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Justice Anthony Kennedy agreed with the majority in its most recent capital punishment case. But in an unusual move, he dedicated almost all of his concurring opinion to condemning the practice of solitary confinement in the nation’s prisons, even though the issue, of his own admission, had “no direct bearing” on the case. In Kennedy’s lengthy opinion concerning how Ayala was incarcerated, he noted that Ayala had been isolated for most of his 25 years of custody.
The Constitution guarantees every American the right to a fair trial and to face his or her accusers. This right has been denied to African Americans, who make up a larger and larger part of the prison population under America’s “New Jim Crow.” In the case of Kerry Baxter Sr., the California Superior Court system here in Alameda County blatantly ignored his rights.
"In a decision announced this morning, the Supreme Court upheld the 1965 Voting Rights Act - a law that has done more to expand and strengthen our democracy than any other," said Donna Brazile, who learned first hand as Al Gore's campaign manager in 2000, the first election stolen by George W. Bush, mostly by suppressing the Black vote. "It's good news - but the fight to protect voting rights doesn't end there. Attacks on this critical law will not stop. And voter suppression tactics will continue to plague our elections."
California’s adoption of mandatory minimums, drive for three-strikes laws and participation in the nationwide “War on Drugs” campaign of the 1980s has created a burgeoning prison system fractured along racial, humanitarian and economic lines.