CIVIL RIGHTS

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What's New?

GAO Report Cites Need for More Careful and Thorough Approach to Employee Training Concerning Sexual Harassment
February 26, 2024. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) today published a new report entitled "Sexual Harassment: Actions Needed to Improve Prevention Training for Federal Civilian Employees presenting the results of seven Department of Defense and six other federal agencies and offering 14 recommendations to address problems identified in the report. In its WatchBlog Post on the report, GAO wrote: "All seven DOD components and six other federal agencies in this review require their employees to complete some sexual harassment prevention training. However, none of them have fully incorporated GAO and U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission management practices to enhance the effectiveness of their training content and the implementation of such training (see figure). They also do not know if their training needs improvements because they have not developed and implemented plans to evaluate its effectiveness."
   Read the Full Report.
   Read the GAO WatchBlog Post.

Three Judge Federal District Court Finds Alabama Failed to Comply with the Court's Order in a Major Voting Rights Districting Case Even After the Supreme Court Upheld that Panel Ruling
September 5, 2023. A three judge federal district court for the Northern District of Alabama has issued its opinion rejecting Alabama's revised districting plan concluding the state had failed to comply with the courts previous order.
   Read the injunction, Opinion, and Order.
   Read the Supreme Court's Previous Opinion in the Case.
   Read Panel's 2022 Preliminary Injunction, Memorandum Opinion, and Order.

Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Web Designer Who Refused to Do Work for Same-Sex Couples
June 30, 2023. The Justice Gorsuch wrote for a 6-3 majority in 303 Creative v. Elenis, concluding that mandating the web designer to provide services to same-sex couples violated her First Amendment right to freedom of expression.
   Read the opinions.

Supreme Court Finds Harvard and UNC Diversity Admissions Programs a Violation of Equal Protection Clause
June 29, 2023. In an opinion by Chief Justice Roberts, a 6-3 majority of the Supreme Court today found the Harvard and University of North Carolina diversity admissions programs in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Justices Sotomayor, Kagan, and Jackson dissented. (Justice Jackson did not take part in the Harvard case, but dissented in the North Carolina case.)
   Read the opinions.

Attorney General, Civil Rights Divsion, and City of Minneapolis Announce Results of Policing Investigation and Plans for Reform
June 16, 2023. Attorney General Merrick Garland, joined by other key DOJ leaders and representatives of the U.S. Attorneys Office were joined by the Minneapolis Mayor and Chief of Police for the release of the U.S. Department of Justice Investigation Report on policiing in the city following the murder of George Floyd. Attorney General Garland launched this investigation immediately after taking office. In announcing the results of the investigation the Attorney General and other DOJ officials praised the cooperation of the Mayor and Chief of Police and indicated that they had negotiated an Agreement in Principle to move forward to conclude a consent decree that will govern the remedial actions by the city with court supervision, including a court-appointed monitor.
   The U.S. Justice Department report follows the results of a state investigation released previously in 2022. That resulted in a remedial agreement that is currently in place.
   Read the DOJ Press Release on the Report and Other Actions.
   Read the DOJ report.
   Read the Agreement in Principle.
   Read the Report of Minnesota Human Rights Commission of 2022.
   Read the Court Enforceable Agreement between the City and the State.
   Read the 2021 Announcement of the Investigation by the Attorney General.

Supreme Court Rejects Challenges to the Indian Child Welfare Act
June 15, 2023. In a 7-2 majority opinion written by Justice Barrett, the Supreme Court today rejected a variety of challenges to the Indian Child Welfare Act. Justices Thomas and Alito dissented. As Justice Barrett explained in the introduction to the majority opinion: "Before us, a birth mother, foster and adoptive parents,and the State of Texas challenge the Act on multiple constitutional grounds. They argue that it exceeds federal authority, infringes state sovereignty, and discriminates on the basis of race. The United States, joined by several Indian Tribes, defends the law. The issues are complicated-so for the details, read on. But the bottom line is that we reject all of petitioners' challenges to the statute, some on the merits and others for lack of standing." Haaland v. Brackeen, Slip. op., at 2. Given the complex set of issues and the rulings in the Fifth Circuit, the Supreme Court concluded: "For these reasons, we affirm the judgment of the Court of Appeals regarding Congress's constitutional authority to enact ICWA. On the anticommandeering claims, we reverse. On the equal protection and nondelegation claims, we vacate the judgment of the Court of Appeals and remand with instructions to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction." Id. at 34.
   In addition to the majority opinion Justices Gorsuch and Kavanaugh the wrote concurring opinions. Justice Sotomayor and Jackson joined the Gorsuch concurrence. The full document is some 133 pages long.
   Read the opinions.

Pregnant Workers Fairness Act Goes Into Effect
May 22, 2023. The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) which was included at Division (II)(Those are the letters II and not Roman numerals)of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023 will take effect at the end of June is a new law that "requires covered employers to provide 'reasonable accommodations' to a worker's known limitations related to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions, unless the accommodation will cause the employer an 'undue hardship'" according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The new law is supposed to deal with difficulties in implementing protections that are supposed to be already available to pregnant employees under the the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Americans with Disabilities Act. In a posting by the EEOC entitled, the commission explained: "The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) is a new law that requires covered employers to provide 'reasonable accommodations' to a worker's known limitations related to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions, unless the accommodation will cause the employer an 'undue hardship.'"
   Read the Act (Division II).
   Read the EEOC's "What You Should Know About the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act."

Missouri County Judge Issues Temporary Restraining Order on State Attorney General's Emergency Rule on Transgender Treatment
May 1, 2023. Missouri Circuit Court Judge Ellen Ribaudo had issued a stay or the Attorney General's Emergency Rule on Friday, but today issued a temporary restraining order pending the full litigation of the case. For more information, see the post below for April 27.
   Read the Temporary Restraining Order.

Missouri County Judge Stays State Attorney General's Emergency Rule on Transgender Treatment
April 27, 2023. Missouri Circuit Court Judge Ellen Ribaudo has issued a stay on the implementation of an Emergency Rule issued by the Missouri Attorney General that would restrict gender affirming care for minors. She wrote in part that the court: "STAYS the implementation of the Attorney General's Emergency Order until Monday May 1, 2023 at 5pm, by which time the Court anticipates having a ruling prepared on the Motion for Temporary Restraining Order argued before it today. The petition for a temporary restraining order, Southampton Community Healthcare v. Bailey, was filed by Lambda Legal, the ACLU of Missouri, and Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP on behalf of the community healthcare organizations and a number of individuals, including two adolescents.
   Read the order.
   Read the Emergency Rule.
   Read Petition for a Temporary Restraining Order.

Justice Department Reports on Investigation of Louisville PD and Announces Negotiations on a Consent Decree for Refoms
March 9, 2023. Attorney General Merrick B. Garland yesterday announced that the Department of Justice was releasing the results of its investigation into the Louisville, Kentucky Police Department that was launched in the wake of the killing of Briana Taylor. He also announced an "agreement in principle" with Louisville for reforms in the police department that is expected by the parties upon completion of negotiations to be entered as a consent decree.
   The Attorney General announced that the DOJ investigation found that Louisville PD: "Uses excessive force, including unjustified neck restraints and the unreasonable use of police dogs and tasers; Conducts searches based on invalid warrants; Unlawfully executes warrants without knocking and announcing; Unlawfully stops, searches, detains, and arrests people; Unlawfully discriminates against Black people in enforcement activities; Violates the rights of people engaged in protected speech critical of policing; And, along with Louisville Metro, discriminates against people with behavioral health disabilities when responding to them in crisis." He also noted that DOJ has made 36 recommendations for change to provide a foundation for the continuing negotiations on a final consent decree.
   Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta and Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Kristen Clarke also issued statements regarding the Civil Rights Division's investigation of the Louisville PD. Beyond the specific actions with respect to the Louisville PD, Assoc. Attorney General Gupta noted that: "[J]ust this morning, the Justice Department's Office of Community Oriented Policing Services announced that it will produce a guide for police chiefs and mayors across the country to help them assess the appropriateness of the use of specialized units, like the unit formerly known as VIPER here in Louisville, as well as how to ensure necessary management, oversight and accountability of such units. The Justice Department also supports co-responder and community responder models that pair law enforcement and behavioral health professionals to attend to people experiencing a crisis, which will free up law enforcement officers to address more serious, violent offenses and save lives. These resources will be available to the LMPD, as they are to police agencies across our nation." That announcement by COPS is provided below.
   For additional information on the actions following the killing of Ms. Taylor, see the posts on this page for August 4, 2022 and October 12, 2020.
   Read the Attorney General's Remarks on Civil Rights Violations by the Louisville Metro Police Department and Louisville/Jefferson County Metro Government.
   Read the DOJ Press Release Announcing the Results of the investigation.
   Read The DOJ Investigative Report.
   Read the Agreement in Principle for Reform.
   Read the Remarks of Kristen Clarke serves as the Assistant Attorney General (AAG) for the Civil Rights Division .
   Read the Remarks of Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta Delivers Remarks.
   Read the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office) Press Release on Its Examination of Specialized Units within Law Enforcement to Produce a Guide for Police Chiefs and Mayors.

Office of Personnel Management Publishes First in A New Series of Reports on "Government-wide DEIA"
February 16, 2023. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) released a new report yesterday that is the first of what the agency promises will be a continuing publication entitled Government-wide DEIA: Our Progress and Path Forward to Building a Better Workforce for the American People. One of the key purposes of the report, according to OPM is to demonstrate action to implement the federal government's Strategic Plan to Advance DEIA in the Federal Workforce and Executive Order (EO) 14035, "Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility in the Federal Workforce," issued in June 2021.
   Read the Report.
   Read the OPM Press Release on the Report.
   Read the Strategic Plan.
   Read Executive Order 14035.

Federal District Ruling in Texas on HIV Prevention Drugs Still Pending Appeal
February 9, 2023. Back in September of 2022, Federal Disrict Judge Reed O'Connor of the Northern District of Texas issued an opinion in Braidwood Management v. Becerra, finding that an employer could refuse to cover HIV/AIDS related medication on grounds of his religious views under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), relying largely on the Supreme Court's opinion in See Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, 573 U.S. 682 (2014). There has been no announcement as yet whether the Department of Justice will appeal, but that is generally expected. The case focuses on requirements for coverage of preventative medications under the Affordable Care Act.
   Read the Opinion.

Leading Genetics Society Releases Report Apologizing for Role in Actions and Inactions with Respect to the Misuse of Genetics in Ways that Supported or Perpetuated Discrimination
January 24, 2023. The American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG) today released a new report entitled "Facing Our History Building an Equitable Future" acknowledging and apologizing for the role of this leading genetics organization in discrimination and in the eugenics movement. In releasing the report the society board of directors said: "The American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG)... and the field have failed to acknowledge, fully and consistently, the misuse of human genetics to serve unjust ends or take action to denounce such use. As the community's oldest and largest professional society, ASHG also has been late in making explicit efforts to integrate equity, diversity, and inclusion into its values, programs, and voice. The Society affirmatively seeks to reckon with, and sincerely apologizes for, its involvement in and silence on the misuse of human genetics research to justify and contribute to injustices in all forms." The statement went on promise that the society would "sustain and expand its integration of equitable and just principles in the study and use of human genetics research...." As a foundation point, the report recognizes that: "As a human genetics research organization, ASHG understands that concepts and terms such as 'race,' 'ancestry,' and 'ethnicity' are socially defined categories that have shifted over time...." Report at 4.
   The report results from a process that began in 2021 to examine the society's history and consider its future with particular attention to the use of genetics in discrimination. The report specifically addresses the eugenics movement and the role of some of those in leadership positions in the field in that destructive past. "The founders of the American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG) recognized the need for the human genetics community to separate itself from eugenics and established the society in the hopes of establishing the credibility of human genetics through the 'furtherance of sound research.' Despite these intentions, some of ASHG's founders and early leaders had troubling associations with eugenic ideals, practices, and organizations." Report at 7.Indeed, the report states: "Several ASHG presidents at some point in their careers supported both voluntary and compulsory eugenic sterilizations." Id. at 8. In addition to the specific discussion of the eugenics movement, the report also recognized that the society "was silent when genetics was misused to justify social harms" particularly in the 1960s and 1970s when genetics was used to claim that certain groups of people were "intellectually inferior" and in the face of "negative stereotypes about individuals" and groups of people. Id. at 4. Finally, in its release of the report the society's board states: "The ASHG Board of Directors acknowledges and apologizes, deeply and sincerely, for the participation of some ASHG founders, past presidents, and other leaders in promoting eugenic ideals that harmed people of minoritized groups. The Board also apologizes for ASHG's reticence and silence at times when it could have publicly refuted the misuse of genetics to feed discrimination and racism. The Board of Directors acknowledges the harms and inactions documented in the report and decries that genetics has been used to advance systemic harms against people of many marginalized communities, including those based on 'race' and ancestry, religious affiliation, indigenous ancestry, LGBTQ+ identities, and ability."
   Read the Report.
   Read the Statement on the Release of the Report.

The Respect for Marriage Act Passes Congress and Goes to the President for Signature
December 8, 2022 (Updated post from November 30, 2022). The House of Representatives today passed the amended version of H.R. 8404 The Respect for Marriage Act by a 258 to 169 vote intended to provide protections for same-sex marriage in the event that the Supreme Court were to reverse the Obergefell ruling providing constitutional protection for same-sex marriage. The bill now goes to the President for signature. The Senate passed an amended version that bill on November 29 by a vote of 61-36, The bill repeals the Defense of Marriage Act signed into law in 1996. The bill replaces that with a new section 1738C of Title 28 that prohibits states from denying "full faith and credit" to these marriages and provides an express private right of action for those whose rights under the statute are violated to bring suit in federal court. The bill passed with guarantees against requirements for religious organizations to participate in same-sex marriages and prohibition again polygamous marriages to address concerns expressed by a number of lawmakers.
   Although the bill requires recognition of same-sex marriages, it relies upon state laws for the existence of the marriages. It states in Section 7 that: "(a) For the purposes of any Federal law, rule, or regulation in which marital status is a factor, an individual shall be considered married if that individual's marriage is between 2 individuals and is valid in the State where the marriage was entered into or, in the case of a marriage entered into outside any State, if the marriage is between 2 individuals and is valid in the place where entered into and the marriage could have been entered into in a State.(b) In this section, the term 'State' means a State, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, or any other territory or possession of the United States.(c) For purposes of subsection (a), in determining whether a marriage is valid in a State or the place where entered into, if outside of any State, only the law of the jurisdiction applicable at the time the marriage was entered into may be considered." Of course, so long as the Obergefell v. Hodges, 576 U.S. 644 (2015), opinion continues in force, states are prohibited by the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution from banning them or refusing to recognize them if entered into elsewhere.
   Read the Enrolled Bill as Passed in the Senate.
   Read the Defense of Marriage Act of 1996 that Would Be Repealed by the Respect of Marriage Act.

Attorney General Calls for Strengthening Federal Government Policies to Ensure Access to Federally Funded Programs and Agencies for Persons With Limited English Proficiency
November 29, 2022. U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland has issued a memorandum to heads of federal agencies as well as Department of Justice units entitled "Memorandum to Improve Access to Services for People with Limited Proficiency in English" intended to press federal agencies to "improve, modernize, and carry out their language access responsibilities under Executive Order 13166, 'Improving Access to Services for Persons with Limited English Proficiency'." Press Release. In his memorandum, the Attorney General explains that: "the Civil Rights Division, with assistance from the Office for Access to Justice, will spearhead a collaborative effort to determine: (1) whether agencies can further update their language access policies and plans; (2) whether agencies are effectively reaching LEP individuals when disseminating information about federal resources, programs, and services; (3) whether agencies have considered updates or modifications to guidance to federal financial assistance recipients regarding their obligations to provide meaningful language access under the requirements of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and its implementing regulations; and (4) whether agencies can adapt their digital communications to welcome LEP individuals." Id.
   The Attorney General's memorandum is based on obligations mandated by Executive Order 13166 issued in August 2000 by President Clinton. The authority for the DOJ to issue these kinds of policies, in turn, traces back to Executive Order 12250 issued by President Carter which said, in part: "The Attorney General shall coordinate the implementation and enforcement by Executive agencies of various nondiscrimination provisions of the following laws:(a) Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. 2000d et seq.)(b) Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (20 U.S.C. 1681 et seq.).(c) Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (29 U.S.C. 794).(d) Any other provision of Federal statutory law which provides, in whole or in part, that no person in the United States shall, on the ground of race, color, national origin, handicap, religion, or sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subject to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance."
   President Clinton's EO 13166 was published on the same day in 2000 that the Department of Justice published in the Federal Register a policy guidance document to federal agencies entitled Enforcement of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964--National Origin Discrimination Against Persons With Limited English Proficiency; Policy Guidance. Explaining what agencies were required to do under the Title VI, the DOJ indicated that: "In some cases, however, the failure to address language barriers may not be simply an oversight, but rather may be attributable, at least in part, to invidious discrimination on the basis of national origin and race. While there is not always a direct relationship between an individual's language and national origin, often language does serve as an identifier of national origin. The same sort of prejudice and xenophobia that may be at the root of discrimination against persons from other nations may be triggered when a person speaks a language other than English.
   Read Attorney General Garland's November 21 Memorandum.
   Read the Press Release on the Attorney General's Memorandum.
   Read Executive Order 12166 issued by President Clinton, 65 Fed.Reg. 50121 (August 16, 2000).
   Read the Department of Justice Policy Guidance document also issued in August 2000 entitled Enforcement of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964--National Origin Discrimination Against Persons With Limited English Proficiency; Policy Guidance.
   Read Executive Order 12250 issued by President Carter.

Department of Justice Announces Federal Criminal Charges in Breonna Taylor Killing
August 4, 2022. (Updated August 5) Attorney General Merrick Garland and Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke, head of the Civil Rights Division of DOJ, today announced criminal charges against four former and curent Louisville police officers, alleging that officers knowingly provided false information to obtain a search warrant that was later used to conduct a search of Ms. Breonna Taylor's home, which, in turn, led to her shooting death by officers who conducted the raid. In addition to falsifying the affidavit seeking a warrant, the charges allege that two of the officers conspired to provide false information to investigators. They were charged with "civil rights offenses, unlawful conspiracies, unconstitutional use of force, and obstruction offenses." Press Conference. The DOJ released copies of the indictments and the prosecutor's information filed against one of the officers.
   This announcement concerned the specific criminal charges against the officers, but the Civil Rights Division is continuing with its pattern and practice investigation of the Louisville Police Department.
   Ms. Taylor's family reached a settlement with the city in a case they brought in state court which included, in addition to a monetary payment, a set of changes in city law enforcement policies. For more information and relevant documents, see the post for October 12, 2020 on this webpage.
   Read the DOJ Annoucement of the Charges.
   Read the Jaynes and Meany Indictment.
   Read the Hankinson Indictment.
   Read the Prosecutor's Information in the Goodlet case.
   Read the April 2021 DOJ Announcement of the Pattern and Practice Investigation of the Louisville.

President Biden Issues Executive Order on Protections for LGBTQI+ Persons
June 21, 2022. President Biden has issued Executive Order 14075 entitled "Advancing Equality for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Intersex Individuals." The order directs the Department of Education and the Department of Health and Human Services to provide protections for LGBTQI+ persons, and particularly students and children. Although the president cannote order an independent regulatory commission to take action, Section 3(b) of the executive order states: "The Federal Trade Commission is encouraged to consider whether so-called conversion therapy constitutes an unfair or deceptive act or practice, and to issue such consumer warnings or notices as may be appropriate." It goes on to direct the State Department to address this question internationally. "To address so-called conversion therapy around the world, within 180 days of the date of this order, the Secretary of State, in collaboration with the Secretary of the Treasury, the Secretary of HHS, and the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development, shall develop an action plan to promote an end to its use around the world. In developing the action plan, the Secretary of State shall consider the use of United States foreign assistance programs and the United States voice and vote in multilateral development banks and international development institutions of which the United States is a shareholder or donor to take appropriate steps to prevent the use of so-called conversion therapy, as well as to help ensure that United States foreign assistance programs do not use foreign assistance funds for so-called conversion therapy." Section 11 of the order requires executive branch agencies to take action on "Promoting Inclusive and Responsible Federal Data Collection Practices."
   Read the order.

Department of Interior Releases Investigation Report on Native American Boarding Schools
March 16, 2022. The U.S. Department of Interior yesterday issued Volume I of the Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative Investigative Report and announced in the press release at the time that it is "part of the Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative, a comprehensive effort to address the troubled legacy of federal Indian boarding school policies. This report lays the groundwork for the continued work of the Interior Department to address the intergenerational trauma created by historical federal Indian boarding school policies." The Initiative was launched by Secretary Haaland's memorandum of June 2021. The investigation concerns the operations of the 408 schools in 37 states or territories, which includes 21 schools in Alaska and 7 in Hawaii. In announcing the report, DOI wrote: "'The consequences of federal Indian boarding school policies--including the intergenerational trauma caused by the family separation and cultural eradication inflicted upon generations of children as young as 4 years old--are heartbreaking and undeniable,' said Secretary Haaland. 'We continue to see the evidence of this attempt to forcibly assimilate Indigenous people in the disparities that communities face. It is my priority to not only give voice to the survivors and descendants of federal Indian boarding school policies, but also to address the lasting legacies of these policies so Indigenous peoples can continue to grow and heal.'" Press Release.
   Read the Report Volume I Issued on May 11, 2022.
   Read Department of Interior Press Release on the Report and Next Steps.
   Access the Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative Website.
   Read Secretary Haaland's Memorandum of June 2021 Creating the Indian Boarding School Initiative.

President Biden to Sign Emmett Till Antilynching Bill Into Law Today
March 29, 2022. President Biden is scheduled to sign into law this afternoon H.R. 55, the Emmett Till Antilynching Act which adds lynching and conspiracy to that end to the Hate Crimes provision of Title 18 of the U.S. Code, Section 249, punishable by up to 30 years in prison. The core provisions of the bill read as follows: "SEC. 2. LYNCHING; OTHER CONSPIRACIES. Section 249(a) of title 18, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:(5) LYNCHING.--Whoever conspires to commit any offense under paragraph (1), (2), or (3) shall, if death or serious bodily injury (as defined in section 2246 of this title) results from the offense, be imprisoned for not more than 30 years, fined in accordance with this title, or both.(6) OTHER CONSPIRACIES.--Whoever conspires to commit any offense under paragraph (1), (2), or (3) shall, if death or serious bodily injury (as defined in section 2246 of this title) results from the offense, or if the offense includes kidnapping or an attempt to kidnap, aggravated sexual abuse or an attempt to commit aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to kill, be imprisoned for not more than 30 years, fined in accordance with this title, or both."
   The House Judiciary Committee report on the bill Explained that: "H.R. 55 is named in honor of Emmett Till, a 14-year-old African American youth from Chicago who was lynched in 1955 while visiting an uncle in Mississippi. During the period between the Civil War and World War II, thousands of African Americans were lynched in the United States. Though lynching touched all races and religions, the practice was predominant in the South, and four out of five victims were African American. In 1892, the Tuskegee Institute began to record statistics of lynchings and reported that 4,742 reported incidents had taken place by 1968, of which 3,445 of the victims were African-Americans. Through additional research, the Equal Justice Initiative ("EJI") documented 4075 "racial terror lynchings" in twelve Southern states between the end of Reconstruction in 1877 and 1950. These violent incidents profoundly impacted race relations and shaped the geographic, political, social, and economic conditions of African American communities in ways that are still evident today and were largely tolerated by state and federal officials." H.Rep. 117-251, at 2-3.
   Read H.R. 55.
   Read the House Judiciary Committee Report on H.R. 55.

Violence Against Women Act Reauthorized
March 16, 2022. President Biden has signed the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act into law as part of the Consolidated Appropriation Act 2022, H.R. 2471. (The VAWA is Division W of the appropriations act.) The two senior members of the Senate Judiciary Committee from each of the two parties introduced a bipartisan version of the VAWA last month. In signing the bill into law, President Biden lauded the bipartisan work on the bill and said in part: "[W]e're doing more to help survivor--survivors in rural areas and in underserved communities. Tribal courts will now be able to exercise jurisdiction over non-Native perpetrators of sexual assault and sex trafficking. And we're providing more support for legal services and for law enforcement to get the training they need to help handle the trauma survivors are experiencing." He also indicated that he would have more to say about the VAWA today.
   For more on the bipartisan compromise in the Judiciary Committee and related matters, see the post for February 11 on this webpage.
   Read the Violence Against Women Act, Division W of the Consolidated Appropriations Act 2002.
   Download the Consolidated Appropriations Act 2022.
   Read the Remarks by President Biden on Signing the Bill.

President Signs Executive Order on Equal Pay in Public Contracting
March 16, 2022. President Biden has issued a new executive order, E.O. 14069 entitled "Executive Order on Advancing Economy, Efficiency, and Effectiveness in Federal Contracting by Promoting Pay Equity and Transparency." At the core of the order was the call for new rules in federal contracting to ensure equal pay. "Consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations, the Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council, in consultation with the Secretary of Labor and the heads of other executive departments and agencies as appropriate, shall consider issuing proposed rules to promote economy, efficiency, and effectiveness in Federal procurement by enhancing pay equity and transparency for job applicants and employees of Federal contractors and subcontractors. In doing so, the Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council shall specifically consider whether any such rules should limit or prohibit Federal contractors and subcontractors from seeking and considering information about job applicants' and employees' existing or past compensation when making employment decisions. The Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council shall also consider the inclusion of appropriate accountability measures in any such rules.
   In additiont to the call for equal pay protections in federal contracting, the executive order also announced that to ensure "parallel efforts with respect to Federal procurement," the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) expects to announce a proposed rule to "address the use of salary history in the hiring and pay-setting processes for Federal employees, consistent with Executive Order 14035 of June 25, 2021 (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility in the Federal Workforce).
   Read Executive Order 14069 "Executive Order on Advancing Economy, Efficiency, and Effectiveness in Federal Contracting by Promoting Pay Equity and Transparency.".
   Read Executive Order 14035, Executive Order 14035 of June 25, 2021 "Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility in the Federal Workforce," signed in June 2021.

Department of Housing and Urban Development Charges Texas Lands Office with Title VI Violations
March 14, 2022. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has issued a findings letter to the Texas General Lands Office (GLO) following a 2021 investigation and charging discrimnation in violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Section 109 of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974 in its Hurricane Harvey State Mitigation Competition. The Land Office committed $2,144,776,720 of federal funds to the Hurricane Harvey State Mitigation Competition. In its recent letter to the Lands Office, HUD wrote: "The Department finds that the design and operation of the Competition discriminated on the basis of race and national origin. GLO utilized two scoring criteria that substantially and predictably disadvantaged minority residents, with particularly disparate outcomes for Black residents. First, GLO excluded areas designated by HUD as most impacted and distressed from competing for 50% of the Competition funds, though nearly 90% of the eligible population2 resided in those areas. Second, GLO scored applicants based on jurisdiction size, providing more points to a smaller jurisdiction than it would to a larger jurisdiction for an equivalent project. GLO utilized both of these criteria even though they disadvantaged areas with the greatest mitigation needs by GLO's own measure and ran counter to the intended focus on low-and moderate-income (LMI) households." Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Fair Housing & Equal Opportunity, Fort Worth Regional Office, Region VI to Texas General Land Office, March 4, 2022, at 2. The investigation followed complaints Texas Housers of Austin, Texas and Northeast Action Collective of Houston.
   The HUD findings letter concluded with the usual offer to enter into a negotiated settlement, which HUD refers to as a Voluntary Compliance Agreement, but cautioned that absent such an agreement the department will likely move the matter forward for enforcement. "The Department would like to resolve these matters as soon as possible. If a voluntary resolution cannot be obtained, HUD may initiate administrative proceedings or refer this matter to the United States Department of Justice for judicial enforcement. A voluntary resolution would be addressed through a written Voluntary Compliance Agreement (VCA) with a clear timetable for implementation. A VCA resolving this matter would require the GLO to address the discriminatory outcomes of the Competition as well as adopt enhanced fair housing planning and monitoring metrics." Id. at 13. Harris County and Houston officials had previously indicated their difficulties with the GLO actions.
   Read the HUD Findings Letter.

Supreme Court Agrees to Decide Another Challenge to Colorado's Probition Against Business Discrimination Against LGBTQ Clients
February 22, 2022. The Supreme Court today agreed to hear another case challenging a Colorado human rights law, the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act, C.R.S. § 24-34-601(1)-(2) (CADA), which prohibits businesses from refusing to serve people on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity. This case, 303 Creative v. Elenis, No. 21-476, was brought by a woman preparing to launch a business creating websites for weddings who sought a ruling that she could have a statement on her website that her religious convictions prevent her from doing work for same-sex couples. The Tenth Circuit rejected her First Amendment challenge to the CADA. In granting certiorari in the case, the Supreme Court wrote: "The petition for a writ of certiorari is granted limited to the following question: Whether applying a public-accommodation law to compel an artist to speak or stay silent violates the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment." Orders in Pending Cases, February 22, 2022, at 1.
   The CADA states in pertinent part that: "It is a discriminatory practice and unlawful for a person, directly or indirectly, to refuse, withhold from, or deny to an individual or a group, because of disability, race, creed, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, marital status, national origin, or ancestry, the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations of a place of public accommodation or, directly or indirectly, to publish, circulate, issue, display, post, or mail any written, electronic, or printed communication, notice, or advertisement that indicates that the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations of a place of public accommodation will be refused, withheld from, or denied an individual or that an individual’s patronage or presence at a place of public accommodation is unwelcome, objectionable, unacceptable, or undesirable because of disability, race, creed, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, marital status, national origin, or ancestry." Section 601(2)(a).
   The Supreme Court had earlier decided another case challenging the Colorado law, Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, 138 S. Ct. 1719 (2018), but it limited its ruling in that case. The new case seeks a broader ruling against the CADA.
   Read the Tenth Circuit Opinion in 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis.
   Read the Petition for Certiorari.
   Read the Brief in Opposition to the Petition for Certiorari.
   Read the Masterpiece Cakeshop Opinion from 2018.
   Access the U.S. Supreme Court's Docket Page for the case.

U.S. District Court Allows Suit Against Former President About the January 6 Insurrection to Move Forward
February 18, 2022.In a 112 page opinion and order U.S. District Court Judge Amit P. Mehta rejected motions to dismiss by former president Donald Trump civil suits brought by a variety of plaintiffs, alleging violations of federal statutes based on allegations of responsibility in connection with the January 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol. Three cases were filed in February 2021 by plaintiffs who included 11 members of Congress and 1 Capitol police officers against Donald Trump, Donald Trump, Jr, Rudolph Giuliani, Representative Mo Brooks, Oath Keepers, the Proud Boys and the group's leader Enrique Tarrio. Judge Mehta wrote: "[T]he court rules as follows: (1) President Trump's motion to dismiss is denied as to Plaintiffs' § 1985(1) claim and certain District of Columbia-law claims and granted as to Swalwell's § 1986 claim and certain District of Columbia-law claims; (2) Trump Jr.'s motion to dismiss is granted; (3) Giuliani's motion to dismiss is granted; (4) the Oath Keepers' motion to dismiss is denied; and (5) Tarrio's motion to dismiss is denied. Separately, Brooks has moved to substitute the United States as the proper party under the Westfall Act. The court declines to rule on that motion and instead invites Brooks to file a motion to dismiss, which the court will grant for the same reasons it has granted Trump Jr.'s and Giuliani's motions." Thompson v. Trump, at 5. The suits alleged violations of the the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871, 42 U.S.C. § 1985(1) and § 1986.
   Read the Memorandum Opinion and Order.
   Read the 42 U.S.C. § 1985 and 1986.

Senators Introduce Bipartisan Compromise Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2022
February 11, 2022. Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) announced in December that they had agreed on the key elements of a bipartisan compromise bill and introduced that bill in the Senate yesterday as the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2022, S. 3623. If passed, the bill would reauthorize the VAWA for five years until 2027.
   In addition to Senator Feinstein who introduced the bill, there are 21 cosponsors in the Senate. The House had passed a bill to reauthorize some months earlier, but it had not moved in the Senate. Senator Feinstein issued a press release describing the legislation and the process leading to the compromise. President Biden, who as Senate Judiciary Chairman at the time of the passage of the original VAWA and the leading advocate for that legislation, issued a statement supporting the bipartisan Senate compromise bill.
   Note: The text of the bill below was published by Senator Durbin. That text has not yet been posted with the bill number on Congress.gov since it was only introduced yesterday. The posting will be updated as soon as the text and other information is available on Congress.gov.
   Read S. 3623 as Published by Senator Dick Durbin, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
   Read the Feinstein Press Release.
   Read President Biden's Statement on the Compromise Bill.

Congress Passes Bill to Block Forced Arbitration Settlement Agreements in Sexual Harassment Cases
February 11, 2022. The Senate yesterday, by voice vote, passed H.R. 4445 the "Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act of 2021" and the bill now goes to President Biden for signature. The statute provides in part that: "(a) In General. -- Notwithstanding any other pro14 vision of this title, at the election of the person alleging conduct constituting a sexual harassment dispute or sexual assault dispute, or the named representative of a class or in a collective action alleging such conduct, no predispute arbitration agreement or predispute joint-action waiver shall be valid or enforceable with respect to a case which is filed under Federal, Tribal, or State law and relates to the sexual assault dispute or the sexual harassment dispute. (b) Determination of Applicability. -- An issue as to whether this chapter applies with respect to a dispute shall be determined under Federal law. The applicability of this chapter to an agreement to arbitrate and the validity and enforceability of an agreement to which this chapter applies shall be determined by a court, rather than an arbitrator, irrespective of whether the party resisting arbitration challenges the arbitration agreement specifically or in conjunction with other terms of the contract containing such agreement, and irrespective of whether the agreement purports to delegate such determinations to an arbitrator."
   Read H.R. 4445.

Supreme Court Justices Challenge Process and Substance in Alabama Voting Rights Act
February 11, 2022. On Monday a divided 5-4 Supreme Court issued a stay of a preliminary injunction issued by a three-judge federal district court against an Alabama redistricting plan on charges of minority voting dilution in violation of Title 2 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The stay provided no explanation, however, Justice Kavanaugh wrote a concurring opinion, joined by Justice Alito, defending the action and particularly critizing the dissent by Justice Kagan. Chief Justice Roberts issued a dissent in which he said that he would have refused the stay but set the case for full argument in the fall based on his view that he lower court had followed the precedents, but the Court should reexamine those precedents only after a full presentation of the case. Justice Kagan wrote a strongly worded dissent joined by Justices Breyer and Sotomayor in which she wrote in part that: "There may--or may not--be a basis for revising our VRA precedent in light of the modern districting technology that Alabama's application highlights. But such a change can properly happen only after full briefing and argument--not based on the scanty review this Court gives matters on its shadow docket. The District Court here did everything right under the law ex-isting today. Staying its decision forces Black Alabamians to suffer what under that law is clear vote dilution." Merrill v. Milligan, Slip op., Kagan dissenting, at 2.
   Read the Court's Order Staying the Lower Court Ruling, the Kavanaugh concurrence, the Roberts dissent, and the Kagan dissent.
   Read the Three Judge Court's Preliminary Injunction and Memorandum Opinion.

GAO Issues New Testimony on Native American Issues: Federal Agency Efforts and Challenges Repatriating Cultural Items
February 3, 2022. The Government Accountability Office has just posted new GAO Testimony before the Senate Indian Affairs Committee on "Native American Issues: Federal Agency Efforts and Challenges Repatriating Cultural Items." In describing the testimony, GAO exlained that: "We testified about efforts to implement the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act. The 1990 act governs cultural items, such as human remains and funerary objects, held by federal agencies and certain museums. Agencies have made some progress implementing the law but tribes point to a need for more effective consultations, better protection of cultural items, and more. According to one report, in FYs 1990-2020, agencies repatriated 91.5% of the human remains affiliated with a present-day Indian tribe or Native Hawaiian group. However, it notes that there are more than 116,000 Native American human remains with no cultural affiliation." GAO Webpage on the Testimony.
   The GAO discussed this new testimony in light of a 2010 report entitled "Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act: After Almost 20 Years, Key Federal Agencies Still Have Not Fully Complied with the Act." The GAO explained in this most recent website posting that: "Federal agencies have implemented all of GAO's 2010 recommendations for improving the implementation of NAGPRA. As a result of addressing one recommendation, annual data on the status of federal agencies' repatriation efforts are readily available to Congress and the public. According to the National NAGPRA Program's fiscal year 2020 report, in fiscal years 1990 through 2020, agencies repatriated 91.5 percent of the human remains in their collections that were culturally affiliated with a present-day Indian tribe or Native Hawaiian organization. However, the report notes that more work is needed, especially to repatriate more than 116,000 Native American human remains still in collections, of which 95 percent have not been culturally affiliated."
   Read the Testimony.
   Read "Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act: After Almost 20 Years, Key Federal Agencies Still Have Not Fully Complied with the Act."
   Access the GAO Webpage on the New Testimony and Earlier Reporting.

