ACSBlog

  • January 23, 2018
    Guest Post

    by Camille Fischer, Frank Stanton Fellow at the Electronic Frontier Foundation

    Over 300 U.S. and European lawmakers, civil liberties organizations, media organizations, computer science professors, U.S. and international legal academics, and companies urged the Supreme Court last week to protect privacy rights in the countless emails, chats, and other online communications that cross international boundaries.

    In all, 23 amicus briefs were submitted in support of Microsoft’s challenge to a U.S. warrant requesting the company to turn over emails stored in Dublin, Ireland. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) signed onto a brief with the American Civil Liberties Union, Brennan Center, Restore the Fourth, and R Street Institute.

  • January 23, 2018
    Guest Post

    by the Honorable Lynn Adelman, district judge in the United States District Court, Eastern District of Wisconsin.

    *This piece was originally posted in the fall issue of Litigation

    The United States today has a serious over-punishment problem. Beginning in the 1960s and 70s, the country embarked on a shift in penal policies, tripling the percentage of convicted felons sentenced to prison and doubling the length of their sentences.  As a result, America has become an outlier, not just among democracies but among all nations—including such highly punitive states as Russia and South Africa. The United States’ current incarceration rate is five times higher than the rate throughout most of the twentieth century. The very phrase—“mass incarceration”—is meant to provoke shame that the world’s wealthiest democracy imprisons so many people, though crime rates have fallen.

  • January 22, 2018
    Guest Post

    by Caroline Fredrickson

    For judicial nominations, 2018 began much the way 2017 ended. Rushed and reckless sum up the confirmation process.    

    Look at the pace with which the Senate is confirming nominees. Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, last week jammed through the Senate Judiciary Committee 17 of Trump’s judicial nominations. As Sen. Christopher Coons, D-Del., a committee member, noted on an ACS briefing call, the rocket docket is now the Senate Judiciary Committee. 

  • January 22, 2018
    Guest Post

    by Peter Dreier, Dr. E.P. Clapp Distinguished Professor of Politics and chair of the Urban & Environmental Policy Department, Occidental College

    *This piece was originally posted on American Prospect.

    There’s a scene in last year’s documentary by Lilly Rivlin, Heather Booth: Changing the World, in which Heather and Paul Booth discuss how they met at an anti-war sit-in at the University of Chicago’s administration building in 1966.

    “The sit-in lasted several days and nights. We got to know each other very well,” Paul recalled. “By the end of the week I was ready to propose marriage and I did.” Married the following year, they spent a lifetime together as key organizers and activists in every social justice movement of the past half-century.

  • January 22, 2018
    Guest Post

    by Julie A. Werner-Simon, is a former federal prosecutor  

    *Reprinted with permission of LA Daily Journal, 1-10-18

    When a new pope is selected by the assemblage of cardinals at the Vatican, the papal conclave releases white smoke into the sky. There are no smoke signals at the U.S. Supreme Court, but if one had a good sense of smell on Monday, the scent of cake appeared to be wafting from the neoclassical edifice at 1 First Street. The Supreme Court rejected two petitions challenging the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ upholding of a Mississippi law that permits businesses, religious organizations and government employees (as well as other organizations and individuals) to refuse service to gay people, to people who identify with a gender other than that with which they were born, as well as people of any gender who have sexual relations outside of marriage. Barber v. Bryant, 17-547 and Campaign for Southern Equality v.  Bryant, 17-642.