By: Tanner Bowen
Tanner Bowen is a junior at the University of Pennsylvania studying business.
In popular culture, insider trading is a very prevalent topic with which we are all familiar. We’ve all seen movies or TV shows where a character is accused of insider trading, or you’ve used it as a punchline to a joke about your friend going to business school. The ironic fact of this all is that even though insider trading seems to be clear-cut in the minds of Americans, it is still a legally murky area.
Going back to the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934, it made sense to put prohibitions against fraudulent and deceptive trading practices after the Great Depression. In fact, capital markets work best whenever they are built upon the principles of trust and transparency. That is why Section 10(b) of the Exchange Act put in a rule (Rule 10b5-1) which outlawed the use of “any manipulative or deceptive device or contrivance” in trading securities. Okay –so far, still no mention of “insider trading.”
By Justin Yang
Justin Yang is a freshman at the University of Pennsylvania studying Politics, Philosophy, and Economics.
This November 8th, everyone on the planet will be focused on the race between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump; perhaps rightly so, due to the enormous impact the President of the United States has. But there’s more than Trump and Clinton on the ballot – there are congressional offices, state and local offices, as well as ballot initiatives on which to vote. For Pennsylvanians, they will be asked whether the retirement ages of their judges should be raised 5 more years to 75.  Sure, this isn’t as cool or sexy as questions of marijuana, the minimum wage, or gun control, but it is almost as, if not more, impactful to the people of Pennsylvania than the other states’ questions are to their residents.
Here’s the ballot initiative in question:
"Shall the Pennsylvania Constitution be amended to require that justices, judges and justices of the peace be retired on the last day of the calendar year in which they attain the age of 75 years?" 
By Luis Bravo
Luis Bravo is a sophomore at the University of Pennsylvania studying sociology.
The Obergefell v. Hodges decision marked a monumental victory for gay rights activists by legalizing same-sex marriage. In doing so, however, it also established a precedent allowing the federal government to freely regulate the institution of marriage. As surmised in his dissent, Scalia writes “to allow the policy question of same-sex marriage to be considered and resolved by a select … panel of nine is to violate a principle even more fundamental than no taxation without representation: no social transformation without representation.”  As we continue addressing ardent societal issues via the judiciary branch, we have to wonder if the fear same-sex critics held will one day become true: the recognition of polygamous marriages. Though significantly different from gay marriage, one can make a reasonable case in favor of legalizing and recognizing polygamous unions. Such a feat, however, would require revolutionary changes in our legal system from our tax code to family law provisions.
In a 2014 survey conducted by Pew Research Center, Americans cited “love,” and “life long commitment,” as the top reasons for getting married. In a society with a romanticized notion of marriage, it is easy to forget that tying the knot yields tangible benefits beyond finding your better half.  In fact, the financial benefits of marriage are numerous and significant. Primarily, couples have the ability to file their taxes jointly and qualify for deductions they would have been previously ineligible for as single filers. This is just the tip of the iceberg, though, as couples are also entitled to Social Security benefits, additional protections in case of death of a spouse, and savings in expenses such as health plans. 
By Dan Spinelli
Dan Spinelli is a junior at the University of Pennsylvania studying English.
As if newspapers didn’t have a variety of other issues to worry about, the 2016 presidential election has brought the scourge of litigation threats, courtesy of Republican nominee Donald Trump. Before entering the political arena, Trump had repeatedly sued journalists (and threatened many more with lawsuits) over representations he deemed unfair.  While the fall of Gawker Media may suggest otherwise, two recent newspaper scoops about Trump have reiterated the limits of litigation against media organizations and the steep threshold for holding reporters accountable in court. The first is The New York Times’ uncovering of pages from Trump’s 1995 tax returns and the second is the Washington Post’s publication of a 2005 video of Trump describing women in ugly, lewd terms.
First, let’s address the elephant in the room: Gawker’s collapse came about due to litigation, but its cardinal sin, according to the Florida state court, was “invasion of privacy,” for the posting of a sex tape wrestler Hulk Hogan had hoped to keep far away from the public eye.  Donald Trump’s mere involvement in the issue would already make the standard of publication much more lenient, as private information pertaining to him is undoubtedly much more concerning to the public than anything involving a professional wrestler. The circumstances surrounding both cases, while widely challenged by Trump as unethical, would leave virtually no room open for litigation on Trump’s part.
