UF Law faculty regularly share their expertise on various public policy issues with national and international media. Below is a selection of opinion pieces, articles, quotes, and other media related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
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The indispensable website thesaurus.com (which just helped me replace the word essential with indispensable) offers the following synonyms for the word “sucker”: chump, dupe, fool, gull, patsy, sap, stooge. In turn, the entry for “patsy” includes (among others): doormat, sitting duck, pushover, sap, schmuck, and easy mark.
Until now, I have not felt that I could write about the coronavirus and the accelerating health emergency that has already changed day-to-day life for many Americans (and even more people around the world). When I considered devoting a full column to the topic, I quickly realized that I simply did not want to do so. Why did I feel that way, and why did I change my mind today?
Like many institutions, the University of Florida is now an online university. We have a shock that will have significant implications for the future of higher education. COVID-19 is forcing universities to move more rapidly in their provision of online education. While some classes and programs already have been moved online, faculties across fields typically have been resistant to online teaching. This is especially true in law.
The political leadership behind the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was focused on using tax reform to bolster economic growth. But in enacting measures meant to make profitable companies even more profitable in the interest of increasing jobs, productivity, and investment, lawmakers may have weakened tax policy tools that help mitigate the effects of economic downturns. For one, by increasing the federal deficit, the TCJA limited the government’s fiscal policy levers. More broadly, in betting the bank on growth, the law may have made bankruptcy and losses more costly.
The crossover punk/pop band The Offspring’s 2008 song “Stuff is Messed Up” (which uses different words for “stuff” and “messed” in the refrain) includes these memorably sarcastic lines:
Now thank God for the media
For saving the day,
Putting it all into perspective in a responsible way.
By D. Daniel Sokol and Anindya Ghose
The World Health Organization (WHO) has urged countries to trace and track every COVID 19 case. Tracking the spread of the virus is essential to effective mitigation of this health pandemic. During the ongoing worldwide healthcare crisis, one of the data-driven tools that has been shown to be effective in curbing the spread of this virus, is active contact tracing and monitoring of people who have come into contact with any suspected COVID 19 patient. Finding all the people who are infected and the people they have been in contact with to try to bring that infection chain to a standstill is imperative in mitigating the impact of this disease and the scale of this pandemic. Successful examples of these data-driven and technology enabled predictive practices have been shown in Taiwan, China, Singapore, Israel, and South Korea. Business data analytics have a critical role to play in this fight.
In these unprecedented times of stress, people understandably yearn for decisive actions by their leaders to solve problems. The danger in all such situations, however, is that the leaders will take advantage of public panic and engage in actions that undermine—or even end—democracy. Presidents may be all too tempted to seize such moments to amass power.
Today, I am going to say something good about the Trump Administration. There is no need to reach for the smelling salts, however, because I readily acknowledge that the good thing that they are doing — throwing money at the economy when that is exactly what is called for — is entirely cynical and poorly thought out. But credit is due for breaking with orthodoxy, especially their own particularly pernicious orthodoxy about the national debt.
As of this moment (late Monday morning), there is still no deal on an economic stimulus/bailout bill in the U.S. Senate. Whenever a deal goes through, the result will be deeply flawed and almost certainly inadequate to the moment. That means that we will go through this again, probably very soon. What should senators who mean to do good (that is, not Republicans) do in the current situation to minimize the damage and maximize the positive impact?
It is absolutely essential that Congress pass a massive economic rescue package, as soon as possible. Even so, the negotiations over the stimulus bill ground to a halt over the weekend when Democrats refused to support a Republican-written proposal that would shovel huge amounts of unrestricted money into corporate coffers while underfunding emergency and medical needs, offering inadequate income supports for laid-off workers, and lowballing other essential spending.
The U.S. Senate has now unanimously (!) passed the $2 trillion dollar stimulus bill that had been temporarily delayed while Democrats tried to reduce what we might as well call the “corruption premium” that Republicans had built into their initial proposal. I continue to believe that, even though this is the “the largest fiscal stimulus package in modern American history” (as The New York Times insists on putting it, even though that claim is acontextual and means nothing), much more will soon be needed.
Federal and state lawmakers provide large fiscal relief packages for taxpayers in times of economic crisis, such as that resulting from the coronavirus pandemic. The U.S. Senate has passed radical measures to put cash in the pockets of taxpayers and businesses, including deferring 2019 return filings, offering cash payments, loans, and credits to individuals and businesses, and delaying payment of the employer payroll tax.