President Biden Issues New Executive Order Implementing Recommendations of DOD Commission on Sexual Violence and the Nat. Defense Authorization Act 2022
January 27, 2022. President Biden yesterday issued his "Executive Order on 2022 Amendments to the Manual on Courts-Martial, United States" along with a annex that provides the details amendments to the Manusc on Courts-Martial. The full order with the annex will be published soon in the Federal Register. However, the White House also released a "Fact Sheet" on the order at the same time which provides more information about the changes as well as what brought them about. The Fact Sheet explains that: "This Executive Order strengthens the military justice system's response to gender-based violence, and delivers on key recommendations from the Independent Review Commission on Sexual Assault in the Military (IRC) that Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin launched in March 2021." That commission was developed by Secretary Austin on a mandate from President Biden in February 2021. It reported its findings and recommendations in a report issued last July. That report was published in July and some of the recommendations were made part of the National Defense Authorization Act for 2022 which President Biden signed into law at the end of December as P.L. 117-81. Starting last summer following that report, the Department of Defense began implementing a number of the recommendations. The DOD has a website that has the documents related to the commission as well as actions taken since the release of its report and recommendations.
   Read the Executive Order.
   Read the Fact Sheet.
   Read the Full Commission Report.
   Access the DOD Website on the Independent Review Commission on Sexual Assault in the Military.

Attorney General Announces Voting Rights Act Suit Against Texas Redistricting Actions
December 10, 2021. Attorney General Merrick Garland announced this week that the Department of Justice was filing suit against the State of Texas alleging violations of the Voting Rights Act. He said, in part: "Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act requires that state voting laws--including laws that draw electoral maps--provide eligible voters with an equal opportunity to participate in the democratic process and elect representatives of their choosing. The complaint we filed today alleges that Texas has violated Section 2 by creating redistricting plans that deny or abridge the rights of Latino and Black voters to vote on account of their race, color or membership in a language minority group.... As many of you know, in 2013, the Supreme Court effectively eliminated the preclearance provisions of the Voting Rights Act, which had been the department's best tool for protecting voting rights. Earlier this year, I noted that this redistricting cycle would be the first to proceed since 1960 without the protection of preclearance. But I also said that the department would use all available authorities and resources to continue protecting the right to vote."
   As it announced the suit against Texas, DOJ also provided a Fact Sheet entitled "Protecting the Right to Vote," detailing recent actions taken by DOJ to protect the right to vote and explaining to the states and voters key elements of the Voting Rights Act. Those actions included the issuance of two guidance documents for the states issued earlier on July 28. As DOJ explained: "The first guidance document, entitled 'Guidance Concerning Federal Statutes Affecting Methods of Voting,' provides guidance regarding how eligible citizens cast their ballots. The guidance document addresses efforts by some states to permanently adopt their COVID-19 pandemic voting modifications, and by other states to bar continued use of those practices, or to impose additional restrictions on voting by mail or early voting. In addition, this guidance document discusses federal statutes the department enforces related to voting by mail, absentee voting and voting in person. The second guidance document, entitled 'Federal Law Constraints on Post-Election Audits,' provides information on the how states must comply with federal law when preserving and retaining election records and the criminal penalties associated with the willful failure to comply with those requirements. This guidance document also details the statutes that prohibit the intimidation of voters and the department's commitment to act if any person engages in actions that violate the law."
   As Attorney General Garland indicated in his remarks, Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta followed his remarks with a further discussion of the suit against Texas, explaining its focus on diminished voting rights for Latinos and African Americans. She said in part: "Texas' 2021 redistricting plans were enacted through a rushed process, with minimal opportunity for public comment, without any expert testimony, and with an overall disregard for the massive minority population growth in Texas over the last decade. Texas' population grew by 4 million people from 2010 to 2020, and 95% of that growth came from minority populations. Despite this significant increase in the number and proportion of eligible Latino and Black voters in Texas, the newly enacted redistricting plans will not allow minority voters an equal opportunity to elect representatives of their choice. Instead, our investigation determined that Texas' redistricting plans will dilute the increased minority voting strength that should have developed from these significant demographic shifts. For example, Texas will gain two new Congressional seats because of its population growth, almost all of which is due to growth in the state's minority population. However, Texas has designed both of those new seats to have white voting majorities. The congressional plan also deliberately reconfigured a West Texas district to eliminate the opportunity for Latino voters to elect a representative of their choice. This is the third time in three decades where Texas has eliminated a Latino electoral opportunity in this same district, despite previous court determinations that this violates the law. And the State House plan eliminated Latino electoral opportunities by manipulating or eliminating districts where Latino communities previously had elected their preferred candidates. These redistricting plans will diminish the opportunities for Latino and Black voters in Texas to elect their preferred representatives. And that is prohibited by federal law."
   Read the Complaint in United States v. Texas.
   Read Attorney General Garland's Remarks Announcing the Suit Against Texas.
   Read Associate Attorney General Gupta's Remarks Announcing the Suit Against Texas.
   Read the DOJ Press Release Announcing the Suit.
   Read the Fact Sheet.
   Read the Guidance Document Entitled "Federal La w Constraints on Post-Election 'Audits'."
   Read the Guidance Document Entitled "Guidance Concerning Federal Statutes Affecting Methods of Voting."
   Read the July 28, 2021 Press Release Announcing the Guidance Documents.

White House Tribal Summit Begins Today
November 15, 2021. (Updated November 16, 2021) The first White House Tribal Nations Summit since 2016 began yesterday online. Today is the second day of a two-day meeting. (See links to streaming video of each day below.) In conjunction with this event, the administration has announced a number of policy actions related to federal relationships with tribal governments and indigenous people in the U.S. The White House issued a "Fact Sheet" summarizing these initiatives. It also issued a press release on commitments to elevate indigenous Knowledge in federal policy decisions and an executive order on improving public safety for Native Americans and addressing the criss of missing or murdered indigenous people. In that regard, the President’s Science Advisor and Director and Office of Science and Technology Policy and the Chair, Council on Environmental Quality have issued a memorandum to federal agencies on behalf of the administration entitled "Indigenous Traditional Ecological Knowledge and Federal Decision Making." The U.S. Department of Agriculture today announced the formation of "the USDA Indigenous Food Sovereignty Initiative to promote traditional food ways, Indian Country food and agriculture markets, and Indigenous health through foods tailored to American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) dietary needs. The announcements explains that in addition to the actions being taken specifically by USDA there are a number of cooperative agreements underway with groups working in this policy space in tribal communities. The agency announced that the launched includes a number of specific projects. including: "1. The creation of two regional Indigenous seed processing centers (Native American Food Sovereignty Alliance - Indigenous Seed Keepers Network). 2. A video series on wild food foraging and sustainable gathering practices (Linda Black Elk & Lisa Iron Cloud). 3. Recipes and cooking videos for wild and Indigenous foods (North American Traditional Indigenous Food Systems – Chef Sean Sherman of the Sioux Chef team). 4. A manual to help interested Native producers transition from cattle to bison (Intertribal Buffalo Council). 5. Staff to expand domestic marketing opportunities for Native producers (Intertribal Agriculture Council). 6. Purchasing of Indigenous and Native produced foods for educational promotion opportunities by OTR and FNS (Intertribal Agriculture Council). 7. A report on legislative and regulatory proposals needed to empower tribal self-governance within USDA food programs (University of Arkansas - Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative)."
   Read Fact Sheet: Building A New Era of Nation-to-Nation Engagement
   Watch Day Two of the Tribal Summit Proceedings
   Watch Day One of the Tribal Summit Proceedings
   Watch President Biden's Address to the Summit.
   Read Executive Order on Improving Public Safety and Criminal Justice for Native Americans and Addressing the Crisis of Missing or Murdered Indigenous People
   Read White House Commits to Elevating Indigenous Knowledge in Federal Policy Decisions.
   Read the Press Release on the Departments of the Interior, Education, and Health & Human Services Launch Multi-Agency Initiative to Protect and Preserve Native Languages.
   Read the Memorandum Indigenous Traditional Ecological Knowledge and Federal Decision Making.
   Read USDA Announcement of the Indigenous Food Sovereighty Initiative.
   Access the USDA's Webpage on the Indigenous Food Sovereignty Initiative Which Also Includes Related Cooperative Agreements.

Civil Suit Goes to Trial in Virginia Seeking Charging Groups and Individuals with 2017 Charlottesville Violence and Intimidation
October 25, 2021. Originally launched in 2019, a civil suit styled Sines v. Kessler, begins trial today in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Columbia, alleging that various organizations and their leaders were involved in planning and carrying out what became a violent demonstration in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017 in violation of the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871 and specifically 42 U.S.C. § 1985(3), 42 U.S.C. § 1986, civil conspiracy, negligence, and a Virginia civil rights and anti-harassment statute, Virginia Code § 8.01-42.1. The suit was brought on behalf of a number of plaintiffs by the advocacy group Integrity First for America. The trial begins following rejection by the court of various motions to block or move the case and a number of delays related to the COVID-19 crisis.
   Read the Complaint in the Case.
   Access the Integrity First America Webpage with Relevant Case Documents from the Initial Filing to this Point.
   Access the IFA webpage on the case.

Challenge Launched Against State Laws Restricting Civil Rights Education
October 20, 2021. The American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of Oklahoma, the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and pro bono counsel Schulte-Roth-Zabel have filed suit challenging Oklahoma's recently enacted statute HB 1775, a very broad statute that the plaintiffs argue was meant to dramatically limit discussion of concepts related to race and gender discrimination in the state's schools and has already had been alleged to have constrained teachers and administrators with respect to training of school staff. This and other similar laws enacted in 8 states followed from language and policies implemented by the Trump administration in Executive Order 13950 issued in 2020, but later revoked by President Biden soon after taking office in January 2021. In announcing the suit, the ACLU said: "The Oklahoma bill's lead authors in the state House and Senate declared the bill's intent was to prohibit conversations related to 'implicit bias,' 'systemic racism' and 'intersectionality,' among other concepts. The 'banned concepts' were directly excerpted from President Donald Trump's failed Executive Order 13950 that similarly sought to restrict speech of government contractors." The state attorney general has not yet issued a public response to the suit.
   Read the Complaint.
   Read Oklahoma's HB 1775.
   Read the Trump Executive Order 13950.
   Read the Biden Executive Order 13985 Revoking the Trump Order.
   Read the ACLU Press Release Announcing the Suit.

Biden Proclamation Establishes Indigenous Peoples' Day and Other Related Actions
October 11, 2021. President Biden issued a proclamation on October 8 declaring October 11 to be Indigenous Peoples' Day. Since then, he has also issued one executive order and two other proclamations particularly concerned with issues of importance for Native Americans but also part of the broader effort to recognize and address important issues of governance and public lands. In his proclamation on Indigenous Peoples' Day, the president wrote: "Our country was conceived on a promise of equality and opportunity for all people--a promise that, despite the extraordinary progress we have made through the years, we have never fully lived up to. That is especially true when it comes to upholding the rights and dignity of the Indigenous people who were here long before colonization of the Americas began.
   For generations, Federal policies systematically sought to assimilate and displace Native people and eradicate Native cultures. Today, we recognize Indigenous peoples' resilience and strength as well as the immeasurable positive impact that they have made on every aspect of American society. We also recommit to supporting a new, brighter future of promise and equity for Tribal Nations--a future grounded in Tribal sovereignty and respect for the human rights of Indigenous people in the Americas and around the world. In the first week of my Administration, I issued a memorandum reaffirming our Nation's solemn trust and treaty obligations to American Indian and Alaska Native Tribal Nations and directed the heads of executive departments and agencies to engage in regular, meaningful, and robust consultation with Tribal officials. It is a priority of my Administration to make respect for Tribal sovereignty and self-governance the cornerstone of Federal Indian policy. History demonstrates that Native American people--and our Nation as a whole--are best served when Tribal governments are empowered to lead their communities and when Federal officials listen to and work together with Tribal leaders when formulating Federal policy that affects Tribal Nations.
   The contributions that Indigenous peoples have made throughout history--in public service, entrepreneurship, scholarship, the arts, and countless other fields--are integral to our Nation, our culture, and our society. Indigenous peoples have served, and continue to serve, in the United States Armed Forces with distinction and honor--at one of the highest rates of any group--defending our security every day. And Native Americans have been on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, working essential jobs and carrying us through our gravest moments. Further, in recognition that the pandemic has harmed Indigenous peoples at an alarming and disproportionate rate, Native communities have led the way in connecting people with vaccination, boasting some of the highest rates of any racial or ethnic group.
   The Federal Government has a solemn obligation to lift up and invest in the future of Indigenous people and empower Tribal Nations to govern their own communities and make their own decisions. We must never forget the centuries-long campaign of violence, displacement, assimilation, and terror wrought upon Native communities and Tribal Nations throughout our country. Today, we acknowledge the significant sacrifices made by Native peoples to this country--and recognize their many ongoing contributions to our Nation."
   The president today issued his "Executive Order on the White House Initiative on Advancing Educational Equity, Excellence, and Economic Opportunity for Native Americans and Strengthening Tribal Colleges and Universities." Last week, he issued proclamations restoring as public lands parts of the Bears Ears National Monument and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument restricted by the previous administration.
   On Indigenous Peoples' Day, we honor America’s first inhabitants and the Tribal Nations that continue to thrive today. I encourage everyone to celebrate and recognize the many Indigenous communities and cultures that make up our great country.
   Read the Proclamation on Indigenous Peoples' Day.
   Read A Proclamation on Bears Ears National Monument .
   Read A Proclamation on Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument .
   Read Executive Order on the White House Initiative on Advancing Educational Equity, Excellence, and Economic Opportunity for Native Americans and Strengthening Tribal Colleges and Universities .

Government Accountability Office Issues Study on Facial Recognition Systems by Federal Agencies
June 29, 2021. The U.S. Government Accountability Office has issued a report on a study of 13 federal agencies that have been using facial recognition software entitled "Facial Recognition Technology: Federal Law Enforcement Agencies Should Better Assess Privacy and Other Risks." In announcing the report, GAO said: "We surveyed 42 federal agencies that employ law enforcement officers about their use of facial recognition technology. 20 reported owning such systems or using systems owned by others; 6 reported using the technology to help identify people suspected of violating the law during the civil unrest, riots, or protests following the death of George Floyd in May 2020; 3 acknowledged using it on images of the U.S. Capitol attack on Jan. 6: 15 reported using non-federal systems. We recommended that 13 agencies track employee use of non-federal systems and assess the risks these systems can pose regarding privacy, accuracy, and more."
   Read the Report.
   Access the Webpage on the Report.

Supreme Court Issues Major Pubic Contracting Case and Civil Rights Case that Was Reported Overwhelmingly as a First Amendment Case
June 21, 2021. Chief Justice John Roberts has written for the majority of the Supreme Court in a case striking down Philadelphia's attempt to ensure that foster child placement agencies did not discriminate against same sex couples. Justices Alito, Gorsuch, and Thomas concurred in the judgment, but did not join the majority opinion. Although this case was primarily reported in the news media as First Amendment religion case, it is far more complex and considerably broader than that in terms of the way the opinion reads with respect not only to the issues of faith-based contractors, but also in terms of the interests of the government as contractor and in its responsibilities to enforce civil rights law. The Philadelphia case focused heavily on interpreting the Court's previous rulings maintaining that faith based actions are still subject to otherwise neutral and generally applicable legal requirements.
   The Court's treatment of what is necessary for government to show that the requirements were made pursuant to neutral and otherwise generally applicable requirements also suggested a significant limits on the language of the Court's earlier Obergefell opinion, concerning the rights of same-sex couples and their rights under the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment.
   Read the Opinion.

House of Representatives Joins Senate and Passes the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act
May 18, 2021. The U.S. House of Representatives today joined the Senate, passing S. 937 the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act by a vote of 364 to 62. The Senate passed the bill by a vote of 94-1 on April 22. The bill now goes to President Biden for signature.
   Read the S 937.

Attorney General Announces Investigation of Minneapolis Police Operations
April 23, 2021. Attorney General Merrick B. Garland yesterday announced the U.S. Department of Justice has opened an investigation into police practices in Minneapolis. This is a pattern and practice investigation to determine whether there have been systemic civil rights issues that require recommendations and a likely consent decree to agree to reforms and the process for their implementation.
   Access the Attorney Genera's Announcement.

Senate Passes the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act
April 23, 2021. The Senate yesterday passed S. 937 the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act by a vote of 94-1. The bill moves next to the House. A companion bill (H.R. 1843) is currently in the House Judiciary Committee with 177 cosponsors.
   Read the Senate bill.

New Mexico Passes New Civil Rights Act Addressing Qualified Immunity Issues
April 8, 2021. New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham has signed HB 4, the New Mexico Civil Rights Act, into law this week, barring state or local officals from using the qualified immunity defense in any suit brought under this state statute. This bill was enacted at the 2021 special session of the legislature following a report issued in November of 2020 by the New Mexico Civil Rights Commission, a body created by the legislature and governor in the summer of 2020 following the killing of George Floyd in Minnesota. That report recommended that the state enact a "New Mexico Civil Rights Act ("the Act") that: 1. Provides a cause of action allowing people to enforce the fundamental rights the New Mexico Constitution guarantees and recover for the deprivation of those rights; 2. Specifies that qualified immunity will not be a defense to claims brought under the Act; 3. Allows for compensatory damages and equitable and injunctive relief, but not punitive damages; 4. Allows those who prevail in a case brought under the Act to recover reasonable attorney fees; and 5. Specifies that, consistent with New Mexico's current law under which the state and local governments defend and indemnify their employees, public employees and officials will not bear the personal risk or responsibility for paying a judgment or settlement under the Act." Report of the Commission, at 1. The act does have a $2 million damages cap.
   Clearly, this is a state statute concerning cases brought under this state law. Although there have been many calls for the U.S. Supreme Court to eliminate the qualified immunity doctrine (see the posting below August 5, 2020 presenting the call for the Court to do that issued by Judge Carlton W. Reeves of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi in his opinion in Jamison v. McClendon), it remains to be seen whether the Court will do so.
   Read HB 4 the New Mexico Civil Rights Act.
   Read the Governor's Press Release on Signing the Bill.
   Read the Report of the New Mexico Civil Rights Commission.

NAACP Files Suit on Behalf of Representative Thompson Against Trump, Giuliani, Proud Boys, and Oath Keepers After Storming of U.S. Capitol Based on 1871 Civil Rights Statute
February 17, 2021. The NAACP announced yesterday that it filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on behalf of Representative Bennie G. Thompson (D, MS.), alleging that these individuals and groups conspired to prevent Thompson and others from carrying out their officials duties with respect to counting the electoral college votes on January 6 in violation of the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871, 42 U.S.C. § 1985(1).
   Read the Complaint.
   Read the NAACP Press Release on the Suit.
   Read the 42 U.S.C. § 1985.

Trump Administration Moves Quickly to Implement New Executive Order Limiting Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Training by Federal Contractors, Grant Recipients, or Federal Officials Directing Training
October 20, 2020. Following quickly on President Trump's new Executive Order 13950, entitled "Executive Order on Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping" that places restrictions on the types of diversity, equity, and inclusion training and programs that can be used by federal contractors and also those receivnig federal grants, the Office Federal Contract Compliance has taken steps to launch enforcement efforts. The OFCCP, a unit within the U.S. Department of Labor issued a press release on September 28, the same day the executive order was published in the Federal Register, announcing that it had "established a hotline and email address to receive and investigate complaints." The statement also indicates that it considers that the long-standing Executive Order 11246 is also a basis for taking action against the kinds of training addressed in the most recent order.
   Read the Order.
   Read the OFCCP Press Release.

GAO Report Discusses Data Collection Needs to Better Assess Prevalence and Cost of Workplace Sexual Harassment
October 16, 2020. The United States Government Accountability Office has published a new report on "Workplace Sexual Harassment" aimed at determining how to better assess the prevalence and cost of the problem. The report was prepared at the request of Senators Patty Murray (D.WA), Dianne Feinstein (D.CA), Senator Kirsten GiIlibrand (D.NY), and Elizabeth Warren (D.MA). The GAO begins its report in brief summary by noting that: "Limited nationwide data hinder a comprehensive understanding of the prevalence and costs of workplace sexual harassment. According to GAO's analysis of available federal data and literature review, the few reliable nationwide estimates of sexual harassment's prevalence vary substantially due to differences in methodology, including the question structure and time period the survey used. Moreover, the likelihood of experiencing workplace sexual harassment can vary based on an individual's demographic characteristics--such as gender, race, and age--and whether the workplace is male- or female-dominated. For example, women, younger workers, and women in male-dominated workplaces were more likely to say they experienced harassment. GAO did not find any recent cost estimates of workplace sexual harassment, but identified four broad categories of costs: health, productivity, career, and reporting and legal costs." The report goes on to discuss different approaches to improving data collection and analysis.
   Read the Report.

Louisville Mayor and Family of Breonna Taylor Announce Settlement in Her Killing and Promise Policy Reforms
October 12, 2020. Mayor Gregory Fischer and the Family of Ms. Breonna Taylor, killed by Louisville police officers, have announced a settlement which the mayor said included "a $12 million payment and an agreement on several policy changes and reforms, including new drug testing rules for LMPD officers, an incentive for officers to live in specific neighborhoods and a new level of scrutiny over search warrants." September 15, 2020, Press Release The city also announced that along with the monetary settlement, the agreement requires action on "Community Related Police Programs, Search Warrant Reforms, and Police Accountability Reforms. The family agreed "to deliver to counsel for the Released Party an Agreed Order of Dismissal with prejudice dismissing the Lawsuit," a case styled Palmer v. Hankison, Civil Action No. 20-CI-002694, filed in Jefferson Circuit Court, Commonwealth of Kentucky. Settlement at 4. Exhibit 1 submitted with the settlement agreement lays out the proposed policy changes in the areas noted above.
   Read the Release and Settlement Document.
   Read the Settlement Agreement Exhibit 1 on Programs and Policy.
   Read the Louisville Mayor's Press Release on the Settlement.

Trump Administration Issues New Executive Order Limiting Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Training by Federal Contractors or Grant Recipients or Federal Officials Directing Training
September 24, 2020. (Updated October 9.) President Trump has issued a new executive order, Executive Order 13950, entitled "Executive Order on Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping" that places restrictions on the types of diversity, equity, and inclusion training and programs that can be used by federal contractors and also those receivnig federal grants. Just how the sweeping language will be implemented by federal agencies is far from clear.
   Read the Order.

A Frustrated Federal Judge in Mississippi Calls Upon the U.S. Supreme Court to Reverse the Doctrine of Qualified Immunity
August 5, 2020. Judge Carlton W. Reeves of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi has issued an order granting qualified immunity in Jamison v. McClendon, but he also issued a dramatic call for the Supreme Court to overturn the doctrine of qualified immunity. In a case involving a South Carolina man who faced what the judge concluded was indeed clearly unconstitutional behavior and which he denounced as just as obviously a part of the ongoing pattern of abuse of African Americans by police officers, Judge Reeves found himself forced to rule in favor of an officer's claim of qualified immunity from suit, even as he denounced the way this doctrine has been applied to undermine the very civil rights protections that so many have labored so long to ensure. He concluded his opinion with a recognition of the challenges, but an insistence upon the need for action. "Again, I do not envy the task before the Supreme Court. Overturning qualified immunity will undoubtedly impact our society. Yet, the status quo is extraordinary and unsustainable. Just as the Supreme Court swept away the mistaken doctrine of 'separate but equal,' so too should it eliminate the doctrine of qualified immunity. Earlier this year, the Court explained something true about wearing the robe: 'Every judge must learn to live with the fact he or she will make some mistakes; it comes with the territory. But it is something else entirely to perpetuate something we all know to be wrong only because we fear the consequences of being right.' Let us waste no time in righting this wrong." Jamison v. McClendon, Opinion Granting Qualified Immunity at 72.
   Although Judge Reeves granted the claim of immunity, there was another part of the suit for which he found the immunity did not apply and he indicated that he would set a trial date for that part of the case.
   Read the opinion and order.

Supreme Court Rules Title VII Does Cover Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
June 18, 2020 (updated). The U.S. Supreme Cour has ruled 6-3 (Alito dissenting joined by Thomas and Justice Kavanaugh also filed a dissent) that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 does provide protection against discrimination by employers on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. The opinion was written by Justice Gorsuch. The opinion consolidates the Clayton County case, the Altitude Express case, and the Harris Funeral Homes case. Gorsuch wrote: "In Title VII, Congress adopted broad language making it illegal for an employer to rely on an employee’s sex when deciding to fire that employee. We do not hesitate to recognize today a necessary consequence of that legislative choice: An employer who fires an individual merely for being gay or transgender defies the law." Bostock v. Clayton County, Slip op. at 33.
   For more information on the lower court rulings and arguments in the cases, see the posting below for August 28, 2019.
   Read the Supreme Court opinions.

GAO Issues Report On Barriers to Increasing Diversity in the U.S. State Department
June 18, 2020. The U.S. Government Accountability Office has issued a new report identifying the need for the State Department to take steps to understand and address barriers to increasing diversity among its 23,000 employees and also things that inhibit diversity among those promoted within the agency.
   Read the GAO Report.

Virginia Legislature Has Voted to Ratify the Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
January 15, 2020. The Virginia House of Delegates today voted 59-41 to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. The Senate also voted today 28-12 to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution first sent to the states in 1972. This is the last state required in order to add the amendment to the Constitution. However, the U.S. Department of Justice issued an Office of Legal Counsel opinion over the signature of Assistant Attorney General General Steven Engel on January 6, asserting that ratification by the state would have no effect since the proposed amendment failed to gain the necessary votes during the period allowed by Congress for ratification. The Congress originally allowed 7 years for ratification, but extended that period by three years. Litigation is likely in the event that the state legislature does vote for ratification and then transmits that action to the "President of the United States, the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, the President of the United States Senate, the members of the Virginia Congressional Delegation, and the Archivist of the United States at the National Archives and Records Administration of the United States" as stated in the Virginia House Joint Resolution. The National Archives and Records Administration has already indicated that "NARA defers to DOJ on this issue and will abide by the OLC opinion, unless otherwise directed by a final court order." See Press Release. The Virginia Attorney General, Mark R. Herring issued a press release on January 8 vowing to fight any effort by the Justice Department to block the effectiveness of a Virginia ratification vote. "When Virginia becomes the 38th state to ratify the ERA I am going to do everything in my power to make sure that the will of Virginians is carried out and the ERA is added to our Constitution, as it should be."
   Delegate Jennifer D. Carroll Foy introduced an amendment in the nature of a subsitute that in order to ensure the same language as the Senate resolution.
   Read ERA as Originally sent to the states in 1972.
   Read 1978 Ratification Extension.
   Read Virginia House Joint Resolution 1.
   Read Virginia House Joint Resolution 1 as Amended Now Pending in the Virginia House.
   Read the Department of Justice Memorandum of January 6.
   Read the National Archives and Records Administration Press Release on the Justice Department Memorandum.
   Read the Virginia Attorney General's Press Release Vowing to Fight to Ensure any Virginia vote to ratify the ERA was be Valid for to Amend the U.S. Constitution.

Administration Opposes Title VII Protection Against Employment Discrimination on the Basis of Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity in Pending Supreme Court Cases
August 28, 2019. The Trump administration Justice Department has filed its briefs in cases pending before the U.S. Supreme Court in the October 2019 term, opposing Title VII protection against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
   The Supreme Court will hear arguments on October 8 in two cases raising issues about the applicability of Title VII to questions of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, No. 17-1618 Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia (from the Eleventh Circuit) and No. 17-1623 Altitude Express Inc. v. Zarda (from the Second Circuit). In addition to the briefs of the parties, more than seventy briefs amici curiae have already been filed, including a brief from the Department of Justice. The Solicitor General's office has also requested permission to participate in the oral argument. The U.S. takes the position that Title VII does not provide protection against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
   The Court will also hear arguments on that same day in R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes Inc. v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, a case that raises issues concerning the applicability of Title VII protections to matters of gender identity. While the case was pending, on October 4, 2017, Attorney General Sessions issued a memorandum entitled "Revised Treatment of Transgender Employment Discrimination Claims Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964" which rejected an earlier finding by then Attorney General Holder and concluded that: "Title VII does not prohibit discrimination based on gender identity per se." Id. at 1. Here again, the Department of Justice takes the position, as indicated in the Attorney General's memorandum of 2017, that there is no protection under Title VII.
   Read Brief of Petitioner Bostock.
   Read Brief of Respondent Clayton County, Georgia.
   Read Brief of Petitioner Altitude Express.
   Read the Brief of Respondent Zarda.
   Read the Amicus Curiae Brief of the United States in the Sexual Orientation case Bostock v. Clayton County (with Zarda).
   Read the Brief of Petitoner R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes .
   Read the Brief for the Federal Respondent Supporting Reversal.
   Read the Brief of Respondent Aimee Stephens in the Gender Identity Case R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes v. E.E.O.C..
   Read Attorney General Sessions October 4, 2017 Memorandum "Revised Treatment of Transgender Employment Discrimination Claims Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964."
   Read Attorney General Holder December 15, 2014 Memorandum "Treatment ofTransgender Employment Discrimination Claims Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964."

Fifth Circuit Rejects An Obama Era EEOC "Guidance" on Use of Criminal Records in Hiring
August 6, 2019. A panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has issued an opinion in Texas v. E.E.O.C. affirming a lower court ruling against an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission "guidance" document issued during the Obama years entitled “Enforcement Guidance on the Considera-tion of Arrest and Conviction Records in Employment Decisions Under Title VII.” THe guidance document said that: "With respect to criminal records, there is Title VII disparate impact liability where the evidence shows that a covered employer's criminal record screening policy or practice disproportionately screens out a Title VII-protected group and the employer does not demonstrate that the policy or practice is job related for the posi-tions in question and consistent with business necessity." Texas v. E.E.O.C., slip op. at 2-3. The lower court found, inter alia, that the guidance was a substantive rule and in violation of the rulemaking requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act. The Fifth Circuit affirmed that finding that: "We agree that the Guidance is a substantive rule subject to the APA’s notice-and-comment requirement and that EEOC thus overstepped its statu-tory authority in issuing the Guidance."
   Read Fifth Circuit Opinion.
   Read the 2012 EEOC Guidance Document.

Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Cases On Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in Employment
April 22, 2019. The Supreme Court granted certiorari today in three cases that raise issues regarding the protection of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 for persons who allege discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Two cases, No. 17-1618, Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia and No. 17-1623, Altitude Express v. Zarda, were consolidated with one case from Georgia having rejected the claim to protection against discrimination and the other from New York with a ruling in favor of that claim to Title VII protection. The other case, No. 18-107, R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes v. EEOC, comes from the Sixth Circuit which found discrimination against a transgender employee.
   Read the Supreme Court Order Granting Certiorari in the Three Cases.
   Read the Cert. Petitioner in Bostock v. Clayton County.
   Read the Cert. Petition in Altitude Express v. Zarda.
   Read the Cert. Petition in R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes v. EEOC.

Justice Department Finds Serious Conditions of Confinement Violations in Alabama Prisons
April 8, 2019. Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Eric Dreiband has sent a notice letter to Alabama's Governor, notifying him that a recent investigations of men's correctional facilities indicates a number of serious violations of the Eighth Amendment prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment and calling for negotiations leading to correction of these violations with the warning that the DOJ will file suit if no action is taken in 49 days. Summarizing the findings, the letter states: "After carefully reviewing the evidence, we conclude that there is reasonable cause to believe that conditions at Alabama's prisons violate the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution and that these violations are pursuant to a pattern or practice of resistance to the full enjoyment of rights protected by the Eighth Amendment. In particular, we have reasonable cause to believe that Alabama routinely violates the constitutional rights of prisoners housed in the Alabama's prisons by failing to protect them from prisoner-on-prisoner violence and prisoner-on-prisoner sexual abuse, and by failing to provide safe conditions. The violations are exacerbated by serious deficiencies in staffing and supervision and overcrowding."
   Read the Civil Rights Divisions Press Release.
   Read the Civil Rights Division Report on Alabama Corrections.
   Read the Notice Letter to Accompany the Report Sent by Civil Rights Divison head Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband.
   Access the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA).

Supreme Court Stays Lower Court Injunctions Against Trump Policy on Transgender Persons in the Military
January 22, 2019. The Supreme Court has issued a stay of the lower court injunctions that prohibited the Trump administrations directive on transgender persons in the military from taking effect pending a decision from the 9th Circuit in the case or the Court's decision on whether to grant certiorari and hear the case if the government seeks that review. The stay order was issued in two cases, No. 18A625 Trump v. Karnoski and No. 18A627 Trump v. Stockman. The Court's stay order added: "If a writ of certiorari is sought and the Court denies the petition, this order shall terminate automatically. If the Court grants the petition for a writ of certiorari, this order shall terminate when the Court enters its judgment." Four members of the Court, including Justice Ginsburg, Justice Breyer, Justice Sotomayor, and Justice Kagan voted to deny the stay.
    President Trump issued a memorandum in March rescinding his previous directive on transgender persons in the military issued in August 2017 and putting in place a new policy on the subject which includes more restrictions and authorizes the Secretary of Defense to implement his proposed new policy restrictions on those currently in the military. This follows on a February 22, 2018 memorandum from Secretary Mattis to President Trump and cites the report of a study Mattis instituted on the subject. Secretary Mattis rejected the findings of a Rand Corporation study that was a basis for the decision by Obama defense secretary Carter to eliminate the ban on service for transgender persons and other actions in 2016.
   Read the Supreme Court's Stay Order.
   Read the March 23 Trump Memorandum.
   Read the Mattis Memorandum to President Trump.
   Read the February 2018 DOD Report.
   Read the District Court Memorandum Opinion on the August Policy.
   Read Presidential Memorandum "Military Service by Transgender Individuals" August 25, 2017.
   Read the 2016 Transgender Policy by Secretary Ash Carter.
   Read the 2016 Rand Corporation Study.

Federal District Court Rules Against Commerce Department Decision to Include a Citizenship Question in the 2020 Census
January 15, 2019. Judge Jesse Furman of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York has issued a ruling in New York v. U.S. Department of Commerce against Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross's decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census. For the documents and more information, see the Refugees and Immigrants page of this website.

Two Federal District Courts Block Trump Administration's Employer Waivers for Women's Health Care Mandate Under the ACA
January 15, 2019. Federal district courts in California and Pennsylvania have blocked two Trump administration rules, scheduled to take effect on January 14, 2019, that would allow waivers for employers who have moral or religious objections to providing contraceptives to women employees as required by the Affordable Care Act. The California injunction, issued by Judge Haywood Gilliam, was limited to a number of states, but the ruling issued by Judge Wendy Beetlestone of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania is a nationwide injunction.
   Read the Opinion in Pennsylvania v. Trump.
   Read the Order Granting Preliminary Injunction in the California v. HHS.
   Read the Religious Exemptions and Accommodations for Coverage of Certain Preventive Services Under the Affordable Care Act, 83 Fed. Reg. 57,536 (Nov. 15, 2018) ("Religious Exemption").
   Read the Moral Exemptions and Accommodations for Coverage of Certain Preventive Services Under the Affordable Care Act, 83 Fed. Reg. 57,592 (Nov. 15, 2018) ("Moral Exemption").

