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U.S. Supreme Court's 'Miranda' decision further guts 150-year-old civil rights law

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(Reuters) - A U.S. Supreme Court decision on Thursday illustrated the extent to which the court has transformed a Reconstruction-era law meant to protect the rights of freed slaves and marginalized Americans into a formidable shield for the most powerful, including police, prosecutors and businesses. 

The June 23 decision bars lawsuits against police for using evidence obtained without advising people of their rights – the ‘Miranda’ warnings the court mandated nearly 60 years ago that have since become the framework through which most Americans understand their rights against police intrusion. 

The 6-3 ruling in Vega v. Tekoh, which was expectedly split along partisan lines, nullified essentially the only direct remedy available in those situations. (Police officers are notorious for evading internal discipline and legal consequence, even for conduct that constitutes a crime, like assaulting someone to...

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US Supreme Court hits a home run for civil rights

BY BENJAMIN F. CHAVIS JR

On July 1, the Supreme Court ruled in Americans for Prosperity Foundation v. Bonta the government cannot force nonprofit organizations to disclose the names of their supporters. As a former executive director and CEO of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and a statewide youth assistant to Martin Luther King Jr. in the 1960s, I believe this ruling presents one of the most significant wins for civil rights in decades. 

It is important to note that even though the majority conservative Supreme Court has restricted Americans' voting rights, that same highest court in the nation just ruled in favor of protecting the freedom of Americans to support civil rights organizations and other social justice nonprofits. 

In taking the side of AFPF, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and many other nonprofit organizations, the high court invalidated the State...

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Federal judge rules California’s ban on assault weapons is unconstitutional

Federal District Court Judge Roger Benitez ruled on June 4 that California’s Assault Weapons Control Act of 1989, which banned all assault weapons in California, violates the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and unlawfully restricts the kinds of firearms protected under previous U.S. Supreme Court rulings. He wrote, “Like the Swiss Army Knife, the popular AR-15 rifle is a perfect combination of home defense weapon and homeland defense equipment. Good for both home and battle, the AR-15 is the kind of versatile gun that lies at the intersection of the kinds of firearms protected under District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008) and United States v. Miller, 307 U.S. 174 (1939). Yet, the State of California makes it a crime to have an AR-15 type rifle. Therefore, this Court declares the California statutes to be unconstitutional.”

The Roberti-Roos Assault Weapons Control Act of 1989 was California’s first assault weapons act. It...

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