Julie Kalish


Julie Kalish is a Vermont attorney and Lecturer at Dartmouth College in the Institute for Writing and Rhetoric. She is a board member for Vermont ACLU. She lives in Norwich.

My brother and sister-in-law have given the parents and me an Amazon Echo - or, as many know it, an “Alexa.” They love theirs and thought the more technologically “slow” of us should have one too.

For me, 2017 was “The Year of Anxiety.”

Last month, the ACLU held its Biennial Leadership Conference in Denver. Leadership from all the affiliates converged with leadership from National for a weekend packed with talks, meetings, and meals to connect with and learn from one another.

Among June’s Supreme Court releases was a short per curium ruling in Hernández v. Mesa. It didn’t get much coverage – the Justices basically sent everything back to the lower court. But, the case itself raised some of the most controversial questions of the term … and the Court’s attempt to avoid answering them spoke volumes.

As is typical on the last day of a Supreme Court term, we heard announcements about some controversial cases last Monday. And it was notable how many involved religion.

One of the best jobs I ever had was at the Children’s Television Workshop, the folks who make Sesame Street. It was the early nineteen-nineties and I was an unpaid intern in New Shows Production Research.

I was at the Green Mountain Film Festival last weekend. Living an hour away, I tend to say I’ll go more often than I do, but the Vermont ACLU was co-sponsoring a screening of the documentary Equal Means Equal and I had agreed to moderate a panel following the film.

You didn’t hear a lot from me in 2016.

The United States Supreme Court has begun its new term. And, in just a few weeks, they’ve heard arguments in three different cases involving racial bias in the criminal justice system.

In June, the Supreme Court decided Utah v. Strieff, a case that questioned whether evidence found after an unconstitutional search could still be admitted in court. The case briefly made news, due to a powerful dissent from Justice Sotomayor, but then dropped off the radar as the Court released its affirmative action and abortion decisions.

Kalish: Undue Burden

Jul 7, 2016

Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt was the Supreme Court’s first major decision in 24 years to clarify the constitutional right to abortion. The last occurred in 1992, in Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey.

Kalish: Hope

Jun 1, 2016

For many schools, now, graduation has come and gone. But, I teach at Dartmouth, where the academic schedule pushes graduation well into June.

Last week the United States Supreme Court declined an appeal from a 7th Circuit ruling upholding an assault weapons ban in Highland Park, Illinois. Put simply: Highland Park banned assault weapons and high-capacity magazines; the 7th Circuit said the 2nd Amendment permits them to do that... and the Supreme Court said, “We’re not getting involved.”

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.

A lot’s been said about the case of Norm McAllister, the Vermont Senator arrested in May for sexual assault. Although press coverage died down over the summer, it re-emerged in earnest when McAllister made it clear he would not resign ... and that the Senate would have to decide whether or not to expel him from his post.

It’s not often that a case from Vermont makes it to the United States Supreme Court. But, this year, the Justices will hear a dispute from Vermont over VHCURES – the Health Care Uniform Reporting and Evaluation System.

As many Vermonters enjoyed the last days of summer – taking one last swim in the river – the Vermont Supreme Court issued an opinion that could have important implications for free speech law in the state.

For those involved in the fight for marriage equality, the Supreme Court ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges is a victory in a long-fought, hard-won battle for equal rights - and the culmination of years of work.

I’ve been reviewing cases about student speech rights. Cases about wearing arm bands to protest the Vietnam War, about journalistic freedom for student newspapers… about whether a kid can be punished for holding up a “Bong Hits for Jesus” banner at an Olympic Torch relay.

I’m about to walk across the Green to my classroom to discuss the Constitution with a brand new group of students. We met for the first time the other day, but it was mostly just for instructions and logistics. Today, we get down to business.

Business is pretty much the same every fall, when I teach a college writing class on the Supreme Court. But as luck would have it, this year our discussion of the Constitution is actually falling on Constitution Day - a coincidence that makes me feel almost ridiculously giddy.