• 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

  • Public Utilities and Transportation Electrification

    This Article examines the rapidly evolving role of the nation's electric utilities in developing the network of public electric vehicle (“EV”) charging stations across the country required to facilitate the growth of EVs. As EV adoption in the United States continues to rise, the roles that governmental entities, electric utilities, and market actors will play in deploying the EV charging stations necessary to support transportation electrification remains a central question. This question raises a multitude of issues relating to consumer demand for EVs, competitive markets, utility rate design, government mandates and incentives, policies to reduce carbon emission and other air pollutants, and equity concerns. This Article focuses specifically on state public utility commissions, which will review and approve electric utility proposals to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in EV charging infrastructure that would be paid for, in most cases, by utility customers through cost-of-service ratemaking. This Article considers how state approaches on this issue may differ, at least in the short term, depending on varying state environmental policies, politics, geography, and utility regulatory structure. One constant among the states, however, is the range of rulemaking, investigatory, and adjudicative processes available to state utility commissions to consider these proposed utility investments. This Article concludes that public utility commissions in each state should focus on using their investigative and adjudicative authority to create a robust administrative record for EV charging-related decisions-both general rulemaking decisions and individual utility proposal decisions. These investigative and adjudicative proceedings can support decisions today regarding short-term utility pilot programs, as well as form the basis for broader, far-reaching policies to govern development in the long term. Notably, there are good reasons for state utility commissions to be central players in this process. State commissions, acting in their adjudicative capacity, can be more nimble than state legislatures, allowing for experimentation over different utility rate proceedings, serving an information gathering function for subsequent legislative action and commission rulemaking, and facilitating early investment in EV charging, where appropriate

  • Hate Speech as Protected Conduct: Reworking the Approach to Offensive Speech under the NLRA

    Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”) protects employees who engage in concerted activities for purposes of mutual aid and protection. The National Labor Relations Board (“the Board”) enforces section 7 by protecting employee speech when the speech is related to concerted activity. The Board, using a broad interpretation of section 7, has extended protection to offensive speech, even hate speech. This Note argues that this broad interpretation of section 7 to protect hate speech is contrary to public policy and does not properly account for employers' interest in not being associated with employees who engage in hate speech. This Note further argues for a reworked approach to cases involving offensive speech. The reworked approach incorporates a categorization of the speech to determine the level of protection. This approach properly considers employers' interests while maintaining the NLRA's purpose-to prevent employer unfair labor practices

  • Determining the Right Requirements for Restarting the Limitation Period in Private Antitrust Conspiracy Suits

    This Note explores how the Eighth Circuit and other circuits have recently expanded the liability of antitrust defendants significantly by holding that plaintiffs do not need to allege that a conspiracy was ongoing during the four-year statute of limitation period to restart the statute. These decisions undermine both the federal antitrust regime's goal of proactive private enforcement and the repose and efficiency interests underlying statutes of limitations. This Note argues that these decisions improperly rely on the Supreme Court's RICO precedent and contradict the Court's pleading standard precedent. This Note proposes legislative solutions to this problem in the form of clarification to the “accrual” language in the statutory regime and through the enactment of a statute of repose. Either solution would provide clarity to defendants as to the limits of their liability and encourage plaintiffs to promptly bring their claims

  • Chevron's Liberty Exception

    This Article argues that the Supreme Court's practice in immigration cases reflects an unstated but compelling limitation on Chevron deference. Judicial deference to the executive branch is inappropriate when courts review the legality of a government intrusion on physical liberty. This norm is illustrated by the fact that the Court has not meaningfully applied Chevron deference in cases concerning deportation, nor in cases concerning immigration detention. By contrast, the Court applies Chevron deference fairly consistently in other kinds of immigration cases, which suggests that the Court is not displaying an inclination toward immigration exceptionalism when it treats deportation cases differently. Instead, the Court's practice is best explained by broadly applicable and deeply rooted constitutional principles regarding separation of powers and the safeguarding of individuals against the government. The Supreme Court should articulate a rule explaining its consistent practice: a physical liberty exception to Chevron

  • Propping Open the Courthouse Door: Why Service Members Should Be Able to Bring Sexual Harassment Suits Under the Feres Doctrine

