login  |  create an account

Here's the Amplify Profile for

%%name%%



Share This Article

This is the first of a series of posts on the marriage equality cases the Supreme Court will consider in the upcoming term. This one focuses on the background of the cases. The next will focus on similarities and differences between the two.

On 30 November, the Supreme Court was to announce which, if any, of the cases concerning same-sex marriage it would consider in the coming term. After dragging that decision out for an additional couple of days,  the Court eventually decided to take on not one, but …

Share This Article

Voting in Ohio this week went about as smoothly as could be hoped for. There were lines, yes, but nothing on the scale of the disaster of 2004. Thanks to the Obama campaigns lawsuit, voters were able to head to the polls on the days before election day. In Columbus, election officials blocked access for True the Vote, the anti-voter fraud group that took it upon itself to harass and intimidate minority voters at polling places across the country, citing concerns it had falsified its documents.

Secretary of

Share This Article

A three-judge panel of the DC Circuit Court approved South Carolina’s voter ID law, finding it less restrictive than other, similar laws. Fortunately, the court delayed implementation of the law until after the November election, citing uncertainty in how certain provisions would operate. The court also left open the possibility that as applied, the law could have discriminatory implications.

More once I’ve had a chance to read the opinion for myself.…

Share This Article

 As promised last week, I’ve now read both of the Texas voting rights cases and can say a bit more about what went on in them. Both decisions are excellent and provide fantastic examples of how attempts to disenfranchise targeted groups work.

The Voter ID Law

The court actually rejected the testimony of experts on both sides due to flaws in their studies like low response rates and failure to account for all forms of ID allowed under the law. That by itself would have been enough to block …

Share This Article

Late yesterday I updated my post on Ohio to reflect the rapid developments in Obama for America’s lawsuit to restore in person voting. In response to Ohio Secretary of State John Husted’s memo telling officials not to set early voting ours pending the outcome of the appeal (which is currently being fast-tracked), OfA filed a motion for enforcement of the order. Although judges can stay execution of an order while waiting for an appeal, the judge here didn’t do so, and it isn’t in husted’s power to do it …

Share This Article

Today, the Department of Justice informed New Hampshire that it was granting preclearance for the state’s voter ID law. New Hampshire as a whole is not subject to section 5 preclearance, but ten municipalities within the state are.

Under the New Hampshire law and unlike other voter ID laws, citizens who show up at the polls without photo ID can still cast a regular ballot but have to sign an affidavit stating they have no ID (with no reason required) and have their photo taken at the polling …

Share This Article

Last year Ohio considered but failed to pass a voter ID law. But the state did pass HB 194, a massive bill that altered multiple facets of Ohio election law. The law took away discretion in determining voter intent; even slightly irregular ballots are now presumptively invalid. On the other hand, it granted poll workers unnecessary discretion in helping voter who appear at the wrong precinct, effectively giving them the power to choose which voters to direct to the correct polling place and which to send home. It …

Share This Article

Today, a three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit denied preclearance for Texas’s new voter ID law. As a state subject to section five of the Voting Right Act, Texas must get approval for any changes to it’s voting laws either from the Department of Justice or from the D.C. Circuit. The DOJ already denied preclearance, meaning Texas’s ID law won’t be in place for the November elections. The court was strident in it’s opinion, saying the law put "strict, unforgiving burdens on the poor."

More information on the …

Share This Article

Georgia was one of the first states to require a government ID at polling places. More recently, Georgia passed a law requiring proof of citizenship be show when registering to vote, and has cut the number of early voting days by more than half.

Voter ID Law

Voters in Georgia must produce a government-issued photo ID to exercise the right to vote. For students currently enrolled in a state school, a student ID is acceptable. Voters with no other acceptable form of ID can get a free ID card …

Share This Article

 In a comment to my previous post, Jordan points out that trans voters face special difficulties with regards to voter ID laws. Transgender persons with a name and gender identity different from their legal name and gender can encounter difficulties even attempting to get an ID, and poll worker are likely to give them additional and unwarranted scrutiny.

The National Center for Transgender Equality has published a brief guide to voting while trans, as well as a helpful election day checklist to ensure voting goes as smoothly as possible.…

Share This Article

 Last year South Carolina passed a law requiring voters to present a government-issued photo ID in order to vote. If you show up at the polls without an ID, you can cast a provisional ballot which will be counted when you return with acceptable proof of identity. ID-less voters can obtain a free ID for the purpose of voting by filling out a form and bringing it to the Department of Motor Vehicles along with proof of citizenship (a birth certificate, passport, or naturalization papers), proof of a Social …

Share This Article

 With the November elections approaching, I’m going to begin a series of posts looking state-by-state at efforts to restrict access to the right to vote. Over the past several years, there has been a massive increase nationwide in the number of restrictions placed on both registering to vote and the act of voting itself. Although supporters of these laws claim they are intended to protect against the casting of fraudulent votes, studies have shown that in-person voter fraud (fraud involving impersonation of a registered voter at the polling place) …

Share This Article

Late yesterday, a federal judge in Arizona upheld the state’s new abortion ban. The law, which prohibits abortion after approximately 18 weeks, is not only the most restrictive in the nation, but also violates the clear directive of Roe v. Wade and its successor, Planned Parenthood v. Casey.

