Entertainment Reads (July 29, 2014)


Each week on Tuesday we’ll post our favorite links to articles from the pop culture world. They’ll at least tangentially pertain to education or sociological issues in general, and they’ll be from the past week. There will be a few bonus exceptions though, usually in the form of a link that was too fun to pass up. Because we too like to have the fun.

In marvelous diversity continued: Spider-Woman is getting her own series. (IGN)


Noah Berlatsky takes a closer look at whether or not women are reading comics. (The Atlantic)

In potentially game-changing games: Hello Games is nearing its release for No Man’s Sky, a game with the potential to have repercussions across all tech media. (Grantland)

In potentially movie-changing movies: Nelson George discusses recent African-American cinema in light of the new James Brown biopic. (The New York Time)

In things worth collecting: William Foster III has quite the collection of comics featuring black characters. (The Middletown Press)


Education Links We Love (July 25th, 2014)

Education Reads

Each Friday, we here at Thirty-Eight Minutes post our five favorite education-themed articles from around the web this week. But due to our absence last week, we are going DOUBLE with TEN links this week (queue applause). Alas, we are but five guys with limited time to surf the furthest reaches of the Internet. So, as always, we would love any additional articles worth reading. If you find any, please post them below and share your discoveries with us.

Four Technology Trends Changing Higher Education (Edudemic)

Five U.S. Innovations That American Reformers Ignore (Washington Post)

Meet the 22-Year-Old Who is Closing the Summer Achievement Gap (Atlantic)

Moving Toward a New Model for Education (Edutopia)

Janet Barresi Loses Her Cool* (NewsOK)

University of Oklahoma Offers Debt Forgiveness (Tulsa World)

Classroom Leaves the Syllabus to the Students (NY Times)

5 ‘Dirty Words’ Admissions Offices Should Embrace (Chronicle)

Why is it So Hard to Change How We Teach Math? (Mind Shift)

STEM vs. STEAM: A Look At Half-Brain Teaching (Edudemic)

*Always fun to watch


David Postic is a second-year law student at the University of Oklahoma.

Marvelous Diversity

A Break from Our Regularly Scheduled Programming

By Aaron Bumgarner

Kamala Khan



When I was a kid, I watched the Spider-Man and X-Men cartoons of the ‘90s as often as I could. I loved many shows (luh ya Wishbone), but these two cartoons were probably my favorites. I spent many hours pretending I had superpowers of my own, inserting my own superhero into the stories of Peter Parker and of Professor X’s supergroup. Many of my ideals were shaped by these shows.

But I’m white and a guy, so it was easy to look up to Spider-Man or Cyclops or Wolverine or Gambit. These were people who I could imagine myself being someday; if they wouldn’t let me have the superpowers, I could at least see myself standing up for my ideals and taking care of the less fortunate, the way Peter Parker did in the more mild-mannered version of his life. Pop culture always provided me with a role model. I never lacked for examples to fashion myself after.

There has been excitement about the new developments at Marvel Comics, and there has been backlash. I sit firmly in the excitement camp. This post is a celebration. There’s time later for airing out any concerns about how long these changes will last, whether or not they will amount to anything more than a publicity stunt, and if they ever plan on making such bold moves in their cinematic universe. For now, let’s appreciate the gold that they’re spinning instead of sifting through it looking for the stray strand of straw.

Consider the facts:

  • The new Thor is a woman. She is not transgender; she is not Lady Thor. The old Thor has been deemed unworthy to wield his hammer, Mjolnir, so the new Thor will wield it. And she will be a woman. That’s all we know so far.
  • The new Captain America is black. It’s all but totally and completely certain that Steve Rogers will be Captain America again someday. But for now, after being a sidekick for the majority of his superhero career, Sam Wilson (aka Falcon) will be Captain America. Our Captain America is black.
  • Marvel has, for some time now, outpaced DC in its treatment of its women characters. While there is still over-sexualization of women in Marvel comics, recent titles such as Captain Marvel, the new Storm, She-Hulk, and the recent all-women X-Men have done a good job of depicting their heroines in practical outfits and as the equal of their male counterparts. DC, to the say the least, is far behind.
  • One of Marvel’s most successful new series, Ms. Marvel, has handed that well-used moniker over to a Pakistani-American teenage girl named Kamala Khan. She’s Muslim.

