Dorothy Samuels

Dorothy Samuels, a former member of the New York Times Editorial Board, is a senior fellow at the Brennan Center for Justice.

Recent Articles

No Greatness in Trump’s Call to Kill AmeriCorps

The president’s proposal to defund the nation’s flagship domestic service program is unwise and unpatriotic. Lawmakers should look elsewhere to make cuts. 

(AP/Jessica Reilly/Telegraph Herald)
(AP/Jessica Reilly/Telegraph Herald) Kathleen Elias and Eleni Kalamaris, both with AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps, cut and treat tree saplings at part of a prairie restoration at Mount St. Francis in Dubuque, Iowa. A s Americans celebrate the ideals of democratic participation and service this Fourth of July, it is an apt moment to decry the betrayal of those values in President Trump’s proposed elimination of all funding for the Corporation for National and Community Service. The independent federal agency, which oversees AmeriCorps and other public service programs, would only receive the money needed to shut down operations. A bit of background is in order. The 1994 launch of AmeriCorps—the nation’s premier public service program, a sort of domestic Peace Corps—was one of former President Bill Clinton’s signature achievements. The program aimed to harness the idealism and spirit of service of thousands of Americans eager to contribute time and energy to addressing...

New Stirrings in Trump’s Assault on Women’s Equality and Reproductive Freedom

The administration continues to lunge in the wrong direction and to threaten harm to women everywhere.

Erik McGregor/Sipa via AP Images
Erik McGregor/Sipa via AP Images A coalition of physicians, AIDS activists, medical students, and women's health and rights advocates stage a political theater piece in front of the globe outside Trump International Hotel on May 25, 2017; to protest Trump's global gag rule, which expands the policy restriction to all U.S. global health funding. E ven as he prepared to ruin the planet with his climate accord pullout, President Donald Trump found time in May for another pet project: making life less equitable and more dangerous for women in America and around the world. By the end of his first 100 days in office, Trump and hard-right enablers in his administration and Congress had already made significant headway in that damaging quest, logging potent early strikes against women’s reproductive rights and well-being. And now, they’re going even further. First, the latest. A leaked 125-page draft regulation posted online on May 31 by Vox showed the Trump administration poised to...

100 Days of Harm to Women and Counting

So little time, so much damage to women’s rights and wellbeing

AP Photo/Nick Ut, File
AP Photo/Nick Ut, File Planned Parenthood supporters rally for women's access to reproductive health care at Los Angeles City Hall. W ell, it could have been worse. That is the best that can be said of the assaults on women’s equality and reproductive freedom carried out during the first 100 days of Donald Trump’s presidency—a stretch marked by grievous, if unsurprising, disdain for women’s fair treatment at home and around the globe. That disdain was evident in the administration’s so far stalled attempt to “repeal and replace” Obamacare with a far less inclusive—and less female-friendly—Republican health plan. The noxious reversals that Trump and his minions have carried out in such a short time-frame is damage worth recalling at this critical benchmark. Some of the harshest measures have international ramifications. Just a few days into his White House run, Trump reinstated the “global gag rule” (also known as the “Mexico City policy”), a ban on U.S. assistance to groups abroad...

Trump Targets the Legal Services Corporation

Another presidential assault on the courts and poor people—and another critical institution heedlessly threatened.  

bikeriderlondon/Shutterstock
bikeriderlondon/Shutterstock B eyond eliminating the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the endowments for the arts and humanities, and other extreme Heritage Foundation-inspired dismantling, President Donald Trump’s budget blueprint for the coming fiscal year puts on the chopping block America’s core ideals of basic fairness and equal access to justice. That’s not just hyperbole. The so-called “skinny budget,” released last month by the Office of Management and Budget, proposes wiping out all federal financing for the 43-year-old Legal Services Corporation (LSC), the publicly funded but independently run nonprofit that is the largest source of support for high-quality civil legal assistance to low-income Americans—and a fundamental expression of the nation’s commitment to equal justice under law. If the situation has a familiar ring it’s because the organization has faced extinction threats before. Readers of a certain age, for example, will recall President Ronald Reagan’s...

Neil Gorsuch Must Answer the Questions Merrick Garland Was Denied

Democrats should require Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee to respond to basic questions about his judicial philosophy and views on past cases.

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik
AP Photo/Andrew Harnik Supreme Court Justice nominee Neil Gorsuch meets with Senator Chris Coons on Capitol Hill. T his is what the GOP push to confirm Neil Gorsuch, Donald Trump’s far-right nominee for the Supreme Court, has come to: An Instagram video posted by the Senate Republican Conference shows the 49-year-old federal Circuit Court of Appeals judge stopping to pet an adorable Shih Tzu while on his Capitol Hill rounds. The caption: “One more reason you’ll love Judge Gorsuch. He loves dogs.” Funny, perhaps, and cuddly—but also emblematic of Republicans’ artful but misleading push to “normalize” Trump’s very right-wing choice in advance of his Senate confirmation hearings, which begin on March 20. It’s all part of a full court press to install Gorsuch in the Supreme Court seat that Republicans effectively stole from Barack Obama with their unprecedented refusal to even consider his nominee, Merrick Garland, another widely respected—and far more moderate—federal judge. Obama had...

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