Running loops around law: Loopholes in American life


In this world governed by a set of written laws, there are ways to skirt around the law while not facing the repercussions of breaking it. This is seen most recently in one of President Trump’s executive orders. The order implemented a temporary ban of entry to the United States from seven Muslim-majority countries. Legal experts argue the ban is unconstitutional because it violates the First Amendment among other amendments and legal doctrines.
While the experts may have a point, President Trump argues his ban is necessary to protect the security of the nation. By utilizing the loophole that allows him to violate some aspects of the Constitution in the interest of national security, lawyers have to first and foremost argue that the ban does not, in fact promote national security. While all the countries banned are Muslim, the ban doesn’t specifically target Muslims and therefore provides some wiggle room.
We utilize loopholes in some forms when we go to school every day. The 50 percent rule we have all come to know and love allows us to dodge a bad grade so long as effort was put into the assignment and the grade awarded was higher than a 20 percent. Although it is not inherently a loophole, the new semester grading policy, which eliminates final exams allows for the possibility to earn a higher grade where it would have been previously impossible.
The fact that one can put in an incredibly low amount of effort into a class and pass it is a loophole as well. To fail a class one needs to get an “E” for a quarter, which is a difficult feat. If one achieves the 50-percent rule on some assignments and completes others with minimal effort put forth, it is very unlikely that their grade would ever dip into the “E” range. Should someone get an “E” for a quarter, getting a “C” or above for the other quarter would be sufficient to prevent failing a class. These rules, when abused, have the potential to promote extreme laziness.
Some laws have interesting implications when applied to unique circumstances. Michigan Law professor Brian Kalt wrote a report detailing the possibility for committing crimes like murder in select areas of the Yellowstone National Park, which is located mainly in Wyoming but has some lands in neighboring Idaho and Montana. Article III of the Constitution states that criminal trials must be held in the state where the crime was committed, while at the same time, the Sixth Amendment entitles the defendant to a trial by jury of peers from the state in which the crime is committed.
When forming the park, Congress designated the park to be placed entirely under Wyoming’s federal district. This is a problem because crimes committed in the federal lands of the park that are not located in the state of Wyoming warrant a trial by jury. The land in the Idaho portion of the park is uninhabited, meaning there would be nobody eligible to be placed on the jury for the crime. The loophole to this day has still not been fixed. Needless to say, be careful the next time somebody invites you to Yellowstone National Park.

Aaron Levine

Back Page Editor