The right to free expression is one of our most cherished rights, yet it seems it is constantly under threat. For all the progress we've made - and there has been much - we still find ourselves stuggling with government censorship both by state governments and local school districts.
Last week, the Bureau of Justice Statistics released a national update on the number of state and federal prisoners in 2013. While the federal prison population declined for the first time since 1980, the number of people incarcerated in state facilities increased by 6,300 – causing an overall increase in the number of people incarcerated in the United States.
As we enter the election season, some GOP candidates are changing the way they talk about reproductive health care – namely, contraceptives. Several anti-abortion candidates are now including support for over-the-counter contraceptives in their campaigns.
Last week, the Global Commission on Drug Policy released a report condemning drug criminalization and prohibitionist policies. The Commission, which includes the former presidents of Portugal, Brazil, Colombia and Mexico and Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, called on world leaders to undertake a fundamental review of current drug control regimes and redirect both national and international drug policies to better fall in line with the UN mandate to “ensure security, human rights and development.”
It should come as no surprise that the ACLU has a long history of collaborating with the entertainment history. After all, freedom of expression is one of our cornerstone issues, so it makes sense that those who work in film, television, music and other related fields would appreciate the ACLU’s long history of defending free speech and fighting censorship.
Last year, the Supreme Court crippled one of the most effective voting rights protections in history, by meddling with the requirement that certain jurisdictions with a history of voting discrimination get pre-approval to change their voting laws.
Since then, states like Texas, Mississippi, North Carolina, Florida, Virginia, South Dakota, Iowa and Indiana have wasted no time enacting potentially discriminatory laws.
Texas senator Wendy Davis’ new memoir, Forgetting To Be Afraid, was released to the general public this past Tuesday. In the book, the now famous senator reveals that she’s had two abortions in her lifetime. Davis and her then-husband decided to terminate one pregnancy 17 years ago after learning that, if the baby survived, she would most likely be in a permanent vegetative state. The baby, named Tate, was developing with a severe brain abnormality.
Next week we celebrate the 10th anniversary of Constitution Day in honor of the day in 1787 when our founding document was signed in Philadelphia.
In 2004, when Congress created Constitution Day, it also passed a law mandating that all publicly funded education institutions provide educational programming on the history of the U.S. Constitution on September 17th. However, many public schools across the nation are unaware of this federal requirement to observe Constitution Day and there are few resources available to help teachers develop requisite lesson plans.