I'm currently the legal editor at Insider.

I was previously an independent reporter writing for publications like Bloomberg Law, The New York Times, Bloomberg, The New Republic, The Nation, In These Times, Columbia Journalism Review, Sojourners, and Religion & Politics.

Alternatives To Police Exist. You Just Haven't Heard of Them.

While there is tremendous work yet to be done, there exist already examples of municipal programs where public health and harm reduction are the priority. CAHOOTS, which was launched as a community initiative in 1989, provides mobile crisis intervention around the clock in Oregon’s Eugene-Springfield metropolitan area. The program is funded by the cities and managed by the White Bird Clinic, a community health center in Eugene. Crisis responders can be reached through the police nonemergency line or 911. They are dispatched in pairs, are not trained in law enforcement, and do not carry weapons.

Meet the Four Havard Law Grads Taking on the Entire Legal System

On a brisk morning in October 2019, a group of students from top U.S. law schools gathered outside the offices of the corporate law firm DLA Piper in Washington, D.C. They handed out leaflets decrying the firm’s mandatory arbitration policy, which had recently stopped a lawyer at the firm from taking her sexual assault claims to court, and called on law students to boycott interviews with the firm until it promised to end mandatory arbitration. The protesters are part of a new legal labor movement hoping to eradicate sexual harassment in the legal profession. They were organized by the People’s Parity Project, a group founded by four women at Harvard Law School with the aim of eliminating mandatory arbitration provisions and ending what they describe as the legal profession itself allowing harassment of and discrimination against workers.

Can Faith Leaders’ Vaccine Selfies Rebuild Public Trust?

Late last year, Rev. Dr. Kenneth Kemp received a text message from one of his congregants. The congregant wrote that her mother was in a long-term care facility, but she didn’t know if it was a good idea for her mother to get the COVID-19 vaccine when it became available. Kemp, the senior pastor at San Antonio’s Antioch Missionary Baptist Church, is also a pulmonary and critical care physician. He’s treated COVID-19 patients, researched the vaccine data, and believes the benefits far outweigh the risks. So he texted back, outlining the importance of the vaccine. He didn’t tell the woman what to do, but he shared the data he had. “And this member of my church said, ‘OK, I feel better about this now, and I want my mother to get the vaccine,’” Kemp told Sojourners. When Rev. Ann Helmke, who leads San Antonio’s Faith-Based Initiative, invited Kemp to sign an interfaith pledge to publicly take the COVID-19 vaccine, he was quick to say yes. Part of the pledge involves sharing a selfie of the vaccination process on social media. “If we’re going to reach 70 percent immunization or immunity in our community, we’re only going to do it if people trust the process," Kemp said.

They Invaded the Capitol Saying ‘Jesus Is My Savior’

When a mob of supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol building on Wednesday afternoon, many carried weapons, wore red MAGA hats, and draped themselves in the candidate’s flag. After legislators and their staff had been evacuated, Trump supporters entered the Senate chamber. With them came a Christian flag. Prominent Christian leaders across denominations were quick to denounce the insurrectionists. And yet Christianity is deeply interwoven with many of the ideologies that brought Trump supporters out to the National Mall and into the halls of Congress.

‘A Full Court Press’: How Detroit's Black Pastors Helped Protect the Vote

Even after Joe Biden was projected as the winner of the 2020 election, Rev. Dr. James C. Perkins of Greater Christ Baptist Church in Detroit continued to watch the news closely. He and other pastors in the city have spent the better part of the year encouraging their communities to vote. On Nov. 3, many of them donned their collars and went to the polls, not just as voters but as poll chaplains on watch for any signs of violence or voter intimidation. Now, Perkins and other pastors of Black churches in the city want to make sure Detroit’s votes are counted. Black communities in Detroit have been disproportionately hit by the coronavirus pandemic and the ongoing threats of police violence, and the pastors did everything they could to make sure those communities were heard in this election.

The Religious Hijacking of the Supreme Court Doesn’t Require Amy Barrett

Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett has already drawn a substantial amount of scrutiny for her conservative religious beliefs and her potential willingness to overturn Roe v. Wade. An originalist in the mold of her mentor Justice Antonin Scalia, Barrett could hamper liberal causes for decades to come. But it’s perhaps underappreciated just how much the conservative religious takeover of the court has long been underway. If Barrett is confirmed, she will join a bench that has already tipped the balance of church and state toward the former. Even if she isn’t confirmed, make no mistake—this trajectory is already laid in.