District Court Judge Rules Federal Criminal Law Against Female Genital Mutilation Unconstitutional
November 23, 2018. Judge Bernard A. Friedman of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan has dismissed charges in a criminal case alleging female genital mutilation, concluding that the federal statute was unconstitutional, both because, he asserts, it violates principles of federalism and is not supported by the commerce clause of Article I. In striking the statute, Friedman said in part: "Congress overstepped its bounds by legislating to prohibit FGM. . . . FGM is 'local criminal activity' which, in keeping with longstanding tradition and our federal system of government, is for the states to regulate, not Congress. . . . Therefore, even accepting the government's contention that the criminal punishment of FGM is rationally related to the cited articles of the ICCPR, federalism concerns and the Supreme Court's statements regarding state sovereignty in the area of punishing crime-and the federal government's lack of a general police power-prevent Congress from criminalizing FGM. '[T]he principle that [t]he Constitution created a Federal Government of limited powers, while reserving a generalized police power to the States is deeply ingrained in our constitutional history.' Morrison, 529 U.S. at 618 n.8 . . . The FGM statute cannot be sustained under the Necessary and Proper Clause." U.S. v. Nargarwala, Opinion and Order, at p. 9-10. He added: "Nor was enactment of the FGM statute a permissible exercise of congressional power under the Commerce Clause. That clause permits Congress to regulate activity that is commercial or economic in nature and that substantially affects interstate commerce either directly or as part of an interstate market that has such an effect. The government has not shown that either prong is met. There is nothing commercial or economic about FGM. As despicable as this practice may be, it is essentially a criminal assault, just like the rape at issue in Morrison. Nor has the government shown that FGM itself has any effect on interstate commerce or that a market exists for FGM beyond the mothers of the nine victims alleged in the third superseding indictment. There is, in short, no rational basis to conclude that FGM has any effect, to say nothing of a substantial effect, on interstate commerce. The present case cannot be distinguished from Lopez or Morrison. As in those cases, FGM is a crime that could be prosecuted under state law. FGM is not part of a larger market and it has no demonstrated effect on interstate commerce. The Commerce Clause does not permit Congress to regulate a crime of this nature. As the Supreme Court has stated, '[a] criminal act committed wholly within a State 'cannot be made an offence against the United States, unless it have some relation to the execution of a power of Congress, or to some matter within the jurisdiction of the United States.'' Bond, 572 U.S. at 854. . . For the reasons stated above, the Court concludes that Congress had no authority to enact 18 U.S.C. § 116(a) under either grant of power on which the government relies. Therefore, that statute is unconstitutional." Id. at 26-27.
   The Justice Department had argued, in addition to their position that Congress had power under the commerce and the necessary and proper clauses of Article I to act, the legislation was also justified by the U.S. treaty obligations under the ICCPR. "The treaty on which the government relies in the present case is the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights ('ICCPR'), which the Senate ratified in 1992. Specifically, the government points to two provisions of this treaty: Article 3, which calls on the signatories to 'ensure the equal right of men and women to the enjoyment of all civil and political rights set forth in the present Covenant'; and Article 24, which states that '[e]very child shall have, without any discrimination as to race, colour, sex, language, religion, national or social origin, property or birth, the right to such measures of protection as are required by his status as a minor, on the part of his family, society and the State.' The government argues that Congress, by enacting the FGM statute, acted reasonably to carry out these two treaty obligations." Id. at 5. The statute was enacted in September 1996 as Pub. L. 104-208, div. C, title VI, § 645(b)(1), 110 Stat. 3009-709.
   Read the Opinion and Order Dismissing Counts of Indictment.
   Access the Federal FGM statute.
   Access the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Indigenous Women in Canada File Class Action Suit Alleging Coerced Sterilizations in Saskatchewan
November 19, 2018. Attorney Alisa Lombard, with Canada's only indigenous-owned national law firm, has filed a class action suit on behalf of two First Nations women and other similarly situated women alleging that they were coerced to undergo sterilizations while in the hospital is Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Lombard testified about the situation before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights earlier this year. Drs. Yvonne Boyer and Judith Barlett published an external review of the SasKatoon Health Region on the subject in 2017 entitled Tubal Ligation in the Saskatoon Health Region: The Lived Experience of Aboriginal Women,July 22, 2017. At the time that review was published, the Saskatoon Health Region issued an apology. "'On behalf of Saskatoon Health Region, we are deeply sorry for what these women experienced, and for any other women in our community who had similar experiences, but were unable to come forward,' says Jackie Mann, vice-president Integrated Health Services, Saskatoon Health Region. 'The report states that racism exists within our health care system and we, as leaders, acknowledge this. This report provides us with clear direction on how we must move forward to truly start the healing that needs to occur. We are thankful to the women who had the courage to come forward to share their story with the reviewers about their experience. You have been heard and will be listened to.'"
   Read the 2017 External Review Repor.
   Read the Lombard Statement to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.
   Read the Saskatoon Health Region News Release on the Apology to Indigenous Women.
   Access the Maurice Law Website.

Supreme Court Stays Judge Furman's Order that Commerce Secretary Sit for Deposition
October 23, 2018. The Supreme Court has issued a stay U.S. District Judge Jesse M. Furman's order that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross must sit for a deposition in the cases brought against his decision directing that the Census include a question on citizenship in the next Census. It is a stay pending an appeal of the matter to the Court for full consideration. For more information and the relevant documents, see the Refugees and Immigrants page of this website.

Seventh Circuit Rules Decides A Narrow Issue with Significant Consequences on Discrimination with Respect to English Language Proficiency
October 11, 2018. Chief Judge Diane P. Wood of the United States Court of Appeals has written an opinion in Ramirez v. Young that appears to deal with a narrow technical issue, but that is an important ruling concerning persons with limited or no English profiency held in confinement. Wood began her introduction to the opinion as follows: "Under the Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1995 (PLRA), "[n]o action shall be brought with respect to prison conditions under [42 U.S.C. § 1983], or any other Federal law, by a prisoner . . . until such administrative remedies as are available are exhausted." 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a)(emphasis in original). This appeal concerns the availability of administrative remedies described to a prisoner by prison officials only in a language they knew he could not understand. We hold that this was not enough to render those remedies "available" to the prisoner. We therefore reverse the judgment dismissing Darwin Ramirez's federal suit for failure to exhaust and remand for further proceedings."
   Read the Opinion.

Federal Judge Orders Commerce Secretary to be Deposed in Case Challening Inclusion of Citizenship Question in Upcoming Census
September 22, 2018. U.S. District Judge Jesse M. Furman has ruled that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross must sit for a deposition in the cases brought against his decision directing that the Census include a question on citizenship in the next Census. There are two cases involving multiple parties which allege that the Secretary's action is a violation of the Administrative Procedure Act and discrimnatory in violation of the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment. For more information and the relevant documents, see the Refugees and Immigrants page of this website.

Supreme Court of India Strikes that Criminalized Gay Sex
September 6, 2018. The Supreme Court of India, in an opinion by Dipak Misra in Jophar v. Union of India, No. 76 of 2016, September 6, 2018, has struck down Section 377 of India’s penal code that outlaws sexual conduct between adults of the same sex and overturned previous precedent upholding that prohibition. Concluding his opinion, Chief Justice Misra wrote: "We hold and declare that: (i) Section 377 of the Penal Code, in so far as it criminalises consensual sexual conduct between adults of the same sex, is unconstitutional; (ii) Members of the LGBT community are entitled, as all other citizens, to the full range of constitutional rights including the liberties protected by the Constitution; (iii) The choice of whom to partner, the ability to find fulfilment in sexual intimacies and the right not to be subjected to discriminatory behaviour are intrinsic to the constitutional protection of sexual orientation; (iv) Members of the LGBT community are entitled to the benefit of an equal citizenship, without discrimination, and to the equal protection of law; (v) The decision in Koushal stands overruled." Slip op., at 180-181.
   Read the opinion.
   Access the Supreme Court of India website.

GAO Publishes New Report on School Disciplinary Disparities
April 11, 2018. The Government Accountability Office has issued a new report entitled "K-12 Education: Discipline Disparities for Black Students, Boys, and Students with Disabilities" which begins with a summary statement that: "Black Students, Boys, and Students with Disabilities were disciplined (e.g., suspensions and expulsions) in K-12 public schools, according to GAO’s analysis of Department of Education (Education) national civil rights data for school year 2013-14, the most recent available. These disparities were widespread and persisted regardless of the type of disciplinary action, level of school poverty, or type of public school attended. For example, Black students accounted for 15.5 percent of all public school students, but represented about 39 percent of students suspended from school—an overrepresentation of about 23 percentage points." In addition to the report itself GAO has posted a story on its "WatchBlog" on the study.
   Read the Report.
   Read the GAO Watchblog.

President Trump Issues Memorandum Changing Policy on Transgender Persons in the Military
March 24, 2018. President Trump issued a memorandum yesterday rescinding his previous directive on transgender persons in the military issued in August and putting in place a new memorandum on the subject which includes more restrictions and authorizes the Secretary of Defense to implement his proposed new policy restrictions on those in the military. This follows on a February 22 memorandum from Secretary Mattis to President Trump and cites the report of a study Mattis instituted on the subject. Secretary Mattis rejected the findings of a Rand Corporation study that was a basis for the decision by Obama defense secretary Carter to eliminate the ban on service for transgender persons and other actions in 2016
   The previous Trump policy is currently under an injunction from the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia pending the completion of a legal challenge to that policy. It is likely that this new policy will be promptly challenged as well.
   Read the March 23 Trump Memorandum.
   Read the Mattis Memorandum to President Trump.
   Read the February 2018 DOD Report.
   Read the District Court Memorandum Opinion on the August Policy.
   Read Presidential Memorandum "Military Service by Transgender Individuals" August 25, 2017.
   Read the 2016 Transgender Policy by Secretary Ash Carter.
   Read the 2016 Rand Corporation Study.

Second Circuit Finds Discrimination in Employment on the Basis of Sexual Orientation a Violation of Title VII
February 26, 2018. The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, sitting en banc, reversed existing precedents in the circuit and ruled today that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is sex discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In so doing, the Second Circuit joins the Seventh Circuit is reaching that conclusion. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the U.S. Department of Justice are on opposite sides of the case, with the EEOC supporting the plaintiff/appellant and the DOJ arguing against the position that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is a violation of Title VII.
   Read the Second Circuit opinion.
   Read the brief for the E.E.O.C. in support of the Plaintiff/Appellant
   Read the brief for the United States in support of Defendant/Appellee

Supreme Court Hears Case that Tests First Amendment Claim to a Right Not to Serve A Client on Grounds that Violates Existing Civil Rights Statutes
December 5, 2017. The Supreme Court today hears oral argument in No. 16-111 Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission in which the business owner refused to make a cake for Charlie Craig and David Mullins, a gay couple. The state Civil Rights Commission and then the state Court of Appeals found that he had violated Colorado's Anti-Discrimination Act (CADA), §§ 24-34-301 to -804, C.R.S. 2014 and that there was no First Amendment right to discriminate in violation of the statute. Craig v. Masterpiece Cakeshop, 370 P.3d 272 (Colo. App. 2015). The state Supreme Court denied certiorari. 2016 Colo. LEXIS 429 (Colo. 2016). The Trump Administration is arguing as an amicus curiae (friend of the court) in support of the business owner. There have been many amicus briefs filed because of the question in the case whether there is a broad First Amendment right to be exempt from the requirements of a civil rights law. In this case, the argument does not rest on a narrower claim of religious exemptions, but a broader claim of First Amendment expression.
   Read the brief for Petitioner, Masterpiece Cakeshop.
   Read the brief of Respondent Colorado Civil Rights Commission.
   Read the brief of Respondents Charlie Craig and David Mullins.
   Read the Amicus Curiae brief for the United States in support of the cakeshop owner.
   Access the Joint Appendix in the case. (For those not familiar with this document, a JA contains the portions of the record the parties consider important for the justices to have immediately before them during considerations of the case.)

Federal Court Issues Injunction in Trump Policy on Transgender Persons in the Military
October 30, 2017. Federal District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia has issued a preliminary injunction against key parts of the Trump administration policy against transgender troops in the military. Judge Kollar-Kotelly explained that: "On July 26, 2017, President Donald J. Trump issued a statement via Twitter announcing that 'the United States Government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military.' A formal Presidential Memorandum followed on August 25, 2017. Before the Presidential Memorandum, the Department of Defense had announced that openly transgender individuals would be allowed to enlist in the military, effective January 1, 2018, and had prohibited the discharge of service members based solely on their gender identities. The Presidential Memorandum reversed these policies. First, the Memorandum indefinitely extends a prohibition against transgender individuals entering the military, a process formally referred to as “accession” (the “Accession Directive”). Second, the Memorandum requires the military to authorize, by no later than March 23, 2018, the discharge of transgender service members (the “Retention Directive”). The Department of Defense is required to submit a plan implementing the directives of the Presidential Memorandum by February 21, 2018. On September 14, 2017, Secretary of Defense James Mattis promulgated Interim Guidance establishing Department of Defense policy toward transgender service members until the directives of the Presidential Memorandum take effect. Pursuant to the Presidential Memorandum and the Interim Guidance, the protections afforded to transgender service members against discharge lapse early next year Doe v. Trump, Memorandum Opinion, at 1. She went on to rule that: "Plaintiffs’ motion for preliminary injunction is GRANTED, however, in that the Court will preliminarily enjoin enforcement of the Accession and Retention Directives. The effect of the Court’s Order is to revert to the status quo with regard to accession and retention that existed before the issuance of the Presidential Memorandum—that is, the retention and accession policies established in the June 30, 2016 Directive-type Memorandum as modified by Secretary of Defense James Mattis on June 30, 2017." Id. at 75-76.
   Read the Memorandum Opinion.
   Read the Complaint in Doe v. Trump.
   For more information on the set of cases filed against the Trump administration policy, see the posting for August 28 below.
   Read Presidential Memorandum "Military Service by Transgender Individuals" August 25, 2017.

Federal Judge Refuses to Expunge the Record After Arpaio Pardon
October 19, 2017, 2017. Federal District Judge Susan R. Bolton has refused former Maricopa County, Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio's request to vacate the record of his conviction for criminal contempt of court following his pardon by President Trump. She concluded her order as follows: "'The power to pardon is an executive prerogative of mercy, not of judicial recordkeeping.' United States v. Noonan, 906 F.2d 952, 955 (3d Cir. 1990). To vacate all rulings in this case would run afoul of this important distinction. The Court found Defendant guilty of criminal contempt. The President issued the pardon. Defendant accepted. The pardon undoubtedly spared Defendant from any punishment that might otherwise have been imposed. It did not, however, 'revise the historical facts' of this case." U.S. v. Arpaio, Case 2:16-cr-01012-SRB, Otober 19, 2017, Order, at 4. The order, the pardon document, and the original fundings of fact and conclusions of law are posted below.
   Read the Order.
   Read the Pardon Document
   Read the Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law.

OMB Reverses Course on Policy Requiring Contractor and Employer Reporting of Pay in EEO Filings and Opponents Consider Legal Challenges
October 8, 2017. Attorney General Sessions on Friday issued a memorandum to executive branch agencies entitled Federal Law Protections for Religious Liberty which he indicated was issued to implement President Trumps executive order 13798 and explains how religious liberty under the First Amendment and Religious Freedom Restoration Act is to be guaranteed. However, critics groups such as the Leadership Conference for Civil and Human Rights immediately charged that the memorandum was a "license to discriminate." Press Release.
   Read the Memorandum.
   Read the DOJ Press Release on the Memorandum.
   Read the Press Release of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights in Response to the Sessions Memorandum.
   Read Executive Order 13798.

OMB Reverses Course on Policy Requiring Contractor and Employer Reporting of Pay in EEO Filings and Opponents Consider Legal Challenges
October 8, 2017. Director of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs in the U.S. Office of Management and Budget issued a memorandum on August 29, 2017 to the Acting Chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Victoria Lipnic, that ordered a stay on reporting by contractors and other employers of equal employment data on employers that under a policy issued in 2016 by the previous administration that required pay data to accompany other information in order to address equal pay act concerns. Rao insisted that it was necessary to stop the implementation of the current policy and reexamine it. She wrote in part: "In this context, under 5 CFR 1320.10(f) and (g), OMB may review an approved collection of information if OMB determines that the relevant circumstances related to the collection have changed and/or that the burden estimates provided by EEOC at the time of initial submission were materially in error. OMB has determined that each of these conditions for review has been met." Memo, at 1. The National Women's Law Center and the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights have demanded information about the basis for the OMB action, including filing a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request that called for all of the information on the formal record as well as communications involving participants in the decision process and those outside the administration with whom they communicated on the matter.
   Read Memorandum From OIRA Direct Naomi Rao to Acting EEOC Chair Victoria Lipnic.
   Read FOIA Request to OMB by National Women's Law Center and Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.

Federal Judge Issues Injunction Against Texas Immigration Statute
September 1, 2017. Federal District Judge Orlando L. Garcia has issued a preliminary injunction blocking implementation, scheduled to begin today, of key provisions of Texas SB4, legislation mandating immigration enforcement by local officials and taking action against sanctuary jurisdictions and officials that support those policies. In so doing, Garcia wrote: "The public interest in protecting constitutional rights, maintaining trust in local law enforcement, and avoiding the heavy burdens that SB 4 imposes on local entities will be served by enjoining those portions of SB 4 that the Court has preliminarily determined are preempted or are constitutionally invalid on their face. Again, this will merely preserve the status quo until the merits of Plaintiffs' claims are resolved In conclusion, the Court's role is limited to determining the constitutionality of a statute, not its wisdom or necessity. That is within the sole discretion and prerogative of the Legislature. There is overwhelming evidence by local officials, including local law enforcement, that SB 4 will erode public trust and make many communities and neighborhoods less safe. There is also ample evidence that localities will suffer adverse economic consequences which, in turn, harm the State of Texas. Indeed, at the end of the day, the Legislature is free to ignore the plea s of city and county officials, along with local police departments, who are in the trenches and neighborhoods enforcing the law on a daily and continuing basis. The depth and reservoir of knowledge and experience possessed by local officials can be ignored. The Court cannot and does not second guess the Legislature. However, the State may not exercise its authority in a manner that violates the United States Constitution." City El Cenizo v. Texas, Wastern District of Texas, Case 5:17-cv-00404-OLG, August 30, 2017, Order at 92-93. The case was brought by a number of Texas cities and other organizations. The U.S. Department of Justice submitted a "Statement of Interest" in support of the state earlier this summer.
   Read the Order.
   Read the SB4 Legislation.
   Read the DOJ Statement of Interest.

Group Begins Legal Responses to Arpaio Pardon
August 30, 2017. One group has initated legal steps with a letter to the Judge Susan Bolton in response to the President's pardon of Joseph Arpaio from his conviction for criminal contempt of court in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona that grew out of a referral for contempt by Judge Snow who presided in the case of Melendres v. Arpaio. A group known as United to Protect Democracy has written to Judge Susan Bolton who is the U.S. District Judge sitting in the Arpaio contempt matter and asked that she deny the Mr. Arpaio's motion to dimiss the case because the group alleges constitutional issues with respect to the pardon. Judge Bolton has a pending motion to dimiss in the Arpaio case, but has not yet ruled on it.
   Read the Letter from Protect Democracy to Raymond N. Hulser, Chief and John Dixon Keller, Public Integrity Section, Criminal Division, U.S. Department of Justice .
   Read the Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law.

Current Servicemembers File Suit Challenging Trump Administration Policy Shift
August 28, 2017. (Updated August 30, 2017) The American Civil Liberties Union has filed suit on behalf of several current transgender service members against President Trump, challenging the presidential memorandum of August 25 concerning transgender persons in the military service. Two other suits have also been filed by the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund (Karnoski v. Trump) and GLBTQ Legal Advocates and Defenders (GLAD) and the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) (Doe v. Trump).
   Read the Complaint in Stone v. Trump.
   Read the Complaint in Doe v. Trump.
   Read the Complaint in Karnoski v. Trump.
   Read Presidential Memorandum "Military Service by Transgender Individuals" August 25, 2017.
   Read the ACLU Press Release on the Suit.

District Court Decides Key Case on EEOC Rules Concerning Employer Wellness Programs
August 23. 2017. Judge John D. Bates of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia has issued a decision against the EEOC's rules governing employer wellness programs in a case brought by the American Associatioin of Retired Persons (AARP) against the rules alleging violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act as well as the Administrative Procedure Act. The suit concerned employer wellness programs that allow for up to 30% incentives on employee insurance costs on grounds that the rules permit these to be used as coercive means to require disclosure of healthcare information that makes employees and their families vulnerable to discrimination in violation of the ADA and GINA. However, the judge chose because of likely "significant disruptive consequences" not to vacate the rules, but instead to "remand them to the agency for further consideration. AARP v. U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Case 1:16-cv-02113-JDB, August 22, 2017, Slip op. at 36.
   The AARP had originally sought a preliminary injunction to block the EEOC rules, but Judge Bates denied that request in December noting in its most recent ruling that the AARP had not at that point demonstrated "either irreparable harm or a likelihood of success on the merits." Id. at 5.
   Read the Recent Opinion Against the EEOC rules.
   Read the December 2016 Opinion Denying the Preliminary Injunction.
   Read the AARP Complaint.
   Read the AARP press release on filing the case.
   Read the EEOC Final Rule.

Fourth Circuit Avoids Merits and Sends Gloucester School Transgender Case Back to District Court
August 2, 2017. A panel of the Fourth Circuit has issued an order that avoids a ruling on the merits in Gavin Grimm v. Gloucester School Board, a highly publicized case involving a Virginia transgender boy who challenged the school district's restroom policy under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. The case had been before the Supreme Court but was sent back to the Fourth Circuit at the request of the Justice Department under Attorney General Sessions. The Fourth Circuit has, in turn, sent the case back to the district court to determine whether the case is now moot since Grimm has graduated from the district's schools.
   Read the Order.

Former Sheriff Joseph Arpaio Convicted of Criminal Contempt of Court in Arizona Federal District Court
August 1, 2017. Judge Susan R. Bolton of the U.S. District Court for Arizona has found former Maricopa County Sheriff Joseph Arpaio guilty of criminal contemport of court for willfully violating an order issued in 2011 by Judge G. Murray Snow in the case of Melendres v. Arpaio. Judge Bolton wrote: "The evidence at trial proves beyond a reasonable doubt and the Court finds that Judge Snow issued a clear and definite order enjoining Defendant from detaining persons for further investigation without reasonable suspicion that a crime has been or is being committed; that Defendant knew of the order; and that Defendant willfully violated the order by failing to do anything to ensure his subordinates’ compliance and by directing them to continue to detain persons for whom no criminal charges could be filed. Because the Court finds that Defendant willfully violated an order of the court, it finds Defendant guilty of criminal contempt." United States v. Arpaio, No. CR-16-01012-001-PHX-SRB, Findings of Fact and Conclusions of law, at 14. Judge Bolton has set sentencing for October 5, 2017.
   Read the Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law.

Department of Justice Argues that Title VII Does Not Apply to Sexual Orientation
July 28, 2017. The Department of Justice filed an amicus curiae brief in Zarda v. Altitude Express, Case No. 15-3775, a case pending in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, in which the U.S. argued "that Title VII does not reach discrimination based on sexual orientation." Brief, at 1. It asserted flatly that "Discrimination because of sexual orientation is not discrimination because of sex under Title VII." Id. at 6.
   As the post for April 17 below indicates, the Seventh Circuit had issued a ruling that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is prohibited by Title VII. If the Second Circuit rules as DOJ has argued in its amicus brief, that would set up a conflict among the circuits that could prompt review by the U.S. Supreme Court.
   Read the U.S. Amicus Brief in the Second Circuit on the Zarda case.
   Read the Opinion in the Seventh Circuit ruling from April.

Supreme Court Declares Void Arkansas Birth Certificate Restrictions in Cases Brought by Same Sex Couples
June 26, 2017. In its opinion in Pavan v. Smith, issued today, the Supreme Court summarily reversed an Arkansas Supreme Court ruling that sustained a state law requiring a male spouse name on a birth certificate in a case brought by two same sex couples. The Court wrote: "The Arkansas Supreme Court’s decision, we conclude, denied married same-sex couples access to the “constellation of benefits that the Stat[e] ha[s] linked to marriage.” Obergefell, 576 U. S., at ___ (slip op., at 17). . . . Indeed, in listing those terms and conditions—the“rights, benefits, and responsibilities” to which same-sex couples, no less than opposite-sex couples, must haveaccess—we expressly identified “birth and death certificates.” Id., at ___ (slip op., at 17). That was no accident: Several of the plaintiffs in Obergefell challenged a State’srefusal to recognize their same-sex spouses on their children’s birth certificates. See DeBoer v. Snyder, 772 F. 3d 388, 398–399 (CA6 2014). In considering those challenges, we held the relevant state laws unconstitutional to the extent they treated same-sex couples differently from opposite-sex couples. See 576 U. S., at ___ (slip op., at 23). That holding applies with equal force to §20–18–401. . . . Obergefell proscribes such disparate treatment. As we explained there, a State may not “exclude same-sex couples from civil marriage on the same terms and conditions as opposite-sex couples.” 576 U. S., at ___ (slip op., at 17). Indeed, in listing those terms and conditions—the“rights, benefits, and responsibilities” to which same-sex couples, no less than opposite-sex couples, must haveaccess—we expressly identified “birth and death certificates.” Id., at ___ (slip op., at 17). That was no accident: Several of the plaintiffs in Obergefell challenged a State’srefusal to recognize their same-sex spouses on their children’s birth certificates. See DeBoer v. Snyder, 772 F. 3d 388, 398–399 (CA6 2014). In considering those challenges, we held the relevant state laws unconstitutional to the extent they treated same-sex couples differently from opposite-sex couples. See 576 U. S., at ___ (slip op., at 23). That holding applies with equal force to §20–18–401. . . .The petition for a writ of certiorari and the pendingmotions for leave to file briefs as amici curiae are granted." Pavvan, Slip op. at 3-4. The opinion was a per curiam ruling, but there was a dissent written by Justice Gorsuch and joined by Justices Thomas and Alito.
   Read the opinion.

Department of Education Civil Rights Office Head Directs a Scaling Back of Enforcement Investigations and Responses
June 16, 2017. Candace Jackson, Acting Assistant Secretary of Education for Civil Rights, has issued an internal memorandum, originally published by ProPublica, which rewrites Office of Civil Rights (OCR) policy on enforcement actions with several new limitations on the scope of investigations and on the usualy methods of enforcement as employed during the Obama administration.
   In light of proposed budget cuts and other changes in civil rights enforcement, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights has issued a statement of concern and announced an investigation of enforcement policies. "The Commission, by majority vote, expresses concern with the Administration’s proposed budget cuts to and planned staff losses in numerous programs and civil rights offices across the federal government that enforce our nation’s federal civil rights laws. Along with changing programmatic priorities, these proposed cuts would result in a dangerous reduction of civil rights enforcement across the country, leaving communities of color, LGBT people, older people, people with disabilities, and other marginalized groups exposed to greater risk of discrimination. The Commission unanimously approved a comprehensive two-year assessment of federal civil rights enforcement, which will conclude in Fiscal Year 2019. The review will examine the degree to which current budgets and staffing levels allow civil rights offices to perform their statutory and regulatory functions, the management practices in place in the offices and whether these practices are sufficient to meet the volume of civil rights issues within the offices’ jurisdiction, and the efficacy of recent resolution efforts from the offices." Civil Rights Commission statement, at 1.
   Read the memorandum as published by ProPublica.
   Read the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights Statement on Enforcement.
   Read the ProPublica Article on the Memorandum.

Administration Budget Proposals Cut Civil Rights Programs and Agencies
May 30, 2017. The Washington Post has published a piece by Juliet Eilperin, Emma Brown and Darryl Fears on proposed budget cuts in the area of civil rights in various federal agencies. A further examination of the agency by agency budget-in-brief documents that contain the Trump administration’s FY 2018 appropriations requests confirms cuts in several areas noted by the authors. The proposal calls for merging the Office of Federal Contract Compliance (OFCCP), which is the primary agency that audits contractors to ensure compliance with a range of federal civil rights and other protections, into the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and a reduction in the FY 2018 funding for OFCCP programs. However, the EEOC budget request is flat funded, requesting the same dollar amount as the previous budget, but showing an actual decline of 130 FTE in personnel. The Department of Justice request for funding of the Civil Rights Division involves a drop of $114,000 and 121 positions. The Environmental Protection Agency budget request eliminates the Environmental Justice Program and a 26.3% budget cut from the FY 2016 actual funding level for civil rights programs. The Department of Education Office of Civil Rights is slated to lose 40 positions and $200,000 from the FY 2016 actual figure. The Office of Civil Rights of the Department of Health and Human Services is to be cut from $39 million to $33 million.
   Read the Juliet Eilperin, Emma Brown and Darryl Fears' piece in the Washington Post "Trump administration plans to minimize civil rights efforts in agencies."
   Access the Department of Labor, Budget in Brief FY 2018 which contains the OFCCP request.
   Department of Justice Civil Rights Division FY 2018 Budget Submission.
   Department of Education Budget in Brief FY 2018.
   Department of Health and Human Services Budget in Brief FY 2018.

GAO Testifies This Time on the House Side on Weaknesses in Federal Management of Programs Serving Indian Tribes
May 25, 2017. Melissa Emrey-Arras, GAO Director, Education, Workforce, and Income Security, Frank Rusco, Director, Natural Resources and Environment Kathleen M. King, Director, Health Carehas have published their Testimony before the Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies of the House Committee on Appropriations, entitled "High Risk: Actions Needed to Address Serious Weaknesses in Federal Management of Programs Serving Indian Tribes." This comes just a week after testimony on the same subject before the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs (see posting for May 17 below).
   Read Testimony.

GAO Testifies on Weaknesses in Federal Management of Programs Serving Indian Tribes
May 17, 2017. Melissa Emrey-Arras, GAO Director, Education, Workforce, and Income Security, has published her Testimony before the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, entitled "High Risk:Actions Needed to Address Serious Weaknesses in Federal Management of Programs Serving Indian Tribes. This is a follow up testimony following the fact that GAO added this as a new subject area in its "High Risk" series report for 2017 issued in February. That report said: "We, along with inspectors general, special commissions, and others, have reported that federal agencies have ineffectively administered Indian education and health care programs, and inefficiently fulfilled their responsibilities for managing the development of Indian energy resources. In particular, we have found numerous challenges facing Interior’s Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) and Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA)30 and the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Indian Health Service (IHS) in administering education and health care services, which put the health and safety of American Indians served by these programs at risk. These challenges included poor conditions at BIE school facilities that endangered students, and inadequate oversight of health care that hindered IHS’s ability to ensure quality care to Indian communities. In addition, we have reported that BIA mismanages Indian energy resources held in trust and thereby limits opportunities for tribes and their members to use those resources to create economic benefits and improve the well-being of their communities." High Risk Report, p. 31
   Read Testimony.
   Read GAO 2017 High Risk Report.

U.S. District Court Allows Gardendale, Alabama to Separate from Jefferson County Schools
April 27, 2017. Federal District Judge Madeline Haikala of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama, while deploring what was happening in the case, has issued a nearly 200 page opinion that allows the beginning of a process for a new city school district to separate from the Jefferson County School district. Her opinion in Stout v. United States recognized and documented the fact that: "During Gardendale’s separation effort, both words and deeds have communicated messages of inferiority and exclusion. The message cannot be lost on children who live in North Smithfield." p. 175. However, she went on to write: "Given these findings, the Court would be within its discretion if it were simply to deny Gardendale’s motion to separate. Were it not for a number of practical considerations, the Court would do just that. As was the case in Stout II, though some of the circumstances surrounding Gardendale’s attempt to separate are deplorable, a number of practical considerations counsel against wholesale denial of Gardendale’s motion." Id., at 181. She then explained these "practical consideration" and in the end granted in part and denied in part the Glendale motion to separate. She allowed Glendale to operate two schools in the upcoming year and then indicated that: "Should the Gardendale Board of Education operate Gardendale Elementary and Snow Rogers in good faith compliance with the anticipated desegregation order, then in three years, the Court shall consider a renewed motion for operation of a Gardendale municipal system for grades Kindergarten through 12." Id. at 186.
   The NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund responded that they could not see how the judge could make the findings she did as to discrimination and still allow separation and development of the new district.
    For the earlier documents in the case, see the posting from December 19, 2016 below.
   Read the Opinion.
   Read the NAACP LDF Statement on the opinion.

Seventh Circuit EnBanc Ruling Applies Title VII to Sexual Orientation Discrimination
April 17, 2017. The Seventh Circuit sitting en banc has issued its opinion in Kimberly Hively v. Ivy Tech Community College, No. 15-1720 (April 4, 2017), finding that discrimination as to sexual orientation is sex discrimination within the meaning of Title VII. The first lines of the opinion explains not only what the court said, but why it was such an important case. "Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 makes it unlawful for employers subject to the Act to discriminate on the basis of a person’s “race, color, religion, sex, or national origin … .” 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(a). For many years, the courts of appeals of this country understood the prohibition against sex discrimination to exclude discrimination on the basis of a person’s sexual orientation. The Supreme Court, however, has never spoken to that question. In this case, we have been asked to take a fresh look at our position in light of developments at the Supreme Court extending over two decades. We have done so, and we conclude today that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is a form of sex discrimination." Slip op. at 1-2. Judges Flaum and Posner issued concurring opinions. Judges Sykes issued a dissent joined by two others.
   Read the Opinions.

District Court Enters the Baltimore Police Case Settlement as an Order of the Court
April 10, 2017. Judge James K. Bredar of the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland has rejected the Justice Department efforts to delay the ruling and has entered the settlement agreement reached earlier with the City of Baltimore and its police department with the DOJ as an order of the court. The court took that action following a hearing on April 6 and its decision to reject the DOJ motion for a a delay in the proceedings.
   Read the Memorandum and Order of the Court.
   Read the Consent Decree as Proposed.

District Court Rejects Motion by DOJ to Delay Action in the Baltimore Police Case
April 6, 2017. Judge James K. Bredar of the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland has denied the request by the U.S. Department of Justice to delay the proceedings to consider whether the court should enter the agreement for reform of the Baltimore Police Department. See the postings below for more information on the case and the Attorney Genera's announcement of the decision to reexamine all existing police reform consent orders.
   Read the Order Denying the DOJ Motion.

U.S. Court Provides Motion by DOJ to Delay Action in the Baltimore Police Case and Opposition to a Delay by the City
April 5, 2017. Following the posting concerning the Attorney General's memorandum calling for re-examination of police reform consent decrees done at the instigation of the Department of Justice, the department filed a motion for a continuance of the fairness hearing on the Baltimore Police Reform and the City of Baltimore quickly filed a brief in opposition to the DOJ efforts at delay.
   Read the DOJ Motion for a Contiuance of the Hearing on the Baltimore Police Consent Decree.
   Read City of Baltimore's Brief in Opposition to the DOJ Request to Delay the Hearing.

U.S. Attorney General Announces Review of Police Reform Agreements
April 4, 2017. U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has issued a memorandum calling for a review of existing agreements reached with police departments for reform of practices to comply with civil rights laws with a view to addressing what the actions that are not supportive of law enforcement. The Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice has regularly investigated charges of improper and particularly discriminatory practices by police departments, announced those findings, and entered into negotiations with those departments to reform practices resulting in consent decrees entered by a federal court. Once entered, they are orders of the court and enforceable through the contemp power of the court. The item listed as a press release by the Department of Justice provided no announcement by the Attorney General beyond the memorandum itself. unfairly maligned and blamed for the unacceptable deeds of a few bad actors. Our officers, deputies and troopers believe the political leadership of this country abandoned them. Their morale has suffered. And last year, amid this intense public scrutiny and criticism, the number of police officers killed in the line of duty increased 10 percent over the year before.
   These actions follow statements by the Attorney General in February warning that the department needed to support law enforcement. He said: "For the federal government, that means this: rather than dictating to local police how to do their jobs – or spending scarce federal resources to sue them in court – we should use our money, research and expertise to help them figure out what is happening and determine the best ways to fight crime." Remarks at National Association of Attorneys General Annual Winter Meeting.
   The Attorney General has also filed a request with the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland to delay a hearing scheduled for April 6 on whether to enter the agreement as an order on consent. The Court has announced on its website :UPDATE: On Monday, April 3, 2017, the United States of America filed a motion to postpone the Public Fairness Hearing. The Court has not ruled on the motion. Any ruling on the motion to postpone will be posted here immdiately."
   Read the Attorney General's Memorandum.
   Read the Pending Proposed Baltimore Consent Decree.
   Read the DOJ Complaint filed in the Baltimore Police Case.
   Read the Court's Order on the Fairness Hearing.
   Access the U.S. District Court for Maryland's webpage on the Baltimore Police Case.
   Access the DOJ Report on the Baltimore Police Case.
   Access the Attorney General's February 28, 2017 speech.

Hawaii Launches Legal Challenge to New Trump Policy on Immigrants and Refugees
March 8, 2017. The attorney general of Hawaii, joined by the former solicitor general of the U.S., has filed a challenge to the new executive order announced this week by President Trump. The case alleges constitutional, statutory, and procedural violations of law.
   Read the Amended Complaint.
   Read the Presidential Executive Order on Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States.
   Read the Presidential Memorandum on Implementing Immediate Heightened Screening and Vetting of Applications for Visas and Other Immigration Benefits.

Supreme Court Sends Gloucester County Bd. of Ed. Case Back to Lower Courts
March 7, 2017. In the fact of the decision by the Trump administration to rescind the Obama administration's guidance on Title IX requirements with respect to transgender students, the Supreme Court has issued a brief order canceling the oral argument originally scheduled for later this month and sending the case back down to the lower courts. The Court said: "The judgment is vacated, and the case is remanded to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit for further consideration in light of the guidance document issued by the Department of Education and Department of Justice on February 22, 2017.
   The Court took that action following on the letter from the Department of Justice notifying the justices of the decision to rescind even though the two parties to the Gloucester County case urged the Court to move forward with the process as planned. (See the posting for March 2 below.)
   Access the Court's order and order list for March 6.

National Registry of Exonerations Issues 2016 and Race and Wrongful Convictions Reports
March 7, 2017. The National Registry of Exonerations, which is a project of the University of California Irvine Newkirk Center for Science and Society, University of Michigan Law School, and the Michigan State University College of Law has just issued its Exonerations in 2016 report which shows a record number of exonerations. The Registry also issued its report on Race and Wrongful Convictions on the same day.
    The executive summary to the Exonerations in 2016 report notes: "2016 set another record for exonerations in the United States—1661 that we know of so far in 25 states, the District of Columbia, federal courts, and Puerto Rico. This record continues a trend: the rate of exonerations has been increasing rapidly for several years. . . . Homicide: Fifty-four defendants were exonerated of homicide—52 for murder and two for manslaughter. Sexual Assault: Twenty-four defendants were exonerated of sex crimes, including 16 for child sexual abuse. Other Violent Crimes: Fifteen defendants were exonerated of convictions for other violent crimes, such as arson, robbery, and attempted murder. Non-Violent Crimes: Seventy-three defendants were exonerated of non-violent offenses. The vast majority of these exonerations were for drug possession or sale, and most of these exonerations came from a single county—Harris County, Texas (home to Houston)." Report, at 1. The report goes on to explain that the registry now contains some 1,994 exonerations since 1989.
   The Race and Wrongful Convictions Report presents dramatic data showing that: "African Americans are only 13% of the American population but a majority of innocent defendants wrongfully convicted of crimes and later exonerated. They constitute 47% of the 1,900 exonerations listed in the National Registry of Exonerations (as of October 2016), and the great majority of more than 1,800 additional innocent defendants who were framed and convicted of crimes in 15 large-scale police scandals and later cleared in “group exonerations.” Report, at i.
   Read the 2016 Exonerations Report.
   Read the Race and Wrongful Convictions.
   Access the National Registry of Exonerations Website at the University of Michigan School of Law.

