Democracy Forum 6/17/22: The Supreme Court and Democracy

Host: Ann Luther, League of Women Voters of Maine

Democracy Forum: Participatory Democracy, encouraging citizens to take an active role in government and politics

Issue: Participatory Democracy, encouraging citizens to take an active role in government and politics

Key Discussion Points:
The courts as protectors of democracy
Judicial philosophy and constitutional interpretation
The authority and power of the court
The peril of the court being political or even perceived as such

Guests:
Richard H. Pildes, Sudler Family Professor of Constitutional Law, New York University School of Law
Maron Sorenson, Assistant Professor of Government, Dept. Government and Legal Studies, Bowdoin College

To learn more about this topic:

Decade-long study shows Supreme Court is now further to the ideological right than most Americans | Ash Center, June, 2022
The Supreme Court Is on the Verge of Expanding Second Amendment Gun Rights | Brennan Center for Justice May, 2022
5 justices, all confirmed by senators representing a minority of voters, appear willing to overturn Roe v. Wade | The Conversation, May 2022
The Court and Its Procedures – Supreme Court of the United States
The Supreme Court (2020) : Throughline : NPR, September, 2021
The Authority of the Court and the Peril of Politics, Stephen Breyer, 2021
Nine Reasons that “Originalism” Isn’t Really a Thing for Supreme Court Justices, October, 2020
The Law of Democracy: Legal Structure of the Political Process. Samuel Issacharoff, Pamela S. Karlan, Richard H. Pildes, Nathaniel Persily. ” 5th Edition, 2016.
Is the Supreme Court a ‘Majoritarian’ Institution?, Richard Pildes, December, 2010

The mostly volunteer team at the League of Women Voters – Downeast who plan and coordinate this series includes: Martha Dickinson, Laurie Fogleman, Starr Gilmartin, Maggie Harling, Ann Luther, Judith Lyles, Wendilee O’Brien, Maryann Ogonowski, Pam Person, Lane Sturtevant, Leah Taylor, Linda Washburn

About the host:
Ann currently serves as Treasurer of the League of Women Voters of Maine and leads the LWVME Advocacy Team. She served as President of LWVME from 2003 to 2007 and as co-president from 2007-2009. In her work for the League, Ann has worked for greater public understanding of public policy issues and for the League’s priority issues in Clean Elections & Campaign Finance Reform, Voting Rights, Ethics in Government, Ranked Choice Voting, and Repeal of Term Limits. Representing LWVME at Maine Citizens for Clean Elections, she served that coalition as co-president from 2006 to 2011. She remains on the board of MCCE and serves as Treasurer. She is active in the LWV-Downeast and hosts their monthly radio show, The Democracy Forum, on WERU FM Community Radio -which started out in 2004 as an recurring special, and became a regular monthly program in 2012. She was the 2013 recipient of the Baldwin Award from the ACLU of Maine for her work on voting rights and elections. She joined the League in 1998 when she retired as Senior Vice President at SEI Investments. Ann was a founder of the MDI Restorative Justice Program, 1999 – 2000, and served on its Executive Board.

Democracy Forum 5/20/22: The Demise of Local News: What Are We Losing?

Host: Ann Luther, League of Women Voters of Maine

Democracy Forum: Participatory Democracy, encouraging citizens to take an active role in government and politics

Key Discussion Points:
Local news and local democracy.
What is a “news desert”? Does Maine have them?
What happens in towns that have no institutional news coverage? Does it affect self-governance at the local level?
Can citizen or grass-roots journalism fill the gap?
Even if we have plenty of citizen journalists, do we lose cohesion without an institutional resource that provides a collective understanding?

