Jared Carter

Commentator

Jared Carter teaches legal activism, legal writing and appellate advocacy at Vermont Law School.  He also directs the Vermont Community Law Center, a non-profit legal services organization focused on social justice, constitutional rights and consumer protection.

While the announcement of new Cuba policy changes has been rumored for months, it looks like the President’s newly announced directive may have a significant impact on the ability of United States citizens to travel, trade or generally engage with our Cuban neighbors.

The United States Constitution was back at work last week in California where a Federal Court issued yet another restraining order against the President of the United States. This time, the restraining order focused on the President’s recent executive action instructing the Attorney General to ensure that any community refusing to enforce the President’s immigration directives loses eligibility to receive federal grants.

The power of eminent domain is well established in the historical records and legal holdings of both the United States and Vermont. In a nutshell, eminent domain is the constitutional authority that grants government the power to take privately held land and use it for public purposes. Historically, this included lands that the government deemed necessary in order to complete public works projects such as roads, rails or utility lines.

The start of the legislative session has always felt to me like a change of season. And with that change comes both trepidation and excitement over what new laws and policies might be adopted in the coming months. While many of us are focused on the transition of power in Washington DC and the constitutional implications of that transfer, I’m just as fascinated by the transition underway here.

Carter: Castro's Cuba

Nov 30, 2016

In the United States we're used to only one version of Fidel Castro. The media here has portrayed him mostly as a despot whose only goal was to maintain power in Cuba. And while I don’t begrudge anyone their views, the truth is that Fidel Castro also had a positive impact on millions of the world’s most impoverished people.

Carter: Standing Rock

Nov 23, 2016

By now, most of us have heard of the Dakota Access Pipeline and the protests against it that have been marked by increasingly violent confrontation. And yet, few of us may be aware of the legal underpinnings that led to this modern day story of struggle for native sovereignty and human rights.

The recent nationwide vote has changed everything. I’m not talking about change in the sense of building walls, deporting undocumented immigrants or eliminating healthcare for millions of Americans – these aren’t changes one man has the constitutional power or authority to accomplish by himself anyway. Our system of checks and balances, however imperfect, hasn’t lasted this long simply to crumble in the face of one man with big ideas. So I couldn’t be happier with the changes I’ve seen since the election.

Every September we mark Constitution Day at Vermont Law School with a panel discussion on pending constitutional cases currently in front of the U.S. Supreme Court. And, while most of us probably don’t break out the BBQ and celebrate, there are many reasons why maybe we should. On issues of social justice, the environment, human rights and equality, Vermont often leads the nation. We should be proud of this fact and continue to strive for a better world every day. However, we sometimes forget just how fundamental our state and national constitutions are when it comes to progress on these important issues. Despite the fact that we’ve made very few changes to the constitution since its initial adoption more than 200 years ago, it’s arguably been the most important instrument of change our country has ever known. In fact, I can’t think of one major political, social or environmental movement in our history that hasn’t, at its core, been driven by the power of our constitution to make change.

As the U.S Supreme Court wraps up issuing decisions from its most recent term, I find myself reflecting on the broad impact this small group of un-elected lawyers has on the lives of so many Americans and just how fragile that constitutional system really is.

Burlington is currently debating a proposal by a New York City development corporation to build a fourteen story tower above Burlington’s historic Church Street Marketplace. And while fourteen stories may not sound like a lot in New York City, here in Vermont, the legal and policy implications of this proposed project are broad and far reaching.

When U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died unexpectedly a not unforeseen partisan congressional battle erupted over whether the Senate should confirm President Obama’s eventual replacement nominee. Article II of the United States Constitution clearly requires that the President “shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint... Judges of the Supreme Court...,” thus, the political grandstanding in Washington and on the presidential campaign trail has been entertaining at best, but troubling and obstructionist at worst.

Many Vermonters are rightfully concerned about the impacts of money in politics and the effect the Supreme Court’s Citizen’s United decision has on our government. However, there’s another perhaps equally concerning battle going on right now that pits consumers against the same sophisticated corporations many of us feel are unfairly influencing politics.

Recently, legislation was introduced to strengthen Vermont’s ban on cell phone use while driving. Studies have shown that using a cell phone while driving may be more dangerous than driving under the influence of alcohol.

To date, governors from at least 31 states have announced they either oppose the resettlement of Syrian refugees in general - or within their borders in particular. And while this may make for good political fodder it’s unlikely the U.S. Constitution – which they’re sworn to uphold - would countenance such state level actions.

Gregory J. Lamoureux / AP

The Vermont Senate took a step closer to ousting an embattled member of its body Monday when Caledonia Sen. Joe Benning drafted a resolution to expel Franklin Sen. Norm McAllister, a fellow Republican who was arrested in May on sexual assault charges.

Here, two VPR commentators offer thoughts on the matter. Jared Carter explores the legal intricacies of an expulsion of this sort, while Julie Kalish draws a parallel to Title IX proceedings in academia.

It’s been six months since State Senator Norm McAllister was accused of sexual assault. And while the senator remains innocent until proven guilty under the constitution, legislators have begun to discuss the prospect of expelling him from the Senate.

With new gubernatorial candidates seeming to announce their candidacy every day, it appears likely that Vermonters are in for a long and expensive election cycle – since despite the fact that most candidates will probably advocate to end the influence of money in politics and overturn Citizen’s United - no candidate has of yet opted for public campaign financing.

Now that the issue of income inequality is front and center on the national political stage, it would be easy for us to fall into the trap of thinking that our own local laws and policies do not contribute to income inequality. And it’s true that Vermont's economic metrics look good on some levels, but my own experiences as an attorney in Burlington lead me to wonder just how economically just our laws really are.

On a blustery fall day in 1960, President Dwight D. Eisenhower proclaimed all exports to the island nation of Cuba were prohibited. Less than three weeks later President Kennedy was elected and Congress passed the Foreign Assistance Act authorizing Kennedy to expand the prohibition to include a ban on all Cuban imports. The story goes that just before banning all Cuban imports, Kennedy sent his press secretary, Pierre Salinger, to purchase - from Cuba - 1,000 Cuban cigars. And while Kennedy had no way of knowing it at the time, that purchase represented the last unregulated trade between two countries for more than 50 years.

Carter: Historic Court

Jun 26, 2015

While each of the 75 or so cases the U.S. Court hears each year are important, it isn't every term that the fate of so many Americans rests on two court decisions of such enormous import.

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