Washington College of Law


Congratulations to the Volume 66 Editorial Board!

Welcome to the Volume 66 Junior Staff!

We're honored to have an article from Volume 63 cited in the Supreme Court's decision, Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. Inclusive Communities Project, Inc., holding that disparate-impact claims may be brought under the Fair Housing Act.

Federal Circuit Issue

Federal Circuit Issue

The American University Law Review is the only law review in the country to publish an issue exclusively dedicated to the Federal Circuit.  Each year, practitioners and academics provide a synopsis of the Federal Circuit's caseload from the previous year in five major areas of the court's jurisdiction:  patent law, trademark law, government contracts, international trade, and veterans' benefits.  Click here to learn more.

The 2016 Federal Circuit Symposium, "Reviewability of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board's Decision to Institute Post-Grant Proceedings" was held on March 24, 2016, at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.  This year's Federal Circuit Issue is avaliable here.

Symposium Issue

Symposium Issue

The Volume 65 Symposium was titled "Taxing Remote Sales in the Digital Age," with keynote speaker Heidi Heitkamp, United States Senator for North Dakota.  Click here for more information about the event, which was held Nov. 13, 2015, at the law offices of Jones Day.

The corresponding Symposium Issue, Vol. 65.5, is avaliable here.


Volume 65.5, “Taxing Remote Sales in the Digital Age” Symposium

Sales Suppression: The International Dimension

By Richard T. Ainsworth | 65 Am. U. L. Rev. 1241 (2016)

Sales transaction taxes are highly susceptible to technology fraud, which is an inevitable result of today’s widespread reliance on technology to document taxed transactions. Technology can be (and is) manipulated to defeat the collection of these taxes. Both the U.S. retail sales tax (RST) and the European value added tax (VAT) are vulnerable to technology-based fraud. This Article concerns sales suppression—intentionally not recording sales—in the RST, and at the final stage of the VAT, the retail stage, when tax is collected from final consumers.

Click here to view this Article

Taxing Remote Sales In The Digital Age: A Global Perspective

By Walter Hellerstein | 65 Am. U. L. Rev. 1195 (2016)

The challenges associated with the taxation of remote sales in the digital age are global. Providing a global perspective on these challenges is therefore appropriate, even for a symposium addressed primarily to such challenges under the U.S. subnational retail sales tax. Although the challenges associated with the taxation of remote sales in the digital age are global, the regimes that tax such sales are not. Accordingly, insofar as one looks to the implications of the global perspective on taxing remote sales in the digital age for guidance on U.S. subnational taxation of such sales, one should never lose sight of the contextual differences between the global and subnational tax regimes to avoid “lost in translation” problems.

This Article addresses three fundamental questions raised by the taxation of remote sales in the digital age from a global perspective, but focuses on the implications, if any, of the answers to these questions in the global context for the U.S. subnational retail sales tax. First, should remote sales be taxed under a consumption tax? Second, if the answer to the first question is “yes,” where should such sales be taxed? Third, how can remote sales be taxed effectively under a consumption tax in the digital age?

Click here to view this Article

Beyond Quill And Congress: The Necessity Of Sales Tax Enforcement And The Invention Of A New Approach

By Lila Disque & Helen Hecht | 65 Am. U. L. Rev. 1163 (2016)

The U.S. consumption tax—the sales and use tax—has been plagued by a seemingly intractable problem: it is built on an enforcement system that depends on seller-collection. But under U.S. Supreme Court precedent, states cannot require “remote” sellers (those without some kind of physical presence in the state) to collect and remit the tax. Consequently, states instead attempt to collect the tax from resident purchasers through self-reporting—a method that has proven to be much less effective. Congress has the power to grant states enforcement authority over remote sellers, but has long denied that assistance to the states. But what if the states had an alternative approach to enforcing the tax on remote purchases? And what if this approach could be implemented without the need for action by Congress or the Supreme Court? The “seeds” of that approach have already been planted.

