Featured Current Event
May 14, 2019 | Freedom of Religion
‘Save Chick-fil-A’ bill defended by Texas lawmaker: ‘This is about our freedom of religion, our freedom of worship’
Texas State Rep. Jeff Leach spoke out Tuesday on "Fox & Friends" to defend a piece of legislation that has been dubbed the "Save Chick-fil-A" bill.The bill was quietly revived in the Texas Senate Monday after being struck down in the House last week via a procedural maneuver.The controversial legislation would prevent the government from penalizing businesses for exercising their religious rights, a conversation which began after Chick-fil-A was barred from opening a location at the San Antonio Airport...
May 22, 2019 | Debates and Conversations
Roe v. Wade and the Modern Abortion Debate
Additional Current Events
May 15, 2019 | Separation of Powers
Rep. Jerry Nadler: We’re ‘probably’ not headed for impeachment, but Trump is making it ‘increasingly difficult’ to avoid
After a quarter-century in Congress, Rep. Jerry Nadler of New York stands on the brink of an outsize role in American political life.As Judiciary Committee chairman in the Democratic-controlled House, Nadler leads his party’s efforts to exercise oversight of President Donald Trump and his administration. If Democrats pursue the fourth serious presidential impeachment effort in American history, Nadler would wield the gavel when it starts...
May 8, 2019 | Property Rights
Court upholds California farmworker union’s right to enter growers’ property
A divided federal appeals court upheld California farm labor regulations Wednesday that allow union organizers to enter growers’ properties at specific times — before and after work and during the lunch hour — to talk to workers...
May 14, 2019 | Individual Liberties
San Francisco bans facial-recognition technology
SAN FRANCISCO — On Tuesday, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors enacted the first ban by a major city on the use of facial-recognition technology by police and all other municipal agencies.The vote was 8-1 in favor, with two members who support the bill absent. There will be an obligatory second vote next week but it is seen as a formality...
May 15, 2019 | Gun Rights
Minnesota gun control proposals hit obstacle in conference committee
Two gun-control measures deemed a top priority by Minnesota DFL lawmakers this session were dealt an all-but-fatal blow Tuesday after they failed to advance on a party-line vote.Coming after three hours of debate, the result appeared to stymie efforts by gun-control advocates to expand criminal-background checks to private gun sales and create a “red flag” law that would allow authorities to temporarily confiscate firearms from people considered a threat to themselves or others...
May 14, 2019 | Freedom of the Press
SFPD in cross hairs of press freedom fight after raid on journalist’s home
SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU) - A showdown over press freedom and police power is escalating in San Francisco after police raided a journalist’s home and office in trying to ferret out the identity of one of his sources.Freelance videographer Bryan Carmody obtained a police report detailing the circumstances surrounding the death of the city’s well-known public defender, Jeff Adachi, back in February. He then sold information and video of the scene to multiple news agencies including KTVU, which regularly pays freelancers a fee for information and video...
May 15, 2019 | Freedom of Speech
New Zealand’s Ardern Calls On Social Media Companies To Stem Terrorist Content
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says she was one of many who saw horrifying footage of the March 15 terrorist attacks in Christchurch when the video of it started auto-playing in her social media feed. In the wake of the violence in which 51 people were killed, New Zealand immediately imposed new gun control measures and introduced legislation that would ban most semi-automatic firearms...
May 14, 2019 | Freedom of Assembly
‘Get out of my uterus’: Rights advocates protest Alabama abortion bill as Senate passes ban
In the end, it wasn't a surprise to the dozens gathered outside of the Alabama Statehouse Tuesday night. The Alabama Senate passed a bill criminalizing abortion in nearly all cases, approving the most sweeping restrictions on the procedure in the United States and almost certainly guaranteeing a legal challenge...
May 14, 2019 | Federalism
Alabama Lawmakers Pass Bill Banning Nearly All Abortions
The Alabama Senate passed a bill Tuesday evening to ban nearly all abortions. The state House had already overwhelmingly approved the legislation. It's part of a broader anti-abortion strategy to prompt the U.S. Supreme Court to reconsider the right to abortion.It would be one of the most restrictive abortion bans in the United States. The bill would make it a crime for doctors to perform abortions at any stage of a pregnancy, unless a woman's life is threatened or in case of a lethal fetal anomaly...
May 15, 2019 | Debates and Conversations
Nevada to host one of 12 Democratic presidential debates
Nevada will host one of a dozen sanctioned debates the Democratic National Committee is putting on during the 2020 presidential primary cycle, DNC Chair Tom Perez confirmed Tuesday.Perez, in an interview with The Nevada Independent, said that the Silver State will “absolutely” host one of the debates, though he anticipates it will be after the New Year to time it more closely with Nevada’s Feb. 22, 2020 first-in-the-West caucus. During the last presidential election cycle, Nevada hosted the first Democratic presidential debate at Wynn Las Vegas on Oct. 13, 2015...
May 14, 2019 | Criminal Procedure & Due Process
Harvard law professor Ronald Sullivan withdraws from Harvey Weinstein’s defense team
Harvard University law professor Ronald S. Sullivan Jr. has withdrawn from the team of lawyers who will defend Harvey Weinstein in the former movie mogul's sexual assault trial, saying the case will conflict with his teaching responsibilities...
May 13, 2019 | Citizen Juries
California Jury Awards $2 Billion To Couple In Roundup Weed Killer Cancer Trial
A California jury has awarded a couple more than $2 billion in a verdict against Monsanto, a subsidiary of Bayer. This is the third recent court decision involving claims that the company's Roundup weed killer caused cancer.The jury in Alameda County, just east of San Francisco, ruled that the couple, Alva and Alberta Pilliod of Livermore, Calif., contracted non-Hodgkin's lymphoma because of their use of the glyphosate-based herbicide. They were each awarded $1 billion in punitive damages and an additional $55 million in collective compensatory damages...
May 7, 2019 | Student Rights
Fordham hopes free-speech lawsuit will fade as last plaintiff graduates
The last of four students who sued Fordham University over the denial of a Palestinian rights club will graduate this month, but the court battle is not over.Sophomore Veer Shetty has asked to join the two-year old lawsuit, and the university is going to court on Wednesday to try to stop him.“It would be a travesty if we weren’t able to have the club on campus just because all the people suing have graduated,” Shetty said in a recent interview. “I was happy to step in.”...
May 7, 2019 | Separation of Powers
Warren: Time To Begin Impeachment Proceedings Against President Trump, “This Is Not About Politics”
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) took to the Senate floor Tuesday to call for impeachment proceedings now against President Trump...
May 4, 2019 | Property Rights
Property owners protest use of eminent domain for pipelines
FALLS CHURCH, Va. (AP) -- Much to Gary Erb's chagrin, a natural gas pipeline now cuts across his 72-acre homestead in Conestoga Township, Pennsylvania.To his even greater chagrin, he remains unpaid for the 6 acres (2.4 hectares) of land that were taken from him under eminent domain to build the pipeline.With the help of a Virginia-based legal group, he is petitioning the U.S. Supreme Court to end what he and his lawyers say has become a common practice in the pipeline industry: taking the land first, and paying later...
May 7, 2019 | Debates and Conversations
LGBTQ book bill faces opposition from Effingham school officials, lawmakers
EFFINGHAM — Local school officials and state representatives are opposing a state bill mandating school textbooks include the sexual identity of historical figures.House Bill 246 proposes that the sexual identities of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people be identified. The bill is leading the way for the 2019 Equality Illinois Legislative Agenda. It passed the House 60-42...
May 6, 2019 | Gun Rights
Cory Booker’s Gun Control Plan Calls for National Licensing Program
Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey rolled out a broad plan on Monday that seeks to combat gun violence through measures including a gun licensing program and a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.Aspects of Mr. Booker’s 14-part plan are among the most progressive gun-control measures suggested by a candidate seeking the Democratic nomination for president and are likely to face sharp criticism from gun-rights advocates like the National Rifle Association...
May 6, 2019 | Freedom of the Press
Myanmar frees 2 imprisoned Reuters reporters
RANGON, Myanmar — Two Reuters journalists who were imprisoned for breaking Myanmar’s Official Secrets Act over reporting on security forces’ abuses of Rohingya Muslims were pardoned and released Tuesday, the prison chief and witnesses said.Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were freed after President Win Myint issued a blanket pardon for 6,520 prisoners, said Zaw Zaw, chief of Yangon’s Insein Prison...
May 8, 2019 | Freedom of Speech
Florida man plans free speech fight after arrest over ‘obscene’ truck sticker
MIAMI (AP) — A Florida man who was jailed after refusing to remove what authorities called an obscene sticker from his vehicle's window said Tuesday that he is fighting the charges and will defend his constitutional right to free speech.Dillon Shane Webb, 23, was arrested Sunday and charged with misdemeanor counts of violating Florida's obscenity law and resisting an officer without violence, a Columbia County Sheriff's Office report said...
May 2, 2019 | Freedom of Religion
New Trump Rule Protects Health Care Workers Who Refuse Care For Religious Reasons
The Trump administration issued a new rule Thursday that gives health care workers leeway to refuse to provide services like abortion, sterilization or assisted suicide, if they cite a religious or conscientious objection.The rule, issued by the Department of Health and Human Services, is designed to protect the religious rights of health care providers and religious institutions...
May 6, 2019 | Freedom of Assembly
Protesters march against Chicago police union following dueling demonstrations over Kim Foxx and Jussie Smollett
Dozens of protesters gathered Monday afternoon at Union Park to rebuke Chicago’s police union and call for criminal justice reform.“We are here to call out the hypocrisy of FOP and declare that they are a racist organization and they must be shut down,” said the Rev. Kwame Pitts of Augustana Lutheran Church...
May 6, 2019 | Federalism
Joe Biden: ‘Jim Crow sneaking back in’ through voting law changes
Former Vice President Joe Biden told voters in South Carolina last weekend that the Trump administration is allowing the United States to return to the days of Jim Crow, a time when it was legal to deny black Americans the right to vote because of their race. The administration does not appear to be overtly denying people of color the right to vote - it is illegal to discriminate based on race. But some recent changes in voting laws led by those in the president's party appear to be having effects that mirror that period of legalized discrimination...
May 3, 2019 | Criminal Procedure & Due Process
Illinois Legislators are Calling For Changes to a Law That Keeps People In Prison Without a Conviction
Illinois legislators are poised to take action against a little-known state law that allows alleged sex offenders to be imprisoned indefinitely without being convicted. Some of the inmates have been incarcerated for decades under the program...
May 7, 2019 | Citizen Juries
Jury to hear case against couple who say they’re aren’t subject to state’s laws
SUNBURY — Two “sovereign citizens” who have been sitting in the Northumberland County Prison for seven months, refusing to be fingerprinted or sign paperwork, are headed to trial.Despite their claims that they’re not subject to any laws, A jury was selected Monday for the trial that’s slated to begin Wednesday in county court...
April 24, 2019 | Student Rights
Teacher Accuses High School of Free Speech Censorship Over Article About Student in Adult Entertainment Industry
A California high school English teacher accused administrators of censoring free speech after the district required a pre-publication review of an article, which chronicled a student’s journey in the adult entertainment industry.The Lodi Unified School District’s legal responsibility to ensure the student newspaper didn't violate the education code prompted a request to see a copy of the controversial article. However, Kathi Duffel, an English teacher at Bear Creek High School in Stockton, California, and advisor for The Bruin Voice, accused the school of attempting to squelch the voice of the paper...
April 26, 2019 | Property Rights
Days ahead of next round of talks, US slams China for ‘failure’ on intellectual property reform
China continues to engage in “unfair and harmful conduct” that damages US intellectual property rights, despite some limited areas of IP protection reform, the US government announced on Thursday.The Asian country, with which the US is engaged in a months-long, multibillion-dollar trade war, will remain on Washington’s “priority watch list” for IP protection infringement, according to a report issued by the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR)...
April 24, 2019 | Gun Rights
Kamala Harris Proposes Executive Orders on Gun Control
Senator Kamala Harris of California, the former prosecutor who is running for the Democratic presidential nomination, on Monday committed to a host of executive actions to implement gun control measures that have long failed to pass in Congress.At a town hall hosted by CNN, Ms. Harris said that, if elected, she would sign an executive order mandating background checks for customers of any firearms dealer who sells more than five guns a year. The executive actions would also include more stringent regulation of gun manufacturers that could result in revoked licenses or prosecution, as well as an attempt to close the loophole that allows some domestic abusers to purchase guns if their victim is an unwedded partner...
April 18, 2019 | Freedom of the Press
The U.S. Now Ranks As A ‘Problematic’ Place For Journalists
The United States has become a less safe place for journalists, and the threats they face are becoming the standard, according to a new report by an international press freedom organization.Reporters Sans Frontières, or Reporters Without Borders, dropped the U.S. to No. 48 out of 180 on its annual World Press Freedom Index, three notches lower than its place last year. The move downgrades the country from a "satisfactory" place to work freely to a "problematic" one for journalists...
April 24, 2019 | Freedom of Speech
Fired state worker sues Kentucky governor over free speech
FRANKFORT, Ky. — An ex-state employee is suing Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin, claiming she was fired due to her ties to a group that supported teacher sickouts that shut down school districts to protest GOP-backed legislation.The federal suit filed Wednesday alleges Charissa “Chris” Cooke’s First Amendment rights were violated...
April 24, 2019 | Freedom of Religion
Civil rights advocates drop lawsuit against Oklahoma’s ‘Muslim-free’ gun range
(RNS) — Civil rights organizations have dropped a federal lawsuit against the owners of an Oklahoma gun range after it removed a sign declaring the business a “Muslim-free establishment.”The owners of the Save Yourself Survival and Tactical Gun Range in Oktaha, Okla., removed the sign in December, nearly three years after the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Oklahoma and the Council on American-Islamic Relations’ Oklahoma branch filed a lawsuit alleging violation of federal public accommodations law.
April 24, 2019 | Freedom of Assembly
Students walked out of class to protest police brutality. Here’s what happened
A sea of demonstrators on the stairs of Wilson Library, chanting and sporting signs expressing their dissatisfaction with UNC Police is the sight that met students who walked through Polk Place Wednesday afternoon. Demonstrators gathered on the steps of Wilson at 1:30 p.m. for a demonstration against police brutality. Lindsay Ayling, a graduate student in the Department of History and an organizer of the event, explained why the protest was necessary.
