Courts

Progressive politics from the ground up 

Progressive politics from the ground up 

Heather Gerken has spent years making the case that state and local government is where the left should push change. With the election of Donald Trump, progressive federalism’s moment may have arrived.

Photographs by Frank Curran STATES’ RIGHTS HAS a long and ugly history in this country. The phrase has often served as code for the segregationist Jim Crow policies that southern states clung to in the face of federal pressure in the 1950s and ’60s. It made progressives wary of a bigger role for states in(...)

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Let’s rehabilitate moms, not lock them up

Let’s rehabilitate moms, not lock them up

Incarceration-based drug policies make no sense

TWENTY-FIVE YEARS AGO, I met Sylvia, a smart, talented mother with dreams – like most moms – for her family, despite experiencing homelessness. Formerly in prison for a non-violent drug offense and caught in the cross hairs of the growing mass incarceration movement, she held on to her aspirations despite numerous roadblocks, pursuing work, housing,(...)

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Mandatory minimum drug sentences costly mistake

Mandatory minimum drug sentences costly mistake

DA talking points obscure real issues

SUPPORTERS OF MANDATORY minimum sentences for drug crimes are circulating a set of disconnected talking points on Beacon Hill that obscure the real issues. The debate is heating up as the Legislature prepares to hold hearings this month on bills that would eliminate Massachusetts laws requiring judges to impose a prison term of a specified(...)

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Finneran loses pension appeal

Finneran loses pension appeal

SJC says lies tied to role as speaker

THE STATE’S HIGHEST COURT has rejected an appeal by former House speaker Thomas Finneran to reinstate his pension, saying the one-time legislative leader’s lies during testimony in a federal lawsuit were related to his position and taking his retirement money away did not constitute an “excessive fine.” The Supreme Judicial Court overturned a 2015 ruling(...)

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Healey sues Trump

Healey sues Trump

AG says president’s executive order violates state, US constitutions

MASSACHUSETTS ATTORNEY GENERAL Maura Healey on Tuesday sued President Trump over what she called his “startling and chaotic” executive order banning immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries, saying the act violated Bay State residents’ constitutional rights. Healey, joined by some of the state’s academic, business, and non-profit leaders and with the support of Gov. Charlie Baker,(...)

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A Massachusetts freedom agenda

A Massachusetts freedom agenda

We must push back against threats of a Trump presidency

THE 2016 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION election unleashed forces of racism, sexism, anti-immigrant sentiment, and authoritarianism that, we now know, have been simmering just beneath the surface of the collective American polity. But the election of a president who campaigned on threats to dismantle protections for the least among us also has mobilized millions of freedom-loving people to(...)

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AG aide wins 5-3 vote for judgeship

AG aide wins 5-3 vote for judgeship

Opponents question experience, help on assault weapon ban

STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE First Assistant Attorney General Christopher Barry-Smith received confirmation Wednesday for a Superior Court judgeship despite strong opposition from gun rights advocates. The Gun Owners Action League protested Barry-Smith’s judicial nomination because of his role in the office of Attorney General Maura Healey, who this summer announced an enforcement action against copycat(...)

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Gants launches study of racial disparities in incarceration

Gants launches study of racial disparities in incarceration

Chief justice also "encouraged" by progress on wider criminal justice policy review

THE STATE MUST confront racial disparities in imprisonment rates and move to “reimagine” a flawed criminal justice system to focus less on incarceration and more on lowering recidivism, Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Ralph Gants said on Thursday. Delivering his third annual address on the state of the judiciary since becoming the Commonwealth’s top judge,(...)

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SJC upholds parent rights of same-sex partner

SJC upholds parent rights of same-sex partner

Applies even if unmarried, no biological connection to children

STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE THE PARENTING RIGHTS of a mother in a same-sex relationship extend even when the couple is unmarried and the mother has no biological connection to the children, the state’s highest court ruled Tuesday. In a decision written by Justice Barbara Lenk, the Supreme Judicial Court overturned a Middlesex County family court’s(...)

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