Iowa Law Review


Since its inception in 1915 as the Iowa Law Bulletin, the Iowa Law Review has served as a scholarly legal journal, noting and analyzing developments in the law and suggesting future paths for the law to follow. Since 1935, students have edited and have managed the Law Review, which is published five times annually. The Iowa Law Review ranks high among the top "high impact" legal periodicals in the country, and its subscribers include legal practitioners and law libraries throughout the world.

Mission Statement: The Iowa Law Review provides select second- and third-year University of Iowa law students the opportunity to develop their legal research, writing, and editing skills through their involvement in the production of a law journal that publishes legal articles of national and state interest, maintains a high national ranking, and maintains its historical ties to the Iowa legal community.

Latest documents

  • Cause and Effect in Antidiscrimination Law

    Standards of causation in antidiscrimination law, and disparate-treatment cases in particular, are deeply flawed. Their defects have caused an illogical, obscure, and unworkable proof scheme that requires an overhaul to curb the harm that it engenders and to allow the antidiscrimination statutes to serve their objectives effectively. This Article proposes a theory and method of causation that achieves this goal. The problem stems from the inadequacies associated with current standards of causation in disparate-treatment cases—the but-for test and the motivatingfactor test. The proposed “factorial” approach introduces a causal standard that addresses these inadequacies. It entails three innovations over current causation schemes: (1) it adopts a predominant framework for cause and effect in the sciences, called the “potential-outcomes” framework, as a central structure in which to sharply define and analyze the causal inquiry; (2) it employs a causal measure, called the “NESS” test, that refines and, in a sense, unifies the but-for and motivating-factor tests by retaining the central feature of the but-for test—the “necessity condition”—but in a less restrictive form; and (3) it applies a legal framework grounded in tort law and recent advances regarding multiple sufficient causes. In addition to reflecting actual cause and effect, the proposed approach promotes antidiscrimination law’s deterrence and fairness objectives, and it allows an interpretation of causal language in antidiscrimination statutes that is consistent with good policy and Congress’s intent—an interpretation not possible under current standards

  • Eighth Amendment Presumptive Penumbras (and Juvenile Offenders)

    Bright line constitutional rules tend to create unfair outcomes in close proximity to the bright line. In the context of the death penalty, such distinctions possess an entirely different level of seriousness that requires deeper reflection. This Article develops the concept of presumptive penumbras around capital constitutional bright lines and argues for its application to juvenile offenders under the Eighth Amendment. Specifically, the Article advocates, within the current constitutional rules, for a presumption against the imposition of the death penalty or juvenile life without parole in cases where the age of the offender is in proximity to—within the penumbra of—the bright line of age 18. Part II of the Article explains the inherent problems that stem from bright line rules and how both the Constitution and the death penalty exacerbate such problems. In Part III, the Article advances a typology of "presumptive penumbras"—a tool for minimizing the problems identified in Part II. Then, in Part IV, the Article applies the concept of presumptive penumbras to bright line rules related to juvenile offenders under the Eighth Amendment. Finally, in Part V, the Article concludes by sketching out some additional potential applications of presumptive penumbras to other criminal law bright lines under the Eighth Amendment

  • Structural Sensor Surveillance

    City infrastructure is getting smarter. Embedded smart sensors in roads, lampposts, and electrical grids offer the government a way to regulate municipal resources and the police a new power to monitor citizens. This structural sensor surveillance, however, raises a difficult constitutional question: Does the creation of continuously-recording, aggregated, long-term data collection systems violate the Fourth Amendment? After all, recent Supreme Court cases suggest that technologies that allow police to monitor location, reveal personal patterns, and track personal details for long periods of time are Fourth Amendment searches which require a probable cause warrant. This Article uses the innovation of smart city structural design as a way to rethink current Fourth Amendment theory. This Article examines the Fourth Amendment search questions that may render structural surveillance unconstitutional, and then offers a legal and practical design solution. The Article argues that Fourth Amendment principles must be built into the blueprints of urban design. At a micro-level, privacy rules must be embedded alongside data collection rules. At a macro-level, a comprehensive legal framework must be integrated with digital design choices. Only by thinking about municipal code and computer code simultaneously can smart cities avoid emerging Fourth Amendment challenges

  • Structuring the Public Defender
  • Our Kardashian Court (and How to Fix It)

    The Supreme Court is broken. After cataloging its dysfunctions, this Article suggests a contributing cause and proposes a solution. The contributing cause is that Justices have become celebrities, and, like other celebrities, play to their fan base. The solution is to limit their opportunities to use their official status to do so: Congress should pass a law prohibiting concurring or dissenting opinions and requiring each case to be decided by an unsigned opinion that does not disclose the number of Justices who join it. The Article outlines the advantages of such a law and considers possible objections to it, including both constitutional and nonconstitutional objections. It ultimately concludes that it would be constitutional and that although there are significant risks, the probable benefits outweigh the probable costs. And because it is a statutory solution rather than a constitutional one, it can be viewed as an experiment that can easily be terminated if it does not work out. In the current climate, it is a risk worth taking

  • Framing the Second Amendment: Gun Rights, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties

    Gun rights proponents and gun control advocates have devoted significant energy to framing the constitutional right to keep and bear arms. In constitutional discourse, advocates and commentators have referred to the Second Amendment as a "collective, " "civic republican, " "individual, " and "fundamental" right. Gun rights advocates have defended the right to keep and bear arms on "law and order" grounds, while gun control proponents have urged regulation based on "public health, " "human rights, " and other concerns. These frames and concepts have significantly influenced how the right to keep and bear arms has been debated, interpreted, and enforced. This Article focuses on two common frames gun rights advocates have used to construct realities, identify grievances, motivate supporters, and ultimately influence the meaning of the Second Amendment. Advocates have framed the right to keep and bear arms as a "civil right" primarily concerned with equality values and opposed to discriminatory treatment of gun owners and gun rights. Gun rights advocates have also developed and deployed a "civil liberty" frame that warns of impending disarmament, loss of liberty, and tyrannical government. Framing the Second Amendment in these discrimination and disarmament terms has deeply affected gun rights discourse, lawmaking, and judicial decisions. The Article focuses on the vocabulary of arms in order to better understand how advocates in gun debates generate and use frames, and how those frames affect the Second Amendment's meaning. Constitutional framing by both gun rights and gun control advocates will significantly influence future debates about the meaning and scope of the Second Amendment

  • Chief Justice Webster
  • Better Homes and Scattered Gardens: Why Iowa Should Legalize 'Human Composting' as a Method of Final Disposition
  • Vanity Lawfare: Vanity License Plates and the First Amendment

    When Pennsylvania introduced the vanity license plate in the early 1930s, it represented the first time a state government added an expressive component to the otherwise solely identificatory license plate. Vanity-plate programs are now ubiquitous across the United States, and those programs are accompanied by sweeping and amorphous restrictions on categories of expression that the states will permit to appear on the plates. When these restrictions face constitutional challenge, both state and federal courts have disagreed as to whether those restrictions are constitutional, reaching wildly different conclusions at every stage of the First Amendment analysis. This Note suggests that the Supreme Court, in an appropriate case, should clarify the framework for analyzing the constitutionality of vanity-plate regulations. Based on this adjusted framework, this Note contends that, in many cases, states' broad restrictions cannot be squared with the First and Fourteenth Amendments 'joint guarantee that state governments "shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech. " To reach this end, this Note first concludes that vanity plates' alphanumeric configurations are better understood as the expression of the private actors who request them, rather than of the state governments who approve the plates. Second, it turns to those categories of speech most commonly proscribed by vanity-plate regulations. It concludes that several of these categories—offensive speech, disparaging speech, and profane speech—cannot be wholly restricted without engaging in viewpoint discrimination, which is at the core of what is prohibited by the First Amendment

  • How Can Iowans Effectively Prevent the Commercial Misappropriation of Their Identities? Why Iowa Needs a Right of Publicity Statute

    The right of publicity is an individual's right to control the commercial use of her identity. Thirty-five states in the United States recognize the right of publicity, either through statute or common law, and provide their citizens with a mechanism to prevent unauthorized uses of their identities. Iowa, however, is one of the 15 states that does not expressly recognize the right of publicity in any form, leaving Iowans uncertain about their intellectual property rights in their identities. Due to the recent emergence of social media and digital manipulation technology, which make it easier than ever for advertisers to commercially exploit an individual's identity, Iowans are particularly vulnerable to the misappropriation of their identities. Therefore, Iowa's legislature should join the majority of states and adopt a right of publicity statute to provide Iowans with a mechanism to enforce their rights in their identities. The certainty and protection provided by this neutral right of publicity statute will incentivize Iowans to commercialize their identities—enriching Iowa's society and, perhaps, its economy

Featured documents

  • The Machine as Author

    The use of Artificial Intelligence ("AI") machines using deep learning neural networks to create material that facially looks like it should be protected by copyright is growing exponentially. From articles in national news media to music, film, poetry and painting, AI machines create material that ...

  • The Antitrust Constitution

    Antitrust is today viewed almost exclusively in strictly economic terms. Under the nearly ubiquitous "rule of reason," conduct is condemned or saved by courts largely based on their evaluation of the conduct’s effect on economic efficiency. But many aspects of antitrust law cannot be explained by...

  • Method Patent Exceptionalism
  • Drugs' Other Side-Effects

    Drugs often induce unintended, adverse physiological reactions in those that take them—what we commonly refer to as “side-effects.” However, drugs can produce other, broader, unintended, even nonphysiological harms. For example, some argue that taking Truvada, a drug that prevents HIV transmission, ...

  • Credit Reform and the States: The Vital Role of Attorneys General After Dodd-Frank

    Congress employed multiple strategies in the wake of the Great Recession to provide greater protections for consumers in the financial marketplace. One strategy aimed at agency design and resulted in creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Another strategy created new substantive...

  • Against Adversary Prosecution

    American prosecutors are conventionally understood as having two different roles. They seek conviction and punishment as adversary advocates, and they also ensure the system's fairness as ministers of justice. This Article argues that the former role, prosecutorial adversarialism, should be...

  • Arming Public Protests

    Public protests have become armed events, with protesters and counter-protesters openly carrying firearms-generally pursuant to state law. Many view the presence of firearms at protest events as wholly incompatible with the exercise of First Amendment free speech and assembly rights. Although the...

  • Constitutional Parenthood

    Despite having recognized the constitutional rights of parents almost a hundred years ago, the Supreme Court has not weighed in on the subject of who qualifies as a "parent" under the Fourteenth Amendment in 30 years. In light of the Court's silence, the states have been forced to individually...

  • Big Data and Pharmacovigilance: Using Health Information Exchanges to Revolutionize Drug Safety

    Data on individual patients collected through state and federal health information exchanges has the potential to usher in a new era of drug regulation. These exchanges, produced by recent health care reform legislation, will amass an unprecedented amount of clinical information on drug usage,...

  • Corporate Avatars and the Erosion of the Populist Fourth Amendment

    Fourth Amendment jurisprudence currently leaves it to technology corporations to challenge court orders, subpoenas, and requests by the government for individual users' information. The third-party doctrine denies people a reasonable expectation of privacy in data they transmit through...

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