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Dershowitz: Should Mueller report comment on noncriminal conduct? | TheHill
For example, if the collusion took the form of someone in the Trump campaign directing the Russians to hack the Democratic National Committee or the Clinton campaign, that might well constitute an independent federal crime. But the mere use by a campaign of material previously hacked by Russia would be as protected by the First Amendment as the use by the New York Times of material previously hacked or stolen by Edward Snowden, Chelsea Manning or Daniel Ellsberg.

So what would Mueller’s legal responsibility be if he came to the conclusion that members of the Trump campaign colluded with Russian operatives without committing any federal crimes? Would it be proper for him to include evidence of such noncriminal collusion in his report? Would it be proper for him to opine on the propriety of such noncriminal collusion?
constitution  history  election  politics 
5 weeks ago by oripsolob
John Dingell: How to Fix Government - The Atlantic
In December 1958, almost exactly three years after I entered the House of Representatives, the first American National Election Study, initiated by the University of Michigan, found that 73 percent of Americans trusted the federal government “to do the right thing almost always or most of the time.” As of December 2017, the same study, now conducted by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center, found that this number had plummeted to just 18 percent.
politics  constitution  Money  election  history 
10 weeks ago by oripsolob
Delete or Ignore? Pretend You're a Facebook Content Moderator | Blog | Independent Lens | PBS
In 2018, after much debate and controversy, Facebook finally published its censorship policies. All 27 pages of them. The move, wrote the LA Times, “adds a new degree of transparency to a process that users, the public and advocates have criticized as arbitrary and opaque.” But as explored in the Independent Lens film The Cleaners, to what end do those policies translate into something sensible that a contractor hired to do the actual censoring can understand and apply?

And if you were one of those “cleaners,” what decisions would you make based on FB policy and your background?

This quiz is based on real scenarios as well as Facebook’s own censorship guidelines. Your task: Imagine that you yourself are a censor for hire, a “cleaner” whose job it is to monitor a social media feed. Get into the mindset of these real-life cleaners and try to guess what they actually decided.

Delete or ignore? Choose One.
Speech  Social  Media  constitution  Test 
november 2018 by oripsolob
About Those Self-Evident Truths | On the Media | WNYC Studios
As Americans battle for control of the future of the United States, it seems that we're always going back to founding documents and core principles: relying on them and reinterpreting them, in what seems to be an increasingly arduous effort to govern ourselves. It all starts to beg an uncomfortable question: in the end, can we govern ourselves? John Adams didn’t think so. He said that all political systems, whether monarchy, democracy, aristocracy, were equally prey to the brutish nature of mankind.

Harvard historian Jill Lepore recently released a sweeping history of the American experiment called These Truths: A History of the United States. Brooke speaks with Lepore about this country's history and the history of the contested — and supposedly self-evident — truths under-girding our shaky democracy.
history  constitution  NPR 
november 2018 by oripsolob
Opinion | What America Owes Frederick Douglass - The New York Times
Editorial by David W. Blight

"The very thing Your Excellency would avoid” — a race war — “in the Southern states can only be avoided by the very measure that we propose,” i.e., black suffrage, Douglass said. As the delegation walked out, the president was overheard saying: “Those damned sons of bitches thought they had me in a trap. I know that damned Douglass; he’s just like any nigger, and would sooner cut a white man’s throat than not.”

Douglass left a timeless maxim for republics in times of crisis: “Our government may at some time be in the hands of a bad man. When in the hands of a good man it is all well enough.” But “we ought to have our government so shaped that even when in the hands of a bad man we shall be safe.” Politics, he insisted, mattered as much as the air he breathed.
history  race  War  constitution  politics 
november 2018 by oripsolob
How Black Citizenship Was Won, and Lost - The New York Times
“Black Citizenship in the Age of Jim Crow,” an exhibition about Reconstruction and its aftermath at the New-York Historical Society through March 3, doesn’t draw explicit parallels to today’s politics. But perhaps it doesn’t have to.