Trying to keep our corner of society running as well as possible under scary circumstances, professors in colleges and universities nationwide have responded to the global pandemic by changing our grading systems for (what we hope will only need to be) the current semester. The most cynical way to describe such changes is that grading is now “easier,” which is freaking out the guardians of nerd machismo in the academy.
In a world that is stranger than anything we ever could have expected to experience, we are now so regularly shocked that it actually becomes shocking when something still shocks us.
On March 18, Republican anti-Trump activist George Conway wrote: “There Is No New Trump.” Here is the first paragraph:
“If you think you’ve been hearing a different President Trump this week — more accepting of the reality of the coronavirus pandemic — don’t be fooled. The new Trump is the same as the old Trump. He can’t help it. He’s incapable of taking responsibility for his role in this crisis — and thus incapable of leading us out of it.”
By D. Daniel Sokol and Anindya Ghose
What if the best tool to fight the coronavirus right now is not a vaccine—likely at least a year away—but a mobile phone? Smart mobile phones, app developers, and governments around the world can help deliver timely and accurate public health information and aid rigorous contact tracing to limit the spread of coronavirus.
The coronavirus pandemic has economies cratering. Healthcare systems are unable to ensure adequate support for caregivers and the ill; governments don’t know how to protect their citizens’ physical and economic welfare, with several heads of state under quarantine; and companies worldwide are under extreme strain. And yet the OECD has said that work on its project to address the tax challenges of digitalization will continue full steam ahead.
Social media causes so many problems. It sucks away our time. It encourages us to compare ourselves to others. It strips us and our kids of privacy and sometimes safety.
But social media also has power. It has the power to connect us. It has the power to inform us. During a time when we must separate from our physical networks, it offers us a powerful virtual community. Our kids could benefit from online connectivity right now as well.
As most people are aware, Congress managed to pass an economic disaster relief bill, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which Donald Trump signed on March 27. I supported that bill, even though it provides far too much opportunity for corruption. Actually, it was perversely because of the inherent corruption in the bill that it could be passed, because without the opportunity for the already comfortable to wet their beaks, Republicans would not have allowed anything to move forward.
The world is facing a medical emergency in the form of the rapid spread of a new virus, COVID-19, for which there is no known effective treatment and no preventive vaccine.
Without minimizing the need for haste or the significance of the threat, it is still important to remain aware of the risks inherent in rushing to treat patients with anything that might work and simultaneously conducting the research necessary to identify safety and effective interventions.
A little more than a year ago, I published “Is the Rule of Law More Important Than Breathing?” (We also republished it as a “Dorf on Law Classic” in December.) In that column, I posed and considered an excruciatingly difficult conundrum: If we could solve only one big problem, would we spend the immediate future fighting climate change or saving constitutional democracy?
(RNS) — The ingenuity and adaptability of faith communities often go unreported. It’s been gratifying over the last many weeks to read story after story about the way people of faith have reorganized their practices and the very structure of their communities in response to COVID-19. This resilience has brought me a measure of comfort during this crisis.
This silver lining, however, is attended by quite a cloud. The past weeks have laid bare the more frustrating impulses associated with religion: congregations that have refused to suspend services; superstitious and disastrous thinking that COVID-19 can be conquered by prayer alone, without scientific and public health interventions; and some governments’ insistence on incarcerating religious prisoners of conscience, even when the prerogatives of public health demand their release.
On Saturday, March 28, 2020, President Donald Trump floated the possibility of issuing a “quarantine” order for the states of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut because of their numerous COVID-19 cases. Later that day, Trump backtracked and declared that a quarantine order would “not be necessary.” While quarantines can differ in type and scope, they generally involve restricting the movement of those exposed or potentially exposed to an infectious disease during its period of communicability.
The U.S. economy has lost at least 22 million jobs over the past month, with the unemployment rate headed to Great Depression-level heights. State and local governments desperately need infusions of funds from the federal government, and small businesses and the self-employed are weeks away from financial disaster.
As a Baby Boomer, I am one of the tens of millions of direct beneficiaries of our parents’ and grandparents’ herculean efforts to defeat Nazi Germany and the other Axis powers. Never once have I thought to myself: “You know, that was too expensive; and I wish they hadn’t done that by borrowing so much money.” Maybe I am not in the loop, but I have never heard anyone else even hint that fighting WWII was an unfair burden on the generations that followed.
