Duke Constitutional Law Prof on Civitas Moral Monday Database
The Huffington Post has an open letter from Duke Consitutional Law Professor Jebediah Purdy on the Civitas online database - complete with mug shots and information about employers and voter registrations - of individuals arrested during the Moral Monday protests.
You've made some really solid aesthetic choices here. The dull, column-ruled, sans-serif layout that we have to click through ten names at a time, like we were turning the pages of a Registry of Deeds? So retro. It's like 1950s public record in a county courthouse. ...
The design choices set the mood for what you're really trying to communicate here: 1950s, blacklists, loyalty oaths, right? Am I feeling you?
Maybe it's just because I teach Constitutional Law, so I randomly know all these little Americana details, but this whole project is a really nice allusion to those laws Southern states passed in the 1950s, requiring certain groups, which just happened to be the NAACP and other civil-rights organizations, to disclose their membership. You know, so that employers and neighbors could be informed, make their views known to the troublemakers.
The Supreme Court, which was more of a buzzkill back then, struck down those laws under the First Amendment. But your list has nothing to do with the heavy hand of government. It's just civil society, some internet searches, and a little philanthropic funding -- from the same guy who has purchased himself the highest un-elected office in North Carolina and is calling the tune for the legislature. It's a nifty little public-private partnership. And it's not like you're actually saying anything, you know, mean about us. Just throwing the data out there, amping up the transparency. You report, we decide. ...
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