Thursday, April 6, 2023


Picture1By Prof. Margaret Drew

Hope came in the form of a Wisconsin election. “Liberal” candidate Janet Protasiewicz won a seat on the Supreme Court, defeating “conservative” Daniel Kelly. This election determined the balance of the court. Crucial human rights issues will come before the Wisconsin Supreme Court, including abortion rights, voting rights, and gerrymandering. After a year of consistent defeats for the rights of women, people of color, and the poor, progressives hope for Supreme Court decisions that recognize the fundamental human rights of the litigants coming before them.

I am not a fan of labels. One cannot always predict how a labeled individual will behave. I prefer to know whether an individual appreciates and understands fundamental human rights. In this instance, those celebrating this victory do so with the hope that basic human rights will be the overriding principle of the court’s agenda.

We have passed through concerning times. Hope has not always been a close companion during this time, but a necessary one. For me, this election is a sign of hope. How nice that it arrived in early spring, along with the flowers and the birds. Here we have it!

“Hope” is the thing with feathers -

That perches in the soul -

And sings the tune without the words -

And never stops - at all

            E. Dickenson


April 6, 2023 in Margaret Drew, Voting | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, August 4, 2022

Hooray for Kansas!

By Prof. Margaret Drew, UMass Law School


In a vote for pro-choice advocates to celebrate, Kansans affirmed the right to abortion in their state.  Surrounded by states that are largely expanding anti-abortion statutes, Kansas will remain a haven for those seeking abortion services.  This result is a blow to those looking to ban abortion in every state.  Historically a deeply religious and conservative state, the outcome of the vote is a surprise to many.   One of the lessons hopefully recognized by anti-choice promoters is that the 70% of the population that identifies as pro-choice, even those that support reasonable restrictions, are unhappy with the recent Supreme Court decision.  Women and other voters support women's right to control their healthcare.  

One of the most frightening impacts of the Dobbs decision was the court's prioritization of religion over women's autonomy.  Religious freedom must be redefined freedom to prioritize freedom from religion.  The separation of church and state was the norm for many decades and was a founding principle.  The current Supreme Court term upended the separation principle that was under attack at least since the Hobby Lobby decision.   Consistently, those celebrating Dobbs cited a religious basis.  The Catholic Church purportedly spent $3 million in Kansas promoting an anti-abortion vote.  

Thank you, Kansas, for giving hope to women nationwide.

August 4, 2022 in Margaret Drew, Reproductive Rights | Permalink | Comments (1)

Sunday, July 31, 2022

Let's Not Erase Women From The Abortion Discussion

By Prof. Margaret Drew, UMass Law School


This is the time that women need allyship.  

Advocates for women cannot afford to be apologists.  In the world of intimate partner violence, advocates found themselves speaking in gender-neutral terms.  This is appropriate when including the high abuse rate suffered by gay men.  Lesbian and trans women are included in the victim population when advocates discuss violence against women.   But when advocates discuss violence against women in heterosexual relationships, they typically begin with this caveat or its equivalency: "While most victims of IPV are women, we acknowledge that men can be victims also."  True enough but the percentage is small. This form of gender "neutrality" is a  significant tool of female gender erasure.  When discussing cisgender male-female relationships, the insistence on using gender-neutral language in IPV discussions is part of the trend to erase women as the primary focus of intimate partner violence in heterosexual violence.  

I am concerned that an even more significant erasure of women is happening as part of the abortion discussion.  The Dobbs decision was an exercise in misogyny.  The majority opinion makes this clear.  The celebration of those with strong religious ties stems from the misogyny of many organized Christian religious sects and their doctrine. When advocates argue that Dobbs was an anti-female decision, trans women are included, as the decision further reduces the status of all women.

The insistence on including references to trans men and others distracts the audience by limiting the discussion to those with uteruses.  This deflects from the focus on the deep hatred of women by oppressive jurists and others who are unwilling to recognize misogyny as the driving issue. Male control of women is the underlying social and cultural problem driving the abortion ruling and restrictive statutes.   

While some trans, non-binary, and other gender-expansive individuals may and do need abortions, the number is a small minority of those needing abortion services in any given year.  While recognizing the numbers may reflect under-reporting, one study reports, "The best approximation, from all known abortion-providing facilities in the United States, estimated that there were between 462 and 530 transgender and nonbinary abortion patients nationwide in 2017."  By contrast, another study by the same organization (Guttmacher) reported that in 2017, "862,320 abortions were provided in clinical settings..."   

