surveillance. As a result, privacy and civil liberties groups have raised concerns about how much control we have over the most intimate details of our lives. But there is another, less obvious, challenge to democratic policing from these profound changes. Private companies, not public agencies, are typically responsible for the design, production, and sales of products like body cameras and facial recognition software. That the police neither design nor produce the tools that raise some of the most important questions about privacy and civil liberties today has profound consequences for how we think about democratic policing. Perhaps the central dilemma about this corporate shadow in policing is the tensions that exist between public accountability and private interests when police departments are customers.
November 15, 2021

What Trump Can Teach Us About Con Law Ep. 57: 'The Eastman Memo'

[Cross-posted from What Trump Can Teach Us About Con Law]

By Elizabeth Joh

John Eastman, a mainstream conservative lawyer working for Trump, outlined a plan for VP Pence to declare Trump the winner of the 2020 election regardless of the votes. It didn't happen, but should we be worried about the memo when it comes to future elections? Listen to Ep. 57 of the What Trump Can Teach Us About Con Law podcast.

September 13, 2021

What Trump Can Teach Us About Con Law Ep. 56: 'Shadow Docket'

[Cross-posted from What Trump Can Teach Us About Con Law]

By Elizabeth Joh

On the topic of legal procedure and how it relates to the Supreme Court's so-called "shadow docket" and the Texas abortion law. Listen to Episode 56 of the What Trump Can Teach Us About Con Law podcast.

August 5, 2021

What Trump Can Teach Us About Con Law Ep. 55: 'Double Dose of Jacobson'

[Cross-posted from What Trump Can Teach Us About Con Law]

By Elizabeth Joh

As people argue about public policy regarding COVID-19 vaccination, Jacobson V. Massachusetts is invoked a lot. Plus, Donald Trump is in court, and the first Capitol riot conviction. Listen to episode 55 of What Trump Can Teach Us About Con Law.

July 9, 2021

'Con Law' Episode 54: 'Bong Hits for Jesus'

[Cross-posted from What Trump Can Teach Us About Con Law]

By Elizabeth Joh

We discuss three cases from the recently wrapped Supreme Court term: California v. Texas, Mahanoy Area School District v. B.L., and Lange v. California. (This episode contains explicit language – quoted from a cheerleader).

Listen to episode 54 of What Trump Can Teach Us About Con Law.

June 2, 2021

Episode 53: 'Hate Crimes'

[Cross-posted from What Trump Can Teach Us About Con Law]

By Elizabeth Joh

On May 20, 2021, President Joe Biden signed the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act into law. This bill made special mention of hate crimes against Asian Americans. This was in stark contrast to his predecessor, President Donald Trump, who used racist and xenophobic terms in relation to COVID-19. What exactly are hate crimes, and what does the Constitution say about them? Listen to episode 53 of the What Trump Can Teach Us About Con Law podcast.

May 6, 2021

Episode 52: 'Pattern and Practice'

[Cross-posted from Trumpconlaw.com]

By Elizabeth Joh

What can Joe Biden or any U.S. president do when it comes to reforming the approximately 18,000 locally governed police departments around the U.S.? The infamous Rodney King video showing him being graphically beaten by police officers helped catalyze a giant 1994 crime reform bill that brought the pattern and practice of local police departments under federal scrutiny. How does it work? Listen to episode 52 of What Trump Can Teach Us About Con Law.

March 30, 2021

Episode 51: 'The Capitol Mob and their Cell Phones'

[Cross-posted from What Trump Can Teach Us About Con Law]

By Elizabeth Joh

On Jan. 6, a mob stormed the U.S. Capitol to try to stop the certification of the presidential election results. Many of the insurrectionists will be tracked down and charged with crimes, in part, because their cell phones placed them in the Capitol building during the attack.

The case of Carpenter v. United States is the closest the Supreme Court has come to weighing in on the matter of historical cell phone data, but the decision didn’t offer an opinion on law enforcement’s use of a location-specific cell phone tower data dump without an individual suspect in mind. This brings up questions about the way warrants usually work under the Fourth Amendment. Listen to episode 51 of What Trump Can Teach Us About Con Law.

March 1, 2021

Episode 50: 'Deplatforming and Section 230'

[Cross-posted from What Trump Can Teach Us About Con Law]

By Elizabeth Joh

Following the Jan. 6 riot at the United States Capitol, the major social media platforms banned former President Donald Trump, and many accounts related to far-right conspiracy theories. In response, conservative activists have called for the repeal of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, saying it would prevent “censorship” of right-wing viewpoints in the future. But what does Section 230 actually say? How are the social media companies determining what can be on their platforms? Listen to episode 50 of the What Trump Can Teach Us About Con Law podcast.

February 1, 2021

Episode 49: 'Incitement'

[Cross-posted from What Trump Can Teach Us About Con Law]

By Elizabeth Joh

On Jan. 13, former President Donald Trump became the first person ever to be impeached twice by the House of Representatives. But with Trump out of office, it’s unclear if there will be enough votes to reach the two-thirds majority needed to convict him in the Senate. With the trial looming, we look at whether Trump has a good argument against the charge he incited a riot at the U.S. Capitol, and whether it’s constitutional to impeach a person who has left office. 

Listen to the episode