LAUGHING YOUR WAY TO ACADEMIC SUCCESS: CAN LAUGHTER IMPACT LEARNING AND WELL-BEING IN THE LAW SCHOOL CLASSROOM AND ARE THERE CROSS-CULTURAL DIFFERENCES? BY DIANA J. SIMON
Many surveys of law students show that they are unhappy and can suffer from depression, anxiety, and even substance abuse at unusually high rates. While what transpires in their classrooms is only a small piece of the puzzle that forms a law student’s psychological well-being, the issue is whether laughter in the classroom can improve both learning and well-being and, if so, whether cross-cultural differences exist that might make the use of humor with international students more challenging. After briefly examining the findings about the mental health of law students, this article reviews: (1) research on whether humor in the classroom can improve learning; (2) research on whether humor in the classroom can decrease student anxiety; (3) research on whether there are gender differences associated with the use of humor; and (4) research on whether there are cross-cultural differences in the perception and effectiveness of humor.
PROTECTING VOTING RIGHTS AFTER 2020: HOW STATE LEGISLATURES SHOULD RESPOND TO RESTRICTIVE NEW TRENDS IN ELECTION JURISPRUDENCE BY JOSHUA PERRY & WILLIAM TONG
Policymakers should not be distracted by the courts’ near-universal rejection of legal challenges to President Joe Biden’s clear electoral college and popular vote victory. Jurisprudential trends emerging from 2020’s unprecedented wave of election-related litigation pose a threat to voting rights going forward. This essay examines three of those trends: The unjustified extension of the Purcell principle to block voting protections; the growing judicial embrace of the state legislative supremacy doctrine; and the apparent willingness of some judges to throw out lawfully-cast votes. Going forward, those trends will make it more difficult to protect voting rights through the court-imposed remedies and administrative interventions that helped to promote high voter turnout in 2020. This essay argues that state legislatures should respond quickly by enacting new statutory voting rights protections.
For decades Connecticut has made efforts to bridge racial gaps within the public-school system to little avail. Following alterations to the state constitution and successful judgments in lawsuits seeking to enforce students’ rights to an equal education, the state has failed to make noticeable alternations to the racial composition of school communities within the state. Education in urban areas has a much different appearance and result than public education in suburban communities. We need to re-envision our state’s approach to public education in Connecticut, so that our students may truly receive equal benefit of schooling as the state constitution proscribes.
This article examines current efforts to desegregate public schools in New Haven County, and argues that Connecticut public schools cannot meaningfully be desegregated without first addressing pervasive residential segregation. New Haven County has alarmingly exclusionary zoning policies making it difficult for residents to move between communities and preventing changes to the composition and character of communities. An examination of differently situated towns and cities within New Haven County reveals the need for state-wide zoning reform or shift towards regionalized public schools on a wider-scale to lessen the achievement gap within the state.
Feminist Perspectives on Bostock v. Clayton County by Ann C. McGinley, Nicole Buonocore Porter, Danielle Weatherby, Ryan H. Nelson, Pamela Wilkins, and Catherine Jean Archibald
This jointly-authored essay is a conversation about the Supreme Court’s recent and groundbreaking decision (Bostock v. Clayton County) that held that discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity is discrimination based on sex, and therefore prohibited by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. While many scholars are writing about this case, we are doing something unique. We are analyzing this decision from feminist perspectives. We are the editors and four of the authors of a book recently published by Cambridge University Press: Feminist Judgments: Rewritten Employment Discrimination Opinions. This book contains fifteen Supreme Court and Courts of Appeals employment discrimination cases that have been rewritten using feminist perspectives, along with commentaries for each of the rewritten opinions. Two of those rewritten opinions are Courts of Appeals cases involving gender identity (Etsitty v. Utah Transit Authority) and sexual orientation (Hively v. Ivy Tech Community College). Because the book was already in production when Bostock was decided, we were unable to incorporate this momentous case into our book.
And yet, given our experiences rewriting and editing opinions from feminist perspectives, we have something to say about Bostock and its significance for LGBTQ+ employment cases and employment discrimination law more broadly. Accordingly, we wrote this essay, which has three goals: first, to introduce our book; second, to analyze the Bostock case and its effect on employment discrimination law as it relates to sexual orientation and gender identity; and third, to discuss more broadly the effect of Bostock on employment discrimination jurisprudence through a feminist lens. Throughout the essay, we are attempting to answer the question of whether Bostock is a feminist opinion. Our answers are varied and even uncertain; but ultimately, we conclude that even though we, as feminists, might have written it differently, the LGBTQ+ community deserves to celebrate this momentous victory.
The COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare not only the social and racial inequities in society, but also the pedagogical and access to justice inequities embedded in the traditional legal curriculum. The need to re-envision the future of legal education existed well before the current pandemic, spurred by the shifting nature of legal practice as well as demographic and technological change. This article examines the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on legal education, and posits that the combined forces of the pandemic, social justice awareness and technological disruption will forever transform the future of both legal education and practice.