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Constitution

Justice Sotomayor: Stop Bending the Constitution to Favor Cops

Evan Bernick | Posted 01.26.2015 | Politics
Evan Bernick

Americans expect and deserve a level playing field every time they seek justice in our courts. Our nation was founded on the principle that public officials possess only delegated (and therefore limited) powers, and they must be held accountable for the responsible exercise of those powers.

Charlie Hebdo, Islam and Religious Freedom: Study Finds Independent Courts, Civility Best Protect Liberties, Lessen Conflict

David Briggs | Posted 01.26.2015 | Religion
David Briggs

What the new research suggests is that promoting freedom is less about any belief system or form of government than a commitment for nations to follow through on their constitutional promises to uphold religious freedoms.

I'll Vote for That

Katharine Rose | Posted 01.22.2015 | Politics
Katharine Rose

The mere idea that members of Congress should be required to take annual ethics training speaks volumes about how far we have strayed from our founders' values, but may be necessary as a first step toward restoring decency and respectability in our nation's capital.

Respecting the Seventh Amendment

Joanne Doroshow | Posted 01.21.2015 | Politics
Joanne Doroshow

We are seeing more proposals to limit the right to jury trial than ever before.

Saving Our Republic From Citizens United

Rep. John Conyers | Posted 01.21.2015 | Politics
Rep. John Conyers

Today, in the face of limitless anonymous political donations and dramatically widening inequality, our government is slowly starting to look more like an oligarchy, governed according to the whims of a special few. Thankfully, there are straightforward steps Congress can take right now to reverse this deeply troubling trend.

Will the Supreme Court Honor Dr. King's Legacy?

Elizabeth B. Wydra | Posted 01.25.2015 | Politics
Elizabeth B. Wydra

The Supreme Court shouldn't dishonor Dr. King's memory by removing one of the tools we have used to build bridges from the "islands of despair" of racialized poverty and segregation he decried.

Doing the Right Thing on Marriage in the Supreme Court

Elizabeth B. Wydra | Posted 01.16.2015 | Politics
Elizabeth B. Wydra

Even if the country would eventually get to national recognition of marriage equality through the democratic process -- and that is a big "if" -- the Court is doing its duty by stepping in now.

Professor: Supreme Court Shouldn't Protect Speech I Don't Like

Evan Bernick | Posted 01.16.2015 | Politics
Evan Bernick

Statutes that distinguish between messages about different things and treat them differently are indeed content-based restrictions on speech, and the Court must clarify this in order to ensure that all speakers receive the full protections they are due.

We Need Free Speech Because We Are Ignorant

Michael Shammas | Posted 01.14.2015 | Politics
Michael Shammas

We are all ignorant; none of us have all the answers. That fact is not only a strong argument in favor of free speech and against those who would suppress it -- it is a spur toward greater wisdom.

Federal Judge to Texas: No, You Can't Force People to Do Useless Things

Evan Bernick | Posted 01.09.2015 | Politics
Evan Bernick

The state of Texas told Isis Brantley that she needed to spend thousands of hours taking useless classes and thousands of dollars on useless equipment before she would be permitted to teach hairbraiding at her own school. On Wednesday Judge Sam Sparks told Texas that that was unconstitutional.

Death Penalty Becomes More Rare and More Problematic

Nancy Leong | Posted 01.05.2015 | Crime
Nancy Leong

While a majority of states have abandoned the death penalty altogether, either in law or in practice, the handful of states that continue to execute prisoners do so despite a number of troubling issues relating to its implementation.

Enhanced Interrogation Techniques--Cruel and Unusual Punishment By Any Standard

Dr. Harlan K. Ullman | Posted 12.16.2014 | Politics
Dr. Harlan K. Ullman

The issue is not whether torture works or does not. I believe it does not work. But any cruel and unusual punishment is destructive to the legitimacy and credibility of American values. The Bush 43 White House should have known better.

Three Things You (And Judges) Need to Know About the Bill of Rights

Evan Bernick | Posted 12.16.2014 | Politics
Evan Bernick

This Monday, the Bill of Rights turned 223. It is an occasion for celebration and reflection. Celebration, because the Bill of Rights has proven a sturdy shield for protecting individual freedom. Reflection, because the Bill of Rights is often misunderstood, even by judges.