Guests:
Penelope Abernathy, visiting professor at the Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University
Dan MacLeod, Managing Editor, Bangor Daily News
Lincoln Millstein, blogs local news at The Quietside Journal

To learn more about this topic:

Survival of the Fittest: Can Independent News Media Endure in These Times? | Global Engagement at Georgetown University, April, 2022
New Report On The State Of Our Democracy | League of Women Voters 2021
Local news deserts are expanding: Here’s what we’ll lose | Washington Post, November, 2021
Exploiting the local news desert | Editor and Publisher, November 2021
Islander celebrates 20 years of community journalism – Mount Desert Islander, Faith D’Ambroise, November, 2021
Trends and Facts on Newspapers | State of the News Media | Pew Research Center. June, 2021

The mostly volunteer team at the League of Women Voters – Downeast who plan and coordinate this series includes: Martha Dickinson, Laurie Fogleman, Starr Gilmartin, Maggie Harling, Ann Luther, Judith Lyles, Wendilee O’Brien, Maryann Ogonowski, Pam Person, Lane Sturtevant, Leah Taylor, Linda Washburn

FMI re League of Women Voters of Maine: www.lwvme.org

About the host:
Ann currently serves as Treasurer of the League of Women Voters of Maine and leads the LWVME Advocacy Team. She served as President of LWVME from 2003 to 2007 and as co-president from 2007-2009. In her work for the League, Ann has worked for greater public understanding of public policy issues and for the League’s priority issues in Clean Elections & Campaign Finance Reform, Voting Rights, Ethics in Government, Ranked Choice Voting, and Repeal of Term Limits. Representing LWVME at Maine Citizens for Clean Elections, she served that coalition as co-president from 2006 to 2011. She remains on the board of MCCE and serves as Treasurer. She is active in the LWV-Downeast and hosts their monthly radio show, The Democracy Forum, on WERU FM Community Radio -which started out in 2004 as an recurring special, and became a regular monthly program in 2012. She was the 2013 recipient of the Baldwin Award from the ACLU of Maine for her work on voting rights and elections. She joined the League in 1998 when she retired as Senior Vice President at SEI Investments. Ann was a founder of the MDI Restorative Justice Program, 1999 – 2000, and served on its Executive Board.

Democracy Forum 4/15/22: Libraries: Defenders of Democracy

Host: Ann Luther, League of Women Voters of Maine

Key Discussion Points:
libraries and democracy
privacy protection
intellectual freedom and censorship
informed citizenry,
challenges and threats from book bans to funding

Guests:

Rich Boulet, Director, Blue Hill Public Library
Alexandra Hinrichs, Children’s Author and Middle School Librarian at Leonard Middle School in Old Town
Alison Macrina, Founder and Director of the Library Freedom Project
Jamie Ritter, Maine State Librarian

To learn more about this topic:

Book Banning Efforts Surged in 2021. These Titles Were the Most Targeted | New York Times, April 4, 2022
World librarians, archivists rush to save Ukraine’s digital history | The Washington Post, April 8, 2022
Tired of years of budget woes, Ellsworth library director leaving for MDI | BDN, April 5, 2022
Schools nationwide are quietly removing books from their libraries | Washington Post, March 22, 2022
Book bans and the threat of censorship rev up political activism in the suburbs | NPR, March 21, 2022
How this Old Town school handled a request to ban a book on sexual assault | BDN, March 18 2022

Prerecorded on 4/12/2022 using Zoom technology.

The mostly volunteer team at the League of Women Voters – Downeast who plan and coordinate this series includes: Hannah Cyrus, consulting librarian, Martha Dickinson, Laurie Fogleman, Starr Gilmartin, Maggie Harling, Ann Luther, Judith Lyles, Wendilee O’Brien, Maryann Ogonowski, Pam Person, Lane Sturtevant, Leah Taylor, Linda Washburn

