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Opinions & Editorials

Apr
3
2014
Column: Parody, Jerry Falwell and Dead Sea Scrolls Debate (New York Law Journal)

by Christopher Dunn Parody has been a staple of political discourse from time immemorial. At its best, it can add an invaluable dimension to debate on matters of public concern, albeit at the psychic expense of the parody's target. In modern times, that expense occasionally translates into lawsuits, and the sharper the parody the spicier the legal controversy.

Feb
21
2014
Op-Ed: Sen. Kennedy Understands the Need to Protect Women's Health (The Buffalo News)

by Corinne Carey When I first started working at the New York Civil Liberties Union, I wanted to explain to my devoutly Catholic mother why I was working to ensure that New York women have access to the full realm of reproductive health care, including access to abortion. I gave her Jennifer Baumgardner’s “Abortion & Life,” which tells the stories of women who have had abortions and all the varied and complex and heartbreaking reasons they do so. After reading the book, my mom told me something I will never forget: “I never thought about the women.”

Feb
6
2014
Column: Technology and the Constitution: Supreme Court to Decide if Police Can Freely Search Cell Phones (New York Law Journal)

by Christopher Dunn In light of Edward Snowden’s dramatic revelations about the federal government’s sweeping collection of information about the telephone calls we make, the emails we send, and the social media we use, the very notion of communications privacy is bordering on quaint naivete. Yet, things can always get worse, and the United States Supreme Court recently took two cases that threaten to do just that.

Dec
5
2013
Column: The Bill of Rights and the Religion of Business (New York Law Journal)

by Christopher Dunn When Mitt Romney famously declared while campaigning in Iowa in August 2011 that “corporations are people,” he was widely mocked – at least by those on the left. Yet, as a matter of constitutional principle he was largely right. And last week the Supreme Court announced it will decide whether to extend that principle to for-profit corporations seeking to invoke religious beliefs as a shield against a mandate in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that requires them to provide contraceptive coverage to their employees.

Oct
2
2013
Op-Ed: Private Cameras, Public Money (NY Daily News)

By Donna Lieberman The news that a security company is using $1 million in public money to install 100 surveillance cameras on city lampposts in Borough Park and Midwood raises serious concerns about why a private firm is being allowed to operate like the NYPD. It is understandable that these Brooklyn communities want additional security — but the arrangement sets a terrible precedent. Surely, the project is well-intentioned. The entire city was shocked when an 8-year-old Orthodox boy, Leiby Kletzky, was abducted and murdered in Borough Park in the summer of 2011.

Aug
1
2013
Column: Guns, Guns, Guns and the First Amendment (New York Law Journal)

By Christopher Dunn Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s controversial 2008 decision in Heller v. District of Columbia holding that the Second Amendment confers on individuals – as opposed to state militias – a right to possess handguns, the federal courts have been awash in disputes about the boundaries of this newly minted constitutional entitlement. Other than extending Heller from the District of Columbia to states and municipalities, the Supreme Court has not revisited the issue, leaving it to the Courts of Appeals to construct an entirely new area of constitutional law.

Jun
6
2013
Column: The Cases Behind New York City's Attack on Jude Shira Scheindlin (New York Law Journal)

By Christopher Dunn As the highly publicized trial challenging the NYPD's stop-and-frisk program was winding down last month, the office of Mayor Michael Bloomberg offered to certain press outlets a "study" it had conducted that purported to reveal that the Southern District judge presiding over the trial -- Judge Shira A. Scheindlin -- grants suppression motions in a uniquely high percentage of cases.

May
30
2013
Op-Ed: Indigent Defense Reform Benefits Defendants, Counties (New York Law Journal)

by Corey Stoughton One of New York's worst-kept secrets is the abject failure of its public defense system. Fifty years ago, in Gideon v. Wainwright, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states must provide a competent lawyer to poor people accused of crimes.

May
27
2013
Op-Ed: Fix Immigration, but Not with E-Verify (Crain's Business)

By Javier H. Valdés and Donna Lieberman Our nation's lawmakers, led by New York Sen. Charles Schumer and the “Gang of Eight,” are moving toward comprehensive reform to fix our broken immigration system. It's about time. Comprehensive immigration reform, including a path to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants, is critical: It promises to keep families together and bring hardworking immigrants out of the shadows and enable them to contribute fully to our nation's economy.

Apr
3
2013
Column: Social Media, Public Employees and the First Amendment (New York Law Journal)

By Christopher Dunn The explosion of social media, which allow people to project themselves across the country and around the globe, has greatly intensified the tension between the right of those working for the government to speak freely as private citizens and the right of public agencies to regulate employee speech that affects agency functioning. In an age of Facebook and Twitter, the considerable First Amendment difficulties previously presented by public employees posting signs on their lawns or writing to the local newspaper now seem positively quaint.

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