Vol. 54, No. 2
Read about civil rights law’s inner-city crisis, parental rights, jails as polling places, and more in the latest edition of the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review.
Read about civil rights law’s inner-city crisis, parental rights, jails as polling places, and more in Vol. 54, No. 2.
Read about consumer abuses in the criminal legal system, energy and environmental justice, forced arbitration, and more in Vol. 54, No. 1.
Read about indigenous water rights, prison labor, infrastructural exclusion, and more in Vol. 53, No. 2.
Why You Can’t Sell Your Cake and Control it Too: Distinguishing Use from Design in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado
Justice Neil Gorsuch argues that it is impossible to make a principled legal distinction between (a) a baker’s refusal to make a cake that the customer will use to celebrate a same-sex marriage and (b) a baker’s refusal to make a cake designed with religious text or symbols expressing disapproval of same-sex marriage, when both sexual-orientation and religion are protected characteristics. On his view, neither refusal is discriminatory, because both cases are “about the kind of cakes, not the kind of customers.” Gorsuch’s claims that in both cases these refusals are objections to supporting specific messages and not refusals made because of the potential customers’ protected characteristics. Here I argue that a principled distinction can be made between the two cases. In the former, the baker is trying to control the use for which an item he ordinarily sells is used based on the users’ sexual-orientation. In the latter, the baker is refusing to make an item that she would refuse to make for anybody, regardless of the characteristics of the potential customer. I further argue that for this reason, among others, the former case ought to be ruled discriminatory while the latter case ought not.read more
In late April 2019, the Supreme Court heard oral argument for the Department of Commerce v. New York, 139 S.Ct. 1316 (2019), a case which asks whether the Secretary of Commerce’s decision to add a question to the Decennial Census about responders’ citizenship status violated the Enumeration Clause of the U.S. Constitution, art.I, §2, cl.3?  The last time the census inquired about citizenship was in 1950. The question asks “Is this person a citizen of the United States?” If you answer “yes,” the question then asks for more details about where you were born and whether your parents were born in the United States.read more
In this episode, our hosts Mahroh Jahangiri and Elizabeth Ross speak with our guest Angel Sanchez to discuss his recent article "In Spite of Prison" as well as developments in the prison abolition movement more broadly. This episode also features an interview with...read more
Conversations among the political left have increasingly centered on student loan debt as the amount of loan debt, and the number of Americans saddled by it, has ballooned in recent years. The student loan debt crisis, which first gained traction as a mainstream...read more
Welcome to This Week in Civil Rights and Civil Liberties. At the federal level, the Trump administration announced this week that medical professionals will be allowed to invoke religious and conscientious objections to rendering certain services and procedures,...read more
This week, the Redacted Mueller report was released, Supreme Court experts warned of a potentially devastating decision on the citizenship question for the 2020 Census, multiple states imposed new aggressive regulations on voter registration efforts, and a US Attorney indicted two Massachusetts state court officials for allegedly allowing an undocumented person to avoid ICE enforcers at a state courthouse.read more
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