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The Law Review at Johns Hopkins


            The Law Review at Johns Hopkins is a student-run publication at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies whose primary purpose is to provide the Johns Hopkins graduate community with a forum to engage in legal scholarship and provide Review members the opportunity to increase their legal understanding, writing, and editing skills. 

            The organization is independent of the Johns Hopkins University and is entirely student-edited and published. The Review is published annually and features authors across the Johns Hopkins graduate community and its partner institutions, (including the Johns Hopkins Medical School, Stanford Law School, Georgetown Law School, the School of Advanced International Studies, the Carey Business School, the JHU School of Public Health, the JHU School of Nursing, Peabody Institute, and the Krieger School of the Arts) and is approximately 150 pages per volume.  The Review also features a supplementary online platform that is updated regularly.

             The goal of the Review is to create a greater and wider-reaching law-interested quorum, representative of all the Johns Hopkins graduate community.  The Review has two primary functions: to publish a journal valuable to the law-interested community by addressing important legal and social issues that are vital in our time or have escaped public scrutiny and to furnish a resource for students to expand their understanding of the law.

             We display a wide variety of viewpoints, from research articles on international human rights crises, the state of free speech, constitutional interpretation, and pressing social issues to questions concerning privacy and security.  Our staff is dedicated to engaging voices and supporting obtainable, educational, and thought-provoking legal analysis across all facets of the JHU graduate student body. We strive to reflect students’ diverse interests and viewpoints, while simultaneously pushing boundaries and expanding global legal discourse. 


Featured Works

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Mental Health Policies and Programs as a Tool to Reduce Recidivism in Juvenile Justice Facilities

by Allyn Rosenberger,

 JHU School of Public Health/ Stanford Law School

The majority of youth in American juvenile justice facilities currently suffer from at least one mental health condition. The implementation of mental health policies and programs within the system can mitigate these problems and reduce recidivism among this vulnerable population.  Presently, the juvenile justice system underprovides sufficient mental health services, contributing to escalating rates of recidivism. Addressing the mental health needs of this vulnerable population will ultimately require the implementation of policies and programs in the community and at each point of interaction with the juvenile justice system. Because of the high prevalence of mental health problems among youth currently in the system, this paper will focus on policies and programs that address the needs of juvenile offenders when they arrive at a facility, during their incarceration, and during their transition back into the community.  

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Failure to Protect: Limitations of the Legal Framework in Preventing Sexual Exploitation and Abuse 

by Taryn Kurtanich,

JHU School of Public Health

In the #MeToo era, the international aid sector must confront the power dynamics in international assistance and critically evaluate the present legal structures that perpetuate sexual exploitation and abuse of vulnerable populations. The global nature of the sector complicates efforts to hold perpetrators accountable, as the legal regimes often fail to address these violations of human dignity. Sexual exploitation and abuse, as a form of sexual and gender-based violence, is addressed through international law, political commitments, and domestic legislation. However, the impact of the legal framework is muted by flawed and incomplete implementation of the laws, leaving survivors with limited or no access to justice. To meet these needs, systems that focus on the survivors will orient the aid sector toward accountability to prevent sexual exploitation and abuse and protect vulnerable populations.

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Malpractice Claims Naming Staff Nurses as the Primary Responsible Service

by Christopher Rhodes, Allesandra Tyler, Kelly Gleason, 

JHU School of Nursing; Georgetown Law School; JHU School of Nursing

Registered nurses have more autonomy and professional accountability than ever before. With this role expansion, staff nurses, nursing faculty, and nursing administrators must be cognizant of the fact that nurses are now more exposed to civil malpractice claims than at any other time in the history of nursing. The purpose of this study is to identify the most common contributing factors of malpractice claims naming staff nurses, the level of harm associated with these factors, and the financial expense that results. We specifically look at claims related to monitoring. Awareness of claims naming nurses will allow for tailored nursing education and training to improve care, while reducing the number of adverse events and malpractice cases naming staff nurses.


The Ballot, the Bullet, and Barriers to International Relief: An Analysis of Structural Hindrances to the Use of International Human Rights Law by Grassroots Groups

by James Taylor,

JHU School of Advanced International Studies

Any scholar of international human rights theory or advocacy is or should be eminently aware of the United States' prolific abuses against its constituent minority population. This paper examines the human rights philosophy, international activism of Minister Malik El-Hajj Shabazz, better known as Malcolm X, a victim turned activist from the United States's Afro-American community. Shabazz's international campaign of 1965, from his famed "Ballot or the Bullet" speech to his appeal to the Organization of African Unity, is examined through the lens of international law in order to illuminate the logic behind his choices and explain the campaign's outcome.


