Arizona Copycat Law Could Cost Kentucky $40 Million

Kentucky state Sen. John Schickel

Andrea Nill: Senate Bill 6 would cost Kentucky a net $40 million a year in court, prison and foster-care costs. Yet, the Kentucky senate voted 24-14 last week to pass the bill without knowing its cost.

Legislators Intend to Burden States with Costly Immigration Litigation

State Legislators for Legal Immigration member, State Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R-PA)

Seth Hoy: A group of state legislators, State Legislators for Legal Immigration, presented two measures intended to prevent the American-born children of undocumented immigrants from automatically becoming citizens

State Legislators Attempt to Turn Back Clock to Antebellum South

Michele Waslin: It is clear that this is not a legitimate attempt to pose a Constitutional question. The ugliness and viciousness of the language invoked throughout today’s press conference signal the true intentions of the legislators.

Jury Nullification: Remedy or Danger?

jury

Wendy McElroy: Jury nullification did not technically occur in Missoula because no jury was seated. Nevertheless, the incident is viewed as a triumph for nullification, and the strategy is reinvigorated.

Julian Assange: The Man Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest

assange

Jonathan David Farley: I have felt for years that the last defenders of our freedom would be the cyber-anarchists. We are not at freedom’s end yet, but cameras capture the average Briton 300 times daily. The Lord of Flies even wishes to invade our minds, to determine when we are lying to him.

Retired Supreme Court Justice: Capital Punishment ‘Shot Through with Racism’

justice stevens

Jessie Daniels: This bold move against racism and the death penalty by a retired Supreme Court Justice is good news for those concerned with the injustice of capital punishment.

New START Is Worthy, but Let’s Not Violate the Constitution to Save It

James Rubin

Ivan Eland: Denying Obama a victory—even if it’s good for the country—is very irresponsible. And on balance, the New START Treaty is good for the country.

Missouri Supreme Court Deciding Undocumented Immigrants’ Child Custody Rights

Encarnación Bail Romero

Andrea Nill: Ultimately, the only thing more messed up than changing the Constitution to deny the American-born children of undocumented immigrants citizenship is deporting their parents, snagging the U.S. citizen kids, and giving them to an American couple.

Victims’ Rights in California: On Paper, in Practice

Suzanne Neuhaus and Phillip Argento

Diane Lefer: The restorative justice model is able to keep the compassionate focus on those who have suffered most from violent crime–the victims, while still addressing the factors that drive crime and recidivism and without denying the humanity of the imprisoned.

Prisonomics 101: How ALEC and the Prison Industry Got Arizona’s SB1070 onto Gov. Jan Brewer’s Desk

jan brewer signing

Seth Hoy: private prison corporations, who stand to make hundreds of millions in profits from the detention of immigrants, not only had a hand in drafting Arizona’s controversial immigration enforcement law, SB1070, but contributed millions to the bill’s cosponsors and continue to push the legislation in other states.

Does the First Amendment Separate Church and State?

jon butler

Is Thomas Jefferson’s famous phrase “wall of separation between church &
state” too broad an interpretation of the First Amendment? Historian Jon
Butler argues that original intent of the First Amendment was even broader
than that.

Free Speech about Saggy Pants

baggypants

Steve Hochstadt: The most unfortunate recent development in American politics is that Constitutional questions cannot be discussed calmly. Too many people care less about defending our Constitution than using it as a club to smash political opponents.

Counties Say No to ICE’s Secure Communities Program; Is Opting Out Possible?


Fingerprint_detail_on_male_finger

Michele Waslin: The Santa Clara and Arlington County votes come after questions and confusion regarding local jurisdictions’ ability to opt-out of the program.

Will Tedi Snyder Die in Prison?

Diane Lefer: Though the Supreme Court ruled on May 17 in Graham v. Florida that juveniles must not be sentenced to life without parole for any crime short of homicide, California continues to impose sentences so extreme they are the effective equivalent of life without the possibility of parole.

States Pushing Anti-Immigration Legislation Forced to Run Costly Damage Control

panic_button

Seth Hoy: As politicians continue to take a “get tough on immigration” stance in the run up to midterm elections, voters may decide that their pocketbooks trump their politics when it comes to immigration.

Crime in the California State Assembly

Diane Lefer: We are all shamed, but it’s time to call out the people who belong on the roll call of shame, the Assembly members who so fear being called soft on crime that they couldn’t bring themselves to do the right and rational thing.

Corporate Rotten Eggs

chicken farm

Robert Reich: A national database of corporate crimes and settlements would tip off federal, state, and local inspectors to rotten eggs like Jack DeCoster’s agribusiness, Massey Energy, BP, Bridgestone Firestone, and other serial corporate offenders.

Reframing the Birthright Citizenship Debate with Facts

14th amendment

Seth Hoy: The truth is that majority of immigrants come to the U.S. to work, to reunite with their families, or to flee persecution—not to have children.

The Use and Abuse of the Fourteenth Amendment

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.

Supreme Court Will Hear JPL – Homeland Security Case

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).

GOP: Bring Back ‘Corruption of Blood’

latino ophan

Tina Dupuy: Now, to drum up hysteria about this alleged rash of pregnant Mexican border hoppers, the GOP’s idea is to change the Constitution so that being without papers is treated more harshly than treason.

Killing Prop Hate: What Republicans Fear

prop hate

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.

“Facts are Stubborn Things” – The Value of Judge Walker’s Decision

Judge Vaughn Walker

Paul Hogarth: What taking this case to trial – rather than expedited summary judgment hearings – allowed us to do was to set up a factual framework, which cannot be reversed on appeal.

Checks and Balances

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.

Obama Administration Considers Bypassing Congress on Immigration Reform

U.S. Border Patrol agent Richard Funke patrols along the border fence between Arizona and Mexico at the town of Nogales on July 28, 2010. (Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images)

Marcus Stern: Supporters of comprehensive immigration reform are certain to welcome any effort by the Obama administration to unilaterally open pathways to citizenship for many currently in the country illegally. But the draft is also sure to outrage immigration-restriction groups.

Meg Whitman Believes Arizona Law ‘Should Stand for Arizona’

Andrea Nill: Whitman’s stance on Proposition 187 is also a contradiction in itself. During her primary campaign, Whitman released an ad featuring former Gov. Pete Wilson (R-CA) who affirmed that Whitman will be “as tough as nails” on immigration. Wilson’s endorsement might have scored some points with right-wingers, but it also meant a lot to California Latinos who remember him backing Proposition 187.

To LA’s New Probation Chief: Condolences on Your Appointment

Los Angeles Probation Chief Donald Blevins and wife Laura.

Diane Lefer: why would anyone take on the challenge of cleaning up a department long known for abusing rather than helping the kids in its custody, losing track of money and ID badges, punishing whistleblowers and protecting wrongdoers?

As Progressives Predicted, Clinton Welfare Reform Law Fails Families

Randy Shaw: After President Bill Clinton signed legislation in 1996 “ending welfare as we know it,” many highlighted this “common sense” solution and criticized progressives for opposing the bill. Soon after passage, politicians and the media said it had not caused the downsides that activists had predicted, ignoring that the law had not been fully implemented. But troubling reports soon emerged.

Paper Entrepreneurs Beating Product Entrepreneurs: 30 Years On

Stock-broker

Robert Reich: Paper entrepreneurs ensure that capital is allocated efficiently among product enrepreneurs. But paper entrepreneurs do not directly enlarge the economic pie. They only arrange and divide the slices. They provide nothing of tangible use. For an economy to maintain its health, entrepreneurial rewards should flow primarily to product, not paper.

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