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Law

‘This is not a close decision’: Federal Judge Strikes Down Lame-Duck Changes to Wisconsin Voting Laws

Laurel White reports Federal Judge Strikes Down Lame-Duck Changes To Wisconsin Voting Laws: The restrictions limited early voting in Wisconsin to the two weeks before an election. In recent years, cities including the Democratic strongholds of Milwaukee and Madison have offered several weeks of early voting. Former Republican Gov. Scott Walker signed the new restrictions into…

Immoral (and Unnecessary) Compromises

There’s a certain kind of Republican who rationalizes Trump’s many vices because, well, Trump has nominated some conservative judges. (Hugh Hewitt, who’ll rationalize anything to keep a job on the Salem talk radio network comes to mind. See It’s the Supreme Court, stupid.) If there’s an equivalent of this, it’s a certain kind of Democrat…

Trump’s Attorney General Nominee Wrong on Obstruction of Justice

Daniel J. Hemel and Eric A. Posner conclude Yes, [Trump Attorney General Nominee] Bill Barr’s Memo Really is Wrong About Obstruction of Justice. They respond with 6 arguments concerning federal bribery law,  “facially lawful” acts,  obstruction and collusion, the Starr investigation, the theory of a unitary executive, and the context of appointee Barr’s memo.  I’ve…

Once a Gerrymanderer…

Wisconsin, with a gerrymandered legislature and a crony capitalist, lame-duck governor, was never going to have an easy transition back to a tradition of democratically representative government and sound economic policy.  The men who engineered years of the wrong approach were never going to go gently to the political outer darkness that, deservedly, awaits them.…

‘Family of Milwaukee man killed by Walworth deputy in botched drug sting files federal lawsuit’

Bruce Vielmetti reports Family of Milwaukee man killed by Walworth deputy in botched drug sting files federal lawsuit: The family of a 21-year-old Milwaukee man killed by a Walworth County sheriff’s deputy during a botched drug sting has sued the county, two municipal governments and several officers, who the family suspects destroyed dashcam video of…

The Assault on Asylum Seekers

This federal administration, despite a leader who receives support from some conservative religious groups, acts against generations of legal, philosophical, and religious principles when it uses force against unarmed asylum seekers. Father James Martin writes Stop the assault on asylum seekers: Yesterday the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency fired tear gas at migrants trying to seek…

Garrett Epps on Birthright Citizenship

The first words of the Fourteenth Amendment, argues legal scholar and Atlantic contributor Garrett Epps, are the key to its meaning: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.” In the newest Atlantic Argument, Epps details the history…

Justice Department Charges Russian National for 2018 Election Meddling

Matt Zapotosky, Rachel Weiner, Ellen Nakashima, and Devlin Barrett report Justice Dept. charges Russian woman with interference in midterm elections: Elena Khusyaynova, 44, was charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States. Prosecutors said she managed the finances of “Project Lakhta,” a foreign influence operation they said was designed “to sow discord in the U.S. political system” by…

Jennifer Rubin on ‘Three big ideas to bolster democracy’

Jennifer Rubin writes of three ideas to bolster democracy (enhanced voting rights, independent and non-partisan justice, and robust speech rights): First, Republicans, in an effort to hang on to their declining electoral advantage based on white voters, have tried every trick in the book to limit voting by those they suspect will favor Democrats. Hence,…

The Principle of Diversity Rests on Individual Rights

Some of Whitewater’s residents may have heard – because it’s been falsely told to them – that diversity – the inclusion of people from different backgrounds and characteristics – is a group value resting on subcultures of varying size. Hearing this, they’ve heard something else, too: that to abandon a particular leader in Hyer Hall…

Resolution & Defiance

Historian Blair L.M. Kelley describes What Civil Rights History Can Teach Kavanaugh’s Critics:

People watched Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony on monitors in an overflow room in the Dirksen Senate Building during Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings last month. Credit Damon Winter/New York Times

But in the end, these turn-of-the-20th-century African-American activists [in Richmond and dozens of other southern cities in 1904] could not stop Jim Crow’s advance. Their suits, sit-ins, letter-writing campaigns, boycotts, marches and impassioned pleas to lawmakers failed to make a difference when legislators were determined to segregate no matter the costs. Segregation or exclusion became the law of the land in the American South, and remained so for many years, separating black and white Southerners not only on trains and streetcars but also in schools, neighborhoods, libraries, parks and pools.

Progressives, liberals and sexual assault survivors and all those who desire a more just and decent America and who feel they lost when Kavanaugh was confirmed despite their protest should remember Mitchell, Plessy, Walker and Wells, along with Elizabeth Jennings, James Pennington, Lola Houck, Louis A. Martinet, Rodolphe Desdunes, P.B.S. Pinchback, W.E.B. DuBois, Mary Church Terrell, J. Max Barber and many others, including those whose names we do not know. All of these men and women were on the side of justice and lost. None of these people, who fought for full and equal public access as free citizens on trains and streetcars, stopped fighting. None abandoned what they knew was right. They all tried again. Most would not live to see things made right, but they continued.

Those who see Justice Kavanaugh’s confirmation as a lost battle in the larger war for gender equality and dignity for women — and sexual assault survivors, specifically — should emulate the activists of generations past. They should keep organizing, connect with like-minded people, volunteer for organizations that advocate for survivors, consider running for office, and work on the campaigns of those they believe in. A week after his confirmation, a reminder is in order: Movements are about more than moments; they are about thoughtful networks of dissent built over time.

My scholarship has taught me that activism requires a certain resilience, and the willingness to be long-suffering in pursuit of the cause. I hope people remember this. I hope they keep going.

 

 

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The ‘Republican’ Candidate’s Meet and Greet

One reads that the self-described Republican candidate for the 43rd Assembly District will hold a meet and greet next week at a private establishment in town. Good for him – free speech is a core political right. (He’s also scheduled to appear at a local candidate’s forum this week. See The First & Last Questions.) He’s a…