By Dan Spinelli
Dan Spinelli is a sophomore at the University of Pennsylvania studying English.
The Philadelphia School District is an unwieldy beast. Shaped by the city’s changing demographics and plagued by everlasting issues of debt, student violence, and crumbling infrastructure, it’s long been a body that requires active oversight. That job, the purview of the five-member School Reform Commission (SRC), just got significantly more complex.
In a landmark ruling on Feb. 18, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that the SRC cannot suspend portions of the state school code and charter law, as it had been doing since its formation in 2001. The result raises a couple quick questions for the interested observer:
By Steven Jacobson
Steven Jacobson is a sophomore at the University of Pennsylvania studying business and history.
Like their counterparts across Europe, British farmers have felt the pinch of plummeting prices for their produce in the past year. The drop has stemmed from the EU’s removal of milk quotas, weakening demand from China, and changing dietary preferences across the continent. Barring an unlikely boom in the Chinese economy, none of these downward pressures looks likely to abate soon. However, a further one might soon be added. Should Britain vote in favor of Brexit in its June 23rd referendum, its farmers will lose the benefits of both the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and free trade within the EU, which would lessen the aid that British farmers need to stay profitable and impinge their access to their most vital market.
The United Kingdom’s dairy farmers have taken a 45 percent pay cut this season.  Grain growers and pig producers have likewise seen their incomes drop by nearly quarter and half, respectively.  Total farm income in Scotland decreased by 15 percent in 2015.  Prices are only likely to continue to fall in the short term, as warmer spring weather will bring further oversupply onto the market.
By Sanjay Dureseti
Sanjay Dureseti is a freshman at the University of Pennsylvania and an associate editor of the Penn Undergraduate Law Journal.
The death of Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia reverberated throughout the United States. In some cases, his passing and what it represented incited tacit celebration, joy that a man deemed social progress’ greatest enemy could no longer battle against inevitable change. Others deeply mourned his demise, citing the justice’s unabashed intellectualism and praising him as a champion of Constitutional purity and originalist thought.
Regardless of the nation’s opinion of Scalia, his death has set off a political firestorm, with both parties vying to determine the future of the judicial branch. Senate Republicans have vowed to prevent any confirmation procedures from unfolding, thereby rendering President Obama’s nominating powers moot.  The party is using its Congressional control to incite one more fight from Obama before his Presidency comes to an end in January. It also hopes that with a presidential victory in November the future of the Court will be theirs to decide.
By Derek Willie
Derek Willie is a freshman at the University of Pennsylvania.
With the 2016 Presidential primary contests well under way, anything with the name “Trump” emblazoned on it is likely to elicit ire in both liberals and conservatives. The now defunct Trump Entrepreneur Initiative, formerly known as Trump University, is no exception. Recently, a court allowed a $40 million suit filed against the “university” by the New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to proceed, suggesting that the real estate mogul’s legal woes are far from over.  But what exactly is Mr. Trump being accused of? Let us examine the case against him and his defense.
Schneiderman first claims that Trump was never allowed to label his initiative a “university” as he lacked approval from the New York State Department of Education, but did so regardless. While Trump later removed the word from the title of his educational exploit, the initiative still functioned illegally in the years prior to the name-change. Furthermore, Schneiderman contends, Trump encouraged his customers to sign up for expensive seminars with “hand-picked” experts in real estate, to “be taught Donald Trump’s very own real estate strategies and techniques.”  Yet, according to the Attorney General, Trump neither selected nor verified the instructors, many of whom had no experience in real estate whatsoever.  The Attorney General’s office called Trump’s purported deceit a “bait-and-switch” scam, whereby, according to Vox’s Libby Nelson, “people are told that the real benefits they want are only available if they keep paying, essentially urging them to throw good money after bad.”   The Trump University students signed up for free initial seminars, but were told that in order to acquire the real-estate techniques, they would need to sign up for a $1,495 three-day seminar.
By Marco DiLeonardo
Marco DiLeonardo is a sophomore at the University of Pennsylvania studying International Relations.
