Photo by Bermix Studio on Unsplash

Editor’s note: Attorney General Garland announced this week that the Department of Justice is investigating the Louisville Metro Police Department. For anyone who’s been paying attention these last few decades, this announcement should come as no surprise. I have written elsewhere about the festering, enduring problem of corruption at LMPD: the blatant race discrimination, the sexual abuse of children, the unnecessary SWAT raids, the non-investigation of credible rape allegations, and of course, the murders perpetrated by cops who know they can get away with it. This situation has a few different enablers. The courts have told police for years that…

Panel from JUGGERNAUT #1 (2020) by Fabian Nicieza, art by Ron Milla & Ron Garney

I’ve read comic books for as long as I can remember. I like the ready ability to escape into a world where the good guys usually win, or at least where costumed characters are smashing stuff.

But my interest is rooted in more than just escapism; volumes of honest-to-god scholarship have been written about comics (or “graphic novels” if you want to sound all hoity-toity). Comic book storylines reflect changes in culture over time, and you can learn a lot about the character traits a society prizes by who its preferred superheroes are. It’s like the original Nite Owl says

EDITOR’S NOTE: This interview with law professor and labor expert Ariana Levinson originally appeared on the Kentucky State AFL-CIO website. It is reprinted here with the permission of the site and Professor Levinson.

‘The Hand That Will Rule the World’ by Ralph Chaplin, Solidarity, June 30, 1917

How can a union co-op benefit union workers?

Worker co-ops increase job security, longevity of employment, and job satisfaction and provide an opportunity to accumulate wealth, in addition to income. Unionized owners will benefit in all these ways.

A union worker co-op can be a way to save a company that is closing because owners are retiring or to avoid a buy-out by an out-of-town private equity…

Photo by Michael Jin on Unsplash

Earlier this week, I posted this tweet:

And hoo boy, did #LawTwitter react. It turns out a lot of us think about harming ourselves (if just a little bit) in order to get a break.

I received a lot more of these responses (and dozens of similar DMs), but this next one meant a lot to me, since the lawyer who wrote it was the first person I ever heard articulate — to a group of horrified first-year law students — the banality of self-harm:

When Shelly (the author of the last tweet) said…

In the old times, before the Great Freeze, when there was still such a thing as “Indiana,” the tax man would come around and we’d have to give him money. Then the state sold the utilities, schools, and hospitals to private corporations, and we’d have to give them money, too. Then the state sold everything else. Though we didn’t know it at the time, that put us on the road to true freedom.

Now my family does things our own way, without the albatross of dependence dangling from our necks. My wife and I grow our own food, cut our…

Cartoon published in The Coming Nation, August 31, 1912

More than 120 years ago, in Greensburg, Indiana, a socialist publisher named Julius Augustus Wayland founded a journal called The Coming Nation. Wayland moved to Girard, Kansas in 1895 and started another socialist weekly called Appeal to Reason. These long-forgotten publications became the mouthpiece for the socialist movement in the early 20th century Midwest; a movement which could have changed America forever. But it didn’t.

At its height, Appeal to Reason had a total circulation of up to 4.1 million copies. By 1912, the Socialist Party of America had 118,000 official members, including high-profile celebrities like Jack London and Helen…

Lawyers and clients in Nwanguma v. Trump. I’m the bald guy. (Photo by Jacob Ryan, courtesy of Louisville Public Media)

It’s been almost five years since my colleagues and I sued then-candidate Trump for inciting violence at his campaign rallies on behalf of three protesters who were beaten up by an angry mob of white supremacists. We lost. This post is addressed to the federal judges who tossed out our case without holding the President accountable when you had the chance.

We told you so.

Let’s take a moment to remember what the political landscape in 2016 was like. Back then, American democracy was chronically ill, but not quite looking for a hospice bed to die in. …

Brad King before he was killed by part-time sheriff’s deputies

Now that it’s been two months since Justice Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation, I can confidently say she is not qualified to sit on the Supreme Court. Sure, she was nominated by the vilest figure in the last century of American politics. Sure, McConnell rammed her nomination through the Senate while millions of Americans were dying, getting evicted, and trying to figure out where their next meal was coming from. And sure, Barrett is an ideologue who will undoubtedly be toxic to women, unions, the LGBT community, immigrants, and any other vulnerable population you can think of. Those curiosities render her…

Photo by Beatriz Pérez Moya on Unsplash

Your favorite editors (that’s Doc Sweeny and me) have just published an article about the marriage equality cases that went from Kentucky to the Supreme Court. You can read it here. The abstract is reproduced below, but it’s basically about the what the media and the courts did with my clients’ stories. It’s not what you might think. Check it out!

ABSTRACT: Telling a client’s story is an essential part of client representation. Legal storytelling provokes empathy in judges and juries and helps convince them of the rightness of the client’s perspective. Civil rights attorneys, however, tell their client’s story…

Photo by Evershot on Unsplash

“Wait for it,” I said.

She’s busy. She’s making coffee and reading the news and answering calls to action on Facebook and looking up the next Zoom class for our second-grader.


“There’ll be an indictment,” I say. “If I were running this circus, I’d make sure they indict just one cop.”

“Oh,” she says. “Well, that’s optimistic.”

“Hell no, it’s not,” I say. “They’ll indict one guy for manslaughter — that makes people feel like they won something. Or, at least it makes the local news channels salivate when people are still in the streets ’cause now they can…

Dan Canon

Civil rights lawyer and law prof, writing about the Midwest, the untold horrors of the justice system, and the ongoing battle between the law and humanity.

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