Freedom, Rights

5 lawsuits over a book getting banned

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Did you know there’s such a thing as Banned Books Week? There is! The American Library Association puts on the event every fall to raise awareness of banned and challenged books, and to celebrate our “freedom to read.” Americans hold our First Amendment rights dear, and when we think they’re being infringed upon—even when we are demonstrably wrong—we sue.

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Rights, Safety

5 countries with lots of guns, but less killing

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It may seem obvious: the availability of guns is an important factor in gun violence. If potential perpetrators cannot access firearms, gun violence cannot occur. But how big of a role does firearm availability actually play? After all, several other countries with relatively liberal gun laws and high rates of gun ownership have disproportionately low rates of gun-related homicide, especially compared to the United States.

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Government & Politics, News, Rights

Is Trump right about the Fourteenth Amendment?

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Donald Trump has declared that he will end the nation’s illegal immigration problem by overturning birthright citizenship laws. But an interesting Constitutional argument has emerged on the subject, specifically in the interpretation of language contained in the Fourteenth Amendment. The Donald invokes the amendment in support of his proposals; meanwhile, his opponents use it as refutation. Who’s right?

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Freedom, News, Rights, Safety

Clock or bomb? Schools can’t take chances


Issue can be taken with the way the law enforcement authorities handled the incident. They didn’t evacuate the school or bring in a bomb squad, which begs the question: Why did they handcuff and fingerprint the boy if they weren’t really concerned it was a bomb? There are real and serious reservations about the conduct of the police and how they treated this young man. However, these were all actions (or lack of actions) taken by the police, not the school. All the school did was report there was a potential bomb. Was there anything wrong with that?

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Freedom, Government & Politics, Rights

Is it illegal to be politically incorrect?

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For many, refusing to be “politically correct” is a matter of principle. To their ears, the phrase sounds Orwellian; an unsettling term that implies the prerogative of some unseen Gestapo, imposing collective standards on individual freedom. But can standing your ground and sticking by your personal opinion in modern society land you on the wrong side of the law?

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Business, Rights

Do strippers have employee rights?


Recent years have seen the industry of exotic dancing flush with lawsuits against international nude cabaret franchises and small clubs alike. Activist dancers in many cities have not only endeavored to organize their peers in litigation against shady bosses, they are working to influence and change labor laws at the state level.

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Children, Education, Family, Rights

That outfit is, like, totally unconstitutional

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Dress codes have long prompted debates among not just the students who are forced to abide by them, but by the adults who are asked to justify them. Proponents praise the simplicity of solid, straightforward color schemes and claim that uniforms reduce student-led ridicule over brands and style— placing high- and low-income populations on equal footing in the classroom. On the other hand, many oppose the imposition of a dress code on the grounds that it stifles creativity, limits student expression, and infringes on students’ First Amendment rights.

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LGBT, Marriage, News, Rights

Gay marriage is legal. Is polygamy next?


Remember that whole “slippery slope” argument that was used to argue against gay marriage? The one in which opponents of the idea claimed that allowing gays to marry would open the door to legalizing polygamous marriages? Well, in the wake of the Supreme Court’s ruling that gay marriage is legal in all 50 states, Nathan Collier of Montana is trying just that, using marriage equality as a way to justify his application for a second marriage license.

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Freedom, News, Rights

Where the First Amendment ends and tolerance begins

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What does a county clerk in Kentucky who won’t issue gay couples marriage licenses have in common with a flight attendant who won’t serve passengers alcohol? Answer: a case of acute confusion about where civil rights, religion, and professional responsibility connect.

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News, Rights

The problem of “laughing while black”

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In August, a group of women who all belong to the same book club were enjoying themselves and laughing as the Napa Valley Wine Train rumbled across California’s wine country. But revelry of a certain amplitude is intolerable on this train, apparently, and so they were asked to quiet down. When they failed to do so, they were marched through numerous cars to waiting police officers who escorted them onto buses heading home. One of them was in her eighties. And all but one of the 11 women were black.

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