Where do Trump’s picks for judges come from? What do Robert Bork, Ted Cruz and Antonin Scalia have in common? Ever heard of the Federalist Society? Samantha Bee takes a peek at what has been called the Conservative Pipeline to the Supreme Court. [Read more…]
By Will Falk
On Tuesday, September 26, the Colorado River will sue the State of Colorado in a first-in-the-nation lawsuit requesting that the United States District Court in Denver recognize the river’s rights of nature. These rights include the rights to exist, flourish, regenerate, and naturally evolve. To enforce these rights, the Colorado River will also request that the court grant the river “personhood” and standing to sue in American courts.
Four of my comrades in the international environmental organization Deep Green Resistance and I, are serving as “next friends” to the Colorado River. We are represented by the noted civil rights attorney Jason Flores-Williams who is based in Denver. Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund is serving as advisors in the case.
The term “as next friends” is a legal concept that means we have signed on to the lawsuit as fiduciaries or guardians of the river. Under current law, the Colorado River is not “legally competent” and, so needs “next friends” to ensure her rights are protected. A “next friend” is someone who appears in court in place of another who is not competent to do so – like a minor or someone with a mental disability. My role, as next friend to the Colorado River, is to protect the river’s rights.
We recently released a press release that has been widely shared on social media. National media outlets are beginning to take notice. And, we’re getting interviews, receiving email inquiries, and responding to online comments. So far, the most common question is: Why does the Colorado River need rights? [Read more…]
“…absent an unlikely intervention, the state of Georgia will execute death row inmate Keith Tharpe by lethal injection on September 26, 2017.”
By Stephen Cooper
“Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?” This single, sinister question, asked over a sepulchral-sounding musical score, was rhetorical; for after a dramatic pause and a malevolent cackle, the narrator smugly informed the audience: “The Shadow knows.”
And so it was with this somber admonition on September 26, 1937, that the gritty, crime-fighting character dubbed “The Shadow,” whose exploits had previously been limited to pulp fiction magazines, burst into American consciousness with his own radio program. The uber-successful first episode called “The Death House Rescue” would lead to a run of 664 more installments over 18 seasons.
Exactly 80 years later another story about a scheduled execution, this time one that is all too real, is playing out; but, unlike that first episode of The Shadow, there is little chance of a tidy and fair resolution (much less “a death house rescue”). Indeed, absent an unlikely intervention, the state of Georgia will execute death row inmate Keith Tharpe by lethal injection on September 26, 2017.
Also, unlike the condemned man in The Shadow’s fictional “Death House Rescue,” no one is arguing that Tharpe is innocent. Nevertheless, Tharpe’s attorneys argue he shouldn’t be put to death because, as has been widely reported, after Tharpe’s conviction and death sentence, Tharpe’s lawyers secured a prejudice-laden sworn affidavit from a now-deceased juror by the name of Barney Gattie. [Read more…]
By Hugh Handeyside & Esha Bhandari / American Civil Liberties Union
Warrantless searches of smartphones, laptops, and other electronic devices at the border are a major threat to privacy and civil liberties. Today, the ACLU, along with the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the ACLU of Massachusetts, filed a lawsuit challenging such searches as unconstitutional. The border should not serve as a dragnet for law enforcement to pry into our personal and professional lives.
We represent 10 U.S. citizens and one green card holder from a variety of backgrounds: a military veteran, journalists, students, an artist, an engineer, a limousine driver, and a business owner. All of them had their rights violated when border officials searched their smartphones or other electronic devices when they were returning from travel abroad. Officials also confiscated and held several of our clients’ devices for weeks or months.
None of our clients have been accused of any wrongdoing, nor have they been given any valid explanation for why this happened to them. [Read more…]
Former County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis has formally declared her intention to run for the Fourth District Supervisor seat. Finally.
This will be one of four San Diego County contests I will focus on throughout the coming year. Simply put, the County government is the biggest entity impacting the most lives in San Diego. And if you look closely, it’s apparent the decisions of the Board of Supervisors regularly favor interests whose fundamental values do not align with those of most of the people living in the region.
