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Doctor-patient privilege and the common law

Despite being part of the original Hippocratic oath, doctor-patient confidentiality is a relatively new addition to Anglo-American law.

December 2015 / 2 min.

Making DNS work when your ISP blocks port 53

As I was curious about the methods and approaches of so-called “Smart DNS” services to get around geo-blocking, I wanted to experiment with a variety of them to see how they functioned. Frustratingly, I couldn’t get any of them to work. I could change my DNS servers (on my router, on my Windows machine, on […]

October 2015 / 2 min.

Cows vs. railroads: the near-death experience of President Grant

A rather incredible 1869 train accident involved President Grant, his family, and the Secretary of the Treasury – and a cow.

July 2015 / 2 min.

Thinking about evidence and causation in same-sex marriage arguments

A recurring theme in criticisms of allowing same-sex marriage – or, as Obergefell did, in finding that bans violated the fundamental right to marriage – is some variation of the “slippery slope.”

July 2015 / 3 min.

Privacy, liberty, dignity: Kennedy in Obergefell

Kennedy took a fascinating approach to discussing fundamental rights in Obergefell, making an argument that combined substantive due process with equal protection. To do this, he moved away from “privacy,” used in many of the cases he cited, to “dignity” and “liberty.” Using the term “liberty” instead of “privacy” (as in Griswold and Roe v. Wade) when discussing issues of […]

July 2015 / 2 min.

The National Anti-Monopoly League

There are times when certain conflicts of the 1880s and 1890s seem eerily similar to debates today – we are, it seems, both separated and united with our equivalents of a century and a quarter ago.

April 2015 / 2 min.

Preserving Jeffersonian ideals through government regulation

In the contentious years of Gilded Age America – 1870-1900 – the general consensus has been than the United States, laissez-faire capitalism and “liberty of contract.” Reality, unsurprisingly, was more complex.

November 2014 / 5 min.

New-Fashioned Quarantine (from 1916)

One traditional method Hill discusses is quarantine – but Hill gives it a rational spin, characteristic of early twentieth century optimism and trust in science and expertise.

October 2014 / 3 min.

David Seipp on Themes of the Nineteenth-Century Rhetoric of Privacy

In his late 1970s work, The Right to Privacy in American History, David J. Seipp argues that the “unity of the privacy phenomenon” in the nineteenth century came not from a singleness of motive, but rather from “a unity of language” (Seipp 116).

October 2014 / 4 min.

Sex and Eugenics Sterilization

In looking through Johanna Schoen’s 2005 book, Choice & Coercion: Birth Control, Sterilization, and Abortion in Public Health and Welfare, it appears that, although eugenics-based sterilization procedures in the early-to-mid twentieth century appear to have targeted women more than men, men were also sterilized through these programs.

October 2014 / 4 min.