Copyright is necessary to protect producers, consumers, and artists alike in the genre of Remix. Remix, a cultural variable that serves as a discourse between art, music, and media, consists of sampling, or extracting media from different sources, and mixing them together.  The genre has resulted in numerous legal debates about copyright. Without a doubt, copyright legislation influences the creative process in artists, especially those involved in Remix. The debate rages on both sides, some arguing for additional copyright protection for artists, and others for limited copyright regulation. In 1998, Congress passed the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) to modernize and adapt copyright into the age of technology.  The act has instituted different regulations and protections specific to the Internet. Despite the efforts to protect the integrity of artists, this act hinders the potential of undiscovered remix artists.
To begin, the DMCA limits the widespread distribution of an artist’s work by defining “fair use.” In the broadest terms, fair use is essentially a legal code to help incorporate previous works into music and other art without having to pay monetary royalties to copyright holders.  Previously, fair use allowed consumers to lend a CD or give away a CD after listening to it under the “first sale doctrine.”  However, in the age of technology, this has changed. To send a digital copy of an album or CD is copyright infringing. The 1998 DMCA is rampant with these inconsistencies with the rest of copyright law. Besides fair use, the “notice and takedown” method is intrinsically flawed.  In theory, the law is supposed to efficiently track and handle the upload of copyrighted materials on different sites. If one notifies the user of his infringement, he should subsequently remove it. In the music industry, this is particularly relevant on YouTube, where users often post the tracks to copyrighted songs. To take these songs down would only limit their circulation. Due to the fact that this provision is largely enforced electronically, the means by which the songs are handled is inconsistent and occasionally faulty. Furthermore, established labels with massive legal teams threaten casual users with lawsuits. These disagreements often result in the back down of the user even if he is protected under fair use in the DMCA.
By Tanner Bowen
Tanner Bowen is a sophomore at the University of Pennsylvania studying business.
War often elicits unthinkable acts of atrocity against other human beings. Throughout human history, and specifically starting with World War II, the horrors of war have become even more monstrous because of the growing number of civilian casualties as a result of warfare. This reality of war often begs the question: “How can we ensure the safety of our civilian population amidst current developments in chemical and biological war tactics?”
One such response was taken by the United States government through subjecting human participants to various chemicals.
By Rachel Pomerantz
Rachel Pomerantz is a freshman at the University of Pennsylvania.
Since Saturday, February 13, one federal judicial vacancy has dominated all news circles, both judicial and lay: the Supreme Court seat held by conservative lion, Antonin Scalia. However, the number of federal judicial vacancies at the district and appeals court level represents a growing crisis that has flown under the radar and will become even more significant due to the vacancy on the highest court in the land.
Simply put, there is an unacceptable number of empty seats on federal benches. There are 81 current vacancies, one-third of which have lasted for more than 18 months. In fact, the Judicial Conference, the policy-making arm of the federal courts, has designated 31 of these vacancies as “judicial emergencies.”  The system is designed to have a certain number of judges, not empty seats for years on end.
By Regina Salmons
Regina Salmons is a sophomore at the University of Pennsylvania studying English.
Women have been an integral part of our military for as long as the United States has existed as a country. Women unofficially served as cooks and nurses during the Revolutionary War and the Civil War, and were formally allowed to join the military as nurses and in other non-combat roles during World War I. Over the years, and throughout various international conflicts, women have slowly become more and more integrated into the American military, as the country’s national defense needs call them to service. Just this past December, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter announced that starting in January 2016, all positions in the military would be open to women, as long as they met physical standards. Despite a request from the Marine Corps for certain exceptions, Carter affirmed that women can now fill any position—from driving tanks, to firing machine guns, to leading infantry soldiers into battle, all jobs that women were not allowed to perform before January.  Having women in the military has long been refuted and contested, but in 2016, we have seemingly left any doubts behind.
The military must often deal with controversy, and as heated as the debate about incorporating women was, the discussion of the draft brought about similarly intense reactions. With women in the process of becoming fully integrated into the military, many people are wondering why women should not be subjected to the draft as well. If women can serve in any position that men can, what is to say that they should not be called to action by the process of the draft as well? By allowing women to be drafted, are we not ensuring that the best candidates to serve and protect our country are chosen? On February 2, General Neller of the Marine Corps and Army Chief of Staff General Milley spoke before Congress on the issue, endorsing the idea that the draft should include both genders. There has been backlash to these testimonies, which presidential candidate Ted Cruz called “immoral,” as well as further support for the proposal to draft both genders.