FMI re League of Women Voters of Maine: www.lwvme.org

About the host:
Ann currently serves as Treasurer of the League of Women Voters of Maine and leads the LWVME Advocacy Team. She served as President of LWVME from 2003 to 2007 and as co-president from 2007-2009. In her work for the League, Ann has worked for greater public understanding of public policy issues and for the League’s priority issues in Clean Elections & Campaign Finance Reform, Voting Rights, Ethics in Government, Ranked Choice Voting, and Repeal of Term Limits. Representing LWVME at Maine Citizens for Clean Elections, she served that coalition as co-president from 2006 to 2011. She remains on the board of MCCE and serves as Treasurer. She is active in the LWV-Downeast and hosts their monthly radio show, The Democracy Forum, on WERU FM Community Radio -which started out in 2004 as an recurring special, and became a regular monthly program in 2012. She was the 2013 recipient of the Baldwin Award from the ACLU of Maine for her work on voting rights and elections. She joined the League in 1998 when she retired as Senior Vice President at SEI Investments. Ann was a founder of the MDI Restorative Justice Program, 1999 – 2000, and served on its Executive Board.

Democracy Forum 3/18/22: Communities on Edge: Threats and Intimidation in the Public Sphere

Host: Ann Luther, League of Women Voters of Maine

We’ll talk about anger and intimidation in the public sphere, especially in local politics.
Where is this coming from?
What is it that puts schools and elections in the bull’s eye?
What measures should officials take?
What can ordinary people do?
Can we still have deliberative democracy?

Guests:
Patti Dubois, Waterville City Clerk and the Legislative Policy Chair for the Maine Town and City Clerks Association.
Jordan LaBouff, Associate Professor of Psychology and Honors at the University of Maine. umaine.edu/psychology/jordan-labouff/
Paul Markosian, an Ellsworth business owner and member of the Ellsworth School board.

To learn more about this topic:

Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower, Brittney Cooper, 2018.
Local election officials are exhausted, under threat and thinking about quitting, Politico, March 2022
Whitmer plot underlines growing abuse of women officials | AP News, March 2022
Bill to make interfering with election workers a crime OK’d | AP News, February 2022
Maine teachers and school board members seek legal protection as they face harassment, February 2022
The Role of Racial Resentment in Our Politics | Brennan Center for Justice, February 2022
The Five Minute Fix, Washington Post, January 2022
City School Board threatened with lawsuits over masking policies, January, 2022

Prerecorded on 3/10/2022 using Zoom technology.

The mostly volunteer team at the League of Women Voters – Downeast who plan and coordinate this series includes: Martha Dickinson, Laurie Fogleman, Starr Gilmartin, Maggie Harling, Ann Luther, Judith Lyles, Wendilee O’Brien, Maryann Ogonowski, Pam Person, Lane Sturtevant, Leah Taylor, Linda Washburn

FMI re League of Women Voters of Maine: www.lwvme.org

About the host:
Ann currently serves as Treasurer of the League of Women Voters of Maine and leads the LWVME Advocacy Team. She served as President of LWVME from 2003 to 2007 and as co-president from 2007-2009. In her work for the League, Ann has worked for greater public understanding of public policy issues and for the League’s priority issues in Clean Elections & Campaign Finance Reform, Voting Rights, Ethics in Government, Ranked Choice Voting, and Repeal of Term Limits. Representing LWVME at Maine Citizens for Clean Elections, she served that coalition as co-president from 2006 to 2011. She remains on the board of MCCE and serves as Treasurer. She is active in the LWV-Downeast and hosts their monthly radio show, The Democracy Forum, on WERU FM Community Radio -which started out in 2004 as an recurring special, and became a regular monthly program in 2012. She was the 2013 recipient of the Baldwin Award from the ACLU of Maine for her work on voting rights and elections. She joined the League in 1998 when she retired as Senior Vice President at SEI Investments. Ann was a founder of the MDI Restorative Justice Program, 1999 – 2000, and served on its Executive Board.

Democracy Forum 2/18/22: Facebook and Democracy: Can They Live Together?

