Texas’s restrictive voter ID law to remain in effect

In a ruling issued early this morning, the US Supreme Court upheld the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that the Texas voter ID law SB 14, one of the most restrictive in the nation, should stay in place through the current election, thus likely disenfranchising many poor and minority and student voters, the ones most likely to vote for the Democratic party.
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Texas voting rights case update

Last Thursday, a federal judge in Texas threw out that state’s new voting ID requirements enshrined in the law SB 14, the strictest in the nation, on the grounds that it imposed undue hardship on voters, was discriminatory, and the costs involved amounted to a poll tax. It was a sweeping judgment that Texas immediately appealed to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. This is one of the most conservative of the Appeals Courts and on Tuesday, they reversed the judge’s ruling, allowing the rules to remain in place.
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Voter suppression efforts receive two setbacks

It has been clear for some time that, since their actual policies and practices are so unpopular with key demographics, the GOP strategy for winning elections is to try and reduce voting by likely Democratic voters by enacting strict voter ID laws under the pretext of preventing fraud, a problem that does not exist in any significant way to matter. But yesterday, these measures received two significant setbacks.
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Clarifying the state of play on same-sex marriage

When it comes to same-sex marriage, the current state of play can be a little confusing, consisting as it does of a mixture of legislative and judicial decisions. Since the US Supreme Court has declined to hear, for now at least, cases that deal with this issue, we are left with a patchwork of laws passed by referenda and legislatures and state and federal courts. We have basically three different situations:
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Why the Supremes voted to reject the same-sex marriage cases

The more inscrutable an important organization is, the more effort that goes into trying to discern why they behave the way they do. The US Supreme Court is a prime example. It almost never gives reasons as to why it accepts or rejects cases for review and has been quite successful in having the justices and their clerks not reveal their internal discussions and workings, at least until their papers are released long after they have retired or died.
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What you should do if you are stopped by the police

I have been writing a lot about the abuses by police during traffic stops and in response to one such post, reader culuriel asked a good question as to what one should do in such a situation and what the ACLU recommends. I looked into it and came across this video produced by the ACLU that features comedian Elon James White addressing this very question that is both informative and amusing. It is part of their Know You Rights program that gives more explicit details what to do in a variety of situations.
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The First Amendment does not mean what these people think it means

Ok folks, let’s get one thing clear. The First Amendment guarantee of free speech does not mean that you can say anything to anyone at any time in any place in any capacity. That this need to be clarified at all is astounding but clearly some people just do not get it, as when a state trooper Brian Hamilton started questioning Ellen Bogan after he pulled her over.
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Surprising Supreme Court decision on same sex marriage

The US Supreme Court said today that it will not hear any of the seven same-sex marriage cases that were appealed to them. Appeals Courts in all those cases had ruled in favor of overturning bans on such marriages but injunctions had been in place preventing them from actually taking place until the Supreme Court ruled. By saying they will not hear those cases, the injunctions become void and now marriages can go ahead in five new states Indiana, Wisconsin, Utah, Oklahoma, and Virginia.
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Notorious RBG interview

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has emerged as the leading liberal voice on the US Supreme Court. At age 81, she is also the oldest justice. She gave an interview to the magazine Elle in which she discussed, among other things, why those who have been publicly urging her to retire while president Obama is still in office so that he can appoint someone else in her mold are misguided and that she has no plans to retire.
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