“The struggle over who has the right to citizenship and who belongs has been at the heart of American life over centuries,” Marci Reaven, vice president of history exhibitions at the museum, said on a recent afternoon.

Reconstruction can be a challenging story to tell, given how it cuts against deeply held American ideas about steady moral progress. It can also seem like a very abstract story, dominated by Constitutional amendments, legal battles and court decisions.
race  history  inequalities  constitution 
november 2018 by oripsolob
Trump’s Birthright Citizenship Proposal Is at Odds With Legal Consensus - The New York Times
The meaning of that clause is plain, said Peter J. Spiro, a law professor at Temple University. “The conventional understanding is absolutely clear that children born in the United States are citizens of the United States, with the insignificant exception of the children of diplomats,” he said.

A main purpose of the clause was to overrule Dred Scott, the shameful 1857 Supreme Court decision that said black slaves were property and not citizens. The decision said the Constitution barred Congress and the states from granting citizenship to the descendants of slaves, and it helped prompt the Civil War.

The 1898 decision did not specifically discuss unauthorized immigrants. But in 1982, in Plyler v. Doe, the Supreme Court ruled that undocumented children were entitled to free public education. The court relied on another part of the 14th amendment, its equal protection clause, and it interpreted language similar to that in the citizenship clause.

“Although the court splintered over the specific question of public education,” Mr. Ho wrote, “all nine justices agreed that the Equal Protection Clause protects legal and illegal aliens alike. And all nine reached that conclusion precisely because illegal aliens are ‘subject to the jurisdiction’ of the U.S., no less than legal aliens and U.S. citizens.”
education  history  constitution 
october 2018 by oripsolob
Originalism is all the rage, but the Constitution’s authors had something else in mind - The Boston Globe
Despite this outsized attention, crucial features of the Constitution’s creation remain obscure. It is often assumed that the Constitution was fully created in 1787 and 1788 when it was written and ratified. But when it initially appeared, it was shrouded in uncertainty. Not only was the Constitution’s meaning unclear but, far more significantly, it was unclear what the Constitution itself actually was.

For starters, the Constitution was a written text. Unlike the unwritten British constitution that Revolution-era Americans had come of age worshiping — which was an amorphous amalgamation of custom, practice, and tradition — the American Constitution enjoyed an obvious tangible presence. Comprised of seven articles and some 4,000 words, it could be located clearly in space and time.

Accordingly, during the earliest debates over the Constitution, many congressmen assumed that it was unfinished — and that it was their job, as elected representatives, to help complete it. They embraced Madison’s earlier remarks from Federalist 37: “All new laws, though penned with the greatest technical skill. . . are considered as more or less obscure and equivocal, until their meaning be liquidated and ascertained by a series of particular discussions and adjudications.”

Over the course of the 1790s [THE CRITICAL PERIOD], more constitutional debates began to turn on appeals to the history of the Constitution’s creation. Those who had insisted that the Constitution was necessarily unfinished found it too tempting not to join this game.

Over time, sustained appeals to the Constitution’s history helped ingrain a new kind of idea: that the Constitution was born finished.

In 1788, James Madison had reminded Americans that “no language is so copious as to supply words and phrases for every complex idea.” It was a “cloudy medium” incapable of definitive expression, particularly when it came to constitutions. So while the American Constitution was fundamental law, its meaning could change as future generations interpreted its uncertain contents. [his opinion later changes]

If we look at the early history of the Constitution anew and put aside our obsessive search for an original fixed document, we will find a story about how the Constitution’s first users [CRITICAL PERIOD] inadvertently sanctioned a novel idea of constitutional fixity. [therefore, the logic goes, *that* concept is in itself a construction, post-ratification]
constitution  history 
october 2018 by oripsolob
Street photography: A right or invasion? - The New York Times
When Erno Nussenzweig, an Orthodox Jew and retired diamond merchant from Union City, New Jersey, saw his picture last year in the exhibition catalogue, he called his lawyer. And then he sued diCorcia and Pace for exhibiting and publishing the portrait without permission and profiting from it financially. The suit sought an injunction to halt sales and publication of the photograph, as well as $500,000 in compensatory damages and $1.5 million in punitive damages.

