Articles by msatta


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Who Will Gain From Florida’s 1,000,000 Restored-Felon Voters?

By Eric Allen Kauk* Last week voters in Florida passed a state constitutional amendment that automatically restored the right to vote to more than 1,000,000 people who were previously convicted of felonies, and who have successfully served their sentences.  The amendment was widely-supported by many groups including the ACLU, the Koch brothers-backed Freedom Partners, and…

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The Right to Vote in Every Corner of the Country

By Emma Greenman* With a week until the 2018 elections, campaigns are shifting into high gear and so are voter suppression efforts in many parts of the country. America’s history with disenfranchisement is older than the Constitution itself and this year we have seen a disturbing acceleration of the decade-old resurgence of restrictive voting laws,…

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Antitrust, Political Economy, and the Nomination of Brett Kavanaugh

By Chris Sagers[1] In the world there are weightier things than antitrust, and the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh involves many of them. His replacement of Anthony Kennedy will likely change the Court’s balance in several areas, perhaps including the constitutional status of abortion, marriage rights, and who knows what other civil rights…

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Plea Bargaining: Lessons Learned, Issues Outstanding

By Milton Heumann*   The classic “you’ve come a long way baby” mantra from the world of tobacco advertising has an analogous application to plea bargaining. Fifty years or so ago, plea bargaining was just emerging from the shadows of the perception of our trial courts, but today it is recognized as occupying the central…

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Fighting to Restore Civil Rights and Felon Rehabilitation in Florida

By Eric Allen Kauk* This November Florida will vote on Amendment 4, a measure that would automatically restore the right to vote to 1,487,847 convicted felons who have successfully served their entire sentence and paid their debt to society. Florida lags far behind the rest of the country when it comes to restoring individuals’ civil…

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Trump’s Flailing Ratchet: From “Bad Hombres” to “Zero Tolerance”

By Amien Kacou* The Trump administration has made fighting illegal immigration a top law enforcement priority. But, despite the President’s frequent displays of availability bias—if not vicious cynicism—on this issue, it is well-established that immigrants, regardless of legal status or origins, are on average less likely than citizens to commit most crimes. In fact, their…

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Obama and the Good Old Days of Federal Prosecution?

By David Patton* These days as a federal public defender, I’m often asked some version of, “Aren’t federal prosecutions horribly unfair and draconian now that Jeff Sessions is heading the Department of Justice?” I usually respond with some version of “Yes, they are.”  What I often leave out is, “And they have been for as…

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Federal Hate Crime Prosecutions are Critical, but Are They Enough?

By Melissa Garlick* Three militia members from southwest Kansas were recently convicted on federal civil rights charges and conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction for targeting Somali Muslim immigrants for a plan of mass murder in 2016.  On a recording made available to the jury, one of the defendants said: “The only good…

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Epistemic Humility as a Presidential Virtue

By Mark Satta* There are a lot of traits worth wanting in a political leader—relevant experience, good public speaking skills, strong critical thinking skills, a charming personality, empathy, tact, wisdom, diligence, willingness to serve those whom one leads, etc. The current President of the United States seems to lack an unsettling number of these traits,…

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