What is the Cost to Purchase a State Supreme Court?

Chief Justice Roberts

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

The answer to the question posed in the title, in the state of Wisconsin, is $8 Million dollars.  For those of us who think Judges are not and should not be politicians, the situation in Wisconsin is especially disturbing.  However, Wisconsin is not alone in this dilemma.  Thirty nine states elect their judges and the money flowing into those campaigns is increasing the concerns of special interests “purchasing” justice. Professor Turley has also commented in the past about the alarming amounts of money flowing into judicial elections.

In a recent United States Supreme Court decision, Chief Justice Roberts weighed in on money and politics in judicial elections.  “Last week, the United States Supreme Court upheld a Florida judicial rule that prohibits candidates for election to state judgeships from personally soliciting money for their campaigns. ‘ “Judges are not politicians,” Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., wrote in the majority opinion in the 5-4 decision, “even when they come to the bench by way of the ballot.” He went on, “Simply put, Florida and most other States have concluded that the public may lack confidence in a judge’s ability to administer justice without fear or favor if he comes to office by asking for favors.” ‘ New Yorker Continue reading

Boston University Professor Saida Grundy Apologizes For Racist and Sexist Comments As “Indelicate”

GrundyPic-150x150Boston_University_seal.svgWe have been discussing the curious start of the academic career of Saida Grundy, an incoming assistant professor of sociology and African-American studies at Boston University, who released a series of tweets denounced by many as racist and sexist. “White masculinity isn’t a problem for america’s colleges, white masculinity is THE problem for america’s colleges.” In a January tweet, Grundy wrote: “Every MLK week I commit myself to not spending a dime in white-owned businesses. and every year i find it nearly impossible.” Previously, she posted comments like “Deal with your white sh*t, white people. slavery is a *YALL* thing.” With many objecting that the University would have fired a male or white professor for such comments directed against blacks or women, donors have begun to revolt and the University was forced to issue a statement condemning the comments. Now, after a surprisingly long period of silence, Grundy has apologized but may have aggravated the situation further. She has called the statements “indelicate” and says that they were in response to unidentified events. The response has been withering with many saying that few would view the comments “indelicate” if a white professor encouraged people not to buy things from black people or calling black males as the problem on colleges.

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University of Virginia Associate Dean Sues Rolling Stone Magazine Over Rape Story

eramolawsuitimageWe have been following the ongoing controversy involving Sabrina Rubin Erdely, the investigative journalist who wrote a feature story for Rolling Stone on an alleged sexual assault on the campus in Charlottesville, Va. I previously wrote about the curious response of Rolling Stone in admitting a range of shocking journalistic failures but refusal to fire anyone, including Erdely, for a story that clearly defamed a host of people and damaged the reputation of both the University of Virginia as the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity house. I have commented in the past that Rolling Stone can clearly be sued in the case and probably should be sued. Now the first such lawsuit has been filed. University of Virginia associate dean of students Nicole Eramo has filed a multi-million dollar defamation lawsuit against Rolling Stone alleging that the magazine destroyed her reputation in her portrayal as callous and indifferent and that she was vilified by Erdely and the magazine. The magazine printed a photo illustration of Eramo that allegedly was edited from a mundane Cavalier Daily photo to a more menacing image that “demonstrates the lengths Erdely and Rolling Stone were willing to go to portray Dean Eramo as a villain.”

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Third Secular Writer Hacked To Death By Islamic Extremists In Bangladesh

Ananta-Bijoy-Das_3300494iWe have been covering the attacks on secular writers and bloggers by Islamic extremists in Bangladesh. Now a third blogger and secular writer has been murdered by Islamic extremists . The latest victim is Ananta Bijoy Das, a blogger who advocated secularism, was attacked by four masked assailants wielding machetes. The rise of Islamic extremism has alarmed the free speech community in Bangladesh, which sees increasing Islamic orthodoxy in society and intolerance for non-Islamic views.

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Boston University Expresses “Deep Sadness” Over “Racism and Bigotry” In Aftermath of Grundy Comments

GrundyPic-150x150Boston_University_seal.svgBoston University has been widely criticized for its response to racially-charged comments of its newest professor, Saida Grundy, an incoming assistant professor of sociology and African-American studies. Various news outlets are reporting that BU alums have threatened to withdraw support from the school over hiring a professor who has denounced “white men as a “problem population” and called “white masculinity . . . THE problem for america’s (sic) colleges.” Grundy has made her Twitter account private and refused to make any comments to the media about her past comments that have been denounced as both racist and sexist.

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Boston University Professor Sparks Controversy Over Tweets Denounced As Racist and Sexist

GrundyPic-150x150Boston_University_seal.svgWhile Professor Saida Grundy has not actually started teaching at Boston University, she is already facing calls for her removal from the faculty. After being hired by BU, Grundy let loose with a series of tweets that are denounced as racist and sexist. Grundy tweeted, for example, “White masculinity isn’t a problem for america’s colleges, white masculinity is THE problem for america’s colleges.” The tweets have triggered a debate over whether there is a double standard for such comments and whether such comments should be treated as protected speech.

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Four Teenagers and a Teacher Arrested For “insulting Islam” After Making Videotape Mocking ISIS

video_clip_253x338Egypt continues to descend toward a Sharia-based system with a new prosecution of four teenagers accused of “insulting Islam.”  The insult came in a video that the boys shot while on a trip with their teacher Gad Younan, 42 – a film that mocked ISIS.  While the boys were accused of insulting Islam, the brief video only showed them mocking ISIS beheadings.  One of the boys apparently mumbled an Islam prayer as part of the execution and that was enough to cause riots and demands for their executions.  The four teens and teacher are from the ancient Coptic community, a community targeted by Muslim extremists for harassment and killings.

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