Texas may be next in dialing back solitary confinement

BY RHIANNON HAMAM

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDJC) is expected to review its policies regarding solitary confinement—also known as “administrative segregation”—after advocacy organizations and Texas prison officials have called on the Department to reduce the number of prisoners in solitary confinement. The push comes after several states have taken steps to curtail or restrict the use of keeping convicts in isolation, as well as recent review by the federal government of the issue of mass solitary confinement in our prison systems. Continue reading

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McCutcheon v. FEC could expand contribution limits

BY TREY SMITH

In the next few months, the Supreme Court will issue an opinion in the case McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission. The case could be a rerun of the controversial Citizens United decision issued in 2010. McCutcheon raises a First Amendment challenge to certain contribution limits that an individual can give to federal candidates and political party organizations. There are basically two kinds of contribution limits: base and aggregate. As the law now stands, an individual can contribute $5,200 to a candidate per election cycle. This is the base limit. The law McCutcheon challenges, the aggregate limits, are a separate limit placed atop the base limits. The amount of money given to a candidate must be below the base limits, and the sum total of all money given to all candidates must fall below the aggregate limit. McCutcheon argues that the aggregate limit violates his right to associate himself politically. Continue reading

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Live Updates: Diversity in Higher Education Post-Fisher

Welcome to Diversity in Higher Education Post-Fisher! TJCLCR will be updating you throughout the day with recaps and highlights from the conference’s speakers and panels. Click here to see a complete schedule of today’s events.

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Johnson’s Legacy Reevaluated

BY JARED JANES

Consider it President Lyndon B. Johnson’s legacy at mid-life.

More than 40 years after his death, the presidency of LBJ is being reconsidered thanks to semicentennial celebrations of the landmark legislation he signed while in office. From civil rights to immigration reform to the War on Poverty, the former Senate Majority Leader cajoled Congress into passing consequential programs that still continue to shape the American landscape.

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Federal Judge Rules Texas’ Ban on Same-Sex Marriage Unconstitutional

BY MADELINE SCHLESINGER

On February 26, Judge Orlando Garcia of the United States District Court in San Antonio held that the Texas Constitution’s prohibition of gay marriage conflicts with the U.S. Constitution’s guarantees of due process and equal protection of the laws. Although this ruling was cause for celebration for gay rights activists in the state, the victory was admittedly only partial. The ban on same-sex marriage still remains in effect, and the State has appealed the case to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans—one of the most conservative appeals panels in the nation. Texas Governor Rick Perry, named as a defendant in the lawsuit, has vowed to “continue to fight for the rights of Texans to self-determine the laws of our state.”

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Is the Level of Christian Doctrine in Texas Public Schools Unconstitutional?

BY CHRISTOPHER LAMOUREUX

Texas has been ridiculed for the choices the Texas Board of Education makes in deciding what is and is not included in their science and history curriculum. The decisions that Texas makes receive a good deal of attention not only because of their questionable nature but also because the sheer volume of textbooks ordered impacts what textbooks are available for a large swath of America. Continue reading

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A Big Step for Cell Phone Privacy

BY BROOKS RICHMOND

Privacy is a hot topic these days.  Some people say we do not have enough, some people say we have too much but we can all agree the debate on privacy is not going away anytime soon.  In Texas this past week, the state’s highest criminal court contributed to the debate with their recent decision.  With an 8-1 decision, the Court of Criminal Appeals has expanded the notion of privacy rights in the digital age. Continue reading

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