The suit was dismissed last month by a New York State Supreme Court judge who said that the photographer's right to artistic expression trumped the subject's privacy rights. But to many artists, the fact that the case went so far is significant.

The practice of street photography has a long tradition in the United States, with documentary and artistic strains, in big cities and small towns. Photographers usually must obtain permission to photograph on private property - including restaurants and hotel lobbies - but the freedom to photograph in public has long been taken for granted.
photography  privacy  constitution  religion 
august 2018 by oripsolob
Artist Who Furtively Photographed His Neighbors Wins in Court, Again
New York State court judge Judge Eileen A. Rakower dismissed the claim in 2013, ruling that the photographs did not break New York State civil rights laws and were protected under the First Amendment. “An artist may create and sell a work of art that resembles an individual without his or her written consent,” she wrote. The plaintiffs appealed, only to have Judge Rakower’s ruling unanimously upheld and reiterated by the appeals court this month.
privacy  constitution  photography 
august 2018 by oripsolob
Opinion | America Started Over Once. Can We Do It Again? - The New York Times
The 14th Amendment, in particular, “hit the reset button on American democracy,” as Sherrilyn Ifill, director of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, put it recently. It extended the protections in the Bill of Rights, which applied only against the federal government, to cover people in their dealings with the states. Its best known and most litigated provision, Section 1, went even further, guaranteeing for the first time the basic equality of all people, no matter their skin color, station in life or citizenship.
history  race  constitution 
july 2018 by oripsolob
The Risks of Social Media Use by Employees, and How Public Employers Can Create Strong Social Media Policies: Foster Swift

Over the years, courts have made a clear distinction between the rights entitled to a private citizen, and a public sector employee. Social media has blurred the lines between professional and personal life. The First Amendment guarantees free speech rights, but it is not without limits. This is true both online and offline.

In order to challenge an employment-related decision under the First Amendment, a public sector employee must (1) show their speech addresses a matter of public concern, and (2) show free-speech interests outweigh the employer’s efficiency interests.

If an employee can show that comments made through social media involve a matter of public concern, courts will evaluate whether the speech:

Impairs discipline or harmony among co-workers.
Has a detrimental impact on close working relationships for which personal loyalty and confidence are necessary.
Interferes with the normal operation of the employer’s business.
free  Speech  Social  Media  constitution 
july 2018 by oripsolob
Public Employees, Private Speech: 1st Amendment doesn't always protect government workers
Nonetheless, public employees often lose free speech cases because courts defer to an employer’s judgment that the employee’s inflammatory posts will cause disharmony or make the public view the public employer with derision or disrespect.

When a public employee’s posts create a real fear of backlash from the community, courts often defer to the employer’s judgments. “For example, I think such concerns are especially strong where a police officer’s off-duty speech—on social media or elsewhere—undermines a police department’s ability credibly to communicate its commitment to evenhanded law enforcement regardless of race,” Norton explains. “For example, consider the message sent to the public if a police chief were to march in a Klan parade while off duty—or sends a series of racist tweets.”
free  Speech  constitution  Social  Media 
july 2018 by oripsolob
To Tweet or not to Tweet: Government Employees and Social Media | Freedom Forum Institute
1) First of all, government employees are only protected by the First Amendment when they are speaking as private citizens. If their speech is part of their official job duties, then they can be fired or disciplined for it.

This rule comes from a 2006 Supreme Court case, Garcetti v. Ceballos. Obviously, it isn’t always easy to differentiate when a government employee is speaking as a private citizen, and when they are speaking as a government employee.