The numbers evidence the problem.  If Dobbs discussions were about the procedures of abortion only, then gender language would be inclusive of all with uteruses.  But this discussion is much bigger than that.  This is about the efforts of men, the male state, and religions, to control women beginning when white Europeans arrived in the US.  

Women need the support of trans men and other gender expansive individuals and their organizations to support all women in their anti-discrimination struggles.   Our trans brothers, please stand with women.

July 31, 2022 in Margaret Drew, Reproductive Rights | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Dobbs and Dignity

The Oxford Human Rights Hub recently published an article by Prof. Rachel Wechsler called Dobbs and Dignity.  The article addresses this fundamental human rights concept of dignity in regard to the decision Dobbs v  Jackson Women's Health Org.  Prof. Wechsler will be joining the University of Missouri School of Law this fall.

The opening paragraph reads:

The principle of human dignity lies at the heart of human rights law. Foundational human rights instruments, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, recognise the dignity of human beings as a fundamental value and set out rights aimed at promoting it. The precise meaning of dignity is contested, but one commonly advanced understanding of the concept is the capacity to make “self-defining and self-governing choices.” The U.S. Supreme Court has invoked this conception of dignity in past decisions upholding Roe v Wade, the 1973 case that established a constitutional right to abortion until foetal viability. In Thornburgh v American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the Court recognised that a woman’s decision regarding whether to terminate a pregnancy is “basic to [her] individual dignity and autonomy. Though partially overruling Thornburgh by permitting additional state regulation of abortion so long as it does not impose an undue burden upon a woman’s right to terminate a pre-viability pregnancy, the plurality in Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v Casey reiterated that a woman’s ability to choose whether to continue her pregnancy is “central to personal dignity and autonomy”. The pairing of “autonomy” with “dignity” underscores the Court’s (former) understanding that women are capable of self-determination and interfering with this capacity will significantly and unjustifiably compromise their dignity. In permitting states to ban abortion, Dobbs undermines women’s dignity and autonomy by preventing women from controlling the course of their own reproductive lives.

You may read the entire article here.  

July 6, 2022 in Margaret Drew | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, July 3, 2022

Protest Through Singing This Fourth of July

by Prof.  Margaret Drew, UMass Law School


Independence day has been significant primarily for the powerful minority group.  White Men.

BIPOC, LGBTQ+, women, and religiously oppressed and those oppressed by religion are waiting for their time.  Should these populations want a day that is meaningful for them, it may be that they will need to create their own.  Freedom Day would celebrate when the government and those with power and privilege leave women and others alone to control their own destinies. 

Freedom from oppressors is all that is asked.  That day will come.  United we will succeed.  Don't miss the opportunity to write, revisit or recreate protest songs.

You may be interested in listening to both an interview on protest songs and songs being written or re-written after the Dobbs decision. 

You may have heard Reina Del Cid's protest to the tune of My Country Tis of Thee.  An earlier version by W.E.B. Du Bois may be found here.

And for an indigenous protest song written during the 1960s listen to Buffy St. Marie. This is her anthem to decolonization, updated in 2017.  






July 3, 2022 in Equality, Gender Oppression, Indigenous People, Margaret Drew, Race | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, June 26, 2022

Justice Thomas Reveals the Agenda

By Margaret Drew


"When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time."

Maya Angelou


The devasting Dobbs decision released last Friday revealed a new depth of anti-female activism in our country.  The ultra-conservative justices disregarded women’s autonomy and human rights. Justice Roberts would have imposed limits short of Roe reversal, but the result would have been the same in denying choice to women. The decision imposes the religious and moral views of the justices, disregarding the mental and physical health of women and the difficult circumstances that lead them to consider abortion.  The decision forebodes further restrictions on human and civil rights. Don’t believe the majority opinion when Justice Alito assures that other rights are not in danger.   Unless he has not read Justice Thomas’ separate opinion, Justice Alito knows better of the challenges ahead for vulnerable populations.

