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Are Semiautomatic Rifles “Dangerous and Unusual” Weapons?

Dennis P. Chapman
54 U. Tol. L. Rev. (Forthcoming 2023)

Efforts by some courts to conflate the semiautomatic AR-15 rifle with machineguns intended solely for military use are entirely erroneous. The use of semiautomatic firearms is deeply rooted in the history and tradition of American gun ownership. While M16s and other machineguns might not be commonly found in private hands, semiautomatic rifles like the AR-15 are widely owned and used by private citizens for lawful purposes in the millions. As such, they are in no way among the “dangerous and unusual” weapons historically outside the ambit of the traditional right to keep and bear arms and are well within the scope of the Second Amendment’s protection.

Tort Appendectomy: A Historical Approach to Removing the Vestigial Relationship Requirement for Duty

Bryce Talbot
54 U. Tol. L. Rev. (Forthcoming 2023)

The duty element of a negligence action under many states’ case law has seen a variety of interpretations and constructions. Perhaps the most common, and puzzling, of these is that a duty must arise based on some relationship between the plaintiff and defendant. This article employs a novel historical analysis to argue that the reliance on relationships is a vestige of the old-English writ system that should not be retained. Further analysis confirms that the duty concept in the United States started as a general duty from all to all. But then activists, scholars, and judges began implementing a more limited, narrow duty (more similar to proximate cause) for policy.

Extraordinary and Compelling: Sentencing Changes, Compassionate Release, and Judicial Discretion

Claire Griffin
54 U. Tol. L. Rev. (Forthcoming 2023)

The First Step Act of 2018 amended the mandatory minimums for certain offenses regarding controlled substances and removed a stacking provision under which a defendant charged with using a gun faces a concurrently charged offense. This change significantly reduced the length of certain mandatory-minimum sentences, but Congress missed an opportunity to enact additional meaningful criminal justice reform by not retroactively applying all the Act’s changes. One possible solution to this shortcoming is to qualify non-retroactive sentencing changes made by the Act as an extraordinary and compelling reason to grant defendant-filed motions for sentence reduction under the compassionate release statute.

States are the Answer to Requests for a Specific ESG Disclosure Law, Not the SEC… Yet

Gabrielle B. Guliana
54 U. Tol. L. Rev. (Forthcoming 2023)

Investors deciding who they'll back in the market are increasingly considering corporations’ environmental, social and governance (ESG) records. But a lack of uniform reporting and data that tracks ESG performance makes ESG investing difficult. This note explains why the states are best positioned to enact new ESG disclosure rules, supported by federal corporate law standards and core principles of the Constitution. The note also outlines how such state laws can serve as an important source of experimentation in this new field of lawmaking.

Childcare: The Privatized Pandemic a Call for a Federal Childcare Safety Net

Rebecca Marcus-Nicholls
54 U. Tol. L. Rev. (Forthcoming 2023)

There is a childcare crisis in America, and its working women who bear the burden of propping up a broken system. Current federal family policy and law have failed working mothers, but the pivotal low point of the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting childcare crisis should be a call to arms for profound societal change that remedies this gendered problem. By declaring childcare a public good and treating it accordingly, America can create a national childcare safety net, while also crafting more autonomy for women, and a stronger, more profitable economy.

United States Farm Policy Reform in Supporting Dietary Diversity and Combating Monocropping

Alyson Waite
54 U. Tol. L. Rev. (Forthcoming 2023)

Past iterations of the United States Farm Bill have fed America’s obesity epidemic, thanks largely to crop and dairy subsidies that promote poor public health outcomes. With the current farm bill set to expire at the conclusion of the government’s fiscal year in 2023. The 2023 bill offers an opportunity for the United States to shift agricultural policy in a direction that enhances public health while benefiting farmers through effective government subsidies.

