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Corporate America's Favorite Jurists Return

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  • The squeeze on workers
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  • Signing away your rights
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The Progress Report, Think Progress

Few cases define the Roberts Court like the recent decision in Citizens United v. FEC. With a wave of their hands, the Court's five conservatives opened the floodgates to allow billions of corporate dollars to spill into American democracy.

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As a result, outside interest groups -- most of which are aligned with conservatives -- have already spent five times as much on this midterm election cycle as they did in 2006. And Citizens United is only the tip of the Court's corporate iceberg. The justices have consistently favored employers over workers and polluters over the environment -- and it has gone out of its way to slam the doors of justice shut on ordinary Americans. With the Court's new term beginning this week, the justices have a few opportunities to correct past errors. Sadly, the Roberts majority is far more likely to find new ways to declare corporate America to be above the law.

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The squeeze on workers: In its first full term together, the Roberts majority handed down its infamous Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire decision, which cut off access to equal pay for equal work for many women. Moreover, when Congress swiftly overturned this egregious decision, the conservative justices responded -- not with the humility Chief Justice Roberts promised in his confirmation hearing -- but with an equally indefensible decision limiting the rights of older workers.

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Sheriff Joe Arpaio Accused of Illegally Misspending $80 Million While Conducting Draconian Immigration Round-ups

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Arpaio's office used a shadow system, a separate set of payroll books to get around the law barring the use of taxpayer-supported jail funds for other purposes.

Valeria Fernandez, New America Media

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Photo Credit: publik15

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio has found himself at the center of yet another controversy, but this time the issue is not illegal immigration. A county budget report made public Wednesday (October 6) accused his department of misspending as much as $80 million on immigration sweeps, public-corruption probes, and a range of other unauthorized activities and expenditures over the past five years.

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The Board of Supervisors responded by placing Arpaio’s office under new budget restrictions as Maricopa County Board attorney Tom Irvine called the improper expenditures the “biggest misspending of state funds in the history of Arizona.”

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Much of the analysis, by the Office of Management and Budget, centered on the misuse of a tax-based jail-detention fund that was approved by Arizona voters in 1998 for jail expansion, guards’ salaries, and related expenses. Instead, according to the report, Arpaio’s office diverted the funds for such activities as immigration sweeps and public-corruption investigations against the sheriff’s critics.

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MI Assistant AG's blog targeting gay student leader raises free speech issues

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  • "It sounded like it was getting a little strange," (Denis) Dison (spokesman for Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund) said. "I think everyone thinks it has crossed the line. If I'm a gay person living in Michigan, this does not instill confidence that the attorney general's office has my best interests at heart," he added.
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  • LGBT Students Harassed At Colleges Nationwide, New Report Says
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  • Anti-gay group organizes in Anoka-Hennepin (MN) schools as community deals with gay suicides
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Kathy Barks Hoffman, Associated Press/Minneapolis Star Tribune | MN

An assistant attorney general is using his personal blog to target the openly gay leader of the University of Michigan's student assembly, calling him a racist with a "radical homosexual agenda." The lawyer claims that when he's not at work, he has the right to say whatever he wants.

But the vociferous criticism has raised questions of just how far a civil servant can go, and whether Andrew Shirvell's online attacks — which include putting a swastika over a gay pride flag in a photo of 21-year-old Chris Armstrong — should affect his job.

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Making Schools Safer for Gay Students, Cathy Renna

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  • New report with recommendations and model legislation
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  • LGBT Students Harassed At Colleges Nationwide, New Report Says
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  • Anti-gay group organizes in Anoka-Hennepin (MN) schools as community deals with gay suicides
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Supreme Court ruling makes ‘it a crime to work for peace and human rights’: Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR)

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  • Coleen Rowley: Important! June 2010 Supreme Court ruling is major legal factor that contributes to making fishing expeditions [like last Friday's (Sep 25) FBI raids against Minneapolis and Chicago peace activists] possible.
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  • Illinois, Minnesota Anti-War Activists Accuse FBI Of Intimidation
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Raw Story

Group: Former President Carter could be prosecuted for monitoring fair elections in Lebanon.

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The US Supreme Court endorsed Monday (Sep 27) a broad reading of the law criminalizing "material support" to terrorism, a statute that critics argue targets legitimate free speech.

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In a six to three vote, the highest US court sided with the government and found that an NGO could face prosecution for providing non-terror-related support, including rights training, to US-designated terror groups.

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Rowley: Important! June 2010 Supreme Ct ruling is major legal factor that contributes to making fishing expedition possible, Coleen Rowley, Evergreene Digest
The Patriot Act was broadly interpreted (I and other civil liberties legal associations would say misinterpreted) in this June Supreme Court ruling (as the Supreme Court is now stacked with Federalist Society members who believe in a “war powers” unitary executive).  When this decision came down in June of this year, Prof David Cole warned of this exact outcome.  Jimmy Carter or Greg Mortenson could be next.   More people need to speak out and write.

Illinois, Minnesota Anti-War Activists Accuse FBI Of Intimidation, Karen Hawkins, Associated Press/Huffington Post

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  • Joe Iosbaker and his wife, Stephanie Weiner, said the government targeted them because they've been outspoken against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and U.S. funding of conflicts abroad. They denied any wrongdoing.
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  • Inspector General Criticism Doesn't Faze FBI Raids on Midwestern Anti-war Activists
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  • Urgent Fascism Alert: the FBI raids nonviolent antiwar activists
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