Rights and Freedoms
Firearms and Arrest Authority of Federal Agencies
At any time, as many as 120,000 civilian employees of the U.S. government could be making arrests and carrying guns, just like your local police officers. What government agencies do these employees work for and why do they need guns?
Are Muslims Exempt from Obama Health Care Law?
Read about health care reform and religious exemption. Find out how health care reform impacts Muslims in America. Discover whether there is any truth to claims that those practicing Islam are exempt from the health care reform law. Learn what the health care reform law really saws about religious exemptions and who qualifies for exemption from the health care reform law.
Are DUI Checkpoint Apps a Bad Idea?
Find out why DUI checkpoint apps are controversial. Learn why some members of Congress cracked down on smartphone makers. See which companies still offer those apps and which ones ban them.
How to Petition the Government in Under 5 Minutes
Got a gripe? Learn how to petition the government online.
About the United States Code
How the laws enacted by the US Congress are compiled into a single, searchable source of all united states federal laws, the United States Code.
Supreme Court Hears Challenge to Health Care Reform Law
The U.S. Supreme Court heard an unprecedented three days of oral arguments on the constitutionality of four elements of "ObamaCare" -- the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. What are these four elements?
US Supreme Court May Strike Down Affirmative Action
In its decision in the case of Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, the US Supreme Court may strike down the practice of affirmative action.
How the USDA Has Addressed Discrimination
How the USDA has addressed cases of discrimination against minority farmers and ranchers.
Unmanned Aircraft Used in the United States
How the increased use of unmanned Arial Vehicles (UAVs) for surveillance in the Unites States poses safety and security risks.
About the Freedom of Information Act
Describes the U.S. Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), what documents may and may not be requested, and how to request documents under the Freedom of Information Act.
How to Report Voting Rights Problems
Due to the protections of four federal voting rights laws, cases of qualified voters being improperly denied their right to vote or register to vote are now rare. However, in every major election, some voters are still improperly turned away from the polling place, or encounter conditions that voting difficult or confusing. Some of these...
Protecting Your Right to Vote
No American who is qualified to vote should ever be denied the right and opportunity to do so. That seems so simple. Unfortunately, it has not always worked that way. Today, four federal laws, all enforced by the U.S. Department of Justice, work in concert to ensure that all Americans are allowed to register to vote and enjoy an equal...
How are the "Habeas-less" Military Tribunals Going?
Early in the war on terror, U.S. enemy detainees were held for indefinite periods of time without the right to challenge their detention in court. In 2006, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that practice unconstitutional. In response, the Bush Administration's Military Commissions Act allowed all detainees to have their detention reviewed by a military Combat Status Review Tribunal (CSRT). How did those hearings go? Not so well, according to an attorney who actually represented detainees.
NSA Call Record Collection Probably Legal
Right or not, moral or not, effective or not, the NSA's massive collection of the records of almost every phone call made by almost every American since shortly after Sept. 11, 2001, does have recent legal precedent under the U.S. Supreme Court's 1979 ruling in the case of Smith v. Maryland.
Americans Know Their Simpsons, but Not Their Rights
D’oh! A recent survey conducted by McCormick Tribune Foundation showed that while 52 percent of Americans can name at least two characters of the Simpsons TV cartoon family, only 28 percent are able to name more than one of the five fundamental freedoms granted to them by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Miranda Rights Questions and Answers
"So, were my Miranda rights violated?" In many cases, that's a question only the courts can answer. No two crimes or crime investigations are identical. There are, however some procedures police are required to follow when dealing with the Miranda warnings and the rights of persons taken into custody.
Miranda: Rights of Silence
A cop points at you and says, "Read him his rights." From TV, you know this is not good. You know that you have been taken into police custody and are about to be informed of your "Miranda Rights" prior to being questioned. Fine, but what are these rights, and what did "Miranda" do to get them for you?
Supreme Court Hears Privacy Case
Can you be arrested and punished for refusing to tell the police your name? Larry "Dudley" Hiibel, 59, was and now his case is being considered by the U.S. Supreme Court. What about Dudley's Miranda rights?
CA Cities Scramble to Regulate or Ban Medical Marijuana
Since California enacted a law allowing patients to use marijuana for medical reasons cities across the state have been scrambling to restrict or even ban medical marijuana dispensaries, or "cannabis clubs" from locating inside their boundaries.