A Note on Roe v. Wade

You may have read in the news recently the Supreme Court may end the 49 year ruling of Roe v. Wade, as this accouncement was made prematurely by an unprecedented leak.  Many legal scholars called for its reversal as it was considered to be bad law. The late Ruth Bader Ginsberg concluded the same, although she was pro-abortion. 

Certainly, the egregious ethical violation committed by the clerk or whoever leaked the draft opinion is a grave concern.  The justices make it clear to their new staff that unless they want a quick end to their legal careers, don’t even think about violating confidences as to what goes on in chambers.  In general, federal and state law clerks are on notice that no documents can be taken home, even to work on them, and they cannot speak to anyone about what goes on in chambers.  

The motivation behind the leaker appears obvious; but it’s hard to believe that as intelligent these clerks are, they would open themselves to so many problems. Perhaps they did not think about the probability of criminal charges in addition to the ethics violations. Even though a draft opinion may not be a classified document, section 18 U.S.C. § 641 makes it a crime to steal, sell, or convey “any record . . . or thing of value of the United States or of any department or agency thereof.”  The terms are interpreted broadly. 

Certainly, if there’s an investigation, the person who is questioned needs to be careful of running afoul of Section 1001, lying to investigators, which has no Fifth Amendment protection.  Moreover, Attorney General Barr made a comment in an interview that the person who leaked the document could be obstructing the administration of justice.  A grand jury would have to be convened. 

The Congress may not have the votes to codify Roe in a statute, and if they did, they would try under the Commerce Clause. As we know from our discussions, commerce at the founding meant trade, but now due to expansion of that meaning, the Tenth Amendment has eroded to a point where the government can tell a farmer what to grow on his or her farm.  

Even if the Court does not take the step in this case to follow the science and affirm or disaffirm when human life begins, a future challenge to a codified Roe may certainly bring that issue to the fore.  If the embryo or fetus is ruled to be a person, the law could not be upheld even under the Commerce Clause, beacuse all protected constitional rights would be vested in the embryo or fetus. 

Right now, it looks like if this passes, it’s only a state issue. 

Montana AG Launches an Investigation into TikTok for Allegedly Serving Harmful Content to Children

Posted by Julia Haines.

In this article published by FOXBusiness and written by Marisa Schultz, it claims the growing number of controversial trends that are prevalent on social media, specifically TikTok. TikTok is a short-form, video-sharing app that allows users and creators to share content and videos as well as start trends.  However, there have been recent observations and reports that the impact that this social media platform has on its viewers is detrimental. Claims have been made that many of these trends are controversial and have raised concerns for children’s health. This investigation started with a woman in Minnesota who reported this incident that had happened earlier in the day to some news reporters: her daughter had been looking for entertainment and asked her “Alexa” (an Amazon Bluetooth device) for a challenge. The response was shocking; she was told to put a phone charger halfway in an outlet, and then touch the penny on the exposed prongs.  This is just one example of thousands of trends and challenges that have stemmed from TikTok creators, many ending in death, injury, mental illness, vandalism, and other harmful outcomes. In response, “Montana’s Attorney General Austin Knudsen has started a comprehensive investigation into TikTok of allegedly serving harmful content to children and for publicly misrepresenting the ‘dangers’ of its social media platform” (Schultz).

Knudsen launched this investigation to specifically look into whether TikTok has violated Montana’s Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Act of 1973 by sending a 44-page document to TikTok headquarters.  He includes many examples of TikTok users getting dangerous content on sex, drugs, and eating disorders and some users getting killed or injured while replicating TikTok challenges. He seeks to understand the safety practices, algorithms, user guidelines, third-party data tracking, and how the company’s US entity shares data with its Chinese corporate family. If the company doesn’t respond by March 28th, that could seek a subpoena or initiate a civil lawsuit.