In April 2020, Dr. Robin Armstrong, medical director of the Resort, a nursing home in Texas City, Texas, reported “signs of improvement” after he gave hydroxychloroquine, a drug approved by the FDA to treat malaria, to 39 of his nursing home patients who were diagnosed with COVID-19.
Today’s topic is political opportunism. Are politicians merely using the coronavirus pandemic to mount their hobbyhorses, no matter their relevance (or not) to the real problems we face?
By Jon Mills
After the pandemic, everything will eventually return to normal. But our privacy may never be the same.
Health officials generally agree that to fully open society, three things are required: treating, testing and tracking. Everyone understands the need for treatment and testing. The third component, tracking, is less understood.
Children may be processing the disruptions in their lives right now in ways the adults around them do not expect: acting out, regressing, retreating or even seeming surprisingly content. Parents need to know that all of this is normal, experts say, and there are some things we can do to help.
Infectious disease has always been one of the military’s greatest threats. By its own estimates, the U.S. Army lost almost as many soldiers from the 1918 flu as died on the battlefields of the first World War.
Troops are at risk during an outbreak due to the tight quarters in which they live and work. It is therefore not surprising that all branches of the service – Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force and Coast Guard – have been hit hard by COVID-19. The military has also played an important role in responding to the virus, from evacuating State Department officials from Wuhan in January to its current role building and staffing civilian field hospitals and augmenting civilian research teams.
Having witnessed decades of shocking cynicism on the part of Republicans, I sometimes think that I can no longer be shocked when they become even more cynical. Senator Mitch McConnell’s decision to label federal aid to states and cities “blue-state bailouts,” however, took cynicism to a new level.
Two weeks ago, I wrote here on Dorf on Law that progressives are most definitely not wrongly exploiting the current economic crisis to, as the editors of The Washington Post put it, “use emergency legislation intended to rescue the economy as a vehicle to achieve long-sought progressive goals.” I tried to contrast two types of responses to a crisis: what one could call the “exploitation” move by advocates who push their unrelated policy agendas, as opposed to the “now more than ever move” by advocates who make the case that things that they have always favored have now become even more important due to the crisis.
Will Republicans continue to block federal disaster relief to America’s states and cities? It makes no sense, but having chosen to frame it as a partisan battle, Donald Trump and his enablers appear determined to do nothing to stop a completely avoidable crisis in the states. Indeed, they seem positively eager to blunder into a mistake that will make our existing public health and economic situations even more catastrophic.
Mitch McConnell announced earlier this month that he, Donald Trump, and their Republican enablers will “take a pause” before moving forward on any further economic relief bills. And why not? Democrats capitulated to McConnell’s insistence that the bills that have been passed thus far leave out states and cities, which desperately need fiscal relief. Meanwhile, Lindsey Graham has said that extending unemployment benefits will happen “over our dead bodies.”
A bit more than a month ago, I published a Dorf on Law column under the title: “Why Are Some Economists So Awful Right Now?” I have now added “Part 1” to that title, and today’s column is an addendum to my discussion there.
For the last half of spring semester 2020, law schools all over the country were forced to change their method of instruction, delivery of final exams, and (in many cases) grading practices because of the demands for physical isolation following the outbreak of Covid-19. Now that the semester is over, there is a further round of disruption as many states have delayed or even cancelled their bar exams, some have granted graduates diploma privileges, while others bravely go ahead in the face of a possibility that they will have to cancel at the last minute because of ever-rising rates of infection.
This Special Alert for Powell on Real Property looks at governmental measures, enacted on an emergency basis, regarding real property during the COVID-19 pandemic — especially moratoria on residential evictions and foreclosures. The Alert uses examples of COVID-19 emergency measures by state governments as well as examples of emergency measures by the federal government. It anticipates ongoing changes to such measures as the COVID-19 situation evolves, suggesting that we not wait until the governmental measures abate before considering their impact and implications. The current stream of property-related COVID-19 litigation promises to become a flood. Litigators are relying on provisions of federal and state constitutions to challenge the emergency measures on behalf of landlords, lenders, and business owners. The Alert identifies several key U.S. Supreme Court precedents that will almost certainly form part of the judicial response to those challenges. Those cases, discussed in the Alert, provide the foundation for judicial consideration of the constitutional legitimacy of eviction and foreclosure moratoria.