The Pandemic Is Putting Law Students’ Futures on Hold

As students graduating from the nation’s medical schools prepare to step into the front lines fighting the novel coronavirus, their law school counterparts confront a far more uncertain future. Front of mind for many is that states are postponing bar exams because of social distancing guidelines. Molly Savage, a third-year student at Wayne State University Law School in Detroit, recently helped put together a petition asking the state of Michigan to waive [bar] exam requirements. “To me, it’s my ability to use this degree that I’ve spent three years working on,” Savage says. “I can’t get a law job if I don’t have admission to the bar.”

Mister Rogers and the Reformation of Tom Junod

In early 1998, Tom Junod received an assignment that was outside his wheelhouse. His editor at Esquire asked him to profile Fred Rogers, the beloved television personality and Presbyterian minister. By the time Junod was done writing the story, he had become friends with Rogers. The two remained close until Rogers’s death, in early 2003. I spoke with Junod about how his friendship with Rogers changed the way he approaches journalism, and how that relationship came to bear on his faith.

This Multifaith Refuge is Only for Women

The category of religious “nones” in the U.S. has grown steadily over the past few decades, but polls show that “nones” are not necessarily atheists. Some may not agree with the faith traditions they grew up in, but that doesn’t mean they want to fully abandon those practices. Eboni Marshall Turman, who was raised in black Baptist churches, believes many nones might return to traditional spaces if those spaces would update their gender and sexual politics. “We’re still preaching this old, old, old message that really proclaims hopelessness” for those who don’t fit traditional gender norms, says Marshall Turman. “That’s why these churches are emptying out, and people are saying, ‘I’m spiritual but I’m not religious.’” Sacred Space is both a refuge for women who have left their religious traditions and a seminar for those who still hope to change their faith communities from within. No one religion is playing host. Everyone is welcome to bring their own traditions; only sexism, racism, homophobia, and other forms of exclusion are off the table.

The Long Road to Opening South Bend's Abortion Clinic

When Whole Woman’s Health of South Bend, Indiana, saw its first abortion patient on June 27, Amy Hagstrom Miller breathed a sigh of relief. “We have a green light,” she said. “We’ve booked patients. We have physicians scheduled all the way through the end of the summer.” It had been more than four years since Hagstrom Miller, the founder and CEO, first visited the college town to see if it would be a good spot for the clinic. Since then, she and local reproductive rights advocates have faced a steady stream of hurdles, ranging from skittish landlords to lawsuits, protesters, and a stonewalling state health department.

Jewish Youth Say “Never Again” As They Protest Trump’s Concentration Camps

Planes on their way to the airport fly low over a crowd of young protesters chanting “Racist ICE has got to go!” More than 100 Jewish and immigrant activists have gathered outside the Elizabeth Contract Detention Center in New Jersey, where Immigration and Customs Enforcement holds approximately 300 detainees. Later, a group of activists with a banner that reads “Never Again Means Close the Camps” links arms across the gate to the employee parking lot, briefly blocking employees from leaving as they demand the facility be shut down. Later in the evening, 36 protesters are arrested. The protest marked the beginning of two weeks of action organized by an unofficial coalition of Jewish and immigrant activists demanding an end to the detention and deportation of undocumented immigrants in the United States. Their message: that “Never Again”—an expression used in remembrance of the Holocaust—means never again for anyone.

The survivor who broke the Shambhala sexual assault story

Last summer, the Shambhala Buddhist community was stunned to learn that its leader, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, had sexually assaulted numerous female students. The story was not broken by any of the several Buddhist news outlets, but instead by Andrea Winn, a former Shambhala member and survivor of sexual abuse who conducted her own investigation. Winn, the creator of Buddhist Project Sunshine, does not consider herself a journalist. But she was able to get many other survivors to tell their stor

In Anti-Choice Hands, Abortion Clinic Inspections Become a Weapon

In about two dozen states, abortion clinics need facility licenses. And as part of that licensing requirement, inspectors from the department of health can visit clinics at any time, without notice. The anti-abortion movement has used these inspections, and the resulting reports, as a political tool to target abortion providers with false claims of unsafe practices. Part of an age-old tactic of fear mongering, anti-abortion activists routinely use words like “violation” and “fail” to describe minor deficiencies, making some administrative errors look like gross violations of patient safety.

