Roundups Law and Policy

Gavel Drop: Another Anti-Choice Extremist Goes to Jail

Jessica Mason Pieklo & Imani Gandy

The Department of Justice sends another anti-choice extremist to jail over threats to providers, doctors, and patients in Minnesota, while Roxane Gay shows us how to speak truth to power in St. Louis.

Welcome to Gavel Drop, our roundup of legal news, headlines, and head-shaking moments in the courts.

Anti-choice extremist Michael John Harris pleaded guilty last week to threatening to kill staff, patients, and doctors at two Minnesota abortion clinics. Harris admitted making the threats in order to intimidate people who needed abortions or other reproductive health care.

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) writes to SCOTUSblog to confirm the GOP needs a juice box and a nap. Then after circle time, MAAAYBE the GOP will consider a replacement for Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

Lawyers are hoping to unseal the records of the “D.C. Madam,” citing information relevant to the 2016 election as the reason.

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Someone must have finally gotten the Alabama Supreme Court a quick civics lesson, because the justices have given up their quixotic quest to defy the U.S. Supreme Court and the rest of the entire country on marriage equality.

I guarantee you this next story will make you want to set things on fire. An immigration judge apparently thinks it’s just fine for 3- and 4-year-olds to represent themselves in deportation proceedings. Go. Burn it all down. (Metaphorically, of course.)

Vagrancy laws were the original “broken windows” policing and helped spawn the civil rights movement of the 1960s. This piece looks at their origins as a new wave of Black activism coalesces around police violence and systemic racism.

Seriously. The Supreme Court justices can be ridiculous. We SHOULD laugh at them.

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled that former Sen. Larry Craig (R-ID) must pay the government nearly a quarter of a million dollars for spending campaign contributions on personal legal bills connected to his arrest in 2007 in a sex sting at a Minnesota airport. Craig initially told the arresting officer that he simply had a “wide stance” in a bathroom stall.

If the saying “bad facts make bad case law” holds true, then the court battle between Hulk Hogan and Gawker for publishing a secretly recorded sex tape involving the former professional wrestler should be a doozy.

Finally, we should all aspire to be as big a badass as Roxane Gay, who says she rewrote the talk she gave at Saint Louis University, a Catholic institution, last week to focus on reproductive rights after university representatives passed on a last-minute “reminder” that she shouldn’t talk about abortion. She also published her talk on her Tumblr.

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