Sonia Sotomayor's visceral description of what it's like to be arrested is a must-read.

Sonia Sotomayor's lacerating dissent in Utah v. Strieff is rightly being applauded for its forthright defense of suspects' rights.

Photo by Allison Shelley/Getty Images.


The case — in which a Utah man under no suspicion was illegally stopped by a police officer, was found to have an outstanding traffic warrant, and was subjected to a search that turned up a small quantity of methamphetamine — was decided by a 5-3 majority in favor of the state.

Writing for herself — citing W.E.B. Du Bois and Ta-Nehisi Coates among others — Justice Sotomayor argues that the Court's ruling, which opens the door for courts to admit evidence that was obtained after an illegal stop, is likely to particularly burden black and brown communities.

"It is no secret that people of color are disproportionate victims of this type of scrutiny," Sotomayor wrote.

"For generations, black and brown parents have given their children 'the talk'— instructing them never to run down the street; always keep your hands where they can be seen; do not even think of talking back to a stranger — all out of fear of how an officer with a gun will react to them."

The key passage in the dissent is one in which Justice Sotomayor viscerally explains what it's like to be stopped by the police.

NYPD officers arrest a protestor at a Donald Trump rally. Photo by Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images.

In exposing the gap between those on the bench or in the gallery who have never been arrested and those, particularly poor and nonwhite Americans, for whom it's an everyday fact of life, Sotomayor cuts right to the heart of the problem.

It's a long section, but well worth your time (emphasis mine):

"The indignity of the stop is not limited to an officer telling you that you look like a criminal. The officer may next ask for your 'consent' to inspect your bag or purse without telling you that you can decline. Regardless of your answer, he may order you to stand 'helpless, perhaps facing a wall with [your] hands raised.' If the officer thinks you might be dangerous, he may then 'frisk' you for weapons. This involves more than just a pat down. As onlookers pass by, the officer may 'feel with sensitive fingers every portionof [your] body. A thorough search [may] be made of [your]arms and armpits, waistline and back, the groin and areaabout the testicles, and entire surface of the legs down tothe feet.'"

"The officer’s control over you does not end with the stop. If the officer chooses, he may handcuff you and take you to jail for doing nothing more than speeding, jaywalking, or 'driving [your] pickup truck ... with [your] 3-year-old son and 5-year-old daughter ... without [your] seatbelt fastened.' At the jail, he can fingerprint you, swab DNA from the inside of your mouth, and force you to 'shower with a delousing agent' while you 'lift [your] tongue, hold out [your] arms, turn around, and lift [your] genitals.' Even if you are innocent, you will now join the 65 millionAmericans with an arrest record and experience the 'civil death' of discrimination by employers, landlords, and whoever else conducts a background check. And, of course, if you fail to pay bail or appear for court, a judge will issue a warrant to render you 'arrestable on sight' in the future."

Being arrested is not a small matter, and in her dissent, it's clear Sotomayor wants her colleagues to truly understand what it is like.

Far from a minor inconvenience, an arrest is a dehumanizing experience that stays with people — both the trauma of it and the concrete permanent record of it — long after the initial detention.

NYPD officers arrest a protestor in Union Square. Photo by Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images.

Being arrested involves submitting to the complete control of police officers, even if you're innocent.

Being arrested can involve being touched, all over your body, in a public place.

Being arrested can involve having your tongue prodded, your body showered in chemicals, and your genitals examined.

To remove protections given to citizens against these illegal arrests is to subject more Americans to an experience that will follow them for years, if not the rest of their life.

Furthermore, Sotomayor correctly noted that the Supreme Court's decision presents police officers with a perverse incentive.

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.

Armed with the knowledge that any evidence they obtain is likely to be admitted regardless of how legal the initial stop was, officers are freer to simply stop people who "look suspicious," a drastic curtailing of the Fourth Amendment, which protects against "unlawful search and seizure."

And even though the defendant in this particular case was white, in America...

"Looking suspicious" can often mean "being black."

"Looking suspicious" can often mean "being brown."

"Looking suspicious" can often mean "being poor."

Despite the disparities, the justice's stinging dissent is a warning not to treat unlawful arrests as an abstract matter — a thing that only happens to "other people."

It's easy to dismiss the eroding of suspect rights' as a problem for those who are black or brown or poor. And disproportionately, it is.

That's enough reason on its own to object to the ruling.

But Sotomayor's plea for empathy underscores a crucial point:

Constitutional protections against police overreach exist to safeguard the rights of every single American.

Interns run with copies of a recent Supreme Court opinion while guards stand watch. Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images.

And what can happen to one of us can happen to all of us.

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Should a man lose his home because the grass in his yard grew higher than 10 inches? The city of Dunedin, Florida seems to think so.

According to the Institute of Justice, which is representing Jim Ficken, he had a very good reason for not mowing his lawn – and tried to rectify the situation as best he could.

In 2014, Jim's mom became ill and he visited her often in South Carolina to help her out. When he was away, his grass grew too long and he was cited by a code office; he cut the grass and wasn't fined.