April 24, 2019 | Federalism
Planned Parenthood: States should oppose Trump ‘gag rule’
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — It's time for states with leaders who support abortion rights to go on the offensive against Trump administration attempts to restrict abortion that would reduce access to health care, the president of Planned Parenthood said Tuesday."States are a critical backstop at a time when we have the Trump-Pence administration stripping away women's health and rights and when we cannot depend on the Supreme Court," said Dr. Leana Wen...
April 25, 2019 | Debates and Conversations
‘Heated’ lottery debate expected on Senate floor Thursday
MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - The Senate is expected to debate a lottery proposal Thursday after it passed 6-5 in the Senate Tourism and Marketing Committee Tuesday.Sen. Greg Albritton, R-Atmore, is the sponsor of the bill that would legalize a paper-based lottery. If the legislature approves, it would go to a statewide vote.Albritton said he knows there will be a heated debate on the floor.“I think I am optimistic, but it is certainly not in the bag,” Albritton said...
April 24, 2019 | Criminal Procedure & Due Process
Deputies involved in rough arrest of teen deserve due process, Broward sheriff says
TAMARAC, Fla. - Broward County Sheriff Gregory Tony was visibly emotional Wednesday as he spoke in front of Tamarac city commissioners.During the commission meeting, Tony said he did not agree with the Broward State Attorney's Office dropping the charges against Delucca Rolle, 15, who is at the center of a rough arrest last week.He said his deputies still deserved their due process, whether they were right or wrong."I'm not here to speak in terms of politics. The community will get their justice deserved, and so will my deputies," Tony said...
April 25, 2019 | Citizen Juries
Jury in Armstrong trial asks judge about breaking deadlocks
HOUSTON - The jury which will decide the fate of a teen accused of killing his parents nearly three years ago seemed to be having trouble reaching a verdict when they resumed their deliberations Thursday.A.J. Armstrong, 19, is accused of killing his parents in July 2016...
April 15, 2019 | Student Rights
Parents group drops lawsuit over District 211 transgender policy
A group of parents and students Monday dropped their 2016 federal lawsuit against Palatine-Schaumburg High School District 211 over policies allowing a transgender student limited access to a girls locker room.The move comes just weeks after a judge dismissed portions of the suit, including counts alleging the district violated others students' rights to bodily privacy and their parents' rights to direct their education...
April 16, 2019 | Separation of Powers
House Vote on Abortion-Related Bill Could Mean Veto Showdown
RALEIGH, NC (AP) — North Carolina Republican lawmakers could soon reach their first legislative showdown with Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper since his party increased House and Senate seat totals during the last elections.The House scheduled a floor vote Tuesday on a Senate measure that would direct how doctors and nurses must treat an infant born alive during an attempted abortion. Those who fail to provide the same degree of care as any other newborn could face a felony with active prison time and monetary penalties. The Senate already voted Monday for the bill...
April 12, 2019 | Property Rights
Short-term vacation rentals are all about property rights. But whose?
Jennifer Riley has lived for the past four years in a residential area a few blocks away from the water in Indian Rocks Beach in Pinellas County.For the first two years she loved living in the community – but no more.She’s been dealing with short-term renters in the neighborhood who play loud music, party deep into the wee hours of the morning, and even threaten her.“I had one guy. It was after 10 p.m. and we called the police and so he came over, and he looked at my boyfriend and he said, ‘You know what the bad thing is? I know where you live. You don’t know where I live,’” Riley recalls...
April 15, 2019 | Individual Liberties
Debate on changing Colorado’s vaccine exemption process stretches into the night
Moms and their children paced the halls of Colorado’s Capitol for hours on Monday as they waited to testify about whether the state should change the way it gives vaccine exemptions to parents who claim a personal or religious objection.House Bill 1312 would require parents to visit Colorado’s Department of Public Health and Environment in person the first time they request an exemption and fill out a standardized form instead of giving a written notice of exemption to a school upon registration...
April 16, 2019 | Gun Rights
Second Amendment Preservation Act Would Nullify Federal Gun Control in Missouri
A protection bill that seeks to nullify all potential federal gun control in Missouri was heard in the Transportation, Infrastructure and Public Safety Committee on Thursday, April 4. SB 367, sponsored by Senator Eric Burlison (R-20), is an act that would create the "Second Amendment Preservation Act" and lists various declarations of the Missouri General Assembly regarding the United States Constitution and the scope of the federal government's authority...
April 12, 2019 | Freedom of the Press
The debate over what Julian Assange’s arrest means for freedom of the press, explained
Is the arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange justice against a man who broke the law, or is it a warning shot that journalism is under threat in the United States?It’s a difficult question to answer, in part because it brings up a host of other related questions: Do you consider WikiLeaks a journalistic organization or not? Did Assange actively participate in criminal activity to obtain classified intel, as the US government alleges, or did he just disseminate information passed on to him and is therefore protected by the First Amendment? Does it matter that Assange and his organization seem to have developed at the very least an affinity to Russia? And is the single charge he faces in the United States the total of the government’s push for justice — or is it just the opening salvo in what will become a larger war to punish Assange (and anyone else who publishes classified information)?...
April 15, 2019 | Freedom of Religion
Measles outbreak tests limits of religious freedom in New York City
NEW YORK — A quick fix to New York City’s measles outbreak is proving elusive, and the reasons are as much political as they are medical.A powerful voting bloc, the ultra-Orthodox community has managed to carve out what is arguably a separate system of city services with their own ambulances, school buses and police. They run their own private schools for which they receive city, state and federal funds...
April 16, 2019 | Freedom of Assembly
Charlotte officials release police shooting video and urge protesters to remain peaceful
Charlotte, North Carolina (CNN) Police in Charlotte, North Carolina, released video Monday showing an officer opening fire and fatally wounding an armed man after telling him repeatedly to put his gun on the ground in the parking lot of a fast food restaurant.A judge ordered police to release the video -- captured by officer Wende Kerl's bodycam on March 25 -- which prompted the mayor and police chief to say they were bracing for protests hours before the video was made public. Both appealed for calm hours before a crowd gathered for a peaceful rally and vigil in a downtown park...
April 9, 2019 | Federalism
Trump executive order will aim to prevent states from blocking pipelines, energy infrastructure
President Donald Trump will issue an executive order that aims to prevent states from blocking pipelines and other energy infrastructure by using authority granted to them under the Clean Water Act.Senior administration officials on Tuesday previewed the action and several others, which are contained in two executive orders that Trump will sign during a trip to Texas on Wednesday. They are the latest in a series of executive orders by Trump meant to roll back energy regulations and promote fossil fuel development...
April 15, 2019 | Debates and Conversations
Lawmakers debate taxing, spending in Illinois
As Illinois lawmakers prepare to vote on a constitutional amendment to change the state's flat income tax to a graduated one, debate on the topic continued Monday even with the legislature off for a two-week break.The City Club of Chicago hosted four lawmakers Monday, two Democrats and two Republicans, to make their case regarding a progressive income tax, which would have higher rates for higher earners.Peoria Republican Senator Chuck Weaver said the biggest reason Democrats want a progressive tax is to make it easier to raise taxes on a small number of high-earners...
April 15, 2019 | Criminal Procedure & Due Process
Michigan State apparently ignored 2018 federal court ruling on due process until student sued
Public universities under the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ jurisdiction have been on notice for seven months that they are required to provide an in-person hearing with cross-examination to students facing suspension or expulsion for sexual misconduct.Michigan State University is one of them. After all, the 6th Circuit decision last fall was against the University of Michigan, an hour away...
April 10, 2019 | Citizen Juries
A ‘Glitch’ Left Young People Off the Jury Rolls. Does That Violate the Constitution?
BATON ROUGE, La. — The Louisianans who were summoned to decide whether Grover Cannon killed a police officer were Asian, black, Hispanic and white. They were caregivers and engineers, state workers and self-employed.But Adrienne Harreveld, a law student working for the defense team in Mr. Cannon’s death penalty trial, noticed something else: In a city with one of the South’s largest public universities, not one member of last month’s jury pool in East Baton Rouge Parish seemed all that young...
April 10, 2019 | Student Rights
Student accuses Clark University of gender discrimination in federal lawsuit after sexual exploitation investigation
A Clark University freshman who says he was falsely accused of removing a condom during sex has filed a federal lawsuit against the university, claiming he was the victim of gender-based discrimination in being found responsible for violating the school’s sexual exploitation provision.The lawsuit, filed Friday, claims such discrimination has occurred at the Worcester university before, citing a 2015 case in which another freshman accused of rape was allegedly expelled without investigation...
April 10, 2019 | Separation of Powers
Bevin draws mixed reaction to veto of pension bill
FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) -- For the second time in months, Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin intends to reconvene lawmakers for a special session to confront pension woes. The action comes after he vetoed a bill aimed at giving relief to some state-funded agencies struggling with retirement payments.Bevin said Tuesday he'll call lawmakers back in session prior to July 1.Reaction to the governor's action was mixed. The advocacy group Kentucky Government Retirees commended Bevin for nixing a bill it said exposed the Kentucky Retirement Systems to "unjustified risk."
April 8, 2019 | Property Rights
Eminent domain bills look to back landowners in rural areas
ODESSA, Texas (BIG 2 / FOX 24) - Two bills going through legislature over in Austin could change the way energy companies and land owners interact. Many people are reaping the benefits of the booming oil economy and some lawmakers want to make sure homeowners are not being stepped on. Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, R-Brenham, and Rep. DeWayne Burns, R-Cleburne, filed legislation back in January to reform the current process of eminent domain...
April 9, 2019 | Individual Liberties
NYC Mandates Vaccines in Measles Outbreak, Threatening Fines
A measles outbreak in the Orthodox Jewish community of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, has prompted New York City to declare a public health emergency, requiring residents to be vaccinated with the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine or face a $1,000 fine.The highly contagious and potentially deadly virus has afflicted 285 New Yorkers since October, including 246 children, almost all of them in the tightly knit Orthodox Jewish community, in one of the city’s most dense neighborhoods. Twenty-one have been hospitalized, with five requiring intensive care, said city Health Commissioner Oxiris Barbot...
April 9, 2019 | Gun Rights
Pittsburgh Restricts Use Of Assault-Style Weapons, Setting Up Court Fight
Pittsburgh's mayor signed legislation Tuesday restricting the use of assault-style weapons in the city. The city council introduced a set of bills a few weeks after a gunman entered the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh in October, killing 11 members and injuring seven.But despite the mayor's signature, Pittsburgh's fight has just begun. Supporters of the legislation faced immediate resistance from gun rights advocates who say the city doesn't have the authority to issue such a ban. The National Rifle Association quickly filed a lawsuit on behalf of some Pittsburgh residents...
April 9, 2019 | Freedom of Speech
Suit targets California’s ban on ‘Come on You Whites’ plate
LOS ANGELES — A soccer fan says in a lawsuit that the California Department of Motor Vehicles violated his First Amendment rights by rejecting a personalized license plate he said would celebrate his favorite team, but which the DMV determined might be deemed offensive.Jon Kotler applied for a plate that would read “COYW,” an acronym of the slogan “Come on You Whites” used by supporters of London-based Fulham Football Club, according to the federal lawsuit filed in Los Angeles on Tuesday. Fulham players wear white jerseys...
April 9, 2019 | Freedom of Assembly
Senator on Cuomo pay raise: Bathroom break was ‘in protest’
ALBANY – A Hudson Valley state senator who skipped a vote on Gov. Andrew Cuomo's pay raise now says he took a bathroom break to protest the process.For the past week, Sen. James Skoufis, D-Woodbury, Orange County, had insisted to reporters that he missed the key April 1 vote on the governor's salary because he was using the restroom.But when pressed further Monday, Skoufis changed his story: He said he was protesting the vote, which came at 2:45 a.m. and was sprung on state lawmakers with little notice...
April 4, 2019 | Federalism
Gardner, Neguse, Bennet unveil states’ rights marijuana bill for second straight year
DENVER – Colorado’s U.S. senators, Cory Gardner and Michael Bennet, along with Rep. Joe Neguse, D-Colo., on Thursday morning introduced for a second straight year the STATES Act, a states’ rights marijuana bill with bipartisan support.The bill was unveiled in a Thursday morning news conference that featured Gardner, Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., and Rep. David Joyce, D-Ohio...
April 9, 2019 | Debates and Conversations
‘Campus Clash’ Event Sparks Political Debate, Protests at UConn
There was a clash of political opinion at the University of Connecticut Tuesday as representatives from conservative organization Turning Point USA came to speak on campus Tuesday.There was a spirited debate between students and the political speakers, as well as some fireworks in the theater and protests outside.“It definitely attracts a crowd. There are a lot of haters. But I think the best thing both sides can do is listen,” said James Petersen, a UConn freshman...
| Criminal Procedure & Due Process
Complaint: El Paso Immigration Judges Violate Due Process
EL PASO, Texas (AP) — An immigration court in El Paso, Texas, that only approves a handful of the asylum cases it considers each year routinely violates due process, attorneys contend in an administrative complaint filed Wednesday.The American Immigration Council and the American Immigration Lawyers Association claim in their joint complaint that the court at the El Paso Service Processing Center has arbitrary and unjust rules that decrease asylum-seekers' chances of staying in the country...
April 9, 2019 | Citizen Juries
Jury recommends death penalty for Michael Bargo
A jury on Tuesday unanimously recommended Michael Shane Bargo be put to death for the murder of Seath Jackson.At 5:05 p.m., nearly five hours after they began their deliberation, the seven women and five men let bailiffs know they had reached a decision.After instructing those inside the courtroom — family members of both Bargo and Seath — to be respectful of the jury’s decision, Circuit Judge Anthony Tatti called for the jurors at 5:15 p.m. Three minutes later, the recommendation was read aloud. Bargo’s head was bowed...
March 27, 2019 | Separation of Powers
Hogan vetoes $15 minimum wage and two bills he calls ‘politically motivated’
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan vetoed a $15 minimum wage Wednesday, setting up an override fight with the Democratic-controlled General Assembly over one of the top priorities of the state’s growing liberal wing.Hogan (R) also vetoed bills allowing school districts to set their own calendars and stripping power to regulate alcohol and tobacco from the state comptroller. All three bills passed by veto-proof majorities, and lawmakers could attempt to overturn the vetoes as soon as Thursday...
April 1, 2019 | Property Rights
Private property rights at center of vacation rental regulation debate
Miles Conway bought what he thought was a secluded slice of paradise on Hutchinson Island just over the Indian River County line. But the unspoiled barrier island is being ruined by a wave of unregulated vacation rental properties, he said.These unlicensed and unregulated vacation rentals are popping up on both sides of the Indian River Lagoon, he said...
