The Yale Law Journal




Yale Law Journal Public-Interest Fellowship Essays

In this Collection, the 2019-20 Yale Law Journal Public-Interest Fellows draw on their work experiences. They present a novel approach to tackling inaccurate population data in malapportionment litigation; argue that criminal-defense attorneys and judges must convey the denaturalization consequences of plea deals; and explore New York City’s undercollection of fines.

20 Oct 2020

The Denaturalization Consequences of Guilty Pleas

Amber Qureshi

At a critical time when thousands of citizens face potential denaturalization, this Essay proposes an extension of the Supreme Court’s decision in Padilla v. Kentucky to protect the rights of U.S. citizens who are facing denaturalization as a result of pleading guilty to a criminal offense.

20 Oct 2020

Beyond the Adjustment Wars: Dealing with Uncertainty and Bias in Redistricting Data

Jeff Zalesin

This Essay offers a pragmatic approach to litigating legislative malapportionment cases with imperfect population data. Because the census historically is inaccurate and biased—and 2020 Census data may be even more so—courts should clarify that they will consider evidence that district populations are less equal than they facially appear.

20 Oct 2020

Who Pays? An Analysis of Fine Collection in New York City

Ruth Vassar Lazenby

This Essay analyzes New York City data on the collection of fines and concludes that slightly more than half of fines imposed are collected in full. The Essay explores barriers to collection and recommends reforms that attempt to directly target underlying harms, rather than increase resources for fine collection broadly.

02 Oct 2020

Reading the ACA’s Findings: Textualism, Severability and the ACA’s Return to the Court

Abbe R. Gluck

Challengers are using false textualism to implode the ACA. They argue that a findings section is an “inseverability clause,” ignoring the text and location; the language is boilerplate not for severability but for the commerce power; and Congress’s actual inseverability clauses are unmistakably explicit, using language absent from the ACA.

21 Sep 2020

Political Wine in a Judicial Bottle: Justice Sotomayor’s Surprising Concurrence in Aurelius

Christina D. Ponsa-Kraus

This Essay criticizes Justice Sotomayor’s concurring opinion in Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico v. Aurelius Investment, LLC. for offering a one-sided and misleading explanation of the island’s constitutional status, and thereby taking sides in Puerto Rico’s decolonization debate.

29 Jul 2020

Deadly Delay: The FDA’s Role in America’s COVID-Testing Debacle

Barbara J. Evans & Ellen Wright Clayton

Recently, the FDA asserted authority to regulate a type of COVID-19 diagnostics known as laboratory-developed tests, which long have been a front line of response to emerging disease. FDA did not, and should not, have authority to regulate these tests. Its intervention added minimal value while contributing to deadly delays.

19 Jul 2020

State of the Art: How Cultural Property Became a National-Security Priority

Nikita Lalwani

Until recently, the United States did little to help repatriate looted antiquities, thanks to a powerful coalition of art collectors, museums, and numismatists who preferred an unregulated art market. This Essay explores how the United States came to treat the protection of cultural property as an important national-security issue.

29 Jun 2020

The New Oil and Gas Governance

Tara K. Righetti, Hannah Jacobs Wiseman & James W. Coleman

Even as the United States has become the world’s leading producer of oil and gas, U.S. oil and gas governance has changed drastically. States have amended statutes, applied existing laws, and modified common law doctrine to move beyond a once-unilateral focus on maximizing production and address environmental and social concerns.

24 Jun 2020

Disability Law and the Case for Evidence-Based Triage in a Pandemic

Govind Persad

When lifesaving medical treatments are scarce, disability law permits triage policies to consider patients’ probability of survival and post-treatment life expectancy. Evidence-based triage that considers these factors, rather than inaccurate stereotypes, can be not only legal and ethical, but consonant with the goals of disability law and advocacy.

27 May 2020

Who Gets the Ventilator? Disability Discrimination in COVID-19 Medical-Rationing Protocols

Samuel R. Bagenstos

The coronavirus pandemic has forced us to take the threat of rationing life-saving treatments seriously. Many health systems employ protocols that explicitly deprioritize people for these treatments based on pre-existing disabilities. This argues that such protocols violate the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act, and the Affordable Care Act.