However, Knudsen is not the only one that embodies this concern. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton also launched a civil investigation regarding its “potential facilitation of human trafficking and child privacy violations” (Schultz). It is reported that they reached out to TikTok did not respond to the email request for comment. Although TikTok’s community guidelines state that they do not allow things such as nudity, pornography, sexually explicit content, drugs, eating habits, and other “activities that perpetuate the abuse, harm, engagement, or exploitation of a minor”, this content does still get posted, viewed and shared more times than not. Additionally, due to how algorithms work, once a view video of the same content is viewed and interacted with, the young individual soon gets sucked into this type of content with not much of a way to get out of it. Knudsen makes a good point in his interview with Fox News Digital: “in a short amount of time, they create a profile and start looking at a few things, it doesn’t take long and pretty soon they’re getting pornography, they’re getting drugs, they’re getting eating disorder content pushed hat them very quickly. It should be concerning to every parent and guardian” (Shultz).

As a TikTok user and viewer myself, I wholeheartedly agree with the investigations as well as the statements and claims that were made by Knudsen. Many things go under the radar and seep through the cracks which are detrimental to society.  I absolutely agree that there must be a movement to improve what is posted and other rules and regulations on the app. Because there are beneficial aspects of this app and platform, the solution is not to get rid of it. I have learned so much from it, including daily hacks, tips as a college student, recipes, and so much more. It also has served as a real-time news source for the Ukraine-Russia Crisis, with many of their civilians creating up-to-date videos showing what they are truly going through. However, on the flip side, there is a very dark, and terrible side of TikTok which must be investigated, and further action must be taken to keep from further harm to viewers’ lives, mental health, and overall well-being. As much as there is a responsibility on each creator individually, I believe there lies a huge responsibility on TikTok itself, and they must be held accountable for how they have ruined the lives of so many young people.

Julia is in the entreprenurship program at the Stillman School of Business, Seton Hall University, Class of 2025.

https://www.foxbusiness.com/politics/montana-ag-tiktok-child-safety

Should Complex “Terms and Conditions” Documents Be Legally Binding?

Posted by Alex Mapes.

This article caught my attention. It is entitled, “If the small print terms and conditions require a PhD to read should they be legally binding?” The article highlights the complexities of user agreements and how this could conflict with consumer laws. The article explains how the legal agreements are required to be understandable to the party agreeing to them, and if the agreements are not written in plain English, they may not be legally binding.  

Insurance policies were analyzed using various readability measures using well-established text difficulty measures such as text complexity and length of sentences. They ran seven policies through the reading difficulty tools which also included all the small print. They found that all the policies required a very high level of education to be understood. The scores of the policies ranged from requiring 13.9 years of education (high school plus one year of university) whereas the most difficult one required 19.1 years (Ph.D. level). The most readable policy required almost 14 years of education. This complexity suggests that the contracts could be challenged as to whether it is fair or not.

The UK courts do not consider readability but focus on whether the contract clearly communicated its effects. In the US, there is a trend to use readability scores. Texas is using Flasch-Kincaid reading scores and South Carolina requires that loan contracts have a score no higher than seventh grade.

Absurdly lengthy and unreadable user agreements and privacy policies are an unavoidable aspect of modern life. Contracts like these are not transparent as virtually no one can comprehend them, and with the amount of these contracts and agreements that are required to use every software or device, it is unrealistic to expect consumers to spend the time to thoroughly read these documents. For these reasons, I do not believe these contracts should be legally binding and this style of the agreement should be completely reevaluated to better respect the consumer.

Alex is a business major at the Stillman School of Business, Seton Hall University, Class of 2024.

https://theconversation.com/if-small-print-terms-and-conditions-require-a-phd-to-read-should-they-be-legally-binding-75101

The Unintended Consequences of Sanctions on Russia

Posted by Samuel Pineda.

Sanctions have been introduced onto Russia in lieu of their invasion into Ukraine. The sanctions had been intended to disrupt the Russian economic (and political) sphere enough to encourage an end to the invasion. However, they have also brought negative consequences to the countries imposing them. The United States, for example, having temporarily cut ties with one of their biggest contributors in the fields of energy and oil, have felt a drastic impact. 

