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Posts tagged with ‘Supreme Court’

  • Commit to the Constitution

    By Steve Sanders on September 17, 2014
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    When Americans debate important legal questions involving the Constitution – guns, gay marriage, police surveillance, affirmative action, to name just a few – our founding document often ends up seeming like a Rorschach blot or a cloud in the sky: everyone sees something different in it. A conservative activist who identifies with the tea party likely will have a different […]
  • ‘Scuse me, while I duck the sky…

    By Beth Cate on July 18, 2014
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    Don Knebel wrote last week that the sky was not falling by virtue of the Supreme Court’s recent Hobby Lobby ruling. Not all at once, certainly, but some pieces have been raining down over the last couple of weeks that suggest we might want to keep our helmets handy. Don concluded, and I agree, that “[t]he key to the [Hobby […]
  • The Hobby Lobby Decision: The Sky is Not (Yet) Falling

    By Donald Knebel on July 7, 2014
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    On June 30, 2014, the United States Supreme Court issued its decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. By a vote of 5 to 4, the Court held that regulations issued under the Affordable Care Act cannot require a for-profit corporation to provide health insurance covering contraceptives violating the religious beliefs of the corporation’s owners. The response has been […]
  • The Journal of Civic Literacy Inaugural Issue

    By Sheila Kennedy on July 1, 2014
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    We are excited to announce the publication our first issue of the Journal of Civic Literacy (JCL) today July 1, 2014. This online journal publishes research into the causes and consequences of Americans’ low levels of civic knowledge, the role of public education, the comparative efficacy of available curricula and programs (what is working? why and how?), the connections between […]
  • Is Money Speech?

    By David Schultz on June 3, 2014
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    If — or when — the Roberts Court in the next couple of years strikes down the last remaining Watergate-era campaign finance laws, the question will shift to: Who is to blame? It will be easy for liberals to say it was the conservatives, especially those on the U.S. Supreme Court, the Republicans or even the Koch brothers. But the […]
  • Accept Different Perspectives

    By Linda Diakite Karressy on June 2, 2014
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    It’s the season for celebrities, politicians, and other high profile individuals to share their wisdom on how to maneuver through life to the new wave of graduates.  Ironically First Lady Michelle Obama and Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice invitation to speak has caused protest.  The opposition believes the invite for First Lady Obama was politically motivated.  As for Rice, […]
  • Judge aids ‘march toward equality’ in Idaho

    By David Adler on May 16, 2014
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    Magistrate Judge Candy Dale’s cogent, eloquent opinion striking down Idaho’s ban on same-sex marriage, framed in terms of fundamental importance to constitutional government, which is the nature of landmark cases, raised the very question that inspired James Madison to introduce the Bill of Rights: May “the will of the majority … trump the rights of a minority?” Judge Dale’s answer, […]
  • The Lessons of Town of Greece v. Galloway for Campaign Finance Laws

    By David Schultz on May 8, 2014
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    The Supreme Court’s recent Town of Greece v. Galloway ruling upholding invocation of a prayer before the start of a local town board meeting is not a decision that one would think would be of significance to election law, but it is.  Specifically, the Court’s discussion about coercion and religious beliefs has potential importance to those arguing against campaign finance […]
  • The Decision- Predicting the Supreme Court Prayer Case

    By Donald E. Knebel on May 6, 2014
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    Last November, I posted a blog predicting how the Supreme Court would rule in a case challenging the right of the town of Greece, New York, to open meetings of its town board with prayers, most of them with a decidedly Christian viewpoint.  At the time, I promised to report on the accuracy of my predictions once the decision had […]
  • Metaphysical Not Empirical: The Problems with McCutcheon

    By David Schultz on April 3, 2014
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    The Supreme Court decision McCutcheon v F.E.C. striking down aggregate contribution limits is flawed for many reasons.  Critics will complain that the Court adopted a crabbed and narrow definition of corruption, or that it seemed inured to the role of money in politics, or that it is one more extension in giving more rights to the wealthy and in sanctifying […]
  • Does student expression stop at the schoolhouse door?