Next Steps in the Gloucester County Board of Ed Case Concerning Transgender Students
March 2, 2017. When the Departments of Justice and Education rescinded the policy document issued by those agencies concerning transgender students in 2016, the DOJ also sent a letter to the clerk of the U.S. Supreme Court for the justices concerning the Gloucester County Board of Education v. G.G case from Virginia which is scheduled for oral argument later this month, saying that the policy no longer existed. (See the posting for February 23 below.) The clerk then asked the parties to the case to provide letters to the Court indicating how they thought the case should proceed in light of the Trump administration's action. Both the petitioner and the respondent have argued in their letters that the Court should move forward to hear and decide the case as planned.
   Read the DOJ letter to the clerk of the Supreme Court.
   Read the Petitioner's Letter to the Court.
   Read the Respondent's Letter to the Court.

Justice Department Reverses Position in Texas Voter ID Law Case
February 28, 2017. The United States Department of Justice has now reversed course in a major case challenging a controversial Texas voter ID law just a day before that case was scheduled for oral argument in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas. The DOJ wrote in part: "In light of this significant development and the Fifth Circuit’s controlling instructions, the United States and Texas jointly moved for a continuance of the oral argument scheduled for February 28, 2017. The Court has denied that motion. Accordingly, the United States has determined that, rather than continuing to litigate the purpose claim on an evolving record, it should give full effect to the Fifth Circuit’s directives by withdrawing that claim and allowing the Texas Legislature the opportunity to rectify any alleged infirmities with its voter identification law. Thus, out of due respect for the controlling opinion of the Fifth Circuit and for the comity necessary in our system of federalism, the United States has determined that it will not pursue its purpose claim at this time and respectfully moves for voluntary dismissal of that claim without prejudice." Veasey v. Abbott, Civil Action No. 2:13-cv-193 (NGR), United States Motion for Voluntary Dismissal of Discriminatory Purpose Claim without Prejudice, at 1-2.
   The Veasey case is a challenged to a Texas Voter ID law, SB 14 adopted on May 16, 2011 (Act of May 16, 2011, 82d Leg., R.S., ch. 123, 2011 Tex. Gen. Laws 619) that not only required the ID but limited the types of ID that are acceptable. The U.S. District Court struck down the law as based on a discriminatory purpose and found that it had a discriminatory effect among other key findings. Veasey v. Perry, 71 F. Supp. 3d 627 (S.D. Tex. 2014). A panel of the Fifth Circuit affirmed in part, but the the Court of Appeals then heard the case again en banc. It affirmed in part, reversed in part, vacated in part, and remanded the case for further proceedings. It is the hearing in the district court on remand that takes place today on the eve of which the DOJ switched positions.
   The 5th Circuit en banc ruling concluded: “For the reasons stated above, we REVERSE the district court's judgment that SB 14 was passed with a racially discriminatory purpose and REMAND for the district court to consider this claim in light of the guidance we have provided in this opinion. . . . The district court should then reevaluate the evidence relevant to discriminatory intent and determine anew whether the Legislature acted with a discriminatory intent in enacting SB 14. . . . We AFFIRM the district court's finding that SB 14 violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act through its discriminatory effects and REMAND for consideration of the appropriate remedy consistent with this opinion as soon as possible. . . . . The district court will need to reexamine the discriminatory purpose claim in accordance with the proper legal standards we have described, bearing in mind the effect any interim legislative action taken with respect to SB 14 may have. The district court's task in this respect may await the November 8, 2016 general election.” 830 F.3d 216, 272 (5th Cir. 2016). The oral argument today is part of the district court's efforts to address the appeals court directions.
    The Campaign Legal Center is the lead organization for the plaintiffs in the case and has provided a web page with documents in the case.
   Read the DOJ February 27 Motion.
   Read yhr 5th Circuit en banc opinion.
   Read the district court opinion striking down SB 14.
   Access the Campaign Legal Center web page.

Trump Administration Rescinds DOJ/DOE Policy Guidance on Transgender Students
February 23, 2017. The Departments of Justice and Education have issued a letter which rescinds the policy guidance promulgated by the Obama administration in the spring of 2016 concerning transgender students as well as a 2015 letter issued by the Office of Civil Rights that was cited in the 2016 document. In the new letter, the Trump administration states: "The purpose of this guidance is to inform you that the Department of Justice and the Department of Education are withdrawing the statements of policy and guidance reflected in: Letter to Emily Prince from James A. Ferg-Cadima, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy, Office for Civil Rights at the Department of Education dated January 7, 2015; and Dear Colleague Letter on Transgender Students jointly issued by the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice and the Department of Education dated May 13, 2016." The Attorney General's press release that accompanies the letter states in part: "The prior guidance documents did not contain sufficient legal analysis or explain how the interpretation was consistent with the language of Title IX. The Department of Education and the Department of Justice therefore have withdrawn the guidance. Congress, state legislatures, and local governments are in a position to adopt appropriate policies or laws addressing this issue."
   In addition, the Department of Justice, through the Deputy Solicitor General, has sent a letter to the Clerk of the Supreme Court for the justices, concerning the Gloucester County School Bd. v. GG case that is scheduled for oral argument in late March which indicates that the guidance documents that existed before have been withdrawn. The federal government is not a party to this case and has not filed an amicus curiae brief. The letter asks that the justices be informed of the Department of Justice action but is not a motion for any particular action. It may be an effort to have the pending case declared moot, but the letter does not request any action from the Court.
   The Texas Attorney General has issued a press release applauding the Trump administration's action and indicating with respect to the pending litigation against the previous federal policy that: "my office is evaluating what impact it might bear on our ongoing litigation."
   The ACLU, which is representing the student in the Goucester County Bd. of Ed. case, filed its Supreme Court brief today, arguing that the Court should decide the Title IX question and conclude that it provides the kinds of protections indicated by the previous DOJ guidance.
   Read the February 22 letter.
   Read the DOJ letter to the Justices of the Supreme Court.
   Read the Attorney General's Press Release.
   Read the Secretary of Education's Press Release.
   Read the Texas Attorney General's Press Release.
   Read the Brief for Respondent.

Washington State Supreme Court Rules Against Florist for Refusal to Serve Gay Couple
February 16, 2017. The Washington Supreme Court delivered its opinion yesterday in Washington v. Arlene's Flowers, finding that the refusal to sell wedding flowers to a same-sex couple violates the Washington Law Against Discrimination (WLAD)) RCW 49.60.215 and the Consumer Protection Act (CPA), ch. 19.86 RCW and rejecting the claims by the business that if that legislation bars her action "those statutes violate her state and federal constitutional rights to free speech, free exercise, and free association."Slip Op. at 2.
   Read the WA Supreme Court Opinion.

Supreme Court Prepares to Hear Argument in Virginia Transgender Student Case
February 14, 2017. The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral argument in Gloucester County School Bd. v. GG, a case that originated in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals summarized the case and its response to the district court as follows: "G.G., a transgender boy, seeks to use the boys’ restrooms at his high school. After G.G. began to use the boys’ restrooms with the approval of the school administration, the local school board passed a policy banning G.G. from the boys’ restroom. G.G. alleges that the school board impermissibly discriminated against him in violation of Title IX and the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution. The district court dismissed G.G.’s Title IX claim and denied his request for a preliminary injunction. This appeal followed. Because we conclude the district court did not accord appropriate deference to the relevant Department of Education regulations, we reverse its dismissal of G.G.’s Title IX claim. Because we conclude that the district court used the wrong evidentiary standard in assessing G.G.’s motion for a preliminary injunction, we vacate its denial and remand for consideration under the correct standard. We therefore reverse in part, vacate in part, and remand the case for further proceedings consistent with this opinion." G.G. v. Gloucester Counry Bd. of Ed., 822 F.3d 709, 714 (4ht Cir. 2016). The Respondents have until February 23 to file their brief on the merits. A variety of amicus curiae have already filed on both sides of the case.
    The United States is not a party to the case and has not, to date, filed an amicus curiae brief in the matter.
   Read the 4th Circuit Opinion.
   Read SCT order staying lower court pending appeal.
   Read the Cert. Petition.
   Read the Brief in Opposition to Cert..
   Read the Brief for Petitioner Gloucester County Bd. of Ed..
   Read the Brief for Respondent.

Justice Department Changes Position on Texas Transgender Bathrooms Case
February 11, 2017. The U.S. Justice Department has filed papers withdrawing its request that the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals issue a stay of the injunction issued by a federal district judge against the Department of Education and Civil Rights Division regarding a guidance letter issued to schools on transgender students issued in May of last year and to cancel the oral argument which DOJ had requested scheduled for Feburary 14. It is at this point not clear what the DOJ intentions are, but this is clearly stepping back from the position taken by the U.S. as recently as January 6 when it filed a brief in support of its motion for a stay and for oral argument. The Fifth Circuit panel of Judges Owen, Elrod, and Costa, in a brief per curiam decision, granted the motion to withdraw the stay request and cancelled the scheduled oral argument.
   The district court wrote in its August 2016 Preliminary Injunction Order: "[T]he Court concludes . . . that Defendants failed to comply with the Administrative Procedures Act by: (1) foregoing the Administrative Procedures Act’s notice and comment requirements; and (2) issuing directives which contradict the existing legislative and regulatory texts. Accordingly, Plaintiffs’ Motion should be and is hereby GRANTED." Texas v. U.S., Case 7:16-cv-00054-O, (August 21, 2016), Preliminary Injunction Order, at 2. The panel went on to explain that: "Defendants are enjoined from enforcing the Guidelines against Plaintiffs and their respective schools, school boards, and other public, educationally-based institutions." Id., at 37. The plaintiffs in this case were 13 states and their education agencies as well as individual school districts. They included: "(1) the State of Texas; (2) Harrold Independent School District (TX); (3) the State of Alabama; (4) the State of Wisconsin; (5) the State of West Virginia; (6) the State of Tennessee; (7) Arizona Department of Education; (8) Heber-Overgaard Unified School District (Arizona); (9) Paul LePage, Governor of the State of Maine; (10) the State of Oklahoma; (11) the State of Louisiana; (12) the State of Utah; (13) the state of Georgia; (14) the State of Mississippi, by and through Governor Phil Bryant; (15) the Commonwealth of Kentucky, by and through Governor Matthew G. Bevin." Id., at 2.
   For more information and documents, see the posts below for August 22 and May 13, 2016.
   Read the February 10, 2017 U.S. Withdrawal of Motion for Stay and Oral Argument.
   Read the January 6, 2017 Brief of US in Support of a Stay and Orgal Argument.
   Read the August 21, 2016 Northern District of Texas Preliminary Injunction Order.
   Read the Texas Attorney General's August 25, 2016 "Significant Guidance Letter" to Texas Schools on following the District Court Injunction.
   Read the Civil Rights Division and Department of Education Letter Sent to Schools and Colleges.

DOJ Civil Rights Division Issues Findings in Investigation of the Chicago Police Department
January 13, 2017. The Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice today issued its findings from an investigation of the Chicago Police Department. In announcing the findings, the CRD wrote: "The Justice Department announced today that it has found reasonable cause to believe that the Chicago Police Department (CPD) engages in a pattern or practice of using force, including deadly force, in violation of the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution. The department found that CPD officers’ practices unnecessarily endanger themselves and result in unnecessary and avoidable uses of force. The pattern or practice results from systemic deficiencies in training and accountability, including the failure to train officers in de-escalation and the failure to conduct meaningful investigations of uses of force. The city of Chicago and the Justice Department have signed an agreement in principle to work together, with community input, to create a federal court-enforceable consent decree addressing the deficiencies found during the investigation." Press release.
   Read the Civil Rights Division Press Release on the Chicago Police Department Findings.
   Read the DOJ Findings from the Investigation of the Chicago Police Department.
   Read the DOJ Findings Fact Sheet.
   Read the Agreement in Principle between the Chicago Police Department and DOJ.
   Read the DOJ Summary of Chicago PD Reform Accomplishments to Date.

Gardendale, Alabama Seeks to Separate from Jefferson County Schools as Northern District of Alabama Determines the Way Forward on Desegregation Plans
December 19, 2016. Federal District Judge Madeline Haikala of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama has presided over at a trial this month in a case in which Gardendale, Alabama has sought to separate from the Jefferson County School District and create its own district which comes in the midst of efforts by the Jefferson County, the Department of Justice, and other parties concerning the effort to bring the Jefferson County School District to full unitary status, capping a long running effort to ensure full degregation. The case Stout v. Jefferson County Board of Education dates back to 1965. The NCAACP LDF and the U.S. Department of Justice objected to Gardendale's effort to separate.
   Conner Sheets, in a article for AL.com, quoted Judge Haikala at the conclusion of the trial. "The court has before it a great deal of evidence, and, unfortunately for all the families that are waiting for a decision, the court has to" take the necessary time to consider the evidence and prepare a ruling, she said after testimony wrapped Friday. 'I wish I had magical powers and that I could have a decision tomorrow ... I understand the tremendous pressures this has had on the community.' She added that 'whatever the decision is, I hope that the communities can mend' the fissures that have opened between residents over the issue." "Gardendale School System Separation trial Ends with Hours of Emotional Court Testimony," AL.com, December 9, 2016.
   Read the Gardendale Motion to Operate Municipate System and Plan of Separation 12/11/15.
   Read the DOJ Objectives to the Separation 8/26/2016.
   Read the NAACP Objections to the Separation 8/26/16.
   Read Alabama Media Group AL.com article by Conner Sheets quoted above.

AARP Files Suit Against Employer Wellness Program Disclosure and Penalty Requirements
December 19, 2016. The American Association of Retired Persons has filed suit challenging the EEOC final rules issued in May 2016 concerning employer wellness programs that allow for up to 30% incentives on employee insurance costs on grounds that the rules permit these to be used as coercive means to require disclosure of healthcare information that makes employees and their families vulnerable to discrimination in violation of the ADA and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act.
   Read the Complaint.
   Read the AARP press release on the case.
   Read the EEOC Final Rule.

Interior Secretary Orders Greater Inclusion of Tribal Governments in Decision Making
October 24, 2016. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell issued an order on October 21 entitled Identifying Opportunities and Collaborative Partnerships with Federally Recognized Indian Tribes in the Management of Federal Lands and Resources. In her press release describing the order, the secretary's office explained: "As outlined, the Secretarial Order guides Interior’s land management agencies to identify opportunities, consult with tribes, and implement cooperative management agreements or other collaborative partnerships as appropriate that relate to: Management of fish and wildlife resources; Identification, protection, preservation and management of cultural sites;Management of plant resources, including collection of plant material; Delivery of specific programs and services; Management and implementation of agency-related maintenance activities; and Managing public information related to tribal, cultural and/or educational materials related to an agency. The Order does not address ‘co-management,’ which are situations where there is a specific legal basis that requires co-management of natural resources or that makes co-management otherwise necessary. In some instances, such as management of the salmon harvest in the Pacific Northwest, co-management has been established by law."
   Read Order 3342.
   Read the Secretary of the Interior's Press Release.

Death Penalty Studies Again Finds Racism, Ineffective Defense, and Overzealous Prosecutors Central
October 24, 2016. The Fair Punishment Project, a joint efforts of the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race & Justice and the Criminal Justice Institute at the Harvard Law School has issued a two part study on the death penalty entitled "Too Broken to Fix: An In-depth Look at America’s Outlier Death Penalty Counties" that focuses particularly on the small number of counties that still present the majority of death sentences. As the Fair Punishment Project explained in issuing the report, "The report notes that these “outlier counties” are plagued by persistent problems of overzealous prosecutors, ineffective defense lawyers, and racial bias." The report was issued in two parts in August and September.
   Read Part I of the report issued August 23.
   Read Part II of the report issued October 12.
   Read the press release on Part I of the report.
   Read the press release on Part II of the report.

Alabama Judicial Tribunal Suspends Chief Justice of State Supreme Court
October 1, 2016. The Alabama Court of the Judiciary has suspended Chief Justice Roy S. Moore of the Alabama Supreme Court. Charges were brought against Moore by the Alabama Judicial Inquiry Commission following a series of actions in opposition to both federal district court orders and the Supreme Court's ruling in the Obergefell case that upheld the right to marry for same-sex couples. In rendering its rulings in the Moore case, the Court of the Judiciary warned that it was "not a case to review or editorialize about the United States Supreme Court's June 2015 split decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, 135 S.Ct. 2584 (12015). . . . This court simply does not have the authority to reexamine those issues." In the Matter of Roy S. Moore, p. 1. Even as it made this assertion, the court added that Obergefell was "a decisions that some members of this court did not personally agree with or think was well reasoned." Id. The Court of the Judicial found Moore guilty of the charges and suspended him. There was a majority for removal from office, but doing so required a unanimous vote and there was not unanimity.
   There were 6 charges filed by the JIC charge. They were based in significant part on a January 6, 2016 Administrative Order issued by Moore in which he declared that "probate judges have ministerial duty not to issue any marriage license contrary to the Alabama Sanctity of Marriage Amendment." Administrative Order, at 4. The charge also included Moore's refusal to recuse himself from a pending case on the subject. In refusing to recuse, Moore declared that: "[t]he Obergefell opinion, being manifestly absurd and unjust and contrary to reason and divine law, is not entitled to precedential value." Quoted in In the Matter of Roy S. Moore, at 15.
   Read the final judgment of the court.
   Read the complaint in the case.
   Read Moore answer to the complain.
   Access the trial exhibit list.
   Read Moore's January 6, 2016 which was one of the key elements of the charge.

Texas and Other States Challenge Affordable Care Act Sexual Identity Rule
August 26, 2016. Texas AG Kenneth Paxton has announced that the state has now joined with other parties to bring another case, like Texas v. U.S. filed in the Northern District of Texas, but this time challenging an HHS rule under the Affordable Care Act concerening sexual identity. Wisconsin, Nebraska, Kentucky and Kansas are parties as are a number of faith-based organizations.The complaint suggests a tie between this rule and the DOJ/DOE action, asserting in part that: "HHS cited as authority the 'Dear Colleague' letter issued jointly by the Department of Education (DOE) and Department of Justice (DOJ) just five days earlier." See the complaint below at 10. The rule that is the target of this suit is Nondiscrimination in Health Programs and Activities, 81 Fed. Reg. 31375, 31392, 31384 (May 18, 2016).
   Read the Complaint.
   Read the Texas AG Press Release.
   Access the HHS Rule under challenge.

U.S. District Court Judge in Texas Issues Injunction Against DOJ/DOE Transgender Letter
August 22, 2016. U.S. District Court Judge Reed O'Connor for the Northern District of Texas has issued a preliminary injunction against the guidance issued jointly by the U.S. Department of Justice and Department of Education issued in May concerning transgender students. On the motion for a preliminary injunction by Texas, O'Connor wrote: "Defendants failed to comply with the Administrative Procedures Act by: (1) foregoing the Administrative Procedures Act’s notice and comment requirements; and (2) issuing directives which contradict the existing legislative and regulatory texts."
   For more information and additional documents, see the May 13, 2016 post below.
   Read the Texas v. United States Preliminary Injunction Order.
   Read the Guidance Letter Sent to Schools and Colleges.

Justice Department Issues Finds of Investigation Into Baltimore Police Department
August 22, 2016. The report found: "After engaging in a thorough investigation, initiated at the request of the City of Baltimore and BPD, the Department of Justice concludes that there is reasonable cause to believe that BPD engages in a pattern or practice of conduct that violates the Constitution or federal law. BPD engages in a pattern or practice of: (1) making unconstitutional stops, searches, and arrests; (2) using enforcement strategies that produce severe and unjustified disparities in the rates of stops, searches and arrests of African Americans; (3) using excessive force; and (4) retaliating against people engaging in constitutionally-protected expression. This pattern or practice is driven by systemic deficiencies in BPD’s policies, training, supervision, and accountability structures that fail to equip officers with the tools they need to police effectively and within the bounds of the federal law." Investigation of the Baltimore City Police Department, Executive Summary, at 3.
   Read the Report.
   Access the DOJ Press Release on the Release of the Report.

District Court Blocks Mississippi HB 1543 Law
July 1, 2016.Judge Carlton W. Reeves of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi has issued an injunction blocking the implementation of Mississippi's HB 1543, entitled ""Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act," on grounds that it is both an establishment of religion in violation of the First Amendment and discriminated against on the basis of sexual orientation in violation of equal protection of the law under the Fourteenth Amendment. The ruling in Barber v. Bryant came the day before the Mississippi law was to take effect.
   The ACLU of Mississippi has also filed a separate suit, which is Alford v. Moulder..
   Read the Barber v. Bryant opinion.
   Access the legal documents in Alford v. Moulder. from the ACLU of Mississippi website.

Texas Leads Other States in Suit Again DOE and DOJ Actions on Transgender Issues
May 26, 2016. The state of Texas led a group of other plaintiffs including Alabama, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Tennessee, Main, Louisiana, Utah, and Georgia and a number of school districts in launching a suit against the Department of Education and the Department of Justice to the actions of those agencies with respect to transgender students in schools and colleges. (See the post for May 13 below.) In fact, the case, styled Texas v. United States, named the United States, United States Department of Education, John B. King, Jr., in his Official Capacity as United States Secretary of Education, the United States Department of Justice, Loretta E. Lynch, in her Official Capacity as Attorney General of the United States, Vanita Gupta in her Official Capacity as Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General, the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Jenny R. Yang, in her Official Capacity as the Chair of the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, United States Department of Labor, Thomas E. Perez, in his Official Capacity as United States Secretary of Labor; and David Michaels, in his Official Capacity as the Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The complaint alleges that the guidance was actual a set of rules issued without proper procedure as required under the Administrative Procedure Act, that the rules were in excess of their statutory authority and therefore violated the APA, that the rules violated the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, that they violated the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, that they unlawfully seek to abrogate state sovereign immunity, that they are arbitrary and capricious within the meaning of the APA, that they threaten federal funding to the state and local governments without proper notice in violation of the spending clause of Article I of the Constitution, that they are “unconstitutionally coercive,” and that they lacked the required regulatory flexibility analysis. The plaintiffs seek a declaratory judgment and an injunction against enforcement.
   Read the Complaint in the Texas case.

Departments of Justice and Education Issue Guidance to Schools and Universities to Protect Transgender Students
May 13, 2016. The Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice and the Department of Education Office for Civil Rights have released guidance to schools and colleges in the form of a letter today explaining their obligations to support transgender students. They have also released Examples of Policies and Emerging Practices for Supporting Transgender Students as further explanation of that guidance.
   Read the DOJ Civil Rights Division Press Release on the Action.
   Read the Letter Sent to Schools and Colleges.
   Read the Examples of Policies and Emerging Practices for Supporting Transgender Students.
   Read the U.S. Department of Education Civil Rights Office for Civil Rights.

ACLU Files Constitutional Challenge to Mississippi "Freedom of Conscience" Statute
May 10, 2016. On the same day that North Carolina and the Department of Justice filed suit against each other, the ACLU of Mississippi launched a challenge to that state's HB 1523 ""Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act." The case challenging the Mississippi statute on constitutional grounds is styled Alford v. Moulder and was filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi. (See the April 6posting below for more information about HB 1523.)
   Read the Complaint.
   Access the ACLU press release on the case.

Justice Department Goes on the Offensive and Sues North Carolina on HB2
May 9, 2016. Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch announced in a news conference this afternoon that the Department of Justice has filed suit against "North Carolina, the University of North Carolina (UNC) and the North Carolina Department of Public Safety (DPS) alleging that they are discriminating against transgender individuals in violation of federal law as a result of the state’s compliance with and implementation of House Bill 2 (H.B. 2). H.B. 2 requires public agencies to treat transgender individuals, whose gender identity does not match the sex they were assigned at birth, differently from similarly situated non-transgender individuals." (Press Release) The complaint alleges violations of "Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 (VAWA)." Id.
   Read the the DOJ Press Release on the suit against North Carolina.
   Read the Remarks of the Head of the Civil Rights Division, Vanita Gupta, at the news conference on the North Carolina case.
   Read the DOJ Complaint in United States v. North Carolina.

North Carolina Elects to Fight Justice Department on LGBT Issues and HB2
May 9, 2016. North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory responded to the warning of noncompliance issued by the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice on May 4 aimed at the controversial HB 2 with a lawsuit against the United States in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, seeking a declaratory judgment as to the federal interpretation of constraints on states related to charges of discrimination against LGBT persons. The DOJ issued letters to the governor and the University of North Carolina System on May 4 calling upon the state to commit by May 9 not to enforce the terms of HB 2 that the Civil Rights Division charged violate a number of provisions of anti-discrimination law. See the posting on March 26 on HB 2.
   Read the findings letter from the Civil Rights Division to the North Carolina Governor.
   Read the DOJ Letter to the University of North Carolina System.
   Read the Press Release from the North Carolina Governor Indicating Intention to File Suit for a Declaratory Judgement.
   Read the Complaint in McCrory v. United States.

Fourth Circuit Panel Rules in Favor of Justice Department Interpretation of Title IX with Respect to Transgender Student Access to Restrooms
April 20, 2016. A panel of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit has issued its opinion in G.G. v. Gloucester County School Board, reversing a district court ruling that dismissed a transgender student's complaint under Title IX and the Equal Protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment concerning discrimination by the school board in banning him from the boys' restroom. Judge Floyd explained, “G.G., a transgender boy, seeks to use the boys’ restrooms at his high school. After G.G. began to use the boys’ restrooms with the approval of the school administration, the local school board passed a policy banning G.G. from the boys’ restroom. G.G. alleges that the school board impermissibly discriminated against him in violation of Title IX and the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution. The district court dismissed G.G.’s Title IX claim and denied his request for a preliminary injunction. This appeal followed. Because we conclude the district court did not accord appropriate deference to the relevant Department of Education regulations, we reverse its dismissal of G.G.’s Title IX claim. Because we conclude that the district court used the wrong evidentiary standard in assessing G.G.’s motion for a preliminary injunction, we vacate its denial and remand for consideration under the correct standard. We therefore reverse in part, vacate in part, and remand the case for further proceedings consistent with this opinion. At the heart of this appeal is whether Title IX requires schools to provide transgender students access to restrooms congruent with their gender identity. Title IX provides: “[n]o person . . . shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.” 20 U.S.C. § 1681(a). The Department of Education’s (the Department) regulations implementing Title IX permit the provision of “separate toilet, locker room, and shower facilities on the basis of sex, but such facilities provided for students of one sex shall be comparable to such facilities for students of the other sex.” 34 C.F.R. § 106.33. In an opinion letter dated January 7, 2015, the Department’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) interpreted how this regulation should apply to transgender individuals: “When a school elects to separate or treat students differently on the basis of sex . . . a school generally must treat transgender students consistent with their gender identity.” J.A. 55. . . . (Slip opinion at 5-7.) . . . We conclude that the Department’s interpretation of its own regulation, § 106.33, as it relates to restroom access by transgender individuals, is entitled to Auer deference and is to be accorded controlling weight in this case. We reverse the district court’s contrary conclusion and its resultant dismissal of G.G.’s Title IX claim." Id. at 26. The letter to which the opinion refers is a Letter from James A. Ferg-Cadima, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of Policy, Office for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education, January 7, 2015 which was attached in redacted form as Exhibit B to the U.S. Justice Department's Statement of Interest in the G.G. case.
   The court also reversed the district court’s decision refusing to grant a preliminary injunction based on its refusal to consider proffered evidence, concluding that: “[T]he district court abused its discretion when it denied G.G.’s request for a preliminary injunction without considering G.G.’s proffered evidence. We vacate the district court’s denial of G.G.’s motion for a preliminary injunction and remand the case to the district court for consideration of G.G.’s evidence in light of the evidentiary standards set forth herein." Id. at 33. Judge David concurred, but argued that the appeals court should have issued the preliminary injunction as opposed to remanding that decision to the district court. The panel did not, however, grant G.G.'s request to order that the case be assigned to a different judge on remand. Judge Niemeyer concurred with the panel on the preliminary injunction question but dissented with respect to its ruling on deference to the Department of Education under the Title IX element.
   Read the Fourth Circuit Opinion.
   U.S. Department of Justice Statement of Interest Containing the Policy Letter.

Chicago Police Accountability Task Force Issues Report
April 14, 2016. The Chicago Police Accountability Task force, appointed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel in December 2015 after the shooting death of Laquan McDonald, has issued a report critical of the Chicago police department for racial bias and other problems. Its report, Recommendations for Reform: Restoring Trust between the Chicago Police and the Communities they Serve, sets forth more than 100 recommendations for changes in a variety of areas. In the press release accompanying its report, the task force said: “Overall, we found that good police are not supported or rewarded, while too many bad police are given a pass. Red flags about officers heading down the wrong path are not quickly and aggressively addressed, as they should be. And officers can go from the Training Academy to retirement with virtually no mandatory training in between. . . . The Department needs to invest in its human capital and professionalize the way it manages its people.’ The recommendations of the Task Force address three critical areas: the need for community empowerment, lack of accountability, and other systemic problems.” In response to the question "How did we get to this point?" the task force report noted four "overarching" answers. "We arrived at this point in part because of racism. We arrived at this point because of a mentality in CPD that the ends justify the means. We arrived at this point because of a failure to make accountability a core value and imperative within CPD. We arrived at this point because of a significant underinvestment in human capital." Report, Executive Summary, at 6.
   Read the full report.
   Read the press release to accompany the report.
   Access the Police Accountability Task Force Website.

Mississippi Enacts Ordinance Allowing Refusal to Serve LGBT Community
April 6, 2016. Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant has signed into law HB 1523, a bill entitled "Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act." This is the latest in a series of bills passed by state legislatures (see earlier postings below) in reaction to the Supreme Court's ruling announcing equal protection and due process protections for same-sex couples. The language of the Mississippi statute is sweeping and addresses not just religious organizations, but also also other kinds of organizations and individuals. It allows them to assert what it terms "sincerely held religious or moral convictions" to refuse to serve as well as to take other actions with respect to sexual orientation or identity and protects them from legal action under state law. Section 2 of the legislation states: "The sincerely held religious beliefs or moral convictions protected by this act are the belief or conviction that: (a) Marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman; (b) Sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage; and (c) Male (man) or female (woman) refer to an individual's immutable biological sex as objectively determined by anatomy and genetics at time of birth." The language of the statute not only addresses marriage but a wide range of activities, including housing, employment, and more. The law becomes effective on July 1.
   The Human Rights Campaign has been tracking state laws in this area and has been among the organizations criticizing the new Mississippi statute. The Mississippi American Civil Liberties Union also condemned the law and announced that legal challenges have already been launched in other states that have enacted anti-LGBT legislation. Although it did announce legal action, the statement suggests strongly that lawsuits will be forthcoming.
   Read HB 1523 as signed by the governor.
   Read the Governor's Statement on the Bill Released on Twitter.
   Read the Mississippi ACLU Statement on HB 1523.
   Access the Human Rights Campsign website.

Georgia Governor Vetoes Legislation to Limit Gay Rights
March 28, 2016. Georgia Governor Nathan Deal has indicated his intention to veto HB 757 which was designed to allow assertions of religious of objection to protect those accused of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or identity in a number of areas from legal liability or other governmental or private action. He said, in part, "In light of our history, I find it ironic that today some in the religious community feel it necessary to ask government to confer upon them certain rights and protections. If indeed our religious liberty is conferred by God and not by man-made government, we should need the “hands-off” admonition of the First Amendment to our Constitution. When legislative bodies attempt to do otherwise, the inclusions and omissions in their statues can lead to discrimination, even though it may be unintentional. That is too great a risk to take." News Conference Transcript.
   Read Governor Deal's Press Release on the Veto.
   Read the Transcript of Governor Deal's Remarks on the Veto at a March 28 Press Conference.
   Read Georgia's HB 757.

North Carolina and Georgia Enact Laws to Block Gay Rights
March 25, 2016. Just before a Charlotte civil rights ordinance was to take effect on April 1, the North Carolina convened a one day special session of the legislature to pass HB 2, legislation that not only dealt with restrooms but that broadly blocked local ordinances aimed at protections against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or identity. The governor promptly signed that legislation into law.
   The North Carolina action comes on the heels of passage earlier this month by the Georgia legislature of HB 757 which is designed to allow assertions of religious of objection to protect those accused of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or identity in a number of areas. This follows on but takes steps beyond Indiana's Act 101 signed into law in March of 2015, legislation entitled "Religious Freedom Restoration" that barred requirements on individuals who object on religious ground to matters related to same-sex marriage following judicial rejection of the state's ban on same-sex marriage.
   Read the North Carolina HB2, Session Law 2016-3.
   Read the Charlotte Ordinance 7056, February 22, 2016.
   Read the Mayor of Charlotte in Response to Special Session Legislation.
   Read the Governor's Press Release on Signing the Legislation.
   Read Georgia's HB 757.
   Read Indiana's Act 101.

Supreme Court Uses Summary Ruling to Support Same-Sex Partner Parent's Claims
March 8, 2016. Without briefling or oral argument, the Supreme Court reversed a ruling of the Alabama Supreme Court denying Full Faith and Credit to a Georgia judicial decree granting visition and parental rights to a woman who had been in a same-sex relationship. In a summary ruling, issued as a per curiam opinion, the U.S. Supreme Court insisted that the Full Faith and Credit clause in Article IV of the Constitution, reminding the Alabama court that: "A State may not disregard the judgment of a sister State because it disagrees with the reasoning underlying the judgment or deems it to be wrong on the merits." V.L. v. E.L., Slip. op. at 3. Although the Supreme Court recognized noted that a state need not honor a ruling by a court from another state that did not have the jurisdiction to issue it, the opinion quickly added that: "That jurisdictional inquiry, however, is a limited one." Id. In this case, the Alabama Supreme Court went well beyond that limited inquiry. It therefore violated the Full Faith and Credit Clause. There were no dissents.
   Read the Supreme Court per curiam opinion.

Federal Judge Issues Injunction Against Indiana Governor's Ban on Support for Syrian Refugees
March 6, 2016. Citing a clear case of discrimination on the basis of national origin, Judge Tanya Walton Pratt of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana has issued a preliminary injunction against Governor Mark Pence's 2015 order to state agencies to withhold from aid agencies any refugee resettlement funds or programs for Syrian refugees. For more information and key documents, see the Refugees page of this website.

Canadian Truth and Reconciliation Commission Issues Its Final Report and Calls for Action
December 16, 2015. The Canadian Truth and Reconciliation Commission has issued its final report entitled Honouring the Truth, Reconciling for the Future that begins by finding that: "For over a century, the central goals of Canada’s Aboriginal policy were to eliminate Aboriginal governments; ignore Aboriginal rights; terminate the Treaties; and, through a process of assimilation, cause Aboriginal peoples to cease to exist as distinct legal, social, cultural, religious, and racial entities in Canada. The establishment and operation of residential schools were a central element of this policy, which can best be described as “cultural genocide." Id. at 1. The TRC report offers more than dozens of recommendations which it refers to as "94 class to action" for moving forward from this point toward reconciliation.
   Access the website for the parts of the report
   Access the full 535 page report.
   Read the Executive Summary
   Read the Principles document
   Read the "Survivors Speak" document.
   Read the "Calls to Action" document/
   Access the Truth and Reconciliation Commission website.

Tennessess Board of Judical Conduct Issues Public Reprimand to Judge Following Extreme Actions in Rejecting Divorce Decree Motions
December 18, 2015. Tennessee Board of Judical Conduct issues public reprimand to Chancellor Jeffrey Atherton of the Chancery Court for Hamilton County after Atherton dismissed a divorce case brought by a couple and issued a harshly worded order that had nothing to do with the couple's case but attacked the U.S. Supreme Court's Obergefell ruling. He later vacated his earlier order and granted the divorce.
   Read the Reprimand.
   Read Atherton's Order Dismissing the Divorce Case.

Supreme Court Hears Oral Argument in a Another Review of the University of Texas Diversity Admissions Program
December 11, 2015. The Supreme Court heard argument this week in No. 14-981, Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, a next round following the Court's 2013 on the university's diversity admissions program and a lower court renewed ruling in favor of the university. The Fifth Circuit concluded that even under the more stringent standard announced in the Supreme Court's 2013 ruling, the University of Texas at Austin's admissions program is valid.
   The oral argument transcript and audio of the argument areprovided below along with other relevant documents in the case.
   Listen to the Audio of the Argument.
   Read the Oral Argument Transcript.
   Read the Brief of the Petitioner.
   Read the Brief of Respondents.
   Read Amicus Brief of the U.S. Supporting Respondents.
   Read.the Fifth Circuit 2014 ruling on remand.
   Read the Supreme Court's 2013 opinion in the case.

