Thomas E. Simmons
Sexbots may displace humans in the sex trade (or on a wider scale) sometime between the 2020s and the 2050s. Although some perquisites may derive from the proliferation of sexbots (lower levels of sexually transmitted diseases, for example), significant social harms can also be predicted. In anticipation of those harms, lawmakers may endorse targeted regulation or outright bans. The uncertain limits of Lawrence v. Texas and its progeny of sex-toy decisions will present vague constitutional shoals to these aims. The legislating-of-sexbots crusade will also make for strange bedfellows, politically speaking, as social conservatives aiming to maintain traditional values ally with liberals concerned with amplified objectification.
Valarie K. Blake
Section 1557 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) broadly prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, age, and disability in healthcare programs or activities receiving federal dollars. The provision should hold interest for civil rights scholars and health policy scholars alike. It’s the first civil rights statute to combine four different civil rights statutes into a single provision creating nightmarish ambiguity about the proper standards for cause of action and remedy. Section 1557 also represents the first civil rights statute to broadly tackle discrimination in healthcare, including private health insurance, and to apply sex discrimination to healthcare (including discrimination based on gender identity and possibly sexual orientation).
Ann L. Schiavone
Do Justice Anthony Kennedy’s opinions in the gay rights cases of Romer v. Evans, Lawrence v. Texas, United States v. Windsor, and Obergefell v. Hodges have any impact on the future of Fourteenth Amendment jurisprudence beyond rights for gays, lesbians, and transgender persons? We don’t know. It is possible these cases will simply remain siloed in their unique legal and cultural niche, but viewing them through the lens of 150 years of Fourteenth Amendment jurisprudence suggests they may signal a shift in due process and equal protection analysis. This shift could open the doors for challenging discriminatory laws under a more robust rational basis analysis than that which is generally employed under the traditional tiered-scrutiny structure.
Matthew H. Birkhold
When the English arrived in the “New World” in the seventeenth century, they viewed the land as empty, unused, and unclaimed—a “vacuum domicilium” that legally justified their usurpation of the land. Nearly four hundred years later, we have come to appreciate that Native Americans stood in various agricultural, economic, spiritual, and geopolitical relationships with the land. The English simply failed to perceive these connections and uses. The Supreme Court’s recent decision to hear Nebraska v. Parker offers an opportunity for the American justice system to demonstrate that it has since developed a more enlightened and nuanced jurisprudence, one that understands more about Native Americans than the early colonists did.
The story of film and the First Amendment charts a steady course toward creative freedom. Within one hundred years, motion pictures developed from a fairground attraction into an art form, and from a revolutionary technology into an industrially produced mass media. More accessible to large audiences and more powerful in delivering a message than any previous medium, the movies quickly transcended their origins as a penny-parlor amusement to become an important cultural influencer.