FROM Roger Clegg
Will Voters Be Kept from the Polls…Again? Last year, the US Supreme Court ruled that key parts of the Voting Rights Act, signed by Lyndon Johnson in 1965, had outlived their usefulness. By a five to four majority, the court lifted burdens imposed on states with histories of discrimination in voting. Almost immediately, North Carolina, Texas and other states passed Voter ID laws, cut short early voting and eliminated same-day registration. The Court also invited Congress to update the Voting Rights Act. Are those needed protections against voter fraud or a return to the past? Is there evidence of renewed hardship for minorities, the elderly or women voters? Voter ID warning outside the polling station of Ward 1 in Nashua, New Hampshire, 2013 Photo by Mark Buckawicki
Partisan Politics and the Administration of Justice Last year, the Boston Globe reported that former Attorney General John Ashcroft changed the process for hiring new attorneys for the Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division , which handles sensitive issues, including racial discrimination, employment opportunity and voting rights. The potential for political interference in the division is greater than in other areas of federal law. In previous administrations--Democrat and Republican--career jobs had been handled by civil servants. Ashcroft assigned that task to political appointees, a move that has reportedly changed the division dramatically. Now the focus is on the current Attorney General, Alberto Gonzales , who is headed back to Capitol Hill to answer some controversial questions: Have federal prosecutors been hired for their legal experience or their Republican leanings? Were legal cases either filed or ignored because of their likely influence on close elections that determined the balance of Congressional power? We hear from Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Charlie Savage and Justice Department veterans on both sides of issues that go to the heart of Constitutional democracy.
Truth and Lies in Trumpland Donald Trump is using mis-information like no President has before him. It's an unprecedented challenge to the news media, and a potential threat to democracy. We hear how the "leader of all the people" is dividing Americans and confusing the rest of the world.