Justice Thomas’ concurrence revealed what pro-choice advocates feared.  The agenda to further gut the civil and human rights of women and sexual minorities is imminent.  Thomas confirms that many of the vexing issues for ultra-conservatives involve sex and sexual identity.  He notes Griswold, Lawrence, and Obergefell.   All these cases address sexual and/or reproductive freedom.  The result of the reversal of the cited cases will be to further disempower women, particularly women of color and poor women, and all members of the LGBTQ+ community. For reasons to be explored later, Obergefell is particularly vulnerable.

With Roe reversed, and the right of privacy seriously injured, the Court will seek to reverse cases that are based on the right to privacy.   Certain cases, that is. All dealing with “non-straight male” sexuality.  Justice Thomas invited the litigation.

His agenda is revealed.

June 26, 2022 in Margaret Drew, Reproductive Rights | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, August 13, 2021

The Guise of Assimilation

By Co-Editor Margaret Drew

The discovery of children's bodies on the grounds of Canadian and U.S. "Indian Schools"  is bringing the beginnings of a reckoning of the cruelty inflicted upon native people by both governments.  U.S. history disguised the deliberate ripping apart of Native families as an attempt to assimilate the children.  The Europeans made no attempt to honor the culture of Native peoples nor "assimilate" into established the established cultures of the Americas upon contact.  As with other actions taken against Native peoples, this particular cruelty was another effort to eliminate Native peoples and their heritage.  Those who survived the "boarding schools" were highly traumatized.  The schools were more like prisons.  Children were sexually, emotionally, and physically abused.  They lived in filthy conditions and were forced to accept the religion of their captors.  Many died because of the abusive conditions, others died during escape attempts.  Both day and boarding schools were in existence until the 1960s.  During that decade the child welfare system continued the policy of separating Native children from their parents, this time by placing Native children in white foster homes,  Canadian Native people refer to this practice as The Sixties Scoop.  

Secretary of the Interior Deborah Haaland ordered an investigation into U.S. Indian schools.  In a Washington Post Op-Ed she wrote:  “Though it is uncomfortable to learn that the country you love is capable of committing such acts, the first step to justice is acknowledging these painful truths and gaining a full understanding of their impacts so that we can unravel the threads of trauma and injustice that linger.”  Recently the Presidents of the American and Canadian Bar Associations called for full funding of the investigation.  A resolution endorsing the same overwhelmingly recently passed the ABA House of Delegates.


August 13, 2021 in Margaret Drew | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Matt Damon, Stillwater, and Amanda Knox - the Human Right to Truth

by Co-Editor Margaret Drew


Stillwater, Matt Damon's latest movie,  claims to be "loosely" based on Amanda Knox's "story".   One reviewer noted:"The movie is loosely – very loosely – based – on the real-life, story of Amanda Knox, an American woman who since has been acquitted after she spent several years in an Italian prison when she was convicted of murdering her roommate."  What's this about "since has been acquitted"?  That phrase implies that since the movie was made there is an updated result.  Ms. Knox was acquitted finally in 2015.  

Ms. Knox was not the only one found guilty and then acquitted in the murder of Meredith Kercher.  Raffale Sollecito, another roommate, was convicted and acquitted, as well.  Yet who remembers the names of the co-defendant and the deceased?   Amanda Knox was immediately tabloidized after the murder.  She was a suspect, of course, by, a foreigner in Italy, and was subjected to all of the mental health accusations usually thrown at women without basis; she was sexualized and her account discounted.  Women everywhere, particularly women defendants can identify with this treatment.  Meanwhile not generally analyzed was the action of the police who failed to provide proper legal precautions and protections, and ignored the evidence that indicated that the sole perpetrator was Rudolf Guede, unknown to Knox, Mercher, or Sollecito.  

The right to truth is much explored as a human right when the state causes harm.  Unquestionably the Italian government and systems deeply harmed Ms. Knox and her family.  Should those complicit in perpetuating the harm be held responsible, as well?  This question can be explored in the context of those spreading Trump lies, particularly that he won the 2020 election.  That harm began when Trump was president and part of the state.

We might consider expanding liability to those who perpetrate state harm through mistruths and ambiguities.   Harm to reputation is difficult to undo, in part because the media is often unsupportive of truth when that truth is not scandalous or so noteworthy that it will draw viewers or readers.  We are unwilling as a society to provide support to those whose reputations have unjustly suffered harm.  Indeed, like the Stillwater writers, directors, and producers, should those perpetuating mistruths be responsible for human rights harms caused to others when the state originated the harm?    The public has a right to the truth.  The harm caused by Stop The Steal advocates, that compelled some individuals to act on lies initiated by the state, causes ongoing harm.   Third-party non-state actors need to be held accountable when they are advancing or perpetuating harms caused by the state.