At a national level, gas prices rose a staggering 23 cents, this increase had been reached within only a matter of days proceeding the implementation of the sanctions. Fox Business’ Daniella Genovese states, “Oil prices are set to post their strongest weekly gains since the middle of 2020, with U.S. crude up more than 22% and Brent at 16% after hitting their highest in a decade.” These are increases in oil prices that have not been witnessed in the U.S. since natural disasters such as that of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Numerous states have been hit harder than others including California who was seeing prices north of $6 a gallon, and to a lesser extent New Jersey whose oil priced peaked to the highest that it has been since 2016. These numbers are only set to increase, over this period of time, as the invasion pursues and talks of peace continue to result in futility or postponement.

I believe that hurting the American pocket is going to cause massive support for peace or a look for another alternative. As sad as it is to say, for many Americans it was easier to not be as invested or hold care for the events taking place in Ukraine until it directly affected their day-to-day. Seeing as there is no easy solution to this issue (or even a foreseeable one at this point) I fear the unknown of negative consequences that may be underway. This current change affects me personally as I had already found it difficult to keep up with the steadily increasing oil prices. In hopes for the benefit of all parties involved I pray that the end of this feud arrives quickly.

Ukraine invasion: US gas prices jump as oil surges –

By Daniella Genovese, Fox Business

https://www.foxbusiness.com/politics/more-domestic-drilling-has-never-been-on-table-as-russia-ukraine-war-escalates-us-labor-secretary

Samuel is an accounting major, Stillman School of Business, Seton Hall University, Class of 2025.

Opioids in the US

Posted by Dan DeChellis.

“Purdue Pharma, US States Agree to New Opioid Settlement,” by Geoff Mulvihill, explores how this pharmaceutical company was recently put under pressure regarding their OxyContin products. OxyContin is highly addictive, which means it is a great way to make money at the expense of others wellbeing, like any other drug. So, in order to hold the company accountable, a settlement was reached. A 750-million-dollar fund was created that victims and survivors would have access to were they to file a claim against Purdue. This is a way of compensating the victims affected by the opioid epidemic, however through the eyes of Purdue it is likely a way to get out of any more serious legal repercussion. What is the cost for someone’s life? 

Among the dollar amount settlement, there were also other agreements with the family, such as not being able to fight when other companies dissociate and that this deal would not shield them from any potential criminal charges. Although there likely won’t be any. Mulvihill quotes, “’No lawsuit, no settlement or any amount of money can ever be enough. The lives Purdue stole, they can never be returned,’ California Attorney General Rob Bonta said in a video news conference Thursday” (1). This outrage proves the widespread feeling that their money is not good enough. They purposefully sell these drugs as a means for stable income off addiction. So the question must be asked, if they value lives or the money more. Of course, the answer is likely to be an obvious one, but what can be done about this greed? Can money be enough to help those in addiction? 

In conclusion, “Purdue Pharma, US States Agree to New Opioid Settlement,” by Geoff Mulvihill perfectly captures the magnitude of this case. While this 750-million-dollar settlement is certainly better than nothing, as aforementioned, it still must be questioned. What is the cost for someone’s life, in the eyes of a company like this?  It can only be hoped that those who lost loved ones will see this sufficient, however, I doubt it to be the case judging by the reaction from California Attorney General Rob Bonta. This is an important topic to explore because of the worldwide reach of the Opioid epidemic, and how companies such as Purdue are using this legal drug to exploit its customers. 

Dan is a business major at the Stillman School of Business, Seton Hall University, Class of 2025.

Works Cited

Mulvihill, Geoff. “Purdue Pharma, US States Agree to New Opioid Settlement.” USNews, 3 Mar. 2022, https://www.usnews.com/news/business/articles/2022-03-03/purdue-pharma-us-states-agree-to-new-opioid-settlement.

Is Artificial Intelligence Threatening to Overtake Blue- and White-Collar Jobs from Humans?

