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Law Links - November 2015

Cutting-edge topics at play in new issue of the Buffalo Law Review

The newly published issue of the Buffalo Law Review, the well-respected legal journal of UB School of Law, features several major articles addressing hot-button issues in the law and the larger society.

This is Volume 63, No. 4, of the Law Review, which is one of six student-run law journals produced at the School of Law. The Buffalo Law Review has been published since 1951.

Highlighting the journal is a piece by two professors from the University of California Hastings College of Law – Dorit Rubinstein Reiss and Lois A. Weithorn – about potential legal remedies for the outbreaks of disease that have resulted from the anti-vaccination movement.

Their article, “Responding to the Childhood Vaccination Crisis: Legal Frameworks and Tools in the Context of Parental Vaccine Refusal,” looks at the growing “anti-vax” movement of parents who believe – against all scientific evidence – that vaccinations are harmful to their children  and refuse to allow them.

The authors then look to existing law and ask how to ensure public health in the face of this parental resistance. Specifically, Reiss and Weithorn examine how the government’s police power can be used in the context of protecting public health, and how its parens patriae authority – the government’s responsibility to protect citizens who are unable to protect themselves – might provide for the health of children and other vulnerable members of society.  The use of these legal tools, the article asserts, could increase vaccination levels in the United States and help free society from the burden of preventable diseases.

Other major articles in the current issue:

  • In the area of Constitutional law, a new understanding of the compelling government interest test by Professor Philip Hamburger, a leading Constitutional scholar at Columbia University School of Law. Addressing issues of national security, religious liberty, jury rights and the First Amendment freedom of speech, Hamburger’s article, “The Inversion of Rights and Power,” concludes that the compelling government interest test is deeply dangerous to our society.
  • SUNY Buffalo Law Professor Rebecca Redwood French begins a series of Law Review articles exploring and explaining Buddhist law, a largely overlooked and hugely influential system of laws in the Far East and worldwide. Her article contains both analysis and explanation of Buddhism and Buddhist law, as well as extensive translated excerpts from Buddhist legal texts.
  • Looking at the goal of increasing diversity in higher education, Professor Lisa Pruitt of the University of California Davis School of Law argues that the matrix of socioeconomic diversity has been largely overlooked. Pruitt argues that American society needs members of racial and ethnic minorities, and low-income whites, to rise to positions of leadership. To achieve this goal, she calls for a broader understanding of diversity, one that includes low-income students.