The Supreme Court established this as a necessary element for a government employee’s speech to be protected by the First Amendment in Pickering v. Board of Education. In a later case, Connick v. Myers, the Supreme Court instructed that the question of whether an employee’s speech addresses a matter of public concern should be determined by looking at the content, form, and context of a given statement, as revealed by the whole record, and not by applying a common, standardized rule. The Court also said that this was a question of law, meaning that it should be left to the court to decide, not a jury.

3) If a government employee was speaking as a private citizen on a matter of public concern, the next question is whether the government employer’s interest in efficiently fulfilling its public services is greater than the employee’s interest in speaking freely.

4) Special Note: Federal government employees have extra restrictions on their speech, which are imposed by the Hatch Act.

The Hatch Act, or the Act to Prevent Pernicious Political Activities, was passed in 1939. The purpose of the Hatch Act was to prevent federal employees from engaging in partisan political activities, such as endorsing particular political candidates.
Speech  constitution  Social  Media 
july 2018 by oripsolob
Government Employees Get to Have Opinions, Too | American Civil Liberties Union
What do federal employees remain free to say? The Supreme Court has stated clearly that public employees cannot be fired for speaking on issues of public concern as private individuals. Practically speaking, this means that – with the possible exception of certain high-ranking government officials – an employee can speak on personal time and in a personal capacity about matters that affect the public. Their protections are strongest when they are speaking about issues that do not relate to their job duties. For example, a scientist who works at the Environmental Protection Agency is free to research and write academic papers on her own time, which she can then publish under her own name. A State Department employee can attend a local school board meeting and express support for a measure being proposed. To the extent their speech meets the above requirements, employees can even speak anonymously. (One Twitter account that launched last night seems to be run by a handful of National Park Service rangers apparently writing during their personal time.)


DEMAND TRANSPARENCY These are general rules, and there are exceptions, such as when an employee’s speech causes disruption to the workplace. But properly construed, any exceptions should apply only in those cases where the government’s interest in carrying out its duties is truly impaired by what an employee has said.  
Social  Media  constitution  Speech 
july 2018 by oripsolob
Public Employee’s Offensive Social Media Comments Unprotected
Although the court resolved the balancing test in favor of the employer in this case, it emphasized that government employees do not necessarily lose their right to free speech by working for the government and expressly cautioned that an employer's interest in maintaining efficiency will not always outweigh the interests of an employee in speaking on matters of public concern.

Grutzmacher v. Howard County, Md., 4th Cir., No. 15-2066 (March 20, 2017).

Professional Pointer: While the employer won this case, employers nevertheless should be careful when drafting and enforcing social media policies so that they do not interfere unnecessarily with employees' First Amendment rights.  
Social  Media  Speech  constitution 
july 2018 by oripsolob
Exclusive: Trump privately talks up executing all big drug dealers - Axios
He often jokes about killing drug dealers... He’ll say, 'You know the Chinese and Filipinos don’t have a drug problem. They just kill them.'
— A senior administration official to Axios
War  constitution  prisons  sociology 
february 2018 by oripsolob
How To Stop School Shootings - YouTube
Posted on the New Trier Free Discussion FB group. Quote: "Common sense. Well said. Best thing I've heard on the topic."
constitution  Video 
february 2018 by oripsolob
Ways of Thinking...: Gun Safety and Mass School Shootings
Keep in mind that schools are still very safe places to be.  And, we are living at one of the safest times in American history.  Below are some graphs showing longitudinal levels of school violence from the National Center for Education Statistics.  So, take solace in the knowledge that schools are safer than ever.  I think this data lends itself to the conclusion that we do not need armed guards in schools.
sociology  education  constitution 
february 2018 by oripsolob
Conor Harrington | Outside
Irish painter of "The Blind Patriot - Stuck Inside a Statue, Look at You in Miami"

"My new mural in Miami exploring America’s relationship with its flag and partly inspired by the awful black-balling of @kaepernick7 "
art  constitution  history 
december 2017 by oripsolob
The Traffic Stop
On July 6, 2016, Philando Castile was pulled over by Officer Jeronimo Yanez for a broken brake light. 74 seconds later, Yanez fired seven shots. Winner of the TC/RHDF 2017 Best Documentary: Gold Award.

