As fires scorch across the state, Californians are once again reminded of the extreme threat posed by wildfire. News broadcasts show hundreds of firefighters working day and night to contain the blaze. While most firefighters wear yellow jackets to protect themselves from heat and embers, a substantial group wears bright orange jackets.
Why? They are California’s front line.
California’s Inmate Firefighters
On September 28, 2019, Cal Western students heard first-hand accounts of the inmate firefighter experience! Two veterans of the inmate firefighter program, Brooke Carrasco and Brandon Smith, shared their stories as the keynote panelists. Among the many topics covered was the controversy around the program. Prisoner rights advocates have raised questions about placing inmates in harms way, especially since inmate firefighters earn only $2.00 per day, plus $1.00 per hour while fighting fire.
Election time for the 52nd district of California is coming up quickly. According to BallotPedia, the candidate filing deadline is December 6, 2019 and the primary election is March 3, 2020. Katie Pope, a current 2L at California Western School of Law, is taking advantage of these deadlines. Katie will be submitting her candidacy for Congress in the 52nd district this week.
Originally published in The San Diego Union-Tribune.
By Abril Perez
This is a call to action for everyone—especially our white allies—to stand up against white supremacy and publicly condemn it.
On August 3, 2019, a white supremacist violated my hometown of El Paso, Texas, by shooting Latinx shoppers at a Walmart. Fruit flies are circling the marigolds my friends and I laid out on our emergency Día de los Muertos altar in memory of the victims, yet I cannot bring myself to take it down. I am not ready to put this act of domestic terrorism behind me and you should not be either. We are all, in part, to blame for what happened in El Paso.
We politely engaged in civil discourse with racists who hide behind their self-appointed role as devil’s advocate. We watched in horror as a car slammed into a crowd of peaceful protesters, but let our indignation fade into, “but what can we do?” We nurtured the illusion that there are safe places for people of color and even felt grateful for minimal tolerance from white people. And now, as I sift through the rubble of my devastated community in hopes of finding signs of life or strength, all I find is a profound rage and sorrow that burns in my chest.
I am a third-year student at California Western School of Law. The Saturday before my finals, I received a text message from my best friend who was fleeing a parking lot near the shopping center under attack: “There’s a shooting in El Paso. Tell your family.”
It’s Friday night; all of your friends are over, you turn on your game console, and the game of choice is NCAA Football by EA Sports. Everyone is cheering for their respective colleges from Alabama to Clemson. But, you know who isn’t cheering at this party? All of the student-athletes who needed money, but weren’t paid for the use of their image and likeness.
This is just one example of why the Fair Pay to Play Act, a proposal by California State Senator Nancy Skinner, has been introduced. College football video games have come and gone, however, players wanting an equal cut of the profits generated from their skills is not going anywhere. On September 30, 2019, California Governor, Gavin Newsom, signed this act into law on the popular HBO show, “The Shop,” starring Lebron James.
I’m so incredibly proud to share this moment with all of you. @gavinnewsom came to The Shop to do something that will change the lives for countless athletes who deserve it! @uninterrupted hosted the formal signing for SB 206 allowing college athletes to responsibly get paid. pic.twitter.com/NZQGg6PY9d
Thank you for reading and supporting The Commentary these past two years! The Commentary, which started at CWSL in 1973 as a print newspaper, entered a new era when we created the first-ever Commentary website in the Fall of 2017.
We had 5,800 site views during year one, and since then, that number has tripled!!! Admittedly, probably at least 1,000 of those views were from me proofreading the site obsessively. But at least a few of them were from a lovely woman who will be attending Cal Western in the fall as a 1L. I met her at the new students’ reception held a few weeks ago. Without knowing my involvement with The Commentary, she said she eagerly reads each new edition and that reading The Commentary made her excited to attend school here. This was the most amazing thing to hear. Further, it made me realize how valuable student journalism is in capturing the essence of what makes Cal Western such a special place, and preserving that impression as a legacy for future students and the larger legal community.
