Every High Has a Low: A Pragmatic Approach to the War on Drugs

Mark Garibyan*

2 U. Mich. J.L. Reform A6

One of the lasting vestiges of Richard Nixon’s presidency is the infamous “War on Drugs,” a forty-year-old effort aimed at curtailing “illicit drug consumption and transactions in America.”1 Although the goal behind the policy—a reduction in the rate of substance abuse—may be altruistic, the War on Drugs has dismally failed to achieve its goals and has exacerbated existing problems.2 Specifically, laws dealing with crack cocaine result in a “heavily disproportionate impact on black defendants”:3 in 2008 “blacks comprised 79.8 percent of those convicted for crack cocaine-related offenses,” whereas “whites comprised only 10.4 percent.”4More generally, these laws illustrate a fundamental misconception of the chief cause of drug abuse and the necessary remedial measures.5 The best solution to achieve the goals of the United States’ War on Drugs is to mimic Portugal’s and Sweden’s approach to combating drug abuse.6

Continue reading

Steps to Alleviating Violence Against Women on Tribal Lands

Anjum Unwala*

2 U. Mich. J.L. Reform A1

One in three Native American women has been raped or has experienced an attempted rape.1 Federal officials also failed to prosecute 75% of the alleged sex crimes against women and children living under tribal authority.2 The Senate bill to reauthorize the 1994 Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) could provide appropriate recourse for Native American women who are victims of sexual assault.3 This bill (S. 1925), introduced in 2011, would grant tribal courts the ability to prosecute non-Indians who have sexually assaulted their Native American spouses and domestic partners.4 Congress has quickly reauthorized the Violence Against Women Act twice before.5 But members of the House of Representatives now oppose a provision in S. 1925 that allows tribal courts to prosecute non-Native American criminal defendants, indicating that the battle to pass the bill will be prolonged.6

Continue reading