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Category Archives: Legislation

Institute breaks record in 2020, making laws easy to access

Cornell Chronicle – “As Congress prepared to certify the results of the November presidential election on Jan. 6, the law governing the counting of electoral votes was a trending topic on Cornell Law School’s Legal Information Institute (LII), a pioneer in providing open access to U.S. legal information online. Those topics changed abruptly when a mob stormed the U.S. Capitol that afternoon: The Constitution’s Twenty-Fifth Amendment became the website’s most visited page, along with the sections of the U.S. Code criminalizing rebellion or insurrection (18 USC §2383), seditious conspiracy (18 USC §2384) and advocating the overthrow of government (18 USC §2385). The more than 542,000 unique visitors to LII on Jan. 6, and 516,000 the next day, represented the site’s two busiest days since the Supreme Court handed down Bush v. Gore two decades ago. The heavy traffic continued the trend from a record-setting 2020, when LII welcomed roughly 39 million unique visitors – up from 33 million the year before – boosted by a steady stream of major headlines: impeachment, pandemic, anti-racism protests and the contested presidential election, to name a few…”

How to Hold Social Media Accountable for Undermining Democracy

Harvard Business Review: “The problem with social media isn’t just what users post — it’s what the platforms decide to do with that content. Far from being neutral, social media companies are constantly making decisions about which content to amplify, elevate, and suggest to other users. Given their business model, which promotes scale above all,… Continue Reading

House introduces article of impeachment against President for ‘Incitement of Insurrection’

“U.S. Congressmen David N. Cicilline (RI-01), Ted Lieu (CA-33), and Jamie Raskin (MD-08) introduced an article of impeachment against President Donald Trump this morning. The impeachment resolution is sponsored by Cicilline, with Lieu and Raskin serving as the two lead co-sponsors. It is also co-sponsored by another 211 members of the U.S. House. The article… Continue Reading

The Capitol riot and its aftermath makes the case for tech regulation more urgent, but no simpler

TechCrunch: “Last week and throughout the weekend, technology companies took the historic step of deplatforming the president of the United States in the wake of a riot in which the US Capitol was stormed by a collection of white nationalists, QAnon supporters, and right wing activists. The decision to remove Donald Trump, his fundraising and… Continue Reading

The Social Security Administration’s Death Data: In Brief

CRS report via LC – The Social Security Administration’s Death Data: In Brief, Updated January 11, 2021: “The Social Security Administration (SSA) acquires and maintains death data to administer the Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs, including preventing the improper payment of benefits to deceased individuals and identifying individuals who are potentially eligible… Continue Reading

A Civilian’s Guide to Insurrection Legalese

The Marshall Project – Everyone’s talking about sedition, treason and conspiracy. Here’s what these terms actually mean and how they’ve been enforced. “In the 24 hours since a mob incited by the president of the United States stormed the Capitol attempting to halt the functioning of American democracy, the news media and everyone else have… Continue Reading

Post-Riot, the Capitol Hill IT Staff Faces a Security Mess

Wired – Wednesday’s insurrection could have exposed congressional data and devices in ways that have yet to be appreciated. “…the mob Wednesday had ample opportunities to steal information or gain device access if they wanted to. And while the Senate and House each build off of their own shared IT framework, ultimately each of the… Continue Reading

Right-Wing Political Violence – Historical Background

Researcher Ernie Lazar: “Despite the current attempt to portray some of our major cities in the grip of lawlessness and disorder which is incited or conducted by ANTIFA or Black Lives Matter or other “radical left” individuals and organizations, it should be noted that, historically, most of the politically-inspired violence in the United States during the past 50… Continue Reading

There’s No Single Domestic Terrorism Statute

TIME – But Those Involved in the Riot at the Capitol May Still Be Prosecuted Under These Laws – “The FBI defines domestic terrorism as “Violent, criminal acts committed by individuals and/or groups to further ideological goals stemming from domestic influences, such as those of a political, religious, social, racial, or environmental nature.” Its leadership… Continue Reading

Resources for Tracking Federal COVID-19 Spending

CRS report via LC – Resources for Tracking Federal COVID-19 Spending, Updated January 6, 2021 – “Congress has responded to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic with supplemental appropriations measures providing relief and assistance to individuals and families, state and local governments, businesses, health care providers, and other entities. For more information, see CRS Report R46474,… Continue Reading

What is “Section 230,” and why do many lawmakers want to repeal it?

CBS News: “Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act helped create the modern internet. Now the regulation is at the center of a high-stakes political battle that could reshape how we use social media, mobile apps and the open web. President Donald Trump and some Republicans in Congress have pushed to repeal the law, while… Continue Reading