Say it Louder After Daunte Wright’s murder, it’s time to get police out of traffic enforcement
After she heard that police had killed Daunte Wright during a traffic stop outside of Minneapolis, Eilanne Farhat said she first reacted with “deep exhaustion, heartbreak, and sadness.”
Then she was disturbed. Farhat, executive director of Take Action Minnesota, told The Appeal she was struck by how frequently stories of police killings of unarmed people, often people of color, have made headlines in recent years.
Since 2015, at least 135 unarmed Black men and women have been killed by police during traffic stops, according to a January investigation by NPR. Now, after Wright’s death and other recent violent encounters between Black people and police, experts and advocates say it’s past time for cities to move traffic enforcement away from law enforcement.
“Once again, a minor infraction presenting no threat to public safety has ended in a senseless murder at the hands of Minnesota police,” Scott Roberts, senior director of the criminal justice and democracy campaigns at Color Of Change, said in a written statement. “The only way to protect Black lives is by reimagining how we provide safety and security in communities.”
Read the story on The Appeal
More of This Law students are coming after major law firms who represent problematic clients
Gibson Dunn & Crutcher should set an ethical standard for representing fossil fuel companies, a student law group said Wednesday, citing the firm’s work on the Dakota Access Pipeline.
The firm’s work has caused “immense harm to the climate and marginalized communities, particularly indigenous communities,” Law Students for Climate Accountability said in a letter to Gibson Dunn.
The group, which represents students from 50 campuses, also cited the firm’s work for Chevron Corp. related to exploration activities in Ecuador.
The student group’s stand on Gibson Dunn comes just ahead of an April 9 federal judicial hearing on whether Energy Transfer LP’s Dakota pipeline should be allowed to continue operating with a lapsed easement.
A Gibson Dunn spokesperson didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. The firm on its website says its oil and gas practice “advises exploration and production companies” and others “in complex transactions across the oil and gas sector.”
The student group’s 2020 Law Firm Climate Change Scorecard found that Gibson Dunn conducted the second most anti-climate litigation of any law firm with its representation of oil and gas exploration, development and production companies.
“It’s unacceptable that a supposedly prestigious firm like Gibson Dunn has no standard guiding its fossil fuel work other than profit,” said Jeremy Kemp, a University of Virginia School of Law student, and member of the group.
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More of This Too Let inmates vote
Lang is a former Manhattan assistant district attorney, and recent Director of the Institute for Innovation in Prosecution.
“Will you ever be allowed to vote again?” were the first words from Vivian’s mother’s mouth in the moments after her daughter was convicted of a crime. She was rightly concerned.
As the federal government clashes over sweeping voting rights legislation that would expand polling access and set federal standards for both mail-in and early voting, the deficiencies in New York’s own voting laws are clearer than ever. These include limited access to early voting sites, idiosyncratic suppression of absentee ballots, and notably, the archaic and racist legacy of felony disenfranchisement.
Like more than 20,000 New Yorkers annually, Vivian’s voting rights were terminated upon her conviction and not restored until years later. The New York felony disenfranchisement laws, which stripped her and so many other citizens of their right to vote from when they are convicted of a felony until the end of their sentence, have something in common with those in 48 other states. While some restore the right to vote upon release and some do not; all restrictions are rooted in Jim Crow-era attempts to deprive newly enfranchised Black men of a basic right.
Practically speaking, this means that over more than a century and a half, countless New Yorkers have had their right to civic participation stripped, often in addition to their liberty. And since nearly three-quarters of New Yorkers convicted of a felony are Black and Brown, this has the alarming effect of altering the racial composition of our state’s electorate. The implications are far-reaching, not simply creating a racially skewed electorate, but silencing the voices of people most likely to call for leaders who will make change to the justice and correctional systems whose deficiencies they know better than anyone.
Imagine just how different our system would look if elected leaders had to finally listen to incarcerated voices, hear their stories and address their concerns. We have seen time and time again across the country and right here in New York that local elections turn on tiny margins; the 2019 Queens district attorney’s race turned on a mere 55 votes, and last year’s upstate New York’s 22nd Congressional race was decided by a 109-vote margin. People in prisons could make the difference.
Read the story on NY Daily News
Less of This Too When a court gives your professor permission to misgender you
Last month, a conservative panel of judges on the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the First Amendment grants professors a right to intentionally misgender trans students in class. The decision, authored by Donald Trump-nominee and Mitch McConnell protégé Amul Thapar, had a triumphant tone: Thapar depicted himself as a champion of free speech combatting the “classroom thought police” at modern universities who seek to turn their campuses into “enclaves of totalitarianism” by prohibiting discrimination against LGBTQ students.
The facts tell a much more nuanced story than Thapar’s simplistic tale of academic freedom versus totalitarianism. The case centers on professor Nicholas Meriwether, a philosophy professor at Shawnee State University in Ohio. In 2018, Meriwether misgendered a trans student, known in litigation as Jane Doe, in class; she asked that use her correct pronouns and honorifics in the future, but he refused. The university found Meriwether in violation of its nondiscrimination policy, which requires professors to use students’ preferred pronouns. Meriwether refused to comply with the policy, and following an investigation, the university placed a “written warning” in his file noting his noncompliance. The professor, backed by the viciously anti-trans law firm Alliance Defending Freedom, then sued—dragging Jane Doe into the center of a years-long legal dispute that she desperately wished to avoid.
I recently corresponded with Doe over email about the case, including its effect on her own freedom of expression and academic experience. We spoke on the condition that I use the pseudonym Jane Doe to preserve her privacy. Our conversation has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Mark Joseph Stern: How did you feel when professor Meriwether first misgendered you?
Jane Doe: At first, I thought it was a mistake, either mix-up of words or a miscue based on my clothes or appearance. When it is the latter, it is particularly painful; it makes you feel ugly or that your body is broken. But, at the time, there was no way for professor Meriwether to know that I am transgender. All my documents and school records reflect my correct name and female gender marke
Read the story on Slate
Listen to This An interview with a formerly incarcerated lawyer and activist
activist, and attorney. In the conversation we explore the ways we police and punish ourselves and the people around us, the conditions of worthiness, and the balance between form and word choice in poetry. Dwayne also shares about his nonprofit, Million Book Project, and the work they do to bring books into prisons.
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