By Sebastian Bates
Sebastian Bates is a first-year law student at Keble College, Oxford University.
The International Criminal Court (ICC) has been the subject of controversy since its inception, which stemmed from adoption of the Rome Statute in 1998 (the Court did not come into being until 2002, when the Statute was ratified by the requisite sixty states). Many of the world’s most prominent countries – including China, Russia, and the United States, all permanent members of the Security Council – have not accepted the Court’s jurisdiction. In fact, the United States Congress has passed legislation, signed into law by President George Bush in 2002, that would allow the president to use “all means necessary and appropriate” – up to and including military force – in order to free American or allied personnel from detention by the ICC.  This has often been referred to as the “Hague Invasion Act.” 
Others have criticized the Court for its slow prosecution of those accused of serious crimes under international law. Between 2002 and March 2014, the Court convicted only two defendants, both Congolese warlords.  Indeed, all of the twenty-one cases that have been brought before the ICC originated in the Democratic Republic of the Congo or elsewhere in Africa.  This has led to the most pernicious criticism of the Court: that it is a racist organization and is “nothing more than a tool to extend colonial domination.” 
By Alexander Saeedy
Alexander Saeedy is a senior at Yale University studying history.
With six years of historical distance between the beginning of the Great Recession and the present, it is clear that the United States and Europe have had fundamentally different, though not opposite, experiences with the global crisis. One possible reason for this difference was the Federal Reserve’s invocation of emergency powers in 2008. The invocation was an obviously legal action—emergency powers are included within the Federal Reserve’s charter—but it is fair to ask: how constitutional and democratic was it?
We may find some answers by turning back to 2008. When Bear Stearns, the former investment bank that became defunct in that same year, was found to have mortgage securities that were toxic, the Federal Reserve created a limited liability corporation called Maiden Lane LLC and floated $30 billion to the corporation, a loan designed to absorb Bear Sterns’ toxic assets. The remainder of Bear Stearns was sold to JPMorgan Chase.  The process was repeated in September of 2008 as Maiden Lane II LLC and Maiden Lane III LLC took on $43.8 billion of AIG’s toxic assets. 
By Tanner Bowen
Tanner Bowen is a freshman at the University of Pennsylvania.
The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit recently ruled that Native Americans were not protected under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 from hiring discrimination by employers of different Native American lineages; whether a Native American is Navajo or Hopi is considered a political classification rather than a claim of national origin discrimination.
The case EEOC v. Peabody Western Coal Co. arose after two members of the Hopi tribe and one member of the Otoe tribe of Arizona sought employment with Peabody Western Coal Company, a Navajo owned coal mine. The mine refused to hire them and opted to hire more fellow Navajo tribe members instead. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) had sued Peabody over a series of four lawsuits pertaining to these discriminatory practices. This last round of lawsuits commenced after the district court had granted summary judgment on behalf of Peabody Coal. In response to this action, the EEOC appealed the decision to the Ninth Circuit.
By Sam Nadler
Sam Nadler is a senior at Vanderbilt University studying history.
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) scored a major courtroom victory on September 16th against some of the country's largest financial institutions, including some involved in the financial crisis. In a move with great ramifications for Wall Street and future financial regulations, Judge Paul Friedman, US District Court Judge for the District of Columbia, refused to vacate new cross-border swaps rules implemented by the CFTC.
Regulating swaps, which are contracts that make it easier for derivatives traders to incur risk, is the focal point of the new CFTC rules. Simply put, derivatives are financial instruments that derive their value from an underlying asset. They are contracts between two parties that specifying the rules under which payments are made between the parties. They come in many different asset classes including commodities, bonds, stocks, and currencies, and are used to speculate or hedge market risk. Most of the trading in these financial instruments is known as Over the Counter (OTC), which simply means that it occurs as the result of a privately agreed upon contract between two parties and not through an exchange.
By Rebecca Heilweil
Rebecca Heilweil is a freshman at the University of Pennsylvania.
Free speech is perhaps the basis of American democracy. As the opening of the Bill of Rights, the First Amendment holds that "Congress shall make no law...abridging the freedom of Speech." The first ten amendments of the Constitution were meant to dilute a strong national government, seen as a federalist victory. They represented an attempt to re-solidify the individual as the unit of New World republican values, rather than an overly empowered President or Congress.
Free speech is often thought of as the power of the individual to speak up against the government. However, Supreme Court reasoning offers an alternate view. While patriotic rhetoric paints the First Amendment as a declaration of individual agency, judicial reasoning often prefers to classify the freedom of speech as communal or utilitarian.
By Natasha Kang
Natasha Kang is a senior at University of California, Davis.
Whether they’re seen as famous or infamous, whistleblowers have been providing game-changing information about Watergate, the Vietnam War, and most recently, the National Security Agency leaks provided by Edward Snowden. However, sometimes whistleblowers blow on behalf of the government, with the added bonus of a share of the reward.
