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Judiciary

Stacking the Bench

One of Trump’s latest judicial nominees, Brett Talley, has caught the public spotlight for good reason. But the glare of his inexperience is obscuring an even more troubling story about what is at stake in Alabama’s Middle District, where there are currently two vacancies on the bench.

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Immigration

Sanctuary Cities, Explained

The term “sanctuary” does not refer to a uniform policy, nor does it have any legal bearing. Lena Graber, a staff attorney for the Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC) says it is more of a “brand” or a blanket term that labels jurisdictions that don’t fully cooperate with federal immigration officials. 

 

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Democracy

Separation of Powers, Explained

It’s been three weeks since President Donald Trump, with all the usual pomp, swore on not one but two Bibles to “preserve, protect and defend” the Constitution of the United States. If the president has ever read the Constitution, there is little evidence that he understands it, and plenty of evidence that he treats it with indifference. Upholding the US Constitution, however, is the best way to ensure that no one gets fired at the end of the season.

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Online Petitions

Sign Here to Save the World: Online Petitions Explained

Online petitions are a tactic that have been used in many successful campaigns, from stopping the Keystone XL Pipeline to preserving net neutrality. Whether or not adding your name to an online petition will make a difference to a cause depends on who created the petition, its timing, its target, its aim and what you do next.

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Guns

The Truth About Gun Laws Under Trump

Columbine. Virginia Tech. Fort Hood. Sandy Hook. Orlando. Las Vegas. Each deadly shooting rampage sends shockwaves through the country. We grieve. We get angry. Time and again, irate and bereaved citizens petition Congress to limit people’s access to fire arms. In the meantime, gun sales and gun stocks skyrocket.

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States' Rights

Federalism, Explained

Progressive federalism is not an oxymoron, nor is it hypocritical. Throughout history, both progressive and conservative federalism has been opportunistic. Instead of the “laboratories of democracy,” says law professor Ernest Young, he is beginning to think the states are valuable as the “fallout centers of democracy, where the defeated party can go back and build up its strength and live to fight another day.”

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Media

Deep Dig — Best Investigative Journalism

Real news, it has been said, is what many people want to keep hidden; everything else is publicity. Our goal here is to share stories by reporters who are out there digging in the muck and exposing the corruption eroding American democracy. Investigative journalism doesn’t come cheap; it is labor-intensive and time-consuming. But, as these stories show, we are much better off when these intrepid journalists are out there digging.

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Voting Rights

Voter Fraud, Explained

The lawmakers behind these efforts [to eradicate voter fraud]  claim they want to protect the integrity of elections — but if that integrity is not actually under siege, says Rutgers political scientist Lorraine Minnite, "it is a form of suppression in the guise of an integrity issue."

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History

The Trump Files, Part One

Ever since Donald Trump threw his hat into the presidential ring he has been able to monopolize media attention at will. With one outrageous comment after another he pulls the spotlight back to himself, dominating headlines and getting more than 30 percent more media coverage than all the other candidates. Call him a masterful politician, a marketing genius, a reality show star, a narcissist, a demagogue or a huckster. He is all those. What he is not, however, is a self-made, successful, businessman.

     

Politics

A Tale of Two Goons

Now, there’s nothing inherently wrong with ambition, but here is another striking difference between John Scott and Ted Cruz. Even as the fiercest of enforcers, Scott remains a team player. As he says, “I make my teammates feel safe to do what they do best.”

Ted Cruz is no team player. He’s out for no one but himself. And he has a history of switching teams until they fulfill his ambitions.