Extremist Oklahoma Anti-Gay RFRA Legislation Fails

Oklahoma SB 197 and SB 694 dead for this session

For the second year in a row, the Oklahoma legislature failed to pass an extreme ‘religious freedom’ bill targeting members of the LGBTQ community for discrimination. SB 197 – also known as the “Oklahoma Right of Conscience Act” – would have allowed businesses the legal right to discriminate against anyone based on a religion-based desire not to be involved in “a marriage […]

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Flynn Discussed Potentially Illegal Extradition of Permanent Resident

Michael Flynn and Pizzagate

Late last year Newsweek broke a story about Turkey’s potential leverage over President Elect Donald Trump and their desire to extradite Fethullah Gülen, a 77-year-old Muslim spiritual leader who they argue led a coup in their country. Gülen is now a legal permanent resident with all the due process rights the Constitution affords. Despite that, incoming National Security Adviser discussed (in a meeting last year […]

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OK GOP Bill Will Allow Ten Commandments on State Property

Ten Commandments Monument Oklahoma

In an attempt to circumvent a state Supreme Court decision stating that having a Ten Commandments monument on state property constitutes a breach of state and federal law surrounding establishment of religion, the Oklahoma GOP just pushed a bill through the Oklahoma legislature designating Ten Commandment monuments as historically significant and deserving of placement on public grounds. House Bill 2177 – proposed by state Representative John Bennett (R-Sallisaw) […]

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The Gorsuch Nomination

Neil Gorsuch

As I have previously written, the most damning argument against Judge Gorsuch’s confirmation has nothing to do with his bona fides, which are impressive. It is the inescapable fact that his elevation to the Supreme Court will be illegitimate–the result of a very dangerous and cynical misuse of political power. The Republicans’ refusal to afford Merrick Garland a hearing has been widely […]

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The Bully Pulpit: Indiana SB 439 & Hate Crimes

I recently attended the bat mitzvah of a cousin’s daughter at the synagogue in which I grew up.  My cousin’s daughter did a great job with her Torah portion, but I was particularly struck by the sermon, in which Rabbi Dennis Sasso forcefully and eloquently connected those ancient teachings to America’s contemporary challenges. I sometimes need to remind myself that for every […]

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Louisville Councilman Used Fake ID in Bathhouse Witch Hunt

Louisville Councilman David James on a witch hunt against Vapor Spa

Claiming he didn’t want to be ‘recognized’ as a city official, Louisville Metro Councilman David James argued he “found” identification on a public sidewalk he used to gain entry to Vapor Spa – a private membership gay men’s health club in in the city’s Smoketown neighborhood. He gained entry as a part of a larger smear campaign against the business attempting to block […]

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Behind the Statistics: Private Prisons & Justice

prisons prison

Linda Greenhouse, an always insightful observer of law and courts, has written an excellent column for the New York Times about the Trump Administration’s reversal of Obama’s policy phasing out private prisons. For Trump loyalist who keep pointing out that the stock market is doing well, she provides a “think about this” example of just what is fueling that optimism: So the […]

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SCOTUS Sends Back Virginia Transgender Student Case

Gavin Grimm lawsuit against Gloucester County School Board heading to SCOTUS

The Supreme Court just vacated the ruling in a case involving transgender student rights sending the case back to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit.  The decision not to hear arguments in the case follows the Trump administration’s move to rescind the Obama administration’s Title IX guidelines outlining protections for trans students. The refusal to hear the case marks one […]

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Are We Headed Toward a Constitutional Crisis?

What, exactly, constitutes a “constitutional crisis”? It is a term we are hearing more frequently, and over at Vox, they made a pretty good stab at defining it. Dylan Matthews writes that he decided to ask eight leading experts — six constitutional law professors and two political scientists — for their thoughts. They were unanimous that the situation as it exists […]

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Trump’s Wiretapping Meltdown Raises Important Questions

Trump's Wiretapping Meltdown Raises Important Questions

Early this morning Donald Trump began a series of tweets accusing the Obama administration of illegal wiretaps during the presidential campaign. Since presidents cannot (by law) order wiretaps, Trump’s outburst raises several important questions. Most importantly, if Trump was indeed the subject of a federal wiretap during his time as a presidential candidate, what evidence was presented to the FISA court so strong as to warrant […]

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