It’s April and for a lot us, whether we are 1Ls about to finish our first year in law school or 3Ls about to graduate, we are not in the same physical or mental shape as we were prior to law school. I am willing to admit that personally one of the biggest lows of my 1L year has been the realization of exactly how much weight I’ve gained over the course of it, putting me at the heaviest I’ve ever been. Now, don’t get me wrong — this is not an article to blame the institution of law school, as my choices are my own and I know there are people who have maintained a healthy lifestyle during the semester or even became healthier during that time. But I am going to be addressing the culture that seems to be in law schools all across the country.
The culture I am referring to is this “Pain is temporary, GPA is forever” mindset where we as students are willing to sacrifice our emotional, mental, and physical health for the sake of good grades. We will justify it by saying everything in law school is only temporary and after we graduate we can undo all of this. But let’s ask ourselves, how many of us have seen our classmates, friends, and even ourselves develop some form of health issue? How many of us have developed some form of depression or mental health due to prolonged stress? How many of us have developed some form of substance abuse during our time in law school?
I have a question. First, I’ll give stats of a former NFL quarterback. Then you tell me if you think he’s good enough to be a current NFL quarterback. Keep in mind he is just 31 years old, only two seasons removed from playing professional football, has no criminal history of domestic violence or rape, no injury issues, and no substance abuse problems.
Stat 1: This player had a passer rating of 90.7 for the 2016-2017 season. This ranked 17th out of 47 quarterbacks who started an NFL game, higher than Philip Rivers, Carson Palmer, Jameis Winston, and Cam Newton.
Stat 2: Of all the former quarterbacks ever to throw the ball over 500 times, this player has the lowest interception percentage of all time, making him the most interception averse quarterback of all time. Only one other player, Aaron Rodgers, has more attempts and a lower interception percentage.
Now you tell me. Is this player good enough to be a current NFL quarterback at any level? Forget being a starter. But is he at least good enough to be a second or third-string quarterback? Yes. But shockingly, this player is no longer a quarterback in the NFL. Why?
Law Review: Samantha Sneen, Editor-in-Chief; Natalie Holtz, Executive Editor; Lindsey Cherpes, Executive Lead Articles Editor; Katherine Norton, Executive Editor of Notes & Comments; Chelsea Staskiewicz, Executive Director of Symposia & Outreach; Mollie Levy, Executive Director of Notes & Comments
International Law Journal: Rojina Haririparsa, Editor-in-Chief; Emily Ferman, Executive Editor; Mary Grace Jalandoni, Executive Lead Articles Editor; Carlos Gomez, Executive Editor of Notes & Comments; Sophia De La Rocha, Executive Director of Symposia & Outreach; Mollie Levy, Executive Director of Notes & Comments
Symposium: Border Myths
On Saturday, March 9, the journalshosted a symposium to explore myths surrounding America’s borders. The symposium, attended by about 150 people, featured a dynamic array of distinguished speakers. Meagan Nettles (ILJ’s Executive Director of Symposia & Outreach) and Janna Ferraro (Law Review’s Executive Director of Symposia & Outreach) coordinated the event, assisted by symposium committee members Ommar Chavez, Giovanni Dolleton, Elisa Pineda, Mark Simpliciano, and Amanda Thom.
We would like to start this article with a quotation from our favorite author:
“Ahhh, finals season. What a beautiful and joyous occasion.” – No One Ever
Finals are upon us, and they are quite similar to hurricanes – you want to prepare before they actually happen. Because we have already provided Academic Achievement’s exam tips, this time we wanted to give you our student perspective on how to get through finals with your sanity intact. The first set of tips is about study strategies, and the second set is about general study habits.
California Western School of Law has a tradition of hosting a panel with the constitutional law professors, where they comment on current and upcoming cases that have made their way to the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS). On March 5, the American Constitution Society (ACS) and the Federalist Society continued this tradition by holding the “SCOTUS at Halftime: Review of the Current Court Session” panel event.
More than 60 students were in attendance as Professors William Aceves, Jessica Fink, and Glenn Smith all presented a case that has either been decided or is currently being reviewed by the Supreme Court. Each professor explained the significance that the case will have not only on society, but on constitutional law.