March 29, 2019 | Individual Liberties
Judge Blocks California’s High-Capacity Ammunition Ban
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — High-capacity gun magazines will remain legal in California under a ruling Friday by a federal judge who cited home invasions where a woman used the extra bullets in her weapon to kill an attacker while in two other cases women without additional ammunition ran out of bullets.“Individual liberty and freedom are not outmoded concepts,” San Diego-based U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez wrote as he declared unconstitutional the law that would have banned possessing any magazines holding more than 10 bullets...
April 2, 2019 | Gun Rights
Pittsburgh approves gun-control bills; opponents file suit against city
Pittsburgh City Council approved three gun-control bills Tuesday in a 6-3 final vote that attracted to council chambers both family members of Tree of Life victims and gun-rights advocates who threatened prompt legal action.The bills that would ban the use of certain assault-style weapons and ammunition as well as allow courts to temporarily confiscate weapons from those who pose an “extreme risk” to themselves or others were introduced just weeks after a gunman killed 11 worshipers and wounded others at the Squirrel Hill synagogue...
April 1, 2019 | Freedom of the Press
Maryland to honor Capital Gazette victims with ‘Freedom of the Press Day’
ANNAPOLIS, Md. – To honor the five victims who lost their lives at the Capital Gazette, the Maryland General Assembly is naming June 28th ‘Freedom of the Press Day’. Both sides of the legislature voted unanimously to name the day in honor of the slain journalists. The five employees were killed on June 28th when alleged gunman Jarrod Ramos entered the newsroom and opened fire. Lawmakers say the movement is critical to let people know that freedom of the press is important...
March 31, 2019 | Freedom of Speech
Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg calls for more government regulations in op-ed
It's rare that CEOs will call for more regulations from the government instead of fewer, but Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg admitted the social media giant could use some more oversight.Zuckerberg openly lobbied for regulation in four areas in a new opinion piece for The Washington Post published Saturday...
April 1, 2019 | Freedom of Religion
Civil rights experts question Supreme Court execution rulings
(RNS) — Last week, the Supreme Court ruled to block Texas’ planned execution of Patrick Murphy, a Buddhist inmate, because he was not allowed to have his Buddhist chaplain in the execution chamber.While religious freedom advocates applauded the move, some say the decision also left them perplexed. Just a month earlier, the Supreme Court allowed the execution of Muslim death row inmate Domineque Ray in a similar circumstance.The American Civil Liberties Union called the decision to halt Murphy’s execution “good news.” But it criticized the court’s earlier ruling in Ray’s case...
April 1, 2019 | Freedom of Assembly
UK students on hunger strike: New resources needed to end food insecurity
Dozens of Kentucky students began occupying the university's main building late Monday in an effort to provoke action from administrators who they say have ignored growing social issues on campus.The students are members of two separate groups that have each expressed concerns about the level of assistance available for low-income and minority students.Both groups say they have met with administrators before to discuss various issues and to present recommendations. But the students say university leaders have thus far not supported their ideas.
April 1, 2019 | Federalism
House committee advances bill to let banks serve legitimate marijuana businesses
The House Financial Services Committee advanced last week legislation that allows marijuana-related businesses in states with existing regulatory structures to access the banking system. The Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act of 2019 advanced the committee by a vote of 45 to 15. It now moves to the full House floor for further consideration. Cannabis is currently considered illegal under federal law, so banks that providing services to legitimate and licensed marijuana businesses in states where it is legal are subject to criminal prosecution...
April 2, 2019 | Criminal Procedure & Due Process
Lawyer: Judge’s 2nd Amendment rights violated by arrest
Syracuse, NY -- Everyone agrees that Rochester Judge Leticia Astacio went to Dick’s Sporting Goods a year ago today to buy a shotgun. After being denied, she tried at a different Dick’s.Now, Astacio -- since fired from her job -- is on trial this week for a felony gun charge, accused of illegally trying to buy a gun while on probation. She could face up to 7 years in prison if convicted by jury...
April 1, 2019 | Citizen Juries
Lawsuit claims Mercedes-Benz dealership in The Woodlands fired man over jury duty
HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A 19-year-old juror has filed a lawsuit against a Mercedes-Benz dealership for firing him in the midst of jury service. Zach White is a 2018 high school graduate and had been working as a valet driver at the Mercedes-Benz of The Woodlands since last fall. "I really enjoyed working there, driving a Mercedes every day, it was cool," said White. White, whose father is a local police detective, says he long had the values of public service instilled upon him. He even plans on joining the military after college. When he was called to jury duty in February, there was never much doubt he would show up...
March 26, 2019 | Student Rights
Dept. of Human Rights joins transgender student discrimination lawsuit against Anoka-Hennepin
ST. PAUL, Minn. (FOX 9) - The Minnesota Department of Human Rights and Attorney General Keith Ellison are joining a lawsuit that claims the Anoka-Hennepin Schools District discriminated against a transgender student by not allowing him to change in the locker room with his peers.The lawsuit was originally filed last month by several organizations, including the Minnesota ACLU...
March 26, 2019 | Separation of Powers
Judge to rule Tuesday in second legal challenge to GOP laws curtailing powers of Tony Evers
Days after a Dane County judge blocked enforcement of laws curtailing powers of Democratic Gov. Tony Evers and Attorney General Josh Kaul, another judge said he will rule Tuesday in a separate legal challenge to the Republican laws.Meanwhile, a state appeals court could rule as soon as Tuesday on a request by Republican lawmakers in the first lawsuit to put the controversial laws back in place.The recent flurry of courtroom action has consumed much of the energy in the state Capitol as state leaders await a verdict on the future of the laws. Adopted by GOP lawmakers and former Gov. Scott Walker in December, the changes included limiting the attorney general’s ability to end the state’s participation in lawsuits, targeting the governor’s power to run the state economic development agency and advance administrative rules, and limiting early voting hours...
March 25, 2019 | Property Rights
Eminent domain threatened in Santa Cruz highway widening plans
SANTA CRUZ — The City Council on Tuesday will consider taking the rare step of forcing a private River Street property owner to sell the city two properties integral to a planned highway interchange road widening project.The Santa Cruz Public Works Department is attempting to position the city to receive state funding that would add lanes at the heavily trafficked intersection of Highway 1 and Highway 9...
March 27, 2019 | Individual Liberties
Inmates deemed ‘dead’ using century-old law in Rhode Island
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Rhode Island is one of the few places where people can still be punished with “civil death” and civil rights advocates want the century-old practice to stop.Inmates serving life in prison are deemed dead, by Rhode Island statute, with respect to property rights, the bond of matrimony and other civil rights, as if their natural death took place when they were convicted.Most civil death laws in the United States have been repealed or successfully challenged in court. Most other countries never adopted the practice.
March 26, 2019 | Gun Rights
In The Shadow Of Suicides, Senate Panel Makes Rare Move To Consider Gun Control
Days after three separate suicides in Parkland, Fla., and Newtown, Conn., left those communities reeling, the Senate did something rare for a GOP-led chamber: It held a hearing on gun control.Tuesday, in the previously scheduled hearing, the full Senate Judiciary Committee heard from experts on extreme risk protection orders, commonly referred to as red flag laws.These laws allow law enforcement, and in some states, relatives and other concerned parties, to petition judges in order to temporarily restrict access to firearms from people who may be a harm to themselves or others...
March 27, 2019 | Freedom of Speech
Kim Reynolds signs bill requiring Iowa universities to respect ‘free speech’ on campus
Gov. Kim Reynolds on Wednesday signed a bill requiring state universities and community colleges to adopt policies respecting "free speech" on campus, a controversial measure that Democrats said could allow discrimination against members of the LGBTQ community."I am proud to sign this legislation into law which protects free speech on college campuses," Reynolds said in a news release. "Our public universities and community colleges should always be places where ideas can be debated, built upon, and creative thoughts flourish without limits."...
March 27, 2019 | Freedom of Religion
Nonprofit group urges North Texas school district to stop praying at meetings
A nonprofit organization is urging the Weatherford school district to stop praying at its board meetings.The Freedom From Religion Foundation said the school board opens each meeting with a prayer that usually contains specifically Christian themes, such as mentioning Jesus Christ and closing with “amen.”Weatherford ISD did not respond to multiple requests for comment. The Madison, Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation has a history of calling for schools and cities to remove Christian-based decorations and cease official prayer at their events...
March 26, 2019 | Freedom of Assembly
Hundreds descend on Trenton for ‘March Against Murphy’ protest
TRENTON - Hundreds of New Jersey residents came to Trenton Tuesday for the “March Against Murphy” protest against Gov. Phil Murphy.About 400 demonstrators marched from the New Jersey State House to the governor’s temporary office and then to Trenton’s World War II Memorial to express their disapproval of many of the Democratic governor’s policies. Many wore yellow construction vests as a nod to protesters in France who wore similar vets in their protests against higher fuel taxes...
March 26, 2019 | Federalism
EPA may thwart efforts by states to set stricter pesticide rules
State regulators are worried that the Environmental Protection Agency is getting ready to override them on a host of pesticide regulations by negating stricter rules intended to curb crop damage or prevent environmental hazards from pesticides.The EPA quietly announced last week that it was considering a new way to handle requests by states that want to impose stricter rules or extra training than the federal government mandates on pesticides. The EPA said it won’t make any changes this growing season and will have a public comment period before changes are made, but the agency said it was evaluating “the circumstances under which it will exercise its authority to disapprove those requests.”...
March 27, 2019 | Citizen Juries
Prosecutor: Grand jury in Russia probe ‘continuing robustly’
WASHINGTON — A grand jury that was involved in special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation is "continuing robustly," a federal prosecutor said Wednesday.The prosecutor, David Goodhand, made the revelation during a hearing over whether court filings in the Mueller probe should be unsealed related to an unidentified foreign corporation that had refused to turn over documents to the special counsel...
March 19, 2019 | Student Rights
Student claims civil rights violation after transgender student uses women’s locker room
A high school student in Pennsylvania has filed a complaint against her school, claiming that her civil rights were violated, and that she was subjected to sexual harassment,when a transgender student used the same locker room as her.An attorney working with the teen has already filed the complaint with the U.S. Department of Education’s Civil Rights Division, detailing the female student’s experience in a Honesdale High School locker room earlier this year...
March 21, 2019 | Separation of Powers
Judge blocks laws limiting powers of Wisconsin governor
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A judge on Thursday temporarily blocked Wisconsin Republicans' contentious lame-duck laws limiting the powers of new Democratic Gov. Tony Evers, who immediately used his restored authority to pull the state out of a multistate challenge to the Affordable Care Act.Dane County Circuit Judge Richard Niess brushed aside GOP concerns that the move would leave thousands of statutes passed in so-called extraordinary sessions susceptible to challenge. Republican legislative leaders vowed to appeal...
March 19, 2019 | Property Rights
Jury awards $305K to Kokomo Glass in eminent domain dispute
A Howard County jury last week awarded a longtime local business hundreds of thousands of dollars in an eminent domain case involving the city of Kokomo and its downtown development efforts.A jury in Howard Superior Court 2 on Friday awarded $305,600 to the family that owns Kokomo Glass Shop Inc. for “the … property owner’s damages” after city officials in December 2016 initiated eminent domain to obtain property at 226 S. Main St.Court documents show the site held “storage and manufacturing for the glass company,” while its showroom and salesroom was located across the street at 226 S. Union St...
March 20, 2019 | Gun Rights
Pittsburgh’s proposed gun legislation amended by City Council, which braces for court challenges
The City Council approved changes in Pittsburgh's proposed gun ordinance Wednesday -- changes that sponsors believe will make it more likely the city can win in a court fight over the legislation.Opponents of the legislation have emphasized state lawmakers passed a law taking away the city's power to legislate control gun possession. It's position Council Members Theresa Kail-Smith and Darlene Harris hold, "No effect, no enforcement, and we have no authority. And again, against the law," Smith said to her colleagues during the council's committee session during which the amendments were made...
March 19, 2019 | Freedom of the Press
Concern raised over SKorean treatment of Bloomberg reporter
SEOUL, South Korea — International journalists’ organizations are criticizing the status of press freedom in South Korea after the country’s ruling party singled out a Bloomberg reporter with South Korean nationality over what it claimed was a “borderline traitorous” article insulting President Moon Jae-in, resulting in threats to the reporter’s safety.
March 21, 2019 | Freedom of Speech
Trump to Sign Executive Order Protecting Campus Free Speech
President Donald Trump is set to sign an executive order Thursday afternoon that would withhold federal funding from public and private colleges and universities that do not protect free speech on campuses.As explained by a White House senior official, in order to qualify for federal research dollars, public colleges and universities would have to certify that they are complying with the First Amendment, and private colleges and universities would have to certify that they are in compliance with their own policies...
March 19, 2019 | Freedom of Religion
Clergy housing allowance is constitutional, appeals court rules
(RNS) — A federal appeals court has ruled that the clergy housing allowance authorized by the Internal Revenue Service is constitutional.The Freedom From Religion Foundation argued successfully in a Wisconsin district court that the long-standing exemption for religious housing in the IRS tax code violated the First Amendment’s establishment clause. But a three-judge panel of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the lower court decision on Friday (March 15)...
March 21, 2019 | Freedom of Assembly
Students walk out to protest North Andover High School policy on sexual assault
Hundreds of students walked out of North Andover High Wednesday and are circulating a petition in protest of the school’s sexual assault policy that urges both the alleged abuser and victim to sign a contract to avoid each other in school.“I want (administrators) to realize that this is not something that should be taken lightly and there needs to be a change to these contracts that are being given out to people. They are not at all right,” said Ava Gilboard, a 17-year-old senior and one of the walkout’s organizers...
March 21, 2019 | Federalism
Mississippi Bans Abortions if Heartbeat Can Be Heard. Expect a Legal Fight.
Phil Bryant, the Republican governor of Mississippi, on Thursday signed a bill largely banning abortions once doctors can detect a trace of a fetal heartbeat with an ultrasound, a milestone that can come as early as six weeks into pregnancy.Mississippi is only the latest state to press for the strict abortion limit — the sort that has already been passed and then blocked in the courts in states including Kentucky, which approved it earlier this month, and Iowa, where a law passed last year was struck down by a state court in January...
March 19, 2019 | Criminal Procedure & Due Process
Federal Lawsuit Against State DOC Alleges Due Process, Civil Rights Violations in Lifetime GPS Monitoring
A Chicago law firm has filed a federal class-action lawsuit against the Wisconsin Department of Corrections alleging civil rights violations concerning the use of GPS monitoring for sex offenders — many of whom have completed their sentences and are not on any form of probation, parole or supervised release — and seeks an injunction to stop the state’s lifetime GPS monitoring program...