The reputational and privacy harm suffered by Ms. Knox is near-constant.  US law deems her a public figure even though she did not seek the publicity that made her one.  Consequently, she encounters a high standard in any defamation action. While Ms. Knox, a journalist, has not directly raised the human rights perspective on mitigating harm, she describes the ongoing harm she suffers in the Atlantic Magazine.  Her narrative challenges us to consider whether this isn't the perfect time for us to consider expanding the conceptual liability for human rights abuses to those who knowingly extend harm originally caused by the state.  

August 3, 2021 in Margaret Drew | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

US Rejoins the UN Human Rights Council

By Co-Editor, Prof. Margaret Drew

The US has returned to the  UN Human Rights Council.   US participation was withdrawn during the Trump administration and the Biden administration quickly reversed.  The US should expect matters to be different.  Until elections for the Council come around, the US will have observer status.  Since the US last participated in the council, US human rights violations are even more exposed.  #MeToo, Black Lives Matter, and Times Up contributed to worldwide criticism of the US from a human rights perspective.  

The US will best approach their participation with a sense of humility, acknowledging US abuses while working to prevent future abuses in the US and the broader international community.  No doubt the other nations will expect a less judgmental approach to Council business and some will relish in the US being called out on its human rights abuses.  Indeed China will soon release a report on US Human Rights Abuses. 

Another change in the council is the predominance of China and other nations known for human rights abuses.  China's influence accounts for the lack of a UN resolution condemning arrests and other mistreatment of Hong Kong protesters.   When those countries that are the most willing to use brutality and the least willing to acknowledge mistreatment of its people control Human Rights decision-making, one has to examine whether the Council has lost its authority and leadership in the world of global human rights advocacy. One writer proposes how the US might break China's deadlock on the council and possibly bring back credibility to the UN Human Rights Council.


March 2, 2021 in Global Human Rights, Margaret Drew | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, February 22, 2021

Go Virginia! Human Rights Leadership

Virginia became the first southern state to abolish the death penalty.  The legislature has passed the bills abolishing the death penalty and the governor is expected to sign the bills.  At one time, Virginia is was the most prolific state for implementing executions.  Virginia has executed more people than any other jurisdiction.  

Earlier this month, Virginia decriminalized HIV - previously the law criminalized having sex with another when one is living with HIV.  The criminalization law required that the person living with HIV disclose their positive status to their sex partner, even if there is zero possibility of transmitting  HIV.  For those receiving treatment for their HIV, viral loads typically are undetectable.  There is no possibility of transmitting HIV under those circumstances.  For those states that retain HIV criminalization laws, disclosure of the condition is required whether or not transmission is possible.   The bill maintains as a misdemeanor placing a sexual partner at risk of infection when a substantial likelihood of transmission exists.  As one advocate said, “This bill ensures Virginia code reflects current scientific understanding of HIV and promotes public health by alleviating the stigma and mistrust of health institutions."

Fair play to Virginia for protecting human rights.  



February 22, 2021 in Margaret Drew | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Supreme Court Affirms That The US Is A Christian Country

On February 11, 2021, the US Supreme Court let stand a ruling that stayed the execution of a man in prison in Alabama.   William B. Smith III requested that his Christian Pastor be present at his execution.  Mr. Smith's lawyers argued that their client needed his pastor present to provide him comfort   “including by holding his hand, praying with him in his final moments and easing the transition between the worlds of the living and the dead.”  Barrett, Breyer, Kagan, and Sotomayor voted to uphold the bar on Smith's execution.  Justice Kagan wrote:  "I concur in the Court’s decision to leave that order in place, and I write to explain why. Alabama has not carried its burden of showing that the exclusion of all clergy
members from the execution chamber is necessary to ensure prison security. So the State cannot now execute Smith without his pastor present..."

