Brexit & International Criminal Law: Entering Uncharted Waters


This paper analyzes the implications of the British withdrawal from the European Union, commonly referred to as “Brexit,” on the function of international criminal law in the United Kingdom.  While Brexit negotiations have largely focused on changes to immigration and trade policy, much of the United Kingdom’s international criminal law enforcement and policy rely on European Union bodies and precedent.  This paper analyzes the five largest areas of United Kingdom-European Union criminal law overlap: criminal justice agencies, cooperation agreements, mutual recognition agreements, harmony of law, and harmony of criminal procedure.  Through case studies and analysis of international treaties, this paper explores each of these areas.  While many of the precise functions of international law after Brexit have the potential to change based on the specificities of exit negotiations, the entrenched legal mechanisms described here could all be subject to a variety of transformations in the coming years.  This paper seeks to understand the potential for such change more thoroughly. Continue reading “Brexit & International Criminal Law: Entering Uncharted Waters”

Federal Elections Standards for a Malicious Cyberspace

“The right to vote should be considered sacred in our democracy.” Charles B. Rangel


The right to vote is the most defining and important part of a functional democracy. Public faith in voting systems is absolutely crucial to a successful democracy so that citizens have a high degree of confidence that their elected leaders receive affirmative votes in a fair manner by a majority of the respective electorate, ensuring accurate representation in government. There are a plethora of Federal laws, State laws and five separate amendments to the Constitution of the United States that protect citizens’ right to vote indiscriminate of race, sex, income and age. The 2016 Presidential election brought to light a new kind of threat to our democracy- malicious cyberattacks from an adversarial foreign government. Continue reading “Federal Elections Standards for a Malicious Cyberspace”

Scope, Methodology and Systemic Failure of the jus cogens Mechanism: The Disconnect between Morality, State Sovereignty and Autonomy.


Most international legal scholarship recognizes that the international legal system upholds a category of higher ethical norms known as peremptory norms in common rhetoric of the international legal profession, “from which no derogation is permitted.”[1] These overriding principles of international law form a body of jus cogens — a Latin term signifying ‘compelling law’— that establishes a framework for resolving disputes over treaty law provisions, which are often based on different rules of international law. Peremptory norms are generally interpreted as restricting the freedom of states. Treaties and principles of customary international law that violate jus cogens can be declared to be void since “their object conflicts with norms which have been identified as peremptory.”[2] Continue reading “Scope, Methodology and Systemic Failure of the jus cogens Mechanism: The Disconnect between Morality, State Sovereignty and Autonomy.”

The Constitutionality of Partisan Gerrymandering

In October, gerrymandering in the United States took an even more national audience with the presentation of the first oral arguments of Gill v. Whitford, a Wisconsin redistricting case in the Supreme Court. The political definition of gerrymandering is “when political or electoral districts are drawn with the purpose of giving one political group an advantage over another.”[1] Although gerrymandering is easily characterized by the media as a partisan move to undermine democracy, the intricacies of the issue go deeper beyond partisan redistricting. There are multiple factors to consider when examining gerrymandering, and this piece examines how the United States, in legislation and in precedents set on previous cases, has created the opportunity for gerrymandering to become rampant. It will also discuss two mathematical standards that have the potential to determine unconstitutional district maps and allow the courts to rule on gerrymandering claims. Continue reading “The Constitutionality of Partisan Gerrymandering”

What the DOJ Revival of Civil Forfeiture Laws Means for Pennsylvania

The practice of civil forfeiture practice has sparked controversy nationwide due to a series of documented abuses, and such policies have led to important legal battles and legislative changes here in Pennsylvania. This past summer, however, Attorney General Jeff Sessions called for a reinstatement of an old civil asset forfeiture policy. Under the DOJ’s new agenda, the future of local civil forfeiture is anything but certain. Continue reading “What the DOJ Revival of Civil Forfeiture Laws Means for Pennsylvania”

One Billion Lives and Counting: The Future of China’s Health Care Policy

China is currently in the middle of reforming its healthcare system, a decision that will affect over 1.3 billion people for years to come. Moving from historically state-sponsored care to market-oriented care and now to a combination of the two, China has struggled to find a structure that works for its diverse population. Public health problems carry important implications for political stability. Thus far, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has relied on performance-based legitimacy to secure its own political future. Only by constantly improving social welfare and economic growth does the CCP reinforce its own authority. However, China’s slowing economic growth means that the government can no longer ignore institutional failures, such as its healthcare system, that are beginning to bring its legitimacy into question.[1. William C. Hsiao, “The Political Economy of Chinese Health Reform,” Health Economics, Policy and Law 2, no. 3 (2007): 241-247.
] With no institutional mechanism in place to address private grievances, increasing unrest over issues of medical impoverishment represent a threat to the CPP’s authority. Though China’s health care system has come a long way, there remain many challenges to overcome in order for China to compete with international standards and mitigate increasing discontent among Chinese citizens. Health insurance inequity, over-prescription of drugs, as well as environmental and food safety problems pose potential threats to China’s health care system and government stability. How the CCP resolves the issue of affordable health care and medical impoverishment could very well decide the fate of the CCP in China. Continue reading “One Billion Lives and Counting: The Future of China’s Health Care Policy”