Thursday, February 28, 2013

  • A Racial Entitlement? Supreme Court Threatens Voting Rights Act, One of Civil Rights Era’s Key Gains

    Voting_lines

    As President Obama unveiled a statue of Rosa Parks at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, the Supreme Court considered overturning a key achievement of the civil rights movement: the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Signed in 1965 by President L. Johnson, the law requires several states and counties with a history of racial discrimination to clear election-related changes with the federal government. While the Supreme Court’s four liberal justices appeared willing to back the Voting Rights Act, conservative justices were much more critical. Justice Antonin Scalia described the law as a "perpetuation of racial entitlement." We’re joined by The Nation’s Ari Berman, who covered the hearing and has reported extensively on the battle for voting rights. Berman says overturning Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act "would open the floodgates to more voter suppression laws, more legal challenges, and it would make it difficult to enforce the voting rights laws that are on the books. ... It would be one of the most radical and consequential decisions made by the court in a very long time." [includes rush transcript]

  • Fascism in the Church: Ex-Priest on "The Pope’s War," Clergy Abuse and Quelling Liberation Theology

    Pope_1

    As Pope Benedict XVI steps down today, we turn to a former Catholic priest who was silenced and expelled by the pope, then-Cardinal Ratzinger, in the 1980s. Matthew Fox chronicles his story in the book "The Pope’s War: Why Ratzinger’s Secret Crusade Has Imperiled the Church and How It Can Be Saved." Pope Benedict’s tenure was marked by several scandals, most notably his handling of the widening sexual abuse scandals in the Catholic Church, including allegations that he ignored at least one case of abuse while serving as a cardinal. Documents show that in 1985 he delayed efforts to defrock a priest convicted of molesting children. "I’ll take the pope at his word here when he says he’s tired. I would be tired, too, if I left as much devastation in my wake as he has," Fox says. "I think that the Catholic Church as we know it, the structure of the Vatican, is passé. We’re moving beyond it. And it’s become a viper’s nest. It’s really sick, what’s going on, obviously — the cover-up of the pedophile priests." [includes rush transcript]

  • After 40 Years in Solitary, Angola 3 Prisoner Albert Woodfox Ordered Freed for 3rd Time in Louisiana

    Albert_woodfox

    A federal judge has once again ordered the state of Louisiana to release Albert Woodfox, a former Black Panther who has spent more than 40 years in solitary confinement. Woodfox and Herman Wallace, another prisoner of the "Angola 3," were convicted of murdering a guard at Angola Prison. The Angola 3 and their supporters say they were framed for their political activism. On Tuesday, the same federal judge that ordered Woodfox’s release in 2008 again ruled Woodfox should be set free on the basis of racial discrimination in his retrial. It was the third time Woodfox’s conviction has been overturned, but prosecutors successfully reversed the two previous victories. The state is expected to appeal once again to keep Woodfox behind bars. We’re joined by two guests: Robert King, the third member of the Angola 3, who was freed in 2001 after three decades behind bars; and Mwalimu Johnson, a longtime member of the Angola 3 support team. [includes rush transcript]