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 Luis Bravo
Luis Bravo is a sophomore at the University of Pennsylvania studying sociology.
In 2002, the Bipartisan Reform Act (BCRA) was passed to further standardize the usage of federal money in elections and curtail the influence of nonfederal money in election results . Of the provisions, the Electioneering Communications section laid out new regulations for political advertisements in an effort to increase clarity of messaging. Disclaimer notices, short messages clearly announcing the advertisement’s sponsors, became mandated on all campaign advertisements broadcasted over radio, print, or television . While these rules significantly increased transparency of political advertisements, they fall short of ensuring perfect clarity. Additional provisions are required to ensure Americans are clearly aware of advertisement’s purpose as well as the validity of the information presented. Such safeguards could prove to have an impact in the 2018 midterm elections and beyond.
Building upon previous statutes, the BCRA requires all advertisements authorized by candidates to clearly promote their likeness in addition to the disclaimer notice.  This is done so voters can quickly identify who the advertisement supports. The same provisions do not extend for advertisements not funded or authorized by the candidates directly, however. While these advertisements are still required to announce who is funding the ads, they are not responsible for prominently displaying what candidate they support. Instead, a message stating no candidate has endorsed the advertisement suffices. This presents two problems. Firstly, external advertisements not endorsed by candidates usually stem from organizations such as PACs and Super PACs with ambiguous names. “Committee for American Sovereignty, Our Principles, and Balance of Power,” are names of PAC’s in the 2016 Election . Common across these organizations is their seeming distancing from the candidates they support. This can produce a source of confusion as it can be difficult to discern which candidates are being supported with neutral funding source names. Secondly, when the support of candidates is clear, external advertisements can convolute intended campaign messages, confusing voters on what are official campaign platform points and unofficial messages. Though the authorization caption is intended to reduce this, with the sheer number of advertisements Americans are exposed to, it can be easy to overlook this especially when the likeness of candidates are incorporated in advertisements. To resolve both of these issues, non-campaign affiliated advertisers should be mandated to include two segments to the disclaimer notices. First, they should include the phrase “in support of,” and include the name of the candidate whom the advertisement is favoring. Secondly, the disclaimer notice should include a second sentence specifically for non-authorized messages that states the advertisement, “is not reflective of the of the views or perspectives of,” followed by the legal name of the candidate or campaign. It is important to note that based on the tone of the message and information presented, most Americans are able to quickly discern whom the advertisement favors. These measures are thus intended for the fraction of ambiguous, questionable advertisements.
By Rachel Pomerantz
Rachel Pomerantz is a sophomore at the University of Pennsylvania studying mathematical economics.
Since the beginning of Donald Trump’s unconventional march towards the presidency, members of the Republican Party stretched the limits of the English language to define without specifying their opinion on the now-president elect during the campaign. While some such as Rudy Giuliani stuck by Trump and others including Mitt Romney were never on the Trump Train, most Republican leaders oscillated between condemning specific statements or tweets by Trump and sputtered defenses. One such leader was Paul Ryan, Speaker of the House of Representatives and the darling of the Republican establishment. Even when he said that he would no longer focus on Trump’s race, Ryan has not rescinded his endorsement.
Now, what exactly does this mean? In the conventional political sense, an endorsement means that one supports the candidate or idea and would encourage others to do the same. However, considering the gravity of this presidential election, I want to push past this definition to consider a more binding form of endorsement - a legal endorsement.
By Thomas Cribbins
Thomas Cribbins is a student at the University of Michigan studying political science.
While we currently sit with eight members on the Court, there have been calls by scholars and politicians to reduce the size of the Court in order to reduce judicial activism and force more compromise on the Court. The number often repeated is six: the original number of the court.  However, having nine Justices is very beneficial, and the Condorcet Jury Theorem proves that nine is better than six.
The Condorcet Jury Theorem is a model that demonstrates the fact that groups are better decision-makers than individuals. This applies nicely to the U.S. Supreme Court because the limitations to this model apply neatly to the Supreme Court as we normally know it. First, there should be an odd number of Justices in order to prevent ties. Second, each justice should “get it right” more than 50 percent of the time. Finally, a majority vote to affirm or reverse will control the decision of the Court.  These three assumptions are entirely reasonable for the normally functioning Court. Most likely, the most contestable of the assumptions as they relate to the justices would be the ideological argument that certain justices do not have better than a 50 percent accuracy, but that notion comes from a deeply stubborn point of view that disparages any value in a Harvard or Yale law degree. The Supreme Court has nearly undeniably made a few mistakes; Buck v. Bell (1927), Korematsu v. U.S. (1944), Dred Scott v. Sanford (1857), Plessy v. Ferguson (1896), but the fact that these few form the majority of the indisputable mistakes demonstrates that the Supreme Court rarely makes an incorrect decision. Besides, the point being that a smaller court would simply allow for more mistakes to be made.
By Sanjay Dureseti
Sanjay Dureseti is a sophomore at the University of Pennsylvania and an associate editor of the Penn Undergraduate Law Journal.
Immigration has been a cornerstone of American culture since the colonial era. The country’s political principles of Lockean liberalism are rooted in the early colonists’ cross-Atlantic voyage for self-governing autonomy. As an early destination for religious dissidents, opportunistic entrepreneurs, and the outcasts of European society, the United States and its constitutional principles are deeply intertwined with the idea of a social sanctuary, a secular haven for freedom from oppression of any kind.
