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  • October 23, 2008
    By Harvey Silverglate

    New York Times Supreme Court reporter Adam Liptak has thrown new light on the long-simmering battle over the Second Amendment's true meaning and import in a fascinating October 21 front-page piece. Liptak, who deftly took over the Times' Supreme Court coverage from the recently-retired and much respected Linda Greenhouse, points out that the text is anything but crystal clear: "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."

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  • March 31, 2008
    By Harvey Silverglate

    Just when you think you’ve heard the last politically correct, holier-than-thou pronouncement coming out of our university campuses for a while, you open the morning’s newspaper and find more inanities. This morning’s two-minutes-outrage is a rant from campus professors, researchers and administrators criticizing Big Tobacco for giving – and universities for accepting – no-strings-attached grants for health-related research at Boston University, Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of technology, and the University of Massachusetts.

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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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  • 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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  • May 01, 2007
    By Harvey Silverglate

    “Ducking for cover,” roared the headline on page 3 of the May 1st Boston Herald. It would have been an appropriate headline for a story on the state of daily life in Baghdad, where a slew of recent bombings claimed the lives of more than 1,600 Iraqi civilians. Instead, the headline refers to the dozens of disgraced D.

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  • April 07, 2007
    By Wendy Kaminer
    When Congress passed the Equal Access Act in 1984, requiring public schools to respect the First Amendment rights of extra-curricular student groups, it was intent on protecting student religious groups from discrimination. The Act was, in part, a response to federal court decisions allowing schools to deny equal access to religious groups, in the belief that recognizing them would violate prohibitions on establishing religion.

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  • March 20, 2007
    By Wendy Kaminer

    By Wendy Kaminer


    “A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”1939 ruling

    These are among the most disputed words in the U.S. Constitution. People who support gun control, or prohibition, generally argue that the Second Amendment conditions the right to bear arms on service in a state militia, merely establishing a “collective” right.



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  • March 17, 2007
    By Wendy Kaminer

    Harvey chides me for “glossing over” the “rights” of parents who sued the Lexington school district for exposing their elementary kids to sympathetic books about gay families. They lost their case in federal court, when Judge Wolf dismissed their federal constitutional claims and their claims under state law. As Harvey notes, the parents are free nonetheless to press their state law claims in state courts: these claims were dismissed without prejudice –- not because this is a hard case, as Harvey suggests -- but because state courts are the appropriate arbiters of novel state statutory claims.

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  • March 16, 2007
    By Wendy Kaminer

    Wendy Kaminer too readily glosses over the rights of the parents who lost their case against the Lexington school authorities in early March when United States District Judge Mark L. Wolf dismissed their complaint seeking to exempt their elementary school children from a curriculum promoting tolerance of homosexuality in general and same-sex marriage in particular.

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  • March 15, 2007
    By Wendy Kaminer

    Last month, the religious right lost a local skirmish in the culture war when federal district court Judge Mark Wolf ruled that Lexington school officials did not violate the Constitution by distributing two books about gay families in a Lexington elementary school. Wolf dismissed a case brought by 4 parents who regard homosexuality as sinful and argued that the effort to teach tolerance and respect for gay people and families interfered with their First Amendment rights to raise their children according to their own religious beliefs.

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Related Articles

Boston Phoenix
The Second Amendment: Much Ado about Little
Published 10/23/2008 by Harvey Silverglate
New York Times Supreme Court reporter Adam Liptak has thrown new light on the long-simmering battle over the Second Amendment's true meaning and import in...

Boston Phoenix
This Just In: Federal appeals court upholds student speech
Published 4/24/2008 by James Tierney
Back in January, Wendy Kaminer posted here about a federal case in which a high school student was c...

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