Posted by Mahi Patel.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is transforming practically every sector and industry, with some businesses and professions being revolutionized quicker and more severely than others. The AI-powered era, unlike the industrial revolution, which mechanized physically demanding work and “replaced muscles with hydraulic pistons and diesel engines” (Stepka), which is automating cerebral activities. While AI may be only optimizing certain blue-collar jobs, it is also affecting many white-collar jobs that were originally expected to be immune to robot technology. Some of these occupations are being fundamentally revolutionized by AI to achieve things that were previously impossible, enhancing and even substituting their human counterparts in the workplace. As a result, AI is having a significant impact on legal practices and procedures. AI is already being used to examine contracts, uncover important documents in the trial process, and undertake legal analysis and inquiries, though it is more likely to assist than replace attorneys in the future. However, it is a real possibility they may replace attorneys and lawyers because of advancement in technology. AI is now being used to assist in drafting contracts, predicting legal decisions, and even advise judicial judgments on punishment and bail, allowing for faster research and decision-making.  The prospective applications of AI in law are substantial. It has the potential to boost attorney efficiency while eliminating costly errors.  Nevertheless, AI has not yet been fully prepared to replace human and professional judgment in the practice of law.

Correctional Offender Management Profiling for Alternative Sanctions is one such application of advising judges on bail decisions (COMPAS). In several places, criminal courts employ COMPAS and comparable AI techniques to assess the recidivism risk of defendants or convicted people when making decisions about pre-trial holding, sentencing, or early release. The legitimacy and accuracy of these systems are fiercely disputed. According to a ProPublica investigation, such assessment systems appeared to be prejudiced towards black inmates, classifying them as considerably more likely to reoffend than white inmates. Equivant, the company that created COMPAS, attempted to deny ProPublica’s findings and dismissed its racial bias claims. 

In order for AI to design legal contracts, it will need to be taught as a qualified lawyer. This necessitates the AI’s inventor gathering legal performance data on multiple types of contract language (also known as “labeling”). The AI is then taught how to construct a decent contract using this labeled data. The legal performance of a contract, on the other hand, is frequently very context-specific, as well as varies by jurisdiction and its laws. Furthermore, because most contracts are never seen in a trial, their terms remain unanswered and confidential to the parties. AI generative systems that are trained on contracts carry the potential of amplifying both excellent and poor legal services. As a result, it’s difficult to see how AI contract writers can improve significantly anytime soon. AI tools simply lack the topic understanding and linguistic clarity required to function autonomously. While these tools may be beneficial for drafting language, the result must still be reviewed by humans before being used.

Lawgeex, for example, offers a service that can examine contracts rapidly and more precisely than humans. Law firms around the United States use AI-powered discovery services from companies like CS Disco, which officially went public. Quick Check, another AI-powered function from Westlaw Edge, analyzes a draft argument to obtain additional insights or find important authority that may have been overlooked. Quick Check can even tell you if a case you’ve mentioned has been overturned in an unexpected way.

AI is a welcomed instrument in the pursuit of justice as a way to make the legal process speedier and more devoid of discrepancies. AI may be a more efficient means to decide civil matters while also boosting consistency without posing a systemic risk. However, when AI is utilized to substitute human judgment, especially in the context of criminal law, it becomes increasingly critical. For a variety of reasons, AI isn’t ready for this. For one thing, there could be bias in the training data, which will be reinforced and entrenched by the ML (machine-learning) models. Researchers may be ready to surpass this challenge; in fact, the process of removing distortion from our training data may lead us to recognize and address some of our legal system’s intrinsic racism and bigotry.

Mahi is a marketing major, Stillman School of Business, Seton Hall University, Class of 2025

Hiding the Truth

Posted by Aleks Bednarski.

It seems as if the entire world can’t catch a break lately. As soon as the COVID-19 pandemic began to make immense improvements and things started going back to normal, another huge event just had to come directly after. As most people know, Russia is currently invading Ukraine, which is not only a threat to Ukraine, but also to the entire world. If Vladimir Putin continues on this path of invading European countries, a world war could very likely take place. This article was written by Ann M. Simmons, which discusses how Russia has placed a fake news law that gives immense prison time for anyone writing what Russian authorities consider to be false information about the invasion of Ukraine. Russia has also entirely banned facebook in the country, a quite interesting decision that can bring up a variety of questions.