If you were to see a woman, a black man, and a Muslim walking in a group toward you on the sidewalk, you may not think twice about it. America is a melting pot, after all. But the world of comic books is absurdly behind. If the world we lived in reflected the Marvel or DC Universes, you’d seldom see black people, and if you did, there would only be one and he would be in a group of white people. If you saw a Muslim, they probably wouldn’t know English, or they’d be the villain in your story. And if you saw a woman, chances are they would have back problems from their surreal anatomy.

I don’t know what Marvel’s endgame is. Will their female-centric series start seeing more support from the main office and from marketing? Will Falcon get his own series when Steve Rogers comes back? How long will any of these changes last? I don’t know. I do know that for the foreseeable future, white boys won’t be the only children with heroes to model themselves after in the pages of Marvel comics. That’s something to celebrate.


Aaron Bumgarner is a speech-language pathologist for Oklahoma City Public Schools.

Entertainment Reads (July 22, 2014)


Each week on Tuesday we’ll post our favorite links to articles from the pop culture world. They’ll at least tangentially pertain to education or sociological issues in general, and they’ll be from the past week. There will be a few bonus exceptions though, usually in the form of a link that was too fun to pass up. Because we too like to have the fun.

In Captain Falcon: Hayes Brown both gets excited and slows his roll for Marvel’s announcement that Sam Wilson (who is black) will be the new Captain America. (Think Progress)

In hot sports takes: This is the article that spurred the Tony Dungy mess earlier this week. The Dungy part is really small, and the actual article is interesting as a look at tolerance in the locker room. (The Tampa Tribune)

In movie history: Saul Austerlitz explores how recent movies have revealed the LGBTQ community’s place in America’s history. (The Dissolve)

In chipping away at the glass ceiling: Natalie Nakase wants to be the NBA’s first female head coach. (The New York Times)

In something a little more close to home: The late James Garner had intimate ties to Norman and to the University of Oklahoma. (The Norman Transcript)

Bonus for fun: The key to life is found in the face inside Joaquin Phoenix’s forehead. (YouTube)

Don’t Sip the “Securing the Border” Kool-Aid

By Lester Asamoah


Border Susnet

Crises make people drink a lot of questionable Kool-aid, and none more so right now than the “secure the border” Kool-aid. That is why I have come up with a quick guide as to why you should just say no to this particular beverage. Seriously. It’s not worth it.

1. It suggests that all undocumented immigrants are Mexican.

Statistically speaking, most of the undocumented immigrants originate from Mexico. I don’t want to run from the truth. However, recent controversy surrounding the spike in undocumented children is buttressing a myth that undocumented persons are all from Mexico (or around Mexico). Dept. of Homeland Security data shows that China, Philippines, India, and Vietnam are all represented as origins of undocumented people. Surprise, not every undocumented person is from Mexico!

Why does this point matter? Well, the undocumented children are not all Mexican. So no, we cannot “send them back to Mexico.”

2. People think “securing the border” actually works.

I could literally write a kids story with the fabrications that politicians and ill-informed people say about “securing the border.” Granted, it is true that if there were more walls and drones, fewer people would enter the country. But that is like putting ice on a torn ACL. Walls, guns, and drones won’t stop everyone. It won’t even stop half of the people coming in – people will find ways like riding boats, creating fake identities, climbing mountains, or using a portkey.

People want to have a better life. But it’s not all sunshine and roses in America. Some immigrants  don’t know English, have no identity, and are leaving a home where they sincerely believe they will suffer and die. I have no idea what it’s like to be on the other side of that fence, but I believe I would be making a similar decision if I were in their shoes. As would you, most likely.  Just because I am privileged with being a citizen of the United States does not make me inherently better than another human being.

3. Guns and drones aren’t the answer to everything.

Governor Rick Perry and Fox News’ Sean Hannity recently took a tour of the Texas/Mexico border. Mr. Hannity wanted to highlight on his show that President Obama was not empathetic enough for the woes of Border Security. As I conceded earlier, increasing the amount of personnel and drones on the border would probably help. But I think Mr. Hannity and others are missing a major point – are more troops feasible? There is a pervasive myth that if we (a) build giant walls and (b) arm a bunch of troops, then (c) undocumented immigration will somehow end. Not likely.

Take a peek a Google Earth and scope out the US/Mexico border. First and foremost, building a wall “to keep the illegals out” is basically impossible. How about deploying the National Guard? Again, that’s hard to do. The terrain is rough, the environment unforgiving. Also, it’s not like we don’t have, oh, 21,000+ troops on the borders already. Drones are great for surveillance, but we can’t aim hellfire missiles at undocumented kids.

