By Connor Gallagher
Connor Gallagher is a sophomore at the University of Pennsylvania studying chemical and biomolecular engineering.
Texas is suing the federal government claiming that Obamacare is unconstitutional. Again. It’s becoming something of a tradition.
There have been two major lawsuits concerning Obamacare (somewhat more officially known as the ACA, for Affordable Care Act) that have reached the Supreme Court. The first, National Federation of Independent Businesses v. Sebelius, was decided in 2012, two years after the law’s passage. Despite the name, petitioners numbered in the dozens. In particular, merits briefs were submitted by the attorneys general of Texas, South Carolina, Alabama, Michigan, Washington, Nebraska, Utah, Louisiana, Colorado, Idaho, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Indiana, Georgia, Ohio, Arizona, North Dakota, Alaska, Kansas, Maine, and Wisconsin, every single one of whom was a Republican at the time. 
By Natasha Darlington
Natasha Darlington is a fourth year student at the University of Warwick studying Law.
The legal procedure for granting patents as well as the exclusive rights placed on the patentee varies depending upon countries’ national laws and agreements. Whilst the frameworks vary, it is sure that the patent system has grown across the world. As stated by the World Intellectual Property Organization, the “number of patent applications has never been higher,” which has been supported by the “development of an ever-increasing range of technology.” As a result of its increased use, it is essential to discuss the emerging negative and positive issues relating to patents, which exercise a fundamental role in a number of fields including the biotechnology and the pharmaceutical industries.
The system of patents faces a number of major challenges including the actual operation of the system, issues regarding granting of patent protection to various forms of technology, and the long-term social and economic impact of the patent system. Given the rising issues within protection for intellectual property, it is necessary for lawmakers to strike a balance between promoting progress as well as finding what is best for the citizens of the nation.
By: Nicholas Parsons
Nicholas Parsons is a junior at the University of Pennsylvania studying Politics, Philosophy and Economics.
If you are a permanent resident of Pennsylvania, you have almost certainly heard about Pennsylvania’s upcoming requirement: state-issued IDs and driver’s licenses will no longer be sufficient to board a plane or enter a federal building. Due to its failure to comply with stipulations of the federal REAL ID Act, Pennsylvania is one of a handful of states which will face the maximum punishment for its noncompliance. What you most likely are unaware of, however, is the history behind this requirement, and the reason why Pennsylvania hasn’t complied.
By Saxon Bryant
Saxon Bryant is a freshman at the University of Pennsylvania studying Business Economics and Public Policy and an Associate Editor for the Penn Undergraduate Law Journal.
The Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) is a joint resolution passed by Congress after 9/11 empowering the president “to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons [the president] determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks,” as well as against those who “harbored such organizations or persons.”  Despite being only two pages in length, this document, and a subsequent 2002 AUMF for Iraq, have served as the foundation for U.S. military actions against the Taliban, Al-Qaeda, and the Islamic State. Over the years, various legal experts have pointed out numerous issues with the existing legal framework successive administrations have built using the AUMF.
The first relates to questions of constitutional powers. While the president may have certain authorities granted under Article II, the use of force during non-emergencies was meant to be by congressional approval only.  This idea is reflected in the 1973 War Powers Resolution, which stipulates that the U.S. president may send U.S. armed forces into action abroad only by declaration of war by Congress.  Alternatively, in non-war scenarios, the act requires the president to notify Congress within 48 hours of committing armed forces to military action and subjects the action to congressional approval every 60 days.
By Anna Schwartz
Anna Schwartz is a freshman at the University of Pennsylvania.
On January 10th, Governor Tom Wolf declared the opioid crisis a statewide emergency. He spoke about the loss of too many lives. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Pennsylvania has the fourth highest rate of death due to drug overdose in the country: 37.9 out of every 100,000 people.  Yet Wolf reminded citizens in his speech that “those who we have lost are not just numbers.” 
The average person hospitalized for abusing prescription drugs is 54 years old. Admissions for these opioid overdoses have increased four times over between 2010 and 2017 and cost about $27 million in 2016 to Pennsylvania taxpayers.  Even further, most overdose patients are treated in emergency rooms and released without admission; ER data is not included in the analysis of overdose statistics.
