This Article empirically demonstrates that police departments’ internal disciplinary procedures, often established through the collective bargaining process, can serve as barriers to officer accountability.
Policymakers have long relied on a handful of external legal mechanisms like the exclusionary rule, civil litigation, and criminal prosecution to incentivize reform in American police departments. In theory, these external legal mechanisms should increase the costs borne by police departments in cases of officer misconduct, forcing rational police supervisors to enact rigorous disciplinary procedures. But these external mechanisms have failed to bring about organizational change in local police departments. This Article argues that state labor law may partially explain this failure. Most states permit police officers to bargain collectively over the terms of their employment, including the content of internal disciplinary procedures. This means that police union contracts—largely negotiated outside of public view—shape the content of disciplinary procedures used by American police departments.
By collecting and analyzing an original dataset of 178 union contracts from many of the nation’s largest police departments, this Article shows how these agreements can frustrate police accountability efforts. A substantial number of these agreements limit officer interrogations after alleged misconduct, mandate the destruction of disciplinary records, ban civilian oversight, prevent anonymous civilian complaints, indemnify officers in the event of civil suits, and limit the length of internal investigations. In light of these findings, this Article theorizes that the structure of the collective bargaining process may contribute to the prevalence of these problematic procedures. It concludes by considering how states could amend labor laws to increase transparency and community participation in the negotiation of police union contracts.
The administrative state is leveraging algorithms to influence individuals’ private decisions. Agencies have begun to write rules to shape for-profit websites such as Expedia and have launched their own online tools such as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s mortgage calculator. These digital intermediaries aim to guide people toward better schools, healthier food, and more savings. But enthusiasm for this regulatory paradigm rests on two questionable assumptions. First, digital intermediaries effectively police consumer markets. Second, they require minimal government involvement. Instead, some for-profit online advisers such as travel websites have become what many mortgage brokers were before the 2008 financial crisis. Although they make buying easier, they can also subtly advance their interests at the expense of those they serve. Publicly run alternatives lack accountability or—like the Affordable Care Act health-insurance exchanges—are massive undertakings. The unpleasant truth is that creating effective digital regulators would require investing heavily in a new oversight regime or sophisticated state machines. Either path would benefit from an interdisciplinary uniform process to modernize administrative, antitrust, commercial, and intellectual property laws. Ideally, a technology meta-agency would then help keep that legal framework updated.
Direct primary care is a promising, market-based alternative to the fee-for-service payment structure that shapes doctor–patient relationships in America. Instead of billing patients and insurers service by service, direct primary care doctors charge their patients a periodic, prenegotiated fee in exchange for providing a wide range of healthcare services and increased availability compared to traditional practices. This “subscription” model is intended to eliminate the administrative burdens associated with insurer interaction, which, in theory, allows doctors to spend more time with their patients and less time doing paperwork.
Direct practices have become increasingly popular since Congress passed the Affordable Care Act (ACA). This growth has been driven by legislation in several states that resolves a number of legal questions that slowed the model’s growth and by the ACA’s recognition of the model as a permissible way to cover primary care in “approved” health plans. Yet legal scholars have hardly focused on direct primary care. Given the model’s growth, however, the time is ripe for a more focused legal inquiry.
This Note begins that inquiry. After tracing the model’s evolution and its core components, this Note substantively examines the laws in states that regulate direct practices and analyzes how those laws address a number of potential policy concerns. It then analyzes direct primary care’s broader role in the contemporary American healthcare marketplace. Based upon that analysis, this Note concludes that direct primary care is a beneficial innovation that harmonizes well with a cooperative-federalism-based healthcare policy model.
With the spread of social-media advertising, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has made many attempts to regulate the burgeoning field. However, the complexity of social media makes it difficult to regulate without violating the First Amendment. This difficulty is especially true for Instagram, a social-media platform where pictures—a form of speech protected by the First Amendment—are the primary focal point. This Note argues that the FTC’s material-connection disclosure requirement potentially violates the First Amendment as it applies to Instagram advertisements. Instead of focusing on audience perception when determining whether an endorser must include a material-connection disclosure, the FTC should instead consider the poster’s intent in sharing an Instagram post to prevent any chilling of speech or violations of posters’ First Amendment rights.