NewYorkUniversity
LawReview
Current Issue

Volume 90, Number 2

May 2015
Articles

Behavioral War Powers

Ganesh Sitaraman, David Zionts

A decade of war has meant a decade of writing on war powers. From the authority to start a war, to restrictions on fighting wars, to the authority to end a war, constitutional lawyers and scholars have explored the classic issues (war initiation, prosecution, and termination) through the classic prisms (text, history, and function) for a new generation of national security challenges. Despite the volume of writing on war powers and the urgency of the debates in the context of Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and Syria, war powers debates are widely seen as stagnant. We introduce a new set of perspectives into the war powers literature. Over the last four decades, behavioral psychologists have identified persistent biases in individual and group decisionmaking. The behavioral revolution has had a significant impact on legal scholarship—primarily in law and economics—and has also influenced scholars in international relations, who increasingly write about psychological biases and other decisionmaking challenges. These insights, however, have yet to be applied in the war powers context. This Article brings the behavioral literature into the conversation on war powers, showing how lessons from behavioral psychology are relevant to decisions on war and peace. It outlines a variety of psychological biases that bear on decisions about war and peace, applies these lessons to a variety of war powers debates, and discusses broader institutional design strategies for debiasing decisionmaking. The lessons of psychology provide new functional perspectives on classic war powers debates: the authority of Congress versus the President to initiate wars, the scope of presidential authority to use force, the ability of Congress to restrict the conduct of war, the War Powers Resolution and the termination of wars, and the role of the United Nations. Some of the decisionmaking biases point in conflicting directions, so there are no simple answers or tidy solutions. But understanding where important decisions risk going wrong is the first step in figuring out how to make them go right.

IP in a World Without Scarcity

Mark A. Lemley

Things are valuable because they are scarce. The more abundant they become, the cheaper they become. But a series of technological changes is underway that promises to end scarcity as we know it for a wide variety of goods. The Internet is the most obvious example, because the change there is furthest along. The Internet has reduced the cost of production and distribution of informational content effectively to zero. More recently, new technologies promise to do for a variety of physical goods and even services what the Internet has already done for information. The role of intellectual property (IP) in such a world is both controverted and critically important. Efforts to use IP to lock down the Internet have so far failed to stem the unauthorized distribution of content. But contrary to the predictions of IP theory, the result of that failure has not been a decline in creativity. To the contrary, creativity is flourishing on the Internet as never before despite the absence of effective IP enforcement. That is a problem for IP theory, which may not be the main driver of creativity in a world where creation, reproduction, and distribution are cheap. That is increasingly the world in which we will live.

The Evidentiary Rules of Engagement in the War Against Domestic Violence

Erin R. Collins

Our criminal justice system promises defendants a fair and just adjudication of guilt, regardless of the character of the alleged offense. Yet, from mandatory arrest to “no-drop” prosecution policies, the system’s front-end response to domestic violence reflects the belief that it differs from other crimes in ways that permit or require the adaptation of criminal justice response mechanisms. Although scholars debate whether these differential responses are effective or normatively sound, the scholarship leaves untouched the presumption that, once the adjudicatory phase is underway, the system treats domestic violence offenses like any other crime. This Article reveals that this presumption is false. It demonstrates that many jurisdictions have adopted specialized evidence rules that authorize admission of highly persuasive evidence of guilt in domestic violence prosecutions that would be inadmissible in other criminal cases. These jurisdictions unmoor evidence rules from their justificatory principles to accommodate the same iteration of domestic violence exceptionalism that underlies specialized front-end criminal justice policies. The Article argues that even though such evidentiary manipulation may be effective in securing convictions, enlisting different evidence rules in our war on domestic violence is unfair to defendants charged with such offenses and undermines the integrity of the criminal justice system. It also harms some of the people the system seeks to protect by both reducing the efficacy of the criminal justice intervention and discrediting those complainants who do not support prosecution.

Notes

Botnet Takedowns and the Fourth Amendment

Sam Zeitlin

The botnet, a group of computers infected with malicious software and remotely controlled without their owners’ knowledge, is a ubiquitous tool of cybercrime. Law enforcement can take over botnets, typically by seizing their central “command and control” servers. They can then manipulate the malware installed on private computers to shut the botnet down. This Note examines the Fourth Amendment implications of the government’s use of remote control of malware on private computers to neutralize botnets. It finds that the government could take more intrusive action on infected computers than it has previously done without performing a search or seizure under the Fourth Amendment. Most significantly, remotely finding and removing malware on infected computers does not necessarily trigger Fourth Amendment protections. Computer owners have no possessory interest in malware, so modifying or removing it does not constitute a seizure. Additionally, even if the government’s efforts cause some harm to private computers, this will rarely produce a seizure under the Fourth Amendment because any interference with the computer will be unintentional. Remotely executing commands on infected computers does not constitute a search under the Fourth Amendment unless information is returned to law enforcement.

