Justice Kavanaugh's shameful decision shows contempt for due process and inalienable rights

Justice Brett Kavanaugh // The Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Chelsea Clinton surprised criminal justice reform activists when she recently backed Color of Change's "Still in Prison" campaign, which sheds light on the impact of Oregon allowing non-unanimous jury verdicts in past felony cases to stand. She did not mince words, stating that Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum "has the power to topple a racist law. And she must." Thanks to a new Supreme Court decision, AG Rosenblum remains probably the only person who can do it (and she almost certainly won't).

On May 17, a 6-3 majority ruled in Edwards v. Vannoy that a new "procedural" rule, even one that shakes the system to its foundations, cannot be applied retroactively. What that means is, despite the Supreme Court ruling last year in Ramos v. Louisiana that non-unanimous jury verdicts are unconstitutional, nothing changes for people convicted on this basis in the past. Petitioner Thedrick Edwards will receive no relief from his illegal 2007 convictions in Louisiana due solely to the fact he was not convicted after April 20, 2020. Neither will many other incarcerated people in Oregon or Louisiana—the only two states where such convictions still stand. Talk about arbitrary.

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Imagine you've forgotten once again the difference between a gorilla and a chimpanzee, so you do a quick Google image search of “gorilla." But instead of finding images of adorable animals, photos of a Black couple pop up.

Is this just a glitch in the algorithm? Or, is Google an ad company, not an information company, that's replicating the discrimination of the world it operates in? How can this discrimination be addressed and who is accountable for it?

“These platforms are encoded with racism," says UCLA professor and best-selling author of Algorithms of Oppression, Dr. Safiya Noble. “The logic is racist and sexist because it would allow for these kinds of false, misleading, kinds of results to come to the fore…There are unfortunately thousands of examples now of harm that comes from algorithmic discrimination."

On At Liberty this week, Dr. Noble joined us to discuss what she calls “algorithmic oppression," and what needs to be done to end this kind of bias and dismantle systemic racism in software, predictive analytics, search platforms, surveillance systems, and other technologies.

What you can do:
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