    Most people would be stunned if they were told that their employer could discriminate against them and they would have no form of civil recourse. However, this is the situation that exists every day for the military personnel serving their country. This is because of a little-known strand of case law, referred to as the Feres Doctrine. Shortly after World War II, Congress waived its right to sovereign immunity, with some exceptions, through the Federal Tort Claims Act (“FTCA”). In reading through the FTCA, the Supreme Court created an “incident to service” test, called the Feres Doctrine, to determine whether a service member can sue the federal government. Since Feres, lower courts have struggled to apply the new doctrine to new cases, which has led them to decry it. Despite these reservations, the courts have vastly expanded Feres. The primary reasons courts have used for barring recovery to service members are the fear of double compensation under the Veterans' Benefits Act (“VBA”) and an unwillingness to encroach on the military decision-making process. However, these concerns ignore the fact that some service members do not receive anything under the VBA and civil actions do not unduly burden the military. In response to the everexpanding Feres Doctrine, this Note seeks to strike a balance between respecting the need for military discipline and permitting injured service members to obtain a recovery. As such, this Note advocates that Congress should amend the FTCA to recognize intentional torts, not explicitly excluded under the FTCA, are viable actions. In addition, Congress should intervene and statutorily permit service members to sue under a Title VII regime for harassment. These tweaks will help the military while also helping victims

  • Holding the Federal Government Accountable for Sexual Assault

    The average American would be shocked to learn that the United States government holds itself absolutely immune from civil liability for most sexual assaults by its employees. Even the average lawyer might be surprised to discover that the federal employee who commits a sexual assault may also be shielded from individual tort liability by a special federal statute. The Federal Tort Claims Act bars assault and battery claims against the sovereign United States, even if committed by an agent acting within the scope of most types of federal employment-that includes military recruiters, postal workers, and daycare employees. At the same time, the Westfall Act grants federal employees immunity from state tort claims for acts within the scope of employment. The scope of employment for both federal statutes is defined by state respondeat superior law, which over the decades has evolved to hold employers legally responsible under more circumstances for the intentional wrongdoing of employees. As a consequence of these statutes and evolving liability doctrines, both the federal government as an entity and the federal employee as an individual may well be immune from tort liability for assault and battery. Absent legislative reform, the victim of a sexual assault at the hands of a federal employee may be left without any remedy against either the government or the individual in any venue, state or federal. In this article, the preclusion of a remedy for sexual assault by a federal agent and the avoidance of federal responsibility is highlighted, together with a proposed legislative resolution

  • Law and the Blockchain

    All contracts are necessarily incomplete. The inefficiencies of bargaining over every contingency, coupled with humans' innate bounded rationality, mean that contracts cannot anticipate and address every potential eventuality. One role of law is to fill gaps in incomplete contracts with default rules. Emerging technologies have created new, yet equally incomplete, types of contracts that exist outside of this traditional gap-filling legal role. The blockchain is a distributed ledger that allows the cryptographic recording of transactions and permits “smart” contracts that self-execute automatically if their conditions are met. Because humans code the contracts of the blockchain, gaps in these contracts will arise. Yet in the world of “smart contracting” on the blockchain, there is no place for the law to step in to supply default rules-no “legal intervention point.” The lack of a legal intervention point means that law on the blockchain works in a fundamentally different way from law in the corporeal world. Business organizational law provides a prime example of how the law uses default rules to fill gaps in an incomplete contract and how the law works differently in the blockchain context

  • Disarray Among the Circuits: When Are Consumer Surveys Persuasive?

    Trademarks have been an integral part of our economic system for generations. As our needs and abilities have advanced, so too have trademark regulations advanced to meet these new challenges. This Note examines the requirements for federal trademark protection under the Lanham Act. Protection normally only extends to marks that are determined to be inherently distinct; however, in certain circumstances, marks that are not inherently distinct may be eligible for protection, if it can be sufficiently proven that a descriptive mark acquired distinctiveness. The best tool for showing that descriptive marks have become distinct are consumer surveys, which allow parties to look directly into the minds of consumers. However, there is no established standard for what level of positive response is needed on a consumer survey for the survey to be persuasive. Without an identifiable standard, the federal circuits have been thrown into disarray, each developing its own standard to address this void. This Note proposes that a “soft threshold” should be set by the Supreme Court for these surveys, creating a guidepost to help determine whether the mark has made a sufficient showing of distinctiveness

  • Conspicuous Prosecution in the Shadows: Rethinking the Relationship Between the FCPA's Accounting and Anti-Bribery Provisions