First, it is important to analyze the law itself. The law states that “anyone found guilty of knowingly disseminating false information and data about the use of Russia’s armed forces would be punished by a prison sentence of up to 15 years or a fine of up to 1.5 million rubles, equivalent to about $14,000.” Russia also then decides to ban facebook as well, as if the fake news law was not already fishy enough. It must be questioned as to why Russia is doing this, and the answer is quite obvious to the public eye. They are lying. The citizens of Russia are being hypnotized into thinking that nothing is wrong and their country would never do such a thing to a neighboring country.

In my opinion, banning facebook and implementing fake news laws makes it only more obvious to the public eye that Russia is lying to its own people.

They are not just doing this to look good, but are lying to them in order to prevent a massive uprise within the country. Citizens of Russia are beginning to peel the mask off the Russian government and realize what they are actually doing. As the government began realizing this, they did everything in their power to prevent more from spreading inside Russia, thus why they banned facebook and passed this new law. Although, it is almost impossible for Russia to stop their people from realizing the truth, as there are so many other social media platforms available to them. Overall, the citizens will find out, and a Russian revolution is inevitable.

Aleks is a finance major at the Stillman School of Business, Seton Hall University, Class of 2025.

Link- https://www.wsj.com/articles/russia-targets-media-outlets-with-fake-news-law-blocks-facebook-11646442530

Activision Employee Suicide Was Spurred By Workplace Harassment, Lawsuit Says

Posted by Gabriella Conceicao.

Kerri Moynihan, a former employee of Activision, unfortunately, committed suicide in 2017. Parents of Moynihan filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Activision Blizzard, arguing that the hostile work environment their daughter suffered at their company contributed to her suicide. On Thursday, March 3rd, 2022, the Los Angeles Superior Court Lawsuit was ruled a suicide by the Orange County coroner, which happened during an Activision company retreat at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel and Spa.

It is argued that the company permitted a sexually hostile work environment where female employees were continuously sexually harassed, belittled, discriminated against, and the company Activision failed to take the necessary steps to protect their female employees causing it to be an unbearable environment for some. There was a California Department of Fair Employment and Housing filed against Activision last July that described Moynihan’s experience as “at a holiday party before her death, male co-workers passed around a picture of the deceased’s vagina”. Moynihan’s parents were not even aware of this alleged harassment of their daughter until this DFEH lawsuit was made public.

The DFEH story also mentioned the sexual relationship Moynihan had with her male supervisor. His name is Greg Restituito who was a senior finance director for Activision and was married with a newborn son at the time of Moynihan’s death. This work relationship was against Activision’s policy. Restituito denied his relationship with Moynihan until his second interview with the police when he finally admitted it. Following that, Activision allegedly “refused to turn over Kerri’s work-issued laptop to the LAPD, refused to give them access to Restituito’s work-issued laptop, refused to give them access to Restituito’s work-issued cell phone, and told the police that Restituito’s cell phone had been ‘wiped.'” Activision failed to take immediate and suitable actions to correct what happened and failed to take the steps towards preventing sexual harassment in their workplace. The suit says that was a substantial factor in causing harm to Kerri. If proper action was taken, Kerri could have been saved by humiliation, embarrassment, belittlement, sadness, discomfort, pain and suffering, and possibly her death at age 32.

 I believe that Activision did contribute to Moynihan’s death due to them not taking the necessary steps to protect their female workers. Even after the suicide, they are still trying to protect themselves by refusing to turn over the work-issued laptops. This hostile work environment will not stop with Moynihan, which is evident through Activision’s lack of concern or action towards their female employees, but rather their focus on covering up what has already been wrongfully done. Change must be done.

Gabriella Conceicao is a Finance and Information Technology Management major at the Stillman School of Business, Class of 2024.

https://arstechnica.com/gaming/2022/03/activision-employee-suicide-was-spurred-by-workplace-harassment-lawsuit-says/?comments=1

Russia’s Currency Depreciates as their Invasion of Ukraine Continues

Posted by Shane Luczak

At the time of writing this article, over the last two weeks Russia has begun their invasion of Ukraine. It has made the headlines worldwide, as citizens across the globe have voiced their opinions on the conflict. My heart goes out to those on both sides of the conflict, but this piece’s purpose is not to reflect on the politics or social impacts of the situation, but instead the economic impact of these events. One thing that I feel is being overlooked by the general public is the impact this conflict is having on Russia’s currency and their economy as a whole.