Defense Secretary Announces that All Roles in Military are Open to Women
December 4, 2015. Defense Secretary Ash Carter has issued a memorandum to the secretaries of the military departments opening all military positions to women. The implementation process will be conducted under Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work and Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Air Force Gen. Paul Selva. The secretary indicated in his announcement that seven guidelines would govern that process. They are: "1. Implementation will be pursued with the objective of improved force effectiveness. 2. Leaders must assign tasks and jobs throughout the force based on ability, not gender.3. Equal opportunity likely will not mean equal participation by men and women in all specialties, and there will be no quotas. 4. Studies conducted by the services and SOCOM indicate that on average there are physical and other differences between men and women, and implementation will take this into account. 5. The department will address the fact that some surveys suggest that some service members, men and women, will perceive that integration could damage combat effectiveness. 6. Particularly in the specialties that are newly open to women, survey data and the judgment of service leaders indicate that the performance of small teams is important. 7. The United States and some of its closest friends and allies are committed to having militaries that include men and women, but not all nations share this perspective." Press release.
   Read.the press release
   Read.the Carter Memorandum to Service Secretaries
   Read.the Fact Sheet on Women in Service Review (WISR) Implementation.

Misconduct Complaint Filed Agaisnt Utah Judge Who Ordered Revmoval of Foster Child from Same-Sex Couple
November 17, 2015. Utah Judge Scott Johansen is the subject of complaint filed by Human Rights Campaign, a gay rights advocacy group following his order to remove a foster child from a married same-sex couple April Hoagland and Beckie Peirce against the recommendation of the Utah Division of Child and Family Services. Judge Johansen asserted that it would be better for the child to be placed with a heterosexual couple despite the recommendation of the state agency and the concurrence of the birth mother. The DCFC filed a motion for the judge to reverse his order and he did so on November 13. However, the advocacy group and others assert that he should be disciplined for a violation of Utah rules of judicial conduct. The judge has since recused himself and is no long involved in the case.
   Although the orders and changes issued by the judge are not yet fully available, a Salt Lake City television state has published portions of the order as modified by the judge on its website.
   Read the Complaint Letter Filed by Human Rights Campaign.
   Access Utah TV Report Containing Excerpts of Opinion and Changes .

Houston Voters Reject Equal Rights Ordinance
November 4, 2015. Houston, Texas voters rejected the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance by a vote of 61.4 percent to 38.6 percent. The measure was City of Houston, Proposition 1 and read "Relating to the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance.) Are you in favor of the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance, Ord. No. 2014-530, which prohibits discrimination in city employment and city services, city contracts, public accommodations, private employment, and housing based on an individual's sex, race, color, ethnicity, national origin, age, familial status, marital status, military status, religion, disability, sexual orientation, genetic information, gender identity, or pregnancy." (sample ballot)
   Although the ordinance had been adopted by the city, it was ordered to the ballot by the Supreme Court of Texas which ruled that the city violated a ministerial responsibility to act on a valid referendum petition. The per curiam opinion ordered that: "If the City Council does not repeal the ordinance by August 24, 2015, then by that date the City Council must order that the ordinance be put to popular vote during the November 2015 election." In re Jared Woodfill, p. 12.
   Sample Ballot Containing Proposition 1.
   Harris County Election Results.
   Texas Supreme Court Opinion.

Former State and Federal Prosecutors Urge Supreme Court to End Discrimination in Jury Selection
November 2, 2015. Eight former state and federal prosecutors have filed an amicus curiae brief in Foster v. Chapman, No. 14-8349, a case now before the U.S. Supreme Court testing whether the Georgia Supreme Court's refusal to review and the county court's application of the Supreme Court's Batson v. Kentucky, 476 U.S. 79 (1986), ruling setting out the standard for determining whether a prosecutor has discriminated on the basis of race in the use of juror challenges, should be reversed. The prosecutors begin their brief as follows: "Amici are former prosecutors who recognize, and refuse to condone, the blatant illegality of the prosecutorial misconduct at issue in this case: specifically, the racially discriminatory use of strikes during jury selection to ensure that a black defendant accused of a crime against a white victim would face an all-white jury.
   Read the Amicus Brief filed by Former State and Federal Prosecutors Supporting Petitioner.
   Read the Petitioner's Brief (Foster).
   Read the Respondent's Brief (Chapman).

HUD Rules Require Affirmative Efforts by Communities to Avoid Segregration in Housing.
September 6, 2015. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development published a final rule this summer entitled "Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing" which followed from the recommendations of a 2010 U.S. Government Accountability Office report entitled "HUD Needs to Enhance Its Requirements and Oversight of Jurisdictions’ Fair Housing Plans," as well as concerns expressed by various fair housing groups that insufficient efforts were being made to ensure that HUD funded activities at the local level were indeed serving those most in need and also does not further segregated housing patterns. Concerns were also expressed by various jurisdictions and program officers that more data and assistance were needed if progress was to be made. The new rules call on those receiving HUD funds to act affirmatively to address segregated housing patterns. HUD commits to providing necessary data on housing patterns and other key information and to assist recipients in taking those affirmative steps.
   The new rules had been in progress since 2013, but took on added importance in light the U.S. Supreme Court's opinion in late June in Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. Inclusive Communities Project which the Court held that disparate impact claims (as compared to disparate treatment requiring proof of intent) could be brought under the Fair Housing Act of 1968.
   Read the HUD Press Release.
   Read the Final Rule.
   Read yh HUD Executive Summary of the Rule.
   Read the HUD Fact Sheet.
   Read the 2010 GAO Report.
   Read the U.S. Supreme Court opinion in Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. Inclusive Communities Project.

Contempt Motions Filed In District Court Following Refusal by Rowan County Clerk to Obey Injunction on Marriage Licenses for Same-Sex Couples.
September 1, 2015. Contempt motions have been filed by same-sex couples refused marriage licenses by Rowan County, Kentucky Clerk Kim Davis today after she refused to comply with the preliminary injunction issued by U.S. District Court Judge Bunning and after the Sixth Circuit and the U.S. Supreme Court refused to stay that injunction pending appeal. A show cause hearing has reportedly been set for Thursday, September 3.
   Read Motion for Contempt Filed on Behalf of April Miller.
   Read the Plaintiff's Motion to Clarify the Injunction.

Supreme Court Refuses to Stay Order to Kentucky County Clerk to Issue Marriage Licenses
August 31, 2015. The U.S. Supreme Court refused to stay the injunction issued by the federal district court to Rowan County, Kentucky Clerk Kim Davis to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples in compliance with the previous Supreme Court ruling (See postings below). The emergency application for a stay was originally filed with Justice Kagan whose is the Circuit Justice responsible for the Sixth Circuit and she, in turn, referred it to the entire Court.
   See the Supreme Court order.
   Read the Emergency Application for Stay via SCOTUS Blog.

Sixth Circuit Refuses to Stay District Judge's Order to Issue Marriage Licenses
August 27, 2015. A panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit has refused to stay the preliminary injunection issued by Judge David.Bunning (see posting for August 13), requiring Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples in compliance with the Supreme Court's ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges (see posting for June 26). In its order, the Sixth Circuit panel found that "There is little to no likelihood that the Clerk in her official capacity will prevail on appeal." Miller v. Davis, No. 15-5880, U.S. Circuit of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, Order, at 2.
   Read the order of the Sixth Circuit.

District Judge Orders County Clerk to Issue Marriage Licenses
August 13, 2015. Federal District Judge David L. Bunning has issued a preliminary injunction along with his memorandum and order requiring Rowan County, Kentucky Clerk Kim Davis to end her refusal to issue marriage licenses and to issue a license to the same-sex couple who launched the suit. Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear issued a directive to county clerks and state executive officials indicating that they were to issue licenses to same-sex couples as well as others and that the state would recognize same-sex marriages from other states. Davis refused on religious grounds to issue the licenses or to allow her subordinates to do so. The ACLU sued on behalf of same-sex couples who were denied licenses. Davis then filed a complaint against the governor for his directive, again asserting First Amendment grounds. Judge Bunning rejected Davis' First Amendment claims both as to the governor's directive and with respect to obligation to issues the licenses.
   Read the Memorandum and Order.
   Read Governor Steve Beshear's directive to county clerks and executive officials to issue licenses.
   Read Governor Steve Beshear's Press Release announcing his order.

U.S. Supports Suit by Transgender Student Against Virginia School District Restroom Rules
July 27, 2015. The ACLU has filed suit against the Gloucester County, Virginia school district because of the refusal to permit a transgender student to use the boys' restroom. The ACLU explains: "The case was filed on behalf of Gavin Grimm, a transgender male student at Gloucester High School who will begin his junior year this fall. The lawsuit argues the bathroom policy is unconstitutional under the Fourteenth Amendment and violates Title IX of the U.S. Education Amendments of 1972, a federal law prohibiting sex discrimination by schools." The plaintiff has sought a preliminary injunction in the case which was filed in June.
   The United States Department of Justice has filed a "statement of interest" in the case supporting the plaintiff. The DOJ states: "Under Title IX, discrimination based on a person's gender identity, a person's transgender status, or a person's nonconformity to sex stereotypes constitutes discrimination based on sex. As such, prohibiting a student from accessing the restrooms that match his gender identity is prohibited sex discrimination under Title IX. There is a public interest in ensuring that all students, including transgender students, have the opportunity to learn in an environment free of sex discrimination." G.G. v. Gloucester County School Board, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Viginia, 4:15-cv-54, Statement of Interest of the United States, at 1-2.
   Read the Complaint.
   Read Plaintiff's Brief in Support of Motion for a Preliminary Injunction.
   Read the U.S. Department of Justice Statement of Interest.
   Read Defendants Brief in Opposition to the Motion for a Preliminary Injunction.
   Read the Defendant's Motion to Dismiss.
   Read Plaintiff's Memorandum in Opposition to the Motion to Dismiss.
   Access the ACLU Webpage on the Case.

Supreme Court Strikes Ban on Same-Sex Marriage
June 26, 2015. The Supreme Court today has reversed the Sixth Circuit in Obergefell v. Hodges in an opinion written by Justice Kennedy, finding state bans on same-sex marriage in violation of the Due Process and Equal Protection clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution. Unlike his previous opinions that were criticized for not stating specifically whether there is a right to marry for same-sex couples or which rights protect persons from differential treatment on grounds of sexual orientation, Kennedy asserted directly that these two provisions of the Constitution protect the rights of these petitioners. Kennedy begins: “The Constitution promises liberty to all within its reach, a liberty that includes certain specific rights that allows persons, within a lawful realm, to define and express their identity. The petitioners in these cases seek to find that liberty by marrying someone of the same sex and having their marriages deemed lawful on the same terms and conditions as marriages between persons of the opposite sex.” Slip op. at 1-2.
   His analysis of the basis for the protection of same-sex marriage asserts that four principles provide the foundation. “A first premise of the Court’s relevant precedents is that the right to personal choice regarding marriage is inherent in the concept of individual autonomy. (Id. at 12) . . . . A second principle in this Court’s jurisprudence is that the right to marry is fundamental because it supports a two-person union unlike any other in its importance to the committed individuals. This point was central to Griswold v. Connecticut. . . . (Id. at 13) A third basis for protecting the right to marry is that it safeguards children and families and thus draws meaning from related rights of childrearing, procreation, and education. . . . (Id. at 15 Fourth and finally, this Court’s cases and the Nation’s traditions make clear that marriage is a keystone of our social order.” Id. at 16. He hastened to add that the right is not limited to those who have children and that childbearing is only one aspect of the right to marriage. Id. at 15-16. For each of the cases, he presents the pattern of case law supporting each element, again addressing previous concerns about the specificity of his arguements in this field.
   Having established the right, he explains that governments that deny that right can also be in violation of the equal protection clause. “There is no difference between same- and opposite-sex couples with respect to this principle. Yet by virtue of their exclusion from that institution, same-sex couples are denied the constellation of benefits that the States have linked to marriage. This harm results in more than just material burdens. Same-sex couples are consigned to an instability many opposite-sex couples would deem intolerable in their own lives. As the State itself makes marriage all the more precious by the significance it attaches to it, exclusion from that status has the effect of teaching that gays and lesbians are unequal in important respects. It demeans gays and lesbians for the State to lock them out of a central institution of the Nation’s society. Same-sex couples, too, may aspire to the transcendent purposes of marriage and seek fulfillment in its highest meaning.” Id. at 17.
   Kennedy emphasizes the dual protection of the Fourteenth Amendment. “The right of same-sex couples to marry that is part of the liberty promised by the Fourteenth Amendment is derived, too, from that Amendment’s guarantee of the equal protection of the laws. The Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause are connected in a profound way, though they set forth independent principles. Rights implicit in liberty and rights secured by equal protection may rest on different precepts and are not always co-extensive, yet in some instances each may be instructive as to the meaning and reach of the other. In any particular case one Clause may be thought to capture the essence of the right in a more accurate and comprehensive way, even as the two Clauses may converge in the identification and definition of the right. . . . This interrelation of the two principles furthers our understanding of what freedom is and must become.” Id. at 18-19. He concludes: “It is now clear that the challenged laws burden the liberty of same-sex couples, and it must be further acknowledged that they abridge central precepts of equality. . . . These considerations lead to the conclusion that the right to marry is a fundamental right inherent in the liberty of the person, and under the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment couples of the same-sex may not be deprived of that right and that liberty. The Court now holds that same-sex couples may exercise the fundamental right to marry.” Id. at. 22.
   In response to the core argument by the states that it is up to the states to decide through their legislative process or by voter approved measures and that more time is needed to resolve the social dynamics associated with such an important change, Kennedy asserts that precisely the same argument was made in Brown v. Board of Education. He also adds that the debate has been in progress for decades and added an appendix to his opinion listing lower court opinions, state court actions, and legislative actions in the states. At the end of the day, however, he reaches back to the Justice Jackson’s powerful assertion in the Barnette case and states that fundamental constitutional rights are not dependent upon current political debates. “The dynamic of our constitutional system is that individuals need not await legislative action before asserting a fundamental right. The Nation’s courts are open to injured individuals who come to them to vindicate their own direct, personal stake in our basic charter. An individual can invoke a right to constitutional protection when he or she is harmed, even if the broader public disagrees and even if the legislature refuses to act. The idea of the Constitution “was to withdraw certain subjects from the vicissitudes of political controversy, to place them beyond the reach of majorities and officials and to establish them as legal principles to be applied by the courts.” West Virginia Bd. of Ed. v. Barnette, 319 U. S. 624, 638 (1943). This is why ‘fundamental rights may not be submitted to a vote; they depend on the outcome of no elections.’” Id. at 24.
   The second issue in these cases concerned the assertion that states are required to acknowledge the validity of marriages lawfully conducted in other states. The Court concluded: “The Court, in this decision, holds same-sex couples may exercise the fundamental right to marry in all States. It follows that the Court also must hold—and it now does hold—that there is no lawful basis for a State to refuse to recognize a lawful same-sex marriage performed in another State on the ground of its same-sex character.” Id. at 28.
   Justice Kennedy finished his opinion with the following statement. “As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.” Id. at 28.
   The four dissenters each authored an opinion as well as joining other dissents by their colleagues. Three of them, starting with the dissent of Chief Justice Roberts contend that the matter should be left to the states and to the legislative process. Justice Thomas, joined by Justice Scalia, argues that the liberty protected by the Fourteenth Amendment does not confer the kind of positive right asserted in the majority opinion.
   Read opinion.

GAO Issues Report on Challenges in Older Americans Act as Reauthorization Nears
June 15, 2015. Charles A. Jeszeck, Director of Education, Workforce, and Income Security at the Government Accountability Office has transmitted to Senator Bernie Sanders (I, VT), Ranking Members of the Subcommittee on Primary Health and Retirement Security of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, on the Unmet Needs and Services under the Older Americans Act as Congress considers reauthorization of the legislation and as the number of older Americans is increasing rapidly. The Older Americans Act of 1965 was adopted as P.L. 89-73, 79 Stat. 218 (codified as amended at 42 U.S.C. §3001-3058. This most recent report follows another analysis provided in May by GAO.
   Read the report.
   Read the May 2015 Report.
   Access the Older Americans Act as passed in 1965.

North Carolina Legislature Overrides Veto and Adopts Bill to Allow Magistrates to Refuse Same-Sex Marriage Ceremonies
June 10, 2015. The North Carolina legislature has overridden Governor Pat McCrory to pass SB-2 allowing magistrates to refuse to perform marriage ceremonies for same-sex couples. This legislation was passed in response to the October 2014 ruling striking down the state's ban on same-sex marriage.
   Read SB-2.
   Access the Governor's Veto Message.
   Access the Governor's Veto Document.
   Read the Federal District Court Ruling in General Synod of the United Church of Christ v. Resinger Striking Down NC Ban on same-sex marriage.

Canadian Truth and Reconciliation Commission Issues Summary Report
June 2, 2015. The Canadian Truth and Reconciliation Commission has issued its Summary Report entitled Honouring the Truth, Reconciling for the Future that begins by finding that: "For over a century, the central goals of Canada’s Aboriginal policy were to eliminate Aboriginal governments; ignore Aboriginal rights; terminate the Treaties; and, through a process of assimilation, cause Aboriginal peoples to cease to exist as distinct legal, social, cultural, religious, and racial entities in Canada. The establishment and operation of residential schools were a central element of this policy, which can best be described as “cultural genocide." Id. at 1. The TRC report offers more than dozens of recommendations which it refers to as "94 class to action" for moving forward from this point toward reconciliation.
   Read the Summary Report.
   Access the TRC Press Release on the Report.
   Access the Truth and Reconciliation Commission website.

Supreme Court Hears Oral Argument Same-Sex Marriage Cases
April 21, 2015. The Supreme Court is rapidly releasing the audio of the oral argument. They have now posted the streaming audio from both parts of the argument. In addition to the audio, the transcripts are now available for both parts of the argument and are provided below.
   Access the audio of the Oral argument Part I.
   Access the Transcript for Part I.
   Access the audio of the Oral argument Part II.
   Access the Transcript for Part II.

Maricopa County Arizona Sheriff Arpaio and Other Department Officials Face Contempt Proceedings
April 21, 2015. Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and other senior officers in that department are before the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona to show cause why they should no tbe held in contempt of court for their actions following the judge's permanent injunction issued in 2013. This hearing takes place just days after the Ninth Circuit issued an opinion affirming that order in part and vacating it in part.
   Read the Show Cause Order.
   Read the 2013 opinion.
   Read the Ninth Circuit's Opinion Affirming in Part and Vacating in Part the Permanent Injunction Issued in the Case..

Supreme Court to Hear Gay Marriage Cases on April 28
April 13, 2015. The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear two and half hours of oral argument in the four same-sex marriage cases from the Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee on Tuesday, April 28. The cases are No. 14-556 Obergefell v. Hodges; 14-562 Tanco v. Haslam; 14-571 DeBoer v. Snyder; and 14-574 Bourke v. Beshear. In its order on the review, the Court indicated that: “The petitions for writs of certiorari are granted limited to the following questions: 1) Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex? 2) Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-state?”
   These cases were decided by the Sixth Circuit which, unlike the other circuits to consider the matter, upheld state bans on gay marriage in the four states, setting up the kind of conflict among circuits most likely to ensure Supreme Court review.
   Literally dozens of amicus curiar briefs have been filed in these cases and are available through the ABA briefs page posted below. The United States has filed an Amicus Curiae brief supporting the four petitioners against the state laws and that brief is posted below as well.
   The oral argument transcript and streaming audio will be posted as soon after the argument as they are made available by the Court.
    Read the Sixth Circuit Opinion on these Cases.
    Read the Brief for Petitioner DeBoer.
    Read the Brief of Respondent Snyder.
    Read the Brief of Petitioner Obergefell.
    Read the Brief of Respondent Hodges.
    Read the Brief for Petitioner Bourke.
    Read the Brief of Respondent Beshear.
    Read the Brief of Petitioner Tanco.
    Read the Brief of Respondent Haslam.
    Read the Brief of the U.S. as Amicus Curiae in Support of the Petitioners in the four cases.
    Access the Dozens of Amicus Curiae briefs in the four cases via the ABA briefs page.

U.S. District Judge in Washington Holds Compentency Examination Delays for Incarcerated Persons Violate Due Process
April 3, 2015. U.S Federal District Judge Marsha Pechman has issued an opinion and permanent injunction in A.B. by and through Trueblood v. Washington Department of Social and Health Services finding that waiting times for competency examinations criminal cases in excess of seven days violates due process of law. She issued a permanent injunction requiring that the examinations be provided within seven days and indicated that she would appoint a court monitor to follow the implementation of the requirements.
    Judge Pechman summarized her findings as follows: "The State of Washington is violating the constitutional rights of some of its most vulnerable citizens. The State has consistently failed to provide timely competency evaluation and restoration services, services needed to determine whether individuals understand the charges against them and can aid in their own defenses, which is required in order for them to stand trial. By failing to provide competency evaluation and restoration services within seven days of a court order, the State fails to provide both the substantive and procedural due process required by the Constitution. Our jails are not suitable places for the mentally ill to be warehoused while they wait for services. Jails are not hospitals, they are not designed as therapeutic environments, and they are not equipped to manage mental illness or keep those with mental illness from being victimized by the general population of inmates. Punitive settings and isolation for twenty-three hours each day exacerbate mental illness and increase the likelihood that the individual will never recover. The Department of Social and Health Services has been hampered in providing these required services by insufficient funding for beds and personnel. Without these resources, they cannot collaborate and coordinate with the other agencies and courts involved in the criminal mental health system." Slip op., at 2.
    The judge went further to conclude that this is not just a matter of the department having inadequate funds. She found: "The Department of Social and Health Services has failed to change its procedures to respond to this ongoing crisis, and has routinely defied the orders of Washington’s state courts, a practice that has resulted in hundreds of thousands of dollars in contempt fines. The Department continues to fail to make significant progress in implementing any of the reforms recommended by auditors and experts. The Department has failed to plan ahead for growth in the demand for competency services, which has increased every year for the last decade, and has failed to show the leadership and capacity for innovation that is required to address the crisis. Other states and counties have been able to meet the constitutional requirements, and so can the State of Washington." Id, at 3. She added: "The mentally ill are deserving of the protections of the Constitution that our forefathers so carefully crafted. The rights protected can be difficult and sometimes costly to secure; however, the Constitution is a guarantee to all people, and is not dependent upon a price tag. The State must honor its obligations under the law." Id.
    The case was brought by Disability Rights Washington (DRW) and the Washington ACLU. They have provided web information on the litigation. It is also important to note that this case was brought as a class action. The DRW explains that "class members are individuals who have been or in the future will be charged with a crime in the State of Washington and: who are ordered by a court to receive competency evaluation or restoration services through DSHS; who are waiting in jail for those services; and for whom DSHS receives the court order."
    Read the Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law.
    Access the Disability Rights Washington page with more details of the litigation.

Indiana Governor Signs State Law Seen as Allowing Religious Basis for Avoiding Same-Sex Marriage Aspects
March 27, 2015. Indiana Governor Mark Pence has signed into law SB 101, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The new legislation was immediately seen by the business community in Indiana and elsewhere as well as by civil rights groups as a vehicle for allowing individuals to avoid charges of discrimination for refusing to provide services to same-sex couples in response to the ruling of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in 2014 striking down Indiana's ban on same-sex marriage and the refusal of the U.S. Supreme Court to review that ruling. Governor Pence denied that there was any intention to discriminate in this legislation. His press release on signing the bill did not refer to same-sex marriage, but did cite the Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby decision and did make specific reference to the Affordable Care Act. Indeed, he said: "This bill is not about discrimination, and if I thought it legalized discrimination in any way in Indiana, I would have vetoed it." However, the reaction was strong from many groups and businesses within Indiana and outside of it that the driving force behind the legislation in this session was the effort to respond to the same-sex marriage issue.
    Read SB 101.
    Read the Seventh Circuit opinion in Baskin v. Bogan.
    Read Governor Pence's Statement on Signing SB 101 the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
    Read the Supreme Court opinion in the Hobby Lobby case.

Plaintiffs Seek Federal Court Order to Local Government to Issue Marriage Licenses to Same-Sex Couples in Face of Conflicting State Court Ruling
March 11, 2015. The plaintiffs in the Strawser v. Strange same-sex marriage case in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama have filed a joint motion along with the ACLU of Alabama, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and the National Center for Lesbian Rights, asking Federal District Judge Callie V. Granade to take additional action on her order to state officials and compel their compliance with the requirement that they issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Judge Granade had previously found the Alabama ban on same-sex marriage in violation of both the equal protection and due processes clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment and ordered the county judges who were parties to issue licences. The Alabama Supreme Court then issued its own ruling claiming to uphold the Alabama law and ordering all local officials not to issue the licenses. The motion expands the case and makes it a class action that seeks clear and comprehensive orders to all Alabama officials to comply with the federal court ruling. Judge Granade's previous actions and the Alabama state responses have been provided in previous posts on this web page.
    Read the joint motion field in the Southern District of Alabama.
    Read the Alabama Supreme Court's Opinion and Order.

Missouri Supreme Court Orders Dramatic Change in Ferguson Municipal Court
March 11, 2015. The Missouri Supreme Court has issued an order taking control of the Ferguson Municipal Court in the wake of the Department of Justice report that found serious issues of discrimination and arbitrary treatment of residents (see the posting for March 4 below). In a press release announcing the action, the Court said: "To help restore public trust and confidence in the Ferguson municipal court division, the Supreme Court of Missouri today transferred Judge Roy L Richter of the Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District, to the St. Louis County circuit court, where he will be assigned to hear all of Ferguson’s pending and future municipal division cases. This assignment, made pursuant to the Court’s authority under article V of the Missouri Constitution, will take effect Monday, March 16, 2015, and will continue until further order of the Court. The Court’s order also authorizes Richter to implement needed reforms to court policies and procedures in Ferguson to ensure that the rights of defendants are respected and to help restore the integrity of the system."
    Read the Missouri Supreme Court Press Announcement.
    Read the Supreme Court's Order.

Tribal Governments Now Able to Assert Special Domestic Violence Criminal Jurisdiction
March 9, 2015. When the Violence Against Women Act was reauthorized in 2013, it particularly addressed violence against women in Native American communities. One aspect of that law was to provide tribal courts and prosecutors with special domestic violence criminal jurisdiction over non-Native partners who commit violence against Native women. Until March 2015, the implementation of those provisions was limited to three pilot programs launched in February 2014 involving the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (in Oregon), the Pascua Yaqui Tribe (in Arizona), and the Tulalip Tribes (in Washington). As of March 2015, all tribal governments may opt to exercise the special jurisdiction provided that they ensure all the same rights and procedural protections that would be available in state courts. The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) has announced the new step and provided resources for tribal governments who wish to implement the jurisdiction. The U.S. Department of Justice announced its programs to support implementation of this and other programs with Native American communities in its budget request for FY 2016 in a document entitled "Public Safety in Indian Country. Key Statistics:
   In announcing the special domestic violence program, the NCAI presented a number of dramatic statistics with respect to violence against Native American women. "61% of American Indian and Alaska Native women (or 3 out of 5) have been assaulted in their lifetimes. 34% of American Indian and Alaska Native women will be raped in their lifetimes. 39% of American Indian and Alaska Native women will be subjected to violence by an intimate partner in their lifetimes. 59% of assaults against Native women occur at or near a private residence. 59% of American Indian women in 2010 were married to non-Native men. 46% of people living on reservations in 2010 were non-Natives (single race). US Attorneys declined to prosecute nearly 52% of violent crimes that occur in Indian country; and 67% of cases declined were sexual abuse related cases. On some reservations, Native women are murdered at more than ten times the national average." See NSCAI Announcement below.
    Read the NCAI Announcement on the Program.
    Access information on the three tribal pilot projects.
    Read the DOJ Information on Tribal Jurisdiction Over Crimes of Domestic Violence.
    Read the DOJ "Public Safety in Indian Country" Budget Document.
    Access the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013, P.L. 113-4.

Alabama Supreme Court Orders County Officials to Stop Issuing Marriage Licenses to Same-Sex Couples
March 4, 2015. The Alabama Supreme Court decided in Ex parte State of Alabama ex rel. Alabama Policy Institute that it could decide for itself whether the state bans on same-sex marriage violated the U.S. Constitution, concluded that the state laws were valid, and ordered county officials to stop issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, notwithstanding the order of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama which ruled that the Alabama bans were violated both the equal protection and due processes clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment and ordered county officials to issue those licenses. The U.S. Supreme Court had refused a petitioner for a stay of that district court order pending appeal.
   The Alabama Supreme Court ruling came in response to an emergency petition from the county judge of Jefferson County, which is the Birmingham area and other county judges responsibile for issuing marriage licenses as well as other actions brought by difference groups.
   The Alabama Supreme Court's opinion concludes: "As it has done for approximately two centuries, Alabama law allows for "marriage" between only one man and one woman. Alabama probate judges have a ministerial duty not to issue any marriage license contrary to this law. Nothing in the United States Constitution alters or overrides this duty." Slip Op. at 133. The Court then provides an order directing the named officials in the case to stop issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, and provides a temporary order to all other county officials to do so. Those other officials are then given five days to show cause why they should not be included in a permanent order banning the issuance of the marriage licenses. The opinion was issued as an per curiam opinion rather than a signed opinion and only one justice dissented.
    Read the Alabama Supreme Court Opinion.
    Read the Federal District Court Order.
    Read the Decision Refusing a Stay for the Federal Order to grant marriage licenses pending a U.S. Supreme Court review.

DOJ Issues Findings in Ferguson, Missouri Investigation
March 4, 2015. The United States Justice Department Civil Rights Division has issued its reports into the shooting of Mr. Michael Brown by Officer Darren Wilson of the Ferguson, Missouri Police Department as well as the report of its investigation of the practices of the Ferguson Police Department and Municipal Courts.
    As to the shooting of Mr. Brown, the Justice Department concluded: "After a careful and deliberative review of all of the evidence, the department has determined that the evidence does not establish that Darren Wilson violated the applicable federal criminal civil rights statute." In do doing, DOJ stressed that under federal civil rights law the burden of proof is high and was not met in this instance.
   However, the DOJ report on the Ferguson Police Department and Municipal Court found "a pattern or practice of conduct that violates the First, Fourth, and 14th Amendments of the Constitution." More specifically, it found that: "The department found that the FPD has a pattern or practice of: Conducting stops without reasonable suspicion and arrests without probable cause in violation of the Fourth Amendment; Interfering with the right to free expression in violation of the First Amendment; and Using unreasonable force in violation of the Fourth Amendment. The department found that Ferguson Municipal Court has a pattern or practice of: Focusing on revenue over public safety, leading to court practices that violate the 14th Amendment’s due process and equal protection requirements. Court practices exacerbating the harm of Ferguson’s unconstitutional police practices and imposing particular hardship upon Ferguson’s most vulnerable residents, especially upon those living in or near poverty.Minor offenses can generate crippling debts, result in jail time because of an inability to pay and result in the loss of a driver’s license, employment, or housing. The department found a pattern or practice of racial bias in both the FPD and municipal court: The harms of Ferguson’s police and court practices are borne disproportionately by African Americans and that this disproportionate impact is avoidable. Ferguson’s harmful court and police practices are due, at least in part, to intentional discrimination, as demonstrated by direct evidence of racial bias and stereotyping about African Americans by certain Ferguson police and municipal court officials." Press Release. The Civil Rights division announced its desire to work with the city to develop a court enforceable settlement to address these findings and communicated both the findings and its intentions to the City Manager and Police Chief of Ferguson.
    Read the DOJ Press Release on the Report.
    Read the DOJ Report on the Shooting of Michael Brown.
    Read the DOJ Report on the Fersuson Police Department.
    Access the DOJ Civil Rights Division Report on Ferguson Police Department Summary.
    Read the Civil Rights Division Findings Letter to the Ferguson City Manager and Police Chief.
    Access the Racial Disparities Pattern and Practice Charts.
    Access DOJ Disparities typography.

Judge Granade Orders Mobile County Alabama Official to Provide Marriage Licenses to Same-sex Couples
February 12, 2015. Judge Callie V. S. Granade today ordered the Mobile, Alabama probate judge to make marriage licenses available to same-sex couples. This action comes on the heels of efforts explained in the postings below by the Chief Justice of the State Supreme Court to interfere with her previous order to state officials and the decisions by some of those county probate judges not to comply with the court's previous order. Although this order was directed specifically at Mobile County Probate Judge Don Davis, it clearly sends a message to other county officials who had refused to issue the licenses.
    Read the Order.

Federal Judge Sets Hearing on Request for Injunction to Force Alabama Officials to Comply with Her Order on Same Sex Marriage
February 11, 2015. Attorneys for Same Sex couples who were denied marriage licenses in Mobile County, Alabama on Monday despite a federal court order from U.S. District Court Judge Callie V. S. Granade in the Searcy and Strawser cases discussed in the posting below have requested an injunction and sanctions against officials who did not comply. In addition to the county officials, the petition includes the Governor, the Attorney General, and Chief Justice Moore of the Alabama Supreme Court who has sparked the refusal to comply as explained in the posting of February 9 below. Judge Granada has scheduled a hearing for Thursday February 12 on that request.
    Read the Complaint and Request for Immediate Injunctive Relief.

Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Issues Order to Block Gay Marriage Contradicting Federal Court Order
February 9, 2015. Chief Justice Roy S. Moore of the Alabama Supreme Court issued an Administrative Order to the State of Alabama Judicial System on Sunday meant to block the issuance today of marriage licenses to same sex couples, an order that directly conflicts with an order of the U.S. District Court for the District of Alabama to begin issuing such orders today. Moore directed: "Effective immediately, no Probate Judge of the State of Alabama nor any agent or employee of any Alabama Probate Judge shall issue or recognize a marriage license that is inconsistent with Article 1, Section 36.03, of the Alabama Constitution or § 30-1-19, Ala. Code 1975." He then made the governor responsible to ensure that his order is enforced. "Should any Probate Judge of this state fail to follow the Constitution and statutes of Alabama as stated, it would be the responsibility of the Chief Executive Officer of the State of Alabama, Governor Robert Bentley, in whom the Constitution vests "the supreme executive power of this state," Art. V, § 113, Ala. Const. 1901, to ensure the execution of the law. "The Governor shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed." Art. V, § 120, Ala. Const. 1901. "'If the governor's "supreme executive power" means anything, it means that when the governor makes a determination that the laws are not being faithfully executed, he can act using the legal means that are at his disposal.'" Tyson v. Jones, 60 So. 3d 831, 850 (Ala. 2010) (quoting Riley v. Cornerstone, 57 So. 3d 704, 733 (Ala. 2010))." Administrative Order , at 6. Moore had, before issuing this order, written the governor on January 27 calling for the governor to take action.
    U.S. District Court Judge Callie V. S. Granade had issued her opinion and order in the Searcy v. Strange case striking down the state's ban on same sex marriage and ordering issuance or marriage licenses. She had delayed the order under today to allow time for the state to seek a stay on appeal. She also issued an injunction in the Strawser v. Strange case which was also a same sex marriage case but with different kinds of facts. The U.S. Supreme Court has denied a stay pending appeal.
    To add to the complexity of the situation, several county probate officers, the place where licenses are normally issued, have not opened or are refusing to grant licenses. In the face of this, the state's Attorney General Luther Strange has issued a press release in which he tells those officers: "To clarify my authority in this matter, the Alabama Attorney General’s Office does not issue marriage licenses, perform marriage ceremonies, or issue adoption certificates. The Chief Justice has explained in a public memorandum that probate judges do not report to me. I advise probate judges to talk to their attorneys and associations about how to respond to the ruling. Furthermore, I encourage any state agencies with questions about the ruling in Searcy and Strawser to contact the Governor’s Office.”
    Read the Order Issued by Chief Justice Moore.
    Read Chief Justice Moore's Letter to the Alabam Governor.
    Read the Decision Refusing a Stay for the Federal Order to grant marriage licenses pending a U.S. Supreme Court review.
    Read Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange's Press Release of this date.
    Read the U.S. District Court Opinion and Order in Searcy.
    Read the U.S. District Court Opinion and Order in Strawser case.

Federal District Court Strikes Arizona Governor's Order Blocking Dreamers from Drivers' Licenses
January 23, 2015. U.S. District Court Judge David G. Campbell has issued a permanent injunction against an executive order issued by former Arizona Governor Jan Brewer that prevented the state agency from issuing drivers' licenses to young people in the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, better known as the Dreamers program dealing with undocumented youth brought to the U.S. years ago. The court found that the policy set forth in the executive order and subsequent implementing policies issued by the Arizona Department of Transportion discriminated in violation of the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment even when the lowest standard, the rational basis test, was applied.
   The district court had initially not issued a preliminary injunction even though it found that the plaintiffs were likely to prevail on the merits because they had not made out a clear case of irreparable injury if a preliminary injunction was not issued. That ruling was reversed in 2014 by the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. On remand, the district court issued a preliminary injunction which is now replaced by the permanent injunction.
    Read the District Court Order and Opinion.
    Access then Governor Brewer's Executive Order 2012-06.
    Read the 2014 Ninth Circuit Ruling on the Preliminary Injunction.