After the Oral Argument in Moore v. Harper

Michael Weingartner and Carolyn Shapiro
54 U. Tol. L. Rev. (Forthcoming 2023)

The debate over the so-called “Independent State Legislature” theory is evolving. Early proponents of the theory largely rallied around what has been called the “strong” or “maximalist” version of the theory, which posits that state legislatures exercise plenary authority over both Congressional and Presidential elections, unconstrained by state constitutions. But some applications of that approach have already been rejected by the Supreme Court. Longstanding precedent provides, for example, that a state constitution’s lawmaking procedures apply to laws governing federal elections, even when those procedures incorporate actors besides the legislature. As a result, much of the discussion during the Moore v. Harper oral argument focused on whether those precedents could be distinguished in a way that allowed for a narrower form of the ISLT.

2023 Symposium Transcript: Election Gamesmanship

54 U. Tol. L. Rev. (Forthcoming 2023)

Election gamesmanship refers to the games played by parties and media during elections, including gerrymandering, myths or disinformation, voter suppression, and other phenomena. These are all interlinked ways of undermining the legitimacy of our elections. They impact historically marginalized communities, especially people of color. They impact election officials whose jobs have become more dangerous and they impact our ability to enjoy a functioning democracy. Toledo Law Review editors are proud to publish a transcript of legal experts discussing these matters and more at the Journal's 2023 Legal Symposium.

Double Tap on a Modernized Process of Voir Dire: Have We Lost the Impartial Juror in the Age of Social Media Algorithms?

Ziena Hatem
54 U. Tol. L. Rev. (Forthcoming 2023)

Innovation and technology are constantly changing, while voir dire remains stagnant. Social media algorithms are designed to maximize user engagement by mirroring our preferences. However, this mirror effect reinforces our opinions and has led to a society with stronger biases. Social media has created a world where the line between light impressions and strong impressions is far gone. Voir dire does not address the increase of individual prejudice compounded by social media algorithms, allowing biased jurors to make their way into our courtrooms. If the Sixth Amendment right to an impartial jury is to be preserved, the way we select jurors must be reconstructed.

Mind The Gap – When the Guidelines Lag Behind Statutory Amendments

Hope Luther
54 U. Tol. L. Rev. (Forthcoming 2023)

The United States Sentencing Guidelines were intended to promote “certainty and fairness in meeting the purposes of sentencing” and to reduce “unwarranted sentence disparities.” For a variety of reasons, the body that promulgates those guidelines, the United States Sentencing Commission has been functional for only a small portion of the last five years. This note will examine two recent examples of the uncertainty caused when the Guidelines fail to keep pace with statutory amendments.

Accessing the Secrets of the Secret Court: The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court and the First Amendment Right of Public Access

Thomas Rockhill
54 U. Tol. L. Rev. (Forthcoming 2023)

Over the past fifty years changes in global relations and advancements in technology have significantly changed the United States’ approach to national security. Amongst the significant changes is the way the United States conducts foreign intelligence surveillance while balancing the civil liberties and privacy rights of its citizens. Though some efforts have been made to give more weight to civil liberties, the balance with national security leaves much to be desired, especially in the realm of foreign intelligence surveillance. Indeed, seventy percent of Americans feel that their personal data is less secure than it was just five years ago. Perhaps more alarming is the fact that citizens are barred from viewing judicial determinations that effect the way in which the government conducts its surveillance. Thus, not only are citizens on the wrong end of the balancing scale, they are barred from getting an accurate view of the scale itself.

Evolving standard of decency: How Ohio House Bill 136 advances a nationwide prohibition on the execution of mentally ill criminal offenders

Michael Walton
54 U. Tol. L. Rev. (Forthcoming 2023)

In January 2021 Ohio lawmakers sent Governor Mike DeWine a bill that marked the most substantive change to Ohio’s death penalty in decades. House Bill 136 amended the state’s criminal code to bar the execution of offenders who suffered from serious mental illness at the time of their crimes. But more important than House Bill 136’s impact on the death penalty in Ohio is the role the legislation is likely to play in limiting an age-old practice that should be reserved only for society’s most abhorrent offenders. By prohibiting the execution of certain offenders who were mentally ill at the time of their crimes, House Bill 136 helps lays the groundwork for a long-overdue national prohibition on the execution of such offenders.

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