Although Casey in many respects rolled back the rights afforded by Roe by creating an expanded state interest in protecting ‘potential life’ and increasing the scope of permissible regulations, it explicitly upheld what it called Roe’s central holding, …

Share This Article

Earlier this month, a Federal Appeals Court upheld a lower court ruling permanently blocking a Baltimore law which prevented crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) from misleading the public about the services they provided. A popular tactic with the anti-choice movement, CPCs lure unsuspecting women in with advertising and displays which suggest they offer a full range of pregnancy related services, when in fact they frequently offer little to no medical care and exist primarily to push false or misleading information about pregnancy and birth control on their captive audience, …

Share This Article

 In April of this year, Mississippi passed a law requiring all abortion providers to be board certified or eligible OB-GYNs with privileges at a local hospital. This requirement is unnecessary to ensure a safe abortion and is one of several types of restrictions imposed for no other reason than to burden abortion clinics until their operation is no longer feasible. So-called TRAP (Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers) laws commonly take the form of unnecessary restrictions on who may perform abortions or exacting and irrelevant standards for facilities which provide …

Share This Article

On June 19, 41 Iowa state legislators petitioned the state’s Department of Human Services to change its rule on the use of Medicaid funds to pay for abortions in cases of rape and incest, as well as cases of serious fetal infirmity. The Iowa DHS currently allows Medicaid to be used to pay for abortions in these situations and those in which the mother’s life is in danger. The lawmakers claim this policy conflicts with the state’s narrow definition of ‘medical emergency,’ which is limited to situations which ‘risk …

Share This Article

This is the fifth in an ongoing series of posts on the process of civil rights litigation and the rights courts have been used to secure and protect. A complete list of posts in this series can always be found here. Disclaimer: I’m not a lawyer (yet), so don’t take anything I say as legal advice. This is an educational guide so you can better understand how courts protect your rights.

 Alright, so this is my first spotlight post. I’m going to try to do these every once …

Share This Article

This is the fourth in an ongoing series of posts on the process of civil rights litigation and the rights courts have been used to secure and protect. A complete list of posts in this series can always be found here. Disclaimer: I’m not a lawyer (yet), so don’t take anything I say as legal advice. This is an educational guide so you can better understand how courts protect your rights.

 So… almost a week ago now I promised a post analyzing how the Supreme Court does and …

Share This Article

I’m still working on my post on the Supreme Court and precedent, because it’s a difficult subject and I want to make sure I say what I mean to, but in the meantime, I thought I might say a little about the Department of Justice’s new position on the Defense of Marriage Act because, last Friday, Justice filed their first brief in support of that position.

Contrary to the way a lot of news organizations have spun the decision, the Obama administration did not say they were going to …

Share This Article

This is the third in an ongoing series of posts on the process of civil rights litigation and the rights courts have been used to secure and protect. A complete list of posts in this series can always be found here. Disclaimer: I’m not a lawyer (yet), so don’t take anything I say as legal advice. This is an educational guide so you can better understand how courts protect your rights. 

So what is it that gives judge made opinions the force of law, the same as bills …

Share This Article

This is the second in an ongoing series of posts on the process of civil rights litigation and the rights courts have been used to secure and protect. A complete list of posts in this series can always be found here. Disclaimer: I’m not a lawyer (yet), so don’t take anything I say as legal advice. This is an educational guide so you can better understand how courts protect your rights.

Just like there are state legislatures in addition to the U.S. Congress, there are separate state courts …

Share This Article

Amanda Marcotte wrote a post last week debunking three arguments she hears from people who don’t believe Roe v. Wade is in danger. Although I agree with much of what she says and with her ultimate conclusion, I think she confuses the issue by framing it in terms of whether or not Roe will be overturned, when the more immediate concern is how much damage the Court’s anti-choice bloc can do while leaving Roe’s guarantee of fundamental right to choose.

I take issue in particular with two things she …

Share This Article

The is the first in an ongoing series of posts on the process of civil rights litigation and the rights courts have been used to secure and protect. A complete list of posts in this series can always be found hereDisclaimer: I’m not a lawyer (yet), so don’t take anything I say as legal advice. This is an educational guide so you can better understand how courts protect your rights.

There are a couple of different ways civil rights can end up getting argued in front of …

Share This Article

Hi everyone. My name is Eric, I’m a law student from Georgia, and I’m interning at Advocates for Youth this summer. My passion is, for lack of a better word, “de-mistifying” the law: helping non-lawyers understand how the law works and what it means for them. I’m going to be doing a series of posts over the summer explaining the nuts and bolts of using the courts to protect your rights and the obstacles in the way. Disclaimer: I’m not a lawyer (yet), so don’t take anything I say