Supreme Court to Hear Gay Marriage Cases
January 16, 2015. The Supreme Court today agreed to consolidate and hear four cases on the subject of gay marriage this term, including No. 14-556 Obergefell v. Hodges; 14-562 Tanco v. Haslam; 14-571 DeBoer v. Snyder; and 14-574 Bourke v. Beshear. In so doing, the Court indicated that: “The petitions for writs of certiorari are granted limited to the following questions: 1) Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex? 2) Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-state?” At this point the Court has set two and a half hours for oral argument and required all briefs to be filed in mid-April and oral argument will therefore be among the last cases argued in the present term of the Court. These cases were decided by the Sixth Circuit which. unlike the other circuits to consider the matter, upheld state bans in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee on gay marriage, setting up the kind of conflict among circuits most likely to ensure Supreme Court review.
    Access the Court's Order List Granting Certiorari in the Four Cases.
    Read the Sixth Circuit Opinion on these Cases.
    Read the Cert. Petition in the Kentucky Case.
    Read the Cert. Petition in the Ohio case.
    Read the Cert. Petition in the Tennessee case.
    Read the Cert. Petition in the Michigan case.

South Carolina Corrects A 70 Old Year Manifest Injustice
December 18, 2014. South Carolina Circuit Judge Carmen Tevis Mullen overturned a conviction based on a petitione for a writ of Coram Nobis (issued to correct a manifest injustice usually based on key errors of fact in a case) in the case of South Carolina v. Sinney in which 14 year old George Stinney who was African American was tried, convicted, and sentenced to death by electrocution in 1944 by an all white jury that deliberated only ten minutes. In a case brought by surviving relatives, Judge Mullen concluded that: "This Court finds fundamental, Constitutional violations of due process exist in the 1944 prosecution of George Stinney, Jr. and hereby vacates the judgment."Id. at 1.
    Read the opinion and order.

Justice Department Announces New Anti-Profiling Guidance
December 8, 2014. The U.S. Department of Justice has issued its "Guidance for Federal Law Enforcement Agencies Regarding the Use of Race, Ethnicity, Gender, National Origin, Religion, Sexual Orientation, or Gender Identity." However, the guidance contains some exceptions and limitations. For example, it states that: "This Guidance does not apply to Federal non-law enforcement personnel, including U.S. military, intelligence, or diplomatic personnel, and their activities. In addition, this Guidance does not apply to interdiction activities in the vicinity of the border, or to protective, inspection, or screening activities. All such activities must be conducted consistent with the Constitution and applicable Federal law and policy, in a manner that respects privacy, civil rights and civil liberties, and subject to appropriate oversight."Introduction and Executive Summary, p. 2, n. 2.
    Read the Guidance.
    Read DOJ Press Release.

Justice Department Publishes Report on Protecting Alaskan Native Children from Violence
December 4, 2014. The Attorney General’s Advisory Committee on American Indian and Alaska Native Children Exposed to Violence has published a report entitled: "Ending Violence So Children Can Thrive, November 2014." The advisory committee begins its report by explaining the charge given to it by the Attorney General. "Today, a vast majority of American Indian and Alaska Native children live in communities with alarmingly high rates of poverty, homelessness, drug abuse, alcoholism, suicide, and victimization. Domestic violence, sexual assault, and child abuse are widespread. Continual exposure to violence has a devastating impact on child development and can have a lasting impact on basic cognitive, emotional, and neurological functions. We cannot stand by and watch these children—who are the future of American Indian and Alaska Native communities—destroyed by relentless violence and trauma. This Advisory Committee was charged by U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. with examining these issues and making recommendations for change that will heal and protect American Indian and Alaska Native children and foster environments in which they can thrive and develop to their full potential." Report cover letter, p. 1. After discussing the seriousness of the problem, the committee stressed that: "Yet at every hearing we also heard about the desire for healing and the importance of restoring traditional ceremonies and ancestral wisdom as ways of returning safety, dignity, respect, and well-being to our Indigenous people and their children. We discovered a remarkable core of resilience and love of children among Native people and a sense of urgency about changing their communities." Id.
    Read the report.

Sixth Circuit Ruling Upholding Gay Marriage Bans Sets Up Supreme Court Review
November 7, 2014. An opinion by Judge Sutton for a divided three judge panel of the Circuit Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in DeBoer v. Snyder, No. 14-1341, upholding bans against gay marriage in four states conflicts with rulings in four other circuits and creates a strongly probability that the U.S. Supreme Court will take a case soon on this question. Judge Cook joined Sutton's opinion, but Judge Daughtrey dissented.
    Read the opinion.

Department of State Lands Rejects Coal Terminal Proposal
August 19, 2014. The Oregon Land State Lands Department has issued a decision refusing a permit for development of the Coyote Island Terminal at the Port of Morrow in Boardman submitted by the Australian firm Ambre Energy. The proposed terminal would transfer coal from rail cars to barges for shipment downriver to the port at Clatskanie from which it would be exported, primarily for customers in Asia. The Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla, the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakima Nation, the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, the Nez Perce, and the Columbia River Intertribal Fishing Comission had filed objections asserting that the proposed project would interfere with fishing rights and fisheries which many tribal governments regard as not just treaty rights, but important civil rights associated with the preservation of their cultures and the fundamental relationship of tribal peoples to the environment. For detailed information on the decision, see the Oregon page of this website.

Fifth Circuit Upholds U. Texas Affirmative Action Admissions Program
July 15, 2014. A panel of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has issued its decision upholding the University of Texas affirmative action admissions program, responding to a ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court calling upon the lower court to use a more stringent standard of review that had been employed in the case previously. Even with the Court's caution not to show deference to the university's plan or its logic and the insistence by the Supreme Court that the lower court use more exacting scrutiny of the program, Judge Patrick Higginbotham affirmed the district courts original action dismissing the challenge to the UT process.
    Read the opinion.

Supreme Court Rejects Effort to Stay Oregon Federal District Court Gay Marriage Ruling
June 5, 2014. The Supreme Court refused to stay the action of a federal district court in Oregon, striking down the state's ban on gay marriage. The National Organization for Marriage sought a stay from Justice Kennedy as Circuit Justice and he, in turn, referred the matter to the full Court. The Court's order in National Organization for Marriage v. Geiger reads simply, "The application for stay presented to Justice Kennedy and by him referred to the Court is denied. This is, of course, not a ruling on the merits of the case.
    Read the order.

Federal Judge Strikes Oregon Gay Marriage Ban
May 19, 2014. U.S. District Judge Michael McShane of the U.S. District Court for the district of Oregon is the latest federal judge to strike down a state ban on gay marriage and like other rulings of the past year in federal district courts, this one rests on the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. His conclusion in the last two pages of the opinion is an extremely candid and dramatic statement of his view of the state of civil rights legal development in this area.
   Read the opinion.

Supreme Court Upholds State Ballot Measure Banning Affirmative Act
April 22, 2014. In a ruling issued today in No. 12-682, Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration and Immigration Rights and Fight for Equality By Any Means Necessary (BAMN), the Supreme Court has reversed the court of appeals and upheld a Michigan voter approved ban on affirmative action in university admissions. Writing for the plurality, Justice Kennedy presented the issue as "The Court in this case must determine whether an amendment to the Constitution of the State of Michigan, approved and enacted by its voters, is invalid under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States> Slip op. at 1. He answered that question as follows: "This case is not about how the debate about racial preferences should be resolved. It is about who may resolve it. There is no authority in the Constitution of the United States or in this Court’s precedents for the Judiciary to set aside Michigan laws that commit this policy determination to the voters. Id. at 18. Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Scalia and Breyer each issued concurring opinions. Justice Kagan did not participate in the case.
    Justice Sotomayor issued a strongly worded dissent in the case, joined by Justice Ginsburg. She began: "We are fortunate to live in a democratic society. But without checks, democratically approved legislation can oppress minority groups. For that reason, our Constitution places limits on what a majority of the people may do. This case implicates one such limit: the guarantee of equal protection of the laws." Slip op. at 1, Sotomayor, dissenting. She continues, ", too, believe in the importance of public discourse on matters of public policy. But I part ways with the plurality when it suggests that judicial intervention in this case “impede[s]” rather than “advance[s]” the democratic process and the ultimate hope of equality. . . I firmly believe that our role as judges includes policing the process of self-government and stepping in when necessary to secure the constitutional guarantee of equal protection.." Id. at 6.
   Read the opinions.

Federal District Court Strikes Down Michigan Ban on Gay Marriage
March 22, 2014. Joining a growing number of federal district courts striking state bans on gay marriage, U.S. District Court Judge Bernard A. Friedman, writing in DeBoer v. Snyder, has concluded that "Article I, § 25 of the Michigan Constitution and its implementing statutes are unconstitutional because they violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution." Slip op. at 30. Unlike a number of the other district courts ruling on these issues, Friedman did not issue a stay to his order pending appeal. The Michigan Attorney General has filed for a stay in the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.
   Read the Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law.
   Read the Judgment and Order.

Texas Bar to Gay Marriage Struck Down
February 26, 2014. Another federal district court has struck a state ban on gay marriage, this time it was the Texas law and a ruling by U.S. District Judge Orlando L. Garcia in the case of Cleopatra de Leon v. Perry. As has been true in other similar recent cases, Judge Garcia stayed his order pending appeal.
   Read the Perry opinion.

U.S. District Court Overturns Virginia Ban on Gay Marriage
February 14, 2014. U.S. District Court Judge Arenda L. Wright Allen in an opinion in Bostic v. Rainey, struck down a provision of the Virginia Constitution and any other provision of Virginia law that bars same-sex marriage as violative of the due process and equal protection clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment. She issued an injunction banning the application of the constitutional provision and sections of the Virginia code that bar gay marriage but stayed her order pending appeal.
   The incoming Attorney General of Virginia Mark Herring switched positions while the case was pending and took a position against the constitutional validity of the Virginia ban on gay marriage. In the process, he provided a website to respond to frequently asked questions about the decision to change position. Information on his actions, including the brief notifying the court of the change is provided below.
   Read Judge Wright Allen's opinion.
   Read the brief submitted to the court formally changing the position of the state in the Bostic case..
   Read the Attorney General's News Release announcing the change of position in the case.
   Read the Virginia Attorney General's Website on the decision to change positions in the Bostic case to support gay marriage.

Attorney General Announces that Justice Department Will Support Gay Marriage
February 12, 2014. In a speech to the Human Rights Campaign Great New York Gala on February 10, Attorney General Eric Holder declared: "On Monday, I will issue a new policy memorandum that will – for the first time in history – formally instruct all Justice Department employees to give lawful same-sex marriages full and equal recognition, to the greatest extent possible under the law. . . . This means that, in every courthouse, in every proceeding, and in every place where a member of the Department of Justice stands on behalf of the United States – they will strive to ensure that same-sex marriages receive the same privileges, protections, and rights as opposite-sex marriages under federal law." The speech then goes on to explain what that position will mean in terms of policy and rights recognized for same sex couples. The memorandum will be posted as soon as it is availableThe memorandum will be posted as soon as it is available.
   Read the Attorney General's Speech.

Federal District Court in Utah Strikes Down State Ban on Gay Marriage
December 20, 2013. U.S. Federal District Court for the District of Utah Judge Robert J. Shelby issued his ruling today in Kitchen v. Herbert, Case No. 2:13-cv-217, striking down the provision of the Utah constitution that bans gay marriage.
   Read the memorandum opinion and order.

Second Circuit Stays Stop and Frisk Orders and Removes District Court Judge
November 1, 2013, 2013. "It is hereby ORDERED that the District Court’s January 8, 2013 “Opinion and Order,” as well as the August 12, 2013 “Liability Opinion” and “Remedies Opinion,” each of which may or will have the effect of causing actions to be taken by defendants or designees of the District Court, or causing restraints against actions that otherwise would be taken by defendants, are STAYED pending the disposition of these appeals." Ligon v. City of New York, Slip op. at 2. The district court's rulings are posted below at the August 12 entry.
   In addition to staying the action pending appeal, the appeals court panel determined that the district court judge should be replaced. Upon review of the record in these cases, we conclude that the District Judge ran afoul of the Code of Conduct for United States Judges, Canon 2 (“A judge should avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in all activities.”); see also Canon 3 (C)(1) (“A judge shall disqualify himself or herself in a proceeding in which the judge’s impartiality might reasonably be questioned . . . .” ), and that the appearance of impartiality surrounding this litigation was compromised by the District Judge’s improper application of the Court’s “related case rule,” see Transfer of Related Cases, S.D.N.Y. & E.D.N.Y. Local Rule 13(a), 1 and by a series of media interviews and public statements purporting to respond publicly to criticism of the District Court. 2 Accordingly, we conclude that, in the interest, and appearance, of fair and impartial administration of justice, UPON REMAND, these cases shall be assigned to a different District Judge, chosen randomly under the established practices of the District Court for the Southern District of New York. This newly-designated District Judge shall implement this Court’s mandate staying all proceedings and otherwise await further action by the Court of Appeals on the merits of the ongoing appeals." Id. at 2-3.
   Read the Second Circuit opinion.

Justice Department Sues Texas in Voting Rights Act Challenge to State Voter ID Law and Redistricting
August 22, 2013. (Updated August 23, 2013) The U.S. Justice Department has announced that: "The Department of Justice . . . will file a new lawsuit against the State of Texas, the Texas Secretary of State, and the Director of the Texas Department of Public Safety over the State’s strict voter photo identification law (SB 14). The United States’ complaint seeks a declaration that SB 14 violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, as well as the voting guarantees of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution. Separately, the Department is filing a motion to intervene as a party and a complaint in intervention against the State of Texas and the Texas Secretary of State in the ongoing case of Perez v. Perry (W.D. Tex.), which concerns the state’s redistricting laws."
   In its complaint with respect to the SB 14 voter ID statute, DOJ explained that Texas had sought preclearance for SB 14 when it was required to do so which was denied. The state then challenged that decision before a three judge federal district court. The complaint explains that the Court found: "'record evidence suggests that SB 14, if implemented, would in fact have a retrogressive effect on Hispanic and African American voters.' Texas v. Holder, 888 F. Supp. 2d 113, 138 (D.D.C. 2012). The three-judge district court concluded that '(1) a substantial subgroup of Texas voters, many of whom are African American or Hispanic, lack photo ID; (2) the burdens associated with obtaining ID will weigh most heavily on the poor; and (3) racial minorities in Texas are disproportionately likely to live in poverty.' Id." U.S. v. Texas, Case 2:13-cv-00263, Southern District of Texas, Complaint, p. 11.
   Read the Justice Department Press Release on the Suits
   Read the Complaint in US v. Texas, the SB 14 case.
   Read the Motion to Intervene in the Apportionment Case Perez v. Perry.
   Access Exhibit I submitted in support of the Motion to Intervene
   Access the Civil Rights Division Website

GAO FInds that Charter Schools Omit Data on ELL Learners
August 19, 2013. The Government Accountability Office released a report entitled: "Education Needs to Further Examine Data Collection on English Language Learners in Charter Schools." The report found that charter schools were not reporting data on English language learner students.
   Read the report.
   Read the summary of the report.

Federal District Court Finds NYC Stop & Frisk Policy in Violation of Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments
August 12, 2013. Judge Shira A. Scheindlin of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York has found New York City's stop and frisk policy in violation of both the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments and has issued orders to ensure that the policy is not administered in an unconstitutional manner. She has also appointed a court monitor to oversee the situation. She made it a point to say on more than one occasion in here opinions "I am not ordering an end to stop and frisk." Floyd v. City of New York (II), Slip op. at 4. The Floyd II opinion explains the remedial process and the immediate steps that the city is required to take. While there are some specifics, the court appointed monitor will play a role in the joint remedial process described in the order.
   Read Floyd v. City of New York (Part I).
   Read Floyd v. City of New York (Part II.

Supreme Court Strikes Defense of Marriage Act Provision
June 26, 2013. In a 5-4 opinion by Justice Kennedy in U.S. v. Windsor, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the Defense of Marriage Act provision refusing federal benefits to couples married in states that recognize gay marriage violates equal protection of the law under the Fifth Amendment.
   Read the opinion.

Chief Justice writes for Supreme Court Finding No Standing to Proceed with Prop 8 Assessment
June 26, 2013. Chief Justice Roberts wrote for the majority in Hollingsworth v. Perry, concluding that the parties that brought the case to the Supreme Court lacked standing to do so and thus the Court would not decide the merits of the case and that the Ninth Circuit should not have done so. It vacated and remanded the case. That leaves the district court ruling, Perry v. Schwarzenegger, 704 F. Supp. 2d 921 (NDCA 2010), which struck down the California Proposition 8 ban on gay marriage controlling.
   Read the Supreme Court opinion.
   Read the 2010 Opinion of the District Court for the Northern District of California in Perry v. Schwarzenegger (Exhibit A in the Court of Appeals Docket).

Supreme Court Strikes Coverage Provision of the Voting Rights Act
June 25, 2013. In a 5-4 ruling by Chief Justice Roberts the Supreme Court has declared unconstitutional Section 4(b) of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 which sets out the coverage of the requirements for preclearance of changes in voting procedures in covered states. While the Court did not strike down Section 5 which lays out the preclearance requirements, it recognized that: "The provisions of §5 apply only to those jurisdictions singled out by §4." Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder, No. 12-96, Slip op. at Justice Ginsburg, writing for the 4 dissenters underscored that point. "The Court stops any application of §5 by holding that §4(b)'s coverage formula is unconstitutional." Dissent, Slip op. at 30.
   Read the opinion.

Supreme Court Issues Narrowing Interpretation of the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978
June 25, 2013. Justice Alito wrote for a 5-4 majority in Adoptive Parents v. Baby Girl, No. 12-399, rejecting a South Carolina Supreme Court decision that a child needed to be returned from a non-Indian adoptive couple to the birth father under provisions of the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978. That act was adopted in response to evidence of alarmingly high rates of Native American children who were adopted by non-native families or in other cases removed from birth families and placed into foster families. In this case, a father had agreed to cede his parental rights to the birth mother and she gave the child up for adoption. He was not living with the baby and the mother at that time. Upon learning of the mother's action, the father asserted the ICWA required that the child be returned to him. The majority concluded that the act was not intended to protect a parent like this and that applying the act to prevent th adoption would inhibit legitimate adoptions of native children by non-native parents.
   Justice Sotomayor wrote for the four dissenters (though Justice Scalia also added a separate dissent), concluding that the Court's reading of the statute was faulty and ran contrary to the basic purpose of the act. The dissenters also warned that the approach taken by the majority would not be limited to the particular type of facts present in this case, but would likely apply to other Native American parents in direct contravention of the reason the statute was adopted in 1978.
   Read the opinion.

First Nation's Child Face Dramatic Levels of Poverty According to New Study
June 21, 2013. The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives has published a new study by David Macdonald and Daniel Wilson entitled Poverty or Prosperity: Indigenous Children in Canada that finds "Indigenous children in Canada are over two and a half times more likely to live in poverty than non-Indigenous children, according to a study released today by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) and Save the Children Canada." Press Release. The report concluded that for some groups in at least two provinces the figure runs as high as 60%.
   Read the full report.
   Read the press release on the report.

Federal District Court Finds Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio Found to Have Engaged in Racial Profiling
May 24, 2013. The U.S. Federal District Court for the District of Arizona has ruled that Justice Joe Arpaio and his department have engaged in racial profiling in violation of both the Fourth Amendment prohibition on unreasonable searches and seizures and the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
   Read the opinion.

New York Stop and Frisk Trial Moving to a Conclusion
May 20, 2013. Recent news reports have highlighted the federal trial in the class action suit known as Floyd v. City of New York which is challenging the New York Police Department stop-and-frisk policy on grounds that it is illegal search and seizure in violation of the Fourth Amendment and is racial profiling which is discrimination in violation of the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The case followed a 2003 settlement in Daniels v. City of New York in which the city agreed to develop a clear policy for stop-and-risk and to provide data on the use of the policy. The plaintiffs concluded that 90% of those stopped were minorities compared to a population that is 52% minority and filed suit..
   Read the Daniels v. City of New York Settlement.
   Read the Second Amended Complaint in the Floyd case.
   Read the 2012 Expert's Report.
   Access the Center for Constitutional Rights Website for more documents and details.

Supreme Court Hears Important Indian Child Welfare Act Case
April 23, 2013. The U.S. Supreme Court has heard argument in No. 12-399, Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl, that presents a controversial situation under the Indian Child Welfare Act. A birth mother who is not Native American gave up her daughter for adoption. The birth father who is Cherokee had surrendered his rights to the mother, but when he learned that the child had been adopted by a non-native couple he asserted a right to custody under the Indian Child Welfare Act. The family court awarded custody to the parent and the South Carolina Supreme Court affirmed, 731 S.E.2d 550 (SC 2012). The Cherokee Nation is also a respondent in the case. There was a guardian ad litem to represent the child.
   Hear the audio of the Oral Argument.
   Read the transcript of the the Oral Argument.
   Read Brief of Petitioners Adoptive Couple.
   Read Brief of Respondent Birth Father.
   Read Brief of Respondent Cherokee Nation.
   Read the Brief of the Guardian ad Litem Representing the Child.
   Read the Brief of Amicus Curiae United States.
   Read Brief Amicus Curiae of Professors of Indian Law.
   Access the National Indian Child Welfare Assn. Website .
   Access the Native American Rights Fund webpage on the Legislative History of ICWA.

Day Two of Supreme Court Gay Marriage Oral Argument of Defense of Marriage Act
March 27, 2013. The second day of oral arguments on gay marriage issues took place today in No. 12-307 United States v. Windsor, this time with respect to whether the Defense of Marriage Act discriminates in violation of the Fifth Amendment. However, there are also two jurisdictional questions: As the U.S. brief asks: "Whether the Executive Branch's agreement with the court below that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, Pub. L. No. 104-199, 110 Stat. 419, is unconstitutional deprives this Court of jurisdiction to decide this case. 2. Whether the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group of the United States House of Representatives has Article III standing in this case." In order to get both sides of the jurisdiction argument, the Court appointed counsel as an amicus curiae (friend of the court).
   Access Petitioner's U.S. Brief (on merits).
   Access Petitioner's U.S. Brief (on jurisdiction).
   Access Respondent's Windsor Brief (on merits).
   Access Respondent's Windsor Brief (on jurisdiction).
   Access Respondent's Brief Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (on merits).
   Access Respondent's Brief Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (on jurisdiction).
   Access the Brief of the Court Appointed Amicus Curiae on Jurisdiction.
   Access the oral argument by streaming audio.
   Access the oral argument transcript.

Supreme Court Hears Argument in Gay Marriage Cases
March 26, 2013. The Supreme Court today heard oral argument in No. 12-144 Hollingsworth v. Perry, the California Proposition 8 case on equal protection grounds.
   Access the Petitioner's Brief.
   Access Repondent Perry's Brief.
   Access Respondent City and County of San Francisco.
   Access Amicus Brief of the U.S..
   Access the oral argument by streaming audio.
   Access the oral argument transcript.

Supreme Court Hears Oral Argument in Voting Rights Case
February 28, 2013. The Supreme Court heard oral argument yesterday in the case of Shelby County v. Holder, No. 12-96, in which an Alabama County challenged the power of Congress under the Fifteenth Amendment to reauthorize Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. The petitioners also challenge the provision under the Tenth Amendment and Article IV of the Constitution.
   Read the Oral Argument Transcript.
   Read the Petition for Certiorari.
   Read the Brief for Petitioner Shelby County.
   Read the Brief for the Respondent Attorney General Holder.

Congress Passes Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act
February 28, 2013. The House has now passed the reauthorization of the Violence Against 286 to138. The Senate earlier passed by a vote of 78-22 S. 47, the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013. The president has announced that he will sign it as soon as it reaches his desk. After 59 Republicans joined Democrats to defeat an alternative bill proposed by Rep. Eric Cantor, the way was cleared for a vote to approve the Senate bill.
   Read S. 47.

National Congress of American Indians Presents 2013 State of the Indian Nations Report
February 14, 2013. Jefferson Keel, President of the National Congress of American Indians, delivered the 2013 State of Indian Nations Address today in Washington, D.C. Senator Maria Cantwell (D., WA) will gave the congressional response to the address. The video replay is available now. The text of the address will be posted when it becomes available.
   Read the text of the Speech.
   Watch a Video Replay of the Speech.
   Access the National Congress of American Indians.

ILO Releases Study in Support of Efforts to Ensure Rights for Domestic Workers
January 9, 2013. The United Nations International Labor Organization (ILO) has released a new study entitled " Domestic Workers Across the World: Global and Regional Statistics and the Extent of Legal Protection" which provides important data about what is important to know about what is often an invisible workforce and what protections are and are not available to them. The report indicates that there are some "52.6 million worldwide, 83 per cent are women, 29.9 per cent are excluded from national labour legislation, 45 per cent have no entitlement to weekly rest periods/paid annual leave, and more than a third of women domestic workers have no maternity protection." ILO Press Release. The ILO explained that this study is a resource that can be used as the global community moves to implement the provisions of the 2011 Domestic Workers Convention.
   Read the report.
   Read the ILO Press Release.
   Access the Domestic Workers Convention, 2011.

Iowa Supreme Court Rejects Sex Discrimination Claim
January 3, 2013. The Iowa Supreme Court upheld a lower court dismissal of a sex discrimination suit brought under the Iowa Civil Rights Act by an employee who was fired at the behest of the employer's wife on grounds that the wife considered that there was a threat of a possible inappropriate relationship, even though there was no inappropriate conduct by the employee. The unanimous court, in an opinion by Justice Mansfield, began its Nelson v. Knight opinion by stating that: "Can a male employer terminate a female employee because the employer's wife, due to no fault of the employee, is concerned about the nature of the relationship between the employer and the employee? This is the question we are required to answer today. For the reasons stated herein, we ultimately conclude the conduct does not amount to unlawful sex discrimination in violation of the Iowa Civil Rights Act." Slip op. at 1. In its conclusion, the Court said: "As we have indicated above, the issue before us is not whether a jury could find that Dr. Knight treated Nelson badly. We are asked to decide only if a genuine fact issue exists as to whether Dr. Knight engaged in unlawful gender discrimination when he fired Nelson at the request of his wife. For the reasons previously discussed, we believe this conduct did not amount to unlawful discrimination, and therefore we affirm the judgment of the district court." Id. at 15-16.
   Read the opinion.

Portland and U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights DivisionSettle on Police Issues But Challenges are Pending
December 20, 2012. The City of Portland and the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice have filed a order on consent with the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon which is the culmination of a ODJ investigation and negotiations with the city regarding police use of force and other procedures with particular attention to situations involving persons with mental illness or developmental delays. For more information and relevant documents, please see the Oregon page of this website.

U.S. Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Two Gay Marriage Cases
December 7, 2012. At its December 7 conference, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to review cases presenting gay marriage issues. One of these is No. 12-307, United States v. Windsor which is a Defense of Marriage Act case from the Second Circuit. The Court said in this case that "In addition to the question presented by the petition, the parties are directed to brief and argue the following questions: 'Whether the Executive Branch's agreement with the court below that DOMA is unconstitutional deprives this Court jurisdiction to decide this case; and whether the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group of the United States House of Representatives has Article III standing in this case.'" Order of the Court, December 7, 2012 The other case is No.12-144, Hollingsworth v. Perry, which is a California case dealing with proposition 8. In that case, the Court ordered that: "In addition to the question presented by the petitioner, the parties are directed to brief and argue the following questions: Whether petitioners have standing under Article III, §2 of the Constitution in this case." Id.
   The extra questions arose in these cases because of the decision by the Obama administration not to defend the Defense of Marriage Act which caused some legislators now known as the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group of the U.S. House of Representatives to seek to defend DOMA on appeal. The Petitioner for Certiorari filed by the United States explains this situation and suggests ways the Court might consider reviewing the lower court rulings on DOMA then pending. Similarly, the decision by California officials not to seek appeals to defend California's Proposition 8 ban on gay marriage led others to come forward to defend Prop. 8. Thus, the Court seeks argument about whether others can defend these provisions if the executive branch at the federal or state levels choose not to do so.
   Access the Second Circuit Ruling in Windsor v. United States, 12-2335-cv(L).
   Access the Ninth Circuit Opinion in the California Case, Perry v. Brown, 671 F.3d 1052 (9th Cir. 2012).
   Read the Court's December 7 Order Granting Certiorari in these Cases .
   Read the U.S. Petitioner for Certiorari in Windsor v. United States.
   Read the U.S. Petitioner for Certiorari in Hollingsworth v. Perry.

U.S. Senate Rejects Treaty on Disability Rights
December 5, 2012. The United States Senate has refused to vote to ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities, a treaty that is ironically modeled on the Americans With Disabilities Act. Although there were 61 votes in favor to 38 against, the vote did not reach the required two thirds of the Senate. All Democrats and some Republicans supported the treaty, but 38 Republicans voted no.
   Read Legislative Action on Treaty Document 112-7 the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
   Read the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and Optional Protocol.
   Access the UN Enable Website on the Convention.
   Access the Senate Roll Call Vote on the Treaty.

Sixth Circuit En Banc Ruling Strikes Michigan Ban on University Affirmative Action as U.S. Supreme Court Considers University of Texas Case
November 16, 2012. The U. S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit sitting en banc has decided to strike down Michigan's Proposition 2 banning affirmative action admissions as a violation of the Equal Protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Writing for a sharply divided 8-7 court, Judge Cole wrote: "A student seeking to have her family's alumni connections considered in her application to one of Michigan's esteemed public universities could do one of four things to have the school adopt a legacy-conscious admissions policy: she could lobby the admissions committee, she could petition the leadership of the university, she could seek to influence the school's governing board, or, as a measure of last resort, she could initiate a statewide campaign to alter the state's constitution. The same cannot be said for a black student seeking the adoption of a constitutionally permissible race-conscious admissions policy. That student could do only one thing to effect change: she could attempt to amend the Michigan Constitution -- a lengthy, expensive, and arduous process -- to repeal the consequences of Proposal 2. The existence of such a comparative structural burden undermines the Equal Protection Clause's guarantee that all citizens ought to have equal access to the tools of political change. We therefore REVERSE the judgment of the district court on this issue and find Proposal 2 unconstitutional." Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action v. Regents of the University of Michigan, Slip op. at 4. This decision affirms a July 1, 2011 decision by a panel of the Sixth Circuit on four cases consolidated into this one ruling.
   This ruling Sixth Circuit ruling comes as the U.S. Supreme Court considers the Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin case now before in which the Court has been asked to narrow or overturn the Grutter v. Bollinger, 539 U.S. 306 (2003), decision that upheld affirmative action admissions at the University of Michigan School of Law and that was central to the campaign to enact the Proposition 2 ban on affirmative action in Michigan. The briefs for the Petitioner, Respondent, and U.S. Amicus in support of the Respondent as well as the transcript and audio of the oral argument are provided below.
   Read November 15, 2012 en banc opinion in Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action v. Regents of the University of Mich.
   Read the July 1, 2011 panel opinion in Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action v. Regents of the University of Mich. opinion
   Read the Petitioner's Brief in the UT case
   Read the Respondent's Brief in the UT case
   Read the U.S. Amicus Brief in Support of the Respondents in the UT case
   Access the Oral Argument Transcript in the UT case
   Access the Oral Argument Audio in the UT case

Second Circuit Joins Other Courts in Ruling Against the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)
October 21, 2012. A panel of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has joined other circuits in ruling against the Defense of Marriage Act. The court issued its opinion in Windsor v. United States, 12-2335-cv(L) finding that the DOMA restriction on tax benefits to a surviving spouse because the couple was gay meant that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act violated equal protection.
   The First Circuit had ruled against the same provision in June. It is possible, and some commentators suggest likely, that one or more of these cases will get to the U.S. Supreme Court this term.
   Read the Second Circuit Windsor v. United States Opinion.
   Read the First Circuit Opinion.

Federal Affirms District Court Injunction Against Ohio Efforts to Limit Early Voting Options
October 6, 2012. A panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit has upheld a federal district court ruling against Ohio efforts to limit early voting. Last month Federal District Judge Peter C. Economus issued a preliminary injunction against the decision by Ohio elections officials to limit early voting in the state. The judge found that "minority and working class voters will be disproportionately affected by the restrictions on in-person early voting." Obama for America v. Husted, Slip op. at 15. He added: "This Court finds that 'in-person early voting' is a voting term that had included the right to vote in person through the Monday before Election Day, and, now, thousands of voters who would have voted during those three days will not be able to exercise their right to cast a vote in person. Plaintiffs submit statistical studies to support their assertion that low-income and minority voters are disproportionately affected by the elimination of those voting days." Id. at 16. He issued a preliminary injunction against those restrictions.
   A panel of the Sixth Circuit has affirmed that ruling. The Court ruled that the district court had required the situation be returned to the status quo ante, which in Ohio means that local boards of elections make the determination whether to have the early voting in each area.
   Read the Sixth Circuit opinion.
   Read the District Court opinion.

Arizona District Judge Refuses to Block Implementation of Arizona Immigration Law SB 1070
September 19, 2012. Judge Susan Bolten has disolved her injunction against implementation of Section 2(b) of Arizona's controversial immigration statute, the so-called "show me your papers" provision. While the case that went to the Supreme Court was brought by the United States, other plaintiffs are seeking to block the law on grounds different from the preemption arguments offered by the federal government.
   Read Judge Bolton's September 5 Order Refusing a Preliminary Injunction.
   Read the motion for appeal to the Ninth Circuit.

Federal District Court Rules Against Texas Voter Requirements and Redistricting Plan
August 30, 2012. Two different rulings from the United States District Court for the District of Columbia have struck down Texas voter ID requirements and the Texas redistricting plan. In each case, the state had gone to a three judge federal district court to seek preclearance under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. In the ID policy case, the state had originally sought preclearance from the Attorney General, but brought suit following the Attorney General's refusal to preclear a similar law from South Carolina.
   Read the Texas v. Holder ruling on Voter ID.
   Read the Texas v. United States ruling on redistricting under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.

Some Cities Welcome Immigrants
July 25, 2012. In an era when there have been so many actions directed against immigrants and those suspected of being immigrants, and particularly Latinos (whether they are newcomers or not), the Washington Post has carried a story about competition among a number of U.S. cities to be seen as the most "immigrant friendly" city. It notes that the Mayor of Baltimore has issued an executive order stressing the city's policy of respecting ethnocultural diversity and protection against discrimination against those who are -- or are thought to be -- immigrants. The story also references programs in Detroit, known as "Global Detroit," and in Dayton, Ohio, the "Welcome Dayton - Immigrant Friendly City" and Chicago Mayor's announced intention to make Chicago the most immigrant friendly city in the nation. The mayor has recommended a "Welcoming City" ordinance and has created an "Office of New Americans." The Governor of Illinois has announced a joint project with the city. The Washington Post article was authored by Carol Morello and Luz Lazo, and was entitled "Baltimore Puts Out Welcome Mat for Immigrants, Hoping to Stop Population Decline."
   Access the Washington Post article.
   Access the "Global Detroit" website.
   Access the "Welcome Dayton -- Immigrant Friendly City" website.
   Read the Chicago Mayor's Press Release on the Proposed Welcome City Ordinance.
   Read the Chicago Mayor's Press release on the Creation of the Office of New Americans.
   Access the State of Illinois Office of New Americans website.
   Access the Baltimore Mayor's Executive Order.
   Read the Mayor's Press Release on the Baltimore Executive Order.

Trial in Racial Profiling Civil Rights Suit Against Maricopa County Sheriff Begins
July 20, 2012. The trial in the civil rights suit brought by the Arizona ACLU, MALDEF, and attorneys from Covington and Burling against Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio has begun in Phoneix. The complaint alleges violations of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and of the Arizona law because of profiling and abusive police practices under the direction of the Sheriff in Maricopa County. The case, Melendres v. Arpaio, 2:07-cv-02513-GMA, does not seek damages but rather asks for injunctive relief to stop the alleged abuses and for court ordered monitoring to ensure compliance with whatever orders are ultimately issued in the case. The Sheriff held a news conference recently in which this case was raised, but his office has not issued a new release on the trial itself.
   This is a case separate from the suit filed by the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice against the Sheriff. For full information and documents on the pending suit by the Justice Department suit, see the posting below for May 12, 2012.
   Read the First Amended Complaint.
   Access the Arizona ACLU website providing legal documents and decisions in the case to date..
   Access the Arizonia ACLU webpage on the case with news releases and other information.
   Access Maricopa County Sheriff News Releases Page.

Supreme Court Rules in the Arizona v. U.S. Immigration Policy Case.
June 25, 2012. Justice Kennedy wrote the opinion for five members of the Court, finding that three of the four challenged sections of the Arizona SB 1070 immigration statute are preempted by federal law and sent the remaining section, §2(B) concerning immigration checks, back down to await the interpretation of that part of the statute by the Arizona supreme court if and when that provision is implemented. As to §2(B), the Court said: "The nature and timing of this case counsel caution in evaluating the validity of §2(B). The Federal Government has brought suit against a sovereign State to challenge the provision even before the law has gone into effect. There is a basic uncertainty about what the law means and how it will be enforced. At this stage, without the benefit of a definitive interpretation from the state courts, it would be inappropriate to assume §2(B) will be construed in a way that creates a conflict with federal law. . . . This opinion does not foreclose other preemption and constitutional challenges to the law as interpreted and applied after it goes into effect." Arizona v. United States, Slip op. at 23-23. Justice Alito, Scalia, and Thomas issued opinions in which they concurred in part and dissented in part. Justice Kagan did not participate in the case.
   Read the opinion.