As it pertains to the Russian currency (ruble) it has been a disastrous first week since the initial invasion. The ruble has fallen 30% against the dollar, now making one ruble less than one cent (US). This is partially due to Russia’s banks being temporarily blocked from SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication) essentially disabling them from making transactions with other countries. As their currency may continue to weaken, this opens the door for inflation which will anger Russians who have saved up large amounts of rubles. This would also increase the cost of living, increase foreign goods and travel, and in turn anger innocent Russian citizens even more.

Another action that has recently happened was that the U.S. Department of Treasury barred Americans from conducting business with Russia’s central bank, in turn further decreasing the demand for the ruble. The actions made by countries across the globe including the United States, are seen as crushing by many economists. Due to these actions, Russia’s GDP is expected to decrease by 5% this year. Russia knows where their economy is headed, in the sense that if they do not turn it around soon, they may face hyperinflation. Russia’s response to the decreasing value of their currency was to raise interest rates from the current rate of roughly 8% all the way up to 20%. This move will potentially help stop the bleeding for now, but in the future if they are still unable to access currencies such as the Euro or the US Dollar, they may have to resort to printing more of their own currency. Those in the US know what that means all too well, and if Russia has to resort to that plan, inflation will be inevitable regardless of the interest rates. This will lead to many innocent Russian citizens losing large amounts of value from their savings, checking, and retirement accounts. Nobody knows when the conflict will be resolved but if it goes on too long, the impact will be felt by the Russian economy and their citizens for decades.

Shane is a Finance student at Seton Hall University, Stillman School of Business, Class of 2024.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/russia-ukraine-ruble-sanctions/

Putin Attacks News Companies After New Censorship Law

Posted by Ethan Friedman.

With all of the chaos occurring in the world, it is important for the world to recognize and be aware of the Russian invasion on Ukraine. This important task to spread important world news is made responsible by news sites, tv channels, journals, etc. Vladimir Putin, President of Russia, recently brought up a censorship law that rescricts the press’s ability to spread information to the public. In the article, “BBC, CNN and others are suspending operations or halting their broadcast in Russia after Putin pushes ‘fake news’ law” written by Yelena Dzhanova of Business Insider, it talks about how this law can impact news companies and journalists due to putting out invalid news about Russia.

According to The New York Times, the journalists who said that the invasion by Russia to Ukraine was a “war” would face jail. This caused big news companies such as CNN, ABC, and BBC to stop their broadcast from Russia and caused The Washington post to remove writer recognition from specific articles to protect staff from potential punishments. In the article it says, “Under Putin’s new law, which could go into effect as early as Saturday, anyone who spreads what the Russian government considers to be “fake” news about the country’s military operations could face up to 15 years in jail, according to The Committee to Protect Journalists”(paragraph 3, Dzhanhova). The quote is saying that Putin’s new law states that if the Russian Government considers any of the news to be fraud of “fake” could face up to 15 years of jail time. 

In my opinion, I dont see this as being a main issue in the world right now considering there is a lot of conflict going on all around the world. The news should be able to cover whatever it wants due to having a big platform and making people aware of what is happening and what could happen. The news’s job is to make the world aware of everything around the world and everything that could potentially impact the world in the future. I dont see how the news companies are wrong here by making people aware of what Russia is capable of and what they could potentially do. Now these news companies can’t do their job due to not covering important information about the world because they can potentially get locked up in jail for it. This law is just protection by Putin to hide warning information to the world, which makes Russia an event bigger problem in the world.

https://www.businessinsider.com/news-outlets-cnn-bloomberg-bbc-suspending-operations-russia-putin-law-2022-3

Ethan is a business major (undecided), at the Stillman School of Business, Seton Hall University, Class of 2025.