Host: Ann Luther, League of Women Voters of Maine

-How Facebook has transformed our political life. It’s not just Facebook, is it?
-How has it polarized our political identities?
-How has it become so central to our community and political life?
-What threats does it pose to democracy?
-What did the Facebook Papers tell us?
-What are the possible solutions?

Guests:

Jessica Brandt, policy director for the Artificial Intelligence and Emerging Technology Initiative at the Brookings Institution and a fellow in the Foreign Policy program’s Center for Security, Strategy, and Technology.

Judith Rosenbaum, Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Communication and Journalism at the University of Maine.

To learn more about this topic:

www.lwvme.org/democracyforum

Facebook Has a Superuser-Supremacy Problem – The Atlantic, February, 2022

Opinion | The Platform Accountability and Transparency Act is a small step toward solving our social media woes – The Washington Post Editorial January 2022

Autocracy Is Winning – The Atlantic. Anne Applebaum, December 2021

How to fix social media? Start with independent research, Brookings, December 1, 2021

The internet is a battleground. Will democracies win?, Brookings, December 1, 2021

The Facebook Papers, explained – The Washington Post, October, 2021

Facebook Is an Authoritarian State – The Atlantic, September 2021

How to Put Out Democracy’s Dumpster Fire – The Atlantic, April 2021

The Internet Doesn’t Have to Be Awful – Anne Applebaum, March, 2021

The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power, by Shoshana Zuboff, January. 2019

Political polarization on Facebook, Brookings, May 2015

Prerecorded on 2/15/2022 using Zoom technology.

The mostly volunteer team at the League of Women Voters – Downeast who plan and coordinate this series includes:

Martha Dickinson
Starr Gilmartin
Maggie Harling
Ann Luther
Judith Lyles
Wendilee O’Brien
Maryann Ogonowski
Pam Person
Lane Sturtevant
Leah Taylor
Linda Washburn

About the host:
Ann currently serves as Treasurer of the League of Women Voters of Maine and leads the LWVME Advocacy Team. She served as President of LWVME from 2003 to 2007 and as co-president from 2007-2009. In her work for the League, Ann has worked for greater public understanding of public policy issues and for the League’s priority issues in Clean Elections & Campaign Finance Reform, Voting Rights, Ethics in Government, Ranked Choice Voting, and Repeal of Term Limits. Representing LWVME at Maine Citizens for Clean Elections, she served that coalition as co-president from 2006 to 2011. She remains on the board of MCCE and serves as Treasurer. She is active in the LWV-Downeast and hosts their monthly radio show, The Democracy Forum, on WERU FM Community Radio -which started out in 2004 as an recurring special, and became a regular monthly program in 2012. She was the 2013 recipient of the Baldwin Award from the ACLU of Maine for her work on voting rights and elections. She joined the League in 1998 when she retired as Senior Vice President at SEI Investments. Ann was a founder of the MDI Restorative Justice Program, 1999 – 2000, and served on its Executive Board.

Democracy Forum 1/21/22: Educating for Democracy: How’s it Working?

Host: Ann Luther, League of Women Voters of Maine

We’ll talk about the political philosophy and history of public education in America.
What is the role of public education in sustaining our fragile republic?
How did public education develop and evolve over time?
What has been or should be the role of public education in creating a shared civic enterprise?

Guests:
Doris Santor, Professor of Education at Bowdoin College.
Jonathan Zimmerman, Judy and Howard Berkowitz Professor in Education at the Univeristy of Pennsylvania

To learn more about this topic:

Will US Education Remedy A Half-Century Of Neglecting Civics Education?, Tom Lindsay, Forbes, February 2020

The need for civic education in 21st-century schools, Rebecca Winthrop, Brookings, June 2020

History and Evolution of Public Education in the US, Center on Education Policy, The George Washington University Graduate School of Education and Human Development, 2020

Have We Lost Faith in Public Education? | Perspectives on History | AHA Johann N. Neem, July 2018

Democracy’s Schools: The Rise of Public Education in America, Johann Neem, August 2017

The mostly volunteer team at the League of Women Voters – Downeast who plan and coordinate this series includes: Martha Dickinson, Starr Gilmartin, Maggie Harling, Ann Luther, Judith Lyles, Wendilee O’Brien, Maryann Ogonowski, Pam Person, Lane Sturtevant, Leah Taylor, Linda Washburn

Prerecorded on 1/21/2022 using Zoom technology.

