In 2010, Congress passed and President Obama signed the Fair Sentencing Act, which reduced the disparity in sentences for crack vs powder cocaine from 100-1 to 18-1. In 2012, the Supreme Court ruled that the new sentencing guidelines applied to cases where the defendant had been convicted before that law was passed but not yet …
Category Archive: Constitutional law
May 22 2013
May 22 2013
In the wake of the scandal over the DOJ’s seizure of the phone records of reporters from the Associated Press, a bipartisan group of legislators has submitted a bill to require that any such seizures can only be done pursuant to a warrant issued by a judge.
May 21 2013
The story of the DOJ seizing phone records of reporters from the Associated Press just gets worse and worse. I had asked in the immediate aftermath whether the DOJ had gotten a judicial subpoena or merely used an administrative one; the answer is the latter, which means no oversight at all from a judge. And …
May 18 2013
The Dearborn Arab International Festival has been the site of many clashes between the police and Christian evangelists who go there to preach to the mostly Muslim crowd. This has resulted in several arrests that ended in acquittals and lawsuits that vindicated the protesters and forced the city to apologize. But in one case from …
May 17 2013
Judge Royce Lamberth is one of those federal judges, like Richard Posner and Alex Kozinski, whose status in the legal profession exceeds their position, rivaling Supreme Court justices. And for good reason, too. He’s finally saying what few other jurists will say, that the judiciary is far too deferential to the executive branch on national …
May 11 2013
The city of Dearborn has reached a settlement with a group of Christian missionaries who were arrested during the Arab International Festival in 2010. The settlement requires the city to issue an official apology for the arrests and to pay the legal fees of the plaintiffs. The American Freedom Law Center, an offshoot of the …
May 08 2013
The courts have long been a convenient whipping boy for the far right. When the courts rule in a way they don’t like, they often propose legislation to limit the authority of the judicial branch, as Republicans in Wisconsin are now trying to do with a new bill:
May 07 2013
Yeah, that’s a headline I never expected to write. But the ACLU has now filed suit on behalf of the Westboro Baptist Church against law enforcement officials in Iowa who have threatened to prosecute them under that state’s flag protection statute — a law that was already struck down by a federal court.
May 06 2013
Joseph Farah isn’t going to wait until his Sept. 11 day of prayer to request that the lord sway the votes of the Supreme Court justices in the two marriage equality cases they’re currently considering. And he’s making some illogical and inconsistent arguments about it.
May 04 2013
Frank Gaffney and Andrew McCarthy are two of the loudest and dumbest voices on the right. They have literally never seen an authoritarian anti-Islamic policy they didn’t endorse. Gaffney has argued that we should end Muslim immigration and not allow any mosques to be built. Now they’re teaming up to say dumb things about a …
Apr 25 2013
You would think that by now there would be almost nothing conservatives could do to shock me, but this move by Republicans in the Iowa House of Representatives leaves my jaw agape at the chutzpah. Still upset about a state supreme court ruling four years ago in favor of marriage equality, a group of Republicans …
Apr 25 2013
Andrew McCarthy, one of the leaders of the right wingers who think that the constitution should be completely irrelevant when dealing with terrorism, has a column at NRO attacking Sens. Rand Paul and Mike Lee for supporting a prohibition on locking up American citizens in military prisons and denying them due process.
Apr 25 2013
David Barton delivered a delightfully whacky explanation of his position that it would be unconstitutional to allow same-sex marriage. It’s the same argument Alan Keyes likes to make, that since the Declaration of Independence mention’s a creator, anything that their God allegedly disapproves of can’t be made legal. And he throws in some more specific …
Apr 25 2013
A federal judge appointed by Bill Clinton is not letting the Obama administration get away with its usual invocations of the State Secrets Privilege and demand that the courts just accept their judgment on what information can and can’t be introduced in a court case. The case involves a lawsuit filed over the placement of …
Apr 24 2013
A judge in North Dakota has declared unconstitutional a law passed in North Dakota that forbid the use of medications to induce abortion during the first trimester. The judge called arguments that such procedures are dangerous “exaggerated or contrived.”