Welcome to the Roundtable, a forum for incisive commentary and analysis
on cases and developments in law and the legal system.
on cases and developments in law and the legal system.
Serena Camici is a sophomore at the University of Pennsylvania studying International Relations.
Far from being just an icy tourist destination, the Arctic Circle is ripe ground for renewed geopolitical conflict. After the Cold War it has remained a relatively quiet region – until now. With its strategic position and treasure-trove of natural resources, the Arctic is an increasingly important place of interest for several state actors.  The current international order governing the Arctic will need to accommodate economic and political competition, heightened military activity, and climate change that will occur in the Arctic region over the next half of the 21st century.
By Gabrielle Cohen
Gaby Cohen is a second-year student at the University of Pennsylvania’s College of Arts and Sciences studying philosophy, politics and economics.
ChatGPT has generated intellectual property and copyright controversies and ignited debate among students, teachers, writers, artists, content creators, and employees of every kind. Released in November 2022, ChatGPT is an artificial intelligence chatbot powered by a large language model, which prompts it to perceive human language, evaluate and sort through immense collections of data, and produce replies . The chatbot was developed by OpenAI, a startup based in San Francisco funded by prominent investors such as Elon Musk, Sam Altman, and Microsoft. ChatGPT consists of generative AI, using algorithms to generate, summarize, and alter data [
By Ella Sohn
Ella Sohn is a first-year studying English in the College of Arts & Sciences.
Three environmental groups are taking Danone, a French yogurt and bottled water company, to court. The NGOs accused Danone in early January of failing to reduce the use of plastic within its supply chain. It is perhaps unsurprising that this particular company—France’s largest dairy group, and the world’s ninth largest plastic polluter—is facing a lawsuit over its environmental impact. Yet the fact that the lawsuit is a possibility at all stems from a groundbreaking duty of vigilance law, enacted by the French government in 2017, that has since spurred a wave of legislation expanding companies’ duty to address social and environmental problems. 
By: Alicia Augustin
Alicia Augustin is a first-year student at the University of Pennsylvania’s College of Arts and Sciences who plans to study Political Science and Urban Education.
“How [are] we supposed to become better people if we can’t have any normal friendships, any normal conversations, any control over what happens to us?” Quoted from Mark Salzman, True Notebooks: A Writer’s at Juvenile Hall, a juvenile behind bars questions how he is expected to develop in a system that simply does not allow it.
Despite a recent trend of youth incarceration rates declining, 48,000 minors in the United States are labeled as “juveniles,” living their lives within the carceral system . These juveniles of various ages below 18 develop within a system that controls every aspect of their lives, being told when it is appropriate to eat, sleep, and socialize. Losing freedom in the U.S. when committing a crime is seemingly synonymous with losing one’s natural right to life, a right declared by the U.S. Declaration of Independence. Although the Declaration of Independence is not law, it serves as the foundation for U.S. law as we know it today.
Chemical Spills and Spillover Effects: Legal Responsibility, Ethics, and Accountability in the East Palestine Train Derailment
By Sajan Srivastava
Sajan Srivastava is a sophomore from Piedmont, California, studying Economics.
The February 2023 derailment of a freight train in East Palestine, Ohio, raises profound questions of who bears the legal, ethical, and practical responsibility for the environmental disaster. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources has estimated that the disaster, which released such toxic chemicals as vinyl chloride, has so far killed roughly 43,000 fish within a 5-mile radius of the derailment site. Considering that the city’s streams connect to the nearby Ohio River through five streams, it is abundantly clear that any hazardous chemicals released in the derailment have the potential to affect communities and ecosystems far beyond East Palestine and even Ohio. Nine states border the Ohio River watershed, and the river’s drainage into the Mississippi River poses a threat to the economic state of much of the country . With the dangers of the released chemicals to humans unclear, it remains ambiguous whether government agencies can ethically advise residents to return to their homes and where the liability for potential damages to public health and economic well-being ultimately falls.
By Serena Camici
Serena Camici is a sophomore studying International Relations in the College of Arts and Sciences.
For decades, commercial and legal professionals have regarded London, England as the top destination for international dispute resolution, in which enterprises headquartered around the world seek quick and easy arbitration from English courts. As opposed to trial, legal arbitration offers a more flexible option to dispute settlement, known for its relative privacy, convenience, and affordability. The Law Quarterly Review has praised the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA), a private company offering dispute resolution, as “expeditious where the law is slow, cheap where the law is costly, simple where the law is technical, a peacemaker instead of a stirrer-up of strife” . London is home to nearly half of the world’s leading law firms, as well as smaller specialist firms. 80% of the 17,000 cases handled by the International Chamber of Commerce Court of Arbitration in 2014 involved international actors , representing 180 countries in total.
By Haley Son
Over the past decades, U.S. immigration enforcement law and criminal justice law have come to more strongly promote the concept of 'other', resulting in increasingly racialized policies. Amidst the intensifying criminalization of immigrants, there has been a growing overlap between the criminal justice and immigration system — a phenomenon known as 'crimmigration'. The two systems have come to depend on and resemble each other regarding substance and enforcement tactics.
By Shahana Banerjee
Shahana Banerjee is a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania majoring in Health and Societies. She is interested in healthcare policy, privacy and technology, and intellectual property law.
On November 15, 2022, millions of Taylor Swift fans assembled in the Ticketmaster queue, anxiously awaiting their chance to purchase tickets for Swift’s The Eras Tour, her first tour in six years since 2018’s “Reputation.” Despite this being Swift’s largest tour ever with more than 50 North American shows scheduled, eager fans were left disappointed with a crashed website and extra-long wait times. Live Nation, the concert promotion company which merged with Ticketmaster in 2010, has faced continued criticism for its monopoly-like power in the entertainment industry since the merger. Activists have argued that Ticketmaster hosts 70% of the ticketing and live venue events, leaving minimal room for competition . Liberty Media’s CEO Greg Maffei, the largest shareholder in Live Nation, reported that Ticketmaster had given 1.5 million “verified” Swift fans access to the pre-sale of the tour whereas 14 million users, including bots, managed to swarm into the queue. Despite the website crashing, 2 million tickets were sold during the tour’s presales ahead of the general sale, which was eventually canceled.
By Sophie Gu
Sophie Gu is a second-year student in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania. She plans to double major in bioengineering and cognitive science with a concentration in computation and cognition.
Moderna’s recent mRNA patent infringement suit against Pfizer and BioNTech may signal a step towards the end of the two and a half year long COVID-19 Public Health Emergency. Despite Biden’s declaration that the “pandemic is over,” the Department of Health and Human Services has continued to renew PHE (Public Health Emergency) since its implementation in January 2020  — it was last renewed this October. Since its first implementation in 2005 in response to Hurricane Katrina, section 319 of the Public Health Service Act has been used to address issues ranging from the Opioid Crisis to Monkeypox . Although the United States is no stranger to PHEs, the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency has been one of the longest and most expensive PHEs to date .
By Alexandra Kanan
Alexandra Kanan is a first-year student in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania. She plans to major in Politics, Philosophy, and Economics with a career goal of becoming an immigration lawyer.
The foundation of democracy in the United States is based on one social contract: the governed are to obey the laws of the government as long as their natural rights are protected. So what happens when the government declares that the rights of certain groups are not applicable? Unfortunately, this scenario is palpable for the estimated eleven million undocumented people in the United States. While undocumented people must obey the law, most will not be protected.