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Author: TheConversation

Latest ruling by Supreme Court elevates gun ownership to a fundamental Constitutional right

By Morgan Marietta, Associate Professor of Political Science, UMass Lowell With its decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol v. Bruen on June 23, 2022, the Supreme Court has announced that the Second Amendment is not a second-class right. The core argument of the decision is that gun rights are to be treated the same as other hallowed rights like the freedom of speech or freedom of religion recognized in the First Amendment. For most of the history of the court, Second Amendment rights have been seen as distinct, more dangerous and thus more open to regulation. Now,...

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Aftermath of mass shootings: The long pattern in American politics from outrage to indifference

By Robert Spitzer, Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of the Political Science Department, State University of New York College at Cortland The nationwide call for stronger gun laws in the aftermath of mass shootings in Buffalo, Uvalde and the over 200 other places where such tragedies took place so far in 2022 was understandable. It was also predictable. Whether efforts to pass new federal or state laws to raise the minimum age for buying semiautomatic rifles, expand background checks and similar measures succeed or fail this time, they will follow a pattern in American politics that traces back more than...

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Exaggerated Impact: Why the topic of immigration is distorted globally to gain political advantages

By Ernesto Castañeda, Associate Professor of Sociology, American University Ernesto Castañeda is an associate professor in the Department of Sociology at American University and the Director of the Immigration Lab. Castañeda explains why immigration is an important force counteracting population decline in the U.S. and why that matters to the economy and America’s global power. I direct the Immigration Lab where we conduct research around migration – in all its aspects. For example, emigration – people leaving their countries of origin; or internal migration – people moving within a country. There are millions of people living in a different...

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A Radical Ruling: The impact of Dobbs goes beyond the issue of abortion and the decision to overturn Roe

By Linda C. McClain, Professor of Law, Boston University; Nicole Huberfeld, Edward R. Utley Professor of Health Law and Professor of Law, Boston University; and Morgan Marietta, Associate Professor of Political Science, UMass Lowell After half a century, Americans’ constitutional right to get an abortion has been overturned by the Supreme Court. The ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, handed down on June 24, 2022, has far-reaching consequences. The Supreme Court decided by a 6-3 majority to uphold Mississippi’s ban on abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy. In doing so, the justices overturned two key decisions protecting access...

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Freshwater Quality: Lots of unfinished work after 50 years of effort to restore the Great Lakes

By Daniel Macfarlane, Associate Professor of Environment and Sustainability, Western Michigan University The Great Lakes cover nearly 95,000 square miles and hold over 20% of Earth’s surface fresh water. More than 30 million people in the U.S. and Canada rely on them for drinking water. The lakes support a multibillion-dollar maritime economy, and the lands around them provided many of the raw materials – timber, coal, iron – that fueled the Midwest’s emergence as an industrial heartland. Despite their enormous importance, the lakes were degraded for well over a century as industry and development expanded around them. By the...

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Global Burning: How the fossil fuel industry earns revenue from authoritarianism and climate change

By Eve Darian-Smith, Professor of Global and International Studies, University of California, Irvine Around the world, many countries are becoming less democratic. This backsliding on democracy and “creeping authoritarianism,” as the U.S. State Department puts it, is often supported by the same industries that are escalating climate change. In my new book, Global Burning: Rising Antidemocracy and the Climate Crisis, I lay out connections between these industries and the politicians who are both stalling action on climate change and diminishing democracy. It is a dangerous shift, both for representative government and for the future climate. Corporate capture of environmental...

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