In Tuesday’s post I suggested that we take the opportunity of dramatic, unexpected, and unwanted change delivered to legal education by the arrival of the Covid-19 virus and the need to rapidly revise decades, if not centuries, of conventions regarding grading and ranking that are tailored to the needs of a majority culture representative of the Harvard Law School Class of 1880 for whom it was created.
I also suggested that these historic grading conventions encouraged the persistent lack of diversity in our profession.
Given that the coronavirus pandemic has in no way ended — indeed, cases are rising in many U.S. states, even during the time when they should be falling — some people are understandably worried that the ongoing mass protests against racist police violence have possibly contributed to the spread of the virus. I have the advantage of being able to cross the street when the rare pedestrian comes into view during my sanity-preserving walks, but I still want to return to something like normal. I am concerned any time I see lack of social distancing.
By Andrew Hammond, Ariel Jurow Kleiman, and Gabriel Scheffler
The COVID-19 pandemic has delivered an unprecedented shock to the United States and the world. It is unclear precisely how long the twin crises, epidemiological and economic, will last. And it is difficult to gauge the extent and direction of the changes in American life these crises will cause. Nonetheless, it is beyond dispute that the COVID-19 pandemic is putting significant strain on both the ability of Americans to meet basic needs and our government’s capacity to assist them. Federal, state, and local government have responded in various ways to deploy existing safety net programs like Medicaid, SNAP (food stamps), tax credits, and unemployment insurance to meet the surge in need. At this early stage of the crisis, it is worth a) identifying the ways in which the pandemic feeds on and exacerbates both racial and economic inequality in America, b) analyzing the government response in detail, c) considering which changes should outlast the current crisis, and d) how government, in the future, should build social welfare programs that are better suited to meet the needs of all Americans in the coming years. This Essay tries to do these four things in a way that is cogent and useful to legal and lay audiences alike.
This is the third of three posts about finding opportunities in the changes we are required to make in legal education because of the rapid spread of Covid-19. The last two focused on grading and employment, this one is about teaching.
As I write these words, the Trump White House and Republicans in the Senate are holding America hostage to an economic orthodoxy that they simultaneously misunderstand and misapply. Tens of millions of people are anxiously waiting to find out whether they will be able to pay for food and shelter next week and next month, but Republicans have decided to punish them lest Americans become lazy slobs.
Watching Republican politicians try to talk about economics is a combination of hilarious and terrifying. With few exceptions, they are mouthing talking points that they do not understand, hoping to sound intelligent by intoning phrases like “incentivizing people not to work,” “fiscally irresponsible borrowing,” or “inefficient allocation of resources.” Their only true skill is figuring out how to dodge followup questions from reporters.
Of all the pressing issues facing the world in the summer of 2020, it might not appear as if establishing a code of ethics for the ethical use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology could be put at the same level as combatting Covid-19 or addressing racism. But a team of researchers at the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk at the University Cambridge (the Cambridge Team) trace the harm caused by these events directly to the increased use of AI assisted decision making.
As the COVID-19 virus continues to rage out of control in the United States, there are thousands of ongoing clinical trials seeking to develop even a single effective treatment or vaccine. But the only access to the products being tested is by enrolling in a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) supervised clinical trial. And inclusion in a clinical trial has always been by invitation only. This paper addresses a long ignored injustice: on the thirtieth anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) people living with disabilities have found that they are rarely on the list.
Read more here.
“They are limited in what they can disclose under Florida Law, unless it is “necessary to public health.” So someone, somewhere is making the judgement call that as of now, they can’t release more info because the privacy interests outweigh public health,” said Jennifer Bard, a professor at the University of Florida’s Levin College of Law.
A state of emergency issued by Gov. Ron DeSantis bestowed Florida cities and counties with authority to take sweeping measures. Most have chosen not to act on that new power, said Jennifer Bard, a visiting professor of public health law at the University of Florida College of Law.
“There are no such things as ‘stay home’ orders,” Bard said. “There are terms and specifics of what you can and cannot do.”
Legal experts in the state say the issue isn’t clear-cut. Michael Wolf, a University of Florida law professor and scholar in local government, said DeSantis could argue he used police powers to ensure the welfare of state residents, which is outlined in the constitution. However, Cuomo could argue the order is discriminatory to residents of other states and forbidden by the constitution.
