February 2018

  • February 22, 2018
    Guest Post

    by Gregg Ivers, Professor of Government, American University

    Battered, bruised and demoralized – literally and figuratively – by an unsuccessful two-year campaign to desegregate Albany, Georgia, a small southwestern town near the Alabama border, the leadership of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) convened in January 1963 to assess its mistakes and plan a way forward. Frustrated by Albany Police Chief Leslie Pritchett’s clever response to the Albany campaign – he never publicly used violent tactics to arrest demonstrators – Martin Luther King, Jr. needed a success to recover the momentum in the civil rights movement that had stalled by December 1962. The prominent African American journalist Louis Lomax observed that King’s public image as a flawless strategist had taken a serious hit. “The next town he visits,” Lomax wrote, “to inspire those who are ready to suffer for their rights, he will find people saying, ‘Remember Albany.’”

  • February 22, 2018
    Guest Post

    by Daniel A. Cotter

    The American Constitution Society launched an initiative, “Love Our Constitution,”  in 2017 with the goal for lawyers, judges, and others to lead discussions and make presentations about the United States Constitution and the federal courts during the week of Valentine’s Day. I participated in 2017 and volunteered once again to conduct a presentation to the local Boy Scouts Troop.

  • February 22, 2018
    Guest Post

    by Christopher Wright Durocher, Senior Director of Policy and Program

    On Wednesday, February 14, seventeen people were killed and another fourteen were wounded in a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. The gunman allegedly used an AR-15 style semi-automatic assault rifle. The post below was originally published in June 2017—after an attack by a similarly armed gunman during practice for members of the GOP congressional baseball team—that discusses that availability of assault rifles, as well as responses to mass shootings. In addition, last October, ACSblog ran a post spotlighting a letter from 88 groups concerned with gun violence to state and federal lawmakers after the Las Vegas shooting, demanding action to address gun violence. With the 10th Anniversary of the landmark Second Amendment case District of Columbia v. Heller coming up this June and gun violence remaining a national crisis, ACS will continue to highlight this issue on the ACSblog and in our programming.

  • February 21, 2018
    Guest Post

    by Jay Austin, Senior Attorney and Editor-in Chief of the Environmental Law Reporter, Environmental Law Institute

    For the past year or so, a steady refrain in environmental and regulatory law has been “can he do that?” – the ongoing reexamination of presidential and executive branch authority against a dizzying backdrop of reversals, revisions, and rescissions of Obama Administration policies and rules. My own attempts to answer this question included a look at last April’s Executive Order 13795 on “Implementing an America-First Offshore Energy Strategy,” which attempts to extend the new watchword of “energy dominance” to the outer continental shelf.

  • February 21, 2018
    Guest Post

    by Elliot Mincberg, Senior Fellow at People For the American Way

    *This piece was originally posted on Medium.

    Later this month, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Janus v. AFSCME Council 31, which right-wing activists hope will lead a conservative Court majority to deal a “crushing blow to organized labor.” The case is part of a lengthy effort by labor opponents to get the Supreme Court to overrule the 1977 precedent in Abood v. Detroit Board of Education that public employers can require workers who choose not to join a union to at least pay for the costs of collective bargaining from which they benefit, despite free speech claims to the contrary. The Court split 4–4 on this issue in the Friedrichs case two years ago after the death of Justice Scalia, but anti-union activists hope the addition of the very conservative Justice Gorsuch could push the anti-union cause over the top. A close look at the record in Janus, however, suggests some important differences compared with Friedrichs and other cases that could well result in the preservation of Abood and union workers’ rights.