For decades, the government has used the "state secrets privilege" to block the use of evidence in litigation where revealing the evidence could harm national security. Under former President George W. Bush, the privilege was transformed into a weapon to shut down lawsuits challenging illegal or embarrassing government activity. President Barack Obama promised major changes.
Putting the Sixth Amendment aside….In a dramatic policy shift, the Nevada Supreme Court has directed Las Vegas (Clark County) judges to begin charging fees to indigent defendants for their representation by the public defender’s office. Read more...
In our second annual Living Constitution Lecture, Senator Whitehouse of Rhode Island spoke about threats to our Constitution: inequalities in our justice and taxation systems, the damage done by torture memos, and other erosions to our Constitutional rights--and how to get them back.
The Hon. Eric H. Holder was the recipient of a Brennan Legacy Award on Nov. 16, 2009; his speech, transcribed here, focuses on the necessity of reforms for indigent defense, and the current state of our public defender networks in the United States.