One year earlier the Court refused to stay another Alabama execution where a Muslim inmate requested the presence of his Imam at the execution.  In that case, the Court lifted a stay of execution that the appeals court had entered saying that Mr. Ray, the individual awaiting execution, waited too long to make his request known. (But aren't many requests for Supreme Court stays brought in the last hours?)  Justice Kagan dissented.   "The clearest command of the Establishment Clause, this Court has held, is that one religious denomination cannot be officially preferred over another. Larson v. Valente, 456 U. S. 228, 244 (1982). But the State’s policy does just that. Under that policy, a Christian prisoner may have a minister of his own faith accompany him into the execution chamber to say his last rites. But if an inmate practices a different religion—whether Islam, Judaism, or any other—he may not die with a minister of his own faith by his side. That treatment goes against the Establishment Clause’s core principle of denominational neutrality."

Expecting rational thinking and attention to details in pre-planning one's own violent death is particularly harsh and unempathetic.  A belated request for religious comfort is not unreasonable and should not be unexpected.  The perspective on last-minute requests appears to change, however, when the clergy requested by the condemned is Christian.  In such a case, the law reveals its more sympathetic side.




February 17, 2021 in Incarcerated, Margaret Drew | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Human Rights Watch Film Festival - San Diego Version

The Human Rights Watch Film Festival begins on Tuesday.   Adapting to a digital format,  the festival features a number of films centering on fundamental principles of human rights and the various contemporary needs of people around the globe.  The festival will run through Monday.

As reported by KBPS, "The festival, returning to MOPA for its 11th year, will feature critically acclaimed films on topics including LGBTQ rights, immigrant rights, equal access to child care for working-class parents, freedom of speech, and systemic racism."   Movies include a film on the need for overnight child care to assist parents working in our 24/7 culture.  Another documents the attempts of a group in Sudan to being back open-air films following a ban on cinemas following a coup.

More information can be found here.


February 3, 2021 in Margaret Drew | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Puerto Rico Declares a State of Emergency Due to Gender Based Violence

After years of demonstrations against gender-based violence.  The state of emergency, which will be in effect until June 22, 2022, responds to demands from those who protested increasing and unchallenged gender violence.  The demand for a state of emergency was voiced by demonstrators following a rash of killing many women including transgender women and other trans people.  One human rights activist said that transgender people were being hunted.  "At least 60 direct and indirect femicides were reported in Puerto Rico in 2020, according to the local group Gender Equality Observatory. "

The Governor of Puerto Rico said  "Gender violence is a social evil, based on ignorance and attitudes that cannot have space or tolerance in the Puerto Rico that we aspire to. For too long vulnerable victims have suffered the consequences of systematic machismo, inequity, discrimination, lack of education, lack of guidance and above all lack of action."

On a day when President Biden withdrew the ban on military service for transgender people, we are reminded that gender violence is on the rise everywhere.  The machismo culture that Governor Pierluisi recognized as the root of gender violence has yet to challenged publicly in the mainland U.S. This machismo culture was on display on January 6th but results in the terrorization primarily of women, LGBTQ+ people, and children.  

May the courage of Governor Pierluisi inspire others in the country to declare their own states of emergency to end gender violence.



January 26, 2021 in Domestic Violence, Gender Violence, Margaret Drew | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

An Astounding Inauguration: Amanda Gorman

Poet Amanda Gorman captured the fears, the hopes, the burdens, and blessings of our country.  A portion of her poem is below but you may read the entire poem here.
When day comes we ask ourselves,
where can we find light in this never-ending shade?
The loss we carry,
a sea we must wade
We've braved the belly of the beast
We've learned that quiet isn't always peace
And the norms and notions
of what just is
Isn't always just-ice
And yet the dawn is ours
before we knew it
Somehow we do it
Somehow we've weathered and witnessed
a nation that isn't broken
but simply unfinished
We the successors of a country and a time
Where a skinny Black girl
descended from slaves and raised by a single mother
can dream of becoming president
only to find herself reciting for one
And yes we are far from polished
far from pristine
but that doesn't mean we are
striving to form a union that is perfect
We are striving to forge a union with purpose
To compose a country committed to all cultures, colors, characters and
conditions of man
And so we lift our gazes not to what stands between us
but what stands before us
We close the divide because we know, to put our future first,
we must first put our differences aside
We lay down our arms
so we can reach out our arms
to one another
We seek harm to none and harmony for all
Let the globe, if nothing else, say this is true:
That even as we grieved, we grew
That even as we hurt, we hoped
That even as we tired, we tried
That we'll forever be tied together, victorious
Not because we will never again know defeat
but because we will never again sow division
Scripture tells us to envision
that everyone shall sit under their own vine and fig tree
And no one shall make them afraid
If we're to live up to our own time
Then victory won't lie in the blade
But in all the bridges we've made
That is the promise to glade
The hill we climb
If only we dare
It's because being American is more than a pride we inherit,
it's the past we step into
and how we repair it
We've seen a force that would shatter our nation
rather than share it
Would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy
And this effort very nearly succeeded
But while democracy can be periodically delayed
it can never be permanently defeated
In this truth
in this faith we trust

