Category: Legal News/Opinions

From Sara Gold — The Commentary 2017-present

Dear Readers:

The Commentary has published 90 articles and has had over 16,000 site views since we went online in Fall 2017.

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.

At the very beginning, we were truly a blank slate. We had no writers and no content — just an empty website with endless possibilities. And over time, those possibilities became realized. That started with our very first edition in November 2017, in which we were able to celebrate New Media Rights’ ten-year anniversary and the California Innocence Project’s exoneration of wrongfully convicted prisoners.

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.

Continue reading “From Sara Gold — The Commentary 2017-present”

Health in Law School

By Brandon Birungi-Sengendo, Managing Editor

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?

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Opinion: Kaepernick ousted from NFL for exercising free speech

By Francis Carlota

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?

Continue reading “Opinion: Kaepernick ousted from NFL for exercising free speech”

Law Review/ILJ news: New boards & symposium

By Lindsey Cherpes

New Editorial Boards

The California Western Law Review and International Law Journal are excited to announce their new editorial boards for 2019-2020!

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 journals hosted 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.

Continue reading “Law Review/ILJ news: New boards & symposium”

Student perspective: Advice for finals preparation

By Nick Ahadzadeh, News Editor, & Ryan Stygar

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.

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Supreme Court panel: Professors discuss citizenship-based discrimination and more

By Rabiya Tirmizi & Oday Yousif

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.

Continue reading “Supreme Court panel: Professors discuss citizenship-based discrimination and more”

First Step Act signals progress in criminal justice reform

By Oliver Fredrickson

On December 21, 2018, after significant debate in both the House of Representatives and the Senate, President Trump signed the First Step Act into law. Despite falling short of what many criminal justice reformers were anticipating, commentators say that the First Step Act will deliver “the most significant changes to the criminal justice system for a generation.”


Most of us know that the United States has, both per capita and in total numbers, the highest prison population in the world. To emphasise just how far the United States exceeds the rest of the world when it comes to incarceration, take note of the following statistics:

Continue reading “First Step Act signals progress in criminal justice reform”

Q&A: New Professor Pooja Dadhania

Prof. Pooja Dadhania

Meet Pooja Dadhania, California Western’s newest full-time faculty member. Originally from Sterling, Virginia, Dadhania earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia. She took Japanese language courses during college, and after graduation, she lived for two years in Kumamoto, Japan, where she taught English to elementary and middle-school students.

After that, she attended Columbia Law School for her J.D. and Georgetown Law School for her L.L.M. In addition to working in private practice, Dadhania has worked at the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California, Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles. Now, she teaches civil procedure and immigration/asylum and refugee law at Cal Western.

The Commentary asked Prof. Dadhania about her interests, passions, and experiences:

Continue reading “Q&A: New Professor Pooja Dadhania”

Finals advice from your new Academic Achievement team

Your new Academic Achievement team consists of Imran Malik, Assistant Director of Academic Achievement, and Kiyana Kiel, Assistant Dean of Academic Achievement. Both of them started working at Cal Western over the summer.

Luda Malik
Cute puppy alert: Prof. Malik’s dog, Luda

Prof. Malik grew up in the suburbs of Houston, Texas, where he did his best to avoid the sweltering heat. Determined to live somewhere with snow, Prof. Malik attended Pennsylvania State University for undergrad where he graduated with a BA in Political Science and a BA in History with a minor in Middle Eastern Studies. After a couple of years advocating for policy change at think-tanks and working for Congress in D.C., he moved to the West Coast to attend law school at Seattle University. After law school, he moved to San Francisco to work for Kaplan Bar Review, and most recently he worked as an Academic Director of Academic Support Programs at another law school. Prof. Malik is a political junkie, regularly practices yoga, and has been a vegetarian since high school. He is also very happy to show you a picture of his little puppy named Luda.

Dean Kiel earned her undergraduate degree in American Literature & Culture from UCLA and her law degree from UC Berkeley. Her prior law school administration experience includes working as Director of Academic Success and Bar Programs at University of San Diego School of Law. In addition to working in legal education, she also has worked as an attorney, focusing on real estate, land use, and environmental transactions. Her passion for environmental law stems from her upbringing on her family farm in Compton, California, where she grew up riding horses, climbing avocado trees, and collecting eggs from the chicken coop.

Here’s the advice Prof. Malik and Dean Kiel have for finals prep: Continue reading “Finals advice from your new Academic Achievement team”

A look at the upcoming Supreme Court docket

By Oliver Fredrickson

Back at full strength with the confirmation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh, the Supreme Court began its new term on October 1.  Although this term’s docket does hold the same high-profile cases that we saw last term, it will nonetheless provide valuable insight into the trajectory the court will take in the coming years. The confirmation of Justice Kavanaugh entirely recalibrated the ideological make-up of the Court, leaving the traditionally conservative Chief Justice John Roberts at the Court’s ideological centre. To give context of what a Court with Chief Justice Roberts at the center looks like, some of his notable decisions include: Continue reading “A look at the upcoming Supreme Court docket”