The Herero People as the Subject of International Law? – Implications for Reparation Claims Based on the Herero Genocide

by Jonas Präfke,

JHU School of Advanced International Studies

During the Herero Wars (1904-1907), one of the first genocides of the 20th century was carried out, under German colonial rule over German southwest Africa (today’s Namibia), against the indigenous Herero and Nama ethnic groups. Aside from ethical questions regarding responsibility for the enduring painful repercussions, the issue still attracts high scholarly and official attention in political and legal domains. This especially concerns the question of the Herero People’s subjectivity under international law. The outcome of these contradictory assessments is highly important for the determination of illegality or applicability of certain rights and obligations accruing to the Herero, and, ultimately,  reparation claims based on the genocidal acts committed against them. After having briefly introduced the political and legal context, this paper will examine the character of the international legal personality of the Herero people. The paper will examine the influence on the rights deriving from international law and, therefore, on the legal procedures and possible successes of legal claims for reparation, using examples of contemporaneous treaty and customary international law. Considering recent legal proceedings of the Herero, the question remains how the legal personality of the Herero may affect the rights provided for them in determining their possibilities.

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Another Face of "American Exceptionalism": Captial Punishment in the United States

by Steven M. Schneebaum,

Practitioner-in-Residence and Interim Director,

International Law and Organizations Program at JHU

School of Advanced International Studies

The debate over the meaning of “American exceptionalism” typically  generates much heat and little light.  There are many accomplishments and values that do make the United States exceptional among the countries of the world, and those are justifiable sources of nationalistic pride.  But little pride should be felt about one aspect of American exceptionalism: an area in which the United States is nearly unique, certainly among developed countries. That is its retention of the death penalty as a punishment for crimes.  Recent Supreme Court jurisprudence has reminded observers of the extremely arbitrary factors that literally determine who lives and who dies.  There is little logic that supports these decisions, which appear to be grounded in biblical and not constitutional principles.  The support for judicial executions dangerously conflates justice with vengeance, and the confusion between those very different notions threatens to undermine the role of the Supreme Court, and therefore puts at risk the democratic culture of the United States that other nations might be encouraged to emulate.


The Applicability of International Law to Cyber Operations:

Towards a New Legal Paradigm

by Nicolas Sensenbrenner,

JHU School of Advanced International Studies

Cyberattacks have increasingly become a concern for international actors, yet there is currently no international agreement regarding cyber operations. Several cyber operations in recent years, namely ‘Stuxnet’ and the DDOS attack in Estonia, stand out as warning signs for politicians and cybersecurity experts. This paper argues that the international community should develop a comprehensive and binding accord that prohibits the use of cyber operations for nefarious objectives. Using the ‘lex-lata’ framework conceptualized by the Tallin and Tallin 2.0 manuals, this paper explores how principles of customary international law apply to cyberspace and addresses challenges in adopting the aforementioned agreement. 


The Legal and Political Complexities Surrounding the Obligation of State Parties to the Rome Statute, Jordan and South Africa, in the Arrest and Surrender of Al-Bashir to the International Criminal Court 

by  Dania Abdalla,

JHU School of Advanced International Studies

In 2009 and 2010, Omar Al-Bashir, the former president of Sudan, was charged by the International Criminal Court (ICC) with five counts of crimes against humanity, two counts of war crimes, and three counts of genocide, all of which are violations of jus cogens, i.e. peremptory norms in international law from which no derogation is allowed. Jordan and South Africa, parties to the Rome Statute, have since hosted Al-Bashir and failed to arrest and surrender him to the ICC. The Court, as a result, issued decisions of non-compliance against Jordan and South Africa. However, the ICC further reprimanded Jordan by referring it to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). Using the arguments presented by Jordan and the African Union in response to the ICC’s decisions of non-compliance against and its referral of Jordan to the UNSC, this paper examines the real world legal and political challenges in protecting jus cogens while also honoring the obligations surrounding the customary laws of immunity accorded to Heads of States and Host States.

