Gun Control

  • January 15, 2016

    by Jim Thompson

    Harold Meyerson at The American Prospect warns against a future without public employee unions and urges progressives to both accept blame for the decline of unions and assume responsibility for preserving their viability.

    In Daily Kos, Public Justice Executive Director Paul Bland says that his law firm is filing a lawsuit challenging a blatantly unconstitutional North Carolina “ag-gag” law that seeks to punish whistleblowers who inform the public about improper conduct at factory farms.

    A federal judge further delayed a class-action lawsuit settlement involving over 7 million defective Remington rifles after both parties in the case said they need more time to develop a better plan for alerting the public to this dangerous defect, reports Scott Cohn at CNBC.

    A recent study by the U.S. Government Accountability Office found that “70 percent of guns seized in Mexico and traced by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) from 2009 to 2014 came from the U.S.,” highlighting the global consequences of America’s lax gun control laws, reports German Lopez at Vox.

    Lawrence NordenBrent Ferguson and Douglas Keith at The Brennan Center for Justice examine six closely divided decisions by the Roberts Supreme Court that drastically transformed the landscape of campaign finance in America, mostly for the worse.

  • January 8, 2016

    by Jim Thompson

    Ahead of Monday’s oral arguments in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, Alana Semuels at The Atlantic explains how the controversial Supreme Court case could significantly impede unions’ fundraising abilities. A ruling in favor of the petitioners would uproot “the legal foundations of thousands of public-sector bargaining agreements, covering millions of workers providing all manner of public services,” reports the Editorial Board at The Nation.

    In an op-ed for the New York Times, President Barack Obama urges Americans to assume responsibility for bringing an end to the epidemic of gun violence plaguing the United States. Leading constitutional law scholars, including ACS Board members Elise BoddieErwin Chemerinsky and Adam Winkler, defend the constitutionality of his executive action in this letter.

    Elsewhere in The New York Times, ACS Board member Linda Greenhouse laments the haunting legacy of DeShaney v. Winnebago County Department of Social Services, a decision handed down by the Rehnquist Court that immunized the federal government from being held accountable for the well-being of individuals who were once under its care.

    Wendi C. Thomas and Frederick McKissack, Jr. at The American Prospect trace the development of the “Fight for 15” movement from a small battle waged by New York fast food workers and car washers into a national campaign for improved working conditions and wages.

  • January 6, 2016

    by Jim Thompson

    In a speech before a New Orleans Catholic high school, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia “reaffirmed the suspicion that he doesn’t understand – or willfully ignores – the First Amendment of the Constitution,” suggesting that the Constitution does not require the government to be neutral on religion, says Sean Illing at Salon.

    At SCOTUSblog, ACS Board members Reva Siegel and Linda Greenhouse criticize conservative lawmakers for undermining a woman’s right to make personal healthcare choices without influence from the state.

    On Tuesday, hundreds of women, including elected officials such as former Texas State Senator Wendy Davis, signed “friend-of-the-court” briefs and shared personal stories about ending pregnancies to humanize abortion for members of the high court, reports Richard Wolf at USA Today.

    In The American Prospect, Sarah Posner explains how Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association could facilitate renewed debate over the presence of religion in public schools.

    At Law Professors Blog, Steven D. Schwinn, co-faculty advisor of the ACS John Marshall Law School‒Chicago Student Chapter, evaluates claims that President Obama’s executive action on gun control violates the separation of powers, ultimately concluding that his orders are valid enforcements of federal law.

    The editors at Democracy Journal present “16 for ‘16” – an election-year project to provide practical, effective reforms for solving major public issues.

  • January 5, 2016

    by Jim Thompson

    Today, in an effort to counter America’s gun violence epidemic, President Obama announced executive actions expanding background checks on some firearm purchases and increasing federal enforcement of the nation’s gun laws, report Michael D. Shear and Eric Lichtblau at The New York Times. ACS President Caroline Fredrickson applauds Obama’s initiative in this press release.

    A federal court in California ruled Monday that a lesbian widow can proceed with a lawsuit against FedEx for denying her the pension benefits of her deceased spouse, writes Chris Johnson at The Washington Blade.

    Also on Monday, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against Volkswagen “over charges that the company installed illegal software on more than half a million vehicles sold in the United States that allowed them to cheat on emissions tests,” says Tim McDonnell at Mother Jones.

    At Reuters, Joan Biskupic writes that the Obama administration has urged the Supreme Court to strike down a Texas abortion law that has shuttered nearly half of the state’s abortion clinics. 

  • December 22, 2015

    by Jim Thompson

    Next month, the Supreme Court will decide whether to grant certiorari to a case challenging an Obama administration policy that will allow millions of undocumented immigrants to stay and work in the United States; however, the most important issue in the case is whether states can use courts rather than the political process to undermine a president’s policies, say Amanda Frost and Stephen I. Vladeck state in The New York Times.

    Elsewhere in The New York Times, Jessica Silver-Greenberg and Michel Corkery criticize debt collectors for using courts to invoke arbitration and deny court access to consumers. Of this unethical trend, Peter Holland, a lawyer who ran the Consumer Protection Clinic at the University of Maryland’s law school, says, “It’s beyond hypocritical that the companies can use arbitration to avoid being held accountable in court, all the while using the courts to collect from consumers.”

    Staff reporters at The Chicago Tribune provide commentary on a Texas grand jury’s decision not to indict any law enforcement officials in the death of Sandra Bland.

    Virginia Attorney General Mark R. Herring (D) plans to announce that the Old Dominion State will no longer recognize concealed carry handgun permits from 25 other states that have reciprocity agreements with the commonwealth, reports Jenna Portnoy in The Washington Post.