• November 24, 2015
    Guest Post

    by J. Chris Sanders, Attorney, Chris Sanders Law PLLC

    Two things I’m not going to say in this brief post. First, I’m not going to explain the Citizens United decision. Ever since the Supreme Court spoke in 2010, there’s been plenty of explanation. More than explanation, there are a number of campaigns to reverse the decision, to pass a constitutional amendment overturning it, and/or to blunt its worst effects. Those campaigns do a complete and admirable job of explaining the decision, its ramifications, and the fix that we’re in. But just to keep us on the same page, here’s my two cents. I keep it short: “the Supreme Court perverted Freedom of Speech into legalized corruption by promoting unlimited campaign cash in our elections.”

    We know what the problem is. The question for this post is what to name the problem, or rather, what not to name the problem. We just have to stop saying, “we hate Citizens United.” Or “end citizens united.” Or “citizens united is bad for democracy.” I’m sorry to step on friends’ toes, but I’m concerned. Standing alone, without backstory about the decision, “we’re against citizens united” is counterintuitive. Unless the hearer knows that “citizens united” means the Supreme Court legalized giant money’s control over our politics, it makes no sense.

    You can almost see the baffled stares and hear the snide rhetorical questions in the media. “Why are progressives against united citizens?” We aren’t- we are the united citizens! Not them- they’re organized and united money, remember? The organization “Citizens United” was just a multi-million-dollar “nonprofit” masquerading as a movement. It’s Orwellian to get people to believe that organized money is really united citizens, but that’s exactly what CU was trying to do.

  • November 24, 2015

    by Jim Thompson

    Charles M. Blow at The New York Times explains why being anti-Muslim is being anti-American.

    At Vox, Dara Lind reports that five activists were shot at a Black Lives Matter protest in Minneapolis on Monday evening. This shooting follows renewed white supremacist attitudes in America, attests Chauncey Devega at Salon.

    The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit ruled Monday that a Wisconsin law requiring abortion providers to get admitting privileges at nearby hospitals is unconstitutional, reports Todd Richmond at the Associated Press. The U.S. Supreme Court will consider similar but more extensive restrictions upheld by the Fifth Circuit in Whole Woman’s Health v. Cole this term.

    Nina Liss-Schultz writes for Mother Jones that Planned Parenthood is suing Texas officials for stripping the organization of Medicaid funding.

  • November 23, 2015

    by Jim Thompson

    Maurice Chammah at The Marshall Project writes about a burgeoning campaign in California to save the death penalty. 

    Andy Newman reports in The New York Times that a growing number of students at Princeton University are urging the school to rethink its use of symbols bearing the name of former President Woodrow Wilson, because of his well-documented racist views and actions. In The Huffington Post, University of Chicago law school professor Geoffrey R. Stone comments on the matter. 

    UC Hastings College of Law has announced that it will establish a fund in the name of Professor Joseph Grodin to support social justice education programming. Professor Grodin was also recognized in a tribute on Nov. 12, where federal appeals judge Marsha Berzon delivered a speech in his honor.

  • November 20, 2015
    Guest Post

    by Leticia M. Saucedo, Professor of Law and Director of Clinical Legal Education, UC Davis School of Law

    One year ago today, President Obama announced his administration’s executive actions on immigration. Known as the DAPA Memo, the announcement described executive actions that would have exercised prosecutorial discretion not to deport millions. Since then, a district court in Texas has stalled its implementation with an injunction, claiming that the executive branch overstepped its authority by offering deferred action to millions of undocumented persons. Most recently in Texas v. United States, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit agreed, noting that the executive actions were outside of any authority delegated by Congress. The Fifth Circuit denied the federal government’s petition to stay the federal district court’s injunction, characterizing the administration’s actions as proposing to confer deferred action and then employment authorization categorically to millions in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act. The court got it backward in its analysis.

    The Court of Appeals premised its analysis on the notion that because the government was outside its authority to grant deferred action, it was also outside its authority to grant employment authorization. Here is where the Court of Appeals got it wrong. As the government argued and the dissent in the appellate decision concluded, it is the agency’s authority to regulate worksite immigration enforcement that allows it to also grant deferred action on a category of individuals for its convenience.

    The employer sanctions provisions of the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) –which established the parameters of employment authorization – expressly grant wide latitude to the agency, and Congress specifically intended to provide the agency with this broad authority. When Congress first set up employer sanctions and a worksite immigration enforcement scheme in IRCA, it made the explicit decision to give the executive branch the authority and discretion to provide employment authorization to certain classes of noncitizens. INA § 274A(h)(3) defines an “unauthorized alien” for employment purposes:

    As used in this section, the term “unauthorized alien” means, with respect to the employment of an alien at a particular time, that the alien is not at that time either (A) an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence, or (B) authorized to be so employed by this Act or by the Attorney General. (emphasis added).

  • November 20, 2015

    by Jim Thompson

    In The American Prospect, Nathalie Baptiste relates the surveillance of Oregon Twitter users employing the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag to the illegal monitoring of activists during the civil rights movement.

    In The New Republic, Simon Lazarus of the Constitutional Accountability Center explores three cases under consideration by the Supreme Court that show how big business and the Chamber of Commerce are using the court to carve out “what amounts to a law-free zone” for themselves.

    In The Washington Post, Amber Phillips denounces Roanoke Mayor David Bowers’ recent statement in which he cites Japanese internment camps while making his case to prevent Syrian refugees from coming to America.

    In The New York Times, Jessica Silver-Greenberg and Michael Corkery discuss well-financed media attacks by advocates of arbitration on those seeking to rein in the practice.