Monthly Archives: April 2014

Improving Rights

The final version of my article “Improving Rights” is out in the Virginia Law Review!  You can download a copy here, or let me know if you’d like a bound version.  Here’s a quick summary for those who don’t have time to read or skim the whole thing.

The article examines courts’ and commentators’ surprising assumption that a single avenue for rights-making is both sufficient and unproblematic.  For example, both courts and scholars express concern if there is no avenue for the vindication of constitutional rights. Yet the same courts and scholars see no problem as long as there is one avenue for constitutional litigation.

The Fourth Amendment provides one concrete example. After Hudson v. Michigan, judges and scholars expressed concern that there would be no forum in which to litigate knock-and-announce claims, with the result that such claims would not be litigated at all if exclusion were not available as a remedy. Indeed, at the Supreme Court oral argument in Hudson, the attorney for the state was forced to admit, in response to questioning from the Justices, that he knew of no knock-and-announce cases litigated civilly under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Continue reading

Denver University Law Review Emerging Scholar Award

I’m thrilled to help spread the news that the Denver University Law Review has selected a piece by Goldburn P. Maynard, Jr., to receive its inaugural Emerging Scholar Award.  His article, “Addressing Wealth Disparities: Reimagining Wealth Taxation as a Tool for Building Wealth” will be published in Issue 1 of Volume 92.  A draft is available here.

Professor Maynard is an alum of University of Chicago Law School and holds an LLM from Northwestern University School of Law.  He is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor at Washington University Law School.  His research and teaching interests include tax, trusts, and estates.

The Emerging Scholar Award is designed to provide recognition to junior scholars who have not yet accepted a tenure-track teaching position to support and promote their research in the early stages of their career.  More information about the award is available here.


Uber, Privacy, and Discrimination

ETA: On the basis of the blog post below, I was invited to discuss possible problems with Uber’s passenger rating system on NPR’s “On the Media.” You can listen here.

For the uninitiated, Uber is a taxi-like company that, with the touch of a button on a ridiculously easy-to-use app, sends a driver in a classy black car to your location using GPS.  I recently learned that Uber not only stores data about its passengers, but also allows its drivers to rate passengers and makes the ratings available to other drivers.

I’ve long known that customers rate Uber drivers; when you order a car, you can see the rating from one to five stars of the driver who is picking you up.  And I’ve always assumed that the company keeps records of when you use the app and where you go.  But it turns out that the drivers also rate passengers, and that — at least anecdotally — the various drivers use your rating information to decide whether and how quickly to pick you up.  The app interface looks like this before you order a car, so you can see where the cars are in real time and an estimate of how long it will take a car to pick you up:

Continue reading