Let’s say that we add troops to the border and extend the wall and deploy more drones. They stop more people. Great. How about the millions of people already in the country? How about people that come in via Canada? Hell, if the Department of Homeland Security can genuinely afford to station more troops on the US/Mexico border, they should have at it. But we as Americans need to understand the gargantuan scope of this undocumented immigration issue. This is not something that walls and guns can solve. This is a humanitarian crisis, and America should address it accordingly.

4. The “Securing the Border Kool-Aid” is dehumanizing.

Have a little empathy. If I were impoverished outside of America and my son or daughter had a glimmer of hope in the U.S., I would send them there without a second thought. Let’s not pretend that you, dear reader, wouldn’t do the same thing. One of the highest goals of every generation is to make life better than their predecessors. I’ve never met a parent that would say they don’t want their child to have a better life.

“Well then, Lester, they should apply legally and get work visas!” Okay. Getting citizenship, or even a permanent resident status isn’t anywhere near as simple as it sounds. The citizenship test is one that American college graduates could easily struggle with. Work visas are not easy to get, and many people end up being exploited for work because they have nothing else.

“We get you, Lester, they’re people. But they’re not paying taxes, so…” Okay. Okay. Well, first, they do pay sales tax. Also, people can’t just be on welfare or other government services without any identification. I promise you the government is wasting your money on a lot of other things not pertaining to people at all. (Senator Coburn tells us all about it in his Wastebook series.) The narrative has focused on law and money, when it’s people we have to deal with. People trying to escape desperate circumstances. That’s what I want to get across. I think people want this to be a quickly cleaned up situation after all the other messy things we’ve dealt with as a nation (see Iraq, Wall Street, BP, etc.). I hate to break it to you, but the hardest problems are usually also the messiest ones.

5. Immigration is an issue that requires long-term, calculated solutions.

Our politicians need to come together and figure out long-term, rational, and humane solutions. Let’s start by taking better care of our Homeland Security employees. They are asked to do way too much.

Then, let’s figure out how we can work with the struggling nations from which these immigrants travel. For those of you that whine about foreign aid (it’s literally only one percent of our budget)  – we need to invest in making the world better outside of our borders. I don’t know what exactly that will look like, but obviously we are making significant strides. But until everyone debunks the myth and understands the real problems that are beyond fortifying the border, I am worried that we will not formulate real, effective solutions.

Next, let’s look at reform within our own country. People are here now and they will keep coming. Let’s learn how to engage them and treat them like people while they are here. Perhaps not every law is perfect. If every law were immutable and unable to be reviewed, America would be a scary and tragic place indeed. But that is not the case. So let us work to make the law better, improve our circumstances, and look toward a brighter future.

Let’s put down the soap boxes and put on our thinking caps. This will not be easy. There will be pain. But for our fellow human beings and our great nation, let’s stop pretending this will be easy and take the hard path to resolution. Don’t drink the Kool-aid.

Lester Asamoah is an International Security Studies Senior at the University of Oklahoma.

Entertainment Reads (July 15th, 2014)



Each week on Tuesday we’ll post our favorite links to articles from the pop culture world. They’ll at least tangentially pertain to education or sociological issues in general, and they’ll be from the past week. There will be a few bonus exceptions though, usually in the form of a link that was too fun to pass up. Because we too like to have the fun.

In sports teams from our nation’s capital: The blogger the Washington Offensive Slurs hired to defend their name quit after two weeks. (The Washington Post)

In superheroines: A writer from Alabama is writing a comic book starring a woman who isn’t a sex symbol. (AL.com)

In the Middle East: A dispatch from the Jerusalem Film Festival. (Indiewire)

In Russia, which sounds delightful: Russia might have plans to censor Marvel Comics released there. (CNET)

In learning about movies quickly: A sublime video that sums up the history of cinema in less than 10 minutes. (CineFix)

29 Things I Learned From The World Cup

By David Postic


2014 World Cup


As we draw near to the end of the year’s greatest sporting event, I would like to get a few things off my chest. First of all: I know next to nothing about soccer (or fútbol, for those of you who actually know things about soccer). I played it for years growing up, but there were way fewer rules and the game mostly consisted of us kids running around in a pack, waiting until halftime so we could have Capri Sun and Fruit Gushers. This is not the soccer I’ve seen in the World Cup. So on behalf of all the non-soccer fans out there, here are my observations:

