Thursday, January 19, 2017

UK Supreme Court --Wheelchairs vs Buggies and -- Brexit

The UK Supreme Court has decided a case involving the rights of wheelchair users on buses. You can watch the judgment summary being read here. 6 minutes, no transcript, but a press summary is available here. You can also watch the case being argued - the morning (about 3 hours) and the afternoon (about 90 minutes) hearings. No transcripts. A BBC story with the wheelchair users’ point of view about this ruling can be found here.
The court has announced that its judgment on the Brexit case will be given Tuesday 24 January. It will be streamed live beginning at 9:45.

More About "The Slants"

NPR's Nina Totenburg presents the case about the rock group The Slants (Lee v. Tam) on All Things Considered just after oral arguments on Wednesday. You can find the report here. 3 min 58 sec, transcript available. You can also find the transcript of the oral arguments, but not the recording, here. Lots of conditionals ("Could the government...") and hypotheticals ("if it was based on viewpoint..." "If our client had sought to register... "Let's say you had a government program..." "If you were to use...").
The recording of the oral arguments and a very useful transcript that scrolls above the recording line can be found here.

Monday, January 16, 2017

The Intersection Between Free Speech and Rules Protecting Groups from « Disparagement » —"The Slants" ??

The U.S. Supreme Court will be hearing a case January 18th brought by a rock group consisting of Asian-Americans who want to call their group « The Slants » and whose attempt to register this name was blocked by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office which has a rule which bars «disparaging» words. A well-known example of a «disparaging» word would be the « N-word » to describe an African-American. A « slant » is a little-known term which could be seen as a disparaging reference to Asian-Americans. The story about this case, Lee v. Tam, can be found on « words you’ll hear » on NPR’s All Things Considered. 3 min 54 sec, transcript available.
You can find out more about the case from a legal perspective on SCOTUSblog which organized an online symposium about it and you can see a picture of the group here with an article about the case.

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

U.S. Presidential Elections

Still scratching your head about the way the United States elects a president? C-Span Classroom has put together a lesson with 8 short background video clips to help students with this complicated question. To put the videos in context, be sure to note when they were recorded (their 'air dates'). Some of the dates are before the results of the November 8, 2016 election were known.

Monday, December 19, 2016

The Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

NPR’s All Things Considered has an interview with Ava DuVernay who has made a documentary called 13TH which looks at the Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, abolishing slavery, in the perspective of the very large number of people in U.S. prisons. DuVernay’s film, Selma, was nominated for an Oscar last year. The recent documentary can be seen on Netflix. 5 min, transcript available.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

The Guardian Podcast « Brexit Means… »

The Guardian newspaper has begun a podcast called « Brexit Means…». The first episode can be found here. More will follow in the coming months. The first episode is 18 minutes, no transcript.

Monday, December 12, 2016

The Electoral College and the U.S. Presidential Election

NPR’s Weekend Edition of last Saturday spoke with Lawrence Lessig, a professor at Harvard Law School, about his activity giving advice to members of the Electoral College who want to know whether the Constitution allows them to vote for a candidate other than the one for which they pledged to vote. The short answer - yes, according to Lessig. 4 min 33 sec, transcript available.