LONGITUDINAL ANALYSIS OF THE U.S. NEWS LAW SCHOOL ACADEMIC REPUTATION SCORES BETWEEN 1998 AND 2013
Robert L. Jones
This Article summarizes the results of a longitudinal study of the U.S. News academic reputation scores (“peer assessment scores”) for 172 law schools between 1998 and 2013. Among other things, the study reveals that there has been a significant downward trend in the academic reputation scores of law schools since 1998. Over 60% of the law schools in the data set finished the sixteen-year period with academic reputation scores that were lower than the ones with which they began in 1998. Less than 20% of the law schools in the data set managed to finish the period with academic reputation scores that were higher (even by .1) than the ones with which they began in 1998. In addition, the study found that the declines in academic reputation scores tended to be inversely correlated to the strength of the schools’ academic reputation scores and U.S. News ranks. The schools that started the period with the highest academic reputation scores posted the largest declines as a group while the law schools that started with the lowest academic reputation scores experienced the most success in maintaining their scores. These trends strongly suggest that the U.S. News rankings themselves are influencing the way academics evaluate their competing institutions in the survey process, a fact that raises important normative questions about whether the academic reputation scores should figure so prominently in the U.S. News methodology.
As part of the study, furthermore, the law school academic reputation scores for the sixteen-year period were analyzed to determine whether there has been an “echo effect” between the law schools’ academic reputation scores and their overall U.S. News ranks. The empirical analysis suggests that a law school’s U.S. News rank does tend to influence its academic reputation score, particularly in instances where a law school is consistently “under-” or “overranked” relative to its academic reputation score. The Article concludes with an identification of those law schools whose academic reputation scores have improved or declined the most during the sixteen-year period, along with a brief discussion of some potential causes for those changes.
A QUANTITY-DRIVEN SOLUTION TO AGGREGATE GROUPING UNDER THE U.S. SENTENCING GUIDELINES MANUAL
The United States Sentencing Guidelines Manual mandates the grouping of many multiple-count convictions on an aggregate basis. In these instances the Guidelines aggregate a specific quality of the offenses—often the amount of drugs or money—and determine the punishment based on the aggregated quantity. This Article first reviews the purposes of grouping under the Guidelines and concludes that grouping under the Guidelines’ non-aggregate grouping provisions should precede grouping on an aggregate basis in order to minimize the influence of prosecutorial charging decisions. Second, the Article analyzes the text, commentary, and purpose of the aggregate grouping guideline and concludes that aggregate grouping is only appropriate when the offense level determination is based primarily on quantity or some other aggregable quality of the offense. Next, the Article formulates a mathematical ratio by which to test whether the offense level for an individual offense guideline is determined primarily on an aggregable or non-aggregable quality of the offense. The ratio is then applied to every offense guideline in the Guidelines Manual as well as to the distribution of each controlled substance and listed chemical. This data is reproduced in a series of appendices. The Article highlights anomalies in the data and identifies the specific offense guidelines that are either improperly subjected to or excluded from aggregate grouping under the current scheme. Lastly, in an appendix, the Article sets forth the text of a proposed revised aggregate grouping guideline.
STRICT SCRUTINY UNDER THE EIGHTH AMENDMENT
Ian P. Farrell
The basic principle of the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the Eighth Amendment is that the phrase “cruel and unusual” must draw its meaning from “the evolving standards of decency that mark the progress of a maturing society.” To implement this principle, the Court has considered whether “objective indicia” of prevailing community norms—such as the number of states that impose the punishment—support the finding of a national consensus against the punishment being challenged.
ASSORTED ANTI-LEEGIN CANARDS: WHY RESISTANCE IS MISGUIDED AND FUTILE
Alan J. Meese
In Leegin Creative Leather Products, Inc. v. PSKS, Inc., 551 U.S. 877 (2007), the Supreme Court reversed Dr. Miles Medical Co. v. John D. Park & Sons Co., 220 U.S. 373 (1911), which had banned minimum resale price maintenance (“minimum RPM”) as unlawful per se. For many, Leegin was a straightforward exercise of the Court’s long-recognized authority, implied by the Sherman Act’s rule of reason, to adjust antitrust doctrine in light of new economic learning. In particular, Leegin invoked the teachings of transaction cost economics (“TCE”), which holds that many non-standard agreements, including minimum RPM, are voluntary mechanisms that reduce the transaction costs that manufacturers incur when they rely upon independent dealers to distribute their goods. For instance, proponents of TCE, including Nobel Laureate Oliver Williamson, have asserted that minimum RPM can prevent free riding and ensure that dealers engage in an optimal amount and type of promotion. Invoking these and other possible benefits, the Leegin Court ruled that minimum RPM could produce “redeeming virtues” and thus did not satisfy the normal test for per se condemnation. In so doing, the Court adhered to the rule of reason’s requirement, articulated in Standard Oil Co. v. United States, 221 U.S. 1 (1911), that courts adjust antitrust doctrine when “more accurate economic conceptions” undermine previous decisions.
SAVED BY THE BELL? IS ONLINE, OFF-CAMPUS STUDENT SPEECH PROTECTED BY THE FIRST AMENDMENT?
Schools are a unique and paradoxical environment in the context of First Amendment jurisprudence. The fundamental freedoms of speech and expression are important to the main goals of schools in that they facilitate learning, experience, communication, and expression, all of which contribute to the creation of a marketplace of ideas. Yet, in order to effectively promote these educational goals, schools must maintain order and protect children. Thus, public schools’ regulation of online speech begs the question of what is in students’ best interests and where the line should be drawn between (1) promoting expression and the creation of a school-wide marketplace of ideas and (2) protecting children and maintaining order. At what point are schools protecting children rather than infringing upon their vital fundamental rights? The Supreme Court has stated that students do not enjoy the same level of First Amendment protection as their adult counterparts because of the special characteristics of the school environment, which require schools to act as a custodian responsible for the school children.
LETTING THE SUNSHINE IN: PROTECTING RESIDENTIAL ACCESS TO SOLAR ENERGY IN COMMON INTEREST DEVELOPMENTS
Evan J. Rosenthal
This Note utilizes some of the case law that does exist to demonstrate how states can craft laws that effectively protect the rights of homeowners to install a solar energy system in the face of prohibitive CC&Rs. Part II explores the history and development of commoninterest communities. Part III surveys the various solar access laws that exist at the state level, with a focus on how these laws affect the rights of homeowners living in CIDs. I will also address whether these laws can withstand scrutiny under the Contract Clause. Part IV concerns the resolution of disputes between homeowners and associations. Finally, Part V presents some essential attributes of an effective residential solar access law.
GRAHAM’S APPLICABILITY TO TERM-OF-YEARS SENTENCES AND MANDATE TO PROVIDE A “MEANINGFUL OPPORTUNITY” FOR RELEASE
As a female college student is exiting her car, a masked adult male runs toward her, points a gun, and instructs her to hand over her money and property. He then orders her to get into the passenger seat of her own car, which he drives off in pursuit of another vehicle. After the two cars come to a stop, an armed sixteen-year-old male enters the victim’s vehicle; both males are pointing their guns at the female victim. The sixteen-year-old orders the victim out of the car and continues to hold her at gunpoint while he and his accomplice take turns raping her. They then force her to the trunk and rape her again. The brutality continues as the sixteen-year-old throws the victim onto the ground and, while still holding her at gunpoint, the two males take turns repeatedly raping her. The sixteen-year-old is convicted as an adult of numerous offenses and is sentenced to consecutive terms of imprisonment totaling eighty-nine years. He challenges the constitutionality of his sentence pursuant to Graham v. Florida.