Steve Brown

The U.S. Court of Appeals in Boston Thursday will hear a case out of Rhode Island. It involves the 2009 detainment of a North Providence woman.  The Rhode Island chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union says the woman was a naturalized citizen at the time.

Ada Morales sued federal immigration officials and Rhode Island’s head of prisons, claiming she was detained illegally when she was taken into custody and held for a day. Rhode Island ACLU Director Steve Brown said the detainment violated her rights to equal protection and freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures.

The US Supreme Court made two high-profile decisions this week, and civil liberties again made for a hotly debate subject at the General Assembly this year. The head of the Rhode Island chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, Steve Brown, stopped by our studios to discuss those and other issues.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Steve Brown, executive director of the Rhode Island chapter of the ACLU, joins Political Roundtable this week to discuss a new law instituting harsher sentences for gang-related crime; the 2014 session of the General Assembly; the US Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby decision; and why the ACLU opposes the convening of a constitutional convention.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn a Massachusetts law meant to keep protesters 35 feet away from abortion clinics is drawing local reaction.

Rhode Island ACLU head Steve Brown says he thinks the court struck the right balance in this ruling, a balance between the right to free speech and the right to have an abortion. He says the court appropriately noted that clinics have other ways of dealing with protestors who cross a line.

A public discussion over making test scores part of the high school graduation requirement will take place at Monday night’s Board of Education meeting.

It took a court order, but the Board of Education will hold a public vote on a petition over whether high school diplomas should be linked to test scores.  

Some 4,000 students failed to pass the NECAP last fall, many of them from urban schools. ACLU director Steve Brown said what’s now known about who failed the test should be an influence.

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