March 21, 2019 | Citizen Juries
A Supreme Court case on jury bias prompts a rare question from Thomas
WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court seemed deeply troubled Wednesday about the actions of a Mississippi prosecutor who has tried an African American man six times for a quadruple murder and has blocked the vast majority of black potential jurors.The hour-long argument brought a surprise: a question by Justice Clarence Thomas, and one that went in an opposite direction. He inquired about the race of jurors dismissed by defense lawyers for Curtis Flowers, drawing out the information that they were white...
March 17, 2019 | Student Rights
A Fairfax County student was accused of sexual harassment. He says the school system discriminated against him.
A Northern Virginia high school student is suing the state’s largest school system, arguing he faced discrimination after a classmate accused him of sexual harassment.The 18-year-old, identified as “John Doe” in court papers, said that Fairfax County Public Schools inadequately investigated accusations leveled against him by a female student at Robinson Secondary School. The male student, who has a 3.2 grade-point average and was on the school’s wrestling team, was transferred to an alternative school and placed on probationary status, according to the lawsuit...
March 18, 2019 | Separation of Powers
Sen. Toomey on Rejecting Trump’s Border Emergency: ‘I Support Wall Funding,’ But Not This Way
Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey, one of 12 Republicans to vote with Democrats against President Trump's declaration of a national emergency to secure border wall funding, explained his vote Sunday.Toomey said Trump had used the National Emergencies Act of 1976 in a way not normally seen, and that his vote was not a rebuke of the president's call for a wall and strict border security...
March 12, 2019 | Property Rights
Town of Tonawanda to seek control of Huntley plant through eminent domain
The Town of Tonawanda plans to launch a legal effort to take over the closed Huntley Generating Station from its owner. The Town Board at its March 25 meeting is planning to vote to begin eminent domain proceedings against NRG Energy, Supervisor Joseph Emminger said Monday. Huntley closed in 2016 and the property is for sale but NRG still provides untreated water to local industrial customers. Tonawanda officials want to ensure that continues. Emminger said those agreements expire this year...
March 13, 2019 | Gun Rights
What happens if Sheriffs Refuse to Enforce State Gun-Control Laws?
On March 8th, New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) signed a bill that, effective July, closes a federal loophole exempting unlicensed vendors and gun shows from a law requiring that all licensed arms dealers conduct background checks on potential buyers.The law brings New Mexico into the ranks of 20 other states and Washington, D.C., all of which have passed similar pieces of legislation requiring expansion of criminal background checks on handgun sales in recent months. (Notably the United States House of Representatives passed a similar resolution, which now sits in the Senate.)...
March 18, 2019 | Freedom of Speech
Bill Insures Freedom Of Speech On Campus
Public postsecondary institutions in Kentucky would be required to adopt freedom of speech policies for students and faculty under legislation passed by the General Assembly. The measure was sent on to the governor for his signature. Senator Will Schroder of Wilder says it provides free expression in most open areas on campus. “The Supreme Court has said that open areas to the public should be open for free speech to everyone, so students should be allowed, as long as they’re not interfering with classes or the learning environment...
March 17, 2019 | Freedom of Religion
Jury to decide whether school system banned yoga for Christianity
KENNESAW, Ga. — A federal judge says a jury will decide whether a Georgia school system’s decision to halt a yoga program — and transfer the elementary school administrator who started it — was done to promote Christianity...
March 15, 2019 | Freedom of Assembly
Cleveland students sound off on climate change
CLEVELAND, Ohio — Northeast Ohio high school students skipped classes Friday to call attention to climate change, carrying colorful signs with big messages.“Why are we studying for a future we won’t have?”“There is no planet B.”“All I want for Christmas is my planet’s assured survival.”The students gathered in Public Square as part of Youth Climate Strike, a global movement encouraging students to blow off school for a day and protest climate change.“It’s a real thing. And it’s happening now, constantly, and it’s only getting worse every day,” said 17-year-old Noah Horn of Brecksville...
March 16, 2019 | Criminal Procedure & Due Process
St. Louis NAACP Backs State Bill Providing Due Process To College Students
Gaskin was praising a bill in the Missouri State House that would provide due process protections for students accused of sexual assault, including the right to an attorney (at their expense) and the ability to cross-examine their accuser and the evidence and witnesses against them. The Associated Press reported the bill would also allow students to remove university officials overseeing procedures for a conflict of interest and keep schools from using terms like “victim” or “survivor” before any investigation has even taken place. Such words promote the presumption of guilt, supporters of the bill say....
March 15, 2019 | Citizen Juries
The five jury strikes that could decide Curtis Flowers’ fate
The fate of Curtis Flowers may well hinge on how the U.S. Supreme Court views the removal of a handful of African-Americans from jury selection at his 2010 trial.The key issue is whether the prosecutor in the case, Doug Evans, violated Flowers' rights by dismissing black jurors because of their race, which is unconstitutional...
March 12, 2019 | Student Rights
Ohio student suspended after posting Bible verses around school: ‘I wanted to spread the word of God’
A high school student in Ohio is speaking out after she was suspended for posting Bible verses in her school in response to LGBT pride flags displayed in hallways.
Gabby Helsinger, a Lebanon High School student, posted a video on Facebook Friday claiming she is being punished for “targeting” the school’s Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) club.
“On Thursday when I got to school, I see that there were pride flags, posters around my school,” Gabby said in the video. “And I felt the need to write down some Bible verses so I could put them around my school. And I wrote them down and I put them around the lockers, the walls.”...
March 13, 2019 | Separation of Powers
GOP Senators Want Emergency Powers Capped to Stop President ‘Acting Like a King’
More than a dozen Republican senators introduced new legislation seeking to put a cap on presidential emergency powers, days before they were expected to vote on a measure against President Donald Trump's national emergency declaration on immigration...
March 6, 2019 | Property Rights
LA settles homeless property rights case
In a rare non-unanimous decision, the Los Angeles City Council voted 10-2 Wednesday to settle a court case with broad implications for the property rights of homeless residents.
The terms of the agreement have not been released, but by settling the lawsuit, an injunction issued in 2016 that prevents police and city workers from confiscating without notice the possessions of homeless residents in the Skid Row area will remain in place...
March 12, 2019 | Individual Liberties
N.C. is a small step closer to making you put down the phone while you drive
A state House bill to ban use of hand-held cellphones and other wireless devices has cleared the first hurdle.
House Bill 144, “Hands Free NC,” was introduced Feb. 25. Among the four primary sponsors is Rep. Jon Hardister, R-Guilford. The legislation incorporates the prohibition on texting while driving that became law in 2009.
The bill cleared the House Transportation committee. The next of four House committee steps is Insurance, followed by Judiciary and then Rules and Operations. The bill, if signed, would go into effect Jan. 1...
March 11, 2019 | Gun Rights
Advocates for gun rights, gun control address proposed bills
HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) - Advocates for gun rights and gun control packed a legislative hearing on several firearms bills.
The Judiciary Committee's hearing happened at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford on Monday morning.
The proposals discussed brought on a flood of written testimony. It is meant to toughen gun storage laws following the death of a 15-year-old boy in Guilford...
March 11, 2019 | Freedom of Speech
Campus free speech bill opens debate on discrimination
DES MOINES, Iowa —
Iowa lawmakers advanced a bill Monday that some say would increase freedom of speech at the state’s colleges and universities.
The free speech on campus bill allows all student groups, regardless of their beliefs, access to all benefits and privileges made available to student organizations...
March 9, 2019 | Freedom of Religion
US hasn’t ruled out sanctions on China as it pushes ‘religious freedom agenda’ with Beijing, American envoy says
The US envoy responsible for religious freedom urged China on Friday to correct its religious policies while noting the possible sanctions available if Beijing fails to end violations of religious freedom...
March 12, 2019 | Freedom of Assembly
Students Stage ‘Lock-In’ At Elite Bronx High School To Protest What They Say Is A ‘Culture Of Bias’
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — An elite Bronx private school was effectively shut down Tuesday by students protesting the racial climate.
They staged an overnight protest over what they call a “culture of bias,” CBS2’s Aundrea Cline-Thomas reported...
March 11, 2019 | Federalism
Doing away with daylight saving time: A measure moves forward
SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) - - It's something legislative staffers, researchers, and legislators say citizens talk about, ask about, and complain about more than any issue. Daylight saving time. Monday, the state legislature took a step toward doing something about it.
House Joint Resolution 15 had a hearing Monday. The House Economic Development and Workforce Services Committee discussed the measure and decided to pass it forward. By taking that action, lawmakers agreed Utah should endorse and support efforts in the U.S. Congress, to allow states to determine whether they choose to stay on daylight saving time or opt out...
March 11, 2019 | Criminal Procedure & Due Process
House Majority Leader Garnett says red flag bill protects due process
DENVER – House Majority Leader Rep. Alec Garnett is defending the red flag bill he co-sponsored as multiple sheriffs and boards of county commissioners from Southern Colorado have come out in opposition to the legislation.
House Bill 1177 creates Extreme Risk Protection Orders which use the state court system to temporarily take away guns from someone believed to be a risk to themselves and others...
March 12, 2019 | Citizen Juries
Black woman added to jury over protests by officer’s lawyer
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — A judge in the case of a white western Pennsylvania police officer accused of shooting to death a black teenager last year put a black woman on the jury Tuesday over the defense’s objections but said he will reconsider the decision...
March 5, 2019 | Student Rights
Shawnee Mission district settling ACLU lawsuit over free speech at gun protests
The Shawnee Mission school board at a special meeting Tuesday night agreed to a settlement with the American Civil Liberties Union over a lawsuit alleging the district violated students’ First Amendment rights during a protest against gun violence.
The ACLU had filed the lawsuit in federal court last year alleging that the school district violated students’ freedom of speech when school officials abruptly stopped student-led rallies for April’s National Student Walkout Day...
March 5, 2019 | Separation of Powers
McConnell says Trump likely to veto to resolution to end national emergency
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters that President Trump would probably to veto a joint resolution to terminate his declaration of a national emergency at the border, and he predicted a two-thirds majority of Congress was unlikely to overrule the veto. Mr. Trump wants to use the declaration to unilaterally fund border security measures, including a wall at the southern border...
March 1, 2019 | Property Rights
Western North Dakota landowners call property rights bill ‘offensive’
Western North Dakota landowners lined up Friday to testify against an energy bill they called an “offensive” taking of private property rights, while supporters said there’s a misunderstanding of the bill’s intention.
Sponsors of Senate Bill 2344 say it seeks to clarify issues related to pore space, or the cavity or void in an underground formation...
March 5, 2019 | Individual Liberties
Arizona Legislature Mulls Bills To Weaken Vaccination Requirements
The measles outbreak in Washington state and elsewhere is prompting some states to look at tightening vaccine requirements for schoolchildren. But not in Arizona. Lawmakers there have been considering bills to make it easier for parents to get exemptions for their kids from the usual childhood vaccinations.
Supporters of the controversial bills being considered in the Arizona Capitol say they are not "anti-vaccine."...
March 5, 2019 | Gun Rights
Even stricter gun control could be coming to New York
NORTH TONAWANDA, N.Y. (WKBW) — New York gun owners could soon be required to lock up their guns whenever someone younger than 16 is home.
A bill passed the New York legislature on March 4th. It makes it a misdemeanor to not put your firearms in a gun safe or put a physical lock on it...
March 5, 2019 | Freedom of Speech
Trump vows executive order to protect campus free speech, but critics, including U. of C. president, call it a dangerous move
President Donald Trump’s proposed executive order to protect free speech on college campuses follows a growing chorus of complaints from conservatives that the nation’s universities are attempting to silence their voices when they’re heckled, disinvited or their presence on campus is otherwise discouraged.
Critics — including University of Chicago President Robert Zimmer, a frequent champion of free speech — counter that it would give federal officials dangerous authority to interfere in campus speech issues...
March 4, 2019 | Freedom of Religion
Portland bans discrimination against atheists, other nonbelievers
(RNS) — Nonbelievers in Portland, Ore., are feeling affirmed this week after the city council amended the city’s Civil Rights code to extend protection from discrimination to atheists, agnostics and other people who claim no religion.
“What it is is validating because my city thinks I am of the same value as any other individual, and it isn’t OK for somebody to discriminate against me or anybody like me,” said Cheryl Kolbe, president of the Portland-area chapter of the Freedom of Religion Foundation...
March 5, 2019 | Freedom of Assembly
Students at Vols basketball game protest Tennessee’s blackface response
Protesting the University of Tennessee’s handling of a blackface controversy, 40 to 50 students dressed in black occupied seats behind UT’s goal Tuesday night at the men’s game against Mississippi State.
At the start of the game, they remained seated during the national anthem as other students, clad in orange and white, stood. Sitting or kneeling during the anthem has become a standard method of protesting racial injustice since 2016, following the example of football player Colin Kaepernick...
March 5, 2019 | Federalism
Illinois, 20 Other States To Sue Over Trump’s New Restrictions On Family Planning Clinics And Abortions
CHICAGO (CBS/AP) — Illinois and 20 other states are filing lawsuits seeking to block the Trump administration’s new rule to make it more difficult for women to get abortions...
March 1, 2019 | Criminal Procedure & Due Process
Judge says ex-AG Horne denied due process in campaign violations case
PHOENIX — A federal judge has agreed to allow former Attorney General Tom Horne to pursue his claim that Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk violated his due process rights.
In a new order, Judge Steven Logan acknowledged that Polk, in her role of prosecutor, had absolute immunity from being sued...
March 5, 2019 | Citizen Juries
Judge rejects Chelsea Manning’s effort to avoid testifying before grand jury investigating WikiLeaks founder
ALEXANDRIA, Va. - Former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning appeared in Alexandria federal court Tuesday to unsuccessfully fight a subpoena requiring her to testify in front of a grand jury investigating WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
Outside the courthouse after an hour-long closed hearing, Manning said her motion to quash the subpoena was denied but her team believes they "still have grounds to litigate." She would not go into detail because Judge Claude Hilton also blocked her bid to unseal the proceedings. But she said she was "probably going to be" at the courthouse multiple times in coming days...
February 26, 2019 | Student Rights
Missouri Supreme Court rules in favor of trans student in Blue Springs bathroom case
A transgender student who was denied access to the boys bathroom and locker room by the Blue Springs school district has the right to sue for sex discrimination, the Missouri Supreme Court ruled Tuesday.
In a 5-2 decision, the court overturned a Jackson County court’s dismissal of the student’s lawsuit against the district, ruling in favor of the student, identified in court records as R.M.A...