But with known community spread, inadequate testing and cases involving people who don’t display symptoms, University of Florida law professor Kenneth Nunn said first responders will never really know everyone who has the virus.
“So I don’t see what the benefit of releasing that information is now when we can assume that most of the people who you come into contact with, have come in contact with the virus in one way or the other,” he said.
Political conspiracy theories appear even in the analog propaganda of decades past. Mark Fenster, the author of Conspiracy Theories: Secrecy and Power in American Culture, describes them as a “populist theory of power” serving an important communication function: helping unite the audience (“the people”) against an imagined secretive, powerful elite. So when state media in China, for example, create or spread these theories, the elite puppet master is the United States, a geopolitical rival. By exposing the villainy of its adversary, the Chinese Communist Party presents itself as a defender of its people.
David Hasen, a professor at the University of Florida Law School who specializes in federal income tax law, tells TIME that the IRS has not yet indicated how long people have to submit their direct deposit information into Get My Payment before they’re sent a paper check instead.
How will benefit recipients receive their payment? The government will use the same information it uses to normally deliver benefits, David Hasen, a professor at the University of Florida Law School who specializes in federal income tax law, tells TIME in an email. For people on Social Security, Railroad Retirement or SSDI, the IRS will use the information provided on Form SSA-1099 and Form RRB-1099 to send payments.
Even in firms where the state is not the dominant shareholder, the Chinese party-state still has a significant amount of influence. As scholars Curtis J. Milhaupt and Wentong Zheng have highlighted, the boundary between state and private ownership of enterprise is often blurred in contemporary China. One reason for this is the role of the Communist Party in China’s economic life. Each organization with more than three Communist Party members must form a Party committee within the organisation, which in many cases has a significant influence over corporate decision making. This requirement extends not only to state-owned enterprises, but also to private companies and foreign-owned firms.
“I do predict an increased demand for legal services in the state … just as we recover from the shift in our economy,” Laura Ann Rosenbury, dean of the University of Florida Levin College of Law and one of the letter’s authors, told the Florida Record.
The law school deans emphasized that new attorneys traditionally serve in important roles in government agencies and public-interest groups and that they would provide key services to businesses and individuals as they get back on their feet in the coronavirus aftermath.
In the letter, the deans offered the use of their campuses and classrooms for a more decentralized administration of the bar exam, with possible dates at the end of July and in September. The deans see this as a way to avoid students jammed at a single location, which would create health concerns and difficulties to maintain social distancing.
Having bar exams during both months was just one of the options the deans proposed.
“I don’t think we necessarily ranked the five options we set forth,” Rosenbury said. “We just wanted to present the court with multiple possibilities for bar exams to continue even amidst the covid pandemic.”
Containing the Coronavirus will take some high-tech solutions according to law professor and privacy expert Jon Mills, Dean Emeritus at Florida Law School.
Apple and Google are working together to develop a voluntary app that traces contacts and notifies users if they were recently near someone diagnosed with COVID-19.
“Contact tracing is absolutely necessary, no matter how we do it,” said Mills.
There are legitimate concerns about privacy in some of the contact-tracing methods being considered to prevent the spread of coronavirus, experts say. However, “the fear of insertion of tracking chips and other things like that into our bodies has been a longstanding bogeyman,” said Mark Fenster, a law professor at the University of Florida who has written extensively about conspiracy theories. “There is a lot of tracking that goes on, but the suggestion that it’s being used in this manner and this way seems absurd.”
Mark Fenster, a University of Florida law professor, went further, calling the votes taken in the Wednesday meeting invalid.
Gov. Ron DeSantis has relaxed some requirements of the Sunshine Law during the coronavirus crisis, Fenster said in an email, “But holding a meeting with insufficient notice, only three members present and no livestream or means for the public to comment goes beyond the councilors’ authority, and the meeting’s actions are invalid.”
Darren Hutchinson, a law professor who studies the law’s impact on race and gender, thinks white Americans can learn a thing or two about racism from the pandemic. How the fear and uncertainty they are feeling now is not unlike what African Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans and others feel all the time.
“Everyone’s vulnerable. In terms of geography, it’s all over the country. Every age group potentially can be affected. It’s across gender. And to the extent that structural racism impacts people along all of those axes, this is a moment where it’s really going to stand out. In terms of the fear that a lot of people, generally, have right now — and I know it’s higher among people of color — but this is the fear and anxiety that people of color experience on a daily basis. The virus is not only showing us how pervasive inequality is, it’s also giving us a moment to think about how living daily in that structural racism creates this anxiety.”