U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Rejects Defense of Marriage Act Ban on Benefits for Married Gay Couples
June 1, 2012. A panel of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, in an opinion by Judge Boudin in Massachusetts v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Nos. 10-2204, has affirmed a lower court ruling that struck down a section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act ("DOMA"), 1 U.S.C. §7, "which denies federal economic and other benefits to same-sex couples lawfully married in Massachusetts and to surviving spouses from couples thus married." The Court noted that this is not a ruling about the right of gay couples to marry. "Rather than challenging the right of states to define marriage as they see fit, the appeals contest the right of Congress to undercut the choices made by same-sex couples and by individual states in deciding who can be married to whom." The panel anticipates an appeal to the Supreme Court and so concluded its opinion by stating that: "The judgment of the district court is affirmed for the reasons and to the extent stated above. Anticipating that certiorari will be sought and that Supreme Court review of DOMA is highly likely, the mandate is stayed, maintaining the district court's stay of its injunctive judgment, pending further order of this court." This opinion consolidates three separate cases.
   Read the opinion.

Justice Department Files Suits Against Maricopa County and its Sheriff's Department to Stop Discriminatory Practices
May 12, 2012. Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Thomas Perez announced at a news conference in Maricopa County, Arizona that the Department of Justice has filed suit against the Sheriff of Maricopa county, Joseph Arpaio and against the Maricopa County, alleging discriminatory policing practices. The case is entitled United States v. Maricopa County. The Justice Department complaint identified "three categories of unlawful conduct: (1) a pattern or practice of discriminatory and otherwise unconstitutional law enforcement actions against Latinos in Maricopa County; (2) discriminatory jail practices against Latino prisoners with limited English language skills; and (3) a pattern or practice of retaliatory actions against perceived critics of MCSO activities." The Justice Department asserts that these actions violate: "the First Amendment, Fourth Amendment, and Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution; the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, 42 U.S.C. § 14141; Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000d to 2000d-7; the Title VI implementing regulations issued by the United States Department of Justice, 28 C.F.R. §§ 42.101 to 42.112; and Title VI contractual assurances."    The Justice Department announced that it was necessary to file suit in the case because the Sheriff's Deparment and the County refused to sign a settlement agreement to resolve issues brought forth by the findings of a Civil Rights Division investigation that were announced in December 2011, and particularly their unwillingness to agree to the presence of a monitor to report on implementation of required changes in the operation of the the Sheriff's Office work. (See the posting for December 22 below.)
   Read the Justice Department's Press Release on the Suit.
   Read Assist Attorney General Perez's Statement Announcing the Suit.
   Read the complaint in U.S. v. Maricopa County.
   Read the DOJ Findings Letter on Maricopa County.
   Sheriff Arpaio of Maricopa County News Release in Response to DOJ Letter.

Supreme Court to Hear Oral Argument This Week in Arizona Immigration Statute Case
April 22, 2012. The Surpeme Court will hear oral argument on Wednesday April 25 in the Arizona immigration law case, No. 11-182, Arizona v. United States. The state of Arizona asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review the decision of the District Court for the District of Arizona [reported at 703 F.Supp 2d 980 (DAZ 2010)] and the U.S. Circuit Court of appeals for the Ninth Circuit [reported at 641 F.3d 339 (9th Cir. 2011)] that ruled against the state's immigration legislation S.B. 1070. The oral argument transcript and audio will be posted here as soon after the argument as it is available.
   Read the Oral Argument Transcript.
   Listen to the audio of the oral argument.
   Read Brief for Arizona.
   Read the Brief for the United States.
   Read the Petition for a Writ of Certiorari.
   Read the U.S. Brief in Opposition to the Petition for Certiorari.
   Read the Ninth Circuit opinion upholding the injunctions issued by the district court agains the act.
   Read the district court injunction against implementation of S.B.1070 issued July 28, 2010.

Mandela Digital Archives Online
March 28, 2012. The Nelson Mandela Digital Archive Project has launched its new online archive of Nelson Mandela's life and work. The archive is set by periods in Mandela's career and movement, with documents inset into the biographical story.
   Access the Nelson Mandela Digital Archive.

U.S. Supreme Court Hears Cases Claiming Damages Against Corporations and Other Entities for Alleged Human Rights Violations
February 28, 2012. The U.S. Supreme Court has heard oral arguments in two cases in which individuals have brought suit against corporations or other kinds of entities for liability in cases alleging injuries suffered as a result of violations of internationally recognized human rights. The first is No. 10-1491, Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Shell, and involves claims for damages on grounds that the company supported actions by the government of Nigeria involving torture and other atrocities against Nigerians who protested pollution and other issues related to Shell Oil's operations in the country. The other case is No. 11-88, Mohamad v. Palestinian Authority and involves alleged torture and killing of a critic of the Palestinian Authority. For more information and the briefs in the cases, see the Refugees page of this website.

Supreme Court to Hear University Diversity Admissions Case
February 22, 2012. The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case from Texas, challenging the diversity admissions program of the University of Texas at Austin which was modeled on the elements approved by the Supreme Court in the University of Michigan case, Grutter v Bollinger, 539 U.S. 306 (2003). The Fifth Circuit upheld the program (and denied rehearing en banc) and its opinion is posted below, as are the petition for certiorari, the brief in opposition to the petition filed by the Texas Solicitor General, and the Supreme Courts orders page granting certiorari in the case, No. 11-345, Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin.
   Read the Fifth Circuit Opinion in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin.
   Access the Supreme Court order list for 2/22/2012 granting certiorari.
   Read the petition for certiorari.
   Read the Texas brief in opposition to the petitioner for certiorari.

State Legislature Passes Equality of Marriage Bill
February 9, 2012. The state house has joined the senate in passing SB 3269. The house vote was 55-43 on the equality of marriage bill and Senate had previously approvd it by a vote of 28 to 21. The bill now goes to the governor who has already indicated here support for the legislation. For more information and the legislation, see the Washington page of this website.

Ninth Circuit Rules Against California Prop 8
February 7, 2012. A panel of the United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has issued its long awaiting ruling in the Perry v. Brown case, finding that California's Proposition 8 banning gay marriage violates the Fourteenth Amendment.
   Read the opinion.
   Access the Ninth Circuit Website on the Prop 8 Litigation.

Oregon Groups Sue State in Challenge to Sheltered Workshops
January 27, 2012. United Cerebral Palsy and Disability Rights Oregon have filed suit in federal court against the state in a case styled Lane v. Kitzhaber, claiming that the use and operation of sheltered workshops for persons with disability violate the Americans with Disabilities Act and §504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. For more information and the complaint in the case, see the Health Care, Disabilities, and Development page of this site.

DOJ Indicts East Haven, Connecticut Police Officers for Discrimination and Abuse of Latinos
January 24, 2012. The U.S. Attorney for the district of Connecticut and the Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice have announced the indictment and arrest of four East Haven police officers on a list of charges involving discrimination against and abuse of Latino residents. These actions follow the conclusion of an investigation of the East Haven police department launched in 2009 and concluded with a letter of findings in December 2011. The DOJ found a pattern of discrimination in the department: "The practices of the EHPD constitute a pattern or practice of discriminatory policing. Our investigation revealed that Latinos are subjected to disparate treatment, and that the impact on Latinos can only be explained by intentional bias." Civil Rights Division, Letter of Findings, Investigation of the East Haven Police Department, December 19, 2011, at 5.
   The press release issued by the U.S. Attorney for Connecticut charges that: "According to allegations contained in the indictment, from approximately 2007 through 2011, Miller, Cari, Spaulding and Zullo, while acting under color of law, conspired to injure, oppress, threaten, and intimidate various members of the East Haven community in violation of their Constitutional rights. The indictment alleges that Miller and others maintained and perpetuated an environment where the use of unreasonable force and unreasonable searches and seizures was tolerated and encouraged. It is alleged that Cari, Spaulding and Zullo engaged in unreasonable searches and seizures, including unlawful searches of premises and arrests of individuals without probable cause or based on false and misleading information, and that Miller, Spaulding, Zullo and another officer used unreasonable force during lawful and unlawful arrests. It is alleged that this unreasonable force was used when victims were unarmed, neither resisting nor interfering with the police, but rather securely under the control of the police or otherwise cooperative. In some cases, the victims were handcuffed with their hands behind their backs when officers assaulted them. Some of the victims were particularly vulnerable because they were undocumented aliens or otherwise marginalized, having little perceived standing in the community, and thus unlikely to raise objection to the abuse. The indictment further alleges that Spaulding and Zullo intimidated, harassed and humiliated members of the Latino community and their advocates. Spaulding and Zullo conducted unreasonable and illegal searches at Latino-owned businesses, and Spaulding followed, intimidated and harassed advocates who worked to defend the rights of members of the Latino community."
   As a result of the investigation, the Justice Department has called upon the city to enter into a court supervised negotiated settlement with respect the department's practices. A civil suit brought by local residents against the department is still pending in federal district court in New Haven, Chacón v. East Haven Police Dept., Civil No. 3:10-cv-01692.
   Read the indictment in United States v. Miller et. al.
   Read the U.S. Attorney for Connecticut Press Release.
   Read the Remarks of the Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights.
   Read the Justice Department Findings Letter of December 2011 at the Conclusion of the Investigation of the East Haven Police Department.

Supreme Court Rejects Application of Americans with Disabilities Act to Church School Employee
January 12, 2012. In an opinion for a unanimous Supreme Court, Chief Justice Roberts, citing both the free exercise and establishment clauses of the First Amendment, rejected the efforts by an employee of a church school to bring an action under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Chief Justice Roberts characterized the case as follows: "Certain employment discrimination laws authorize employees who have been wrongfully terminated to suetheir employers for reinstatement and damages. The question presented is whether the Establishment and FreeExercise Clauses of the First Amendment bar such an action when the employer is a religious group and the employee is one of the group's ministers." In this case, the employee was a teacher classified as a called teacher. He concluded: "Both Religion Clauses bar the government from interfering with the decision of a religious group to fire one of its ministers." Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. EEOC, No. 10-553, Slip opinion, at 6. While the Court had previously ruled that there is a ministerial exception from civil suit, Chief Justice Roberts noted that it had not previously done so in a case involving civil rights statutes.
   Read the opinion.

Justice Department Charges Maricopa County, Arizona Sheriff's Department with Discrimination
December 22, 2011. The Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice has issued a letter of findings to Maricopa County which is the result of ongoing investigations of the Sheriff's Department and which found a pattern and practice of discrimination based on national origin. Specifically, the letter stated: "Based upon our extensive investigation, we find reasonable cause to believe that MCSO engages in a pattern or practice of unconstitutional policing. Specifically, we find that MCSO, through the actions of its deputies, supervisory staff, and command staff, engages in racial profiling of Latinos; unlawfully stops, detains, and arrests Latinos; and unlawfully retaliates against individuals who complain about or criticize MCSO's policies or practices, all in violation of Section 14141. MCSO's discriminatory police conduct additionally violates Title VI and its implementing regulations. We also find reasonable cause to believe that MCSO operates its jails in a manner that discriminates against its limited English proficient ("LEP") Latino inmates. Specifically, we find that MCSO, through the actions of its deputies, detention officers, supervisory staff, and command staff, routinely punishes Latino LEP inmates for failing to understand commands given in English and denies them critical services provided to the other inmates, all in violation of Title VI and its implementing regulations." In addition to these formal findings and allegations, the letter also warned that:"In addition to the formal findings noted above, we have identified three additional areas of serious concern that, while not warranting a formal pattern or practice finding at this time, require further investigation. First, our investigation revealed a number of troubling incidents involving MCSO deputies using excessive force against Latinos. Second, we observed that MCSO has implemented its immigration enforcement program in a way that has created a "wall of distrust" between MCSO officers and Maricopa County's Latino residents-a wall of distrust that has significantly compromised MCSO's ability to provide police protection to Maricopa County's Latino residents? Third, we have expanded our investigation to encompass a review of serious allegations that MCSO failed to investigate a large number of sex crimes." Thomas E. Perez to Bill Montgomery, December 15, 2011, p. 2. The letter calls for a negotiated settlement but warns that if the county does not indicate its willingness to move forward on a negotiated resolution by January 4, 2012, the Justice Department will sue.
   Read the DOJ Findings Letter on Maricopa County.
   Sheriff Arpaio of Maricopa County News Release in Response to DOJ Letter.

Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Arizona Immigration Statute Case
December 12, 2011. The Surpeme Court has granted certiorari in No. 11-182, Arizona v. United States. The state of Arizona asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review the decision of the District Court for the District of Arizona [reported at 703 F.Supp 2d 980 (DAZ 2010)] and the U.S. Circuit Court of appeals for the Ninth Circuit [reported at 641 F.3d 339 (9th Cir. 2011)] that ruled against the state's immigration legislation S.B. 1070.
   Read the Petition for a Writ of Certiorari.
   Read the U.S. Brief in Opposition to the Petition for Certiorari.
   Access the Court's order granting certiorari.
   Read the Ninth Circuit opinion upholding the injunctions issued by the district court agains the act.
   Read the district court injunction against implementation of S.B.1070 issued July 28, 2010.

Supreme Court Blocks Three Judge District Court Ruling on Texas Reapportionment
December 10, 2011. The U.S. Supreme Court has noted probable jurisdiction and set for argument cases coming from Texas that challenge a three judge federal district court ruling on reapportionment. In issuing its order, the Court wrote: "The applications for stay presented to Justice Scalia and by him referred to the Court are granted, and it is ordered that the orders issued by the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas on November 23, 2011, in case Nos. 5:11-CV-360, and 5:11-CV-788, and the order of November 26, 2011, in case No. 5:11-CV-360, are hereby stayed pending further order of the Court. In addition, the applications for stay are treated as jurisdictional statements, and in each case probable jurisdiction is noted. The cases are consolidated and a total of one hour is allotted for oral argument. The briefs of appellants and appellees, not to exceed 15,000 words, are to be filed simultaneously with the Clerk and served upon opposing counsel on or before 2 p.m., Wednesday, December 21, 2011. Reply briefs, not to exceed 15,000 words, are to be filed simultaneously with the Clerk and served upon opposing counsel on or before 2 p.m., Tuesday, January 3, 2012. The cases are set for oral argument on Monday, January 9, 2012, at 1 p.m." As the order indicates, the lower court's order is stayed pending the decision by the Supreme Court. Also, the Court's order provides for expedited briefing and hearing.
   Access the Supreme Court's order.

California Supreme Court Grants Standing for Proposition 8 Proponents to Defend the Proposition on Appeal Clearing the Way for Federal Court Ruling
November 18, 2011. As it considers the constitutional challenge to California's Proposition 8, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit asked the California Supreme Court to determine whether proponents of Prop 8 had standing to defend that measure before the Court, given that the California governor and attorney general have refused to do so. The state supreme court has determined that they do have standing and the case now returns to the Ninth Circuit for a ruling of the merits. The state court wrote: "As posed by the Ninth Circuit, the question to be decided is "[w]hether under article II, section 8 of the California Constitution, or otherwise under California law, the official proponents of an initiative measure possess either a particularized interest in the initiative's validity or the authority to assert the State's interest in the initiative's validity, which would enable them to defend the constitutionality of the initiative upon its adoption or appeal a judgment invalidating the initiative, when the public officials charged with that duty refuse to do so." The court concluded: "In a postelection challenge to a voter-approved initiative measure, the official proponents of the initiative are authorized under California law to appear and assert the state's interest in the initiative's validity and to appeal a judgment invalidating the measure when the public officials who ordinarily defend the measure or appeal such a judgment decline to do so." Slip opinion at 5.
   Read the California Supreme Court opinion in Perry v. Brown.
   Read the Ninth Circuit order certifying the question on standing to the California state court.
   Access the Ninth Circuit website containing rulings and filings on this case.

GAO Issues Report on EPA Environmental Justice Policy
November 8, 2011. The Government Accountability Office has issued a report on the implementation by EPA of its environmental justice policy, currently known as EJ 2014. This is the latest of a series of reports on EPAs policy action on environmental justice.
   Read the GAO report.
   Access the EPA EJ 2014 Plan website.

Department of Justice Rejects Alabama Attorney General Efforts to Block Federal Discrimination Investigation Involving School Children
November 6, 2011. The Alabama Attorney General has attempted to block the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice's efforts to investigate whether the rights of school children are being violated by actions taken under the recently enacted Alabama immigration statute S.B. 56. Assistant Attorney General Thomas E. Perez wrote to Alabama school superintendents on November 1, reminding them that: "As you know, in Plyler v. Doe, 457 U.S. 202 (1982), the Supreme Court held that a State may not deny a child equal access to public education based on his or her immigration status." He wrote: "It has come to our attention that the requirements of Alabama's H.B. 56 may chill or discourage student participation in, or lead to the exclusion of school-age children from, public education programs based on their or their parents' race, national origin, or actual or perceived immigration status, or based on their homeless or foster care status and consequent lack of documentation. . . ." In order to determine whether there had been violations of civil rights laws, the DOJ requested information from superintendents on student withdrawals and attendance in addition to other information. Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange wrote the Perez demanding to know the federal authority for the investigation. Perez replied to Strange on November 4 setting out a number of civil rights laws that authorize the federal action. Strange replied that the DOJ had failed to show authority for the investigation and wrote Alabama School Superintendents informing them of his determination. The correspondence is provided below.
   Read 11/1/2011 DOJ Letter to School Superintendents.
   Read The Justice Department Response to the AL Atty. Gen..
   Read AL Atty Gen Response to DOJ 11/4/2011.
   Read AL Atty Gen Letter to School Superintendents which rejects DOJ authority.
   Read the Supreme Court's opinion in Plyler v. Doe.

Federal District Judge Issues Injunction for Parts of Alabama Immigration Statute But Allows Other Parts to Stand
September 29, 2011. Chief Judge Sharon Lovelace Blackburn of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama has issued her rulings in Parsley v. Bentley, 5:11-cv-2736-SLB; and United States of America v. Bentley, 5:11-cv-2746-SLB respectively, challenging Alabama's SB 56 immigration legislation (see post below from August 29). She rejected the injunction request in Parsley largely on grounds of standing to bring the suit. In the case brought by the U.S. Department of Justice, the judge granted in part and denied in part the request for an injunction, leaving in place some of the most controversial provisions of the Alabama law.
   Read the United States v. Alabama opinion.
   Read the United States v. Alabama order.
   Read the Parsley v. Bentley opinion.
   Read the Parsley v. Bentley order.
   Read the Hispanic Coalition of Alabama v. Bentley opinion.
   Read the Hispanic Coalition of Alabama v. Bentley order.

Pew Hispanic Center Report Finds Latinos Suffer the Highest Number of Children in Poverty
September 29, 2011. The Pew Hispanic Center has released a report entitled "The Toll of the Great Recession: Childhood Poverty Among Hispanics Sets Record, Leads Nation." The report finds that: "More Latino children are living in poverty -- 6.1 million in 2010 -- than children of any other racial or ethnic group. This marks the first time in U.S. history that the single largest group of poor children is not white. In 2010, 37.3% of poor children were Latino, 30.5% were white and 26.6% were black. . . ." Id. at 4. The report finds that Latinos have suffered particularly in the recession and since the downturn with unemployment running substantially higher than the national rate, "household wealth declined more sharply than either black or white households between 2005 and 2009," and food insecurity has trended up sharply with "nearly a third with (32.1%) of Latino households with children fac[ing] food insecurity" by 2008. Id. at 5.
   Read the Full Report.
   Read the Release Announcing the Report.

Federal District Judge Issues Temporary Injunction to Block Alabama Immigration Statute
August 29, 2011. Chief Judge Sharon Lovelace Blackburn of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama has issued a temporary injunction againt the implementation by Alabama of its immigration legislation Act 2011-535 (also known as S.B. 56). Her ruling came in a case that consolidated three complaints brought by the Hispanic Interest Coalition of Alabama, three church leaders, and the U.S. Department of Justices. They are Hispanic Interest Coalition of Alabama v. Bentley, 5:11-cv-2484-SLB; Parsley v. Bentley, 5:11-cv-2736-SLB; and United States of America v. Bentley, 5:11-cv-2746-SLB respectively. The judge cautioned in the order that: "In entering this order the court specifically notes that it is in no way addressing the merits of the motions." Order, p. 2. She also promises to issue a decision and order on the motions for a preliminary injunction by September 28.
   Read the court's order.
   Read the complaint in Hispanic Coalition of Alabama v. Bentley.
   Read the complaint in United States v. Bentley.
   Read the complaint in Parsley v. Bentley.

Alabama Church Leaders Sue the State to Block Immigration Law on First Amendment Grounds
August 14, 2011. Bishops of three churches in Alabama have filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama against the governor, seeking to block enforcement of Alabama's S.B. 56 immigration legislation, on grounds that the new law interferes with free exercise of religion under the First Amendment and is vague and overbroad. The Bishops of the Episcopal Church and the Methodist Church and the Archbishop of the Catholic Church brought the suit against Alabama's governor.
   Read the complaint in Parsley v. Bentley.

Arizona Petitions for Review in the U.S. Supreme Court on Decisions Against State Immigration Law
August 14, 2011. The state of Arizona has now formally asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review the decisions of the district court and circuit courts that ruled against the state's immigration legislation S.B. 1070.
   Read the Petition for a Writ of Certiorari.

Justice Department Sues to Block Alabama Immigration Legislation
August 2, 2011. The U.S. Department of Justice has filled suit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama challenging recently enacted Alabama H.B. 56, a state immigration statute that goes even further than the Arizona law previously challenged by the United States and the Georgia law recently blocked by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia. As it has in the other cases, the Department of Justice has argued that the state law is preempted by federal immigration law and the law is therefore barred by the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution.
   Read the DOJ Press Release.
   Read the Complaint filed by the Department of Justice.
   Access H.B. 56.

U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Stays Order to End "Don't Ask, Don't Tell
July 16, 2011. In response to requests from the Obama administration to allow time for implementation of the Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal Act and for completion of the appellate process, a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has stayed the order previously issued by the district court judge to end the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy immediately. However, in issuing the stay, the appeals court ordered that: "The district court's judgment shall continue in effect insofar as it enjoins appellants from investigating, penalizing, or discharging anyone from the military pursuant to the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy." Log Cabin Republicans v. U.S., Slip opinion at 2.The ruling relies in significant part of a declaration filed in the case by Major General Steven A. Hummer, Chief of Staff of the Repeal Implementation Team of the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness that standards for implementation of the repeal act will be ready for the Secretary of Defense by the end of July or beginning of August. Id.
   Read the order.
   Access the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Repeal Act P.L. 111-321.

Circuit Court of Appeals Strikes Michigan Ban on Affirmative Action in Admissions
July 1, 2011. A panel of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has struck down a voter approved measure in Michigan that prohibits the use of racial information in admissions decisions. The opinion came in four actions that were consolidated and styled Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action v. Regents of the University of Michigan. This is all the more interesting in light of the fact that the Supreme Court had previously ruled on admissions at the University of Michigan and for the University of Michigan School of Law.
   Read the opinion.

U.S. District Court Issues Injunction Against Georgia Immigration Enforcement Statute
June 30, 2011. Federal District Judge Thomas W. Thrash, Jr., of the Northern District of Georgia has issued an injunction blocking implementation of Georgia's House Bill 87, entitled the Illegal Immigration Reform and Enforcement Act of 2011. The case is Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights v. Deal.
   Read the Order by Judge Thrash.
   Access the Complaint.

Supreme Court Rejects Class Action Status for Wal-Mart Women Plaintiffs
June 20, 2011. The Supreme Court has reversed a lower court ruling and concluded that the women who sought to sue Wal-Mart for sex discrimination on behalf of 1.5 million had not defined a class that satisfied the requirements of Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure which sets forth the requisites for an acceptable class action lawsuit. The opinion, written by Justice Scalia for the Court, reversed a decision filed in April by the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, sitting en banc, that the massive Title VII suit could proceed as a class action.
   The Court did not decide anything about the merits of the TItle VII claims, but rejected the certification of the class action. Wal-Mart described the scope of the litigation in its petition as follows: "This nationwide class includes every woman employed for any period of time over the past decade, in any of Wal-Mart's approximately 3,400 separately managed stores, 41 regions, and 400 districts, and who held positions in any of approximately 53 departments and 170 different job classifications. The millions of class members collectively seek billions of dollars in monetary relief under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1984." Petition for Certiorari, at i. The women had argued that their case was a classic, if very large, civil rights class action lawsuit and that, if they could not proceed as a class, the women would have little chance of seriously challening the retail giant in cases brought one by one on behalf of individual plaintiffs.
   Four members of the Court, led by Justice Ginsburg, agreed that the case did not satisfy the Rule 23 (b)(2) requirements, but argued that the plaintiffs should be able to make a case regarding a 23(b)(3) suit, the requirements for which are different. Instead, she wrote, the majority opinion forecloses all of those options.
   Read the Supreme Court Opinion.
   Read the en banc ruling of the Ninth Circuit.

Federal District Court Rejects Effort to Overturn Earlier Ruling Striking Down California Measure 8
April 15, 2011. Chief Judge James Ware has issued an order and opinion rejecting the motion of the supporters of California's Proposition 8, banning gay marriage, to vacate the earlier decision issued by then Chief Judge Vaughn R. Walker in which Walker struck down Proposition 8. The argument was that Walker should have recused himself from the case since he is a homosexual. Chief Judge Ware wrote: "The fact that a federal judge shares a fundamental characteristic with a litigant, or shares membership in a large association such as a religion, has been categorically rejected by federal courts as a sole basis for requiring a judge to recuse her or himself." Slip opinion at 5.
   Access the Denial of the Motion to Vacate.

Supreme Court Takes Limited View of Trust Obligations
June 13, 2011. The Supreme Court in an opinion written by Justice Alito warned that the U.S. trust obligation does not offer all the protections that would normally be expected of a fiduciary relationship, but is considerably narrower than that. In United States v. Jicarilla Apache Nation, the Court refused to apply the fiduciary obligation exception to attorney/client privilege asserted by government lawyers with respect to a suit brought by the Jicarilla Apache Nation against the government for mismanagement of funds held in trust for the Nation. Justice Alito wrote: "In this case, we consider whether the fiduciary exception applies to the general trust relationship between the United States and the Indian tribes. We hold that it does not. Although the Government's responsibilities with respect to the management of funds belonging to Indian tribes bear some resemblance to those of a private trustee, this analogy cannot be taken too far. The obligations of the United States to the Indian tribes are established and governed by statute rather than the common law, and in fulfilling its statutory duties, the Government acts not as a private trustee but pursuant to its sovereign interest in the execution of federal law." Slip opinion, at 2.
   Justice Ginsburg wrote a separate opinion concurring in the judgment that was joined by Justice Breyer, arguing that the Court did not need to go as far as it did in limiting the trust obligations in order to uphold the government's attorney/client privilege claim. Justice Kagan did not participate. Justice Sotomayor was the lone dissenter, arguing that what was "most troubling is the majority's disregard of our settled precedent that looks to common-law trust principles to define the scope of the Government's fiduciary obligations to Indian tribes." Dissent, Slip opinion, at 1-2.
   Read the opinion.

Supreme Court Upholds Arizona Law on Sanctions Against Businesses Who Employ Undocumented Aliens
May 26, 2011. In a fragmented opinion, the Supreme Court upheld Arizona's law allowing sanctions against businesses found to employ undocumented aliens. Chief Justice Roberts wrote for the Court in Chamber of Commerce v. Whiting, No. 09-115, finding that federal immigration law did not preempt the state because of a savings clause in the statute that permits states to take action with respect to licensing. However, two parts of his opinion did not command a majority. Justice Kagan did not participate in the case. Justice Breyer issued a dissent joined by Justice Ginsburg and Justice Sotomayor issued her own dissent. Breyer points out that while licensing is covered by the savings clause of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, it specifically preempts civil or criminal sanctions which the Arizona law imposes and is therefore specifically preempted. Justice Sotomayor rejected Chief Justice Roberts' reading of the federal law and concluded that the comprehensive design of federal regulation did not leave room for this kind of state action and was only meant to allow states to take action with respect to licensing where there had been a federal finding of a violation of federal immigration law.
   Read the opinion.

Ninth Circuit Upholds District Court Injunctions in U.S. v. Arizona case
April 13, 2011. The United States Circuit Court of Appeals has issued its opinion in USA v. State of Arizona, No. 10-16645, the case examing the injunction issued by the federal district court against Arizona's SB 1070 (see the postings for November 2 July 28, 2010 below on this web page). In addition to the Ninth Circuit opinion just issued, the posting below also links to the video of the oral argument before the Court of Appeals panel last November.
   Read the Ninth Circuit opinion.
   Access the Oral Argument video.

House Subcommittee Holds Hearings on Barriers to Economic Development on Tribal Lands
April 7, 2011. The Subcommittee on Technology, Information Policy, Intergovenrmental Relations and Procurement Reform of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on barriers to economic development and job creation." Testimony was provided by the following individuals and links are provided to their prepared statements.
   Read the testimony.
   Read the testimony of Acting Inspector General U.S. Department of the Interior.
   Read the testimony of Chairman Jamestown S'Klallam Tribe.
   Read the testimony of Mr. Rodney M. Bordeaux, President, Rosebud Sioux Tribe (Presented by Patricia Douville, Council Representative Rosebud Sioux Tribe.

New ADA Rules Take Effect
March 17, 2011. The U.S. Department of Justice announced that new regulations under the Americans with Disabilities Act would take effect on March 15. The rules concern Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability in State and Local Government Services and Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability by Public Accommodations and in Commercial Facilities. The DOJ explained that: "The revised rules are the department's first major revision of its guidance on accessibility in 20 years. The regulations apply to the activities of more than 80,000 units of state and local government and more than seven million places of public accommodation, including stores, restaurants, shopping malls, libraries, museums, sporting arenas, movie theaters, doctors' and dentists' offices, hotels, jails and prisons, polling places, and emergency preparedness shelters. The rules were signed by Attorney General Eric Holder on July 23, 2010, and the official text was published in the Federal Register on September 15, 2010."
   Read the Justice Department Press Release on the New Regulations.
   Access the new rules on Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability in State and Local Government Services.
   Access the rules on Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability by Public Accommodations and in Commercial Facilities.
   Read the DOJs new regulations on Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability by Public Accommodations and in Commercial Facilities.
   View the 2010 standards for Accessible Design.
   Access the Justice Department ADA Website.

White House Releases Report on Women
March 2, 2011. The White House has released a report on the status of women in America that address a wide range of subjects and provides data for each, including: People, Families, and Income; Education; Employment; Health; Crime, Violence, and Criminal Justice; and Women Veterans.
   Read the report.
   Access the White House Council on Women and Girls website .
   Read the White House press release on the report.

National Congress of American Indians Issues State of the Indian Nations Report
January 29, 2011. Jefferson Keel, President of the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) has presented this year's State of the Indian Nation's Address entitled "Sovereign Indian Nations at the Dawn of a New Era." Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) delivered the congressional response to the address
   Read the State of the Indian Nations Report.
   Access the NCAI website.
   Access Senator Murkowski's congressional response.

Arizona State School Superintendent Rules Tucson Mexican-American Studies Program Violates New Arizona law
January 8, 2011. Just before leaving office as Superintendent of Public Instruction to become the Attorney General of Arizona, Mr. Tom Horne declared the Tucson School District's Mexican-American Studies Program to be in violation of the states new law restricting ethnic studies programs A.R.S. Section15-112 and gave the district 60 days to eliminate the program or face a loss of state funding. Horne had supported the new law and specifically targeted the Tucson program. It was the only program declared illegal under the new act by the superintendent and other programs in the district for other ethnocultural groups were not targeted. The new superintendent has supported Horne's finding despite the fact that his release noted that: "I have not had the opportunity to review all the facts and evidence he has compiled in this matter and, therefore, will not prematurely comment on specifics" (Press Release, January 4, 2011, p. 1).
   A number of teachers from the district brought suit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona in October, seeking a declaration that the new statute is a violation of equal protection of the law under the Fourteenth Amendment, due process under the Fourteenth Amendment, and free speech under the First Amendment as applied to the states through the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, and requesting an injunction to block its operation. No ruling has been issued yet. The complaint in the case is provided below. Also, the other information and documents regarding the new law, HB 2281 were discussed in a previous post from May 10, 2010 and is repeated below.)
   Arizona Governor Jan Brewer has signed HB2281 which bans ethnic studies programs in schools into law only weeks after signing the controversial state level immigration enforcement statute. Section 1(A) provides that "A School District or Charter School in this State shall not include in its program of instruction any courses or classes that include any of the following: 1. promote the overthrow of the United States government. 2. Promote resentment toward a race or class of people. 3. Are designed primarily for pupils of a particular ethnic group. 4. advocate ethnic solidarity instead of treatment of pupils as individuals." State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne has pushed the legislation for some time and particularly aimed his criticisms of such programs at the Mexican American Studies program in the Tucson School District. The legislation, Horne's press release on its passage, and a Tucson Board of Education Powerpoint on the success of the program are provided below. Mr. Horne's press release also references an "Open Letter to the Citizens of Tucson" that he sent in 2007, arguing that the program should be terminated. Tucson school officials deny that the district's Mexican American studies program violates even the new state law and argue that the program has been extremely successful.
   Access the complaint in Acosta v. Horne, Civ. No. 4:2010cv00623, U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona
   Read the New Superintendent of Public Instruction Press Release Supporting the Ruling Against the Tucson Mexican-American Studies Program.
   Read HB 2281.
   Access the January 2010 Powerpoint Report to the Tucson School Board on the Mexican American Studies Program.
   Access the Tucson School District Mexican American Studies Department website.
   Read Superintendent of Public Instruction Press Release.
   Read the Superintendent of Public Instruction's "Open Letter . . . Tucson" of 2007.

Congress Passes and President Signs Legislation to end "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"
December 23, 2010. The Congress enacted and the President has signed into law H.R. 2965, the Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal Act of 2010. It is now Public Law No: 111-321.
   Read H.R. 2965.

Supreme Court Grants Wal-Mart Request for Review in Class Action Suit
December 6, 2010. The Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case brought by Wal-Mart seeking review of a decision filled in April by the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, sitting en banc, that the massive Title VII suit now styled Dukes v. Wal-Mart Stores could proceed as a class action. The arguments at this stage is not about the merits of the TItle VII claims, but to the certification of the class action. Wal-Mart describes the scope of the litigation in its petition as follows: "This nationwide class includes every woman employed for any period of time over the past decade, in any of Wal-Mart's approximately 3,400 separately managed stores, 41 regions, and 400 districts, and who held positions in any of approximately 53 departments and 170 different job classifications. The millions of class members collectively seek billions of dollars in monetary relief under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1984." Petition for Certiorari, at i.
   Certiorari was granted in the case, which is now No. 10-277 on the Supreme Court docket with the following statement from the Court. "The petition for a writ of certiorari is granted limited to Question I presented by the petition. In addition to Question I, the parties are directed to brief and argue the following question: "Whether the class certification ordered under Rule 23(b)(2) was consistent with Rule 23(a) [of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure]."
   See the Court's order granting cert.
   Read the en banc ruling of the Ninth Circuit.
   Access Wal-Mart's Petition for Certiorari in the U.S. Supreme Court via the New York TImes website.

Congress Votes to Approve Settlements in Native American and African American Civil Rights Suits Against Interior and Agriculture Departments
November 30, 2010. The House of Representatives has approved H.R. 4783, now known as the Claims Resolution Act, which provides support for the settlement of Cobell v. Salazar, entitled in the legislation the "Indian Money Account Litigation" and also In re Black Farmers Discrimination Litigation both of which were announced earlier (see posting below).
   Read H.R. 4783.

Oral Argument in Arizona Immigration Case Before Ninth Circuit Televised
November 2, 2010. The United States Circuit Court of Appeals has posted video of the oral argument in USA v. State of Arizona, No. 10-16645, the case examing the injunction issued by the federal district court against Arizona's SB 1070 (see the posting for July 28 below on this web page). The Ninth Circuit has launched a new website that is now carrying oral arguments.
   Access the Oral Argument video.
   Access the new Ninth Circuit website with access to oral argument videos.

Ninth Circuit Stays Federal District Court "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Injunction
October 21, 2010. A panel of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has issued a temporary stay of the Federal District Judge Virginia A. Phillips' injunction against the military "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. The post below on this page contains links to her opinions in the case. The appeals court had received an emergency stay motion from the Justice Department and has entered a temporary stay to allow arguments on the request for a stay of the district court's ruling until the appeal of that ruling has been resolved.
   Read the Ninth Circuit Stay Order.
   Read the Justice Department motion for a stay.
   Read the Log Cabin Republicans' opposition to the government's request for a temporary stay.

