Author: Michael Vargas (Michael Vargas)

Vargas: Expanding the federal judiciary is necessary

Eight years ago, I worked for U.S. District Court judge Susan Richard Nelson in St. Paul, Minnesota. My first project involved a procedural issue, in which the judge had to decide whether to grant a motion to move a case to Wisconsin. One of the most persuasive arguments for Judge Nelson was the fact that...

Vargas: Don’t expect judges to block new COVID-19 restrictions

With a surge in COVID-19 cases around the globe, Gov. Gavin Newsom has imposed new restrictions on large and small gatherings, including a lockdown if local hospitals reach 85% capacity. Five Bay Area counties, including Santa Clara, have decided not to wait and imposed another lock-down already. This second round of lockdowns has, not surprisingly,...

Vargas: LGBTQ+ community’s historic gains this election                

For the past week the national headlines may have been focused on Joe Biden’s victory over President Trump and the historic implications of the election of Kamala Harris as vice president. However, a much quieter revolution was occurring as well. The 2020 election saw a record-shattering number of LGBTQ+ people running for public office around...

Vargas: The last giant of the Supreme Court

Of the 102 men and women to sit on the United States Supreme Court, only a few can truly be called giants of that most venerated body. Those who stand above the others are recognized not only for their towering intellect, but also for prophetic visions of social and political change. Among the greatest of...

Vargas: The politics and policing of gay sexuality

Alex Morse was just 22 when he was elected the first gay mayor of Holyoke, Massachusetts. Last year, Morse decided to run for Congress against the moderate Democrat Richard Neal in the 1st District. Morse was a serious contender for the seat, until the UM Amherst chapter of the College Democrats, possibly in coordination with...

Vargas: Race-based affirmative action in college admissions still needed

With Prop 16 officially on the November ballot, affirmative action is once again in the headlines. When we talk about affirmative action in higher education today, we often talk about it narrowly in the context of explicitly race-based programs benefiting Black and Latinx applicants. However, there are myriad forms of affirmative-action programs in higher education...

Vargas: Pride month has always been about liberation

I attended my first Pride Parade in 2004 when I was 18 years old and working for OutFront Minnesota, an LGBTQ political advocacy organization in Minneapolis. We were still celebrating the 2002 election of Scott Dibble to the Minnesota State Senate, the only LGBTQ member of that body at the time. But we were also...

Vargas: Betsy DeVos’ new Title IX rules are dangerous

I spent 4 years working in Student Affairs at the University of Southern California. In 2006, I got my first job working with students as a resident advisor, and then served in a number of other roles until 2010 when I finished my masters degree in education. During this period, the higher education community was...

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