By Nicholas Parsons
Nicholas Parsons is a Sophomore at the University of Pennsylvania studying Politics, Philosophy, and Economics.
After Antonin Scalia’s passing in February 2016, the United States Supreme Court was thrust into a unique position. The court is currently even in justice count, with the justices themselves fairly balanced between Democratic and Republican ideologies. At first glance, this balance appears to be optimal for an objective court of law; but upon a more skeptical look, it’s found that this balance has many unintended consequences. With such a balanced court, many partisan issues can no longer be decided by majority. Since February, the Supreme Court has dealt with issues of extreme importance, including immigration, contraception, public unions, and affirmative action. With issues as salient as these, coming to a definitive decision is a necessity in order to ensure justice in the interpretation and validation of laws. To rectify this issue, the court has had to respond in a variety of nuanced and contentious ways.
The first issue after this February that suffered a split opinion, Hawkins v. Community Bank of Raymore, was a case dealing with the potential discrimination of two married women under the Equal Credit Opportunity Act.  The 4-4 opinion of this case was a per curiam opinion: an opinion made in the name of the court as a whole, often done when the court is tied on an issue. Here, the opinion dealt was a sentence-long decision affirming the judgment of the lower court that initially presided over the case.  While per curiam decisions don’t act as precedents for future cases, the decision itself became a precedent for more vague and dissatisfying split decisions to come.
By Clarissa Alvarez
Clarissa Alvarez is a sophomore at The George Washington University studying political science and economics.
The United States v. Texas case, brought into dispute on April 18, 2016, presented to President Obama what was very likely his final opportunity to pass the DACA/DAPA program before the end of his term in January 2017.  The latter immigration plan originally proposed by Obama in 2014 advocated for immigration reform and would guarantee deferred action to nearly 4.4 million immigrants. What ultimately hindered Obama from passing a comprehensive immigration reform plan was a 4-4 split decision by the Supreme Court.  Had the Supreme Court voted in favor of United States and President Obama, over millions of immigrants under the DACA/DAPA program would have been granted deportation relief, a work permit, a social security number, a driver’s license (except in Nebraska), and a stable pathway to citizenship.  Students under the DACA/DAPA program might have even had the possibility of attaining in-state tuition and benefits. The program demonstrated a conceivable solution to an issue that pleads for amendment. However, a deadlocked decision and the undeniable truth that Obama’s presidency will soon come to an end will leave America’s next president to deal with a problem that cannot afford to be ignored any longer. Any subsequent changes to the immigration policy will be left in the hands of either Donald Trump, who firmly vows to reverse Obama’s DACA/DAPA program and deport all illegal immigrants, or Hillary Clinton, who promises to pursue even greater strides than Obama has on immigration reform. 
The decision was a huge blow for the Obama administration, not to mention the 4.4 million DACA/DAPA protected immigrants. Many Republicans, however, were relieved to see the United States v. Texas case result as a deadlock. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan stated, “This is a win for the constitution, it’s a win for Congress.”  It was a win for Republicans who accused Obama of transcending his executive power rights as well as violating the Constitution. People of all political affiliations and no affiliation are frustrated with an American government that appears to show trifling efforts to collaboratively agree on a comprehensive immigration reform plan. Many insist that Congress should set aside partisan differences and come to terms with present immigration reform proposals. Others argue that Obama should not be allowed overstep his executive powers. Fingers are pointed at the White House, Congress, the Supreme Court, and even immigrants themselves. The failure to put forth full-scale immigration reform is quick to be acknowledged, but many Americans forget to acknowledge the incapacity of local level institutions to properly and successfully integrate immigrants—something that requires the collaboration of everyday Americans within regional and local communities. Discourse over whether America should continue to welcome immigrants, largely depends on whether they can fully integrate within the American society. The cooperation between immigrants, receiving communities, and local governments and services is critical to any city’s continual social, cultural, and economic growth.  Many times, what an American community imposes on immigrants (legal and illegal) instead is the act of assimilation not integration.