February 27, 2019 | Separation of Powers
President Trump threatens to veto gun bills pushed by Democrats
WASHINGTON (AP) - President Donald Trump is threatening to veto two Democratic bills expanding federal background checks on gun purchases, saying they do not sufficiently protect gun owners' Second Amendment rights.
The House is expected to vote this week on separate bills requiring background checks for all sales and transfers of firearms and extending the background-check review from three to 10 days...
February 20, 2019 | Property Rights
U.S. Supreme Court: Range Rover seizure violated protections against excessive fines
The Supreme Court of the United States ruled police in Indiana acted improperly when they seized a $42,000 Range Rover from a man who sold a small amount of heroin — a decision that threatens some of the hundreds of millions of dollars in property seizures annually by police across the country...
February 26, 2019 | Individual Liberties
Tennessee lawmakers propose raising age for tobacco purchases, Van Huss calls it ‘government intrusion’
Lawmakers in Tennessee are considering whether to follow their neighbor’s example after Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam signed a bill last week to raise the age for tobacco purchases to 21. Senate Bill 1200 and House Bill 1454, recently proposed by Sen. Shane Reeves and Rep. Bob Ramsey, aim to prohibit the sale of tobacco products and e-cigarettes to those under 21. The legislation has drawn the support of the American Cancer Society, whose members described the legislation as “potentially lifesaving public health measures.”...
February 26, 2019 | Gun Rights
Tensions high as Minnesota lawmakers prepare to debate gun control bills at the Capitol
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota lawmakers are set to consider two gun control proposals Wednesday, Feb. 27, amid an atmosphere that grew increasingly tense in the days before the hearing.
The bills would stoke strong feelings at any time. But moves by gun control supporters and opponents in the leadup to the hearing kindled further frustration among both groups...
February 22, 2019 | Freedom of the Press
An Arizona officer threatened to arrest a 12-year-old journalist. She wasn’t backing down.
When a small-town Arizona officer stopped a 12-year-old reporter who was chasing down a story tip on Monday, he probably had no idea what he was getting himself into...
February 26, 2019 | Freedom of Speech
Kinzinger’s office says border remarks are freedom of speech
MADISON, Wis. — A spokeswoman for Congressman Adam Kinzinger says he shouldn’t face discipline for criticizing Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers’ decision to withdraw troops from the U.S. southern border. Kinzinger, R-Channahon, is a pilot and holds the rank of lieutenant colonel in the Wisconsin Air National Guard. He ripped Evers Monday on Twitter and on Fox News for ordering Wisconsin troops to pull out of Arizona...
February 25, 2019 | Freedom of Religion
Cross Clash Could Change Rules For Separation Of Church And State
A giant concrete cross standing in the middle of a busy median strip is the latest symbol of a constitutional fight that has raged for decades. It's a fight over the concept of the separation of church and state and what the Founding Fathers meant when they wrote into the First Amendment a ban on government "establishment" of religion...
February 27, 2019 | Freedom of Assembly
Protesters who participated in the Border Patrol Museum protest explain why they did it
EL PASO, Texas (KFOX14) —
Some of the protesters who defaced the photos of fallen Border Patrol agents tell KFOX14 they have no regrets.
The protest happened Feb.16 at the National Border Patrol Museum on Transmountain...
February 26, 2019 | Federalism
Democrats introduce Voting Rights Advancement Act
WASHINGTON D.C. (WIAT) -- Democrats plan to introduce a bill Tuesday to reinstate federal oversight of voting laws in states with a history of racial discrimination.
In 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court said federal oversight of state elections used an outdated formula to unfairly singled out a group of mostly southern states. It is reported that the Democrats say they have come up with a modern formula to identify states that are guilty of more recent discrimination...
February 24, 2019 | Criminal Procedure & Due Process
Missouri Lawmakers to University: Provide Due Process in Sexual Assault Cases
State lawmakers in Missouri are threatening to withhold funding from the embattled University of Missouri if it fails to provide adequate due process to students accused of sexual assault...
February 25, 2019 | Citizen Juries
El Chapo Trial: Did the Jury Engage in Misconduct?
In a typical case, after a defendant’s conviction, the criminal process slows down as both sides prepare for sentencing or the defense prepares an appeal. But the prosecution of Joaquín Guzmán Loera, the Mexican drug capo known as El Chapo, has never been a typical case...
February 19, 2019 | Student Rights
Civil rights complaint being filed for 11-year-old Lakeland student arrested after confrontation for not standing for Pledge of Allegiance
Ford’s comments stem from the arrest and suspension of the sixth-grader at Lawton Chiles Middle Academy on Feb. 4 after the student refused to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance and was then asked to stand up by a substitute teacher, Ana Alvarez.
“I asked the student to stand up for the pledge and he answered that he won’t because the flag of this country was racist,” Alvarez wrote in a statement to police. “He then started to explain why the National Anthem was offensive to black people.”...
February 18, 2019 | Separation of Powers
White House indicates Trump to veto disapproval of emergency
President Donald Trump is prepared to issue the first veto of his term if Congress votes to disapprove his declaration of a national emergency along the U.S.-Mexico border, a top White House adviser said on Sunday.
White House senior adviser Stephen Miller told “Fox News Sunday” that “the president is going to protect his national emergency declaration.” Asked if that meant Trump was ready to veto a resolution of disapproval, Miller added, “He’s going to protect his national emergency declaration, guaranteed.”...
February 18, 2019 | Property Rights
Property rights, hunting addressed in ND legislature
BISMARCK, N.D. - It's been a long tug of war between hunter and landowner. Lawmakers are putting together a bill they believe will benefit both.
Senate bill 2315 has the hunter needing to ask permission to hunt posted land, but this time law makers are implementing technology to do the job. Land ownership will be coded green (available for hunting), yellow (you must get permission), or red (no hunting allowed)...
February 19, 2019 | Individual Liberties
Defenders of raw milk focusing on liberty more than health in Tennessee
A narrative is rapidly emerging in Tennessee against Dr. Richard Briggs bill to close the cow-share loophole that makes raw milk sales legal that otherwise would be illegal. The Tennessee Senate Commerce and Labor Committee has yet to schedule a hearing on the Briggs bill, but what lawmakers are hearing is that Senate Bill (SB) 15 pits community health against civil liberties.
Briggs, is a Republican, a cardiac surgeon and a retired U.S. Army Colonel. He represents Knoxville in the Tennessee Senate, told Ohio television station WTOL Channel 11 that the controversy his bill has caused is like “kicking a hornet’s nest.” Raw milk dairy farmers are fighting for their loophole, saying civil liberties are at stake for both producers and consumers of raw milk. They are calling opposition to the Briggs bill “a liberty issue.”...
February 18, 2019 | Gun Rights
Gun rights constitutional amendment moving again in Iowa
DES MOINES — Take two on the Second Amendment had its day Monday in the Iowa Senate.
Senate Republicans advanced a proposal to amend the Iowa Constitution to specify Iowans’ right to own a gun and add heightened legal protection to that right...
February 19, 2019 | Freedom of the Press
Justice Clarence Thomas criticizes landmark Supreme Court press freedom ruling
WASHINGTON — Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas criticized a landmark press freedom case on Tuesday, calling for a new look at the rule that public figures cannot successfully sue for libel unless they can demonstrate that a statement was made with actual malice.
The court ruled in the 1964 case of New York Times v. Sullivan that a public figure must prove a defamatory statement was made "with knowledge that it was false or with reckless disregard of whether it was false or not." The case was brought by a county official in Alabama who claimed he was defamed by an advertisement in the paper criticizing police response to the civil rights movement...
February 18, 2019 | Freedom of Speech
Free speech policy stirs controversy at University of Michigan
University of Michigan student Sydney Whack remembers the frustration she and other African-American students felt a year ago when the name tag outside the dorm room of one of her friends was vandalized with the N-word.
At the time, UM officials said the resident adviser handled the incident properly in West Quad by reporting it to university housing and diversity staff. In addition, community meetings were held with residents...
February 18, 2019 | Freedom of Religion
Controversial ‘religious freedom’ bill gets another look at Iowa Capitol
Republican lawmakers have reintroduced a bill at the Iowa Capitol that they say will protect religious rights but that critics warn could allow businesses in the state to refuse services to someone based on religious beliefs.
Senate lawmakers scheduled a preliminary vote Tuesday on the so-called "religious freedom" bill. A similar measure failed to garner enough support last session...
February 18, 2019 | Freedom of Assembly
Protests slam Trump’s declaration as states ready lawsuit
NEW YORK (AP) — Protesters around the U.S. spent Presidents Day rallying against President Donald Trump’s national emergency declaration as at least a dozen states planned a lawsuit to block Trump’s latest ploy to fund his long-promised border wall.
“Trump is the national emergency!” chanted a group of hundreds lined up Monday at the White House fence while Trump was out of town in Florida. Some held up large letters spelling out “stop power grab.” In downtown Fort Worth, Texas, a small group carried signs with messages including “no wall! #FakeTrumpEmergency.”...
February 19, 2019 | Federalism
Virginia Wants To Ban Uranium Mining. The Supreme Court Will Decide If It Can.
The Supreme Court will decide in 2019 whether a Virginia law that bans uranium mining is preempted by the Atomic Energy Act, the federal law governing the processing and enrichment of nuclear material.
The case, Virginia Uranium, Inc. v. Warren, will require the court to interpret laws governing nuclear fuel production. But its most significant, long-term impact might be the glimpse it provides into the court’s view of the proper balance between federal regulatory power and the rights of states in setting their own policies...
February 18, 2019 | Citizen Juries
When Does Kicking Black People Off Juries Cross a Constitutional Line?
WASHINGTON — Doug Evans, a white state prosecutor in Mississippi, has worked hard to keep black people off the juries that have heard his case against Curtis Flowers, who has been tried six times — yes, six times — for the 1996 murders of four people inside a furniture store in Winona, Miss...
February 13, 2019 | Student Rights
Christian student challenged a school history lesson on Islam and lost in court
As a high school junior, Caleigh Wood refused to complete a history lesson on “The Muslim World” that she said forced her to embrace Islam in conflict with her Christian faith — and the Constitution.
A federal appeals court this week disagreed, saying school officials in Southern Maryland had not violated Wood’s First Amendment rights because the curriculum did not endorse a particular religion “and did not compel Wood to profess any belief.”...
February 13, 2019 | Separation of Powers
Congress poised to put Trump in veto bind
President Trump has not issued a veto since taking office more than two years ago, but that may soon change.
The House will move a step closer to a major confrontation with Trump by voting as soon as Wednesday on a resolution that would cut off U.S. military support to the Saudi-led coalition in neighboring Yemen...
February 13, 2019 | Property Rights
Police can’t seize property until conviction under bill passed by Senate
LANSING — Police and prosecutors would be prohibited from seizing cash and property from people accused of a crime until they are convicted on the charges under a bill passed in the state Senate on Wednesday.
The bill — SB 2 — is a retread from the last legislative session when then-state Rep. Peter Lucido's similar bill passed the House but never got a vote in the Senate...
February 12, 2019 |
Drunk driving checkpoints test personal liberties
North Dakota is known for many things, but two of its defining characteristics might be its long, open highways and its citizens’ purported propensity for drinking. With this in mind, the Legislature is once again re-evaluating how it contends with drunk driving...
February 13, 2019 | Gun Rights
In Washington State, Sheriffs Refuse to Enforce New Gun-Control Law
More than a dozen county sheriffs in Washington state are refusing to enforce a sweeping gun-control measure that passed with the support of 59% of the state’s voters in November.
The new law raises the age for buying semiautomatic rifles to 21 from 18, stiffens background checks for purchases of semiautomatic rifles, and imposes new criminal penalties for the unsafe storage of firearms...
February 13, 2019 | Freedom of the Press
Press freedom “fragile” in Europe, says new report
Press freedom in Europe is “more fragile now” than at any time since the end of the Cold War, with journalists in Europe facing increased hostility and violence, according to a new report published on Wednesday...
February 12, 2019 | Freedom of Speech
Organization names KU as one of the worst universities for free speech, cites removal of flag art, social media policy
The removal of an art installation featuring a modified American flag has made the University of Kansas one of the worst colleges or universities in the country for protecting the freedom of speech, according to a national advocacy organization.
The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, also known as FIRE, on Tuesday put KU on its list of 10 institutions of higher learning that it says are the worst at protecting rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment...
February 9, 2019 | Freedom of Religion
Alabama executes Muslim death row inmate who sought imam
A Muslim inmate in Alabama was put to death Thursday night after the Supreme Court denied his request for an imam to be present.
Dominique Ray, 42, was executed by lethal injection Thursday and pronounced dead at 10:12 p.m., The Associated Press reported...
February 13, 2019 | Freedom of Assembly
‘Ralph Must Resign’ protest set to take place at governor’s mansion
RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The momentum to force Governor Ralph Northam to resign continues to grow - with a planned protest outside of his mansion Wednesday.
It’s being called the ‘Ralph Must Resign Rally.’ Several groups are coming together to demand greater accountability following the governor’s blackface scandal...
February 11, 2019 | Federalism
Report: States passed more pro-LGBT laws in 2018 than anti-LGBT laws
Feb. 11 (UPI) -- More state bills supporting LGBT rights were passed last year compared to bills aiming to oppress them, a new study has revealed.
Last year, 21 of 210 proposed bills in favor of the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people were passed while only two of 110 proposed anti-LGBT bills were enacted, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation said in its annual State Equality Index...
February 12, 2019 | Criminal Procedure & Due Process
Red Flag Laws Seek To Balance Gun Safety With Due Process
When an attempt to carry out a gun removal in Maryland's Anne Arundel County left a man dead last November, opponents of the state's red flag law were incensed.
"Whatever you may think of red flag laws, they should not be death sentences. And they were in the case of Gary Willis," said Mark Pennak, an attorney and president of the gun rights organization Maryland Shall Issue...
February 12, 2019 | Citizen Juries
Notorious drug lord Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman convicted
Mexico's most notorious drug lord, Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, was convicted Tuesday of running an industrial-scale smuggling operation after a three-month trial packed with Hollywood-style tales of grisly killings, political payoffs, cocaine hidden in jalapeno cans, jewel-encrusted guns and a naked escape with his mistress through a tunnel...
February 8, 2019 | Separation of Powers
House would uphold Trump veto on border wall emergency: GOP leader
If President Trump were to declare a border emergency and use the Pentagon to build his border wall, Congress wouldn’t be able to muster the votes to block him, the top House Republican said Friday.
Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s comments could stiffen spines at the White House, where Mr. Trump is pondering whether to use emergency powers to construct more border fencing, if he doesn’t win funding from Congress...
February 7, 2019 | Student Rights
Conservative students say universities are ‘stifling’ free speech on Iowa campuses
One day after a federal court ruled in favor of a Christian group that argued it was discriminated against by the University of Iowa, conservative students visited the Capitol to advocate for a bill seeking to promote free speech on campus.
"I believe personally that some of the violations of our free speech have affected the conservative groups on campus more than other groups and I would like to remedy that," said Trevor Kems, a sophomore at Iowa State University studying computer engineering who spoke Thursday in favor of the bill...
February 8, 2019 | Gun Rights
Americans support gun control but doubt lawmakers will act: Reuters/Ipsos poll
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Most Americans want tougher gun laws but have little confidence their lawmakers will take action, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Friday ahead of the one-year anniversary of the country’s deadliest high school shooting...
February 7, 2019 | Freedom of the Press
CNN’s Jim Acosta Visits UVA to Discuss Freedom of the Press and Politics
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The future of politics and the press was under examination at the University of Virginia Thursday evening.
CNN's chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta, whose confrontations with President Trump have gone viral and led him to be temporarily banned from the White House, spoke with community members about the state of the press during the current administration...
February 6, 2019 | Freedom of Speech
New York fast-food workers’ payroll law survives free speech challenge
NEW YORK (Reuters) - A federal judge on Wednesday dismissed a restaurant industry lawsuit challenging a New York City law requiring fast-food employers to send money that workers want deducted from their paychecks to nonprofits, including groups they might oppose...
February 8, 2019 | Freedom of Religion
Judge sides with Christian group in religious freedom case
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — A federal judge says the University of Iowa was wrong to strip a Christian student group of its registered status after the organization barred a gay student from a leadership position...
February 8, 2019 | Freedom of Assembly
Trump rally: Groups to protest Monday in El Paso, GoFundMe set up for ‘Baby Trump’ balloon
A number of protests are anticipated for Monday in response to President Donald Trump's planned rally at the El Paso County Coliseum.
Trump is expected to make a campaign stop in El Paso at 7 p.m. Monday at the El Paso County Coliseum. Earlier this week, Trump said El Paso used to be "one of our nation's most dangerous cities" that saw its crime rates decline after the construction of a border fence. Local, state and federal data show that this is not the case...
February 7, 2019 | Federalism
New Mexico abortion bill called ‘most extreme in the nation’
Following the New York abortion law celebrated by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Vermont is pushing a "right to abortion" bill that goes even further. But opponents of a new abortion bill in New Mexico say a proposal in that state would be the "most extreme bill in the nation" due to its far-reaching changes.
Advocates of the abortion bill that decriminalizes abortion in the state say it is needed in case Roe v. Wade is overturned, but pro-life supporters say it allows abortion-on-demand for any reason, taking away parental notification for minors and conscience protections from the state law...
February 6, 2019 | Criminal Procedure & Due Process
DNC chairman: Fairfax accuser deserves ‘due process’
The woman who has accused Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax of sexual assault deserves “due process,” Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez said Wednesday.
Fairfax has denied that the sexual encounter from 2004 was nonconsensual, as the woman has claimed. Evidence that might corroborate either party's version of events has yet to emerge...
February 6, 2019 | Citizen Juries
Here’s why it’s taking so long for El Chapo’s jury to reach a verdict
BROOKLYN, New York — Jurors in the trial of Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán sat through nearly three months of damning testimony and heard just 30 minutes from the only witness called by the defense. But as of Wednesday, after a day and a half of deliberations, they still haven’t made up their minds about whether he ought to be convicted or acquitted...
February 4, 2019 | Student Rights
New University policy requires disclosure of felony charges and convictions within a week for all faculty and staff
The University of Michigan implemented a new policy Monday requiring members of the community to disclose all charges and convictions of felonies within a week of the charge or conviction. The policy applies to all faculty and staff, including student employees, volunteers and visiting scholars...
February 5, 2019 | Separation of Powers
New lawsuit from unions contends GOP lame-duck laws violate Constitution’s separation of powers
A group of unions on Monday filed a fourth legal challenge to controversial laws passed by Republican leaders just before Gov. Tony Evers took office — this one contending they violate the state constitution’s separation of powers between the legislative and executive branches...
February 5, 2019 | Property Rights
Mississippi won’t reinstate law allowing no-judge seizures
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi lawmakers have rejected plans to allow police to resume seizing cash, guns and vehicles without going before a judge, agreeing with civil liberties advocates that the practice was unjust.
House Judiciary A Committee Chairman Mark Baker said his committee won't consider House Bill 1104 , which would have reinstated a previous law. That means it dies at a Tuesday deadline for legislation to advance out of committee. The Brandon Republican, who's running for attorney general, said House leaders decided not to move forward with the proposal...
February 5, 2019 | Individual Liberties
Marijuana legalization showdown in N.H. State House Tuesday
Supporters of marijuana legalization are expected to pour into the State House Tuesday afternoon, as a bill by Rep. Renny Cushing gets its first public hearing.
Members of the public will have a chance to weigh in on the legislation, House Bill 481, at 1 p.m. in Representatives Hall. New Hampshire is surrounded by states that have legalized cannabis; Cushing’s bill would do the same and apply a tax and regulation scheme on legal sales...
February 4, 2019 | Gun Rights
California lawmakers make renewed push for gun control under Gavin Newsom
SACRAMENTO — California has some of the strictest gun laws in the country, but even as they passed measures in the aftermath of mass shootings, legislators occasionally found themselves frustrated by former Gov. Jerry Brown and his veto pen...
February 3, 2019 | Freedom of the Press
Washington Post airs Super Bowl ad honoring journalists, press freedom
The Washington Post on Sunday aired its first Super Bowl advertisement, a one-minute long compilation of historic images and clips meant to signify the role of journalists.
The ad, which was narrated by actor Tom Hanks, aired during the fourth quarter of the contest between the New England Patriots and Los Angeles Rams...
February 5, 2019 | Freedom of Speech
CA Appeals Court Rules Soda Health Warning Label Violates Free Speech
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled Jan. 31 to block San Francisco's Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Warning Ordinance, requiring health warnings on advertisements for soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages. The American Beverage Association and other retail groups had sued to block the ordinance...
February 5, 2019 | Freedom of Religion
Religious Freedom Group Asks Trump Not to Withdraw From Syria, Warns Turkey’s Entry Will Lead to Genocide
An international coalition of groups supporting religious freedom made a statement pleading with the Trump administration to prevent Turkey from entering the northeast region of Syria...
February 3, 2019 | Freedom of Assembly
Hundreds come out in support and protest of drag queen story time in Lansdale
Waiting patiently on the blue-carpeted floor, dozens of eyes stared up at the tall woman seated in front of them.
With her long eyelashes, lips painted a deep shade of blue and bigger-than-life wig of purple hair, Miss Annie had the full attention of her young audience. She brought with her a book to read and a message about acceptance and diversity...
February 4, 2019 | Federalism
Arizona tribes could offer sports betting at your local bar under bill in Legislature
Arizona gamblers could place sports bets on machines at their local bar and at tribal casinos under a bill proposed by Sen. Sonny Borrelli, R-Lake Havasu City.
Borrelli's bill is one of several around the country being pushed in the wake of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling last year that opened the door to state-regulated sports betting...
February 4, 2019 | Criminal Procedure & Due Process
ABA urges high court to reject rigid bail systems
The American Bar Association has weighed in on a growing national debate over whether an inflexible system that sets fixed amounts for bail and probation is constitutional...
February 5, 2019 | Citizen Juries
Fate of Mexican drug lord El Chapo now rests with US jury
NEW YORK (AP) — After nearly three months of testimony about a vast drug-smuggling conspiracy steeped in violence, a jury began deliberations Monday at the U.S. trial of the infamous Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman...
January 29, 2019 | Property Rights
Michigan Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Property Tax Case
The Michigan Supreme Court agreed to hear a case later this year over government officials having confiscated a man’s property for $8.41 in unpaid interest on taxes and kept the $24,500 it fetched at auction.
Uri Rafaeli failed to pay the interest owed on property taxes for a rental property several years ago. Oakland County, Michigan eventually foreclosed on his property for the $8.41 plus $277 in additional interest and fees. The county sold his property at an auction in 2014 for $24,500 and kept the whole amount...
January 29, 2019 | Freedom of the Press
‘Bullying journalists is not Presidential’: Fox News anchor berates Trump for tweets
WASHINGTON – After President Donald Trump leveled a rare Twitter attack against Fox News – a network he normally praises for its favorable coverage of him – one of the conservative channel's anchors lambasted the president for "bullying journalists."...
January 25, 2019 | Separation of Powers
51 Dems ask House defense panel head to block Trump from using military funds for border wall
More than 50 House Democrats want to prevent President Trump from using future military funds to build his proposed border wall, even as the president has backed off from declaring a national emergency in order to do so.
In a letter led by Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), and sent Friday, 51 lawmakers ask House Armed Service Committee Chairman Adam Smith (D-Wash.), to use the upcoming fiscal 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to prevent the U.S. military “from becoming a pawn in Trump’s immoral, wasteful, and potentially illegal border ‘wall.’ ”...
January 18, 2019 | Property Rights
Wyoming Introduces Bill Offering Cryptocurrencies Legal Clarity To Attract Blockchain Business
In a significant move for the advancement and legitimization of cryptocurrencies and blockchain businesses in the United States, Wyoming has introduced a bill that aims to clarify the legal position of digital assets, as well as offer digital asset custody through banks rather than financial institutions.
The Bill offers three classifications of digital assets; digital securities, digital assets, and most importantly, virtual currencies which give cryptocurrencies the same treatment as money within the state...
January 25, 2019 | Individual Liberties
Virginia bills would raise tobacco sales age to 21
Bipartisan bills in the Virginia House of Delegates and Virginia Senate seek to raise the age for purchasing tobacco and other nicotine products from 18 to 21 – similar to the state's liquor laws.
The bills also add “nicotine vapor products and alternative nicotine products” in the list of those that are permissible to sell in vending machines. All other aspects of the bill, including penalties for sales under the permissible age, will remain the same...
January 27, 2019 | Gun Rights
NYS set to ban teachers from carrying guns in school under sweeping gun control measures
ALBANY — New York would ban teachers from carrying guns in school under a broad gun control package set to pass the Legislature on Tuesday. Following the 2018 Parkland, Fla. school shooting, President Trump and the NRA called for teachers and school staff to be armed...
January 28, 2019 | Student Rights
A High School Allegedly Banned Students From Covering A Classmate’s Arrest
At the beginning of the school year, one of Kyra Howard's high school classmates abruptly stopped showing up for classes.
Nobody at Plainfield High School in Indiana knew what had happened to the student, Levi Stewart, and school administrators weren’t talking. Some kids guessed he’d been suspended. Among a suburban high school of 1,600 students, his absence was noticed because he was active on campus and a drum major in the state champion school marching band. "He was a prominent kid around school," said Howard, who as a student journalist may have been more curious than others...
January 28, 2019 | Freedom of Religion
Government allows S.C. foster care group to keep Protestants-only policy
(RNS) — The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has issued an exemption that allows all foster care agencies in South Carolina to disregard an Obama-era regulation barring religious discrimination in federally funded foster care programs.
The exemption will allow Miracle Hill Ministries, a Greenville-based Christian ministry, to continue to accept only Protestant, churchgoing parents to its federally funded foster care program, which recruits, supports and helps train parents to be licensed by the state to foster children...
January 25, 2019 | Freedom of Speech
Ricky Gervais says freedom of speech is getting lost, slams political correctness on Twitter
Comedian Ricky Gervais blasted political correctness and chastised his critics for painting him with a broad brush for advocating for what he calls "freedom of speech."
The 57-year-old creator of the U.K. version of “The Office” took to Twitter Wednesday to sound off on some left-leaning people who were quick to denounce him after controversial comments he made in the past...
January 27, 2019 | Freedom of Assembly
9 arrested for ‘die-in’ protest at Rockefeller Center ice skating rink in New York City
Nine climate change activists were arrested while staging a protest at the nation's most famous ice skating rink on Saturday.
The activists, who laid down in the middle of the ice rink at Rockefeller Center around 2:45 p.m., were part of a group called the Extinction Rebellion. The protesters formed an hourglass logo with a circle around it -- the group's logo...
January 23, 2019 | Federalism
Under Trump, states step up effort to restrict abortion access
Louisville, Kentucky - Outside Kentucky's last abortion clinic, anti-abortion rights protesters gather each day to face off against orange-vested volunteers who escort women inside for a procedure that state politicians have increasingly sought to restrict in recent years...
January 25, 2019 | Criminal Procedure & Due Process
Iowa Supreme Court says Cedar Rapids traffic camera do not violate due process
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Speed and traffic cameras in Cedar Rapids do not violate a constitutional right to due process, the Iowa Supreme Court ruled on Friday.
The high court upheld lower court rulings dismissing a class action lawsuit against the City of Cedar Rapids Speed Cameras. A group of drivers filed that lawsuit in 2018 claiming the cameras violate equal protection, due process and other clauses of the Iowa Constitution...
January 28, 2019 | Citizen Juries
Campbell County school shooter Kenneth Bartley doesn’t want hometown jury in latest trial
Kenneth Bartley is a household name in Campbell County — for all the wrong reasons, his attorney says.
At the age of 14, he fatally shot an assistant principal and wounded two other Campbell County Comprehensive High School administrators. That was 2005 and just the beginning of headlines for Bartley.
January 22, 2019 | Student Rights
Lawsuits: Michigan State is biased against males in sex assault cases
More than three years of missteps in handling sexual assault cases has made Michigan State University swing the pendulum from not believing victims to now discriminating against male students, three lawsuits allege...
January 18, 2019 | Separation of Powers
Trump vows to veto bills expanding abortion rights in video address to March for Life
President Trump vowed in a video message to the March for Life on Friday to veto any legislation that “weakens the protection of human life.”
“If they send any legislation to my desk that weakens the protection of human life, I will issue a veto and we have the support to uphold those vetoes,” Trump said in the message displayed to a crowd gathered for the annual anti-abortion march in Washington...
January 20, 2019 | Property Rights
They were acquitted of drug trafficking, but Uncle Sam wants to keep their property anyway
Jerry Shults and his daughter, Amy Herrig, were recently acquitted of drug trafficking charges, but the government is not done with them yet: It wants to take much of their money and property using controversial federal forfeiture laws...
