By Hailie Goldsmith
Hailie Goldsmith is a student in the College of Arts & Sciences, University of Pennsylvania.
Substantial research has already been conducted on climate change, showing that the impending consequences span from rising sea levels to high-intensity storms. These effects, already devastating for environmental and ecological reasons, will also create a heavy financial burden for many regions of the world, especially for cities located on coasts. At this point in time, the prices of climate-change-causing-pollutants like carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide currently do not match the financial costs of the damage they cause . This is because large fossil-fuel-burning-corporations do not factor in the impacts of carbon emissions, which are more technically called “external costs” . A carbon tax would collect revenue to pay for these “external costs.”
By Anika Prakash
Anika Prakash is a freshman in the College of Arts and Sciences who plans on studying English and Philosophy, Politics, and Economics.
Time and time again, the lives of undocumented children have been wrestled around at the hands of the federal government, often through proxies such as zoning law. Earlier this year, VisionQuest, a private Arizona-based youth agency, received a $5.3 million contract from the Trump administration allowing them to house sixty migrant boys between the ages of 12 and 17 at their North Philadelphia shelter; however, this is not the first time they have received such a contract. VisionQuest previously housed children at the same location and was shut down towards the end of 2017 due to numerous reports of abuse (both physical and emotional) and neglect. A staff member shoved a child’s head through the wall and another child was choked and slapped, among other horrific acts. Additionally, the facility was not cleaned and several staff members were completely untrained . Furthermore, when children were housed in this facility, they were confined to its walls and not allowed to attend local schools or become a part of the surrounding community .
By Emma Davies
Emma Davies is a sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania studying Philosophy.
In Georgia, a man was arrested and ordered to wear an ankle monitor for a year after stealing a can of beer worth only $2. The company administering the ankle monitor then charged him hundreds. When he was unable to pay, even after selling his own blood plasma, he was jailed for non-payment. In Ferguson, Michigan, a homelesssingle, teen mom received a ticket for driving without a license. When she missed her court date, she was arrested, and spent time in jail because she could not pay the $250 bail. Her trouble did not end there, as she ended up spending four months in jail due to accruing fees and fines. At one point, she was arrested after she called the police because her ex-boyfriend had assaulted her .These situations are not anomalies. In numerous counties across the nation, citizens are facing financial penalties and incarceration, due to the fact that they do not have the financial means to pay fees and fines related to the criminal justice process. In fact, according to a 2015 report, 20% of individuals in local jails were incarcerated because they were unable to pay a fee or fine .
By Nicholas Williams
Nicholas Williams is a freshman in the College of Arts and Sciences planning on majoring in Political Science.
In Federalist No. 78, Alexander Hamilton declared the judicial branch to be the weakest of the three branches of government . He also wrote that the judiciary must remain “truly distinct” from the legislative and executive branches so as to not encroach upon the general liberty of the people. The Supreme Court has thus historically stayed clear of any issues that fall under the purview of the legislative and executive branches; more generally, the Court will not hear cases which it determines present political questions. It will also refuse to hear cases that do not present a clear judicially-manageable, non-political standard of deciding the case on its merits. These two instances wherein the Court refuses to hear a case are collectively known as the political question doctrine. What constitutes a political question is not always clear, and the doctrine has led to some contentious cases. However, the doctrine also has significant implications for the current legal and political climate.
By Sophie Lovering
Sophie Lovering is a sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania majoring in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics and minoring in American Sign Language and Deaf Studies.
In 1996, a white woman named Stacey Stites was murdered in Bastrop, Texas . Following her death, investigators administered multiple polygraph tests to her fiancé, police officer Jimmy Fennell, who was found to be deceptive ; Fennell also had a history of violence against women . Although Fennell was initially the “prime suspect” in the case, a small amount of semen linked Stites to a black man named Rodney Reed . Two years after Stites’ death, Reed was charged with capital murder and sentenced to death by lethal injection . He was scheduled to die in Texas on November 20, 2019.
By Vikram Balasubramanian
Vikram Balasubramanian is a freshman in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania studying International Relations.
There is only one black member of the US Supreme Court, of two in all of history. Clarence Thomas is one of nine members of, arguably, the world’s most powerful judicial body .
The importance of black judges cannot be overstated. Besides being a hallmark of equality, they play a role in counteracting bias in the criminal justice system. In 1974, The New York Times remarked that black judges were being a powerful force for activism and saw the law as a tool “through which equality is achieved or mandated… for social change” .
By Jessica "Lulu" Lipman
Jessica “Lulu” Lipman is a sophomore at the University of Pennsylvania studying English.
Every day, eighteen people die waiting for an organ transplant. Today, there are more than 113,000 people waiting for a life-saving transplant . Organ transplants are a feat of modern medicine, in which a failing organ from one person is replaced by a healthy organ from a donor. Nearly any organ can be transplanted, including kidneys, corneas, lungs, skin, and pancreases .
By Lyndsey Reeve
Lyndsey Reeve is a freshman in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania studying International Relations.
The so-called “staggering successes” of Al-Qaeda’s airborne terror tactics have prompted several terrorist organizations to find new ways to hijack in the air—from explosives hidden within shoes and carry-on bags to recruitment of airport employees. Ranging from bombing plots posted on internet forums to attempts to use of airport employees to hijack planes, these threats are as concerning as they are ongoing. While many of these attacks have failed, they demonstrate a terrorist “motivation and ability” to threaten aviation . After 9/11, increased transportation security measures including tools such as x-rays, explosive detectors, and personal examinations have been implemented to protect passengers from such terrorist threats. Consequently, airport security faces scrutiny for violating the privacy of innocents, discriminating against minorities, and creating an intrusive inconvenience.
By Georgia Ray
Georgia Ray is a junior at the University of Pennsylvania studying Cognitive Science and Urban Studies.
The European Union is built on the foundation of mutual support between member nations. Following a disastrous economic downturn for Germany after World War I (the US dollar was worth 4,210,500,000,000 German marks)  that ultimately provided kindling for Hitler’s ideology , European countries vowed to disallow this type of economic destitution that rallies political radicalism by creating the European Union. The EU provides resources and monetary support for all member states, resulting often times in an unequal payout from those that are more prosperous, such as the United Kingdom. This pattern of economic contribution is something the British population supported in the post-war years as increased taxes seemed a small price to pay for lasting European peace. However, in the 21st century, as a new wave of nationalism swept the world, the British population started to question whether the net 9 million pounds a year  they were paying to support other EU member nations was really worth it. In a referendum held in June 2016, 52% of voters decided it was not . Thus, Brexit was born.
By Shiven Sharma
Shiven Sharma is a senior at the University of Pennsylvania studying Biology with a minor in French Studies.
Mitochondrial replacement therapy (MRT) is a revolutionary in vitro fertilisation (IVF) medical technique whereby the defective mitochondrial DNA of a fetus’ cells are replaced by normal, third-party mitochondrial DNA. This is done to prevent mitochondrial disease, a genetic disorder resulting in the loss of bodily energy. Prior to the creation of this prenatal therapy, scientists focused on postnatal treatment options, exploring drug screens using model organisms with a similar mitochondrial genome to find a cure. This proved very difficult since mitochondrial disease arises from a mutation that is irreversible. Thus, the discovery of MRTa—a preventative measure—has proved very beneficial.