This is the podcast that tells the story of civil liberties in Pennsylvania. You'll hear from our staff, our clients, and our allies about the most prominent civil liberties issues of the day.
They're coming for the courts
A proposal before the Pennsylvania General Assembly would completely upend how voters elect judges and justices to our state appeals courts. House Bill 38 is a proposed state constitutional amendment that would create geographical judicial districts, with each judge and justice on the state Superior, Commonwealth, and Supreme Courts representing those districts, ending our current practice of statewide judicial elections. Opponents, including ACLU-PA, call it judicial gerrymandering, in anticipation that the legislature would draw the districts to benefit their party, as they do with legislative districts.
Kadida Kenner is the director of campaigns for Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center. In this episode, she explains why judicial gerrymandering is so problematic and what you can do about it.
Learn more at www.judicialindependencepa.org.
You can send an email to your state representative in opposition to House Bill 38 at this link: https://action.aclu.org/send-message/pa-stop-judicial-gerrymandering
State of the Union 2020
The civil liberties impact of the three crises of 2020 - the COVID-19 pandemic, the racial reckoning captured in the Black Lives Matter movement, and the election - cannot be overstated. In this episode, ACLU-PA Executive Director Reggie Shuford explains how the organization managed, survived, and thrived and takes a look ahead to 2021.
ACLU-PA and Drexel University Kline School of Law letter to the United Nations on abuse by Philadelphia police: www.aclupa.org/UNletter
ACLU-PA's COVID-19 work: www.aclupa.org/covid-19
ACLU-PA statement on the Philadelphia police murder of Walter Wallace, Jr.: https://aclupa.org/en/press-releases/aclu-pa-statement-philadelphia-police-killing-walter-wallace-jr
Send a message to Philadelphia city officials to divest in law enforcement and invest in people: https://action.aclu.org/send-message/pa-end-police-violence-in-philly
A public health emergency in Pennsylvania's prisons
40 people incarcerated in the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections have died from COVID-19. 29 of them have died since October 15. As of December 7, there are 2,000 active cases among the DOC population.
Robert Saleem Holbrook of Abolitionist Law Center joins the podcast to discuss the urgency of this moment and the failure of Governor Wolf's response. He also talks about how the state victim advocate and the Pennsylvania attorney general have contributed to mass incarceration, why people sentenced to death-by-incarceration should have the chance to come home, and how "a movement" gave him that chance.
Learn more about ALC at www.abolitionistlawcenter.org and follow them on social media on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Fight of the Century: A conversation with Ayelet Waldman and Michael Chabon
As part of the ACLU's Centennial celebration, the writers Ayelet Waldman and Michael Chabon published the book Fight of the Century: Writers Reflect on 100 Years of Landmark ACLU Cases. The book features 40 writers with each writing a chapter about a different ACLU case. Beyond a simple rehash of the cases, the writers explore their own connections to the issues in the cases and how decades-old cases are still relevant in 2020.
Ayelet and Michael took part in a book talk as part of the ACLU Centennial Pittsburgh celebration, and this episode features that conversation.
ACLU-PA has teamed up with White Whale bookstore in Pittsburgh to sell signed copies of the book, with an online purchase option for people who don't live in Pittsburgh. Learn more at this link:
How ACLU-PA is protecting the vote
ACLU-PA's election protection work has been at full speed for months. In this episode, Sara Mullen, advocacy and policy director; Vic Walczak, legal director; and Elizabeth Randol, legislative director, talk about what election protection means, what our team has been doing, and what it means for you as a voter.
Trouble with voting? Call or text 866-OUR-VOTE. 866-687-8683.
Visit our Know Your Rights page at aclupa.org/vote. Learn more about volunteer opportunities for election protection at aclupa.org/volunteer. And learn more about the cases we're involved in at aclupa.org/cases.