Archive for the ‘Constitutional Law’ Category

10258065_10152705666090673_8596767114169859453_oBus riders this week found themselves under attack by dozens of ultra-Orthodox Jews who hurled stones and slashed the tires of their buses. The reason? Some buses featured ads supporting the right of women to worship at a holy site in Jerusalem. This is only the latest such attack by ultra-Orthodox Jews who have manned “modesty patrols” on the streets and attacked women who call for equal access at sites like the Western Wall.

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post1There is an interesting case out of Idaho that could be a critical showdown between anti-discrimination laws and freedom of exercise of religion. At the heart of the controversy are two Christian ministers, Donald and Evelyn Knapp, who own a Coeur d’Alene wedding chapel. They have been told that they must either perform same-sex weddings or face a $1000 fine. It raises a legitimate claim of the encroachment of state laws into areas of faith — a question that has been previously raised in less direct ways involving bakeries, photographers and other businesses that has refused for religious reasons to service same-sex marriages. We have previously discussed the difficulty in drawing lines under the First Amendment. If this business is protected, then why is not a bakery of religious individuals? Conversely, if this business is not protected, how about all of the religions that accept payments for religious services?

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635484776486452861-Alabama-pastor-100914It is relatively rare for a judge to be placed into a position of having to determine who gives a sermon at a church but that unenviable position was forced upon Montgomery County Circuit Judge Charles Price who was faced with an uprising against Rev. Juan McFarland, 47, at his Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church. They had good cause to want McFarland out. The not-so-good reverend has admitted to using drugs, having sex with church members in the church building and having HIV but not telling sex partners. Price, a GW grad who was honored for this service by having the courthouse named after him and , ordered him to step aside.

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150px-muslim_woman_in_yemen220px-Hydrochloric_acid_ammoniaWe often discuss the disconnect of religious fanatics who rape or beat or kill women and girls in the name of morality. Often such abuses seems to be condoned by governments like Iran. However, after a series of acid attacks on women for not being properly veiled, the Iranian government is actually investigating and denouncing the attacks.

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Respectfully submitted by Lawrence E. Rafferty (rafflaw)-Weekend Contributor

I can still remember the first time I voted in a National election.  I was a young, 18-year-old student and I could finally have a say in who was going to run the country.  It was a proud day for me and the countless other 18 year olds who were also voting for the first time.  I can honestly say that I have not missed voting in any election since.  That includes both primary and general elections.  There wasn’t always a lot to vote for in some of those primaries over the years, but I consider voting a duty, so I made sure that I made it to the polls.

It hasn’t always been easy for all citizens to cast their vote.  Even in my lifetime, the Jim Crow laws of the South made it difficult, at best for African-Americans citizens to register and to cast their ballots.  After years of protests and legal battles, I thought the Jim Crow style of voter suppression was a thing of the past.  It turns out I was wrong.  Very wrong. (more…)

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1412627695611_wps_77_epa04193391_FILE_A_file_vThere is a sad story out of London that is a commentary on the mutating influence of anonymity on the Internet. Brenda Leyland killed herself after being confronted about her online abuse of the parents of the missing girl Madeleine McCann. Sky News tracked her down as the troll responsible for thousands of hate filled messages to Kate and Gerry McCann, whose three-year-old daughter went missing in Portugal in 2007. (more…)

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President_Barack_ObamaWhile President Barack Obama continues to assure the public that he is protecting privacy and the press, his Administration continues to do precisely the opposite in court with comprehensive attacks on civil liberties. A good example is the continued abuse of two-time Pulitzer prize winner and New York Times investigative reporter and author James Risen. Risen continues to be threatened by the Justice Department with arrest because he is protecting the identity of his sources. Risen spoke this weekend and observed simply that “Obama hates the press.”

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