1. There isn’t as much head butting as I was led to believe.

2. However, there is more biting than I was led to believe.

3. It is apparently mandatory for most soccer players to have the Macklemore haircut.

4. The amount of gel in your hair is directly proportional to how good you are.

5. Bonus points for having a shape and/or words shaved into your hair.

6. Penalty kicks are the worst thing in the history of the world.

7. Soccer announcers are glorious human beings.

8. The most random countries are really good at soccer.

9. For example: Bosnia-Herzegovina? Chile? Croatia? Gondor? Narnia?

10. America is not really good at soccer.

11. American fans are pretty good at being soccer fans, though.

12. Soccer fans are generally insane.

13. Teddy Roosevelt is a soccer fan.

14. Ergo, Teddy Roosevelt is insane (also dead).

15. Stoppage time is dumb. We have technology. Just stop the clock.

16. I have seen way fewer bicycle kicks (0) than I expected (every single kick).

17. Brazil seems super upset right now.

18. Germany scored 7 goals in 90 minutes.

19. That’s a rate of 1 goal every 13 minutes.

20. Argentina and Belgium combined for 0 goals in 120 minutes.

21. That’s a rate of 0 goals every infinity minutes.

22. I can score 0 goals every infinity minutes.

23. Watching someone score a goal is one of the most exciting parts of my life.

24. Soccer players are really nice to each other.

25. Except when they’re biting each other.

26. Not having commercials is by far the biggest draw of watching soccer matches.

27. I still don’t get what constitutes offsides.

28. I also don’t get why Pitbull was chosen to sing the official 2014 World Cup theme song.

29. I miss the 2010 World Cup theme song.

And those are my thoughts on soccer.

After watching literally days of World Cup soccer, I can honestly say that I still barely have any idea what’s going on. But I am learning. More importantly, the game is really growing on me. The world’s most popular sport has this inexplicable charm to it that makes it a joy to watch. And on those rare occasions (other than the Germany-Brazil match) where someone actually scores a goal, I find myself yelping with joy. It is a wonderful, wonderful game. And I will thoroughly miss it for the next four years until America cares about it again.

See this post on BuzzFeed.


David Postic is a second-year law student at the University of Oklahoma.

Education Links We Love (July 11th, 2014)

Education Reads

Each Friday, we here at Thirty-Eight Minutes post our five favorite education-themed articles from around the web this week. Alas, we are but five guys with limited time to surf the furthest reaches of the Internet. So, as always, we would love any additional articles worth reading. If you find any, please post them below and share your discoveries with us.

The Hard Part (Huffington Post)

How to Read Education Data Without Jumping to Conclusions (The Atlantic)

Tennessee Moves Away from Test Scores on Teacher Evaluations (Education News)

How a Text Message Could Revolutionize Student Aid (NPR)

Jobs After College: It’s What You Know, Not Where You Go (Education Views)

10 Most Important SCOTUS Decisions of 2014

By Lester Asamoah and David Postic

U.S. Supreme Court


Last week’s Supreme Court ruling in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores set the social media world (and the regular world, for that matter) on fire. Suddenly, people who usually couldn’t care less what those nine crazy old people say got all excited and started tweeting about it. In other words, Hobby Lobby was essentially the World Cup of Supreme Court rulings.

However, Hobby Lobby was not the only case the Supreme Court (or SCOTUS, for those who like acronyms) covered this term. In our opinion it wasn’t even the most important. Considering that the Court hears between 80 and 90 cases each year–on a wide range of issues–it is important to know what they decide outside of this one little case. Below we have ranked and summarized the ten most important cases from this term.

1. McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission

Background: If you don’t know anything about the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision from 2010, stop now and go learn about it. Essentially, this case (like Citizens United) is about how much an individual can contribute to a political candidate, political party, or political action committee (PAC). McCutcheon was not arguing for the right to donate more money to a single candidate; rather, he wanted to be able to donate money to more candidates/parties/PACs. However, limitations on aggregate contributions constrained his giving, supposedly violating his First Amendment right to free speech.

Holding: The Court ruled in favor of McCutcheon 5-4. The practical effect of McCutcheon is that individuals will still be subject to a limit (currently $2600) on contributions to any one candidate and higher limits on contributions to any PAC or party committee.  Now, however, donors will no longer be limited in the number of candidates or committees they may support in any given election cycle. Viewed together, Citizens United and McCutcheon strike a major blow to proponents of campaign finance reform.

