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Law

Jim Crow’s Last Stand

The legacy of Jim Crow continues to loom large in the United States. But nowhere is it arguably more evident than in Louisiana. In 1898, a constitutional convention successfully codified a slew of Jim Crow laws in a flagrant effort to disenfranchise black voters and otherwise infringe on their rights. “Our mission was to establish the supremacy of the…

Derechos de los Inmigrantes — Immigrants’ Rights

Independientemente de su estatus migratorio, usted tiene derechos garantizados por la Constitución. Aprende más aquí sobre sus derechos como inmigrante y cómo expresarlos. Vía ACLU (en español). Regardless of your immigration status, you have guaranteed rights under the Constitution. Learn more here about your rights as an immigrant, and how to express them. Via ACLU…

A New Embrace That Should Have Been an Old Embrace

One reads that, in rejection of a prior administration’s approach, [Wisconsin Attorney General] Kaul Embraces Opens Records Policy: Wisconsin’s open records law applies to all records requests, big or small. But under former Attorney General Brad Schimel, the Wisconsin Department of Justice implemented a restrictive policy that limited access based on the number of potentially…

Major Supreme Court Decisions (And Where to Find Them)

There were two major United States Supreme Court decisions handed down today, on partisan gerrymandering and on a possible citizenship question for the 2020 census form. There will be significant commentary – some informed, some not – about these decisions, but it’s worth reading them in full.  Like most decisions, they’re lengthy, yet always worth…

Closed Government is Expensive Government

Small communities – by definition places with small populations – have fewer people from whom residents can choose officials, elected or appointed. The rational response for these communities would be to be as open as possible, to make best use of their full populations, and to encourage newcomers. Pride, however, stands in the way of…

Public Records Requests as Pre-Litigation Actions

Wisconsinites submitting public records requests under the law (Wis. Stat. §§ 19.31 et seq.) may do so for any number of reasons (and need not declare a motivation of any sort). Not everyone will have the same aims in mind. For someone who’s a publisher (newspaper, magazine, blogger), however, a sensible way to look at…

The Best Record is a Recording

A video recording of the 5.28.19 Whitewater Unified School Board meeting is now online. It is, truly, a genuine good without merely particular ends.  (Every regular and special board session should be online, by the board’s own policies. See Public Records Request, 5.20.19.) A recording of the full session confirms yet again that the best…

Treatment Courts as Practical Success Stories

Treatment courts, whether for drunk driving or drug abuse, have been successful in jurisdictions across the country.  Counties from coast to coast – red or blue – have seen positive outcomes from judicially-overseen treatment programs.  Despite this, there’s been opposition to a drug treatment court in rural Walworth County, sadly beset by addictions of various…

‘Christians Build Bridges, Not Walls’

In Texas, a white adobe chapel built in 1899 on the banks of the Rio Grande sits in the proposed path of President Donald Trump’s border wall. A Border Patrol agent stands sentry yards away. A military helicopter—part of Trump’s troop surge at the border—drowns out Father Roy Snipes. It’s akin to “saying Mass in…