    The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”) criminalizes foreign bribery by (1) American defendants; (2) defendants who trade stocks in the United States or register with the SEC; and (3) foreign defendants who act in furtherance of foreign bribery while inside the United States It imposes accounting requirements on some potential defendants. Congress meant the FCPA to help developing countries eliminate bribery, and, in so doing, advance U.S. economic and political interests. However, the FCPA has some fundamental flaws-flaws which U.S. enforcement agencies have particularly abused of late. The FCPA is vague. The reticence of defendants to go to trial has kept the courts from clarifying it and allowed prosecutors to interpret it however they like. The FCPA is also imperialist. These problems can be rectified by repealing the anti-bribery provisions and replacing them with a modified accounting requirement inspired by but independent from the accounting provisions

  • Policing Police Access to Criminal Justice Data

    Today, it is widely recognized that we live in an informationbased society. This is certainly true of police on street patrol, who more than ever before rely on, and enjoy ready access to, information when doing their work. Information in aggregated form, for instance, is used to create algorithms for “hot spot” policing that targets specific areas. Information concerning individuals, however, must somehow be tied to them if it is to be useful. An arrest warrant in a database, for example, lies inert until an officer associates it with an individual; so too does information regarding suspected gang affiliation and the mass of other information contained in databases. With databases expanding exponentially by the day, and police engaging in what has come to be known as database policing, in search of “hits,” personal identity has assumed unprecedented importance. This Article addresses these developments. Unlike prior scholarship, which has focused mainly on the collection and use of information regarding individuals, the Article examines the intermediate step of database policing: the means by which police access database information. For police, the benefits of such access are as broad as the expanse of databases on which they have come to rely, which is very broad indeed. Databases today include not only arrest warrants, most often for minor offenses, which police can use for evidentiary “fishing expeditions” when conducting searches incident to arrest. They also include records of prior stops, arrests, and convictions, which often reflect racially biased policing practices that are reified when relied upon by police. Databases even contain personally sensitive information that, while not incriminating, can be embarrassing for individuals who are detained. By conceiving of personal identity itself as evidentiary fruit worthy of constitutional regulation the Article fills a major gap in policing scholarship, addressing a matter that will only grow in importance as police rely on databases that are rapidly proliferating in number and kind

Featured documents

  • Law and the Blockchain

    All contracts are necessarily incomplete. The inefficiencies of bargaining over every contingency, coupled with humans' innate bounded rationality, mean that contracts cannot anticipate and address every potential eventuality. One role of law is to fill gaps in incomplete contracts with default...

  • 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...

  • Efficient Copyright Infringement

    Copyright infringement is said to be socially costly because it robs owners of due recompense and depresses incentives for creative production. This Article contends that, in order to achieve copyright’s goal of maximizing cultural production, this dominant story of infringement’s costs requires...

  • Will-Substitutes in the U.S. and in Spain

    Globally, the use of will-substitutes to transmit property upon death has been on the rise. Will-substitutes, voluntary and freely revocable instruments that effectuate the post-mortem, gratuitous transfer of assets, operate outside the confines of traditional succession law. In the United States,...

  • Policing Police Access to Criminal Justice Data

    Today, it is widely recognized that we live in an informationbased society. This is certainly true of police on street patrol, who more than ever before rely on, and enjoy ready access to, information when doing their work. Information in aggregated form, for instance, is used to create algorithms...

  • 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...

  • Exclusivity Without Patents: The New Frontier of FDA Regulation for Genetic Materials

    Over the last twenty years, the legal and scientific academic communities have been embroiled in a debate about the patent eligibility of genetic materials. The stakes for both sides could not be higher. On one hand are the potential multi-billion dollar profits on the fruits of research (from...

  • Policing the Boundaries of Whiteness: The Tragedy of Being 'Out of Place' from Emmett Till to Trayvon Martin

    This Article takes what many view as an extraordinary case about racial hatred from 1955, the Emmett Till murder and trial, and analyzes it against the Trayvon Martin killing and trial outcome in 2012 and 2013. Specifically, this Article exposes one important, but not yet explored similarity...

  • The Reciprocal Oversight Problem

    Sovereign ratings are designed to mitigate investors' risk exposure by highlighting the fiscal condition of governments. The problem is that sovereign ratings entail reciprocal oversight of rating agencies and sovereign governments—which raises conflicts of interest and, ironically, creates...

  • Aggregation by Acquisition: Replacing Class Actions with a Market for Legal Claims

    The traditional class action is broken, and we propose to replace it with a new mechanism for structuring mass claims: aggregation by acquisition. We argue that legal causes of action should be freely alienable, such that even small claims could be bought and sold. In such a world, financiers could ...