Category Archives: Law & justice

Jeff Sessions is dead-wrong on marijuana

email from John Fetterman, candidate for Lieutenant Governor, 1/10/18. (At this point in the election cycle, this site helps bring to readers’ attention thoughts and issues raised by varied Dem candidates who are expected to be on the May 15 primary ballot.)

I’ll never fully understand why we’re so hung up on marijuana in this country.

Last week, Jeff Sessions chose to revive the decades-old war on drugs by encouraging attorneys in the Department of Justice to freely prosecute buyers, sellers, and users of cannabis under federal law.

It’s hard for me to imagine that in a time when the opioid epidemic is ravaging entire communities across Pennsylvania, we would need to spend our limited resources on prosecuting adults who choose to use cannabis in their spare time. It’s equally as hard for me to imagine how we could ignore the deeply negative impact that this nation’s drug policy has had on African Americans and people of color over the past few decades.

Jeff Sessions is dead-wrong on marijuana, and his drug-war agenda needs to be stopped now.

If you agree, sign my petition to show your support for legalizing marijuana and putting an end to this administration’s radical war on drugs. Continue reading

First Amendment rights

from “Calling on Costello: West Chester – The First Amendment” Jan. 12 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Hosted by Concerned Constituent Action Group:

From CCAG’s Facebook post:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances”. — The First Amendment

“One of the risks of representative democracy is that elected officials may favor the narrow partisan interests of their most powerful supporters, or choose to advance their own personal interests instead of viewing themselves as faithful agents of their constituents. A robust right to petition is designed to minimize such risks. By being forced to acknowledge and respond to petitions from ordinary persons, officials become better informed and must openly defend their positions, enabling voters to pass a more informed judgment”. — The Constitution Center

The First Amendment includes the freedom to express opinions and carry signs that your representative may not like.

The First Amendment protects the right to communicate with government officials.

The First Amendment allows you to post comments to your representative on social media

We would like to remind our representative of these rights in light of constituents being banned from attending town halls and from being blocked on Facebook.

“Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freeness of speech.” – Benjamin Franklin

“For if Men are to be precluded from offering their Sentiments on a matter, which may involve the most serious and alarming consequences, that can invite the consideration of Mankind, reason is of no use to us; the freedom of Speech may be taken away, and, dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep, to the Slaughter.” — George Washington

Human Rights Day

On December 10, 1948, the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Human Rights Day is celebrated every December 10. See the full Declaration here. If the countries of the world and their leaders remembered the Declaration, or even just the first 2 articles, below, people would be better off everywhere.

Article 1

All human beings are born free and
equal in dignity and rights. They are
endowed with reason and conscience
and should act towards one another in a
spirit of brotherhood.

Article 2

Everyone is entitled to all the rights and
freedoms set forth in this Declaration,
without distinction of any kind, such as
race, colour, sex, language, religion, political
or other opinion, national or social
origin, property, birth or other status.
Furthermore, no distinction shall be
made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional
or international status of the
country or territory to which a person
belongs, whether it be independent,
trust, non-self-governing or under any
other limitation of sovereignty….

Lawsuit challenging how Republicans drew Pennsylvania’s congressional districts 6 years ago will proceed, court decides

Lancaster Online, from AP, 11/9/11

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — A state-level challenge to how congressional districts were drawn by Republicans six years ago will proceed on a compressed schedule, a closely divided Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled on Thursday.

The Supreme Court’s 4-3 decision overturned a lower court judge’s ruling last month that had put the dispute on hold.

The order said the case “involves issues of immediate public importance” and gave Commonwealth Court only until Dec. 31 to issue findings of fact and legal conclusions.
Redistricting reform effort to kick off in Lancaster County

“We are thrilled that Pennsylvania voters will have their day in court,” said Mimi McKenzie, legal director of the Public Interest Law Center and part of a team that represents the plaintiffs, a group that includes people who live in each of the 18 districts and the state’s League of Women Voters.

“I think the average citizen doesn’t have to do more than look at the distorted shapes of these districts to understand that something is very much amiss,” McKenzie said….

keep reading at Lancaster Online

This map, part of a presentation by Fair Districts PA, shows Pennsylvania’s 7th U.S. House district, which extends into eastern Lancaster County. It is regularly cited as one of the clearest examples of gerrymandering in the country. [The preceding caption is from Lancaster Online. Look at the salient point of Tredyffrin to the east: it adjoins the 7th district and you could be in the 2nd and 13th districts in a couple of minutes. Absurd! Gerrymandering is the antithesis of democracy and community representation. Gerrymandering is a bane that degrades government, spreads disillusion with voting, and perpetuates political extremism by aiming to create non-competitive districts (but that part isn’t going to work around here in 2018!).]