By Connor Gallagher
Connor Gallagher is a junior at the University of Pennsylvania studying chemical and bio-molecular engineering in the School of Engineering and Applied Science.
Senator Orrin Hatch, the longest-serving member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, wrote an op-ed for SCOTUSBlog in late August to convince readers that then-Judge Brett Kavanaugh should be confirmed to the Supreme Court.  In particular, Senator Hatch cited now-Justice Kavanaugh’s repeated commitment to reforming the acquitted conduct doctrine, which permits trial judges, during the sentencing of a criminal defendant, to consider conduct for which the defendant was acquitted by the jury. 
By Alana Mattei
Alana Mattei is a junior at the University of Pennsylvania studying Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE).
To many Americans, the notion of a secret court, closed to the public, giving a government permission to surveil its own citizens seems like something straight out of a spy novel. In reality, a court exactly like this exists in Washington D.C.
Imprisonment and Rehabilitation: Why the current trajectory of drug policy in America will not stop the opioid crisis.
By Cole Borlee
Cole Borlee is a freshman in the College of Arts and Sciences.
“We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did,” – John Ehrlichman, Assistant to President Nixon for Domestic Affairs, is one of the only people directly involved with the war on drugs to give such a bare and harsh statement on its purpose. 
By Ketaki Gujar
Ketaki Gujar is a junior at the University of Pennsylvania studying Political Science in the College of Arts and Sciences.
This October, the highly-publicized Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard case went to trial, with Harvard University accused of discriminating against Asian-American applicants. During the trial, the plaintiff held that Asian-Americans unfairly receive lower scores on character assessments, curtailing their admission rates despite impressive academic and extracurricular accomplishments.  For its part, Harvard denied these accusations, claiming the way it evaluates applicants is nuanced and formulated to bring a range of diverse perspectives to campus.  The judge is expected to declare a verdict in the spring, though according to experts, the case may make its way to the Supreme Court. 
By Omar Khoury
Omar Khoury is the Editor-in-Chief of the Penn Undergraduate Law Journal and a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences studying Modern Middle Eastern Studies and English.
In a highly controversial and televised interview, President Donald Trump told the news and information website Axios that he intends to revoke the birthright citizenship clause of the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution by executive order. Such a move warrants comprehensive scrutiny on the legality of this intended executive order and on the veracity of the legal arguments invoked to justify it.
Manifesting itself as the Citizenship Clause, the 14th Amendment states that “[a]ll persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.” Adopted in 1868, the Amendment and the Clause signified a reversal of the notorious Dred Scott v. Sandford decision, in which the United States Supreme Court declared African Americans were not and could not become citizens of the United States. 
By Emma Davies
Emma Davies is a freshman in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania.
Up until the 2018 Midterm Elections, Florida had one of the strictest disenfranchisement laws in the United States. Along with Iowa and Kentucky, Florida barred all people convicted of a felony from voting, unless they independently applied for a highly restrictive clemency application. Under Florida Governor Rick Scott, there were more than 20,000 pending cases, but only about 400 people were granted clemency each year . As a result, some individuals waited more than 10 years to have their case heard, and it is estimated that it would take 51 years to hear the entirety of the backlog, if no new cases were added . This policy, compounded with the fact that Florida has one of the highest incarceration rates (as a percentage of the population) , had led to Florida being one of the most disenfranchised states. However, this November, 64% of Florida voters voted in favor of the state constitutional amendment titled the “Voting Rights Restoration for Felons Initiative,” aka Florida Amendment 4, in a referendum. This amendment automatically restored voter rights for people with past felony convictions upon completion of sentencing, including parole and probation, amounting to the enfranchisement of 1.6 million people . The results of this ballot initiative is extensive, and could potentially impact the direction of Florida’s 29 electoral votes in the 2020 National Elections .
By Kaitlyn Rentala
Kaitlyn Rentala is a freshman at the University of Pennsylvania studying Philosophy, Politics, and Economics in the College of Arts and Sciences.
On October 19th, the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) ordered Poland to first suspend a law that forced judges off the nation’s Supreme Court and then to reinstate those judges . This was in response to the Polish Parliament passing a law lowering the mandatory retirement age for judges, forcing out 27 out of the 72 Supreme Court Justices, including the Supreme Court president, Malgorzata Gersdorf . Despite thousands of critics and protests taking place in the streets, the Polish government went ahead with the purge, resulting in the EU’s order. However, high ranking Polish government officials stated that they would not follow the EU’s ruling, claiming the ECJ did not have the authority to dictate Poland’s legal system . Jaroslaw Gowin, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education, cited this recent incident as yet another conflict with the Lisbon Treaty, a 2007 agreement that was intended to reign in EU oversight and bureaucracy .
By Owen Voutsinas-Klose
Owen Voutsinas-Klose is a sophomore at the University of Pennsylvania studying Politics, Philosophy and Economics and minoring in Legal Studies and History in the College of Arts and Sciences.
State courts play a vital role in serving as a check on legislatures and administering justice against companies and individuals accused of wrongdoing. Unlike at the federal level, many states elect most or all of their highest court justices. Seven states, including North Carolina and Pennsylvania, elect justices to their highest courts. Twenty states hold partisan judicial elections at all trial court levels. 
By Saxon Bryant
Saxon Bryant is a sophomore at the University of Pennsylvania and associate editor of the Penn Undergraduate Law Journal
April 15th is national tax day, the deadline to submit all federal income tax forms. In the midst of hours of paperwork and tabulating assets and losses, many citizens are left to wonder during the process, “Do I have to pay my taxes?” What standing does the government have to mandate that everyone pay income taxes? Several people have made their grievances about federal taxes known over the centuries, but did any of them have merit?
By James Freirich
James Freirich is a guest writer for The Roundtable and a sophomore majoring in Finance at Boston College’s Carroll School of Management.
Since the 1990s, World Trade Organization (WTO) members have seriously questioned the legality of various types of subsidies utilized within the aviation industry . This can be seen by General Agreement on Tariff and Trade (GATT) violating German export subsidies in 1992, Canadian-Brazilian trade disputes regarding “export-financing programs for regional aircraft” from 1996-2001, and United States (US)-European Union (EU) trade disputes regarding state and investment bank funded launch aid, state tax breaks, and preferential government contracts since 2004. While the use of certain adverse subsidies that distort market competition should undoubtedly be avoided, the aviation industry, since its inception, appears to have been dependent upon subsidy utilization for its survival. Moreover, as seen in the early stages of US aviation industry development, it “lived and died by [government] airmail contracts” (Thomas, Geoffrey) . Accordingly, as “the U.S. Postal Service began selling its airmail routes to private carriers ” (Boeing, Lombardi) by virtue of the Contract Air Mail Act of 1925  and the Air Mail Act of 1934 , companies like Boeing Air Transport  would transform these mail routes to eventual passenger routes-giving way to the domestic airline network. Furthermore, in World War II (WWII), government programs such as the Air Transport Command (ATC)  furthered the domestic airline industry by way of awarding contracts and funding.