Click here to view this Article

Revisiting Miller Brothers, Bellas Hess, And Quill

By Richard D. Pomp | 65 Am. U. L. Rev. 1115 (2016)

The American University Law Review was prophetic in choosing “Taxing Remote Sales in the Digital Age” as its symposium issue. The obstacle to any meaningful sales tax reform of the digital economy is the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1992 decision in Quill Corp. v. North Dakota. In Quill, the Court held that the Commerce Clause requires a vendor to have a physical presence in a state before it can be required to collect that state’s use tax. That requirement has subsequently been roundly criticized. Most notably, in March 2015, Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote a concurring opinion in Direct Marketing Association v. Brohl that sent shock waves through the profession, urging the Court to revisit Quill’s legal underpinnings.

Part of Justice Kennedy’s concurrence is reprinted below because it serves as a wonderful, short overview of the issues dealt with at the Law Review’s Symposium and in some of the articles in this Issue. This Article supports Justice Kennedy by arguing that the Quill decision was intellectually dishonest, politically motivated, and based on shaky precedent. If the Supreme Court has the opportunity, it should abandon Quill.

Click here to view this Article



Thank you for visiting the American University Law Review website!  This site provides a central and convenient location to browse our volumes, preview forthcoming scholarship, and learn more about our publication.  Please send any questions or comments to lawrev@wcl.american.edu.

Founded in 1952, the Law Review is the oldest and largest student-run publication at the Washington College of Law and publishes six issues each year.  The Law Review is consistently ranked among the top fifty law journals in the nation and is the most-cited journal at WCL, according to the Washington and Lee University Law Library.

Rather than focus on a particular area of law, the Law Review publishes articles, essays, and student notes and comments on a broad range of issues.  Recent topics have included the Second Amendment right to bear arms; the Freedom of Information Act; electronic copyright infringement; attorney-client privilege; immigration law; international trade law; and many other timely legal issues.

The Law Review receives approximately 2,500 submissions annually and publishes articles from professors, judges, practicing lawyers, and renowned legal thinkers.  The Law Review has published articles or commentary by Supreme Court Chief Justices Warren Burger, William Rehnquist, and Earl Warren, as well as Associate Justices Hugo Black, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Arthur Goldberg.

Click here to learn more.


Vol. 65.6 (expected September 2016)

Khaled A. Beydoun, Beyond the Paris Attacks:  Unveiling the War Within French Counterterror Policy

Joseph O. Oluwole, School Vouchers and Tax Benefits in Federal and State Judicial Constitutional Analysis

Michael L. Perlin, “Your Corrupt Ways Had Finally Made You Blind”:  Prosecutorial Misconduct and the Use of “Ethnic Adjustments” in Death Penalty Cases of Defendants with Intellectual Disabilities

Morgan E. Creamer, Comment, Walker v. Texas Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans, Inc. and License Plate Speech:  A Dangerous Roadblock for the First Amendment

Cory A. Hutchens, Comment, Is That a Kielbasa in Your Pocket or are You Just Happy to be Robbing This Bank?  Applying a Hybrid Standard to the Federal Bank Robbery Act When Bank Robbers Wield Objects as Weapons During a Bank Robbery

Sarah West, Comment, They[‘ve] Got Eyes in the Sky:  How the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act Governs Body Camera Use in Public Schools

Vol. 66.1 (expected November 2016)

Bethany R. Berger, The Illusion of Fiscal Illusion in Land Regulation

Kenneth Davis, Insider Trading Flaw:  Toward a Fraud-on-the-Market Theory and Beyond

Joshua Fischman, Adjudicating in the Shadow of Settlement:  The Circular Logic of Actavis

Ashleigh Allione, Comment, The Battle over U.S. Water:  Why the Clean Water Rule “Flows” Within the Bounds of Supreme Court Precedent

Sara A. Fairchild, Comment, Title VII’s Limitations Period and the Scope of Relief in EEOC Pattern or Practice Cases

Mark Levy, Comment, Big Pharma Monopoly:  Why Generic Drug Companies Keep Landing of “Park Place” and How the Game is Rigged

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