2. Burwell v. Hobby Lobby

Background: The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) requires employers to provide their female employees with health insurance that includes no-cost access to twenty different kinds of contraceptives. Hobby Lobby, a craft store owned by a Christian family, objected to the requirement, specifically claiming that four types of contraceptives (two kinds of “morning after” pills and two kinds of IUDs–interuterine devices) are abortifacients and therefore burdensome to the free practice of their Christian religion.

Holding: The Court ruled 5-4 in favor of Hobby Lobby. The first important thing to note here is that this ruling was not one centered strictly on the Constitution. Rather it was mainly a statutory issue concerning the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993. The decision here did not destroy Obamacare’s individual mandate; it also did not grant all businesses religious exceptions to Obamacare. The majority claims that this ruling is a narrow one that applies only to closely-held corporations and only on an issue such as contraceptives and only when it places a significant burden on religious freedom. Nevertheless, the dissenters (led by Justice Ginsburgh in what may be one of her most fiery dissents in recent years) claimed the majority established dangerous precedent that could have ramifications in racial discrimination, same-sex discrimination, and other issues.

3. Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action

Background: If you are unfamiliar with affirmative action, take 5 minutes to orient yourself. In 2006, Michigan voters approved Proposal 2, which prevented the state’s public colleges and universities from granting preferential treatment in the admissions process on the basis of race.

Holding: In a 6-2 decision (Justice Kagan recused herself), the Court ruled that voters can end state affirmative action programs. The opinion will not prevent universities from using race as a plus-factor in admissions processes; it merely stated that voters have the power to ban the use of racial preferences. Nevertheless, the dissent and proponents of affirmative action believe that this is a major setback for racial equality. While the decision focused on race-based admissions factors in universities, it would presumably also permit voters to end race-based policies in the hiring of state and local employees and in awarding public contracts.

4. American Broadcasting Companies v. Aereo

Background: Aereo invented a technology that allows subscribers to view and record television broadcasts over the Internet by swiping the broadcasts from the airwaves with thousands of tiny antennas. Because the startup did not receive permission to stream these broadcasts, broadcasting companies sued Aereo, claiming copyright infringement. However, Aereo claimed that they were not infringing on any copyrights–they were simply renting antennas to consumers and they were doing the rest.

Opposing Aereo were the broadcasting companies, as well as corporations such as the National Football League and Major League Baseball, which earn hundreds of millions of dollars selling their broadcasting rights. On Aereo’s side was the cable industry. If Aereo won, cable companies would be able to sell their own Aereo-esque technology and provide broadcast content without paying broadcasters a penny. Interesting to note here: When Aereo won its case on the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals last year, CBS and Fox threatened to go off the air.

Holding: The Supreme Court ruled against Aereo in a 6-3 decision. The justices seemed anxious to avoid a ruling that would imperil the legal foundation of cloud computing services such as Dropbox and Amazon Cloud Music. Instead, the majority said the decision pertained only to Aereo’s system so far as it enabled its viewers to view copyrighted TV programs “live,” or after only a brief delay. In the increasingly dramatic fight between cable companies and broadcasters, Aereo affirmed in part the power of the broadcasting industry.

5. Riley v. California

Background: A California police officer stopped the petitioner, Riley, for a traffic violation that eventually led to his arrest on weapons charges. When Riley was arrested, his cellphone was taken and searched. The police officer found photo and video content suggesting that he was involved a particular gang shooting. Riley moved to suppress the evidence from his phone connecting him to the gang, but the trial court denied the motion and he was convicted.

Holding: In a 9-0 decision, the Court held that the police may not search the cellphone of an individual who is arrested. All nine justices maintained that such digital content may only be searched with a warrant. Riley does not have a direct impact on allegations of government monitoring personal information, but it is a big win for personal privacy and the Fourth Amendment by reaffirming constitutional protections in an increasingly digital world.

6. Town of Greece v. Galloway

Background: Town board meetings in Greece, NY open with roll call, recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance, and a prayer and have done so since 1999. The town’s prayer program is open to all creeds, but all of the local congregations are Christian. Thus, nearly all of the prayers are Christian prayers. Respondents Galloway and Stephens argued that the prayers go against their personal religious and philosophical beliefs – they arguethe town should have “inclusive and ecumenical” prayers that would not associate the government with one belief system.