How did a routine traffic stop turn fatal in less than two minutes? We break down what happened that night, second by second.
radio  NPR  race  inequalities  constitution  ferguson 
november 2017 by oripsolob
Cruel and Unusual - Radiolab Presents: More Perfect - WNYC
America has long wrestled with this concept in the context of our strongest punishment, the death penalty. A majority of “we the people” (61 percent, to be exact) are in favor of having it, but inside the Supreme Court, opinions have evolved over time in surprising ways.

And outside of the court, the debate drove one woman in the UK to take on the U.S. death penalty system from Europe. It also caused states to resuscitate old methods used for executing prisoners on death row. And perhaps more than anything, it forced a conversation on what constitutes cruel and unusual punishment.

Deals with the notion of ABOLITIONISM
history  constitution  Corporation  inequalities 
november 2017 by oripsolob
What Explains U.S. Mass Shootings? International Comparisons Suggest an Answer - The New York Times
The USA has 270 million guns and has had 90 mass shooters from 1966 to 2012. Americans make up about 4.4 percent of the global population but own 42 percent of the world’s guns.

Adjusted for population, only Yemen has a higher rate of mass shootings among countries with more than 10 million people. Yemen has the world’s second-highest rate of gun ownership after the United States.

[C]ountries with high suicide rates tended to have low rates of mass shootings — the opposite of what you would expect if mental health problems correlated with mass shootings.

Americans sometimes see this as an expression of deeper problems with crime, a notion ingrained, in part, by a series of films portraying urban gang violence in the early 1990s. But the United States is not actually more prone to crime than other developed countries.

Any individual can snap or become entranced by a violent ideology. What is different is the likelihood that this will lead to mass murder.

[A]n American is about 300 times more likely to die by gun homicide or accident than a Japanese person.

The Difference Is Culture

The United States is one of only three countries, along with Mexico and Guatemala, that begin with the opposite assumption: that people have an inherent right to own guns.
sociology  design  constitution  Psychology  mythology  culture 
november 2017 by oripsolob
A silent protest parade in 1917 set the stage for civil rights marches | Miami Herald
"The only sounds were those of muffled drums, the shuffling of feet and the gentle sobs of some of the estimated 20,000 onlookers. The women and children wore all white. The men dressed in black.

On the afternoon of Saturday, July 28, 1917, nearly 10,000 African-Americans marched down Fifth Avenue, in silence, to protest racial violence and white supremacy in the United States.

New York City, and the nation, had never before witnessed such a remarkable scene.

The “Silent Protest Parade,” as it came to be known, was the first mass African-American demonstration of its kind and marked a watershed moment in the history of the civil rights movement."

Ultimate cause of the CRM

Prior to the “Silent Protest Parade,” mob violence and the lynching of African-Americans had grown even more gruesome. In Waco, a mob of 10,000 white Texans attended the May 15, 1916, lynching of a black farmer, Jesse Washington. One year later, on May 22, 1917, a black woodcutter, Ell Persons, died at the hands of over 5,000 vengeance-seeking whites in Memphis.

Even by these grisly standards, East St. Louis later that same summer was shocking. Simmering labor tensions between white and black workers exploded on the evening of July 2, 1917.

For 24 hours, white mobs indiscriminately stabbed, shot and lynched anyone with black skin. Men, women, children, the elderly, the disabled — no one was spared. Homes were torched and occupants shot down as they attempted to flee. The death toll likely ran as high as 200 people.
race  inequalities  history  Speech  constitution 
july 2017 by oripsolob
Alphawood Gallery
Incarceration of Japanese Americans during WWII and the Demise of Civil Liberties

Coming in June 29, 2017
art  history  constitution 
june 2017 by oripsolob
Gun Deaths In America | FiveThirtyEight
We tend to focus on terrorism and mass shootings, police officers killed in the line of duty, and police shootings of civilians.