Drug makers are popular targets for such whistleblowers because of the bounties offered under the False Claims Act (FCA) including up to 30% of all amounts recovered and attorney fees.  Lawyers who are employed by individuals seeking these bounties without real knowledge about fraudulent happenings pursue what are known as “parasitic” lawsuits. The FCA is a federal statute that sets penalties for “falsely billing the government, over-representing the amount of a delivered product, or under-stating an obligation to the government.”  Enforcement of the FCA authorizes action taken by the Justice Department or, in a unique provision of the act, by private individuals through qui tam lawsuits.
By Graham Reynolds
Graham Reynolds is a student at Trinity College Dublin obtaining his Bachelor in Laws (LL.B.).
In 1991, Ireland joined the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an inter-governmental institution established in 1989 to “set standards and promote effective implementation of legal, regulatory and operational measures for combating money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system” to uphold the leading international standards for financial crimes.  In 2016 Ireland will once again be under review by the institution. It has been argued that there are still large segments missing from the Irish statutory regime which will prevent it from passing the standards and fitness test. 
The Irish financial sanctions regime targets specific individuals and entities with the aim of freezing their assets.  The regime is made up of a number of different statutory instruments which implement sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council and by the European Union (EU).  There are essentially three offences :(i) making funds available (directly or indirectly) to or for the benefit of a target (ii) dealing with funds owned, held or controlled (directly or indirectly by a target) or a person acting on behalf of a target; and participating knowingly and intentionally, in activities the object or effect of which is to circumvent the prohibitions on making funds available and (iii) dealing with funds; and to enable or facilitate the commission of the offence.
by Muskan Mumtaz
Muskan Mumtaz is a junior at the University of Virginia.
Some say Srinagar is two thousand years old, and if you walk through the streets today, you’d agree that it looks like it’s from another time period. Medieval architecture, royal gardens and lakes all nestled between the Himalayan Mountains paint a picture of a grand, old city with heavy Buddhist and Perso-Islamic influences. Earlier this September, however, the city went underwater. The last stages of the monsoon rains raised flood levels to 25 feet  in some parts of the city and forced 200,000 people to evacuate their homes.  In total, 2.2 million people have been affected. 
In my short, romanticized description of Srinagar, I left out an important part of the story. After the British partitioned India and Pakistan in 1947, Indian-occupied Kashmir became a disputed territory. Srinagar, the flooded city, is the capital of Indian-occupied Kashmir. Since 1947, India and Pakistan have fought two wars and respectively spent millions on developing their nuclear programs in efforts to out-arm one another. More recently, in the 1990s, Pakistan funded Pakistani and native Kashmiri militants to fight for independence from Indian occupation. The Indian army retaliated by killing, raping, and torturing hundreds of thousands of innocent Kashmiris in the process.  Even today, Kashmir remains the most densely occupied region in the world, with one Indian soldier for every ten Kashmiris. 
By Katie Kaufman
Katie Kaufman is a sophomore at Bowdoin College studying Government and Legal Studies.
A lawsuit by Citizens United, the conservative lobbying group of the landmark Supreme Court case in 2010, has revived the debate surrounding the transparency of campaign contributions. The state of Colorado is requiring Citizens United to publically disclose contributors to its new attack documentary, Rocky Mountain Heist. According to Colorado’s state constitution, published media involving political candidates must be accompanied by submitted campaign finance reports, which essentially requires groups to disclose the source of financial contributors. 
Theodore B. Olson, a lawyer for Citizens United, argues the “First Amendment prohibits the government from discriminating among speakers based on their status, viewpoint, identity, or message.” According to Citizens United, this law violates the First Amendment because it requires “disclosures based on the speaker’s identity.” According to this Colorado law, the press is exempt from such disclosures. Citizens United wants either be given this press exemption or the exemption to be removed completely. 
By Jonathan Stahl
Jonathan Stahl is a junior at the University of Pennsylvania majoring in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE) with a minor in American Public Policy.
Jeffrey Deskovic was a 16-year-old student at Peekskill High School in 1989 when one of his classmates, Angela Correa, was brutally raped and murdered in a forest nearby. Jeffrey caught the attention of local investigators when he seemed suspiciously emotional at a memorial service for Angela and fit the psychological profile of the perpetrator that an NYPD specialist had created. 
Peekskill officers then visited the high school during the school day, asked Jeffrey to come with them to a nearby county’s police station where they interrogated him for at least six hours. Deskovic was subjected to abrasive behavior and intimidation by the officers, as well as a polygraph test. He eventually confessed to the crime while crying on the floor in the fetal position, after one interrogator told him that if he did not confess the other officers were going to enter the room and assault him. Deskovic was promised that after he confessed he could go home and would receive psychological counseling rather than jail time.