Become An Informed Citizen

Engage with NJSBF in a whole new way. By joining our contact list you’ll receive more information on Foundation programs, trainings, and publications. You’ll also receive the latest on NJSBF materials that strive to educate everyone in New Jersey—from students to senior citizens—about their rights and responsibilities under the law.

Latest News

Battles Intensify Over Social Media Bans and Free Speech

by Michael Barbella The framers of the U.S. Constitution could never have imagined social media; however, the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution does apply to online speech as well as the spoken or written word. Social media companies, however, have First...

Is Corporal Punishment Making a Comeback?

by Daryl E. Lucas Whether you’re for or against the use of corporal punishment in schools, the one thing everyone probably agrees on is that the practice is not easily forgotten if it’s been used on you. In an opinion piece for NBC News’ blog, S.C. Beckner, an...

Garden State Serious About Protecting the Environment

by Maria Wood The National Climate Assessment, a congressionally mandated report, which was released in November 2022, revealed that over the past 50 years America has warmed 68% faster than the planet as a whole. In addition, the report showed that the U.S. has...

U.S. Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Praying Football Coach

by Suzi Morales In June 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the right of a football coach employed at a public school to pray on the field after games. The Court’s decision illustrates the complexity of interpreting the five clauses in the U.S. Constitution’s First...

Juvenile Strikes Count in Three Strikes Law

by Maria Wood “Three strikes and you’re out” doesn’t just refer to baseball, it also applies to those who commit serious crimes in the Garden State. New Jersey is one of 28 states that have three strikes laws on the books. Passed in 1995, New Jersey’s Three Strikes...

Right to Remain Silent? Not About Passcodes

by Michael Barbella Increasingly, the nation’s courts need to look to the U.S. Constitution to interpret laws dealing with 21st century technology as digital devices become entrenched in everyday life, as well as in criminal activity. Computers, cellphones, and other...

It’s a Warming World—What Can Be Done?

by Jodi L. Miller There is no question that the Earth is warming. According to the World Meteorological Organization, the warmest seven years on record have all occurred since 2015, with 2016 and 2020 tying for the hottest. According to the National Aeronautics and...

Climate Change Litigation Heats Up as Temperatures Rise

by Michael Barbella The mercury’s gradual climb over the last four decades has not only made the planet hotter overall, it also has triggered an increase in climate change-related lawsuits. The number of such legal actions rose steadily throughout the late 20th and...

Holding Corporations Accountable for Climate Change

by Emily Pecot Everyone can play a part in combatting climate change. Corporations, however, are uniquely positioned to play an even bigger role and are facing pressure to take meaningful and timely action. According to a 2021 report, “Taking Stock: A Global...

Garden State Leads the Way on Climate Change Education

by Suzi Morales When Egg Harbor Township High School science teacher Jim House began teaching environmental science 12 years ago, his class was one that students often took just to get another science credit. Today, teaching about environmental issues has become much...

Updating an Old Act

Election rules and procedures in the United States can be complicated. That is especially true in presidential election years because we don’t have one presidential election, we essentially have 50 separate ones. In the U.S. Constitution, Article II, Section 1 sets up...

Are States “Labs of Democracy?” Yes and No

In civics education, generally the U.S. Constitution gets all the attention, but every state has its own constitution too and some of them pre-date the federal constitution. An often-quoted dissenting opinion, written in 1932 by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis...

Freedom of Speech Vital to Democracy

Supreme Court Justice Benjamin Cardozo wrote in a majority opinion that freedom of speech “is the matrix, the indispensable condition of nearly every other form of freedom.” Other countries don’t enjoy the same right to free speech that Americans do. But it wasn’t...

Freedom of the Press Guards Against Tyranny

Thomas Jefferson once said, “Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost.” He also said, “Nothing can now be believed which is seen in a newspaper. Truth itself becomes suspicious by being put into that polluted...

Allowing the Freedom to Practice Religion or Not

There are more than 300 religious denominations in the United States. From those who believe in one God, to those who believe in multiple Gods, to those who don’t believe in God at all, the First Amendment’s freedom of religion clause protects them all. There is no...

First Amendment Freedoms Allow For Dissent

From the Boston Tea Party in 1773 to the Black Lives Matter Movement today, Americans have met oppression with protest. The Founding Fathers believed strongly in a citizen’s right to express dissent, preserving the right in the First Amendment to the U.S....

The Evolution of the Second Amendment

“A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” These 27 words that comprise the Second Amendment have been endlessly debated by legal scholars, judges and justices in...

No Quarter Given

Can you imagine being forced to shelter someone you don’t know in your home indefinitely? We’re not talking about a distant cousin that annoys you by borrowing your stuff without asking. We’re talking about a British soldier that is essentially occupying your house...

Protecting Privacy in the Past and the Future

In 1763, William Pitt, the 1st Earl of Chatham, gave a speech in Parliament’s House of Lords where he said: “The poorest man may in his cottage bid defiance to all the forces of the Crown. It may be frail—its roof may shake—the wind may blow through it— the storm may...

Fifth Amendment All About Protecting Individual Rights

Of all the amendments in the Bill of Rights, you may be most familiar with the Fifth, especially if you’re a fan of cop shows or courtroom dramas. You’ve probably heard the term, “Taking the Fifth.” You may even have a vague idea of what double jeopardy is. So, let’s...

