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  • September 26, 2007
    By Wendy Kaminer
    By Wendy Kaminer

    If the case of the Jena 6 seems, at least at first, like a depressingly simple example of racism in the justice system, (and the culture,) it also raises some complicated questions about free speech. The trouble at Louisiana's Jena High School began when white students hung three nooses from a tree that served as a de facto, whites only meeting spot, after 3 black students dared to sit under it.

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  • September 25, 2007
    By Harvey Silverglate
    When I was growing up in Brooklyn, where the only pets that landlords allowed us to have came encased in a glass bowl, I was fascinated by guppies, a species of fish that, oddly (at least I thought at the time), eats its live-born young. In order to save the offspring, you have to be pretty alert to scoop either the babies or the parents out of the tank shortly after the blessed event.

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  • September 12, 2007
    By Wendy Kaminer
    Court tv called it the “stupid story of the week:" 51 year old San Francisco carpenter Percy Honniball was arrested and charged with indecent exposure for working in the nude. He’d been caught engaging in naked carpentry at a client’s home after a neighbor spotted him nakedly sawing wood in the backyard.

    This is indeed an amusingly “stupid story,” but only because Honniball was acquitted last week.

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  • August 31, 2007
    By Wendy Kaminer
    Half naked women are common sights in city streets every summer (and all year round in warmer climes.) We argue about whether this skimpy, sexualized public attire represents the rise or fall of feminism, but there’s virtually no dispute about its legality. So when municipalities start criminalizing baggy, underwear exposing jeans, generally associated with young black males, you know legislators are motivated by something other than a concern for decency.

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  • July 03, 2007
    By Harvey Silverglate

    The unwarranted uproar among the punditocracy over President Bush’s commutation of part of I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby’s sentence is indicative of the sorry state of this nation’s public political discourse. The left is agitated because Bush spared Vice President Cheney’s right-hand man a humiliating prison sentence for lying in an investigation about his knowledge of the leak of CIA agent Valerie Plame’s identity.

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  • June 15, 2007
    By Wendy Kaminer
    Convicted felon Scooter Libby was guilty of nothing more than a bad memory, according to his most ardent defenders, who tend to ignore the inconvenient fact that a jury found him guilty on four felony counts for lying to the FBI and the grand jury investigating the outing of former covert agent Valerie Plame. But, personally, I doubt very much that Libby’s defenders actually believe he was innocent of lying about his conversation with reporters.

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  • May 02, 2007
    By Wendy Kaminer
    It may not be news that public officials sometimes use escort services and enjoy extra-marital perks; but a Washington D.C. madam (or, rather, alleged madam,) outing her clients is not the “non-story” that Harvey considers it. Hypocrisy among public officials is usually worth reporting, however unsurprising it may be.

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  • April 13, 2007
    By Harvey Silverglate

    The justices on the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) recently wrote one of their best, and bravest, decisions in years, but the Herald and Globe both missed it. I almost did too, if it weren’t for a piece in Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly. So allow me to, belatedly, extol the SJC’s opinion in Commonwealth v.

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