ACSBlog

  • April 12, 2018

    by Louis J. Virelli III, Professor of Law, Stetson University College of Law

    When he administered America’s first census in 1790, then-Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson had to know it would be an important event for America. In its original role, it was designed to provide an “actual enumeration” of the American population every ten years so the correct number of congressional seats and presidential electors could be apportioned for each state. The modern census is also a matter of public policy, as it affects the distribution of hundreds of billions of dollars annually in funding for programs ranging from Medicare and Medicaid to local education programs.

  • April 10, 2018
    Guest Post

    Joshua E. Weishart, professor of law and policy, West Virginia University. His scholarship focuses on constitutional rights to education.

    Originally published in The Los Angeles Times.

    Teacher strikes in West Virginia, Kentucky and Oklahoma manifested growing frustration with state disinvestment in public education over the past decade. But these protests and walkouts are not just a story about state budgets. Teachers are being forced to rise up in part because most state courts are shrinking from their duty to enforce the state constitutional right to education.

    All 50 state constitutions entitle children to a quality education. (The U.S. Supreme Court declined to recognize a comparable federal right under the U.S. Constitution.) For decades, many state courts enforced that right, striking down school funding schemes as inequitable and inadequate. State legislatures and governors mostly dragged their feet in response, achieving partial compliance with court orders at best. Still, court interventions led to increased funding that studies showed improved educational achievement.

  • April 10, 2018
    Guest Post

    by Caroline Fredrickson

    April 10, Equal Pay Day, marks the recognition that women today earn on average 80 cents for every dollar paid to men. The date is of significance since it reflects the gender wage gap – as American women must work an added four months to match her male counterparts’ salary of the year prior. It’s important to note that African-American women earn 67 cents for every dollar paid to their white male counterparts and that Latina women make 54 cents for every dollar a white man makes.

  • April 10, 2018
    Guest Post

    by Samuel L. Rubinstein, American Constitution Society Strategic Engagement Fellow

    All of the talk, slogans, signs, tweets, and agitation that consume our lives are meaningless without voting. Every day of the year political battles are fought in the court of public opinion, and in courts of law, but only on select days may we render final verdict on what the direction of our communities should look like. The leaders of the March for Our Lives, the historic public demonstration against gun violence that occurred on March 24 in Washington, D.C. and around the world, understood this well. That is why the March included an equally historic voter registration drive, administered by the voter registration entity HeadCount. As a participant in that drive, I registered voters for the first time in my life, an experience that was empowering and meaningful, but also concerningly difficult.

  • April 9, 2018
    Guest Post

    by Ruben J. Garcia, Associate Dean for Faculty Development and Research and Professor of Law at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, William S. Boyd School of Law. ACS Board Member

    The United States Supreme Court’s April 2 decision in Encino Motorcars LLC. v. Navarro was certainly a setback for employees at car dealerships who work as service advisors. The Court ruled that service advisors were not eligible for overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA) under an exemption that does not mention “service advisors” at all. But a dictum in the Court’s opinion represents an even greater blow for more than 70 years of interpretations under the FLSA and is a bad harbinger for enforcement of the Act in years to come.