When these ideals have been put into practice, however, the results have left much to be desired. Despite their massive role in perpetuating rapid industrialization and technological innovation throughout America’s short history, immigrants have long been singled out as social pariahs. In the early twentieth century, the federal government, in response to waves of immigration from Central and Eastern Europe, enacted a variety of restrictive statutes to stop this flow of foreigners. The most prominent and far-reaching was known as the Johnson-Reed Act, which implemented quotas that allowed greater allocations of visas to Western European countries and lowered visa availability for other European countries to a paltry two percent of the existing foreign-born population.  Most non-white immigrants were banned entirely, as Johnson-Reed prevented influxes from the “Asiatic Barred Zone,” which included Southeast Asia, the Indian subcontinent, and Japan.  Though they were not included in this law’s provisions, China could not allow emigration to the U.S. under the purview of the 1884 Chinese Exclusion Act.
By Gabriel Maliha
Gabriel Maliha is a senior at the University of Pennsylvania studying criminology.
On June 9, California joined Oregon, Washington, Vermont, and Montana in legalizing Aid in Dying (AID). The practice, formerly known as physician assisted suicide, allows mentally competent, terminally ill adult patients expected to live less than 6 months to have legal access to a lethal dose of medication prescribed by a physician. AID is now available to the 50 million residents of the 5 states that have legalized the procedure.
Oregon was the first state to legalize AID by ballot initiative in 1994 and the law cleared all legal hurdles and went into effect in 1998. This was followed by a 2008 ballot initiative in Washington, and legislation in Vermont and California in 2013 and 2015, respectively. Montana has a de facto legalization of AID as its supreme court did not find any policy in the state prohibiting the practice. 
By Derek Willie
Derek Willie is a sophomore at the University of Pennsylvania
“I promise you that we will be united against any Supreme Court nominee that Hillary Clinton, if she were president, would put up.”  So pledged Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) on a Philadelphia radio station, largely in an effort to convince fellow Republicans to reelect incumbent Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA). It seems, however, that McCain’s promise served only to reinforce Democrats’ allegations of hyper-partisanship in the GOP, especially following Senate Republicans’ refusal to consider President Obama’s appointment of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court. McCain’s office quickly argued that his remarks were grounded in Sec. Clinton’s “clear record of supporting liberal judicial nominees.” 
Liberal judicial nominees? What else would McCain expect from the nominee of the Democratic Party? The Senator’s preemptive dismissal of any “liberal judicial nominee” seems to exclude almost anyone Ms. Clinton would reasonably nominate. Furthermore, Democrats could employ McCain’s logic to justify obstructing the judicial nominees of a potential Republican president. In a political climate that essentially forces political leaders to focus on the demands of their party’s ideological base, it is easy to label a prospective judge as “too liberal” or “overly conservative.” As difficult as it is to believe in the era of Donald Trump, there will be another Republican president, perhaps immediately succeeding Hillary Clinton. If Republicans set the precedent of opposing judicial nominees on a purely ideological basis, Democrats would likely continue it, rendering the judicial confirmation process an almost completely partisan enterprise. Given the filibuster rules of the Senate, it would take a supermajority (sixty senators) to quell the resistance of a united, persistent minority.
By Habib Olapade
Habib Olapade is a senior at Stanford University studying political science.
Pokémon Go has added nearly $8 billion to Nintendo’s total market capitalization since its debut in early July 2016. Indeed within the short span of two months, the app has acquired more active daily users on Android than Twitter. Pokémon Go is an augmented reality application that runs on users’ smartphones. Once the user downloads the application, the game accesses her phone’s GPS and clock, superimposes computer-generated graphics and sound, and displays an anime-like version of Google Maps to make Pokémon characters appear on the phone’s screen. The game has been credited for marshalling legions of couch potatoes and Generation Y members out of doors.
Augmented reality games such as Pokémon Go, however, come with a distinct set of legal difficulties that courts will have to grapple with. Users often have to trespass on private property to catch Pokémon. Placing Pokémon on private property can create attractive nuisances, exposing owners to absolute liability for injuries trespassers suffer on their property. Finally, the constant movement that is required to play the game makes it inaccessible to some physically and mentally disabled persons possibly exposing Nintendo and Niantic, the game’s owners, to liability under Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
By Brónach Rafferty
Brónach Rafferty is a fourth-year law student at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland.
I have been thinking about my law degree lately. What is it that my professors are trying to teach me? What skills am I gaining? The ability to think critically, objectively? Or the ability not so much to think as to follow a system of rules that are already in place? Is there too much of a discrepancy between law as it is studied in an academic context and law in practice?
Law is a strange discipline because it is often studied as a purely academic discipline, yet it is geared towards something much more vocational. In the same way that reading papers about psychological research doesn’t make one a psychologist, simply reading case after case, textbook after textbook doesn’t make one a lawyer. In my classes, however, am I learning and actively engaging in my legal education, or am I merely being taught and passively absorbing information? I now wonder if I am learning how to think like a lawyer, or rather just taking the law as it is right in front of me.
By Edgar Palomino
Edgar Palomino is a senior at the University of Pennsylvania studying political science.
In 2002, wealthy Australian businessman Joseph Gutnick sued Dow Jones and Company Inc. for publications in its affiliated Barron’s magazine. He charged that the article about him published in Barron was defamatory and sued for damages. Gutnick’s lawyers advised him to file the suit in Australia, where it was perceived that individual protections were stronger and the courts more favorable. Dow Jones, an American company, argued that Australian law could not apply to it. However, the court reasoned that Australian law did apply to Dow Jones and Gutnick won his suit. 
The rationale of the courts was as follows: in order for a plaintiff to claim damages, the allegedly defamatory material must be targeted to their forum state. Mere dissemination across the globe is not sufficient grounds for a suit; the material in question must have been targeted to the forum state of the plaintiff. The forum state is identifiable if the plaintiff has “significant contacts” there; for example, their home, their business, etc. Since the Barron journal had a high number of Australian readers, and since Dow Jones did target Australia, the alleged damages to Gutnick’s reputation and business were deemed valid. Australian law could thus be applied.