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March 12th, 2014
thesmithian

Erika Harold doesn’t fit neatly into the taxonomy of today’s Republican factions: She is not a middle-of-the-road Republican. Nor is she a neocon, a Tea Partier or a strict libertarian cribbing Ayn Rand quotes. She calls herself a constitutional conservative. She is anti-abortion rights, pro-gun, believes that marriage is between a man and a woman. She does not support marijuana legalization. She wants to repeal Obamacare. She also is against the death penalty…

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February 16th, 2014
thesmithian

…chapters examine the history of degrading racial stereotypes, the significance of free blacks in the process of slavery’s destruction, the psychological function and effect of racism, and especially the intellectual problems raised by the various proposals to colonize free and emancipated blacks outside the United States. In a sense, the problem Davis examines here is not slavery as such, but racial slavery. He believes that race—more than the wealth and power of slaveholders, more than a Constitution that protected slavery in the states—was the single greatest obstacle to emancipation in the United States.

more.

…chapters examine the history of degrading racial stereotypes, the significance of free blacks in the process of slavery’s destruction, the psychological function and effect of racism, and especially the intellectual problems raised by the various proposals to colonize free and emancipated blacks outside the United States. In a sense, the problem Davis examines here is not slavery as such, but racial slavery. He believes that race—more than the wealth and power of slaveholders, more than a Constitution that protected slavery in the states—was the single greatest obstacle to emancipation in the United States.

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October 31st, 2013
thesmithian

'Many, if not most, Americans are unaware that the Constitution contains no explicit right to vote. To be sure, such a right is implicit in the 15th, 19th, and 26th amendments that deal with voting discrimination based on race, gender, and age. But…'

…the lack of an explicit right opens the door to the courts’ ratifying the sweeping kinds of voter-restrictions and voter-suppression tactics that are becoming depressingly common. An explicit constitutional right to vote would give traction to individual Americans who are facing these tactics, and to legal cases challenging restrictive laws. The courts have up to now said that the concern about voter fraud—largely manufactured and exaggerated—provides an opening for severe restrictions on voting by many groups of Americans. That balance would have to shift in the face of an explicit right to vote. Finally, a major national debate on this issue would alert and educate voters to the twin realities: There is no right to vote in the Constitution, and many political actors are trying to take away what should be that right from many millions of Americans.

MORE.

October 11th, 2013
thesmithian
if we get to Oct. 17 and the Repubs are still holding the nation hostage, the President has only one option: He must ignore the debt ceiling and order the Treasury to continue to pay all the nation’s bills. He should rely on Section four of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution, which says the ‘validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law…shall not be questioned’…
Robert Reich, at Guernica
October 7th, 2013
thesmithian

…the court’s new term, which starts [today], will feature an extraordinary series of cases…abortion rights, affirmative action, public prayer and presidential power.

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September 13th, 2013
thesmithian

biometric authentication may make it easier for…everyday users to protect data on their phones. But as wonderful as…innovation is, it sometimes creates unintended consequences—including legal ones. If Apple’s move leads us to abandon knowledge-based authentication altogether, we risk inadvertently undermining the legal rights we currently enjoy under the Fifth Amendment…an easy fix: give users the option to unlock their phones with a fingerprint plus something the user knows.

seems like Apple would know this, yes? more.

biometric authentication may make it easier for…everyday users to protect data on their phones. But as wonderful as…innovation is, it sometimes creates unintended consequences—including legal ones. If Apple’s move leads us to abandon knowledge-based authentication altogether, we risk inadvertently undermining the legal rights we currently enjoy under the Fifth Amendment…an easy fix: give users the option to unlock their phones with a fingerprint plus something the user knows.

seems like Apple would know this, yes? more.

September 7th, 2013
thesmithian

“twelve paragraphs that would change the history of free speech…it’s no exaggeration to say that Holmes’ dissent…gave birth to the modern era of the First Amendment, in which the freedom to express oneself is our preeminent constitutional value and a defining national trait.”

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“twelve paragraphs that would change the history of free speech…it’s no exaggeration to say that Holmes’ dissent…gave birth to the modern era of the First Amendment, in which the freedom to express oneself is our preeminent constitutional value and a defining national trait.”

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June 7th, 2013
thesmithian

'The media are not just watchdogs barking at the White House and the C.I.A. The First Amendment aspires to a fuller compact among citizens, including between journalists and confidential sources, that is premised on the self-evident truth that secrecy and concentrated power are inherently corrupting.'

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June 6th, 2013
thesmithian

Many of the things that presidents do…aren’t explicitly in the Constitution, and many of the things we associate with the presidency weren’t done for years…after the Constitution was adopted. A president just set a precedent, and it stuck. For a minor example, there’s the president’s Saturday radio address, invented by Ronald Reagan and then copied by everyone since, although Barack Obama added a twist with YouTube versions…Everything from cabinet meetings to press conferences to “pardoning” Thanksgiving turkeys is part of the slowly built-up White House job requirements. Congress, on the other hand, has its role well delineated in the Constitution…the framers knew all about Congresses and parliaments—but they were inventing the presidency from scratch. There had never been anything like it.

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May 21st, 2013
thesmithian

'Too bad that Republicans don’t sing the praises of the First Amendment when the White House is held by the G.O.P. In fact, they do the exact opposite…'

…In fact, they did the exact opposite when the Republican administration does the exact same thing that is now at the center of the Obama scandal involving the Associated Press—that is, seizing phone records of reporters. (Please note: The issue here isn’t whether they are right or wrong. What I’m talking about is the utter hypocrisy of the G.O.P. on this matter.) Let’s take the most important disclosure of a classified program that occurred in my lifetime: the 2005 article in The New York Times that revealed the existence of the program to allow the government to wiretap Americans and others in the United States without a warrant if it was part of a national-security investigation. Somehow, I don’t remember Republicans banging the First Amendment drum when that story came out— instead, they were calling for reporters to be charged with treason, which could have led to them being executed.

bold, ours. more, here.

May 18th, 2013
thesmithian

'…contrary to the myths that have been built around it, or the use that later politicians want to make of it, Watergate wasn’t about the mistakes of a bureaucracy, it wasn’t a cops and robbers story, or about courageous journalism…'

It was about a pattern of acts by a president that threatened the constitution, the law, and the Bill of Rights. Nothing happening now comes close to that.

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