Washington College of Law
Volume 65, Issue 1

U.S. Tax Imperialism in Puerto Rico

By Diane Lourdes Dick | 65 Am. U. L. Rev. 1 (2015)


This Article uses historical and legal analysis to demonstrate how U.S. domination over Puerto Rico’s tax and fiscal policies has been the centerpiece of a colonial system and an especially destructive form of economic imperialism. Specifically, this Article develops a novel theory of U.S. tax imperialism in Puerto Rico, chronicling the sundry ways in which the United States has used tax laws to exert economic dominance over its less developed island colony. During the colonial period, U.S. officials wrote and revised Puerto Rican tax laws to serve U.S. economic interests. In more recent years, U.S. tax laws have disadvantaged Puerto Ricans, who still lack voting rights and full democratic representation in Congress. A theory of tax imperialism may also have application far beyond the U.S.-Puerto Rican experience. For instance, it may help us understand the relationships between the United States and its other possessions and territories throughout history, and between the United Kingdom and its British Crown dependencies, overseas territories, and newly-independent colonies.

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IQ, Intelligence Tests, "Ethnic Adjustments," and Atkins

By Robert M. Sanger | 65 Am. U. L. Rev. 87 (2015)

In Atkins v. Virginia the U.S. Supreme Court declared that executing the intellectually disabled violated the U.S. Constitution’s Eighth Amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. In Atkins, the Court relied heavily on medical standards, which indicated that individuals with an IQ of approximately or below seventy and who met the other criteria for intellectual disability were ineligible for the death penalty. Twelve years later, in Hall v. Florida, the Court evaluated a Florida statute that created a bright line rule, making anyone whose IQ was above seventy eligible for execution, regardless of other factors suggesting the defendant was, despite his IQ score, intellectually disabled. Finding the statute violated the Constitution, the Court stated that the Florida statute’s bright line rule made the possibility too great that an intellectually disabled person would be executed.

COMMENT: The Harms of the Benefit Corporation

By Kennan Khatib | 65 Am. U. L. Rev. 151 (2015)


The benefit corporation cannot be ignored. To date, thirty states, including Delaware and the District of Columbia, have enacted benefit corporation legislation, signifying that the new legal status is here to stay. Largely established to quell the fears of entrepreneurs pursuing social and environmental objectives and profit, the benefit corporation appears to put an end to the legal uncertainty linked to the consideration of other constituencies irrespective of whether such consideration ultimately promotes shareholder value.

COMMENT: If the Question is Chocolate-Related, the Answer is Always Yes: Why Doe v. Nestle Reopens the Door for Corporate Liability of U.S. Corporations Under the Alien Torts Statute

By Amanda A. Humphreville | 65 Am. U. L. Rev. 191 (2015)


Corporate liability for U.S. corporations that commit violations of international norms overseas is a contentious issue among several circuit courts. Because the Supreme Court in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum overlooked the corporate liability question and instead applied the presumption against extraterritoriality to the Alien Tort Statute, many circuit courts use this presumption as a bright-line rule, precluding corporate liability of U.S. corporations where the alleged conduct does not occur in the United States.

COMMENT: A Spoof of Justice: Double Jeopardy Implications for Convictions of Both Spoofing and Commodities Fraud for the Same Transaction

By Abram Olchyk | 65 Am. U. L. Rev. 239 (2015)


To the fastest go the spoils. The rise of automated algorithmic trading has transformed the American stock market into an institution prioritizing speed above all else. The relative chaos implicit in light-speed trading obscures the view of regulators, providing an enterprising new breed of traders ample opportunity to manipulate the market. The most recent scheme garnering the attention of state and federal agencies is known as spoofing, where a trader initiates a precise pattern of trades to lure in buyers or sellers—thereby raising or lowering the value of the commodity—trading on the distortion, then cancelling the baited trades before they fully execute.