France has started forcing supermarkets to donate food instead of throwing it away.

But several years later, this one infraction would come back to haunt him after he left to take care of him's mom's affairs after she died. The arrangements he made to have his grass cut fell through (his friend who he asked to help him out passed away unexpectedly) and that set off a chain reaction that may result in him losing his home.

The 69-year-old retiree now faces a $29,833.50 fine plus interest. Watch the video to find out just what Jim is having to deal with.

Mow Your Lawn or Lose Your House! www.youtube.com

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The world officially loves Michelle Obama.

The former first lady has overtaken the number one spot in a poll of the world's most admired women. Conducted by online research firm YouGov, the study uses international polling tools to survey people in countries around the world about who they most admire.

In the men's category, Bill Gates took the top spot, followed by Barack Obama and Jackie Chan.

In the women's category, Michelle Obama came first, followed by Oprah Winfrey and Angelina Jolie. Obama pushed Jolie out of the number one spot she claimed last year.

Unsurprising, really, because what's not to love about Michelle Obama? She is smart, kind, funny, accomplished, a great dancer, a devoted wife and mother, and an all-around, genuinely good person.

She has remained dignified and strong in the face of rabid masses of so-called Americans who spent eight years and beyond insisting that she's a man disguised as a woman. She's endured non-stop racist memes and terrifying threats to her family. She has received far more than her fair share of cruelty, and always takes the high road. She's the one who coined, "When they go low, we go high," after all.

She came from humble beginnings and remains down to earth despite becoming a familiar face around the world. She's not much older than me, but I still want to be like Michelle Obama when I grow up.

Her memoir, Becoming, may end up being the best-selling memoir of all time, having already sold 10 million copies—a clear sign that people can't get enough Michelle, because there's no such thing as too much Michelle.

Don't like Michelle Obama? Don't care. Those of us who love her will fly our MO flags high and without apology, paying no mind to folks with cold, dead hearts who don't know a gem of a human being when they see one. There is nothing any hater can say or do to make us admire this undeniably admirable woman any less.

When it seems like the world has lost its mind—which is how it feels most days these days—I'm just going to keep coming back to this study as evidence that hope for humanity is not lost.

Here. Enjoy some real-life Michelle on Jimmy Kimmel. (GAH. WHY IS SHE SO CUTE AND AWESOME. I can't even handle it.)

Michelle & Barack Obama are Boring Now www.youtube.com

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via EarthFix / Flickr

What will future generations never believe that we tolerated in 2019?

Dolphin and orca captivity, for sure. They'll probably shake their heads at how people died because they couldn't afford healthcare. And, they'll be completely mystified at the amount of food some people waste while others go starving.

According to Biological Diversity, "An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, costing households, businesses and farms about $218 billion annually."

There are so many things wrong with this.

First of all it's a waste of money for the households who throw out good food. Second, it's a waste of all of the resources that went into growing the food, including the animals who gave their lives for the meal. Third, there's something very wrong with throwing out food when one in eight Americans struggle with hunger.

Supermarkets are just as guilty of this unnecessary waste as consumers. About 10% of all food waste are supermarket products thrown out before they've reached their expiration date.

Three years ago, France took big steps to combat food waste by making a law that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food.According to the new ordinance, stores can be fined for up to $4,500 for each infraction.

Previously, the French threw out 7.1 million tons of food. Sixty-seven percent of which was tossed by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by grocery stores.

This has created a network of over 5,000 charities that accept the food from supermarkets and donate them to charity. The law also struck down agreements between supermarkets and manufacturers that prohibited the stores from donating food to charities.

"There was one food manufacturer that was not authorized to donate the sandwiches it made for a particular supermarket brand. But now, we get 30,000 sandwiches a month from them — sandwiches that used to be thrown away," Jacques Bailet, head of the French network of food banks known as Banques Alimentaires, told NPR.

It's expected that similar laws may spread through Europe, but people are a lot less confident at it happening in the United States. The USDA believes that the biggest barrier to such a program would be cost to the charities and or supermarkets.

"The logistics of getting safe, wholesome, edible food from anywhere to people that can use it is really difficult," the organization said according to Gizmodo. "If you're having to set up a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food, that's not good for anybody."

Plus, the idea may seem a little too "socialist" for the average American's appetite.

"The French version is quite socialist, but I would say in a great way because you're providing a way where they [supermarkets] have to do the beneficial things not only for the environment, but from an ethical standpoint of getting healthy food to those who need it and minimizing some of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come when food ends up in a landfill," Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, told NPR.

However, just because something may be socialist doesn't mean it's wrong. The greater wrong is the insane waste of money, damage to the environment, and devastation caused by hunger that can easily be avoided.

Planet

The world is dark and full of terrors, but every once in a while it graces us with something to warm our icy-cold hearts. And that is what we have today, with a single dad who went viral on Twitter after his daughter posted the photos he sent her when trying to pick out and outfit for his date. You love to see it.




After seeing these heartwarming pics, people on Twitter started suggesting this adorable man date their moms. It was essentially a mom and date matchmaking frenzy.

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