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The Modern Problem of Conflating Terminologies between Refugees and Migrants

by David K. Tian,

JHU Krieger School of Arts and Sciences

In light of the ongoing refugee crisis in the Mediterranean, where estimates indicate that hundreds of thousands of people have tried to cross from Africa and the Middle East into Europe, a debate on the usefulness of the term “refugee” versus “economic refugee,” “migrant,” or “forced migrant” has surfaced with new immediacy. Do these terms still have conceptual and policy relevance? How do international and regional migration institutions interact with these fluid categories? And what are the consequences for the long-term politics of migration, asylum, immigration, and assimilation? This essay asserts that the distinctions among these terms is as important as ever, and provides theoretical and empirical examples to demonstrate the consequences of confounding them.  


Defining State Failure Under International Law: A Case Study of Somalia

by T. Alexander Martin,

JHU School of Advanced International Studies

Severe natural disasters and a protracted civil war in Somalia contributed to the collapse of the rule of law and state institutions within the country. The humanitarian crisis that resulted from the endemic violence within the country prompted a United Nations intervention led by the United States military, tasked with creating a stable security environment that would allow for the supply of aid. The absence of working governmental institutions in Somalia would also provide the reasoning for its labeling as a “failed state” during much of the 1990s. While there exists no definitive understanding of what constitutes a “failed state”, the underlying characteristics attributable to state failure have significant legal and political consequences. However, Somalia’s lack of a representative federal government made the application of relevant legal regimes necessary for a military intervention and the prosecution of crimes under international law problematic. This is due to the fact that the existing bodies of international law concerning state responsibility and intervention were created under the presumption that states possess the capacity to interact with the international community that perpetuates those laws. This essay will analyze the ways in which the current relevant international legal frameworks were applied effectively to the case of Somalia and where they were found to be inadequate in dealing with state failure.

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Healthcare and Human Rights: The Case for Decriminalising Abortion

by Miranda Bain, 

JHU School of Advanced International Studies

There are many persuasive reasons for decriminalising abortion. This paper explores some key motives behind its criminalisation and then unpacks the case for decriminalisation. This paper will first focus on the challenges of placing complex legal obligations on healthcare providers and also examine human rights frameworks. Second, it will analyse the impact on women’s physical and mental health when legal routes to abortion are denied and emphasise the safety of best medical practice. This essay will utilise a range of academic, legal, media, and individual sources to scrutinise the case in favour of decriminalisation. Although it will consider arguments relevant around the world, it will elaborate on three case studies: Canada, the United Kingdom, and Argentina.

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A Policy Analysis of Current Farm-to-Preschool/ Early Childhood Education Legislation in the United States

by Margaret A. Burns-Rath, JD, MPH and Sara E. Benjamin-Neelon, PhD, JD

JHU Bloomberg School of Public Health

It has been a goal of federal agricultural policy, since the late 1990s, to influence childhood preferences for healthy foods, especially low energy-dense foods such as fruits and vegetables. With a rise in obesity and related chronic diseases, states latched on and introduced legislative policies to connect schools to local farmers, incentivized nutrition programs within the school districts, and provided economic opportunities for local food producers and processors. One such initiative is known as the “Farm-to-School” (F2S) program. Despite the nationwide strides in F2S programs, gaps exist in nutrition intervention opportunities with educational facilities for more than 11 million preschool-aged children in childcare settings. Our knowledge that a child’s dietary behaviors become established well before his/her primary school years and track into adulthood indicates a clear need for a nation-wide effort to broaden the successful F2S model to our younger population. This article suggests developing research to understand associations between current laws and F2P impacts to improve the effectiveness of future legislation.  It also recommends enhancing Child and Adult Care Food Program standards and requiring F2P training and nutrition standards for licensure.  In the long term, more research is necessary to understand associations between current laws and F2P impacts to improve the effectiveness of future legislation.

Digital Issue Contributions


A Case Study on M'Bala M'Bala v. France

by: Yoona Song

Foreign Investments and National Security Reviews: A Comparison of American and Chinese National Security Review Systems

by: Deniz Ozensoy

Ethnicity as a Weapon:

Ethnic Entrepreneurship, Power Struggles, and Resource Acquisition in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

by: Quentin Sauvage

Combatting Sex Discrimination in the Law: Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the Fight for Women’s Equality in the United States

by: Olivia Magnanini

China’s Response to the North Korean Refugee Crisis

by: Yiyuan Qi

Settling the Belizean-Guatemalan Territorial Dispute: 200 Years in the Making

by: T. Alexander Martin

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