Inequality Inquiry

Shorter Form Content from the Minnesota Journal of Law & Inequality


Will Minnesota’s New Automatic Expungement Laws Have an Effect on Federal Sentences?

February 14, 2024

By Britane Hubbard* On January 1, 2025, Minnesota’s new automatic expungement statutes will go into effect.[1] Under this new law, the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension will identify eligible people and grant them expungement relief if they qualify.[2] Offenses eligible for expungement range from petty misdemeanors to felonies.[3] The possibility of a new wave of expungements…

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The Criminalization of Pregnancy: Etowah County, Alabama Should Raise Alarms for Women

January 12, 2024

By: Diana Kawka* In Etowah County, Alabama, being pregnant places women at risk of severe punishment for what would otherwise be minor offenses, receiving wildly disparate treatment than their male counterparts.[2] Alabama leads the nation in pregnancy criminalization, with Etowah County disproportionately seeking to imprison and prosecute mothers and pregnant women.[3] Pregnancy criminalization is defined…

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Oregon’s Yamhill County v. Real Property Commonly Known as 11475 NW Pike Road and The Cracks Forming in the Legal Foundation of Civil Forfeiture Laws

December 27, 2023

By: Christian Purnell*   In March of 2018, authorities in Yamhill County, Oregon arrested Cheryl Sublet, a 61-year-old grandmother and military veteran, on charges of possession and delivery of narcotics.[1] Her relapse and arrest represented a tragic turn of events for Sublet who had long battled chemical dependency and PTSD but who had had maintained…

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Level Setting Web Accessibility Expectations

December 13, 2023

The question of whether a business must make its website accessible or not can be answered, like most legal questions, with “it depends.” Nonetheless, businesses who fail to make their website accessible are at risk for suit alleging an ADA Title III violation.

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Birthright Citizenship: An Unqualified Right?

October 31, 2023

By: Elise Skarda* The concept of birthright citizenship has been mentioned in the news frequently recently. Many conservative presidential candidates are calling for an end to birthright citizenship,[1] though it is an unqualified constitutional right. So what is birthright citizenship, where does it come from, and why is it unconstitutional to qualify it? Birthright citizenship…

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Are Infant Safe Haven Laws Fulfilling their Intended Purpose?

October 26, 2023

By: Alexandra Schrader-Dobris*   In the wake of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, infant safe haven laws are put to the test as more women give birth because of decreased abortion access.[1] During the Dobbs oral argument Justice Barrett asked whether safe haven laws were sufficient alternatives to abortion.[2] The laws allow parents to…

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Prescribing “Justice”? How the Court’s Stay in Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine Demonstrates the Dangerous Growth of Policy-Driven Adjudication in Federal Courts

May 16, 2023

By Evelyn Doran* In August 2022, the Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine (AHM) filed its articles of incorporation in Amarillo, Texas.[1] Three months later, it filed a complaint in the District Court for the Northern District of Texas, the federal district court that serves Amarillo and the surrounding region.[2] In this complaint, it alleged that the…

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Examining the Constitutionality of Targeted Residential Protest Bans

May 12, 2023

By Alexandra Schrader-Dobris Introduction: Minnesota cities are steadily banning targeted residential protests in response to several Black Lives Matter demonstrations following George Floyd’s death in 2020.[1] That summer, over one hundred Black Lives Matter (BLM) protesters picketed outside Minneapolis Police Union President Bob Kroll’s house, calling for his resignation as a result of his failure…

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“Reasonable Efforts” Inequities in Minnesota Child Welfare Removals

By Luke Srodulski When Minnesota Governor Tim Walz signed House File 4065 into law on June 2, 2022, much of the media coverage surrounded provisions legalizing THC-infused edibles and beverages, and whether Republican state lawmakers had actually intended to pass them.[1] Far less notable to most observers were reforms to child welfare law.[2] These amendments…

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Expungement: The Missing Federal Piece

May 10, 2023

While states have created their own expungement laws, nothing similar exists under federal law. In this blog post, staff member Diana Kawka explores federal expungement law and offers solutions to solve this gap.

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Breonna Taylor is Not Forgotten: Department of Justice Finds Civil Rights Violations by the Louisville Metro Police Department and the Louisville/Jefferson County Metro Government

May 9, 2023

By Alejandrea Brown* Police violence and misconduct against Black people in America is not a new phenomenon. Studies have shown that Black people are 3.23 times more likely than White people to be killed by the police.[1] The lack of accountability concerning police misconduct and violence against the Black community is also not new trend.[2] …

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Minnesota Crisis Pregnancy Centers and The Positive Pregnancies Bill

By Lizzy Miller* Introduction In 2022, the federal constitutional right to abortion previously found in Roe v. Wade was overturned by Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.[1] Crucially, Dobbs found that “the  state has an ‘important and legitimate interest’ in protecting fetuses that it does not have in preventing contraception.”[2] While abortion remains constitutionally protected…

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The Clash Between LGBTQ Anti-Discrimination Law and Freedom of Speech in 303 Creative v. Elenis: Which Will Take the Cake?

April 2, 2023

By Elizabeth Wellhausen* In December 2022, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments for 303 Creative v. Elenis, a case that is basically a “redo” of Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission.[1] In Masterpiece, a baker refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple because same-sex marriage conflicted with his religious views.[2] The…

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