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Volume 65
Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony Remarks: President Kerwin

By Dr. Cornelius “Neil” M. Kerwin | 65 Am. U. L. Rev. 529 (2016)

On February 12, 2016, the Washington College of Law celebrated the opening of its new Tenley Campus.  During the Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony, we were honored to receive an address from American University President Neil Kerwin. 

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Health Justice: A Framework (and Call to Action) for the Elimination of Health Inequity and Social Injustice

By Emily A. Benfer │ 65 Am. U. L. Rev. 275 (2015)


Every aspect of society is dependent upon the health of its members.  Health is essential to an individual’s well-being, quality of life, and ability to participate in society.  Yet the healthcare industry, even at its optimal level of functioning, cannot improve the health of the population without addressing the root causes of poor health.  The health of approximately 46.7 million individuals, most of whom are low-income and racial minorities, is threatened by economic, societal, cultural, environmental, and social conditions.  Poor health in any population group affects everyone, leading to higher crime rates, negative economic impacts, decreased residential home values, increased healthcare costs, and other devastating consequences.  Despite this fact, efforts to improve health among low-income and minority communities are impeded by inequitable social structures, stereotypes, legal systems, and regulatory schemes that are not designed to take into account the social determinants of health in decision making models and legal interpretation.  As a result, a large segment of the population is continually denied the opportunity to live long, productive lives and to exercise their rights under democratic principles.  Health, equity, and justice make up the keystone of a functional, thriving society.  These principles are unsatisfied when they do not apply equally to all members of society. 

IQ, Intelligence Tests, "Ethnic Adjustments," and Atkins

By Robert M. Sanger | 65 Am. U. L. Rev. 87 (2015)

In Atkins v. Virginia the U.S. Supreme Court declared that executing the intellectually disabled violated the U.S. Constitution’s Eighth Amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. In Atkins, the Court relied heavily on medical standards, which indicated that individuals with an IQ of approximately or below seventy and who met the other criteria for intellectual disability were ineligible for the death penalty. Twelve years later, in Hall v. Florida, the Court evaluated a Florida statute that created a bright line rule, making anyone whose IQ was above seventy eligible for execution, regardless of other factors suggesting the defendant was, despite his IQ score, intellectually disabled. Finding the statute violated the Constitution, the Court stated that the Florida statute’s bright line rule made the possibility too great that an intellectually disabled person would be executed.

RESPONSE: “Your Corrupt Ways Had Finally Made You Blind”: Prosecutorial Misconduct And The Use Of “Ethnic Adjustments” In Death Penalty Cases Of Defendants With Intellectual Disabilities

By Michael L. Perlin, Esq.65 Am. U. L. Rev. 1437 (2016)

In a recent masterful article, Professor Robert Sanger revealed that, since the Supreme Court’s decision in Atkins v. Virginia, some prosecution experts have begun using so-called “ethnic adjustments” to artificially raise minority defendants’ IQ scores, making such defendants—who would otherwise have been protected by Atkins and, later, by Hall v. Florida—eligible for the death penalty.  Sanger accurately concluded that ethnic adjustments are not logically or clinically appropriate when computing a person’s IQ score for Atkins purposes.  He relied further on epigenetics to demonstrate that environmental factors—such as childhood abuse, poverty, stress, and trauma—can cause decreases in actual IQ scores, and that “ethnic adjustments” make it more likely that such individuals, who are authentically “intellectually disabled,” will be sentenced and put to death.

I agree with Professor Sanger, but I wish to shift the focus to the role of prosecutors in perpetuating this state of affairs by endorsing and sanctioning the use of “corrupt science” in the cases in question.  I consider whether there is any meaningful distinction between what was done by the state in the cases discussed by Sanger, and what was done in the cases involving fingerprints, autopsies and laboratory reports, discussed some years ago by Professor Giannelli, and whether the use of such testimony is yet another example of “corrupt science.”  Here, I conclude that legal and moral corruption similarly permeates what some prosecutors do in the “ethnic adjustment” cases. 

Taxing Remote Sales In The Digital Age: A Global Perspective

By Walter Hellerstein | 65 Am. U. L. Rev. 1195 (2016)

The challenges associated with the taxation of remote sales in the digital age are global. Providing a global perspective on these challenges is therefore appropriate, even for a symposium addressed primarily to such challenges under the U.S. subnational retail sales tax. Although the challenges associated with the taxation of remote sales in the digital age are global, the regimes that tax such sales are not. Accordingly, insofar as one looks to the implications of the global perspective on taxing remote sales in the digital age for guidance on U.S. subnational taxation of such sales, one should never lose sight of the contextual differences between the global and subnational tax regimes to avoid “lost in translation” problems.

This Article addresses three fundamental questions raised by the taxation of remote sales in the digital age from a global perspective, but focuses on the implications, if any, of the answers to these questions in the global context for the U.S. subnational retail sales tax. First, should remote sales be taxed under a consumption tax? Second, if the answer to the first question is “yes,” where should such sales be taxed? Third, how can remote sales be taxed effectively under a consumption tax in the digital age?

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