This Week on Between The Lines

Posted Aug. 17, 2011 for week ending Aug. 26, 2011

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"We need answers from Justice Thomas about why he has accepted (previously undisclosed, expensive gifts), what's the extent of his relationship (with billionaire investor Harlan Crow) and why he's not recusing himself from questionable Supreme Court cases."

-- Drew Courtney, director of communications for People for the American Way, on why 100 legal ethicists and law professors have signed a letter to Congress in support of Rep. Chris Murphy's bill extending the judicial code of ethics up to the Supreme Court; justices are immune from inquiry


Listen to the entire program using these links, or to individual interviews via the links appearing prior to each segment description below.

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Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas' Conduct Provokes Calls for Ethics Probe

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Interview with Drew Courtney, director of communications, conducted by Scott Harris

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When President George H.W. Bush nominated conservative Appeals Court Judge Clarence Thomas to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1991, controversy followed. Allegations of sexual harassment made by Anita Hill, a former Thomas employee at the Department of Education, made for high drama during televised Senate hearings, and placed the nomination in doubt. But in the end, Thomas was confirmed and took his seat on the Supreme Court.  Story continues

Legalization: An Alternative to the Costly, Failed U.S. War on Drugs

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Interview with Terry Nelson, retired U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agent, conducted by Melinda Tuhus

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In October 2009, the U.S. Border Patrol fired a probationary employee, Bryan Gonzalez, just before his two-year probationary period was up. He was terminated for the personal opinions he expressed several months earlier to a fellow officer. Gonzalez told his co-worker that the best way to reduce drug-related violence on the U.S.-Mexico border was by legalizing narcotics. He also stated that as a Mexican-American, he understood why many Mexicans felt they had no choice but to try to enter the U.S. without documents in search of jobs. On Jan. 20 of this year, the American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico filed a lawsuit against the Border Patrol for firing Gonzalez on the basis of his personal beliefs expressed in a casual conversation, rather than his job performance.  Story continues

New Confidence Required to Overcome Americans' Political Passivity

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Interview with Bruce Levine, psychiatrist and author, conducted by Scott Harris

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Throughout world history, there are countless examples of how an activated and engaged group of citizens have banded together to successfully effect political and social change. Today, across the Middle East and North Africa autocratic governments and monarchies are being challenged as never before by large numbers of people who have taken to the streets and risked their lives to demand change. Tens of thousands of people in Spain and Greece have risen up to resist the harsh economic austerity measures demanded of them by the European Union and the continent's largest banks.  Story continues

This week’s summary of under-reported news

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Compiled by Bob Nixon

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