After suffering from a wickedly bad sinus headache all weekend, I am finally getting around to finishing and posting the round-up from last week. Do not let my tardiness here detract from another round of engaging posts. While not every post, many this week take on issues of discrimination. Perhaps this is a fluke, perhaps a sign of the times, but whatever the reason, these are incredibly important posts.
But, before we get into the posts about discrimination, how about we start off with a look at some great, thorough posts about other rights and liberties? I think that’s a good idea, and, seeing as I am the one writing this, that’s what we will do. Erin, Selma, Efrain, and Laura all fall into this first category.
Erin offers up what is, effectively, a thesis exploring the origins of the right to privacy. She looks at the Constitution, cases, and broader democratic ideals that justify the existing of a right to privacy. Erin even discusses some of the challenges the right to privacy is facing now.
Building off of her previous post about Gitlow, Selma O. discusses Schenck in her post for this week. Selma explains the events that gave rise to Gitlow, as well as Holmes’s “clear and present danger test.” She relates Gitlow with Schenck to discuss government’s restrictions on the freedom of speech.
Efrain’s post this week is about Microsoft Corp v. United States (2016), a recent Second Circuit case pertaining to search warrants and what information must be turned over. The case addresses questions pertaining to what data must be turned over based on the location of the servers where it is stored. Efrain explains the case and controversy, and discusses how the ruling’s treatment of data is potentially problematic, raising more questions than it answers.
Laura, in her post, addresses one of the Affordable Care Act replacements that has been floating around, the Cassidy-Collins bill, also known as the Patient Freedom Act of 2017 (PFA). Laura explains the provisions in the bill, how it relates to the still-in-place ACA, and what it means for healthcare moving forward.
While not about discrimination, Kaitlyn and Paul discuss recent religion cases and some ongoing controversies around religion in the public sphere. Kaitlyn writes about Trump’s rally in Florida, focusing in on the choice to have Melania open the rally with a recitation of the Lord’s Prayer. She discusses this decision in light of Town of Greece v. Galloway (2014), and in the context of public prayer more generally. Paul, in his post, looks at the 2005 pair of Ten Commandment cases McCreary County v. ACLU and Van Orden v. Perry. These cases were handed down on the same day, both were 5-4 cases, yet one upheld a 10 Commandment display and the other struck down a display. Paul talks about what unites and separates these cases, as well as how these cases fit within overall trend within the Court regarding religion, generally, and religious displays, specifically.
From here we hop on board the discrimination train and ride it through the rest of the posts for this week. These posts address various policies, laws, regulations, and cases that either evince a hostile attitude towards some group, or show the law working to push back against discrimination. Daniel starts us off with his post, which looks at Trump’s travel ban, and the Court ruling around it. He discusses Trump’s ranty Twitter response, as well as looks forward to the next iteration that the White House has suggested is forthcoming. Here we get a discussion of a travel ban that many consider discriminatory, including several courts, who at least hint at the discriminatory intent if stopping short of saying it directly.
Grace, in addressing her central theme of race and the law, turns her attention to the racial disparities in the criminal justice system. She provides lots of data regarding these disparities, and discusses what they mean for our justice system.
Finally, Elise, Adrian, and Taylor address various issues pertaining to questions of LGBTQ rights. Elise writes about a recent Washington Supreme Court case involving a challenge to the state’s antidiscrimination laws. Specifically, the case involved a religion-based argument for why florists should be able to deny service to a same-sex couple for their wedding. Elise talks about the ruling that the antidiscrimination laws do not require a religious exemption.
Adrian writes his post about yet another bathroom bill that has emerged, this time in Missouri. The Missouri bill focuses on K-12 public schools, requiring students to use the bathroom and locker rooms associated with their determined biological sex at birth. The bill, however, does allow for single-stall or other accommodations for transgender students. Adrian discusses how this bill compares to others being considered by other states. He also discusses the response from various LGBTQ+ groups and activists.
Taylor, whose blog focuses on women’s rights and the challenges women face, uses her post this week to discuss transgender women. Taylor discusses the Trump administration’s decision to change the Obama administration guidelines regarding Title IX, public schools, and access to public restrooms for transgender students. She addresses the problems with these changes, as well as the problems with the “let states decide” approach to transgender rights.
Finally, by way of funny confession to attempt to partially make up for this post’s being late, let me tell you a quick story. As the class is reading and discussing First Amendment free speech cases, I often find myself getting a little distracted as we get to Gitlow v. New York (1925). This distraction has basically nothing to do with the case. It does, however, have everything to do with the exquisitely funny Hyperbole and a Half. More specifically, this:
For full context, here is the post from which this amazing image originates. So, as I review my notes, or prepare to discuss the case, moments before I read or say Gitlow, I think of this. And now you will too. Muwhahahaha.