The 2018 election represents an opportunity to begin changing that reality. As is true with any big institution, change will not happen overnight. But you have to start somewhere. [Read more…]
One San Diego electoral contest in 2018 has national implications and doesn’t involve petulant Republican Congressmen hoping to avoid the Trump taint at the ballot box– County District Attorney.
Even as California voters have repeatedly favored criminal justice reforms at the ballot box in recent years, the state’s bloc of DAs has obstructed, obfuscated, and delayed those reforms.
Elected and nearly always re-elected with financial support from the likes of bail bond companies, correctional employee and police unions–which have funded opposition to reforms–, the state’s 58 County District Attorneys remain the least scrutinized players in the criminal justice system. [Read more…]
By Edward Sifuentes / ACLU San Diego
A coalition of community-based organizations gathered on Wednesday in front of City Hall to express their disappointment in Mayor Faulconer’s flawed plan to select our next chief of police. Specifically, the group called on the mayor to do away with a proposal for a secret selection panel and asked for additional community forums in Districts 8 and 9.
In attendance were representatives of Alliance San Diego, Earl B. Gilliam Bar Association, San Diego La Raza Lawyers Association, San Diego Organizing Project, Mid-City CAN, Center on Policy Initiatives, The San Diego LGBT Community Center, and Community Assistance Support Team, and the ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties.
Members of the coalition said the selection process outlined by the mayor on Tuesday, which includes a secret selection panel and only four community meetings, fell far short of the mark. San Diegans deserve a public process, not closed-door interviews with a panel whose composition will not be revealed until after they decide who will be San Diego’s next chief of police.
I heard talk on TV about people being “stunned” that the president would say that both sides were at fault when he had “rebuked” (if you really want to call it that) the white nationalists’ stunningly violent and reckless behavior in Virginia just the day before.
Stunned about what? I would have been stunned if he hadn’t taken his words back. What happened was the dude desperately had to get back to his true self, back to speaking from the dark places in his mind. [Read more…]
By Lindsey Pasieka
I used to tell people, “I don’t care about politics. I don’t know enough to have a discussion about it.”
I felt almost proud that it didn’t matter to me. I didn’t have to argue with people about economics and laws, and I could sit quietly, unfazed by the 2 a.m. rantings of friends who knew more. I felt safe, confident in what our country stood for, where it was going, and that it was all going to be okay.
I don’t feel that way anymore. [Read more…]
Today’s video should be of interest for anyone wondering about the legality of making videos of police activity. A number of recent court case decisions have upheld the right of citizens to video and record events that take place in public settings. But what if you are challenged while exercising this fundamental right? This ACLU […]
By Thomas Ultican / Tultican
A story of intrigue, real education reform and wealthy ignorance.
A film maker, Rita Grant, called asking me to join an expert education panel at San Diego State University (SDSU). She said she found me when reading Diane Ravitch’s blog and thought I would be a good fit. The event was a screening of the film “Go Public” at EnCorps’ Summer Residential Institute, followed by question and answers with the panel. I was not familiar with EnCorps, “Go Public” or Rita but nothing ventured nothing gained. So, I went.
I met a wonderful group of people, but their organization’s reason for being is misinformed. It’s another education reform organization created by a well-connected misinformed rich person with little relevant training or experience in education, Sherry Lansing. [Read more…]
By Terrie Best / San Diego Americans for Safe Access
Something outrageous is happening in our criminal justice system in San Diego. In a post-Proposition 64 world, after voters could not have sent a clearer message about acceptance of the cannabis industry, District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis is busy making enemies of some of the most effective leaders who have emerged.
Bonnie thumbs her nose at voters while nearly dancing toward a seat on the county board supervisors. Particularly shocking in this prosecution is the targeting of cannabis attorney, Jessica McElfresh who has represented several of the newly-licensed collectives under the city’s ordinance. [Read more…]