About the host:
Ann currently serves as Treasurer of the League of Women Voters of Maine and leads the LWVME Advocacy Team. She served as President of LWVME from 2003 to 2007 and as co-president from 2007-2009. In her work for the League, Ann has worked for greater public understanding of public policy issues and for the League’s priority issues in Clean Elections & Campaign Finance Reform, Voting Rights, Ethics in Government, Ranked Choice Voting, and Repeal of Term Limits. Representing LWVME at Maine Citizens for Clean Elections, she served that coalition as co-president from 2006 to 2011. She remains on the board of MCCE and serves as Treasurer. She is active in the LWV-Downeast and hosts their monthly radio show, The Democracy Forum, on WERU FM Community Radio -which started out in 2004 as an recurring special, and became a regular monthly program in 2012. She was the 2013 recipient of the Baldwin Award from the ACLU of Maine for her work on voting rights and elections. She joined the League in 1998 when she retired as Senior Vice President at SEI Investments. Ann was a founder of the MDI Restorative Justice Program, 1999 – 2000, and served on its Executive Board.

Democracy Forum 11/19/21: Freedom of Religion, Freedom from Religion: Politics and Religion in America

Host: Ann Luther, League of Women Voters of Maine

Freedom of Religion, Freedom from Religion: Politics and Religion in America

-What is the constitutional foundation of the separation of church and state?
-Why is it important?
-Is freedom of religion in the Bill of Rights? How did the doctrine emerge and develop from the prohibition on the establishment of religion?
-How is the interpretation and practice affecting modern politics?
-What is the intersection of political activism and religious groups, now and in our history?

Guests:
Mark Brewer, Professor of Political Science and Department Chair, University of Maine
Vincent Phillip Muñoz, Tocqueville Associate Professor of Religion & Public Life, Department of Political Science, Concurrent Associate Professor of Law, Notre Dame University

To learn more about this topic:

Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments, James Madison, presented to the Virginia General Assembly in 1785

In U.S., Far More Support Than Oppose Separation of Church and State, Pew Research Center, October 2021

The Sleeper SCOTUS Case That Threatens the Separation of Church and State, The Atlantic, October 2021

Two Concepts of Religious Liberty: The Natural Rights and Moral Autonomy Approaches to the Free Exercise of Religion, Vincent Phillip Munoz, American Political Science Review, May 2016

Opinion | If they’re going to keep passing religious laws, we’re going to need exemptions, Washington Post, September 2021

The 2020 Census of American Religion, Public Religion Research Institute, July 2021

How ‘In God We Trust’ bills are helping advance a Christian nationalist agenda, The Conversation, July 2021

Relevant No More?: The Catholic/Protestant Divide in American Electoral Politics by Mark D. Brewer, 2003

The mostly volunteer team at the League of Women Voters – Downeast who plan and coordinate this series includes: Martha Dickinson, Michael Fisher, Starr Gilmartin, Maggie Harling, Ann Luther
Judith Lyles, Wendilee O’Brien, Maryann Ogonowski, Pam Person, Leah Taylor, Linda Washburn

