Ed Rampell: The controversy over building an Islamic community center near Ground Zero shows that in America, you have constitutional rights – until the second you try to use them.
John Peeler: Many conservatives are now pushing to amend the Constitution to change the provision of the Fourteenth Amendment that allocates citizenship to all persons born or naturalized in the United States. Unlike many examples of creative interpretation, this proposal would formally amend the amendment. Liberals learned in the 1970s, with the proposed Equal Rights Amendment, how hard it is to amend the Constitution; here is our chance to teach the same lesson to conservatives.
The Supreme Court of the United States has scheduled October 5, 2010 to hear argument on the matter of open-ended background investigations of federal contractors arising from Homeland Security Presidential Directive #12 (Nelson et al. vs NASA, No. 09-530).
Tom Hall: A conservative Republican judge, appointed by George H.W. Bush has done what the Tea Party activists have been demanding – he restored the Constitution. Judge Vaughn Walker held that the U.S. Constitution, and its provisions requiring equal protection of the laws, required that Proposition Hate be stricken down.
Ron Wolff: Government is simply the institutionalization over time of the collective will of the people at any given moment, established with at least one essential objective in mind: the prevention of the inevitable chaos that would result in its absence.
Citizens United Case Disenfranchises Human Beings I was talking to a friend one day about how to teach children to be fair with one another. He told me that when he was a kid, his mother had a great way of squashing fairness disputes between him and his sister. When an argument arose around someone [...]
Diane Lefer: As our Probation Department moves in the direction of reform, the good news is that the department recognizes the need for reentry services for kids coming out of the system–often traumatized, unable to read and write, set free on the mean streets in an abysmal job market while carrying the stigma of lockup.
Ramona Ripston: The California Supreme Court ‘sentenced’ our state’s taxpayers to an additional debt of $180,000 more per year last week.
Sikivu Hutchinson: Because Franklin and Turner are black male killers of black women, it is safe to say that there will be no cable-ready film made psychoanalyzing their childhoods, no Lifetime channel melodrama on the lives and last days of their victims trumpeted in flashy national billboard campaigns, and no pathos inspiring media blitz chronicling the anguish that these murders elicited in South L.A. communities.
The Oscar Grant verdict has been handed down. Johannes Mehserle has been found guilty of involuntary manslaughter, the lesser of the three charges he was facing.
Jasmyne Cannick: Oakland and Los Angeles residents are preparing for a verdict in the Johannes Mehserle shooting of Oscar Grant. Family and friends are filled with apprehension and hope. In this exclusive interview, members of Oscar Grant’s family talk frankly about the case, politicians, community activists and life without Oscar as they wait to hear the verdict.
In 1852, legendary abolistionist and former slave Frederick Douglass was asked to give a speech at an event commemorating the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Known for his extraordinary oratory skills, that speech became one of his best known pieces and stands as a reminder that the 4th of July does not hold the [...]
Hector Aristizábal grew up in the barrios of Medellin, Colombia, where he and his siblings had to use all their wit, wiles, and wherewithal to survive poverty, the ever-present allure of cheap drugs and very dangerous money, and the endemic violence from leftwing guerrillas, rightwing death squads, cocaine cartels, and the armed power of the State.
Natasha Minsker: For years, presenting oneself as a hammer battering crime was a requirement. This time around, a hard-line stance alone without a plan for effective and budget-conscious enforcement is the new electoral kiss of death. Californians are weary of budget cuts to valued social services and cautious about wasteful spending on ineffective or lower priority criminal justice policies, like the $1 billion over the next five years that will be poured into death penalty spending.
Tanya Acker: There are many among that celebrated group of “We the People” who are opposed to the Arizona law but who nonetheless remain deeply troubled by our broken immigration system. I am one of them and, frankly, I do not need to be lectured about the consequences of illegal immigration by Mr. O’Reilly or anyone else.
Sherwood Ross: Slumlords charge exorbitant rents. “Convenience” stores charge higher prices. Military recruiters have their pick of jobless youth desperate for work. And the for-profit, private prisons increase their head count (and income) as the judicial system hands off the young drug peddlers caught in the legal web. As the Kaiser Family Foundation reported, African-Americans fill 40 percent of the nation’s prison cells. Yet they make up just 13 percent of the nation’s population.
Lawrence Wittner: In one way, Rand Paul is quite right. Anti-discrimination laws do turn the tables on businessmen, who find that they can no longer mistreat employees and customers on the basis of race, religion, national origins, or gender. And isn’t that ban on discriminatory behavior a good idea?
Sikivu Hutchinson: When a little white girl goes missing, online news, supermarket tabloids and cable network stations bombard us with up-to-the-minute dispatches on the crime, the victim, her shattered family and anguished community. When a little black girl is murdered in cold blood by a big city police department it is up to the community and those who care about social justice to ensure that the case doesn’t fade into the national obscurity that is usually reserved for the lives of people of color.