Supreme Court

Rewriting History, Making Herstory

By June of this year, the #MeToo movement had been bumped from both headlines and headspace by weird, convulsive, and disorienting stories—families separated at the border, trade wars erupting, regressive Supreme Court decisions, and intense and distracting hand-wringing over restaurant owners and patrons making mealtime awkward for members of the Trump administration.

From the Fall 2018 Culture Shift issue of California.

Free Speech Rules: Could a Pro-First Amendment Court Be a Win for Conservatives?

This —2017—has been the year of liberal vs. conservative free speech arguments—from qualms over t-shirt logos at polling places to violent protests of alt-right speakers. Coincidentally (or maybe not so coincidentally) the Supreme Court has decided to take on four free speech cases this year, all brought by conservative plaintiffs. This decision, according to UC Berkeley lecturer and constitutional law expert William Turner, author of Free Speech: Supreme Court Opinions from the Beginning to the Roberts Court, could provide a huge leg up for politically conservative causes.

Money Talks: What’s a Fair Price for Free Speech?

If the past year has taught us anything about free speech at UC Berkeley, it’s that it comes with a price—and the university has to pay. In February, the damage reaped upon university property by the black bloc protests of Milo Yiannopoulos’ speech cost the university $100,000.

So, About That “Well-Regulated Militia” Part of the Constitution

Bay Area demonstrations by right-wing groups scheduled over the weekend fizzled in face of massive opposition protests, defusing fears that Charlottesville-like violence could erupt in San Francisco and Berkeley. Indeed, protests in San Francisco were peaceful, and the few scuffles that did occur in Berkeley seemed instigated by black-garbed Black Bloc protestors, according to many reports.

New Law Dean Talks Comey, Campus Free Speech, Trump’s Legacy

Erwin Chemerinsky, the incoming dean at UC Berkeley Law School and a constitutional law scholar of national repute, has been ruminating much of late on the ongoing shenanigans in Washington and their implications for the Republic. Chemerinsky weighed in with CALIFORNIA late last week and shared some of his thoughts, including his take on reports that President Donald Trump might attempt to invoke executive privilege to prevent former FBI director James Comey from testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee this week.

Will Trump Roll Out the Big Guns on Second Amendment Issues?

Avowed Second Amendment enthusiast Donald Trump drew plenty of scorn and outrage recently when he signed a bill overturning an Obama era restriction on handgun sales to certain mentally disturbed citizens. But the action was significant more as a political statement than functional policy, says UC Berkeley Law Professor and Center for Studies in Criminal Justice Director Franklin Zimring, an authority on Second Amendment issues.

Union Yet? Worker Protections Elude Graduate Student Researchers

Nearly 15,000 graduate teaching assistants, student instructors, and readers in the UC system are full-fledged members of the labor movement. But UC graduate student researchers (GSRs) are the only student employees who are not protected by the UC Student Workers Union contract, and are not eligible to negotiate for better working conditions.

Not Supremely Tech-Savvy—Can High Court Keep Up With the Cyber Revolution?

A popular opinion on the Internet lately is that the members of the Supreme Court are a bit superannuated. You know: supremely old, dated, over the Capitol Hill, if you will. The presumption seems to be that with our geriatric justices aged to imperfection, they’re not only physically impaired, but technologically impaired as well.

Justice Alito Rides Hobby Lobby into Summer Break

It’s always nice to go out with a barnburner.

Wrapping up a session already thick with contentious and consequential rulings from campaign finance to affirmative action, the Supreme Court ended its 2013–14 term with a bang yesterday, dropping a decision that simultaneously touches upon the issues of reproductive rights, Obamacare, freedom of religion, and the limits of corporate personhood. Predictably then, the response to Burwell v. Hobby Lobby decision has been explosive.

Marriage Equality Progresses, Pt. 2

So where exactly do today’s two Supreme Court rulings on same-sex marriage leave California’s same-gendered couples? Still married, and likely to remain so.

Marriage Equality Progresses

 

Just in time for San Francisco’s Pride weekend, this morning the US Supreme Court issued rulings on both the California Prop. 8 case and the Defense of Marriage Act challenge. And both rulings went as well as the defenders of marriage equality could hope for.

Affirmative Action Treads Water

Today’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the Fisher v. UT Austin affirmative action case was surprising more for its silences than its declarations. Although the case was punted back to the district court, it was very much a punt: Left for another day, and maybe another court, was tackling whether race can be considered in admissions policies of public universities.

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