Law & Policy

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Do Whistleblower Protections Work? Ask This One.

A case from almost a decade ago reveals the peril faced by whistleblowers seeking to expose wrongdoing.
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Trump’s Immigration Rhetoric Echoes a Bitter Fight from the 90s

Today's immigration policies echo an anti-immigration movement 25 years ago in California.
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A New Housing Program to Fight Poverty has an Unexpected History

Some cities are trying to help poor children succeed by having their families move to middle-income, so-called "opportunity areas" -- an idea that was once politically impossible.
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Lingering Peril From Lead Paint

About half a million children have dangerously high lead levels in their blood, mostly from exposure to peeling paint and contaminated dust. The fight over who should clean it up has lasted for decades.
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DNA Clues Solve Crimes . . . With a Privacy Cost

DNA information that is available on genealogy websites is doing more than satisfying curiosity -- it's solving crimes.
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Space Law: The Next Generation

An international treaty laid out the basics of space law in 1967. But without a lot of case history to go on, lawyers today have looked to maritime law and Arctic exploration as they lay the groundwork for how space will be governed.
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Migrant Children in Custody: The Long Battle for Protection

The number of immigrant children held in federally contracted shelters reached record levels last year, leading to lawsuits over the Trump administration’s treatment of minors.
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The Roots of Evangelicals’ Political Fervor

White evangelical Christians are among President Trump’s most important supporters. But more than 40 years ago, they were on the margins of American politics.
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Abortion Was Illegal. This Secret Group Defied the Law

We tell the story of a little known chapter in American history, before Roe v. Wade, when a clandestine group provided thousands of women with illegal abortions in Chicago.
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Why We Can't Have a Civil Conversation About Guns

In the 1980s, the attempted assassination of Ronald Reagan and the shooting of his press secretary, Jim Brady, led to the Brady Bill. Decades later, are there lessons from that fight for the Parkland students?
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The Rise of SWAT: How Cops Became Soldiers

As police have become more militarized, the role of SWAT teams has morphed -- from use in emergency situations to fighting the drug war.
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Trump's Medicaid Positioning Echoes the Controversial Welfare Reform of the 90s

During his campaign, Donald Trump vowed not to cut to entitlements, including Medicaid. But now he's reversing himself and additionally plans to turn more control of the program over to the states. We take a look at what happened to another entitlement, welfare, when the states took over.
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Forever Prison

Guantanamo Bay has become a symbol of the war on terror, but its story actually begins a decade before, when it was first used to detain thousands of Haitians outside the reach of U.S. law. This story was created in collaboration with NPR and PBS, FRONTLINE.
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Life After Welfare

Twenty years ago, welfare reform was signed into law, promising needy families a path out of poverty. This is the story of Tianna Gaines-Turner, a former welfare recipient, who still struggles to make ends meet.
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Welfare and the Politics of Poverty

Bill Clinton's 1996 welfare reform was supposed to move needy families off government handouts and onto a path out of poverty. Twenty years later, how has it turned out?
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How Heroin Addiction's Rural Spread Changed the War on Drugs

From time to time over the past 40 years, efforts were made to treat heroin addiction as a public health instead of a crime problem. But they were not successful.
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How a Standoff with the Black Panthers Fueled the Rise of SWAT

SWAT teams were created in the 1960s to combat violent events. Since then, the specialized teams have morphed into a force increasingly used in routine policing, most often to serve drug warrants,sometimes with disastrous results. Which raises the question -- are we too militarized?
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From Crack Babies to Oxytots: Lessons Not Learned

In the 1980s, many government officials, scientists, and journalists warned that the country would be plagued by a generation of “crack babies.” They were wrong. More than 25 years later, the media is sounding a similar alarm.
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Why Waco is Still a Battleground in the 2nd Amendment Debate

Twenty-six years ago, federal agents raided the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas, and generated a legacy that continues to shape antigovernment groups today.
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E. Coli Outbreaks Changed Food Production, But How Safe Are We?

A 1993 E. coli outbreak linked Jack in the Box hamburgers sickened 700 people and acted as a wake up call about the dangers of food-borne illness. Decades later, how far have we really come in terms of food safety?
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Reintroducing Wolves to Yellowstone was a Success. That's When Trouble ​Began.

In the 1990s, the federal government reintroduced the gray wolf to Yellowstone National Park. It was considered a big success. And that’s when the real fight began.
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Her Vegetative State Caused Congress, President Bush and Even the Pope to Weigh In

The controversy over Terri Schiavo’s case elevated a family matter into a political battle that continues to frame end-of-life issues today.