Progressives Are Trying to Reclaim Religious Freedom in Court

On the morning of a scorching day in August 2017, a group of four young women drove into the dusty expanse of the Cabeza Prieta Wilderness on the southwestern edge of Arizona. When they arrived at their destination, they parked their truck, loaded their backpacks with gallon jugs of water, and trekked deeper into the desert between the boulders and low brush. Even though they wore thick boots, the group stopped periodically to peel the thorns of jumping cholla cacti out of their legs and feet. The volunteers planned to leave their water jugs, along with pop-top cans of cooked beans, out in the desert for migrants crossing the border. But less than two hours later, they were apprehended by law enforcement and were charged by federal prosecutors with entering the park without a permit, driving in a wilderness area, and abandonment of property. In their defense, the volunteers argued that their actions were motivated by their faith.

Edith Espinal Has Spent 18 Months Hiding From ICE in a Church. How Much Longer Will the Authorities Let Her Stay?

If ICE starts knocking down church doors, sanctuary movement organizers are relying on religion’s moral clout and its special relationship to the state to force a larger shift in public opinion. The sanctuary movement, which dates back to the 1980s, is thus a test of whether such arguments still have sway in a hyper-partisan age that has broken down any consensus of what constitutes a decent, humane society. And it is a test of whether any institution can lay claim to some higher moral authority in politics, even among those who have traditionally identified as religious voters.

The Nuns Are Back on the Bus

We’re in a slick tour bus heading down Interstate 87 towards the sisters’ next stop in Morristown, and we’re pulling out of Kingston, where they held a rally outside the offices of Republican Congressman John J. Faso. The bus is basically a giant, rolling billboard. Across the side it bears the words “Tax Justice Truth Tour.” On the back, a message from Pope Francis: “A good Catholic meddles in politics.” The “Nuns on the Bus” tour was created by Sister Simone Campbell, a lawyer, lobbyist, and Sister of Social Service. Campbell is the executive director of NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice, a lobby group founded in 1971 by a group of Catholic nuns in response to the Vatican II reforms. It’s her sixth time out in the tour bus; the first tour, in the summer of 2012, was launched to challenge Paul Ryan’s budget proposal. This year, the trip is a rebuke of the Republican tax bill of 2017. The nuns advocate for “reasonable revenue for responsible programs,” which means taxing top earners at a higher rate and spending the money on safety-net programs, accessible health care, and public infrastructure rather than the military. The money is there, the nuns believe; we’re just spending it in the wrong place.

Voting From the Pews

On Sunday mornings in black churches across Georgia this October, congregants will gather like they always to do, to pray and worship together. But in the weeks preceding the November 6 election, they’ll be doing something a little bit different: voting by mail, together. At Pulse Church in downtown Atlanta, pastor Billy M. Honor plans to preach a sermon about civic engagement on October 28. “We’ll be talking about voting, the sacred act of voting, how citizenship is a God-given right,” Honor says. “We best exercise that right when we participate in that project.”

Turning a KKK Bombing Ground Into an Urban Farm

The lot doesn’t look like much: Short stacks of tires line a small rectangle of flattened cardboard boxes, all interspersed with bright green vines of invasive kudzu. To Rev. Majadi Baruti, however, it’s a pumpkin patch and future urban farm. The tires are planters for young Sugar Baby pumpkins, the cardboard will keep weeds down and attract worms to fertilize the soil, and the kudzu will work wonders for compost because of its nitrogen content. Two patches of what looks like empty soil will soon sprout flowers, which will then “bring bees and butterflies,” says Baruti.

Ties that Bind

In the summer of 2016, Adam Merberg was offered a job as a data scientist at AbleTo, a behavioral health care company based in New York City. After he verbally accepted the job offer, a corporate recruiter sent him an email letting him know the company would be running a routine background check. “Also attached is a confidentiality agreement,” the recruiter wrote. “Please review, complete, sign, and return to me as soon as possible.” The agreement included a non-compete clause prohibiting Merberg from working at any of the company’s competitors for twelve months after leaving. Merberg, who had recently completed a Ph.D. in mathematics, didn’t consider how this might later affect him.
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