Monthly Archives: November 2011

Occupy the Docket

Peter Dunne As the Occupy Movement continues to make national headlines, the struggle to hold America’s ‘1%’ accountable is increasingly being played out through the Federal and State Court Systems. On Wednesday, a South Carolina State Circuit Judge permitted Occupy Columbia protesters to return to the grounds of the State Capitol after attempts by Governor Haley to evict them. This followed…

Enough is enough: End the arrests of journalists documenting police activity in public places

Jonathan Peters An AP reporter, an AP photographer, a Daily Newsreporter, a Vanity Fair correspondent, a New York Timesblogger—all arrested or detained while covering Occupy Wall Street (OWS) protests. And that’s just a sample. Josh Stearns, associate program director at Free Press, for two months has tracked journalist arrests at OWS protests, and as of this writing the total is 26.  That’s 26 people…

DC Circuit Handicaps Guantanamo Habeas Petitions

Billy Corriher  In the midst of Congress’ continuing debate over Guantanamo detainees, the DC Circuit issued a sharply divided ruling in which it denied one detainee a writ of Habeas Corpus. In Latif v. Obama, the majority overturned the district court’s decision and held that the district court should have shown greater deference to the government’s evidence. The…

Occupy, Qualified Immunity, and Cell Phone Cameras

Mark Wilson  Qualified immunity is the little black dress in the civil rights defendant’s litigation toolbox. Any answer to either a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 civil rights complaint or a Bivens action will include this go-to defense. Harsh police reactions in recent weeks at the various Occupy protests have me thinking about qualified immunity. Last month, Oakland police…

Get Rid of Direct Elections for Prosecutors

The Minnesota state legislature is now considering H.F. 1666, the “Impartial Justice Act“, which would put to the voters a constitutional amendment to eliminate direct election of state judges. Currently, Minnesota voters elect judges just as they would elect a state senator or governor–judicial candidates raise money, campaign against each other, and appear on the general…

10 Minutes To Midnight For Health Care Reform?

Jake Laperruque  This week the Supreme Court ended significant speculation by agreeing to address the Constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in 2012.  Already a huge amount of commentary has been drawn to the questions of whether the law could – or will – be overturned.  But with a case that is so inherently tied to…

Good and Bad News for Advocates of Reproductive Justice

Peter Dunne As has been well noted over the past week, the defeat of Mississippi’s ‘Personhood Amendment’ was due less to a fear that its passage would define life as beginning at fertilization, and more to the suggestion that the proposed change might criminalize numerous non-abortion related services. For advocates of Family Planning, the campaign to oppose…

Occupy Must Keep Inequality on Nation’s Conscience

Billy Corriher As the sun rose on Monday, the park that housed Occupy Wall Street was quiet, except for the ruffling of tarps and sleeping bags, some construction noise in the distance. The protesters roused from their slumber. The park was teeming with tents, and the ground covered with sleeping young people. Cooks prepped the…

American Censorship Day

Huaou Yan The holiday season had a new addition this year: yesterday, November 16th, was designated American Censorship Day by a group of organizations, including among others, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Creative Commons, Demand Progress, and Mozilla, to protest the House Bill 3261, otherwise known as the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). A combination of two prior Senate…

Pay Secrecy and the EEOC

Anne King  A recent decision in an EEOC case against retail chain Sterling Jewelers highlights the issue of pay secrecy in the workplace – in particular the common employer practice of prohibiting employees from discussing wages with one another.  Pay secrecy may stem from a formal employer policy, informal practices or customs, or norms of…

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