Metahumans Sue New York State Over Registration
IC Newspaper Article: Metahumans Sue New York State Over Registration
IC Details
IC Author: Lois Lane
Source: The Daily Planet
Reach: International
IC Date: September 30, 2019
Location: New York
Associated Characters
Associated Plotlines

By Lois Lane
Sept. 30, 2019

Mary Peterson never planned to be a public figure or a source of controversy. A first-grade teacher at a prestigious Brooklyn magnet school, Ms. Peterson spent most of her time with her students, or raising her own teenage children.

But weeks after the New York Metahuman Registration Act of 2018 went into effect, Peterson was told she would have to take a blood test for the X-gene, as required of all public employees under the new law. She resigned her job before taking the DNA test, which sparked a subsequent investigation by New York's Department of Public Safety that established her as a mutant with low-grade powers of empathy. She was arrested for failing to register, and has been held for the last three months in the “Raft," a secluded maximum security facility designed for dangerous metahumans.

On Tuesday, Ms. Peterson will become the public face of a class action lawsuit to be filed against the State of New York. The suit claims that the Metahuman Registration Act of 2018 violates the Eighth and Fourteenth amendments of the United States Constitution.

"The money spent keeping me in custody would be better spent on schools where we can better teach our children to denounce bigotry in whatever form it takes,” said Peterson in an exclusive interview with the Daily Planet. “Clearly, we failed our legislators in that regard."

The lawsuit will throw fuel on an already heated debate over metahuman rights. If successful, it could upend what many see as a pilot program for a nationwide registration effort to document super-powered U.S. residents. Similar laws have been proposed in New Jersey, Texas, and California. A federal registration bill championed by Senator Robert Kelley (D-NY) already has 125 co-sponsors from both parties. Last month Kelley announced his bid for the Republican presidential nomination on a public safety platform.

"Hundreds of New Yorkers have already been thrown in cages, collared with leashes, or gunned down by giant flying robots," said Matthew Murdock, a lawyer representing the plaintiffs. "They are literally under attack, not because of anything they have or haven't done, but because of what they can do and who they are. It's unconstitutional, and un-American."

The role of Mr. Murdock's firm, Nelson & Murdock, adds more drama to what already promises to be a legal spectacle. Two years ago, Murdock and his partner, Franklin Nelson, successfully defended World War II veteran James Buchanan "Bucky" Barnes against multiple charges of murder, terrorism, and treason, in what was popularly called "The Trial of Two Centuries."

The U.S. Attorney who prosecuted Barnes, David Archer, was elected New York Attorney General in 2018, and says he will defend New York State in the class action suit. It sets the stage for an epic legal rematch with arguably higher stakes.

"Hundreds of New Yorkers have been incinerated, dismembered, or pulverized at the hands of unaccountable and unregistered metahumans," said Archer. "The Registration Act simply asks individuals who can do these things to put their neighbors on notice, and to be responsible with the use of their abilities."

MRPSA has become a lightning-rod issue in New York, sparking protests across the state. The New York Department of Public Safety, which was established to implement the law, has already come under fire for its treatment of metahumans, and its failure to protect the list of registrants from a hacking incident earlier this year. The agency's "Sentinel Program," which uses humanoid drones to target and subdue metahumans, has drawn particular ire.

"You need life before you can have liberty or the pursuit of happiness," said NY DPS Director Amon Bell. "That's what's at stake here. Asking people who can kill us with a snap of their fingers to write their names down and check in every once in a while is not an onerous burden. What we should be wondering is why they are resisting in the first place."

OOC Notes:

Posted by on 30 Sep 2019 16:57.

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