[Fourth Branch] Government Surveillance: The National Security Perspective

Many national security experts argue that lawful surveillance activities, such as those authorized by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), are necessary to protect the national security of the United States.

In this Fourth Branch video, Matthew Heiman takes a deep dive into this issue from the national security perspective.

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[Fourth Branch] FDA Regulation of Diagnostic Testing and COVID-19

Did Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations hamper the fight against COVID-19 at a critical juncture? In this short video narrated by Roger Klein, we explore the relationship between the FDA and the CDC in regulating and conducting diagnostic tests.

In 2016, in response to the Zika virus, the FDA designated the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as the country’s only diagnostic test manufacturer. In early February 2020, the CDC was ordered to distribute tests for COVID-19 which were faulty and had to have results verified by the CDC laboratory. Only in mid-March 2020, did the CDC loosen regulations which then allowed private hospitals and labs to develop and conduct their own tests.

Could more have been known about the disease at an earlier date if private testing and treatment had been allowed and encouraged? Should the COVID-19 emergency force us to reevaluate the purpose and use of public health regulations and policies?

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[Fourth Branch] Big Cities and Zoning: The Search for Affordable Housing

Across the country, housing in larger cities is becoming more expensive. Lower and middle-class families are being priced out of many of them. This video tells the story of Seattle residents Kip and Michelle Klemz and discusses the role that zoning regulations, specifically those that limit housing density, play in this trend.

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[Fourth Branch] Does Federal Permitting Under the National Environmental Policy Act Need Reform?

The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) was designed to regulate federal infrastructure projects to minimize harmful environmental impact. Over time, the review process has become lengthy and costly. This process has delayed or condemned needed construction of roads, pipelines, and power lines.

In this video, Professor James Coleman discusses possible benefits of NEPA reform, while explaining why the issue is hotly debated. He proposes a new way of formulating the question that could be discussed without resorting to partisanship.

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[Fourth Branch] Government Surveillance: Security v. Liberty?

In this Fourth Branch video, Matthew Heiman and Julian Sanchez debate the pros and cons of government surveillance and Faisal Gill, a former Department of Homeland Security official who was surveilled by the federal government beginning in 2006, tells his story.

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[Fourth Branch] Public Piracy of Private Property? Allen v. Cooper

The wreck of the Queen Anne’s Revenge, a ship captained by Blackbeard that sank in the early 18th century, sits underwater just off the coast of North Carolina.

Frederick Allen is the exclusive photographer and videographer of the wreck. In 2013, he found that North Carolina was using his footage on state websites without paying royalties – even though he had federal copyright protection for the material. After a settlement, the state continued to use the footage, and in a dispute now before the Court, Allen claims that the state agency officials are using video/photography materials disregarding due process and copyright law.

North Carolina argues that it is covered by sovereign immunity, and thus shielded from a suit over copyright violations.

Are members of a state agency exempt from copyright lawsuits in the name of state sovereign immunity?

The case will be argued before the U.S. Supreme Court on November 5.

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[Fourth Branch] Regulatory Sandboxes & Consumer Protection

What are regulatory sandboxes? How might they promote and stimulate innovation? What risks might they pose to consumers? Regulatory experts explore and debate the implications of these unique regulatory environments.

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[Fourth Branch] E-Cigarettes: Smoke & Mirrors

In this Fourth Branch video, legal and healthcare experts debate how federal and state agencies should approach the regulation of e-cigarettes. Should vaping be encouraged as a harm-reduction strategy, with the aim of reducing cigarette-related deaths, or should regulators seek to restrict the availability of e-cigarettes, with the aim of preventing nicotine addiction? This video explores these questions and more.

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[Video] What is the Regulatory Transparency Project?

The Regulatory Transparency Project promotes a national conversation about the benefits and costs of federal, state, and local regulatory policies and explores areas for possible improvement.

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[Fourth Branch] The Jones Act: Debating the Lingering Effects of a 100-Year-Old Law

Passed into law in 1920, the Jones Act is a ban on transport between two U.S. ports, unless it’s on a U.S.-built, U.S.-manned, U.S. flagged, and U.S.-owned ship. The Jones Act was designed to protect the United States’ shipbuilding industry and to ensure that U.S. waters and ports are safe and secure. Some argue, however, that in the context of the modern shipping economy the Jones Act does little to protect national security and, instead, raises prices on U.S. consumers and businesses.

In this Fourth Branch video, James Coleman (Dedman School of Law) and George Landrith (Frontiers of Freedom Institute) discuss the Jones Act’s history, debate its impact on American society today, and explore whether the Jones Act should be updated for today’s economic and national security needs.

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