By Ben Casselman, Matthew Conlen and Reuben Fischer-Baum
design  constitution  sociology  mythology  fb 
july 2016 by oripsolob
Alton Sterling was shot and killed by Baton Rouge police officers. Here’s what we know. - Vox
An analysis of the available FBI data by Vox’s Dara Lind shows that US police kill black people at disproportionate rates: They accounted for 31 percent of police shooting victims in 2012, even though they made up just 13 percent of the US population. Although the data is incomplete, since it’s based on voluntary reports from police agencies around the country, it highlights the vast disparities in how police use force.

Police only have to reasonably perceive a threat to justify shooting

Legally, what most matters in these shootings is whether police officers reasonably believed that their lives were in danger, not whether the shooting victim actually posed a threat.

In the 1980s, a pair of Supreme Court decisions — Tennessee v. Garner and Graham v. Connor — set up a framework for determining when deadly force by cops is reasonable.

Constitutionally, "police officers are allowed to shoot under two circumstances," David Klinger, a University of Missouri St. Louis professor who studies use of force, told Vox’s Dara Lind. The first circumstance is "to protect their life or the life of another innocent party" — what departments call the "defense-of-life" standard. The second circumstance is to prevent a suspect from escaping, but only if the officer has probable cause to think the suspect poses a dangerous threat to others.
race  inequalities  ferguson  sociology  constitution 
july 2016 by oripsolob
Mandatory Union Fees Getting Hard Look by Supreme Court - The New York Times
Logical fallacy of false equivalence: “I get to choose what movie I want to go see,” Mr. Elrich said. “I get to choose what church I want to go to. I get to choose what gym I want to join.” He should have the same choice, he said, about whether to support a union. Kamala D. Harris, California’s attorney general, told the justices in a brief that workers who objected to the positions taken by unions suffered no First Amendment injuries because “they remain free to communicate their views to school officials, their colleagues and the public at large.”
labor  money  education  speech  constitution 
january 2016 by oripsolob
Tactical Experts Destroy the NRA’s Heroic Gunslinger Fantasy | The Nation
For every justifiable homicide in the US, guns are used to commit 34 murders and 78 suicides.
mythology  sociology  ais  constitution 
december 2015 by oripsolob
The Bill That Nobody Read - On The Media
USA PATRIOT Act: listen to the whole episode before you judge.
constitution  9/11  war  ais  history  privacy  npr 
may 2015 by oripsolob
Why Reconstruction Matters - Eric Foner
By the turn of the century, with the acquiescence of the Supreme Court, a comprehensive system of racial, political and economic inequality, summarized in the phrase Jim Crow, had come into being across the South. At the same time, the supposed horrors of Reconstruction were invoked as far away as South Africa and Australia to demonstrate the necessity of excluding nonwhite peoples from political rights. This is why W.E.B. Du Bois, in his great 1935 work “Black Reconstruction in America,” saw the end of Reconstruction as a tragedy for democracy, not just in the United States but around the globe.
history  ais  race  inequalities  constitution 
april 2015 by oripsolob
The Great War - BackStory with the American History Guys
World War I was sometimes called “the war to end all wars.” But a hundred years after the fighting began, it’s become a war that’s often forgotten in American history, or viewed as a prelude to WWII. In this episode, we explore some of the ways the conflict affected Americans far beyond the battlefields of Europe — from debates about the meaning of free speech (featuring Geoffrey Stone), to the fight over how the war would be remembered. Special attention to the struggles of African-Americans and the legacy of the Progressive Movement.
radio  npr  history  ais  speech  constitution  race  women 
august 2014 by oripsolob
America, Inc. - A History of Corporations
Virginia Company, colonies as corporations, How corporations became "persons" due to one reporter and one questionable SC Justice.
radio  ais  npr  corporation  history  constitution 
june 2014 by oripsolob
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