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Leid Stories – 10.06.15

Puerto Rico: U.S. Supreme Court to Hear Case on Political Status
Ferguson, Missouri, Being Readied for Forced Bankruptcy
Among 13 new cases the U.S. Supreme Court will review in its current term is Puerto Rico v. Valle. The case asks whether a person tried, acquitted or convicted under U.S. federal law can be prosecuted for the same crime under Puerto Rico law. The case seemingly is about constitutional protections against double jeopardy. But at the heart of it is the long-simmering—and unresolved–issue: What is the political relationship between the United States and Puerto Rico?
Lyle Denniston, legal historian and constitutional literacy adviser to the Philadelphia-based National Constitution Center, and Dr. Victor M. Rodriguez, professor of Chicano and Latino Studies at California State University of Long Beach, tackle both issues.
In a commentary Leid Stories reveals that the City of Ferguson, Missouri, is being readied for a forced bankruptcy.

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Leid Stories – 10.01.15

The Constitution and Citizenship: The Dred Scott Decision (Conclusion)
We conclude today the discussion on the Dred Scott decision of 1857 – a case often cited as producing the worst ruling in the history of the U.S. Supreme Court.
Legal scholar Paul Finkelman, who teaches constitutional law, legal history, and race and the law at Albany Law School in New York, gave us, in two consecutive weeks, a detailed background of the case and the constitutional questions it raised.
Dred Scott, enslaved at birth – around 1799, in Southampton County, Virginia – sued for his freedom and the freedom of his wife and two daughters, on the grounds that they had lived in Illinois and the Wisconsin Territory, where slavery had been outlawed. But the Supreme Court, in a 7-2 ruling, said that no person of African ancestry ever was meant to be a citizen of the United States, nor to benefit from any rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.
Today we hear from Justice Stephen Breyer, an associate justice on the U.S. Supreme Court, on the matter.

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Leid Stories – 09.24.15

The Constitution and Citizenship: The Dred Scott Decision (Part 2)

Last week, when the nation observed Constitution and Citizenship Day, Leid Stories began a discussion on how these two things are connected and are at the root of American “identity.”

One case, decided by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1857, proved then, and still proves to this day, that neither the Constitution nor citizenship was meant to be of benefit to all Americans. Known as Dred Scott v. Sandford, the court ruled that African Americans, specifically, whether enslaved or free, were neither meant to be beneficiaries of constitutional rights nor its protections as citizens.

Legal scholar Paul Finkelman, who teaches constitutional law, legal history and race and the law at Albany Law School in New York, is presented here discussing the constitutional origins of the issue of citizenship in a detailed examination of the landmark Dred Scott case.

Why is this case important? Why should you know about it? Because it is the formal articulation—by the nation’s highest court, no less—of the answer to the still-roiling question: Who is a citizen of the United States of America?

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STEPHANIE CHAN – When Simple Living Is No Simple Proposition

With the world at our fingertips and only a click, tap, and push notification away, there still seems to be one thing that eludes our grasp: simplification. A new wave of wearable tech aims to minimize smartphone use and silence the clamoring The tiny house movement is just what it sounds like: eschewing the breakfast nook and the guestroom and …

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Cole Mellino – Third U.S. City Goes 100% Renewable

Aspen is one of three U.S. cities to run on 100 percent renewable energy as of today, according to city officials. The Colorado mountain town is best known for its posh ski resorts, but this beautiful town also has established itself as a leader in environmental stewardship. The city had been using about 75 to 80 percent renewable energy until Thursday …

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Bill Boyarsky – Why Ending Homelessness Is Political Poison

On a hot, sultry day in July, I walked through Los Angeles’ Skid Row, the largest and most infamous of the city’s numerous homeless encampments. It is a little-visited part of a city better known for its celebrities and showy materialism—a city where the very rich build mansions with a dozen or more bedrooms while the poorest of the poor …

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Yessenia Funes – Own a Home in Just Four Years? This Co-Op Program Keeps Workers in the Neighborhood Nearly half of Evergreen’s worker-owners have purchased homes through the program.

Alex Cedeño quit renting two years ago. Now, he has just two years left until he owns his own home. And it’s all thanks to his employer, Evergreen Cooperatives. Evergreen started this unique home-buyers program three years ago. Today, nearly half of its worker-owners have purchased homes through the program. Home ownership was unlikely for them before; many have bad …

Affordable Housing Crisis Grows Across the Country as Apartment Rents Skyrocket By Steven Rosenfeld

On Monday, New York City took a dramatic step that highlights just how out of control rental housing costs have become in the Big Apple and in many cities nationwide. For the first time, New York froze [3] rents for one-year leases on a million rent-stabilized apartments. “Today’s decision means relief,” Mayor Bill de Blasio told [4] reporters. “We know tenants have been forced to make …

Why We Must Fight Economic Apartheid in America – ROBERT REICH

Almost lost by the wave of responses to the Supreme Court’s decisions last week upholding the Affordable Care Act and allowing gays and lesbians to marry was the significance of the Court’s third decision – on housing discrimination. In a 5-4 ruling, the Court found that the Fair Housing Act of 1968 requires plaintiffs to show only that the effect of a …

housing costs

1 in 4 US Renters Must Use Half Their Pay for Housing Costs – JOSH BOAK

More than one in four U.S. renters have to use at least half their family income to pay for housing and utilities. That’s the finding of an analysis of Census data by Enterprise Community Partners, a nonprofit that helps finance affordable housing. The number of such households has jumped 26 percent to 11.25 million since 2007. Since the end of …