Equality and Liberty

  • September 18, 2017
    Guest Post

    by Christina Beeler, ACS Student Board member

    President Donald Trump seemingly endorses police brutality of suspects. He said, “like when you guys put somebody in the car and you’re protecting their head, you know, the way you put their hand over? Like, don’t hit their head and they’ve just killed somebody – don’t hit their head. I said, you can take the hand away, okay?” Although defenders insisted his remarks were made in jest, police departments all over the country rushed to condemn Trump’s remarks.

    Trump’s words brought up an old debate: should the protections of the Constitution extend only to those we deem worthy of empathy or is the Constitution there to protect even those who we may find abhorrent?

  • September 14, 2017
    Guest Post

    by Pamela S. Karlan, Kenneth and Harle Montgomery Professor of Public Interest Law and Co-Director of the Supreme Court Litigation Clinic at Stanford Law School

    *This piece was originally posted on Stanford Law School Blog

    Edie Windsor had a signature set of pearls and a signature set of advice: “Don’t postpone joy” and “Keep it hot.” In the five years I knew her, no one followed that advice more resolutely.

    I began working on Edie’s challenge to the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) on July 4, 2012, when Robbie Kaplan, who was representing her, sent me an email asking if I was interested in helping out. We often say about the Stanford Supreme Court Litigation Clinic (which I co-direct with Jeff Fisher) that we serve as local counsel, only our locale is the U.S. Supreme Court. Robbie brought me in to help with a petition for cert. before judgment; Edie was 83 years old and there was then no telling how long proceedings in the Second Circuit might take. (As it turned out, the Second Circuit issued a ruling in our favor with unusual dispatch.)

  • September 7, 2017
    Guest Post

    by Nicholas Kalin, President, ACS George Mason University School of Law Student Chapter, and Arya Shirani, Vice President, ACS George Mason University School of Law Student Chapter

    US Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos appeared at the Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University’s Arlington campus to announce changes to the previous protocols regarding Title IX and sexual assault.

    If the proposed policy shifts are put into place, sexual assault survivors will face greater pressure to contact the police instead of speaking to a trusted member of their university. Supporters of the previous policy state that students have been more comfortable reporting sexual assaults since the present policies took effect. We believe that the heightened requirement and the greater burden of proof required will make it less likely for survivors to come forward. We believe that the previous policy, while imperfect, allowed survivors to occupy a safer and more comfortable learning environment. This is a dangerous precedent to set. While we hope that not a single rape will occur and these policies will never be needed, we realize that is not the world we live in. The further weakening of Title IX practices and returning power to the schools will only erase the advances made for the rights of sexual assault survivors.

  • September 5, 2017
    Guest Post

    Andy Blevins, Legal & Policy Manager, OutServe-SLDN

    Serving in our nation’s military is undeniably one of the most courageous and selfless acts an individual can make. According to former Defense Secretary Ash Carter, nothing but an individual’s “lack of merit” should prevent them from such service. President Obama agreed: merely being transgender should not disqualify somebody from military service, he said.

    Neither Mr. Carter’s nor President Obama’s statements created a newfound desire to serve this nation: transgender people have been serving alongside us, in silence, forever. In fact, it is estimated that more than 15,000 transgender individuals are currently wearing the cloth of our country. They follow more than 134,000 transgender veterans and precede even more who are standing by, ready to offer their own commitment and dedication to our nation.

  • August 16, 2017

    by Caroline Fredrickson

    Over the past few days, Trump succeeded in uniting much of the nation against himself.

    On Saturday at the “Unite the Right” rally, former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke told a reporter that the event would allow participants to “fulfill the promises of Donald Trump.” Echoing that sentiment, an armed militia – some wearing the president’s “Make America Great Again” hats – marched in Charlottesville, later leaving one dead and 19 injured.