Trump is apparently still terrified about financial conflicts so now he's tweeting about flag-burning and CNN

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Last weekend, the New York Times published an outstanding, meticulously reported investigative story about Trump's financial conflicts of interest -- the sorts of things that could lead to forced divestiture, impeachment, or worse, triggering a tweetstorm from the president-elect about an imaginary, millions-strong cohort of fraudulent voters. Read the rest

Kansas Attorney General apologizes for citing Dred Scott decision in abortion-ban brief

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Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt is very sorry that his office cited the 1857 Dred Scott case, which established that the descendants of enslaved black people were not US citizens, in response to an ACLU brief in a case challenging a judge's ruling that Kansas's constitution doesn't guarantee the right to have an abortion. Read the rest

Fact-checking Trump's plan for the first 100 days

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After a campaign characterized by vagueness and tiny hand-waving, Donald Trump finally released a semi-detailed plan for his first 100 days in office yesterday, including "a requirement that for every new federal regulation, two existing regulations must be eliminated" and "cancel every unconstitutional executive action, memorandum and order issued by President Obama." Read the rest

"Massive scale" shut-down of polling places in districts known for suppressing black voters

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When the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act, it meant that the 2016 presidential race would be the first one in 50 years without the fundamental protections the act promised, as a check against racist voter suppression. Read the rest

Al Franken and FCC commissioner Clyburn want limits on forced arbitration

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Arbitration was conceived of as a way to allow giant corporations to avoid costly court battles by meeting with a mediator and talking things out: but since the Supreme Court ruled (in a series of mid-1980s cases) that companies could force their customers and employees into arbitration by adding "binding arbitration" clauses to the fine print in take-it-or-leave contracts, the US justice system has gone dark, which an ever-larger proportion of legal action disappearing into the opaque bowels of the arbitration system, where the richest participant usually wins. Read the rest

Electronic voting machines suck, the comprehensive 2016 election edition

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It's been thirteen years since we started writing here about the shenanigans of the electronic voting machine industry, who were given a gift when, after the contested 2000 elections, Congress and the Supreme Court signaled that elections officials had to go and buy new machines. Read the rest

How America abandoned the only policy that consistently closes the black-white educational gap

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After 1954's landmark Brown v Board of Ed ruling, America's (largely racially segregated) cities began racially integrating their schools by busing black kids to white neighborhoods, a project that hit its stride at the start of the 1970s. It worked. Read the rest

Leaked: damning Scott Walker dark money docs that judge ordered destroyed

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Again and again, Wisconsin governor Scott Walker flouted election laws to raise millions from some of the richest executives and biggest corporations in America, illegally laundering the money through the nominally independent, nonprofit Wisconsin Club for Growth -- and now we have all the details, thanks to an enormous leak of documents that a Wisconsin judge ordered destroyed. Read the rest

DoJ: Supreme Court ruling means only 5 states will have federal election observers this November

When the Supreme Court struck down the Voting Rights Act in 2015, we learned that the 2016 election would be the first in two generations without the basic protections for equal voting rights for all people. Read the rest

More Perfect: Radiolab's genius podcast about the Supreme Court

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When I first heard that Radiolab (previously), the wonderful podcast that combines deep dives into technical subjects with masterful storytelling, was going to start a new podcast about the Supreme Court, it sounded like a weird fit. Read the rest

Supreme Court strikes down Texas abortion law

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The Court ruled in Whole Woman’s Health v Hellerstedt that the Texas law placed undue burdens on clinics that performed abortions by requiring them to meet the standards of ambulatory surgical centers, use doctors with admitting privileges at local hospitals -- measures that led to the closure of three quarters of the state's abortion-providing facilities since 2013. Read the rest

UPDATED: Clarence Thomas rumored to be considering retirement

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. [Wikimedia Commons]

The curiously silent conservative Supreme Court justice -- whose term began with the infamour Anita Hill confirmation hearings -- is said to be "mulling retirement" after the election in order to travel America in an RV with his wife.

Update: Clarence Thomas's wife Ginny has angrily denied this in a Facebook post: "For all those contacting me about the possibility of my husband retiring, I say --- unsubscribe from those false news sources and carry on with your busy lives." Read the rest

Supreme Court ruling is a blow to copyright trolling business-model

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In 2013, the Supreme Court heard Kirtsaeng, a copyright case brought by the publisher Wiley, who argued that legal books became illegal when brought into America, because their copyright licenses were nation-specific. Read the rest

US government and SCOTUS change cybercrime rules to let cops hack victims' computers

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The Supreme Court -- at the behest of the US government -- has announced changes to "Rule 41," a crucial procedure of the US court system, which will give law enforcement sweeping powers to hack into computers anywhere in the world, including victims' computers, with drastically reduced oversight. Read the rest

Inside a Supreme Court case on cheerleader uniforms, a profound question about copyright

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Copyright protects creative expression, but not utilitarian forms: that's why the silkscreened art on your t-shirt is copyrightable, but the t-shirt's design itself is not. Read the rest

Printer ink wars may make private property the exclusive domain of corporations

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Printer manufacturer Lexmark hates America, and everything good and right in the world, because we keep stubbornly insisting that if we buy a printer cartridge, we can refill it, because it's ours.

Read the rest

Supreme Court sends Authors Guild packing, won't hear Google Books case

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The Authors Guild has been trying to get a court to shut down Google's book-scanning/book-search program for more than a decade. Read the rest

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