Posts in Constitutional Law
Nuclear Bombs for Everyone: School Shootings, the 2nd Amendment, and School Negligence Lawsuits

As soon as our reeling minds start to focus on why this tragedy happened and how we could try to prevent it from happening again, the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut today, along with similar school shootings throughout the country over the last decade including the famous 1999 Columbine High School massacre in Columbine, Colorado, raises questions for us about gun control laws in the face of the US Constitution's Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.

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Political Speech, Activism, and Free Speech in Grade School Lawsuits

Free Speech lawsuits generally conjure sensational images of controversial civil protests by angry grassroots political activists burning flags or crosses in broad view of the public. In recent months, a couple of interesting cases have been raised to the fore behind the regulated walls of public school rooms involving young girls causing a stir in Free Speech law.

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The New Face of the Coyote: Fraudulent Use of The Violence Against Women Act and State Divorce and Custody Laws

As a few immigrants have realized in recent years, there is a federal law that, especially when combined with popular divorce and child custody statutes across the nation, allows them to relatively easily and quickly acquire permanent residency and even citizenship status in the United States whereas such would have been nearly impossible beforehand, use that immigration status to bring over loved ones from their homeland via family reunification visas, and if they play their cards right, receive spousal and even child support soon after arrival to cover their living and shopping expenses: alas, the American dream, all for the price of a broken heart and a ruined life - not their own, of course.

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Proposition 19 Defeated by California Voters in 2010

Proposition 19 has been defeated by California voters in the 2010 state elections, resulting in more concerns about marijuana related crime and drug violence in the San Francisco Bay Area and the Monterey Bay Area. As a result, police forces in Alameda County, Santa Clara County, San Francisco County, and Santa Cruz County will continue to be burdened by dealing with marijuana possession and distribution crimes, and the courts and jails in these areas will have to deal with overcrowding with persons alleged to have violated non-violent drug possession and distribution crimes.

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American Tea Party Helps Republicans Win the House in 2010

The American Tea Party styles itself as fundamentally focused on upholding the core values of the US Constitution, yet in reality it is politically essentially a socially and fiscally conservative branch of the Republican Party, backed heavily by polarizing politicians such as Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska.  Tea Party candidates strongly oppose immigration, gun control, abortion rights, affirmative action, social welfare, uniform health coverage, and other big government policies.   Basically, the American Tea Party takes the entire retinue of ultra-conservative Republican Party values and attempts to justify them by a perspective on American jurisprudence that disregards the two centuries of legal precedent and evolution that has occurred since the drafting of the US Constitution, and rather focuses on that original document much like a text as sacred as the Bible is to Christians.

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BART Cop gets 2 year Sentence for Killing Oscar Grant. Michael Vick received the same sentence for killing dogs.

The inherent violence of Mr. Mehserle's act is clarified by his decision to Taser Mr. Grant, as he thought he was doing.  It is a grossly unnecessary and aggressive level of violence to choose to Taser at close range a face down, unarmed youth who is arrested for fighting on a train platform.  It is the presence of such violence in the act, albeit an act that was ultimately a tragic and involuntary killing, that should have urged the judge in this matter to give Mr. Mehserle the maximal sentence of 4 years.  Mr. Mehserle was lucky that he did not threaten Mr. Grant before he reached for the weapon, as those few words may have been sufficient to convict him of second degree felony murder with an underlying felony of aggravated assault, leading to a possible life sentence.  More so, Mr. Mehserle was lucky that the judge used his wide discretion to give him the minimum sentence here. Mr. Grant, his family, and the African-American community should be so lucky.

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California Prison Reform amidst Private Prison Profiteers

The California prison system is the largest in the nation, and it suffers from serious problems of overpopulation, violence, and insufficient health and education services for its juvenile and adult inmates, especially for those with special needs. It is unconstitutional for a State prison system to operate at such dilapidated levels, because “cruel and unusual punishment” is illegal under the State and Federal Constitution.

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California Same Sex Marriage Federal Lawsuit Rumbles amidst a Backdrop of Centuries of Catholic Church and State Interference in Marriage Rights

The role of government and religion in the creation and regulation of the institution of marriage is hundreds of years old, specifically dating back to 1563 when the Council of Trento decreed that marriage is a lifelong sacrament meant only for one man and one woman. The dramatic backdrop to this pivotal decision is filled with anti-Jewish sentiment, xenophobia, political posturing, and military strategies.

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Environmental Pollution, Comparative Law, and Jurisprudence in California and India

The people of the United States cannot point to a Constitutional provision that guarantees them the fundamental right to good health and a clean environment. However, certain States in our Union have provided just such a right in their case law and constitutions, such as Pennsylvania, Hawaii, Illinois, and Montana. Either through subsequent case law, or through explicit language in the constitutional provisions themselves, these States have indicated that the rights to a healthy environment are self-executing rights. Hawaii and Montana have also relaxed standing requirements for citizens bringing claims for violations of their rights to a clean environment, allowing any person to file suit for any violation of the constitutional provision, regardless of whether the violator is a public or private party. Twenty-one States in the USA have constitutional provisions providing citizens the right to a clean environment.

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The Debate over Mr. Hamdan: Sources of Law and The Three Branches

The Bush Administration has worn away at the legal liberties and protections afforded our Nation’s free inhabitants as well as its accused criminals, who are still allegedly presumed innocent until proven guilty. All things considered, I am reminded of a famous quote by our Nation’s eldest Statesman and most prominent Founding Father, Benjamin Franklin – a signatory to the Declaration of Independence, the Treaty of Paris, and the US Constitution: “Those who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security deserve neither liberty nor security.” Now, this is for the Court to decide.

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