National Gaze

A closer look at key cases before the Supreme Court

Written by The Associated Press Monday, 06 October 2014 05:54

A look at some of the noteworthy cases the Supreme Court will hear this term, which begins today (Oct. 6):

-Mistaken traffic stop: A broken brake light led a North Carolina police officer to pull over a car in which cocaine was later found. Turns out, the state requires only one functioning brake light. The court is weighing a case about whether a defendant's constitutional protection against unreasonable searches was violated because of the officer's mistaken understanding of the law.

-Prison beards: An Arkansas inmate is challenging a prison policy that prevents him from growing a short beard in accordance with his Muslim religious beliefs. Prison officials say the policy prevents inmates from concealing contraband or quickly changing their appearance in an escape.

Appeals court reverses ruling that allowed N.C. voting changes before midterm

Written by The Wisconsin Gazette Thursday, 02 October 2014 05:28

The U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals this week reversed a lower court ruling that had allowed provisions of North Carolina's restrictive voting law to go into effect before the midterm election.

The appeals court order restores same-day registration and reinstates out-of-precinct provisional voting on Voting Rights Act grounds.

Pentagon surplus program arms school districts with machine guns and grenade launchers

Written by Louis Weisberg,
Staff writer
Thursday, 18 September 2014 11:36

A Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected armored vehicle. -Photo:

Taking advantage of a free military surplus program, school police departments throughout the nation have joined with municipal police departments in stocking up on mine-resistant armored vehicles, grenade launchers and scores of M16 rifles.

Cab drivers cry discrimination over body odor test

Written by AP Saturday, 13 September 2014 04:11

Body odor is among 52 criteria that officials at San Diego International Airport use to judge taxi drivers. Cabbies say that smacks of prejudice and discrimination.

United Nations condemns U.S. racism as reverberations over Ferguson continue

Written by Louis Weisberg,
Staff reporter
Sunday, 31 August 2014 07:38

Ralliers showing solidarity with Michael Brown and the black community of Ferguson, Missouri, march down West State Street in Milwaukee on Aug. 18. –Photo: Dave Lauersdorf

Even as Ferguson grows calmer, recent indictments in the St. Louis suburb continue to provoke outrage around the world.

Help wanted: Lawyers needed for immigrant children

Written by The Associated Press Monday, 29 September 2014 08:31

Most of the nearly 60,000 Central American children who have arrived on the U.S.-Mexico border in the last year still don't have lawyers to represent them in immigration court, and advocates are scrambling to train volunteer attorneys to help cope with the massive caseload.

With the number of unaccompanied immigrant children more than doubling this past fiscal year, the need for attorneys has surged, and it has been exacerbated by the immigration courts' decision to fast-track children's cases, holding initial hearings within a few weeks instead of months.

Study: Longer waits to vote in precincts with more minorities

Written by Lisa Neff,
Staff writer
Tuesday, 16 September 2014 06:14

Precincts with more minorities experienced longer waits on Election Day, according to a new study released this week by the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law.

The study found a lack of poll workers and low numbers of voting machines are key contributors to long voting lines.

Nashville mayor signs statement supporting marriage equality

Written by WiG
and AP reports
Monday, 25 August 2014 13:09

Nashville Mayor Karl Dean has become the first mayor in Tennessee to sign a statement supporting marriage equality.

7 in 10 Americans oppose new laws to restrict abortion

Written by WiG Sunday, 24 August 2014 15:22

Seven in ten Americans oppose new laws to further restrict abortion, according to a national poll commissioned by NARAL Pro-Choice America.

Transcript: President Obama's remarks on campaign against campus sexual assault

Written by The Wisconsin Gazette Friday, 19 September 2014 12:25

This afternoon, in a speech in the East Room at the White House, President Barack Obama spoke about the "It's On Us" campaign, a national public service to combat sexual assault on college campuses. The following is a transcript of the president's remarks, provided by the White House:

Welcome to the White House, everybody.  And thank you to Joe Biden not just for the introduction, not just for being a great Vice President -- but for decades, since long before he was in his current office, Joe has brought unmatched passion to this cause.  He has.  (Applause.) 

No gridlock for gay marriage, legal marijuana

Written by David Crary,
AP National Writer
Monday, 15 September 2014 10:23

While many liberal policy goals have proved elusive during Barack Obama's presidency, there have been dramatic advances for two causes that once seemed quixotic - the legalization of same-sex marriage and the decriminalization of marijuana.

Neither cause was embraced by Obama during his first term. Yet he is now a fervent supporter of marriage equality and has said it is "important" that Colorado and Washington state be allowed to proceed with their pioneering laws, approved by voters in 2012, that legalize marijuana.

Oklahoma governor: no executions without new rules

Written by Tim Talley,
AP writer
Sunday, 07 September 2014 06:40

New procedures to improve Oklahoma’s execution process must be implemented before the state resumes putting prisoners to death by lethal injection, Gov. Mary Fallin said after investigators presented their findings about an April case in which the inmate writhed and moaned on the gurney.

California slaughterhouse the latest to be charged with violating health safety

Written by Louis Weisberg,
Staff writer
Tuesday, 19 August 2014 07:11

A Northern California slaughterhouse involved in a massive beef recall for processing cows with cancer and later distributing the meat, was charged in federal court on Aug. 18. The case is the latest development in a growing movement by health and animal-welfare advocates challenging the factory-farming industry.