By Lavi Ben Dor
Lavi Ben Dor is a junior at the University of Pennsylvania concentrating in finance and marketing.
The First Amendment to the Constitution clearly lays out the United States governmental commitment to unrestricted speech: “Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech.”  As a result, the government faces significant limits in attempting to restrict the speech of private citizens. But what happens when it is the government itself that is speaking?
The idea of government speech recently faced scrutiny in the Supreme Court case Matal v. Tam.  The Court addressed a trademark application made by Simon Tam for the name of his band, “The Slants,” which had been denied by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO). The PTO rejected the request under the Lanham Act, which includes a provision banning trademarks that “disparage . . . or bring . . . into contemp[t] or disrepute” any people, arguing that the term “slant” has a history of being used as a slur against Asian Americans. [2, 3]
By Justin Yang
Justin Yang is a sophomore at the University of Pennsylvania studying Politics, Philosophy, and Economics.
The administration of President Donald Trump has been embroiled by scandal, and as various former and current officials testified before Congress, the issue of executive privilege has been raised from the front pages to the congressional committee rooms. Questions of whether President Trump might invoke executive privilege at a later stage are also being asked. But what exactly is executive privilege, what is its scope, and how can it be used?
Executive privilege is the presidential claim to a “right to preserve the confidentiality of information and documents in the face of legislative” and judicial demands.  Although such a privilege is not an explicit right the Constitution grants to the executive branch, its justification is rooted in the doctrine of separation of powers. The argument is that if the internal communications, deliberations, and actions of one branch can be forced into public scrutiny by the other two co-equal branches of government, it will impair the supremacy of the executive branch over its Constitutional activities. This is because the president benefits from the executive branch’s advice and exchange of ideas , and forcing it all into public scrutiny can harm the integrity of these discussions. Additionally, it undermines the ability of the executive branch to hold sensitive military, diplomatic, and national security information. 
By Nicholas Parsons
Nicholas Parsons is a sophomore at the University of Pennsylvania studying Politics, Philosophy, and Economics.
Right now, Pennsylvania is faced with a historic opportunity to revolutionize state infrastructure. Because of a settlement from a recent lawsuit, Pennsylvania has over 118 million dollars to spend on infrastructure-related environmental improvement projects. And while few are aware, the public has some input in how this money will be spent.
Last December, Volkswagen was sued by the EPA for secretly violating pollutant emission standards through the usage of “defeat devices.”  The cars in question were in violation of the Clean Air Act, for emitting a quantity of nitrous oxide well above the legal limit. As remedies of the case, the company was required to recall and repair 85% of the vehicles in violation, create an Environmental Mitigation Trust Fund, and invest in Zero Emission Vehicles.