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Showing papers in "Chicago-Kent} Law Review in 2014"


Journal Article
TL;DR: The authors consider the legal, ethical and empirical support for arguments for LGB rights based on immutability and innateness and raise a variety of problem for such arguments in various contexts, in part, through the lens of amicus briefs associated with two recent Supreme Court cases about marriage equality for same-sex couples.
Abstract: A popular and intuitively plausible type of argument for the rights of lesbians, gay men, and bisexuals is based on claims that sexual orientations are inborn and/or unchangeable. Socially and politically, expressing doubts about such arguments for LGB rights is seen by advocates of such rights as tantamount to opposing them. Legally, such arguments intersect with the so-called immutability factor in equal protection jurisprudence. This article considers the legal, ethical and empirical support for arguments for LGB rights based on immutability and innateness. I raise a variety of problem for such arguments in various contexts, in part, through the lens of amicus briefs associated with two recent Supreme Court cases about marriage equality for same-sex couples. My analysis helps explain and contextualize disagreement within the LGBT community about the wisdom and efficacy of such arguments.

12 citations


Journal Article
TL;DR: In this paper, the authors argue that LFCs should be regulated by the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection, the Federal Trade Commission, or both, in order to provide a uniform set of rules that provide protection to consumers while also allowing LFC firms the freedom to provide the funding that consumers have shown they are willing to seek and accept.
Abstract: In the early 1990s, a period of high-risk lending at high interest rates, a new entrant emerged in civil litigation: the Litigation Finance Company (“LFC”). LFCs advance money to plaintiffs involved in contingency fee litigation. The money is provided on a non-recourse basis, meaning the plaintiff repays the LFC only if she obtains money from the lawsuit through a settlement, judgment, or verdict. If the plaintiff does not recover anything, she will not owe the LFC anything. When she does repay the LFC, however, she could end up paying as much as 280% of the amount advanced by the LFC. As one can see, LFCs make a lot of money. It is estimated that as of 2011, the total amount of outstanding advances exceeded $1 billion with $100 million being advanced annually. LFCs, like banks and credit card issuers, loan money to consumers with the expectation of being repaid the amount borrowed plus interest. Unlike banks and credit card issuers, however, LFCs are largely unregulated. The federal government does not regulate LFCs at all, and only Maine, Ohio, and Nebraska have enacted legislation regulating LFCs that operate in their respective states. What LFCs do is controversial, and the academic commentary about them is voluminous. Some commentators argue that LFCs should be abolished. Others say LFCs are the byproduct of willing sellers and willing buyers engaging in market transactions. Yet another group of commentators say LFCs serve a salutary purpose, but should be regulated like other entities that loan money to consumers. It is probably unrealistic to think that LFCs will be abolished, thus the question becomes whether they should be regulated, and if so, by whom. This paper posits that LFCs should be regulated by the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection, the Federal Trade Commission, or both. Federal regulation is necessary in order to provide a uniform set of rules that provide protection to consumers while also allowing LFCs the freedom to provide the funding that consumers have shown they are willing to seek and accept.

8 citations


Journal Article
TL;DR: In this article, the authors proposed to expand the definition of duress to include "situational duress", where a drafting company uses an electronic contract to block consumer access to a product or service.
Abstract: This article explains how the aberrant nature of electronic contracts has unique implications, which contract law should recognize. Companies, taking advantage of these unique implications, may use electronic contracts in an unfair and coercive manner, which is why this article proposes expanding the definition of duress to include “situational duress.” Situational duress would not encompass all electronic contracting scenarios, but would be limited to situations where (1) a drafting company uses an electronic contract to block consumer access to a product or service; (2) the consumer has a “vested interest” in that product or service; and (3) the consumer accepts the terms because she was blocked from the product or service after attempting to reject or decline them. Thus, situational duress would be limited to those situations where consumers are uniquely vulnerable because of the nature of their interest in the product or service. In these situations, the consumer’s action should not be effective as a manifestation of assent and the contract should be void, not voidable.

5 citations



Journal Article
TL;DR: In this paper, the authors consider contextualized programs that aim to increase women's and all consumers' safe borrowing options, provide education regarding those options, and ultimately assist them in escaping cycles of debt and poverty.
Abstract: Payday lending may provide a much-needed safety net for some consumers in need of quick cash for emergencies. However, data suggest that most payday loan borrowers become repeat users caught in a cycle of high-cost debt. Furthermore, empirical evidence indicates consistent overrepresentation of women, including many single mothers, among payday loan borrowers. This takes a toll not only on these women and their families, but also on society as a whole. Indeed, context matters in payday lending debates. It is thus time to think creatively and consider contextualized programs that aim to increase women’s and all consumers’ safe borrowing options, provide education regarding those options, and ultimately assist them in escaping cycles of debt and poverty. This Article seeks to spark the dialogue regarding such contextualized policymaking.

3 citations



Journal Article
TL;DR: The authors examines the ways in which the European Court of Human Rights encourages or discourages intragroup religious diversity when dealing with religious freedom claims and criticizes the Court's degree of attentiveness to internal group diversity by scrutinizing the filters employed to determine whether certain practices "counts" as manifestations of claimants' religion.
Abstract: This Article examines the ways in which one of the most established human rights courts - the European Court of Human Rights - encourages or discourages intragroup religious diversity when dealing with religious freedom claims. In particular, it critically assesses the Court's degree of attentiveness to internal group diversity by scrutinizing the filters employed to determine whether certain practices "counts" as manifestations of claimants' religion. The Article argues that, at times, these filters are based on assumptions about religion and religious groups that impede recognition of internal group diversity. The Article further contends that making these filters more porous to such diversity requires reconsidering implicit understandings of religion and eschewing assumptions of orthodoxy about certain religious groups, especially when these assumptions are formulated in ways that fix and naturalize some religious practices as the defining ones for the entire group.

2 citations









Journal Article
TL;DR: The authors conducted an empirical study of consumer attitudes about interest rates in the state of New Mexico, a state in which high-cost loans such as payday loans and title loans are ubiquitous.
Abstract: In scholarly circles, debates about the benefits and burdens of high-costs lending are prevalent, as are debates about whether to cap interest on certain kinds of consumer loans. Despite this scholarly interest, few scholars actually know what the general public thinks or knows about interest rates on common consumer credit products. This article tries to close this gap through an empirical study of consumer attitudes about interest rates in the state of New Mexico, a state in which high-cost loans such as payday loans and title loans are ubiquitous. Our data show that the general public overwhelmingly supports interest rate caps both in general and for certain types of loans. We also found that many consumers are unaware that there are no interest rate caps on many forms of consumer loans. These data could be useful in explaining why consumers do not do more to change the law on interest rate caps.