Monthly Archives: January 2014

Lilly Ledbetter and the State of Our Union

This week marks the fifth year anniversary of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. But as President Obama discussed during the State of the Union Address, there’s still a lot of work to be done to ensure equal pay for equal work is a reality. Watch our ABA Silver Gavel Award winning film, A Call to Act and learn about Mrs. Ledbetter’s amazing fight that took her to the Supreme Court, Congress and finally the White House.

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Commemorate Fred Korematsu Day, Learn About this Civil Rights Hero

January 30th is Fred Korematsu Day. Mr. Korematsu was a national civil rights hero. He was one of only a handful of Asian Americans who challenged the government’s efforts to incarcerate Japanese Americans from the West Coast in internment camps during World War II. At the age of 23, Mr. Korematsu was arrested and eventually convicted for defying the government’s order to leave California. Undeterred, he appealed his case all the way to the Supreme Court. In 1944, in a decision that remains a stain on the Court’s legacy, the Court ruled against him. As Associate Justice Stephen Breyer declares in our film,  Korematsu and Civil Libertiesit is “universally acknowledge that that was an error.” Watch our film and learn more about Mr. Korematsu and his fight for justice.

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The Constitution Project Wins Two CINE Golden Eagle Awards

The Right to Remain Silent and Search and Seizure have both been awarded with CINE Golden Eagle Awards. The team is proud to have been recognized by this well-known film award and is beyond pleased to know that two of our films have received this prestigious award. For more information about the jury process and the Golden Eagle Awards please visit CINE.

Right of Gays to Serve on Juries Affirmed

The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that lawyers can’t discriminate against jurors based on their sexual orientation. The unanimous decision by the three-judge panel is the first to expand juror protections to include sexual orientation, and could open the door to similar challenges of discrimination against gays and lesbians. Legal analysts note that the Ninth Circuit’s decision is at odds with a decision by the federal court of appeals in St. Louis, which increases the likelihood that the Supreme Court will eventually rule on the issue.

The decision, involving jurors selected to serve on a federal antitrust case about an AIDS drug, expands the 1986 Supreme Court ruling in Batson v. Kentucky. Batson declared that jurors can’t be excluded from serving in federal court cases on the basis of race. The story of the Batson case and its expansion prohibiting jury discrimination based on race in civil trials are chronicled in our film, Jury Selection: Edmonson v. Leesville.

Collaborators David Boies and Ted Olson Continue Their Support for Gay Marriage at Sundance

The Constitution Project collaborators David Boies and Theodore Olson appear in the new film, The Case Against 8, which chronicles the legal battle to overturn California’s Proposition 8. The law, passed in 2008 denied gay couples in the state the right to vote. Boies and Olson were at the center of the successful legal effort to overturn the Proposition. Both men recently appeared at the Sundance Film Festival premiere of the documentary, and declared that they remain committed to legalizing gay marriage throughout the country.

Constitution Project Collaborator Geoffrey Stone on NSA Oversight Panel

University of Chicago Law School Professor Geoffrey Stone, a frequent collaborator on The Constitution Project, is on the NSA oversight panel that announced a number of tough recommendations for reforms to the embattled agency. President Obama’s recent speech on changes to the NSA signaled that the administration would follow a number of the panel’s suggestions. Other members on the panel include former acting head of the CIA Michael Morell, Harvard Law Professor and former Obama administration official Cass Sunstein, former counterterrorism czar Richard Clarke and George Institution of Technology professor Peter Swire. Professor Stone’s reaction to President Obama’s speech may be found here.

Professor Stone is an expert in Constitutional law and the tension between protecting national security and preserving civil rights in times of war. He has appeared in a number of our films on this and other topics, including, Creating a Constitution, Korematsu and Civil LibertiesChecks and Balances, as well as our upcoming films on the Second Amendment and the right of Habeas Corpus. Professor Stone has written several books, including “Perilous Times: Free Speech in Wartime,” chronicling how freedom of speech and other civil liberties have been curtailed during times of crisis.

For more from Professor Stone, check out his column at Huffington Post.

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Remembering Benjamin Franklin on His Birthday

January 17th is the 308th of Benjamin Franklin, author, printer, inventor, diplomat, scientist, postmaster and politician extraordinaire. Franklin’s contributions to science and culture can’t be overstated. But luckily, for a man who was so right about so many things, there is one thing Franklin got wrong: After the writing of the Constitution, Franklin predicted that the new government would last about 10 years. He and the other delegates who wrote the Constitution would be amazed to learn that their new form of government has flourished for over 220 years. Watch our film, Creating a Constitution, to learn how Franklin and men like George Washington and James Madison created a government that has exceeded even their most optimistic expectations.

Shriver Report Reminds Us that Lilly Ledbetter’s Fight for Pay Equality Continues

Earlier this week the Center for American Progress and Maria Shriver released The Shriver Report: A Woman’s Nation Pushes Back From the Brink. The report exposed the continued wage gap that exists between men and women in the United States. Closing the gap would have a monumental impact on the nation’s economy, cutting the poverty rate in half for working women and adding an estimated nearly half a trillion dollars to the national economy. To learn more about this topic, watch our award-winning film, A Call to Act, about crusader Lilly Ledbetter and her fight for equal pay for women. Lilly lost her case before the Supreme Court but she remained undeterred. Her determination eventually led to the passage of the landmark Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2007. The act, the first legislation signed into law by President Obama, makes it easier for employees to challenge pay discrimination in court.

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Watch Our Latest Film, The Right to Remain Silent, online

The Right to Remain Silent: Miranda v. Arizona is streaming online at the Annenberg Classroom website. Click here to learn about Ernesto Miranda’s case and how it changed the way our nation views the Fifth Amendment’s right against self-incrimination.