Using non-coercive means to maintain order and safety in the community is a laudable goal for law enforcement, said Kenneth Nunn, a professor of criminal law and procedure at the University of Florida. But Chronister’s visit also could give the appearance he’s not impartial, Nunn said.
“That gives me cause for concern, that there’s some degree of special treatment being dished out that would run contrary to the ethical position the sheriff should be taking,” Nunn said. “It boils down to whether you would treat other people the same way and whether that appearance would suggest there’s some degree of favoritism.”
The conspiracy theory is easier to believe, though, since we are more likely to be familiar with action movie plots than functional polybasic cleavage sites. “The elements of conspiracy theories are also elements of other genres like mysteries and thrillers or soap opera,” said Mark Fenster, professor of law at UF and author of Conspiracy Theories: Secrecy and Power in American Culture.
The tax breaks, enacted in March, are a crucial piece of the government’s attempt to prop up businesses during the coronavirus pandemic, alongside Federal Reserve lending and the Small Business Administration’s loan-forgiveness program.
“They’re tinkering with the levers they have to get cash into the pockets of businesses, with the exception of just outright handing cash to them,” said David Hasen, who teaches tax law at the University of Florida.
Undocumented workers like M.J. are excluded from the $2 trillion federal coronavirus relief package passed on March 25 as they need a social security number to receive a stimulus check. M.J. also didn’t receive the $500 bonus given for dependent children under 17, for her son.
“They very specifically excluded people related to undocumented immigrants from receiving that check,” said Anastacia Greene, an immigration clinical fellow at UF Levin College of Law.
The political divisions among Americans over the severity of the Covid-19 crisis—with some even claiming that the pandemic is a hoax—could give rise to workers who refuse to wear masks in symbolic protest. While that wouldn’t matter in the private sector, government workers have First Amendment rights if they’re speaking as citizens about matters of public concern.
But government employers have the authority to enforce regulations on their employees’ conduct designed to protect health, safety, and welfare of the public, said Clay Calvert, director of the Marion B. Brechner First Amendment Project at the University of Florida.
A public employer’s ability to enforce a safety rule that’s generally applicable to its workers would trump an individual worker’s free speech rights, Calvert said.
Though tracking technology has been used to combat the coronavirus — in Singapore, China and South Korea, for example — human-rights groups have privacy concerns. But any worries about widespread microchipping don’t reflect what’s actually happening.
“The fear of insertion of tracking chips and other things like that into our bodies has been a longstanding bogeyman for theorists,” said Mark Fenster, a University of Florida law professor who has written extensively about conspiracy theorists and spoke to PolitiFact for another microchipping fact-check. “There is a lot of tracking that goes on, but the suggestion that it’s being used in this manner and this way seems absurd. This comes from the stream of conspiracy theories of the last 50 years. It has nothing to do with science and everything to do with conspiracy theories.”
Fox lawyers ridicule that “astounding claim,” saying in a brief filed Tuesday that even if the group is right about Fox News hosts and guests deceiving viewers on the dangers of the virus, “the Constitution protects Fox’s speech as a matter of law.”
Agreeing with Fox is Clay Calvert, a First Amendment expert and University of Florida law school professor.
Even from 3,000 miles away, Calvert at home in Gainesville sees flaws in the lawsuit by the Washington League for Increased Transparency and Ethics.
But if the goal was to throw another coronavirus lifeline to corporations, Congress “probably could have done a little better job in terms of targeting,” said David Hasen, a University of Florida professor of tax law.
“The government could have just as easily handed out cash,” Hasen added. “It might have been more effective to do it that way from an economic perspective. But there’s long been an aversion to the idea that governments give handouts. This is economically identical, but the optics are better for the government.”
But even without the pandemic and the location, the legacy of these kinds of confrontations looms large, according to Professor Katheryn Russell-Brown, director of the Center for the Study of Race and Race Relations at the University of Florida’s Levin College of Law.
“It was particularly a punch in the gut for a lot of people,” Professor Russell-Brown said. “It ties into and taps into a long history of white women, in particular, falsely accusing black men of crimes that leads to great harm.”
Professor Russell-Brown is the author of “The Color of Crime,” in which she explores the phenomenon of the “racial hoax” in which people fabricate crimes perpetrated by people of another race.