January 22, 2019 | Individual Liberties
Florida bill would ban abortions if fetal heartbeat detected
A bill filed by a Florida state lawmaker aiming to ban abortion if a fetal heartbeat is detected has led to public outcry from some progressive groups, with one advocate stating it's "among the most extreme" ever filed in the country.
House Bill 235, filed by Republican Florida state Rep. Mike Hill, would make it illegal for women to get an abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected...
January 21, 2019 | Gun Rights
Washington state legislature considers 4 new gun control bills
OLYMPIA, Wash. -- The group behind statewide gun control measures like I-1639 is back with what it’s calling its most robust legislative agenda to date.
The Senate Law and Justice Committee heard dozens of arguments for and against four gun control bills presented to them Monday. The Seattle-based Alliance for Gun Responsibility is behind the measures.
January 21, 2019 | Freedom of Speech
Federal Judge Recognizes Free Speech for Cannabis Producer
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M., Jan. 21, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- For the first time in history, a Federal Court order has recognized the First Amendment protections guaranteed to producers of medical cannabis.
The 37-page ruling comes after Ultra Health, New Mexico’s #1 Cannabis Company, filed a complaint against New Mexico State Fair officials for unconstitutional attempts to limit Ultra Health’s rights to display a cannabis educational booth at the 2017 State Fair...
January 22, 2019 | Freedom of Religion
Supreme Court refuses to hear coach’s free speech case
The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to hear a case challenging whether teachers and coaches retain any first amendment right to freedom of speech and religion when they’re in the presence of students.
The case centers on Joseph Kennedy, who was suspended and ultimately let go from his job as a high school football coach in Bremerton, Washington, for kneeling midfield and saying a quiet prayer to himself after games...
January 21, 2019 | Freedom of Assembly
Protest held at Diocese of Covington
CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - The American Indian Movement Chapter of Indiana and Kentucky held a protest at the Diocese of Covington.
They originally planned to be outside of Covington Catholic High school but AIM says it understands the concerns about showing up outside the school itself...
January 20, 2019 | Federalism
Supreme Court’s Wine-Regulation Case Focuses On Protectionism
Mega-retailer Total Wine & More made its case against Tennessee retail associations and laws as it desires to open stores within the state. Tennessee currently has a residency requirement for operators owning retail stores that mandate that they have lived in the state for at least 10 years.
Total’s attorneys challenged that notion, along with attorneys for Mary and Doug Ketchum, who moved to Tennessee as they were told the weather would be better for their mentally disabled child...
January 15, 2019 | Criminal Procedure & Due Process
NRA: North Dakota gun control bill denies due process rights
(FARGO) - There’s a bill in the North Dakota legislature that supporters say would keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people.
The “Public Safety Protection Order Bill” allows law enforcement or family members to petition a court to temporarily ban someone considered a danger to themselves or others from possessing guns...
January 14, 2019 | Citizen Juries
Kobach grand jury process to begin next week in Douglas County
Grand jury proceedings to investigate former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s office will begin next week in Douglas County District Court, according to the judge presiding over them.
Judge Kay Huff said that the proceedings would begin in her courtroom on Jan. 22, a Tuesday, following Martin Luther King Jr. Day...
January 17, 2019 | Gun Rights
Bill seeks gun control for domestic violence offenders
BOZEMAN, Mont. — A bill that calls for gun control in domestic violence situations is close to having its first hearing.
State Sen. Sue Malek (D-Missoula) says she's expecting strong opposition to this bill, yet she says she thinks it sparks a needed conversation in Montana...
January 15, 2019 | Individual Liberties
Woman argues her Fourth Amendment rights were violated: State Court of Appeals rules in case
The Minnesota Court of Appeals ruled Jan. 7 in favor of a 27-year-old Pennington woman regarding a probation condition requiring her to submit random spot check chemical testing by police.
The Court of Appeals agreed, reversing in part and remanding the Crow Wing County District Court's decision regarding Tara Marie Cournoyer on her sentencing on a controlled substance conviction. Cournoyer was sentenced to five years of supervised probation and conditions of her probation includes she is required to submit random spot-check testing at the request of any licensed peace officer, probation agent of correctional officer...
January 14, 2019 | Freedom of Religion
The Supreme Court could reinterpret the First Amendment in a conservative direction this term. Here’s how
SALT LAKE CITY — Even though they've had more than 230 years to figure out what it means to "establish" religion, legal scholars, judges and religious freedom advocates still don't agree.
The Constitution's establishment clause — a religious protection in the First Amendment that prohibits the "establishment of religion" by the government — is aimed at reducing church-state entanglement, but over time, it's created confusion and controversy, too...
January 7, 2019 | Citizen Juries
Fatal shooting case against officer heads to grand jury
NASHVILLE — The case against a white Nashville police officer in the fatal shooting of a black man went to a grand jury Monday, a step punctuated by days of heated rhetoric by the attorneys.
A Nashville judge found probable cause to send officer Andrew Delke’s case to the grand jury. Delke is charged in the July shooting of 25-year-old Daniel Hambrick, who had a handgun as he ran from the officer...
January 13, 2019 | Freedom of Religion
Spokane Valley Fire, former captain reach $900K settlement in free speech case
SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. - It's been about six years since Jon Sprague's career with Spokane Valley Fire came to an end because of a disagreement over religious emails he sent to fellow firefighters with his work account.
That disagreement resulted in a six-year legal battle which eventually made its way to the state supreme court. The case just came to an end and now Sprague has nearly $1 million to show for it...
January 9, 2019 | Individual Liberties
Local delegate introduces bill to legalize marijuana in Virginia
PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) -- Portsmouth Delegate Steve Heretick didn't waste any time putting in a controversial bill that he calls the first comprehensive bill for legalizing marijuana in Virginia jistory.
Heretick says he has been an advocate for marijuana reform for the past few years -- and has introduced legislation to decriminalize marijuana in every session since 2015...
January 9, 2019 | Freedom of Speech
Rubio, Tlaib trade barbs over Israel, free speech
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) got into a heated exchange with freshman Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) over freedom of speech and a proposed bill to protect Israel from boycotts.
Rubio introduced a bill this week with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) that seeks to counter the "boycott, divestment, sanctions" (BDS) movement by allowing state and local government to boycott U.S. companies who engage in boycotts of Israel...
January 11, 2019 | Criminal Procedure & Due Process
Congressman Slams Civil Forfeiture As ‘A Series Of Government Shakedowns’
Speaking at a panel on Capitol Hill Wednesday, Reps. Tim Walberg (R-MI) and Jamie Raskin (D-MD) sharply criticized the federal government’s use of civil forfeiture, which lets law enforcement confiscate property and pocket the proceeds for themselves, all without filing criminal charges.
“In this great country, the presumption of innocence has to be first and foremost,” Congressman Walberg said. “But with civil asset forfeiture, that’s not the case.”...
December 28, 2018 | Student Rights
Lawsuit over Cy-Fair student’s refusal to stand for Pledge of Allegiance settled
HOUSTON - A lawsuit over a student’s refusal to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance that started more than a year ago was settled this week.
The litigation started in 2017 after then-17-year-old Windfren High School student India Landry was expelled after refusing for the 200th time to stand for the pledge...
January 11, 2019 |
Texas county Republicans reject ousting Muslim-American vice chair over his faith
FORT WORTH, Texas — Republicans in one of the most populous counties in Texas voted Thursday to keep a Muslim doctor as their party vice chairman following infighting over some members' claims about his beliefs.
The executive committee of the Tarrant County Republican Party voted 139-49 to reject the effort to purge Shahid Shafi, a surgeon and City Council member in suburban Fort Worth...
January 10, 2019 | Freedom of the Press
Lawmakers mark 100 days since Khashoggi’s death with press freedom event
Lawmakers gathered Thursday to mark 100 days since the disappearance of slain Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi and underscore the important of the freedom of the press.
Democrats and Republicans delivered remarks at a press freedom event at the Capitol, decrying Khashoggi's murder and calling for accountability. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) called the journalist's killing "an atrocity and an affront to humanity."...
January 10, 2019 | Separation of Powers
How the Government Shutdown Could End—Without Trump
The government has been shutdown for nearly three weeks over funding for a border wall, nearing the 1995 record of a 21-day closure.
While negotiations between President Trump and Congressional Democrats have thus far come to naught, there is at least one way Congress can unilaterally reopen the government with out the commander-in-chief: veto override...
January 10, 2019 | Freedom of Assembly
Federal workers demand end to government shutdown at White House protest
On the 20th day of a partial government shutdown, furloughed federal workers, contractors and union representatives gathered before marching to the White House to demand that President Trump reopen the government— with or without funding he has requested for a border wall...
December 11, 2018 | Property Rights
In Georgia, water rollback divides on property rights vs. environment
Some of Georgia’s top Republican elected officials, agricultural organizations and business development groups cheered the Trump administration’s move Tuesday to roll back a sweeping Obama-era clean water regulation aimed at protecting tributaries to navigable waterways...
January 9, 2019 | Federalism
Can a state be hauled into another state’s courts? Supreme Court tries to decide
WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court tried for the third time Wednesday to resolve a decades-old legal battle between California and Nevada whose roots date back to the nation's founding.
At stake is an important issue of states' rights: Can a state be hauled into another state's court system against its will? Forty years ago, the high court allowed it. But times – and all the justices – have changed...
January 9, 2019 | Citizen Juries
Want to help make government better? Try signing up for Sacramento County grand jury
Sacramento Superior Court is recruiting volunteers for its 2019-20 grand jury.
The panel gleaned from a cross-section of Sacramento County is charged with reviewing and investigating local governmental activities within the county, from city and county government to schools and special districts...
January 4, 2019 | Gun Rights
Dems to introduce gun background checks bill on anniversary of Gabby Giffords shooting
House Democrats will introduce a bill next week that would require universal background checks for gun purchases.
The proposal will be introduced Tuesday, according to lawmakers, on the eighth anniversary of former Rep. Gabby Giffords’s (D-Ariz.) shooting...
December 4, 2018 | Gun Rights
Florida pension fund urges gun industry to act responsibly
Florida has joined a coalition of major pension funds and investment companies that have adopted a set of principles aimed at encouraging gun manufacturers and retailers to act responsibly...
December 4, 2018 | Gun Rights
One year, eight new gun-control laws in New Jersey
Under an orange banner on a November day — one day after a dozen people were killed by a shooter in a Southern California bar; two weeks after 11 people were killed by a shooter at a Pittsburgh synagogue — Gov. Murphy made his state's already tough gun laws even stronger...
December 4, 2018 | Freedom of Assembly
France protests: PM Philippe suspends fuel tax rises
The move was announced in a televised address by PM Edouard Philippe, who said anyone would have "to be deaf or blind" not to hear or see the anger…
December 4, 2018 | Property Rights
John Bolton: US may ban imports from China that rely on stolen intellectual property
National security adviser John Bolton suggested Tuesday that the White House could seek to bar any imports from China that employ stolen intellectual property from American businesses…
December 4, 2018 | Freedom of Religion
Atheist group sets up holiday display in South Bend’s county-city building
"Oh Come All Ye Faithless." That is the phrase on a holiday display set up in the lobby of the County-City Building by the Northern Indiana Atheists, a nonprofit established to fight separation of church and state violations and defend atheist rights...
December 4, 2018 | Freedom of Religion
Satanic group’s sculpture placed in Illinois statehouse
A display from The Satanic Temple-Chicago has been placed in the Illinois statehouse rotunda, joining the Nativity scene to mark the Christmas season and the Menorah to mark Hanukkah…
December 4, 2018 | Freedom of Religion
Does ‘In God We Trust’ belong in schools?
A week after the school massacre in Parkland, Fla., when grief-stricken students demanded action at the state Capitol, Rep. Kimberly Daniels took to the floor to promote a measure she said had been inspired by God, who she said spoke to her in a dream…
December 4, 2018 | Freedom of Speech
Man goes to light festival, tells kids there is no Santa
A Florida man may be in trouble with a bunch of parents after telling their children there is no Santa Claus…
December 4, 2018 | Freedom of Speech
Foundation wins campus free speech settlement against UC Berkeley
The Young America’s Foundation has won a legal battle, forcing a major college campus to give conservative speakers the same freedoms they give to other speakers…
December 3, 2018 | Gun Rights
Lower penalties, no duty to retreat highlight latest Statehouse gun fight
The Ohio Senate is plowing ahead this week with controversial stand-your-ground legislation despite Gov. John Kasich’s threatened veto of the gun-rights bill, which also would reduce penalties for improperly carrying a gun…
December 3, 2018 | Separation of Powers
Springfield City Council to take final votes on ordinance to protect immigrants
Ignoring a veto threat from the mayor, the City Council in Springfield, Massachusetts plans to take final votes tonight on an ordinance to ban city employees from asking people about their immigration status...
December 3, 2018 | Separation of Powers
Governor Snyder urged to veto efforts to gut minimum wage, sick leave
The Michigan League For Public Policy says lame-duck GOP legislative attempts to gut minimum wage and sick leave legislation is both anti-democratic and bad public policy…
December 3, 2018 | Separation of Powers
Supreme Court rejects environmental challenge to border wall
The U.S. Supreme Court rejected an appeal Monday that challenged construction of the Trump administration's planned border wall…
December 3, 2018 | Freedom of Assembly
Group goes on hunger strike to protest Google development in San Jose
Monday is day three of a four-day hunger strike undertaken by some members of the clergy and other activists who believe Google's ambitious plans in downtown San Jose will displace the city's poorest residents…
December 3, 2018 | Freedom of Assembly
Protesters march, call for strike of UNC professors and teaching assistants
Several hundred demonstrators marched the streets of Chapel Hill and amassed around the boarded up base of the Silent Sam Confederate statue at UNC-Chapel Hill on Monday night, calling for a strike of graduate student teaching assistants…
December 3, 2018 | Federalism
Coalition asks U.S. Supreme Court to uphold states’ rights to sue pharmaceutical manufacturers
Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan is the latest state legal officer to join a 23-state coalition…
December 3, 2018 | Criminal Procedure & Due Process
Pa. Supreme Court: Names of Catholic clergy will remain shielded
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Monday ruled that it would not release the identities of 11 Roman Catholic clerics implicated in a high-profile grand jury investigation of child sexual abuse…
December 3, 2018 | Criminal Procedure & Due Process
County liable for jailing woman 96 days without seeing judge
There are two remaining questions left for a Mississippi woman who sued over being jailed 96 days without seeing a judge: Will the U.S. Supreme Court get involved, and if not, how much will she get paid…
December 3, 2018 | Citizen Juries
Jury selected in Northampton County serial rape trial
The trial of a Northampton County man accused of serially raping women will begin Tuesday…
December 3, 2018 | Citizen Juries
Jury sentences man to life in fatal shooting
A Bowie County jury handed down a life sentence Friday for a Texarkana man who shot and killed another at a gas station in February…
December 3, 2018 | Citizen Juries
Hamblen man indicted by federal grand jury
Deron Jamal Brashers is the latest Hamblen County resident to transition from state criminal court into U.S. District Court in Greeneville, according to court documents…
December 3, 2018 | Citizen Juries
Iowans can now complete jury questionnaires online
Iowans will no longer receive paper jury questionnaires in the mail with summons to report for jury duty...
