ACSBlog

  • September 20, 2017

    by Christopher Wright Durocher, Director of Policy Development and Programming, American Constitution Society

    On Wednesday morning, the American Constitution Society and the National Bar Association presented “The Power to Promote Progress: Opportunities and Limits to Prosecutors Seeking Reform,” featuring a panel of current and former state and federal prosecutors discussing what it means to be a reform-minded prosecutor.

    In the past few years—often in response to incumbent chief prosecutors’ failure to reflect the values and needs of their constituencies—cities and counties across the country have elected self-described “progressive prosecutors.” Recently elected prosecutors like Kimberly Foxx in Chicago, Kim Gardner in St. Louis (Missouri), Mark Gonzalez in Corpus Christi, Kim Ogg in Harris County and Aramis Ayala in Orlando, join the ranks of other reform-minded prosecutors like acting-DA Eric Gonzalez in Brooklyn, Cyrus Vance in Manhattan, Pete Holmes in Seattle, and James Stewart in Shreveport. In addition to elected leadership, reform-minded attorneys are also serving as line prosecutors in federal and state prosecutor offices across the country.

  • September 20, 2017
    Guest Post

    by Kim Gardner, Circuit Attorney for the City of St. Louis

    I am disappointed with the court’s finding in the shooting death of Anthony Lamar Smith. As the Circuit Attorney for the City of St. Louis, I remain committed to holding people accountable for violating the law, regardless of their race, gender, occupation, or station in life. My job is to ensure a fair and transparent process and to vigorously present the evidence in the best manner possible, and my team did exactly that.  

    While officer-involved shooting cases are extremely difficult to prevail in court, I believe we offered sufficient evidence that proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Jason Stockley intended to kill Mr. Smith. However, in this case it was the judge’s duty to evaluate the evidence and deliver his findings. That’s how our system works.

  • September 19, 2017
    Guest Post

    by Ann C. Hodges, Professor of Law, University of Richmond

    It is no surprise to observers of labor relations that the Supreme Court is once again considering a petition for certiorari in a case challenging the only reliable source of union funds. Well-funded interest groups have long sought to limit unions’ power by restricting their ability to charge for services they are required by law to provide. The petition currently pending in Janus v. AFSCME rehashes the same arguments rejected by the Supreme Court forty years ago in Abood v. Detroit Board of Education and downplays subsequent legal developments that support reaffirmation of the decision in Abood.

  • September 19, 2017
    Guest Post

    by Dan Froomkin

    One of the most important duties of the Senate has become arguably the most hopeless exercise on Capitol Hill.

    Confirmation hearings for top judicial posts – the primary mechanism by which the Senate exercises its constitutional responsibility to "advise and consent" on the appointment of judges – have become laugh-or-cry charades in which nominees endlessly repeat boilerplate explanations for why they can't answer even the most basic questions about their judicial philosophies.

    And the Senators serve as nothing more than props.

  • September 18, 2017

    by Kate Azevedo, Associate Director of Student Chapters, American Constitution Society

    The government might not want us to speak out and get everyone upset, but they also don’t want people in the streets fighting and rioting, which is so much worse

    After those comments, eighteen sets of eyes from a District of Columbia public middle school eagerly await my response.  My partner teacher, another attorney, gives me a shrug.  I fumble with my packet, but soon realize I would not find a satisfactory answer in my prepared curriculum. Feeling the familiar nervous energy as if cold-called by a law school professor, I decided to jump in…”let’s discuss your five freedoms of the First Amendment protected by the Constitution.”