Stop Complaining About 'Judicial Activism'

Evan Bernick | Posted 12.11.2014 | Politics
Evan Bernick

The SCOTUS confirmation process has been dominated by extended, fruitless discussions of the supposed scourge of "judicial activism." At a time when the government is claiming unprecedented authority over our lives, we should shift the focus to the judiciary's critical role in protecting our constitutional rights.

Alaska's Enlightened Approach to Drugs and Privacy

David Morris | Posted 12.04.2014 | Politics
David Morris

Rarely do politicians or political parties offer a coherent framework for deciding when a higher level of government should preempt a lower level of government, or when individual liberty trumps state regulation. Which makes Alaska so refreshing and instructive.

365 Days to Globalize the Spirit of the 13th Amendment

Robert J. Benz | Posted 12.04.2014 | Impact
Robert J. Benz

Passing the 13th Amendment helped to reconcile inconsistencies that were forged into our founding documents about: who we are as a nation, who we are as a people and how we wished to define ourselves as individuals.

Criminal Injustice: 4 Ways Courts Can Restore Faith in the Legal System After Ferguson

Evan Bernick | Posted 01.28.2015 | Politics
Evan Bernick

As protests continue across the nation, it is worth asking what, if anything, can be done to address the perception that citizens cannot expect help from the courts when police officers are accused of unjustifiably depriving them of their liberty, property or even their lives.

Excerpts From Texas's New American History Textbook

John Blumenthal | Posted 01.25.2015 | Comedy
John Blumenthal

And so it came to pass that God persuaded the Founding Fathers that all fellas should be permitted to bear these weapons to protect theyselves from intruders and folks who wore hoodies. Thus was it written in the Constitution and it remains the holiest of all laws in this here land of ours. Amen.

Guard Reinforcements Contain Damage In Ferguson

AP | TOM FOREMAN JR. and ALAN SCHER ZAGIER | Posted 01.26.2015 | Crime

FERGUSON, Mo. (AP) — Business owners and residents boarded up windows and cleared away debris Wednesday as Ferguson sought a tentative return to nor...

Does the UN See US "Institutionalized Discrimination" in the Wake of Ferguson?

Ambassador Muhamed Sacirbey | Posted 01.25.2015 | World
Ambassador Muhamed Sacirbey

The Ferguson grand jury decision not to criminally prosecute a police officer in the shooting of an unarmed young black man has reached the Geneva HQ of the UN Office of Human Rights Chief Prince Zeid, but the consequences will be felt globally and probably with indefinite impact.

An Open Letter of Apology to the United States of America

Brian Joyce | Posted 01.25.2015 | Media
Brian Joyce

The media was wrong, and the White House was right. Still, many of us in the media won't admit it. Therefore, I'd like to apologize to you. We should probably make a better effort to understand policy, before we attempt to comment on it. And we should probably also admit, once and for all, that the President was born in America.

Are the President's Actions on Immigration Legal?

Geoffrey R. Stone | Posted 01.21.2015 | Politics
Geoffrey R. Stone

Prosecutorial discretion -- the power of the executive to determine when to enforce the law -- is one of the most well-established traditions in American law. Prosecutorial discretion is, in particular, central to the enforcement of immigration law against removable noncitizens.

Change Is Coming -- It Always Does

Doug Zeigler | Posted 01.20.2015 | Politics
Doug Zeigler

Progressiveness is on the right side of history. Our country has shown time and time again that we move forward, not backwards. This country has been built from our birth on progressive and liberal principles, step by step, striving to improve.

What Grubergate Teaches Us About the Need for Judicial Engagement

Evan Bernick | Posted 01.19.2015 | Politics
Evan Bernick

Judges in every case ought to evaluate the government's arguments in a way that is sensitive to the ugly reality of legislative sausage-making rather than adopting the unwarranted assumption that we have found angels in the form of politicians and bureaucrats to govern us.

Congress Should Reject War Authorization Against Islamic State: Tell President No to Stupid War

Doug Bandow | Posted 01.17.2015 | Politics
Doug Bandow

President Barack Obama finally is obeying the law. He wants Congress to authorize military action against the Islamic State. That's what the Constitution requires.