December 3, 2018 | Citizen Juries
Jury duty scam threatens arrest unless you pay up
A St. Clair Shores man was recently duped out of $1,000 through a scam in which a caller representing himself as a Macomb County sheriff’s deputy threatened to arrest him unless he paid fines for missing jury duty…
December 3, 2018 | Student Rights
Judge dismisses the lawsuit filed by Arrowhead High School student who sued over her soccer suspension
A Waukesha County Circuit judge has dismissed an Arrowhead High School student's lawsuit against the school, which she filed this spring after the school district suspended her from four soccer games for hosting a party at her parents' house at which underage drinking took place...
December 3, 2018 | Individual Liberties
US government interested in tracking privacy coins, new document shows
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) wants to know if it’s feasible to track transactions conducted using privacy coins…
December 3, 2018 | Individual Liberties
Senators call for data breach penalties, tougher privacy laws after Marriott hack
A slew of Democratic senators are calling for tougher privacy laws — and even steep fines for companies that fail to protect their customers’ data from data breaches — in the wake of Marriott’s admission…
December 3, 2018 | Individual Liberties
Oath agrees to $5 million settlement over children’s privacy online
Oath, the owner of AOL and Yahoo, has agreed to pay about $5 million to settle charges from the New York attorney general that the media company’s online advertising business was violating a federal children’s privacy law…
December 2, 2018 | Freedom of Assembly
Rally planned to protest “Republican power grab”
Democratic and progressive legislators and activists are calling for citizens to rally against a series of Republican proposals..
December 2, 2018 | Freedom of Assembly
Hoover mall shooting: Protest at theater ends ticket sales for the night
Just under two dozen protesters demonstrated for about an hour outside the AMC Patton Creek movie theater in Hoover Sunday night…
December 2, 2018 | Federalism
Recreational marijuana becomes legal in Michigan on Thursday: What to know
Recreational marijuana will become legal before the end of the year in the state of Michigan after voters approved a proposal in the November election….
December 2, 2018 | Criminal Procedure & Due Process
Motion for new trial is denied
A former Sandpoint man convicted of lewd conduct and sexual abuse of a minor was denied a new trial last month….
December 2, 2018 | Individual Liberties
Biden praises rule of law during speech in Las Vegas
Civil and constitutional rights are under “unrelenting attack,” former Vice President Joe Biden said during a speech Saturday at which he remembered former President George H.W. Bush as a man of class and decency…
December 1, 2018 | Separation of Powers
Judge rules Trump administration can’t withhold funds from Connecticut over ‘sanctuary’ cities
The Trump administration cannot withhold $29 million in federal money from New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island and three other states that do not embrace harsh immigration policies, a judge wrote Friday, ruling that the effort violated the separation of powers...
December 1, 2018 | Freedom of Assembly
People gather to protest troops at Davis-Monthan
A small protest broke out early on Saturday, Dec. 1, at the Swan entrance of Davis-Monthan Air Force Base concerning troops on the border…
December 1, 2018 | Citizen Juries
Grand jury: Dallas officer’s shooting of neighbor was murder
A former Dallas police officer was indicted on a murder charge Friday, nearly three months after she fatally shot an unarmed neighbor…
November 30, 2018 | Criminal Procedure & Due Process
Jailed parents must be included in hearings on their kids’ fate, Iowa Supreme Court rules
Parents in prison or jail must be allowed to fully participate in hearings on whether their parental rights will be taken away, the Iowa Supreme Court ruled Friday…
November 30, 2018 | Student Rights
Osseo High student accuses school officials fo violating her rights
An Osseo Senior High School student who identifies as transgender has accused school officials of violating her rights in a Nov. 28 incident in one of the school bathrooms…
November 30, 2018 | Student Rights
Police arrested Montgomery High students in operation disguised as active shooter drill
San Diego police officers floated the unorthodox idea first: Hold an active shooter drill. Lock down your classrooms. Then let us come in and arrest four students…
November 30, 2018 | Student Rights
Cal Poly is threatening free speech, say students who were warned for protesting Raytheon
Five Cal Poly students who protested the relationship between the defense contractor Raytheon and the university at a fall campus career fair say school officials are trying to intimidate them from exercising their free speech rights…
November 30, 2018 | Freedom of Religion
Dover officials say they were forced to remove religious statues or face lawsuit
Season's greetings in Dover will look different this year after the mayor says the city was threatened with a lawsuit if they refused to move a statue of the Ten Commandments and a nativity display off city property…
November 30, 2018 | Freedom of Religion
Freedom from Religion Foundation protests Bible clubs in Wood County Schools
A national organization supporting the separation of church and state says there are constitutional violations in Wood County Schools…
November 29, 2018 | Gun Rights
Washington town might declare itself a sanctuary city for gun rights
The town of Republic may declare itself a sanctuary city from a newly passed gun measure…
November 29, 2018 | Separation of Powers
Immigrants get their “voice”: Illinois House overrides Voices Act veto
The Illinois legislature has approved the so-called Voices Act, overriding a veto from Governor Bruce Rauner…
November 29, 2018 | Criminal Procedure & Due Process
New York top court rules non-citizen facing deportation entitled to jury trial
The New York Court of Appeals on Wednesday held that a non citizen charge with a crime…
November 29, 2018 | Citizen Juries
Jury begins hearing testimony in Charlottesville Trial
Statements began Thursday in Charlottesville, Va., in the trial of the man accused of using his car to ram counter-protesters during a "Unite the Right" rally in August 2017, in which one person died…
November 29, 2018 | Separation of Powers
Mayor to veto landmark status for Citgo sign, but says long-term deal will preserve it
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said the city has reached a deal that will preserve the iconic Citgo sign in Kenmore Square, but will veto designating it a landmark...
November 29, 2018 | Property Rights
9 charged with selling Samsung’s inernational property, report says
Nine people face charges for allegedly selling Samsung’s curved-edge display technology…
November 29, 2018 | Property Rights
Canton tree dispute fuels property rights fight with lawsuits, proposed state law
A dispute between Canton Township and two brothers accused of illegally clearing trees…
November 29, 2018 | Freedom of Religion
Quakers sue Green Haven prison, claiming religious meetings with prisoners ended
Don Badgley would wait for more than an hour sometimes to sit with the men of Green Haven state prison...
November 28, 2018 | Separation of Powers
White House threatens veto as Yemen resolution gains momentum
The White House has threatened to veto a joint resolution, up for a procedural vote in the Senate today…
November 28, 2018 | Federalism
Supreme Court Appears Ready to Make it Harder for States to Confiscate Property
At the U.S. Supreme Court Wednesday, a majority of the justices seemed ready to make it more difficult for states to confiscate cars, houses and other property that is even tangentially used in the commission of a crime…
November 27, 2018 | Property Rights
Algonquin to start eminent domain proceedings to acquire land for roundabout
The village of Algonquin will start eminent domain proceedings to try to acquire private property and construct a roundabout…
November 27, 2018 | Property Rights
Eminent domain fight looms in Hopedale over former mill site
The town of Hopedale was originally established as a utopian community, built to honor Christian ideals. But there’s nothing particularly utopian about how efforts to revive this Central Massachusetts municipality’s downtown are playing out…
November 27, 2018 | Property Rights
Supreme Court Orders Review of Agency’s Frog-Habitat Designation
The Supreme Court gave Weyerhaeuser Co. another chance Tuesday to possibly develop a Louisiana timber farm, which could doom an endangered species of frog, telling a lower court to review the government’s decision to designate the land as critical habitat...
November 26, 2018 | Gun Rights
How a Democratic House will affect gun rights
Rep. Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, likely to again be the House majority leader, has said she will push new gun-control laws as soon as the Democrats get the gavel back in January…
November 26, 2018 | Freedom of Speech
Justices weigh free-speech case involving Alaska’s ‘Arctic Man’ event
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday waded into a freedom of speech case resulting from an arrest at Arctic Man, a snowmobile and ski-race event that draws thousands to a remote campsite in Alaska…
November 26, 2018 | Freedom of Speech
Wisconsin students will not be punished for apparent Nazi salute photo
A Wisconsin school district will not punish students who were photographed last spring while appearing to give the Nazi salute, a district official said…
November 24, 2018 | Freedom of Assembly
Environmental protesters block access to Parliament Square
Dozens of campaigners blocked the roads around Parliament Square to highlight concerns about the environment on Saturday…
November 23, 2018 | Gun Rights
Gun Control: New York wants to make you submit social media history before purchasing guns
A proposed bill in the New York State Senate could mean that anyone wanting to buy a pistol…
November 23, 2018 | Student Rights
Judge orders Hamilton County Schools to pay $103,274 in student disability rights case
The Hamilton County Department of Education has to pay a family roughly $103,000 in a landmark student disability rights case, per a federal judge's order Tuesday…
November 21, 2018 | Criminal Procedure & Due Process
Judge: UM deprived professor of due process in disciplinary case
A University of Michigan professor accused of sexual harassment should have been allowed to cross-examine her accusers, a federal judge has ruled…
| Citizen Juries
Calcasieu DA responds to billboards
LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - "It is what it is." Those five words are now plastered on billboards along with Calcasieu Parish District Attorney John DeRosier's face around the Lake Area.
November 20, 2018 | Federalism
Ohio joining suit to preserve states’ rights to regulate pharmacy middlemen
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine will support Arkansas in its bid to get the U.S. Supreme Court to review a lower-court ruling throwing out state regulations of pharmacy middlemen…
November 19, 2018 | Student Rights
Ex-student’s suit says Gwinnett violated her rights in sex-assault case
A former Gwinnett County Public Schools student has filed a federal lawsuit against the school district alleging a civil rights violation over a sexual assault complaint…
November 19, 2018 | Property Rights
Judges question seizure of AC property through eminent domain
It was back to court for the Birnbaums…
November 18, 2018 | Freedom of the Press
Merkley resolution urges Senate to stand up for freedom of press
Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., introduced a strongly worded resolution Thursday calling for the Senate to stand up for freedom of the press in America and around the world...
November 17, 2018 | Criminal Procedure & Due Process
DeVos proposed new protections for students accused of assault
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has proposed a major overhaul to the way colleges and universities handle sexual misconduct complaints…
November 16, 2018 | Freedom of the Press
Julian Assange charge raises fears about press freedom
The disclosure that federal prosecutors have brought an unidentified criminal charge against Julian Assange…
November 16, 2018 | Freedom of the Press
Judge orders White House to return Jim Acosta’s press pass
CNN's Jim Acosta has returned to his post at the White House following a court ruling that forced the Trump administration to reinstate his press pass…
November 15, 2018 | Freedom of the Press
Kill newspaper’s free speech lawsuit against us, Middletown officials ask U.S. judge
Middletown officials are urging a federal judge to dismiss a freedom of speech lawsuit filed against them by the Press & Journal newspaper...
November 14, 2018 | Freedom of the Press
Trump v CNN: lawsuit becomes test case on press freedom
Donald Trump and several of his top aides were accused of violating…
November 13, 2018 | Individual Liberties
Boston Airbnb regulations prompt federal lawsuit
Apartment-sharing giant Airbnb has sued Boston in federal court to stop the implementation in the new year of rules regulating short-term rentals…
November 13, 2018 | Freedom of Speech
Conservative Ben Shapiro touts free speech at Ohio State, attracts protesters
Former Breitbart editor and conservative media personality Ben Shapiro told a crowd at Ohio State on Tuesday night that government exists only to protect life, liberty and property, not to provide services such as housing and health care...
November 10, 2018 | Federalism
Whitaker said he supports state’s rights to nullify federal law
Matthew Whitaker, the new acting attorney general, has said that states have the right to nullify federal law, but that they need the political courage to do so…
November 9, 2018 | Gun Rights
New Jersey governor signs gun control bill to prohibit 3D printed firearms
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed legislation Thursday prohibiting the sale of materials to produce "ghost guns" in state…
November 9, 2018 | Freedom of Religion
‘Push it hard’: Brownback addresses religious freedom on law’s 20th anniversary
The U. S. ambassador for religious freedom called for renewed activism on protecting faiths around the globe on Friday (Nov. 9)…
November 5, 2018 | Student Rights
NWTC denies it violated student’s rights in Valentine’s Day card case
Northeast Wisconsin Technical College denies it violated a student’s Constitutional rights when it stopped her from distributing religious-themed Valentine’s Day cards on campus…
November 5, 2018 | Freedom of Speech
Court rejects free speech claims of convicted stalker
A federal appeals court has upheld the conviction of a man found guilty of stalking a New Hampshire teenager…
November 4, 2018 | Federalism
California Attorney General Joins Coalition in Defending States’ Rights to Implement Gun Safety Laws
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra on Friday joined a coalition of 16 Attorneys General supporting New Jersey and its defense of reasonable gun legislation that restricts large-capacity magazines…
October 29, 2018 | Freedom of Speech
Calling Muhammad paedophile ‘not protected by free speech’
A European court has upheld the blasphemy conviction of an Austrian woman who called the Prophet Muhammad a paedophile…
October 23, 2018 | Freedom of the Press
Pence vows US response to Khashoggi death: Those responsible will be held accountable
Vice President Pence on Tuesday vowed the U.S. would respond to the "brutal murder" of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, calling it an "assault on a free and independent press."
September 25, 2018 | Individual Liberties
Laxalt hails ruling in Elko 4th Amendment case
Can a police officer who stops someone on the street detain that person long enough to check the validity of their identification?
August 3, 2018 | Individual Liberties
COA: 4th Amendment rights not violated by search of home
The Indiana Court of Appeals determined that a man’s Fourth Amendment rights were not violated during a search of his residence because law enforcement had ample reason to believe he was at the residence…
July 11, 2018 | Federalism
What Trump’s Supreme Court Pick Could Mean for States’ Rights
Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s rulings on federal regulatory power, and his approach to the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause, provide the best hints of how he might rule on cases involving states’ rights…