January 20, 2021 in Margaret Drew | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, January 11, 2021

Why Trump and His Army Must Be Prosecuted

Consequences matter.  President Trump has had no consequences for his despicable behavior over the past five years.  When he bragged that he sexually assaulted women, he had no consequences.    When Donald Trump mocked a disabled woman he had no consequences.  When he endangered Hillary Clinton by encouraging his followers to "lock her up" no media came to her defense by commenting on the inappropriateness of inciting violence against her despite the lack of evidence.  

The birther movement was a trial balloon for Trump.   He needed to see how many people he could convince that Barack Obama was not born in the United States in order to know the level of manipulation needed to control a large segment of voters.  No medial pointed out how these lies were the act of a dangerous man.  Instead, every outrageous comment from Trump became media entertainment.  No one said that these outrages were the acts of a dangerous man.

If Trump is not prosecuted there would have been no consequences for his dangerous acts, which now assumed the level of sedition. There is little justification for anyone saying they didn't know that Trump's acts would reach this level of danger. The time of denial and no consequences must end.  The failure to impose consequences for actions leads to an escalation in the unwanted behavior.  Ask any parent,   But Donald Trump is not a child.  He is a dangerous man.  

We are in for a rough time ahead. There is more violence to come.  These seditionists and brutes must experience consequences.  They are well-organized haters.  As time-consuming and risky as enforcement will be, it must happen.  Appeasement does not work. 



January 11, 2021 in Margaret Drew | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Presidential Consciousness of Guilt

On Friday morning, a Scottish friend informed me that President Trump had sought permission to fly to one of his golf holdings in Scotland on January 19th.  Locals reported that for several days prior to the request they spotted a US plane flying over one of the properties, a process engaged before a presidential visit.  As one Scottish publication wrote: 

"Mr. Trump owns two golf courses in Scotland, and on Tuesday Nicola Sturgeon said the country’s travel ban will apply to Mr. Trump amid speculation he was planning an overseas golf trip during Joe Biden’s inauguration.  On Thursday, Scotland’s First Minister said that the scenes in Washington – where the US President’s supporters attempted to prevent the formal approval of incoming President Joe Biden's election win – were 'shocking', but not 'surprising'.  The permission to enter was denied under COVID restrictions, but there is also a provision in Scottish law that entry may be denied to anyone deemed a risk to the security of the country.  No question that Trump would be banned under the latter if COVID was not rampant.  

Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland, said: “In some senses, Donald Trump’s presidency has been moving towards this moment almost from the moment it started, but that doesn’t make it any less shocking. "   Few in the current administration and congress are willing to acknowledge what Ms. Sturgeon did, that the chaos was predictable from Mr. Trump's behavior from his behavior since Mr. Trump began his presidential race.  

This request to leave the country remained largely unreported in the US until the last 24 hours.  Granted the media had much to report on since Wednesday.  What any prosecutor would read into this request to leave the country is a desire to leave US jurisdiction in order to avoid service of process or even arrest.  It may be that the President's motivation was to put as much distance between himself and  Mr. Biden's inauguration.  But if we are to use the measurements as we do when Black defendants look to leave a jurisdiction, then prosecutors must assume that the attempt to leave reflects consciousness of guilt and take appropriate measures such as revoking Mr. Trump's passport at 12:01 PM, January 20th.


