Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin faces murder and manslaughter charges for kneeling on George Floyd's neck until he stopped breathing. But even if Chauvin is convicted, Floyd's family may not be able to pursue claims under a federal statute that authorizes lawsuits against government officials who violate people's constitutional ...Read more
About a month after Bill de Blasio personally led a police raid on a Hasidic rabbi's funeral in Brooklyn, which he portrayed as an intolerable threat in the era of COVID-19, New York's mayor visited the same borough to address a tightly packed crowd of protesters who had gathered in response to George Floyd's death. Far from ordering them to ...Read more
Last Friday, three months after Louisville, Kentucky, police officers gunned down a 26-year-old EMT and aspiring nurse named Breonna Taylor during a fruitless drug raid, acting Police Chief Robert Schroeder initiated the termination of Detective Brett Hankison, who he said had "displayed an extreme indifference to the value of human life" when ...Read more
Many conservatives condemn the excessive force that killed George Floyd but reject the notion that such abuses reflect a broader problem of racial bias. "I don't think that the law enforcement system is systemically racist," says Attorney General William Barr, whose boss argues that the crimes of a few "bad apples" do not justify "falsely ...Read more
Attorney General William Barr worries that making it easier to sue cops for abusing their powers "would result certainly in police pulling back." White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany calls the idea a "nonstarter."
Americans who have watched the horrifying video showing now-former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on ...Read more
Last Thursday the president of the United States threw a temper tantrum disguised as an executive order, threatening to punish Twitter for daring to annotate two of his comments about voting by mail. Twitter retaliated the next day, slapping a warning label on a presidential tweet about the protests triggered by George Floyd's death at the hands...Read more
Despite what many people hoped, COVID-19 is clearly worse than the seasonal flu. But despite what other people feared, it does not seem to be nearly as lethal as the "Spanish flu" of 1918, which killed about 0.7% of the total U.S. population -- equivalent to more than 2 million people today.
As we move from lockdowns to something more closely ...Read more
The recent court decisions overturning COVID-19 lockdowns in Wisconsin and Oregon focused on abstruse issues of statutory interpretation. But both cases also addressed a more fundamental question: Is the rule of law suspended during a public health emergency?
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, state officials have imposed unprecedented ...Read more
Based on an erroneous report of a "domestic assault," police officers came to rescue Melanie Kelsay from the man who supposedly was attacking her at a community swimming pool in Wymore, Nebraska. Then one of them actually assaulted her, lifting the 130-pound woman off the ground in a bear hug and throwing her to the ground, breaking her ...Read more
When he rejected a legal challenge to Michigan's COVID-19 lockdown last week, Court of Claims Judge Christopher Murray quoted at length from Jacobson v. Massachusetts, a 1905 decision in which the U.S. Supreme Court upheld mandatory smallpox vaccination. But he left out the part where the justices said state public health powers, while broad, ...Read more
The case that the Supreme Court is scheduled to hear on Monday morning, a trademark dispute involving the travel service Booking.com, is probably of little interest to the general public. But the manner in which the justices will hear oral arguments -- via a teleconference with a live audio feed for anyone who wants to listen -- is unprecedented...Read more
When she announced the startling results of a new COVID-19 study on Monday, Los Angeles County's top public health official emphasized that the number of infections far exceeds the official count of confirmed cases. She underplayed another important implication of the study: COVID-19 seems to be far less deadly than many people feared.
The way ...Read more
The celebration of Easter this week was conspicuously constrained by government policies aimed at limiting the spread of COVID-19, which affected travel, family gatherings and church services throughout the country. But in an encouraging sign that the Constitution still means something in these extraordinary times, one of those policies was ...Read more