About the host:
Ann currently serves as Treasurer of the League of Women Voters of Maine and leads the LWVME Advocacy Team. She served as President of LWVME from 2003 to 2007 and as co-president from 2007-2009. In her work for the League, Ann has worked for greater public understanding of public policy issues and for the League’s priority issues in Clean Elections & Campaign Finance Reform, Voting Rights, Ethics in Government, Ranked Choice Voting, and Repeal of Term Limits. Representing LWVME at Maine Citizens for Clean Elections, she served that coalition as co-president from 2006 to 2011. She remains on the board of MCCE and serves as Treasurer. She is active in the LWV-Downeast and hosts their monthly radio show, The Democracy Forum, on WERU FM Community Radio -which started out in 2004 as an recurring special, and became a regular monthly program in 2012. She was the 2013 recipient of the Baldwin Award from the ACLU of Maine for her work on voting rights and elections. She joined the League in 1998 when she retired as Senior Vice President at SEI Investments. Ann was a founder of the MDI Restorative Justice Program, 1999 – 2000, and served on its Executive Board.

Democracy Forum 10/15/21: In Government We Trust — Or Do We?

Host: Ann Luther, League of Women Voters of Maine

We talk about trust and distrust in government.
What is the history of distrust in government in the US?
How has it been weaponized in the last half-century?
What do we lose when we have a blanket distrust in government: who loses and who gains?
What motivates strategic attempts to weaken government?
In what way is distrust a weapon in the arsenal of attempts to weaken or reduce government?

Guests:
Amy Fried, John Mitchell Nickerson Professor of Political Science at the University of Maine
Steven Webster, Assistant Professor of Political Science at Indiana University

To learn more about this topic:

How Republicans Stoke Anti-Government Hatred by Luisa S. Deprez in Washington Monthly, August 27, 2021

Covid vaccine resistance and the Capitol riot stem from the GOP long weaponizing distrust, by Noah Berlatsky in NBC New Think, Aug. 3, 2021

Are Liberals to Blame for Our Crisis of Faith in Government? by Louis Menand, August 9, 2021 in The New Yorker

At War with Government: How Conservatives Weaponized Distrust from Goldwater to Trump by Amy Fried and Douglas B. Harris, August 2021

Rebuilding Trust in American Institutions By Sonal Shah & Hollie Russon Gilman Jan. 27, 2021, Stanford Social Innovation Review

American Rage: How Anger Shapes Our Politics, Cambridge University Press, by Steven W. Webster, Indiana University. August 2020

Stoking the Beast By Jonathan Rauch in The Atlantic JUNE 2006

Key findings about Americans’ declining trust in government and each other, Pew Research Center, July 22, 2019

The Republicans waged a 3-decade war on government. They got Trump. By Norman J. Ornstein and Thomas E. Mann Jul 18, 2016, Vox

Prerecorded on 9/13 using Zoom technology.

The mostly volunteer team at the League of Women Voters – Downeast who plan and coordinate this series includes: Martha Dickinson, Starr Gilmartin, Maggie Harling, Ann Luther,Judith Lyles, Wendilee O’Brien, Maryann Ogonowski, Pam Person, Lane Sturtevant, Leah Taylor, Linda Washburn

About the host:
Ann currently serves as Treasurer of the League of Women Voters of Maine and leads the LWVME Advocacy Team. She served as President of LWVME from 2003 to 2007 and as co-president from 2007-2009. In her work for the League, Ann has worked for greater public understanding of public policy issues and for the League’s priority issues in Clean Elections & Campaign Finance Reform, Voting Rights, Ethics in Government, Ranked Choice Voting, and Repeal of Term Limits. Representing LWVME at Maine Citizens for Clean Elections, she served that coalition as co-president from 2006 to 2011. She remains on the board of MCCE and serves as Treasurer. She is active in the LWV-Downeast and hosts their monthly radio show, The Democracy Forum, on WERU FM Community Radio -which started out in 2004 as an recurring special, and became a regular monthly program in 2012. She was the 2013 recipient of the Baldwin Award from the ACLU of Maine for her work on voting rights and elections. She joined the League in 1998 when she retired as Senior Vice President at SEI Investments. Ann was a founder of the MDI Restorative Justice Program, 1999 – 2000, and served on its Executive Board.