Justice Kagan issues a warning and a stinging rebuke to Kavanaugh's new decision: 'An insupportable ruling'

Justice Elena Kagan // Steve Petteway, Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States

In a dissent on Monday, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan warned that the conservative majority of the court is once again abandoning precedent with little justification in a new ruling on unanimous jury verdicts.

The new 6-3 decision in the case of Edwards v. Vannoy, with all six conservatives in the majority and the three liberals dissenting, came in response to a 2020 ruling in the case of Ramos v. Louisiana. In that ruling, the court found that jury trials for serious crimes must require total unanimity from the jury to uphold a conviction. Oregon and Louisiana had established rules allowing for defendants to be convicted without complete unanimity, a policy steeped in racist history and fears that Black defendants might get away too easily.

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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.

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