By Owen Voutsinas-Klose
Owen Voutsinas-Klose is a freshman at the University of Pennsylvania studying Politics, Philosophy and Economics minoring in Legal Studies and History in the College of Arts and Sciences.
On October 16th 2017, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt announced a directive implementing restrictions on the EPA - affecting its settlements with outside groups. These regulations include requiring proposed changes to regulations resulting from a settlement to be published prior to the settlement and prohibiting the payment of attorneys’ fees as a part of a settlement. The directive aims to end the EPA’s notorious “sue and settle” scheme, which was used by past administrations (notably the Obama administration) to enact major environmental policy changes on a quicker timeframe than typically statutorily allowed . But what is “sue and settle”, and why was this directive considered a major change by regulatory law experts?
By Justin Yang
Justin Yang is a junior at the University of Pennsylvania studying Politics, Philosophy, and Economics.
After the tragedy in Parkland, Florida, there has been a renewed national debate on gun control, and one that thankfully seems to be different than those in the past. Media attention has been sustained, and students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas and elsewhere have effectively organized walk-outs and marches. Many proposals that have arisen through this debate are worth considering, from an assault weapons ban to limits on the size of magazines. However, although I support a broad range of gun control provisions, one proposal being seriously discussed would run into immediate constitutional and legal issues—the proposal to raise the gun-purchasing age to 21.
According to current federal law, it is illegal for federally licensed gun dealers to sell a handgun to someone under 21 years of age.  However, while handguns can be sold to 18-year-olds in private sales and gun shows, long guns such as rifles and shotguns can be sold to 18-year-olds by both licensed dealers and unlicensed sellers.  Clearly, there are still a wide variety of ways an 18-year-old can legally buy a gun, which has raised concerns among gun-control advocates and even traditional gun-rights advocates—Republican Florida Governor Rick Scott has recently signed a bill that, among other things, raises the minimum age for purchasing rifles to 21, and politicians such as President Donald Trump, Florida Senator Marco Rubio, and Kansas Senator Pat Roberts have signalled their support for such a proposal.  After all, the shooter in Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School was 19-years-old and had used his own legally purchased semi-automatic rifle to kill.  Many others have pointed out current law allows a person who cannot legally buy alcohol to be able to walk into a store and purchase an AR-15 with little difficulty.  Clearly, the argument goes, the law needs to be fixed to resolve this absurdity.
By Nicholas Parsons
Nicholas Parsons is a junior at the University of Pennsylvania studying Politics, Philosophy and Economics.
PA State Representative Chris Rabb recently introduced legislation that would commit Pennsylvania to 100% renewable energy by 2050 . This bill would establish commissions for developing plans to transition Pennsylvania’s workforce using short-term benchmarks. Such a change would potentially lead to an uptick in clean energy jobs, while increasing the quality of the air that we breathe. But this is not the first step forward for renewable energy in the state of Pennsylvania; over the past couple decades, numerous bills have been passed to help the transition towards clean energy.
By Georgia Ray
Georgia Ray is a freshman at the University of Pennsylvania studying cognitive science with a minor in American public policy.
The First Amendment is a hallmark of American democracy, allowing American citizens to voice their identity and express their views without fear of persecution from the government. This creates a more collective political discourse as well as a generally less fearful population. In full, the First Amendment states “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”  However, for an amendment so fundamental to the country, Americans exhibit an astonishing lack of understanding in regards to their right to free speech. Three misconceptions stand out.
Many people do not understand the designation between free speech in the public realm and free speech within private institutions. Jimin He, writing for the Harvard Civil Liberties Law Review, argued “private universities are not subject to heightened constitutional examination of their policies.”  That is, private institutions have the ability to reprimand one based on his or her’s words with impunity. Jimin He cites universities specifically, but this protection extends to other private institutions as well.
By Cary Holley
Cary Holley is a sophomore at the University of Pennsylvania studying Political Science.
The proliferation of cell phone use has translated into more access to what is going on in the world around us, which also has important implications for social justice issues. The ability to gather visual evidence of misconduct using cell phones on the part of governmental officials, especially police officers, can expose injustice as well as increase accountability. However, the Founding Fathers understandably did not foresee the advent of such technology and consequently did not delineate constitutional limitations of its usage. Luckily, recent legal developments have converged toward establishing a set doctrine for this important constitutional issue.