Campaign Finance Reform
Harvard Law School Professor Larry Lessig entered the U.S. presidential race as a Democratic candidate. His sole issue is campaign finance reform. Conventional wisdom sees him as a long shot for the office, but his ideas have spurred other candidates to address campaign finance reform and what should be done about it.
Kentucky Clerk Kim Davis was in the news after refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. She went to jail and was released. Her actions highlighted how governments should respond when workers have religious or moral conscious objections to laws and how those objections should be accommodated. Though an opinion piece, Eugene Volokh of the Washington Post describes and highlights other cases concerning the rules on religious freedom and how citizens are accommodations in the U.S.
Rethinking Solitary Confinement
Earlier this month California agreed to end its practice of isolating prisoners for unlimited periods of time. Under the new policy, California will still use solitary confinement, but only as a response to crimes committed in prison rather than a pre-emptive tactic for incoming inmates. After the release of a new report by the Association of State and Correctional Administrators, lawmakers and prison officials are considering new limits on the use of solitary confinement. The report highlights the detriments of long term isolation in prisons.
Settle or not to Settle
In the aftermath of police killings of unarmed black men, cities and police departments try to settle the case with a large payout to the family. This week, the family of Freddie Gray received a reported $6.4 million settlement from the city of Baltimore. The criminal case against the police officers involved in his death is still ongoing. Across the country in Utah, Susan Hunt, the mother of Darrien Hunt who was killed in 2014, refused the settlement from Saratoga Springs because it would have prevented her from speaking about her son’s case. A settlement does not necessarily mean justice for families affected by these killings.