    By Jeffrey M. McCall on March 31, 2014
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    Public school administrators must have their heads spinning as they try to sort out recent court decisions regarding free-expression rights of students. Principals have the almost impossible task of balancing constitutionally protected student expression with keeping order in schools where education is the primary objective. In a controversial ruling issued this winter by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, a […]
  • A Bright Future

    By Matt Impink on March 8, 2014
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    This was a week where I was humbled by how much I don’t know. Too often we talk about civic literacy on this blog as if there is a cannon of knowledge from on high for a literate citizen to know. We boil this knowledge down to the recitation of dry facts about how many justices sit on the Supreme […]
  • Free Expression: whether we like it or not.

    By Jeffrey M. McCall on January 15, 2014
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    Americans know the First Amendment guarantees free expression through speech, press, religion and assembly. It is harder, however, to know how that noble concept gets operationalized in the real world. Public pressure and courts together work to make sense of free expression, but it is a never-ending challenge. We know free speech lands somewhere between an expression free-for-all and absolute […]
  • Predicting the Supreme Court Prayer Case

    By Donald E. Knebel on November 18, 2013
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    On November 6, 2013, the United States Supreme Court heard arguments on one of the most vexing issues under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution —  When does the Constitutionally required governmental allowance of religious practices cross the line into Constitutionally prohibited governmental endorsement of religion?  The specific issue in the case is whether the town council of […]
  • Constitutional Rights and Wrongs – Part II

    By Donald E. Knebel on November 7, 2013
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    My last post tested your general knowledge of the United States Constitution.  This True/False test determines your knowledge of the “Bill of Rights,” the first ten amendments to the Constitution.  At the end you will find both the answers and a way to score your own Bill of Rights literacy.  Note:  Although the precise wording of the questions is important, […]
  • Asking the Wrong Questions about Supreme Court

    By Ed Brayton on November 4, 2013
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    Adam Liptak is generally an excellent reporter on the Supreme Court and judicial matters, but I think this recent article entitled “How Activist Is the Supreme Court?” asks a completely wrongheaded question. It does so because both left and right, as he notes, have begun to use the phrase “judicial activism” to criticize their opponents. JUSTICES Antonin Scalia and Ruth […]
  • Poverty Threatens Our Democracy

    By Nichole Davis on October 3, 2013
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    It takes time, energy and ability to be an engaged citizen in our American democracy.  Yet, most would be surprised by the number of hours a person must work in order to live above the poverty line.  In my own state of New York, one must work 88 hours per week to live above poverty, an outlier perhaps, but in Indiana 71-88 […]
  • Stop and Frisk and ‘Reasonable Suspicion’

    By Ed Brayton on September 19, 2013
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    The NYPD’s Stop and Frisk program was ruled unconstitutional by a federal judge recently, though she stopped short of ending the program and only ordered some reforms and greater oversight. But it’s probably useful to look at the broader question of when the government can stop and search someone, which this post will do. In 1968, the Supreme Court ruled […]
  • There are Founders—and There are Founders

    By Sheila Suess Kennedy on September 17, 2013
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    Today being Constitution Day and all, it seems appropriate to turn our grateful attention to the men (and they were all men) we sometimes call the Founders, or the Framers. So, thank you, Jonathan Bingham. If you’re scratching your head and wondering what on earth I am talking about, you’re not alone. Few Americans have heard of Bingham, but all […]
  • Strikingly Unconstitutional

    By Donald E. Knebel on September 16, 2013
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    Whenever the United States Supreme Court decides that a law enacted by Congress is unconstitutional, supporters of the law rail against “unelected judges” exercising a power not found in the Constitution.  The reaction to the recent decision involving the “Defense of Marriage Act” is typical, showing that most citizens don’t understand why or how judges can, in the popular phrase, […]