University of Southern California

Volume 89, Number 5 (July, 2016)

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    The Harm Principle and Free Speech
    Article by Rebecca L. Brown

    The harm principle allows government to limit liberties as necessary to prevent harm. Does the freedom of speech present an exception to the harm principle? Most American scholars say yes. It is common practice to proclaim proudly that the U.S. Constitution protects speech even when it causes harm. But two tenets of the author of the harm principle himself suggest that, today, this answer may be too glib. For John Stuart Mill, the enhanced protection of speech is only a means to protect though...

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    What Diversity Contributes to Equal Opportunity
    Article by Stephen M. Rich

    The ideal of diversity so pervades American public life that we now speak of diversity where we once spoke of equality. Yet we seldom pause to consider the costs that have accompanied this shift. In Grutter v. Bollinger, the Supreme Court held that a public university’s use of racial preferences in student admissions will not violate equal protection if the challenged admissions policy is narrowly tailored to achieve the university’s compelling interest in student body diversity. Rather, however...

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    Secrecy, Standing, and Executive Order 12,333
    Note by Charlotte J. Wen

    In summer of 2013, the National Security Agency (“NSA”) rocketed into headlines when Glenn Greenwald, a reporter at the Guardian, broke a stunning, Orwellian story: pursuant to top-secret court orders, Verizon and other major telephone service providers had granted the NSA blanket access to their American customers’ call records. These companies, Greenwald claimed, were providing the NSA with telephony metadata—general information about each of their customers’ calls, such as phone numbers, ca...

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    How Vague is too Vague?: Resurrecting the Void-for-Vagueness Doctrine in the Context of the Armed Career Criminal Act
    Note by Ava Miller

    In Georgia, Shawntrail Lee was convicted of possessing a firearm as a felon, —a crime that warranted a sentence of roughly three to four years in prison under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines. However, Lee’s prescribed sentencing range increased to a minimum of fifteen years under the Armed Career Criminal Act (“ACCA”) because his criminal history included three other crimes that the district court classified as “violent felon[ies].” Lee appealed his sentence, arguing that his predicate conv...

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