Modernizing Chinese Trust Law

Stephen Tensmeyer

There are important uses for trusts that are essentially unavailable in China. Family trusts and larger-scale trusts run by private parties for the public interest are extremely rare and face a difficult regulatory environment. While China’s Trust Law itself recognizes a distinction between “civil” and “commercial” trusts, the regulations governing trust businesses recognize no such distinction. These regulations impose conditions that make small-scale family trusts and collective civil trusts almost impossible. It is unclear whether these regulations apply to all trusts, but even if they do not, the narrow view of trusts that they promote limits the usefulness of trusts in other areas. However, these types of trusts could be accommodated by easy reforms revising the regulatory and legal framework to permit and facilitate family and public interest trusts.

Immigration Reliance on Gang Databases

Rebecca A. Hufstader

Unchecked Discretion and Undesirable Consequences

The Obama Administration has historically expanded the availability of deferred action, which provides a reprieve from the threat of deportation and work authorization to certain undocumented immigrants, through the creation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA). These programs, as well as legislative efforts to provide a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, increasingly seek to exclude suspected gang members. In doing so, they make gang databases managed by state and local law enforcement increasingly relevant to eligibility decisions. These databases, however, lack the procedural safeguards necessary to curb police discretion, which can allow racial stereotypes and biases to influence decisionmaking and lead to the disproportionate inclusion of people of color. This Note argues that the policy rationales underlying procedural due process highlight the inadequacies of these databases as tools for immigration adjudicators. By using them to determine eligibility for immigration benefits, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) imports the racial bias inherent in the criminal justice system to the immigration system. In order to avoid this result and increase both fairness and accuracy, DHS should bar adjudicators from relying on gang databases.

More Than “Johns,” Less Than Traffickers

Heather C. Gregorio

In Search of Just and Proportional Sanctions for Buyers of Sex with Trafficking Victims

The U.S. criminal justice system currently lacks a proportional, clear, and effective law targeted at individuals who purchase sex with trafficking victims. These “johns” of trafficking victims (JTVs) historically have remained anonymous and unaccountable. More recently, three unsatisfactory approaches to sanctioning this group have emerged. First, they are sometimes subjected to low-level patronization and solicitation misdemeanors alongside johns of consensual sex workers. Second, they are increasingly prosecuted as traffickers under sex-trafficking legislation. Third, they are occasionally prosecuted as statutory rapists and sex abusers if the victim is a minor. This Note argues that none of these first three approaches are an adequate fit for this population. Treating them simply as johns ignores the seriousness of their offense and does not distinguish prostitution from trafficking. Treating them as traffickers is disproportionate on the other extreme, especially with recent strict liability interpretations of sex-trafficking statutes and mandatory minimums, and furthermore dilutes the term “human trafficking.” Finally, treating them as statutory rapists is underinclusive and ignores the commercial nature of the offense. This Note explores a fourth approach being implemented sporadically on the federal and state levels: prosecuting johns of trafficking victims under legislation explicitly addressing this group. This Note argues that targeted legislation is the most appropriate and fair approach. It advocates modified versions of such legislation, with tailored mens rea standards and flexible penalties correlated to culpability.

Free Exercise, Inc.

Thad Eagles

A New Framework for Adjudicating Corporate Religious Liberty Claims

Do corporations deserve religious liberty protection? This question came to the forefront in the series of contraception mandate cases, leading to a circuit split and the controversial Supreme Court decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. This Note looks past that debate to the potential effects of business regulation on individuals and develops a framework for considering corporate religious liberty claims that accounts for those individual burdens. Part I provides relevant back- ground information to understand the contraception mandate issue that led to Hobby Lobby. Part II demonstrates that regulatory burdens that fall on secular, for-profit corporations can nonetheless burden their individual owners by putting them to the choice of either disobeying the dictates of their religion or facing adverse financial consequences. Part II continues by showing that nothing in corporate law requires ignoring this burden and points to ambiguities in the Hobby Lobby majority opinion that may prevent courts from properly recognizing and focusing on this important burden. Part III answers the questions left open by the Hobby Lobby majority and suggests a framework for considering which corporations should be able to bring religious liberty claims. This framework is aimed at protecting individuals from the burden of being unable to enjoy the benefits of the corporate form without having to violate their religious beliefs.