“This is deeply offensive,” she said. “Particularly as we are in a climate writ large of the expendability of black and brown lives in the midst of Covid-19.”
Clay Calvert, a law professor at the University of Florida and director of the Marion B. Brechner First Amendment Project, told Business Insider that Trump has no legal authority under his executive-branch powers to unilaterally shut down a social-media platform “simply because he disagrees with its policies for how it treats and now fact-checks his tweets.”
“We have the First Amendment to protect the speech of private entities — Twitter being one of them — and individuals from government censorship, whether the censorship emanates from the legislative, executive, or judicial branch,” Calvert added.
Criminal Law Section Chair Jennifer Zedalis, a University of Florida law professor, gives the chief justice high marks for his willingness to experiment.
“We have to think outside the box, we can’t just hunker down,” she said. “Absolutely I give him credit.”
But Zedalis is also concerned about a juror’s ability to gauge witness demeanor, or how a court will gauge a juror’s proficiency with videoconferencing platforms.
“When you go to pick a jury, I don’t usually look for their technology qualifications,” she said.
“The fear of insertion of tracking chips and other things like that into our bodies has been a longstanding bogeyman for theorists,” Mark Fenster, a University of Florida law professor, told PolitiFact.
“There is a lot of tracking that goes on, but the suggestion that it’s being used in this manner and this way seems absurd,” he continued.
Platform businesses are transforming how businesses operate. From food delivery to retail, social media, lodging, rideshare, logistics, and medicines (among others), platforms disrupt existing business models significantly and rearrange market structures. In a series of podcasts, the hosts, Professor Viswanath Pingali, IIMA and Professor Daniel Sokol, University of Florida, speak to leading academics, government officials, and industry leaders on chronicling this disruption and its competitive effects.
IIMA Prof. Viswanath Pingali and Prof. Daniel Sokol, University of Florida interacted with Mr. Manish Gupta, CEO, Indegene on “how technology is redesigning business models of healthcare companies, and how entrepreneurs can survive in the world filled with uncertainty.”
Coronavirus economic impact stimulus checks started making their way to Americans earlier this month, and as it turns out, even the deceased are getting paid.
But now, the U.S. Treasury wants that money back.
To learn more, KCBS Radio news anchors Jeff Bell and Patti Reising spoke with David Hasen, Professor at the University of Florida Levin College of Law.
Professor Jennifer Bard joins public health law experts for a briefing on human subjects research during COVID-19.
Professor Stephanie Bornstein provides expertise on NPR’s All Things Considered.
Millions of tax returns are sitting at the IRS unopened as of mid-May, due to staff shortage amid the coronavirus pandemic.
To learn more, KCBS Radio news anchor Liz Saint John spoke with David Hasen, Law Professor at University of Florida.
Professors Sharon Sandeen, Elizabeth Rowe and Ryan Vacca participate in a very timely panel discussion of Trade Secrets in a pandemic with these world class Trade Secret Law Scholars.
Trade Secrets, Transparency, and Paycheck Protection Program Loans During a Pandemic
Members of the U.S. Senate said they would make sure the public knew which businesses received taxpayer-backed coronavirus relief loans that totaled $511 billion, claiming that the number one priority was getting money into the hands of small business owners, and then there would be full transparency. But recently, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and the administrator of the Small Business Administration, Jovita Carranza, said they do not plan to make PPP loan recipients and amounts public. In a recent interview with CNN, Senator Marco Rubio said he heard from small business owners that disclosing the amount of taxpayer-funded PPP loans is a “trade secret and a competitive disadvantage that can be used against you. If you’re a small business, this is about payroll. And so people are going to be able to tell how much your payroll is based on your loan amount.” Rubio continued, “In essence, you know your competitors can figure out how much their competitor somewhere else in the country is making and sort of either poach employees or undercut their own.”
Eleven news organizations have sued the Small Business Administration for records on loan recipients and amounts of loans and other basic information the agency has previously released. The Treasury Department has argued that releasing the data would “risk disclosing proprietary data of millions of small businesses and the salaries of independent contractors.”
In April, there was massive public outcry when it was revealed that publicly traded companies with significant cash reserves received PPP loans that were intended for small businesses. A number of companies, including Shake Shack and Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, gave back their PPP loans. But the PPP loan information on public companies came from publicly available corporate filings, information that private companies are not required to disclose. The vast majority of PPP recipients are private companies.