By Gabriel Maliha
Gabriel Maliha is a senior at the University of Pennsylvania studying criminology.
On August 18, The Department of Justice (DOJ) directed the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) to curtail, or not renew, contracts with private prisons that now provide incarceration services to federal inmates.  This was based on the Inspector General Report that described the private facilities as substandard, unsafe, and financially unbeneficial to the government. 
Private, or for-profit, prisons are confinement facilities operated by a third party contracted for that purpose by state or federal government agencies. This could include an existing facility built by the government and operated privately, or a prison constructed or owned by a private company. The payments made by the government to the private company are usually daily or monthly rates based on prisoner headcount.
By Derek Willie
Derek Willie is a sophomore at the University of Pennsylvania
American capitalists have long touted “consumer choice” as the bedrock of our economy. The belief that it is the consumer’s prerogative to purchase goods willingly from producers seems to be the central tenet underlying a “free enterprise” system. If this is the case, it would seem logical that the American legal system should function, in part, as a remedy for consumers who feel that their right to “choice” has been at all corrupted. While this ideal of legal recourse applies more generally to any situation in which a person seeks restitution for injustice, its economic manifestation seems particularly pertinent in an ever-expanding global financial system.
Consider, for instance, Wells Fargo. Recently, the bank fell under regulatory scrutiny after it opened millions of bank and credit card accounts for its existing customers without their consent to meet goals from upper management. The bank then charged these customers fees associated with the fraudulent accounts, essentially forcing them to pay for financial services they never intended to purchase.  Pursuant to our understanding of consumer choice and its importance, it is easy to argue that Wells Fargo committed a serious injustice against its customers, violating the implicit terms of the aforementioned producer-consumer relationship. From a practical, legal standpoint, it is within the right of the wronged consumers to demand redress from the perpetrator of fraud—in this case, Wells Fargo.
By Habib Olapade
Habib Olapade is a senior at Stanford University studying political science.
The White House Counsel is often described as the President’s lawyer. This appellation is misleading, however, because the Attorney General, with a few irrelevant exceptions, is the sole individual possessing statutory authorization to advise the executive on constitutional and legal matters. Since the creation of the Counsel’s office in 1941, it has been difficult to definitively describe the Counsel’s duties because each advisor has played a different role in every administration. At various points in time, the President’s Counsel has been charged with reviewing legislation and signing statements, overseeing Presidential appointments, handling pardons, writing speeches, drafting legislation, developing programs, or rendering advice on foreign policy matters.
Some things are clear about the Counsel’s office, however. First, it has become securely institutionalized in the White House’s structure primarily because of statutory requirements imposing onerous record-keeping burdens on the executive. Second, the White Counsel has taken over some of the Justice Department’s advisory functions.
By Brónach Rafferty
Brónach Rafferty is a fourth-year law student at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland.
“First I was a lovely wife, picturesque and pensive, showed no signs of inner life beyond the mildly inoffensive. Now I must assert myself, and break out if I can, which isn’t easy for a woman, written by a man.” These are the an idealized, lamentations from Rough Magic Theatre Company’s 1971 production of “The Train.”  Under Irish law, the Irish woman does indeed seem to be ‘written by a man’. The idea of the ‘Irish Mammy’ is held up as the epitome of all that is Irish. Good, kind and always willing to do the washing, she is reputedly what makes Irish society “great”, but it wasn’t long ago that the Irish Mammy couldn’t keep her job in the bank after she got married. She couldn’t refuse to have sex with her husband. Irish laws dictated that an Irish Mammy’s rape by her husband does not truly constitute rape.
Above all other identities, however, the Irish Mammy is a woman who has long been neglected by history. In her paper “Feminism, Marxism, Method, and the State”, Catharine A. MacKinnon advances the idea that “the law sees and treats women the way men see and treat women...the state is male.” As a consequence, women are funneled into a very specific way of being female.  Here, I will examine the way in which the Irish Constitution perpetuates the female myth, the societal role it imposes upon women, and their damaging effects on both women and men.