Holding: In a tight 5-4 decision, the Court held that the town of Greece was not violating the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. The prayers have Christian elements, but they also invoke a sense of spiritual and civil principles. Additionally, the majority believed that reasonable attempts were made to include clergy of different faiths. Regardless, this case is big for religious freedom. The “traditional” protections that Congress and state legislatures have for prayer are now extended to local civil entities. City of Greece 1 – Laicism 0.

7. Hall v. Florida

Background: A man (Hall) kidnapped, beat, raped, and murdered Karol Hurst, a 21 year old newlywed. After killing her, Hall and his accomplice planned to rob a convenience store but were stopped by in the parking lot by a sheriff’s deputy. The two men then killed the deputy. The State of Florida recommended the death penalty for both counts of murder. Hall argued he cannot be executed on account of his intellectual disability. Hall’s IQ score is 71, but Florida laws state that an IQ score of 70 or below is required to present additional evidence of an intellectual disability to vacate the sentence.

(Note: Highly recommend reading the opinion brief, Hall was tortured by his mother and faced other troubling circumstances. The Florida jury and appellate court opinions are also worth the read.)

Holding: The Court ruled 5-4 that the state IQ threshold was unconstitutional because it put intellectually disabled individuals at unreasonable risk for being executed. Prior case law has established that any execution of intellectually disabled individuals clearly violates the Eighth Amendment. Florida’s hard and fast IQ threshold was a problem because the law did not account for standard error.

8. NLRB v. Noel Canning

Background: Several members of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) were appointed by President Obama via the Recess Appointment Clause, which states that the President has the power to temporarily appoint officers without the consent of the Senate if the Senate is in recess. The NLRB members in question were appointed during a three day recess.

Holding: In a unanimous 9-0 decision, the Court ruled Obama’s appointments invalid. Basically, the Justices felt that a three day recess is far too short to make appointments without Senate approval. There is no concrete definition on what is “too short” of a recess. However, it is generally regarded as a “significant interruption of legislative business” (e.g. Summer Recess). The ruling blocks the president from sneaking appointees past the Senate. Yet in a highly partisan Senate, it also slows down the appointment process of key political officials.

9. EPA v. EME Homer City Generation

Background: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), through the Clean Air Act, established national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) for pollutants at levels that will protect public health. Once the EPA determines NAAQS, they determine the “non-attainment areas” where a regulated pollutant exceeds the NAAQS. A state with a non-attainment area must submit a solution to the EPA within three years. If the EPA thinks an the solution is inadequate, the EPA develops a Federal Implementation Plan where the EPA takes control. A solution can be ruled inadequate if it is in violation of the Good Neighbor Provision, meaning that the plan must include provisions to prevent regulated pollutants from one state from adversely affecting another [downwind] state.

In 2005, the EPA Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR) sought to regulate nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide in 27 upwind states. However, the D.C. Circuit Court found fault with CAIR, so the EPA came up with a complex cost-based formula for determining how states should compensate one another. If this case sounds complicated, that’s because it is.

Holding: In a 6-2 decision, the Court reversed the D.C. Circuit’s decision. The decision is significant because President Obama announced an EPA plan last month to combat climate change. The aforementioned Clean Air Act is the source of the EPA’s authority–instead of creating a new law, the EPA regulations are interpretations of the Clean Air Act. Environmental politics are dicey, but the Court gave the EPA a victory.

10. McCullen v. Coakley

Background: The Massachusetts Reproductive Health Care Facilities Act made it a crime to knowingly stand within 35 feet of a public way or sidewalk of an entrance or driveway to a reproductive health care facility. Petitioner McCullen argued that he and others engaged in “sidewalk counseling” by giving women walking toward abortion clinics information about alternatives to abortion. McCullen claimed that the Reproductive Health Care Facilities Act significantly hampered his efforts of “sidewalk counseling”, and thus was a violation of the First and Fourteenth Amendments.

Holding: In a 9-0 decision, the Court ruled the Act unconstitutional. Quite simply, the Justices believed that the State of Massachusetts did not do enough to address clashes between abortion opponents and advocates before passing the Act. In so deciding, the Court continued a strong trend of protecting free speech, even when it is perceived as hateful.


Lester Asamoah is an International Security Studies senior at the University of  Oklahoma.


David Postic is a second-year law student at the University of Oklahoma.