Tag Archive: Supreme Court

Supreme Court rules for Native American inmates in Alabama

Doug Dark Horns Bailey talks about trying to practice his religious beliefs during the more than 18 years he spent in prison.

Doug Dark Horns Bailey talks about trying to practice his religious beliefs during the more than 18 years he spent in prison.

From Montgomery Observer

The U.S. Supreme Court says a lower court must reconsider whether Native Americans in Alabama prisons can have longer hair.

The high court on Monday reversed an 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that had upheld an Alabama Department of Corrections policy saying Native American inmates had to keep their hair cut short, which Native Americans argue deny them their right to religious expression.

As is often the case, the justices did not issue an opinion with its ruling, but ordered the 11th Circuit to reconsider the decision in light of its ruling last week in Holt v. Hobbs. In that case, the court ruled that the Arkansas Department of Correction could not deny a Muslim inmate’s request to grow a half-inch beard in accordance with his religious beliefs, saying the state had failed to show a compelling reason to deny the request.

Bob Horton, a spokesman for ADOC, said in a statement that the decision was expected.

“Until the 11th Circuit has a hearing and offers a ruling, ADOC will continue to enforce its current policy,” the statement said.

(more…)

Pro-choice? You Should Still Oppose Abortion Clinic Anti-Protest Laws. Here’s why:

wingnutsFrom GreenIsTheNewRed

The Supreme Court recently heard oral arguments about a Massachusetts law that prohibits anyone from entering a 35-foot “buffer zone” around abortion clinics. The target of the law is anti-abortion protesters who protest at clinic entrances. I spoke with Kirsten Powers of the Daily Beast recently about how these types of restrictions on freedom of speech place all protesters at risk. Her great column sums up the danger: “If it’s upheld, unions and environmentalists could be next.”

If you are pro-choice, it’s tempting to support a law like this. Anti-abortion protesters have a history of violence and bloodshed against doctors and clinic workers, and protests at clinics have at times escalated to harassment and intimidation of women who are attempting to exercise their rights. I completely support the right of all women to make their own decisions about their bodies and their health care, but I’ve seen firsthand the dangers of singling out people with new legislation because of what they believe.

Here’s an excerpt:

Ironically, a law championed by liberals could end up having dire implications for many liberal causes. Will Potter is a journalist and author of Green is the New Red: An Insider’s Account of a Social Movement Under Siege, which chronicles the political, legal, and public relations strategies that threaten even acts of nonviolent civil disobedience. He told me that the Massachusetts bill, “is setting the precedent of applying this approach to the animal rights and environmental movements.”  Despite being pro-abortion rights, Potter says of the abortion clinic buffer zone, “I would oppose these kinds laws [because] it’s about restricting speech.”  He points out that, “Oregon passed a law to allow loggers to sue protestors who disrupt business using the same kind of language…it’s identical…to [the Massachusetts law].” (more…)