What expectation of privacy do students have when using a computer wholly owned and overseen by a school district?

Use of district-owned computers typically comes with a disclaimer and requires the signing of a technology agreement between the parents and district before each school year begins. These technology agreements usually consist of a compact that the student promises not...

I have a Will; do I need Estate Planning?

Wills are just one part of Estate Plans. Wills only control assets that are in one’s sole name and become effective after death. Wills do not control joint accounts or beneficiary designations; upon death, the joint owner/beneficiary receives that asset. Estate Plans...

Why do parents of minors need Wills? Minors cannot own assets.

If a minor inherits their parents’ estate, the Courts decide who controls the child’s inheritance until age 18. A father might not want the mother (having first right) to manage his money and she will pay court fees or bond premiums to access this money. Also, the...

What happens if I am involved in an accident while driving under the influence and someone else is injured?

Driving While Intoxicated and causing injuries to another is a criminal offense, Assault by Auto under N.J.S. 2C:12-1c. Criminal offenses are heard in the County Superior Court, not the local Municipal Court. In addition to the penalties for the underlying DWI...

What recourse do I have if I am discriminated against in the workplace?

The EEOC is the federal law enforcement agency that: • Enforces laws against workplace discrimination; o Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (Title VII), o Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), o Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), and o Genetic Information...

What laws protect employees against discrimination?

The State of New Jersey, Division on Civil Rights (DCR) is responsible for enforcing the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, which makes it illegal to discriminate in employment, contracting, housing, and places of public accommodation, as well as violations of the...

If I am in a domestically abusive relationship and I leave, how can I protect myself?

“New Jersey enacted the Prevention Against Domestic Violence Act (“PADV”) to afford an individual in an abusive relationship the maximum protection from abuse by his/her spouse or cohabitants that the law can provide. The PADV enables a victim of domestic violence to...

Am I responsible for fraudulent charges on my credit card if my card was lost, stolen or hacked?

You shouldn’t be. Especially if you notified your credit card company as soon as it is lost or stolen. Credit card companies always have an internal system through which you can challenge the listed charges— Ahmed M. Soliman, Esq., Soliman & Associates, P.C.

Is a landlord liable if a tenant or visitor is injured on a rental property?

Generally, a landlord is responsible to provide a safe and nonhazardous condition. If a tenant or visitor is injured due to a defective stairwell or poor lighting, the landlord can be liable for the injuries caused by such a condition. However, if a tenant or visitor...

What is a limited liability corporation?

A limited liability company, also known as an 'LLC' is a type of corporate structure. It is a hybrid structure that combines characteristics of a corporation with those of partnership or sole proprietorship. LLC members cannot be held personally liable for the...

Battles Intensify Over Social Media Bans and Free Speech

by Michael Barbella The framers of the U.S. Constitution could never have imagined social media; however, the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution does apply to online speech as well as the spoken or written word. Social media companies, however, have First...

Is Corporal Punishment Making a Comeback?

by Daryl E. Lucas Whether you’re for or against the use of corporal punishment in schools, the one thing everyone probably agrees on is that the practice is not easily forgotten if it’s been used on you. In an opinion piece for NBC News’ blog, S.C. Beckner, an...

Garden State Serious About Protecting the Environment

by Maria Wood The National Climate Assessment, a congressionally mandated report, which was released in November 2022, revealed that over the past 50 years America has warmed 68% faster than the planet as a whole. In addition, the report showed that the U.S. has...

U.S. Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Praying Football Coach

by Suzi Morales In June 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the right of a football coach employed at a public school to pray on the field after games. The Court’s decision illustrates the complexity of interpreting the five clauses in the U.S. Constitution’s First...

Juvenile Strikes Count in Three Strikes Law

by Maria Wood “Three strikes and you’re out” doesn’t just refer to baseball, it also applies to those who commit serious crimes in the Garden State. New Jersey is one of 28 states that have three strikes laws on the books. Passed in 1995, New Jersey’s Three Strikes...

Right to Remain Silent? Not About Passcodes

by Michael Barbella Increasingly, the nation’s courts need to look to the U.S. Constitution to interpret laws dealing with 21st century technology as digital devices become entrenched in everyday life, as well as in criminal activity. Computers, cellphones, and other...

It’s a Warming World—What Can Be Done?

by Jodi L. Miller There is no question that the Earth is warming. According to the World Meteorological Organization, the warmest seven years on record have all occurred since 2015, with 2016 and 2020 tying for the hottest. According to the National Aeronautics and...

Climate Change Litigation Heats Up as Temperatures Rise

by Michael Barbella The mercury’s gradual climb over the last four decades has not only made the planet hotter overall, it also has triggered an increase in climate change-related lawsuits. The number of such legal actions rose steadily throughout the late 20th and...

Holding Corporations Accountable for Climate Change

by Emily Pecot Everyone can play a part in combatting climate change. Corporations, however, are uniquely positioned to play an even bigger role and are facing pressure to take meaningful and timely action. According to a 2021 report, “Taking Stock: A Global...

Garden State Leads the Way on Climate Change Education

by Suzi Morales When Egg Harbor Township High School science teacher Jim House began teaching environmental science 12 years ago, his class was one that students often took just to get another science credit. Today, teaching about environmental issues has become much...
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