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Full-Text Articles in Law

Narrative Capacity, James Toomey May 2022

Narrative Capacity, James Toomey

Elisabeth Haub School of Law Faculty Publications

The doctrine of capacity is a fundamental threshold to the protections of private law. The law only recognizes private decision-making—from exercising the right to transfer or bequeath property and entering into a contract to getting married or divorced—made with the level of cognitive functioning that the capacity doctrine demands. When the doctrine goes wrong, it denies individuals, particularly older adults, access to basic private-law rights on the one hand and ratifies decision-making that may tear apart families and tarnish legacies on the other.

The capacity doctrine in private law is built on a fundamental philosophical mismatch. It is grounded in …


How To End Our Stories: A Study Of The Perspectives Of Seniors On Dementia And Decision-Making, James Toomey Jan 2021

How To End Our Stories: A Study Of The Perspectives Of Seniors On Dementia And Decision-Making, James Toomey

Elisabeth Haub School of Law Faculty Publications

Because dementia can cause individuals to make decisions that they otherwise would not, the law needs a mechanism to determine which decisions are entitled to the respect of the legal system and which may be overridden by others. In the philosophical literature, three primary theories for how to make this determination have been offered. First, "Cognitivism" posits that whether a decision should be recognized is a function of the mechanical functioning of the individual's brain at the time the decision is made. Second, "Essentialism" holds that decisions should be recognized so long as they are consistent with the cluster of …


"As Long As I'M Me": From Personhood To Personal Identity In Dementia And Decision-Making, James Toomey Jan 2021

"As Long As I'M Me": From Personhood To Personal Identity In Dementia And Decision-Making, James Toomey

Elisabeth Haub School of Law Faculty Publications

As people, especially older people, begin to develop dementia, we confront ethical questions about when and how to intervene in their increasingly compromised decision-making. The prevailing approach in philosophically-inclined bioethics to tackling this challenge has been to develop theories of “decision-making capacity” based on the same characteristics that entitle the decisions of moral persons to respect in general. This Article argues that this way of thinking about the problem has missed the point. Because the disposition of property is an identity-dependent right, what matters in dementia and decision-making is an individual’s personal identity with their prior self, not their moral …


An Australian Conundrum: Genomic Technology, Data, And The Covidsafe App, David Morrison, Patrick T. Quirk Dec 2020

An Australian Conundrum: Genomic Technology, Data, And The Covidsafe App, David Morrison, Patrick T. Quirk

Pace International Law Review

This paper examines the difficulties that have arisen in Australia in the use of its contact-tracing app. We examine the privacy implications around the use of the app, the wider economic imperative, and the balancing of those concerns against the health threat of the COVID-19 pandemic. We posit that default options are superior in times of emergency and rather than begging for the adoption of lifesaving technology, we suggest that the evidence gathered by behavioral economists provides an apposite and powerful alternative worthy of consideration.


Constitutionalizing Nature's Law: Dignity And The Regulation Of Biotechnology In Switzerland, James Toomey Jan 2020

Constitutionalizing Nature's Law: Dignity And The Regulation Of Biotechnology In Switzerland, James Toomey

Elisabeth Haub School of Law Faculty Publications

The Swiss Constitution was amended by referendum in 1992 to include two unique provisions: Article 119, which imposes strict limits on genetic and reproductive technologies in humans in order to protect ‘human dignity’, and Article 120, which commits the Swiss federal government to limiting genetic technologies in non-human species on the basis of the ‘dignity of the creature’. This article analyzes the role of ‘dignity’ as a limit on biotechnologies in the Swiss constitutional order. It concludes that the understanding of dignity the constitution embraces codifies a contestable metaphysical theory of value at the constitutional level. Specifically, the Swiss constitutional …


The Exclusion Of Pregnant, Pregnable, And Once-Pregnable People (A.K.A. Women) From Biomedical Research, Vanessa Merton Jan 1993

The Exclusion Of Pregnant, Pregnable, And Once-Pregnable People (A.K.A. Women) From Biomedical Research, Vanessa Merton

Elisabeth Haub School of Law Faculty Publications

The barriers to women's participation as subjects in biomedical research are currently being challenged as a matter of legislative policy, medicine, and law. This Article catalogs the ways in which women have been disadvantaged by their exclusion and recent developments to redress them, and goes on to dissect the underlying rationales for excluding women from clinical trials. The author reveals the 'fundamental misconception' behind exclusionary rationales, and argues that research sponsors in fact have more to fear in the way of potential liability from the exclusion of women, even pregnant women and women of child-bearing capacity, than from their inclusion. …