January 10, 2021 in Margaret Drew | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Judge Blocks Trump Sanctions on ICC Advocates and Supporters

The Trump administration has referred to the International Criminal Court as a kangaroo one.  The administration, including Secretary of State Pompeo, claim that the International Criminal Court has impeded US sovereignty.  "Trump had authorized economic and travel sanctions against employees of the Hague-based ICC and anyone supporting its work, including a probe into whether US forces committed war crimes in Afghanistan between 2003 and 2014."  Among those considered as supporting the ICC are four professors.  

On Monday, Judge Failla of the US District Court in Manhattan entered an injunction staying implementation of sanctions.  "The court is mindful of the government's interest in defending its foreign policy prerogatives and maximizing the efficacy of its policy tools. Nevertheless, national-security concerns must not become a talisman used to ward off inconvenient claims."   By entering the temporary injunction, the Court signaled that the administrations civil and criminal sanctions against the four professors is unlikely to stand. 

Another correction to be made by the Biden administration.  The clean up is endless.


January 7, 2021 in Margaret Drew | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Some Good Education News

The latest stimulus bill includes a provision restoring Pell Grant eligibility to those who are incarcerated.   The Obama administration began a pilot program awarding Pell grants to 12,000 incarcerated individuals.  The educational program was a success and its restoration for availability for all prisoners had bipartisan support.  Even Betsey DeVos supported the bill.  Education is a critical way for those who are incarcerated to obtain jobs upon their transition back into civil  society.   Access to Pell grants is important but is only one of the necessary steps to improving the lives of both the incarcerated and the formerly incarcerated.  

Recently PBS aired a series of reports on the difficulties faced by formerly incarcerated people.  Often those returning to civil society face substantial barriers to improving their lives.  The barriers placed by our bureaucracies who impose unreasonable costs and other demands on the formerly incarcerated.  These restrictions prevent these formerly incarcerated humans from achieving financial success and independence.  These are only some of the obstacles and indignities formerly incarcerated people encounter.  To read the stories of those interviewed for the PBS series, click here.

December 29, 2020 in Incarcerated, Margaret Drew | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

May DACA Dreams Come True

Dreamers have been specific pawns in the Administration's anti-immigrant efforts.  The status of DACA youth has been a pawn since immigration "negotiations" began early in the Trump presidency.  When Congress refused to cede to Trump's demands, then the administration took action to strip the Dreamers of protections afforded them by the prior administration.  The Dreamers are US residents who came to the United States as children.  To deport this population means sending these young people to a country of which they have no memory of the country where they were born, and in many cases do not speak the language.   

Finally, on December 4, 2020, Brooklyn Federal Judge Nicholas Garaufis, ordered the government to immediately accept applications from Dreamers for work permits.  This restores Obama Era protections. Let's hope that the Biden administration fast-tracks Dreamers' citizenship 

December 8, 2020 in Immigrants, Immigration, Margaret Drew | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Administration Steps Up Human Rights Abuses During Its Last Few Weeks

The Trump Administration has stepped up its efforts to inflict as much inhumanity as possible before its demise.  As of now, five people who ae incarcerated in the federal prison system are scheduled to be executed before January 20th.  

The President removed the suspension of capital punishment that had been in place for well over a decade.  The last prior federal execution was 17 years ago.   Among those scheduled for execution is Lisa Montgomery. She would be the first woman executed by the federal government in 67 years.  While Ms. Montgomery's crime was shocking, she committed the crime while suffering from PTSD from being sexually trafficked during her childhood.  According to a Washington Post  report on Ms. Montgomery " Cases in which women are sentenced to death often involve prosecutors portraying the defendant as straying from gender norms by, for example, being sexually deviant or an inattentive mother, Dunham said. He said many women who receive the death penalty were not in their right mind at the time of the crime."  

Recently Ms. Montgomery's two lawyers became ill with COVID-19.  A federal district court recently denied their quest for a delay in the scheduled December 8th execution.  Ms. Montgomery is represented by clinicians and students of the Cornell International Human Rights Clinic. An appeals ordered a stay of execution until December 31st to provide Ms. Montgomery's lawyers an opportunity to recover and continue advocating for their client.  The federal government promptly rescheduled the execution for January 12th.  Wishing the clinic Godspeed in finding a way to extend the execution date for at least an additional nine days so the Biden administration may take action to prevent Ms. Montgomery's execution as well as other future executions.

You may sign a petition to assist Ms. Montgomery here.

December 2, 2020 in Incarcerated, Margaret Drew | Permalink | Comments (0)