Tag Archives: US Constitution

Tampering With the Electoral College – NYTimes.com

Tampering With the Electoral College – NYTimes.com.

Editorial

Tampering With the Electoral College

The Electoral College has stood in the way of full American democracy for more than two centuries, and usually any attempt to reduce its influence is welcome. But it would be better to leave the College alone than manipulate its workings to give one party an advantage over another, as Republicans in Pennsylvania are trying to do. The effort is both entirely legal and entirely wrong, and demonstrates why electoral reform is so urgently needed.

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Justice, After Troy Davis – NYTimes.com

Justice, After Troy Davis – NYTimes.com.

Op-Ed Columnist

Justice After Troy Davis

IT’S easy to see why the case of Troy Davis, the Georgia man executed last week for the 1989 killing of an off-duty police officer, became a cause célèbre for death penalty opponents. Davis was identified as the shooter by witnesses who later claimed to have been coerced by investigators. He was prosecuted and convicted based on the same dubious eyewitness testimony, rather than forensic evidence. And his appeals process managed to be ponderously slow without delivering anything like certainty: it took the courts 20 years to say a final no to the second trial that Davis may well have deserved.

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This [the fear of executing the innocent] is a healthy fear for a society to have. But there’s a danger here for advocates of criminal justice reform. After all, in a world without the death penalty, Davis probably wouldn’t have been retried or exonerated. His appeals would still have been denied, he would have spent the rest of his life in prison, and far fewer people would have known or cared about his fate.

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Would Al Gore Have Won in 2000 Without the Electoral College? – NYTimes.com

Would Al Gore Have Won in 2000 Without the Electoral College? – NYTimes.com.

September 20, 2011, 7:35 pm

Would Al Gore Have Won in 2000 Without the Electoral College?

George W. Bush won the Electoral College in 2000 following the recount in Florida. But Al Gore received more popular votes — about 540,000 more than Mr. Bush nationally, or about 0.5 percent of all votes cast across the country.

So Mr. Gore would have won the election if not for the Electoral College, right?

Actually, not so fast.

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Read the full story here: The Washington Post

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Republicans rewriting state election laws in ways that could hurt Democrat – The Washington Post

Republicans rewriting state election laws in ways that could hurt Democrat – The Washington Post.

Republicans rewriting state election laws in ways that could hurt Democrats

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Filed under Democrats, election laws, elections, gerrymandering, political parties, politics, Republicans, USA, voter ID, voting rights

American Theocracy Revisited – NYTimes.com

American Theocracy Revisited – NYTimes.com.

Op-Ed Columnist

American Theocracy Revisited

During George W. Bush’s presidency, many liberal and secular Americans came to regard religious conservatives not merely as their political opponents, but as a kind of existential threat. The religious right, they decided, wasn’t a normal political movement. Rather, it was an essentially illiberal force, bent on gradually replacing our secular republic with what Kevin Phillips’s 2006 best seller dubbed an “American Theocracy.”

These anxieties dissipated once the Republican majority imploded. In the Obama era, debates over the economy and health care crowded out arguments about sex education and embryo destruction, and liberals found a new set of right-wing extremists to worry about: Tea Party activists, birth certificate obsessives, the Koch brothers.

But with the rise of first Michele Bachmann and then Rick Perry in the presidential polls, and the belated liberal realization that many Tea Partiers are also evangelical Christians, the fear of theocracy has suddenly returned. […]

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Why can’t we just vote on whether we pray to Jesus at legislative sessions? – By Dahlia Lithwick – Slate Magazine

Why can’t we just vote on whether we pray to Jesus at legislative sessions? – By Dahlia Lithwick – Slate Magazine.

Sacred Sessions

Why can’t we just vote on whether we pray to Jesus at county board meetings?

On December 17, 2007, Janet Joyner and Constance Lynn Blackmon decided to attend a meeting of the Forsyth County Board of Commissioners. Like all public Board meetings, the gathering began with an invocation delivered by a local religious leader. And like almost every previous invocation, that prayer closed with the phrase, “For we do make this prayer in Your Son Jesus’ name, Amen.”

So begins Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson III, writing in Joyner v. Forsyth County, a 2-1 decision invalidating the Board of Commissioners of Forsyth County, N.C.’s policy of beginning legislative meetings with prayers—more often than not, prayers offered in Jesus’ name.

Concluding last week that the board’s policy of inviting local religious leaders to offer sectarian invocations prior to legislative sessions runs afoul of both the Constitution’s Establishment Clause and years of Supreme Court precedent, the majority of the three-judge panel of the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals determined that the policy could not stand. Before the federal appeals court arrived at this conclusion, a magistrate judge had also concluded that the prayers “display[ed] a preference for Christianity over other religions by the government” and “affiliate[d] the Board with a specific faith or belief.” A federal district judge agreed, finding that the policy violated the Establishment Clause and enjoining the board from continuing the sectarian prayers.

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Our Unbalanced Democracy – NYTimes.com

Our Unbalanced Democracy – NYTimes.com.

Our Unbalanced Democracy

New Haven

OUR nation isn’t facing just a debt crisis; it’s facing a democracy crisis. For weeks, the federal government has been hurtling toward two unsavory options: a crippling default brought on by Congressional gridlock, or — as key Democrats have advocated — a unilateral increase in the debt ceiling by an unchecked president. Even if the last-minute deal announced on Sunday night holds together, it’s become clear that the balance at the heart of the Constitution is under threat.

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Sex, Violence and the Supreme Court – NYTimes.com

Sex, Violence and the Supreme Court – NYTimes.com.

July 7, 2011, 8:30 pm

Sex and the Supremes

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