After escaping communism in Albania 30 years ago, Merita Kraja came to the United States, became a citizen, and opened a small business—Euro Pizza Café in Fountain Hills, Arizona. Her restaurant thrived for two decades, but then local law enforcement unfairly targeted her amid the COVID-19 crisis.
Although she followed all the rules for restaurants set out in Arizona’s executive order, some Euro Pizza patrons stopped in public spaces outside her restaurant to eat their food. But rather than holding those individuals accountable, city officials and law enforcement officers came after Merita, charging her with a crime for not policing public spaces.
Fortunately, Goldwater’s American Freedom Network—a national network of volunteer attorneys in all 50 states who defend Americans’ constitutional rights—was there to help Merita. Thanks to its efforts, charges against Merita have been dropped, bringing an end to the case and, hopefully, an end to this type of abuse of power by the city. Merita’s story received coverage in the New York Times and the Arizona Republic, among other outlets.
“As businesses, schools, and institutions of all stripes have rallied with the Black community through words, donations, and plans of action, and as elected officials have debated necessary police reforms, political agitators have exploited a grieving and fractured nation to usher in a new dogma of intolerance and authoritarianism — one which rejects men and women of color who do not conform to their political aims,” writes Goldwater Institute Director of Education Policy Matt Beienburg in a new op-ed at RealClearPolicy. And perhaps the worst manifestation of this intolerance comes from our schools.
Over the past year, thousands of schools across all 50 states have implemented “anti-racist” curricular materials from the New York Times “1619 Project,” an effort that calls upon schools to reject the very notion of America and the American Dream. Instead of embracing such curricula, we ought to work to re-establish the foundational knowledge of, and appreciation for, America and its Founders, while recognizing their humanity and their flaws.
To that end, Beienburg writes, the Goldwater Institute has launched “a new initiative and model legislation for ‘academic transparency’—that would require schools to fully disclose online (and before parents are forced to make enrollment decisions)—a list of all educational materials used in the prior year so that parents can themselves judge the caliber and character of instruction awaiting their students. Lawmakers ought to insist at the very least on such safeguards before greenlighting any new funding.”
Read the full op-ed here. And click here to learn more about the Goldwater Institute’s recently launched Van Sittert Center for Constitutional Advocacy, which is committed to defending our founding principles and promoting an understanding, appreciation, and support for the U.S. Constitution.
Two years ago, the Supreme Court issued its landmark Janus v. AFSCME decision, in which the Court ruled that governments can’t force their employees to pay union fees as a condition of their employment. In other words, the Court declared that government employees have the same First Amendment right as everyone else to choose which organizations—and whose political speech—they will and won’t support with their money.
At In Defense of Liberty, Goldwater Institute Senior Attorney Jacob Huebert—who was one of the attorneys who litigated the Janus case—writes that that decision” delivered an immediate benefit to many thousands of government employees across the country who weren’t union members, who stopped having union fees taken out of their paychecks. That was big, but it should only be the beginning, as courts and state governments may soon build on Janus to deliver more First Amendment freedom to more people.” In the post, Huebert outlines five ways the Court can build on this decision, and what the Goldwater Institute is doing to make that a reality.
The Supreme Court issued some major rulings in recent days. What do those decisions mean for everyday Americans—and what’s ahead for the Court?
The Goldwater Institute invites you to a special teleforum this Thursday featuring Vice President for Litigation Timothy Sandefur and Director of National Litigation and General Counsel Jon Riches as they lead a discussion about the Supreme Court’s recent decisions relating to school choice and the vast, unchecked power of the federal government. How do the justices interpret the law? What’s on the horizon for the Court? And how might protests over police action affect the Court’s docket in the coming years?
It is free to join this teleforum, but space is limited. Click here to register.
State Policy Network’s Bob Williams Awards for Outstanding Policy Achievement honor the most exceptional efforts from state think tanks across the country to help more Americans through free market solutions. We’re happy to announce that the Goldwater Institute’s work to break down barriers to work is a finalist this year, in the category of Biggest Win!
Since Arizona became the first state to recognize out-of-state occupational licenses a year ago, nearly a dozen other states have followed suit, passing their own versions of this Goldwater-led reform. In Arizona alone, more than 1,100 residents have applied for and been granted a license to work based on their out-of-state training and qualifications.
Everyone is invited to cast their vote for the award winners by July 24. We hope you’ll consider voting for us here.
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