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Opinions & Editorials

Aug
5
2016
Column: Police Use of Force, the Constitution and the New NYPD Policy (New York Law Journal)

by Christopher Dunn* In the two years since Eric Garner was choked to death by an NYPD officer on Staten Island, the country has been embroiled in a heated debate about police officer killings of black civilians and, with the recent deaths of officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge, about civilian killings of police officers. While concerns about racism and retribution are at the heart of that debate, the series of civilian deaths at the hands of police officers has also focused attention on the legal and policy standards governing police use of force.

Jun
22
2016
Op-Ed: Excessive Discipline Harmful (Albany Times Union)

by Donna Lieberman The state Legislature left important business undone when its session ended last week. It failed to even consider the Safe and Supportive Schools Act. How much longer will legislators ignore the harm of excessive disciplinary practices in our schools — arrests, summonses and suspensions — and the racially discriminatory impacts on children's education?

Jun
9
2016
Op-Ed: Gov. Cuomo’s BDS Blacklist Is An Affront to Free Expression (Huffington Post)

By Simon McCormack New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order this week requiring state agencies and authorities to divest from any company or institution that supports the Boycotts Divestment and Sanctions movement targeting Israel. The order not only threatens to punish constitutionally protected political speech but also requires the state of New York to create a blacklist of allies of the movement, which BDS supporters describe as an effort to ensure human rights for Palestinians.

Jun
3
2016
Column: The American Constitutional Regime Viewed From a German Perspective (New York Law Journal)

by Christopher Dunn* As we lurch towards a presidential election that will determine the composition of the U.S. Supreme Court and with it the likely fate of American constitutional law for the next generation, it can be valuable to step back and examine our constitutional landscape from a broader perspective. Having just spent six weeks teaching human rights at a Berlin university, I have had the opportunity to consider how American civil rights and liberties compare to those in Germany, one of the most important and influential countries in the world.

Mar
23
2016
Op-Ed: Paid Family Leave is Critical to Equal Opportunity For All (Albany Times Union)

By Katharine Bodde Americans work hard. We put in more hours on the job than workers in other industrialized countries, and we are given — and use — fewer vacation and personal days. What's more, the U.S. is the only developed nation that does not provide workers paid time away from work in order to care for a newborn or a seriously ill family member. Federal law gives employees of large companies 12 weeks of unpaid leave — but who can afford to forgo the pay? The few who can are at the high end of the wage scale.

Jan
5
2016
Op-Ed: Revealing CCRB Voting Info Creates Hit List of NYPD Enemies (NY Daily News)

By Christopher Dunn Brazen is perhaps the best word to describe the latest threat to the already tenuous civilian oversight of the NYPD. Whatever the police department's intentions, its demand that the Civilian Complaint Review Board report how specific board members vote on misconduct cases will have a predictable result — intimidation. CCRB votes have always been confidential, so the NYPD has had no idea which board members have voted for or against police officers under investigation for abusing civilians.

Dec
4
2015
Column: Terrorists, Assault Weapons, and the Evolving Second Amendment (New York Law Journal)

by Christopher Dunn Last month’s terrorist attack on civilians in Paris rekindled discussion about federal gun-control legislation, including the possibility of barring people on a federal terrorist watch list from buying weapons. And last week’s assault-weapon attack on a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado has further energized public debate about weapons in our society and efforts to regulate or ban them.

Nov
18
2015
Op-Ed: Requiring NYC Students to Pass Through Metal Detectors Makes Students Feel Unwelcomed (NY Daily News)

By Donna Lieberman School should be a place where children are welcomed, encouraged and educated. Requiring over 90,000 students in New York City to pass through a metal detector, open their backpacks and sometimes submit to wanding and pat-downs in order to go to school everyday sends those students the wrong message.

Oct
2
2015
Column: The Pope, Invoking God, and New York Courtrooms (New York Law Journal)

by Christopher Dunn Last week, we experienced Pope Francis captivating millions of people by touring Washington, D.C., New York, and Philadelphia with his aura of humility and his message of compassion. At the same time, we witnessed the remarkable sight of the government virtually genuflecting to a religious figure, starting with President Obama personally receiving the Pope upon his landing in the Washington area and culminating in the Pope addressing a joint session of Congress.

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