Have you ever heard something that, almost immediately after hearing it, bounced your thoughts from the possible benefits to the seriously questionable outcomes that might follow, and left you swinging back and forth between the two? This is exactly what happened to me just recently after hearing about Marsy’s Law coming to Wisconsin. As it stands, I can get behind the general idea of the law, but I do have some doubts—problems, even—with the way the law is being pushed forward.
“Marsy’s Law” is the idea that crime victims, and the families of crime victims (who become victims by association) should have equal rights to those who are accused of victimizing the family. According to the web site for Marsy’s Law for All, the law is named for Marsalee (Marsy) Nicholas, a “beautiful, vibrant University of California Santa Barbara student, who was stalked and killed by her ex-boyfriend in 1983.” (Quote from Marsy’s Law for All) One week after Marsy’s murder, some of her family members entered a grocery store and were confronted by the man who was accused of murdering Marsy. Marsy’s alleged murderer had been let out on bail and the family had not known about it.
Marsy’s Law for All argues that the United States Constitution and every state constitution have a detailed set of rights for people who are accused of crimes, but the United States Constitution and 15 state constitutions do not have a list of rights for victims of crime. As I am writing this, the web site for Marsy’s Law argues that the United States Constitution has 20 individual rights for those accused of a crime, but none for the victims of crime. States, on the other hand, have been making some progress. California, Illinois, North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, and Ohio have passed Marsy’s Law, with efforts to adopt the law currently underway in Kentucky, Maine, North Carolina, Georgia, Nevada, Idaho, Oklahoma, and here in Wisconsin. Continue reading “Marsy’s Law in Wisconsin “
Recently, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) took up and reversed net neutrality. If you are unfamiliar with net neutrality, it is the principle that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are not allowed to discriminate against certain users, websites, content, or whatever else. For example, Spectrum (formerly Time Warner) is not allowed to block its users from or charge them for accessing Facebook. Or, for a real-life example, Madison River Communications was fined $15,000 by the FCC for restricting their costumers’ access to a rival service. John Oliver explains net neutrality here. (Language warning.) In a way, you could think of net neutrality as an equal opportunity law for the internet. Or, at least you could have. On December 14, 2017, FCC chairman Ajit Pai and the FCC voted to repeal net neutrality, which leaves the internet in the United States in a fairly bad spot.
Luckily, in my opinion, the FCC has a gauntlet of lawsuits to go through now that it repealed net neutrality. It also seems there is a fair number of people who share my viewpoint. As it stands, the FCC had something around 22 million complaints filed against its ruling. FCC Chairman Pai canceled his scheduled appearance at the to the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas due to death threats. On top of this, the Internet Association is bringing together powerhouse companies to join the fight against the unpopular ruling. Companies like Google, Amazon, Etsy, and Alphabet have stated they are joining the lawsuit. The Internet Association’s President and CEO Michael Beckerman stated, “The final version of Chairman Pai’s rule . . . dismantles popular net neutrality protections for consumers. This rule defies the will of a bipartisan majority of Americans and fails to preserve a free and open internet.” Netflix even took to Twitter and sent the message, “In 2018, the Internet is united in defense of #NetNeutrality. As for the FCC, we will see you in court.” Furthermore, a number of states have come forward stating their opposition to the repeal and have indicated that they, too, will join the fight.
Seeing this net neutrality issue unfold has solidified my choice to attend law school. Continue reading “Welcome to the Line”