Parties in Native American Agricultural Assistance Discrimination Suit Announce Settlement
October 20, 2010. The U.S. Department of Justice and the Department of Agriculture have announced a settlement in the case of Keepseagle v. Vilsack, Civil Action No. 99-3119 (D.D.C.), a case file in November 1999 alleging discrimination by the Department of Justice in the awarding of agricultural financial assistance. The settlement must now await approval by the federal district court Judge Emmet G. Sullivan.
   Read the Justice Department Announcement.
   Read the USDA announcement.

Federal District Court Issues Injunction Against "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Policy
October 13, 2010. Federal District Judge Virginia A. Phillips has issued a ruling against the military "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy and an injunction to stop it, despite Justice Department efforts to avoid that action.
   Read the Amended Final Memorandum Opinion October 12, 2010.
   Read September 9, 2010 opinion.

U.S. Justice Department Sues Maricopa County and County Sheriff
September 3, 2010. The Department of Justice has filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona against Maricopa County and its Sheriff, Joseph M. Arpaio. The U.S. alleges that the Sheriff and the County have interfered with the Justice Department's efforts to obtain information essential to an investigation as to whether there have been violations of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 because of national origin-based discrimination. The suit seeks an declaratory relief and an injunction compelling delivery of that information.
   Read the complaint in U.S. v. Maricopa County.
   Read the Justice Department Press Release.
   Access the press release in response by the Sheriff and his counsel.

Justice Department Issues New Publication on Medical Care for Persons with Mobility Disabilities
September 3, 2010. The Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has issued a new document entitled Access to Medical Care for Individuals with Mobility Disabilities. For more information and links, go to the Health Car, Disability, and Development page of this website.

Ninth Circuit Holds Stay on District Court California Proposition 8 Gay Marriage Ruling
August 16, 2010. A panel of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals granted the motion for a stay pending the decision of the Court of Appeals of the order issued by the district court in its ruling striking down Proposition 8. In so doing, the Ninth Circuit scheduled the case for a hearing during the week of December 6. In its order, the Ninth Circuit also warned: "In addition to any issues appellants wish to raise on appeal, appellants are directed to include in their opening brief a discussion of why this appeal should not be dismissed for lack of Article III standing. See Arizonans for Official English v. Arizona, 520 U.S. 43, 66 (1997)."
   Read the Order granting a stay pending appeal.

District Court Rules on Stay Request to its Ruling on California Proposition 8 Gay Marriage Case
August 13, 2010. Chief Judge Vaughn R. Walker of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California has issued his ruling on motions to end a stay of the court's order issued last week providing findings of fact and conclusions of law in Perry v. Schwarzenegger, No. 3:09-cv-02292, the case challenging California's Proposition 8 banning gay marriage. The complaint alleged violations of the due process and equal protection clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment and 42 U.S.C. Section 1983. Judge Walker agreed. He concluded: "Plaintiffs have demonstrated by overwhelming evidence that Proposition 8 violates their due process and equal protection rights and that they will continue to suffer these constitutional violations until state officials sease enforcement of Proposition 8. . . . Because Proposition 8 is unconstitutional under both the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses, the court orders entry of judgment permanently enjoining its enforcement; prohibiting the official defendants from applying or enforcing Proposition 8 and directing the official defendants that all persons under their control or supervision shall not apply or enforce Proposition 8." Slip opinion, at 136.
   Read Special Website for the case in the Northern District of California.
   Read the Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law.
   Read the Stay Order.

U.S. District Court for Arizona Rules on SB 1070 Injunction Request
July 28, 2010. The U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona had ruled today on the request for an injunction to block implementation of Arizona's SB 1070 which is scheduled to go into effect tomorrow. She issued a preliminary injunction against parts of the legislation and let other portions stand, though this is only a preliminary injunction with further proceedings on the merits to follow.
   Judge Susan R. Bolton wrote in part: "Applying the proper legal standards based upon well-established precedent, the Court finds that the United State is likely to succeed on the merits in shoring that the following Sections of S..B. 1070 are preempted by federal law: Portion of Section 2 of S.B. 1070, A.R.S. Section 11-1051(B): requiring that an officer make a reasonable attempt to determine the immigration status of a person stopped, detained or arrested if there is a reasonable suspicion that the person is unlawfully present in the United States, and requiring verification of the immigration status of any person arrested prior to releasing that person. Section 3 of S.S. 1070, A.R.S. Section 13-1509: creating a crime for the failure to apply for or carry alience registration papers. Portion of Section 5 of S.B. 1070, A.R.S. Section 13-2928(C): creating a crime for an unauthorized alien to solicit, apply for, or perform work. Section 6 of S.B. 1070, A.R.S. Section 13-3883(A)(5):authorizing the warrantless arrest of a person where there is probable cause to believe the person has committed a public offense that makes the person removable from the United States.
   The court has now created a webpage on the several cases that have been filed as challenges to the Arizona statute.
   Read the Order of the Court.
   Access the District Court for the District of Arizona SB 1070 Case Information Webpage.

Ninth Circuit Ruling Opens Discussions of Women as Target Group in Guatemala
July 27, 2010. A panel of the United States Circuit Court of Appeals for ninth Circuit has issued an opinion in the Perdomo v. Holder, No. 06-71652, that addresses the claim that women in Guatemala constitute a particular group that may have a well founded fear of persecution and thuse be eligible for refugee status under U.S. law. The appeal came from a rejection by an Immigration judge of the claim that as a Guatemalan woman between 14 and 40 years of age Perdomo was a member of a particular group that faced a well founded fear of persectution. She ruled that Perdomo was not a member of a particular social group entitled to consideration for refugee status, but part of a demographic that was not a particular group that would qualify under the law. A panel of the Ninth Circuit did not resolve the final question in the case, but did reject the finding by the immigration judge and the Board of Immigration Appeals that Perdomo's claim concerned a group too broad and not adequately defined to qualify for refugee consideration. The panel concluded: "We therefore remand for the BIA to determine in the first instance whether women in Guatemala constitute a particular social group, and, if so, whether Perdomo has demonstrated a fear of persecution 'on account of' her membership in such a group." Slip opinion at 9936.
   Read the opinion.

Federal Court Rules Against University Cheerleading Program as Title 9 Alternative to Athletics Support
July 22, 2010. Federal District Judge Stefan R. Underhill ruled against a university's effort to count a cheerleading program as a sport for purposes of Title 9 support for women's athletics in Bidiger v. Quinnipiac University, No. 3:09cv621 (SRU). Its creation of the competitive cheerleading program followed the university's cancellation of its women's volleyball team.
   Read the memorandum opinion.

Federal District Court Strikes Portions of Federal Defense of Marriage Act
July 8, 2010. Federal District Judge Joseph Tauro of the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts has issued a decision in Gill v. Office of Personnel Management, Civil Action No. 09-10309-JLT striking down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act which "defines the terms 'marriage' and 'spouse,' for purposes of federal law, to include only the union of one man and one woman." Slip opinion at 2. Tauro concluded: "[T]his court must hold that Section 3 of DOMA as applied to Plaintiffs violates the equal protection principles embodied in the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution." Id. at 38.
   In a separate case brought by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Judge Tauro also ruled that Section 3 of DOMA violates the Tenth Amendment powers of the states. In Massachusetts v. HHS, Civil Action No. 1:09-11156-JLT,
   Access Gill v. Office of Personnel Management.
   Read Commonwealth of Massachusetts v. HHS.

Conviction and Guilty Plea in Long Island Hate Crimes
July 8, 2010. The Suffolk County District Attorney has provided news releases detailing the guilty pleas, convictions, and sentences for hate crimes that resulted in the death of Marcelo Lucero in Patchogue, Long Island in November of 2008.
   These actions come after studies demonstrated a serious pattern of discriminatory behavior toward Hispanics on Long Island. See the report of the Southern Poverty Law Center report posted on this page on October 17, 2009.
   Access the Suffolk County DA News Release on Guilty Plea.
   Access News Release on Sentencing for Manslaughter in Lucero case.
   Access News Release on Conviction for Manslaughter in the Lucero case.
   Access the indictment for Manslaughter and other charges in the Lucero case, Jeffrey Conroy, Jordan R. Dasch, Anthony M Hartford, Nicholas A. Hausch, Christopher J. Overton, Jose M Pacheco, & Kevin P. Shea.
   Access News Release of Guilty Plea in Lucero Case.
   DA Addounces Indictments of Six Defendants for Targeted Robberies of Hispanics

Department of Justice Files Suit Against Arizona's SB 1070
July 6, 2010. The United States Department of Justice has filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona, seeking to have Arizona's SB 1070 declared pre-empted by the Constitution and federal statutes as well as in violation of the Commerce Clause of the Constitution. The suit, United States v. Arizona, also seeks a preliminary injunction in order to prevent the Arizona law from going into effect with the expectation that a permanent injunction will follow once the matter is fully litigated. The federal government challenge was anticipated and now joins challenges brought by civil rights organizations, two Arizona cities, and a Tucson police officer the documents for which are provided in previous postings on this webpage.
   Read the Complaint in U.S. v. Arizona.
   Access the U.S. Motion for a Preliminary Injunction and Memorandum in Support of that motion.
   Read the Justice Department News Release on the Case.

Legal Challenges Mount Against Arizona's Controversial SB1070
June 19, 2010. Additional suits have been filed and others, most notably a challenge by the U.S. Department of Justice, are expected to the constitutional validity of Arizona's immigration enforcement bill, SB1070. The first was filed in April by a Tucson police officer, Martin H. Escobar, in the U.S. District Court for Arizona. Officer Escobar alleges that the statute violates the First, Fourth, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments and is preempted by federal law. At the beginning of June, the City of Tucson filed its response and counterclaim, joining the officer in his effort to have the court strike down SB 1070. The City of Flagstaff has also joined the challengers to the law. The Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF), along with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), National Immigration Law Center (NILC), Asian Pacific American Legal Center (APALC), National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON), and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) have also filed suit joined by a number of other group in a case entitled Friendly House et al. v. Halliday. The Department of Justice has not officially announced a suit as yet, but that action is widely anticipated at any time.
   Read the Police Officer's Complaint.
   Read the MALDEF Complaint.
   Access the exhibits that accompany the MALDEF Complaint.
   Access Arizona's SB1070 with final approval.
   Access a .pdf version of the Senate bill.
   Access the Governor's Executive Order on SB1070.
   Access the MALDEF announcement on its planned challenge to the state law.

Another New Arizona Statute Adds Controversy
May 14, 2010. Arizona Governor Jan Brewer has signed HB2281 which bans ethnic studies programs in schools into law only weeks after signing the controversial state level immigration enforcement statute. Section 1(A) provides that "A School District or Charter School in this State shall not include in its program of instruction any courses or classes that include any of the following: 1. promote the overthrow of the United States government. 2. Promote resentment toward a race or class of people. 3. Are designed primarily for pupils of a particular ethnic group. 4. advocate ethnic solidarity instead of treatment of pupils as individuals." State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne has pushed the legislation for some time and particularly aimed his criticisms of such programs at the Mexican American Studies program in the Tucson School District. The legislation, Horne's press release on its passage, and a Tucson Board of Education Powerpoint on the success of the program are provided below. Mr. Horne's press release also references an "Open Letter to the Citizens of Tucson" that he sent in 2007, arguing that the program should be terminated. Tucson school officials deny that the district's Mexican American studies program violates even the new state law and argue that the program has been extremely successful.
   Read HB 2281.
   Access the January 2010 Powerpoint Report to the Tucson School Board on the Mexican American Studies Program.
   Access the Tucson School District Mexican American Studies Department website.
   Read Superintendent of Public Instruction Press Release.
   Read the Superintendent of Public Instruction's "Open Letter . . . Tucson" of 2007.

Report and Data Issued on Conditions and Challenges for Latino Children
April 29, 2010. The National Council of LaRaza has issued a report and the supporting data base entitled America's Future: Latino Child Well-Being in Numbers and Trends, prepared by Mark Mather and Patricia Foxen detailing conditions, challenges, and trends facing Latino children in the U.S. Along with that report, NCLR has made available the data base that supports the analysis in spreadsheet form. There are five different spreadsheets organized by Population Trends and Geographic Distribution, Nativity Status and Citizenship, Family Structure and Income, Education and Language Health, Juvenile Justice.
   Read the report.
   Access the Population Trends and Geographic Distribution spreadsheet.
   Access the Nativity Status and Citizenship spreadsheet.
   Access the Family Structure and Income spreadsheet.
   Access the Education and Language.
   Access the Health Insurance Status spreadsheet.
   Access the Juvenile Justice spreadsheet.
   Access the NCLR website on the report and the data bases.

Departments of Justice and Interior Announce Settlement of the Cobell Case Conerning Native American Trust Funds
December 8, 2009. The U.S. Departments of Justice and Interior have announced a settlement in the thirteen year long case brought by Elouise Pepion Cobell against the Secretary of the Interior demanding a full accounting and proper payment of Native American Trust Funds to those entitled to receive them. The case, now styled Cobell v. Salazar is a class action suit. The settlement provides for $1.4 billion to be paid to class members and an additional $2 billion to create a program "for the voluntary buy-back and consolidation of fractionated land interests. The land consolidation program will provide individual Indians with an opportunity to obtain cash payments for divided land interests and free up the land for the benefit of tribal communities." DOJ press release. There is also to be set aside from the proceeds of the land resolution up to 5% to support a college and vocational school fund for Native American students. As Attorney General Holder indicated, "What began in 1996 has seen 7 full trials constituting 192 trial days; has resulted in 22 published judicial decisions; has been up to the Court of Appeals ten times; and has been the subject of intense, and sometimes difficult, litigation." Attorney General statement.
   Access the Justice Department Press Release on the Settlement.
   Access the Class Action Settlement Agreement.
   Access Statement by Attorney General Holder on the Settlement.
   Access .
   Access Statement by Associate Attorney General Perrelli.
   Access Department of Interior Announcement of the Settlement.
   Access the Cobell Settlement Website.

Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act Takes Effect
November 23, 2009. The Genetic Information Policy Act (GINA) took effect on November 21. As the Department of Health and Human Services Fact Sheet explains: "The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (P.L. 100-233, 122 Stat. 881), also referred to as GINA, is a new Federal law that prohibits discrimination in health coverage and employment based on genetic information." Fact Sheet, p. 1.
   Access HHS Fact Sheet on GINA .
   Access the full statute P.L. 110-233.

Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act Goes to President for Signature
October 23, 2009. The Senate has voted to approve the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention as Division E (sections 4701-4714) of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal 2010. Section 4707 of the new provisions add the following to the existing offenses listed in Section 249 of Title 18 of the U.S. Code. "Offenses involving actual or perceived race, color, religion, or national origin. . . . Offenses involving actual or perceived religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability. . . ." It also extends coverage of these matters to U.S. maritime jurisdiction and to territories. (NOTE: The defense authorization act is a very large statute and therefore a large .pdf file).
   Access the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal 2010.

Southern Poverty Law Center Issues Report on Anti-Latino Racism in Suffolk County, New York
October 17, 2009. The November 2008 murder of Ecudaorian immigrant Marcelo Lucero in the Long Island community of Patchogue has prompted renewed attention to anti-immigrant and racially based discrimination in contemporary America. The Southern Povery Law Center in September issued a report on the problem in Suffolk County, New York entitled "Climate of Fear: Latinos Immigrants in Suffolk County, N.Y." Although attempts were made by local officals to dismiss the claim that the case was symptomatic of a much larger and more pervasive problem, the report found that: "THe situation in Suffolk County, in fact, is a microcosm of a problem facing the enture United States, where FBI statistics suggest a 40% rise in anti-Latino hate crimes between 2003 and 2007, the latest numbers available. The number of hate groups in America has been rising, too, climing more than 50% since 2000, mainly by exploiting the issue of undocumented non-white immigration." Id. at 5.
   Access the Report.
   Access the SPLC Homepage

Weschester County Housing Cases Produces Consent Agreement
August 10, 2009. The Anti-Discrimination Center of Metro New York and Westchester County, New York have announced an agreement to remedy a False Claims Act suit brought by the center, claiming that the county had falsely verified in federal grant applications that it was aggressively moving to address possible housing discrimination and a lack of low and moderate income housing in the county. Judge Denise Cote issued an opinion and order in March, granting partial summary judgment to the Center U.S. ex rel. Anti-Discrimination Center of Metro New York v. Westchester County, 06 Civ. 2860 (DLC).
   Read a summary of the provisions of the agreement .
   Read the full text of the order of settlement.
   The Judge Cote's March 24, 2009 opinion and order.
   Read the original complaint in the case.

President Commits U.S. to Sign U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
July 26, 2009. President Obama has issued a proclamation commemorating the enactment of the American with Disabilities Act (ADA), proclaiming July 26 to be the anniversary of the Act, and committing the U.S. to sign the U.C. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
   Read the Proclamation on the Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
   Access U.N. Enable, the Website on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
   Read Convention and Optional Protocol.

Supreme Court Delivers Ruling in the New Haven Firefighters Case
June 29, 2009. The Supreme Court has delivered its opinion in the Ricci v. DeStefano case, concerning the New Haven, Connecticut firefighters promotion test. The 5-4 ruling was delivered by Justice Kennedy, striking the city's decision not to use the results of the test for promotions. Justice Kennedy wrote: "We conclude that race-based action like the City's in this case is impermissible under Title VII unless the employer can demonstrate a strong basis in evidence that, had it not taken the action, it would have been liable under the disparate-impact statute. The respondents, we further determine, cannot meet that threshold standard. As a result, the City's action in discarding the tests was a violation of Title VII. IN light of our ruling under the statutes, we need not reach the question whether respondents' actions may have violated the Equal Protection Clause." Slip opinion at 2-3. Justice Ginsburg wrote for the four dissenters, warning that the Court had ignored law, history, and the clear facts of the New Haven case.
   Read the opinions in the Connecticut case.
   Read the oral argument transcript.
   Read Brief for Petitioners.
   Read the Brief for Respondents.
   Read the Brief Amicus Curiae of the U.S..

Supreme Court Issues Major Ruling Limiting Remedial Authority of Federal Courts in Arizona English Language Learners Case
June 26, 2009. A sharply divided Supreme Court has issued an opinion in Horne v. Flores, a case that originally came from English language instruction in the school district of Nogales, Arizona. However, the focus of the case as it came to the Supreme Court was not on ELL, but actually on the judge's continuing rulings about the remedy for the problem. As the Justice Alito put it, writing for the majority, "the question at issue in these cases in not whether Arizona must take 'appropriate action' to overcome the language barriers that impede ELL students. Of course it must. But petitioners argue that Arizona now is fulfilling its statutory obligation by new means that reflect new policy insights and other changed circumstances." Slip opinion at 2.
   The court of appeals upheld the federal district court's actions in the face of demands by some state officials, most notably the Superintendent of Public Instruction and the Speaker of the House and President of the Senate of the Arizona legislature, that the court should end its role in the case. Ironically, the State of Arizona and the Arizona State Board of Public Education filed a brief in support of the family in the case, as did a number of the state's other school districts. The United States filed as amicus curiae also in support of the family.
   The Supreme Court, in an opinion by Justice Alito for a five person majority found that the judge had indeed exceeded his authority. Four justices dissented in an opinion written by Justice Breyer. The importance of the case as a precedent for the future is more about the manner in which judges exercise remedial authority in cases than it is just about the particular facts of the Arizona dispute. The Court's language warns judges in "institutional reform" cases to return control to state and local officials as soon as possible once there is a remedy in place or circumstances have changed. The majority found that, in this case, the lower court did not "fairly consider" the changes that had taken place in the education policy that gave rise to the legislation. However, writing for the dissenters, Justice Breyer disputed both the Court's interpretation of the law governing the judge's remedial authority and the facts of the case. He argued that the focus of the case in the lower court at the time of this ruling was not on how to teach ELL students, but whether the state and school district had provided the resources essential to meet the conditions that were central to the ELL problem in the first place and the proposed state and local response to it. As to the majority's application of a new standard, he warned: "insofar as the Court goes beyond the technical reord-based aspects of this case and applied a new review framework, it risks problems in future cases. The framework it applies is incomplete and lacks clear legal support or explanation. And it will be difficult for lower courts to understand and apply that framework, particularly if it rests on a distinction between 'institutional reform litigation' and other forms of litigation." Slip opinion at 44. And to the degree it meant to be an even wider statement, there are additional difficulties. "[T]he Court may mean its opinion to express an attitude, cautioning judges to take care when the enforcement of federal statutes will impose significant financial burders upon states. An attitude, however, is not a rule of law. . . . I do not see how this Court can now require lowere court judges to take yet greater care, to proceed with even greater caution, while at the same time expecting those courts to enforce the statute as Congress intended. " Id. at 44-45.
   Both the majority's discussion of the law that must control efforts by lower courts to remedy civil rights violations and the focus on limiting judicial rulings affecting financial aspects of the problem are likely to be broadly applicable to a variety of cases involving state institutions and services.
   Read the Horne v. Flores opinion.
   Read the oral argument transcript.
   Read the Brief for Petitioner Horne, State Superintendent of Public Instruction.
   Read the Brief for Petitioner, Speaker of the Arizona House.
   Read Brief for Respondents State of Arizona and Arizona State Board of Education.
   Read Brief for Respondent Flores.
   Read Brief of the United States as Amicus Curiae in support of Repondent.

Supreme Court Rules in School Strip Search Case
June 25, 2009. The Supreme Court, in an 8-1 opinion, ruled against school officials in a case in which they had engaged in a strip search of a young girl. The opinion in No. 08-479, Stafford Unified School District v. Redding. Writing for the Court, Justice Souter concluded that the type of search involved was both intrusive and degrading and therefore was not justified by the facts. "We do mean . . . to make it clear that the T.L.O. concern to limit a school search to reasonable scope requires the support of reasonable suspicioy of danger or of resort to underwear for hiding evidence of wrongdoing before a search can reasonably make the quantum leap from outer clothes and backpacks to exposure of intimate parts. The meaning of such a search, and the degradation its subject may reasonably fee, place a search that intrusive in a category of its own demanding its own specific suspicions." Slip opinion at 11.
   Read the opinion.
   Read the oral argument transcript.
   Read Brief for Petitioners.
   Read the Brief for Respondents.
   Read the Brief Amicus Curiae of the U.S..

Supreme Court Avoids Constitutional Question in Challenge to Voting Rights Act
June 23, 2009. The Supreme Court has issued a ruling in a case brought by a Texas special district, but it avoided the important constitutional questional raised by the briefs and oral argument. Indeed, the Court in Northwest Austin Municipal Utility District Number One v. Holder, refused to strike Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. The utility district sought to apply a doctrine developed long after passage of the Act and the rulings of the Supreme Court upholding it as a valid exercise of the Fifteenth Amendment to strike the preclearance requirement of Section five on grounds that it is not a "proportional and congruent" remedy for voting rights problems. However, the Court's interpretation of the statute suggests that the will be more conflicts ahead.
   Read the opinion.
   Read the oral argument transcript.
   Access the audio of the oral argument via CSPAN.
   Read Brief for Petitioners.
   Read the Brief for Respondents.

Congress Moves Apologies for Civil Rights Violations
June 19, 2009. Senator Tom Harkin (D. Iowa) led the successful effort in the Senate to pass S. Con. Res. 26, An Apology For Enslavement And Racial Segregation Of African-Americans. The resolution apologizes for slavery and for Jim Crow segregation laws and other actions. It has been sent to the House. As a concurrent resolution, this measure would not need to go to the president.
   There is also an effort led by Senator Brownback (R. Kansas) and Representative Dan Boren (D. Oklahoma) to adopt a resolution "To acknowledge a long history of official depredations and ill-conceived policies by the Federal Government regarding Indian tribes and offer an apology to all Native Peoples on behalf of the United States." The Senate version is S.J. Res. 14 and the House number is H.J. Res. 46. The language as the resolutions stand currently is provided below. If the measure passes, as a joint resolution it will go to the president.
   Access S. Con Res. 26.
   Access Senator Harkin's Speech on the Apology.
   Read S.J. Res 14.
   Read H.J. Res 46.

The Supreme Court Once Again Rejects Navajo Suit for Breach of Trust Obligations
April 10, 2009. Writing for the Court, Justice Antonin Scalia rejected Navajo claims against the government for misconduct in the Department of the Interior in the United States v. Navajo Nation case. For links to the opinion, oral argument, and briefs, see the Public Law, Policy, and Public Administration page of this website.

Cobell Case Continues into Obama Administration
April 5, 2009. The latest round in the Indian Trust Fund case, Cobell v. Salazar, continues with reports that the data security issues continue. A Department of the Interior Inspector General report from 2008 surfaced as the Justice Department provided information to the U.S. District Court. The report has not yet been published since reports on data security are generally not made public, though news sources indicate that it was filed by the government with the federal district court in Washington in the past week. The following sites contain information on the current status and historical information on the case.
   Department of the Interior, Office of the Special Trustee for American Indians.
   Department of Justice Filings in the Cobell case.
   Native American Rights Fund Individual Indian Money (IIM) Accounts site.
   Indian Trust: Cobell v. Salazar, case website operated by the Blackfeet Reservation Development Fund.

Iowa Supreme Court Strikes Marriage Law Restrictions
April 4, 2009. The Iowa Supreme Court has announced its opinion in the case of Varnum v. Brien in which it affirmed a lower court, finding that the state's marriage statute limiting marriage to a man and a woman was unconstitutional. The Court began its discussion of the constitutional basis of the case by noting that the question posed by the parties was: "How can a state premised on the constitutional principle of equal protection justify exclusion of a class of Iowans from civil marriage." Slip opinion at 18. The Court based its ruling on the equal protection clause of the Iowa Constitution which reads: "All laws of a general nature shall have a uniform operation; the general assembly shall not grant to any citizen or class of citizens, privileges or immunities, which, upon the same terms shall not equally belong to all citizens." Id., at 19. The Court approached the case with what it termed a heightened level of scrutiny: "Because we conclude Iowa's same-sex marriage statute cannot withstand internediate scrutiny, we need not decide whether classifications based on sexual orientation are subject to a higher level of scrutiny. Id., at 49.
   Read the opinion.

Federal District Court Overturns FDA Limit on Plan B Access
March 24, 2009. Judge Edward R. Korman of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York issued a ruling in Tummino v. Torti, No. 05-CV-366, a case brought to challenge the denial by the Food & Drug Administration of a petition by a number of groups and individuals to make the "Plan B" medications available to women of all ages for nonprescription over-the-counter sales. The FDA had denied the petition and said the drug could be available to women 18 and older. The challengers argued that the decision was arbitrary and capricious and the judge agreed. In fact, the judge wrote, the FDA actions were characterized by "political considerations, delays, and implausible justifications for decision-making." Slip opinion at 3. The judge went on to find that the decision was largely controlled by political intervention rather than expert decision-making. He vacated and remanded the FDA decision for further action, but ruled that the drug is to be available to women 17 years of age and older, the position taken by expert staffed at FDA.
   Read the opinion.

President Signs Ledbetter Fair Pay Act
January 31, 2009. President Obama has signed S. 181, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, which is intended to reverse the ruling by the Supreme Court in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., 550 U.S. 618 (2007). The act is now P.L. 111-2. The bill states that it is intended to "amend Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, and to modify the operation of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 to clarify that a discriminatory compensation decision or other practice that is unlawful under such Acts occurs each time compensation is paid pursuant to the discriminatory compensation decision or other practice." The Supreme Court had rejected Ledbetter's claim because it did not satisfy filing limits relative to the alleged discrimination. However, Ledbetter had asserted that she could not have filed the action earlier because she did not know at the time that there was discriminatory pay and only learned that much later. The bill is now headed to the White House for the president's signature.
   Read S. 181 as passed by the Senate.
   Read the Ledbetter v. Goodyear opinion.

Supreme Court Overturns Narrowing Interpretations of Reprisals in Harassment Cases
January 27, 2009. The U.S. Supreme Court has issued a ruling in Crawford v. Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County that interprets protection against reprisal for reports of sexual harassment broadly. The opinion for the Court written by Justice Souter announced" "Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 . . . forbids retaliation by employers against employees who report workplace race or gender discrimination. The question here is whether this protection extends to an employee who speaks out about discrimination not on her own initiative, but in answering questions during an employer's internal investigation. We hold that it does." Slip opinion, at 1. There were no dissenting opinions, but Justice Alito wrote a concurring opinion that was joined by Justice Thomas.
   Read the opinion.

U.S. Supreme Court Rejects Title IX as Sole Option for Sexual Harassment Claims in Schools
January 21, 2009. The Supreme Court has handed down an unanimous ruling rejecting a finding by lower courts that Title IX of The Education Amendments of 1972 is the only route available for sexual harassment claims in schools as compared to 42 U.S.C. §1983 or the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Justice Alito wrote for the Court, holding that: Section 1983 suits based on the Equal Protection Clause remain available to plaintiffs alleging unconstitutional gender discrimination in schools." Fitzgerald v. Barnstable School Committee, No. 07-1125, Slip Opinion, p. 11. In this case, parents had launched actions under Section 1983, claiming gender discrimination in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment in addition to their claim of a violation of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. The lower courts had dismissed the 1983 claim and ruled against the plaintiff on the Title IX issue. The Supreme Court reversed.
   Read the opinion.

Airline Removes Nine Islamic Americans from Flight
January 3, 2009. The Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Washington based advocacy organization, has filed a civil rights complaint alleging discrimination with the U.S. Department of Transportation following an incident in which an Islamic family was removed by AirTran airlines from a flight from Washington to Orlando, Florida following a report by other passengers of what they thought was suspicious behavior. Some of the family members were simply discussing where the safest place to sit on an airliner was. They were removed from the flight and the airline refused to rebook them after FBI authorities promptly determined that there was no problem and that the family had been inappropriately excluded from the flight. The airline initially rejected any criticism, but later issued an apology to all passengers inconvenienced by the episode and to the families targeted by the removal action.
   Read the CAIR Release on DOT Complaint.
   Read the AirTran Release Apologizing to Passengers.

Nation Congress of American Indians Advances Transition Agenda for Obama Administration
December 22, 2008. The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) has provided a report that outlines key transition issues for the Obama administration as it comes to office. This agenda provides a number of unique characteristics relative to other groups who have been advocating priorities for the new administration because of the special government to government relationship of sovereign Native American tribes and nations with the U.S. Government. The document is entitled Indian Nations and the 2009 Presidential Transition.
   Access the Report.

Two Ecuadorians with One Dead in Brooklyn Attack
December 16, 2008. Soon after a Suffolk county hate crime left one Ecuadorean dead, two men from Ecuador were attacked and one is now dead in Brooklyn. The two brother, Jose and Romel Sucuzhanay, were reportedly attacked by seven African-Americans who shouted racial and anti-gay epithets at they attacked. Jose Sucuzanay, a local businessman, later died of his injuries. His brother was visiting the family in New York.
   Read the statement of the National Council of LaRaza on this case.

Teenagers Indicted in Suffolk County Hate Crime
November 22, 2008. .
   Read Access the indictment.
   Read the Suffolk County District Attorney statement on the case.
   Read the statement of civil rights groups on recent hate crimes.

Congress Passes the ADA Amendments Act of 2008
September 19, 2008. Congress has passed and President Bush has promised to sign S3406, the ADA Amendments Act of 2008. The legislation was designed to reverse a number of U.S. Supreme Court rulings that limited eligibility for Americans with Disabilities Act protections and a variety of other purposes.
   Read S. 3406 as approved by the House and Senate.

Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 Signed Into Law
May 28, 2008. Congress has passed and the president has signed H.R. 493, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008. One title of the act addresses discrimination by insurance companies on the basis of genetic information and the other major title deals with disrimination by employers based on genetic information about employees.
   Access H.R. 493.

D.C. Circuit Strikes Rules that U.S. Paper Currency Violates the Rehabilitation Act
May 20, 2008, 2008. The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has ruled that the current manner in which U.S. paper money violates Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. For details and links, see the Health Care, Disability, and Development page of this website.

Urban Indian Health Commission and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Issue Report "Invisible Tribes" Report
December 5, 2007. The Urban Indian Health Commission has issued a report entitled Invisible Tribes: Urban Indians and Their Health in a Changing World. For further information and links, see the Health Care, Disability, and Development.

Report Finds One in Five Latinos in the U.S. Faces Food Insecurity
December 20, 2006. The National Council of La Raza has issued a report entitled Sin Provecho: Latinos and Food Insecurity. Among the conclusions reached by the report is the finding that: "Nearly one in five Latinoes (19.6%) faces food insecurity each year, which compromises their health and well-being. If the trends of food insecurity within the Latino community persist, the impact of insufficient nutrition will greatly increase the risk that the next generation will become even less healthy." p. iii.
   Read full report.
   Read the executive summary.

U.S. Supreme Court Rules that the Burden of Proof in IDEA Hearings Rests on the Family Challenging an IEP
November 14, 2005. Writing for the majority in Shaffer v. Weast Docket No. 04-698, Justice Sandra O'Connor rejected a call by parents that the burden of proof in a due process hearing challenging the adequacy of an Individual Education Plan under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) should be on the school district. Justices Breyer and Ginsburg dissented.
    Read the Schaffer v. Weast Opinion.

Civil Rights Law: Constitution, Statutes, and Regulations

Constitution of the United States
   Access the U.S. Constitution via Cornell Legal Education Insittute.

Civil Rights Act of 1964
   Title VI -- Discrimination in programs receiving federal funds.
   Access Title VI
    Title VII -- Discrimination in Employment.
   Access Title VII

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972
   Access Title IX.

Civil Rights Act of 1991
   Access the 1991 Act.

Individuals With Disabilities Education Act Reauthorized
   Read P.L. 108-446

Americans with Disabilities Act
U.S. Department of Justice ADA page provides a great deal of information on the act and regulation.
    Access the DOJ page on the Americans with Disabilities Act
    Read the ADA

The Developmental Disabilities Assistanceand Bill of Rights Act of 2000 (DD Act)
   Read the DD Act

The Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act
   Read the Act

The Equal Pay Act of 1963
   Access the Equal Pay Act

Fair Housing Law
    The two most commonly employed statutes in this field are the Fair Housing Act of 1968 and the Civil Rights Act of 1866. The other commonly cited statute in this field is the Equal Credit Opportunity Act of
   Access the Fair HousingAct
   Access the Civil Rights Act of 1866
   Access the Equal Credit Opportunity Act

Indian Civil Rights Act of 1968
   Read the Act.

United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
   Access the Declaration

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
   Read the Act.

Voting Rights Act of 1965
   Access the Voting Rights Act.

Executive Orders
   Executive Order 13160 To Prohibit discrimination because of "Race, Sex, Color, National Origin, Disability, Religion, Age, Sexual Orientation, and Status as a Parent in Federally Conducted Education and Training Programs"
   Read EO 13160.
   Executive Order 13145 [.pdf format] To Prohibit Discrimination in Federal Employment Based on Genetic Information
   Read EO 13145
   Executive Order 13166 Required Access to Federally Funded Programs for Persons With Limited English Proficiency
   Read EO 13166

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Regulations
   Access EEOC regulations.

Cultural Competency and Equity Issues and Civil Rights Policy

National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services in Health Care
    The national standards for culturally and linguistically appropriate services in health care were developed and explained in detail in the Final Report: National Standards for Culturally and LinguisticallyAppropriate Services in Health Care issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human ServicesOffice of Minority Health in March 2001. (Note: it is easiest to download the file and then open it offline.} The standards themselves are provided on the website of the Office of Minority Health.
   Access the CLAS Standards National Standards for Culturally and LinguisticallyAppropriate Services in Health Care.
   Access the Final Report.
   Access the Oficina de Salud de law Minorías en español.

National Center for Cultural Competency
   Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development (one of the University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities See AUCD below under Professional Associations and Family Support Organizations)).
   Access the National Center for Cultural Competency Site.
   Access the National Center for Cultural Competency Site, en espanol Language.

Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Cultural Competence Resources for Health Care Providers
    Access the HRSA Cultural Competency Site.

National Council on Disabilities Studies and Resources for Native American Communities
    People with Disabilities on Tribal Land: Education, Health Care. Vocational Rehabilitation, and Independent Living.
    Understanding Disabilities in American Indian and Alaska Native Communities:Toolkit Guide.

Proceedings of the Oregon Cultural Competency Summit
   Access the Summit Report

Governmental Bodies in Civil Rights Policy

Civil Rights Division, U.S. Department of Justice
The Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice has a wide variety of responsibilities under various civil rights statutes and executive orders.
    http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/
    Access the "Disability Rights Home Page."
    Access the "Disability Rights Online News."

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
.
    http://www.eeoc.gov/

U.S. Commission on Civil Rights
.
    Access the Commission Homepage

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights
.
    Access the HHS Civil Rights Homepage

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Office of Civil Rights
.
    Access the Homepage

Administration on Developmental Disabilities (ADD)
The ADD is part of the Administration for Children & Families of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
    http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/add/

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)
The AHRQ, among other things, publishes the National Health Care Disparities Report.
    AHRQ Home Page.
    Access National Health Care Disparities Report 2006.

National Institute of Mental Health
The ADD is part of the Administration for Children & Families of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
    http://www.nimh.nih.gov/

DisabilityInfo.gov
This site is operated by the president's New Freedom Initiative.
    http://www.disabilityinfo.gov/digov-public/public/DisplayPage.do%3fparentFolderId=500

National Council on Disability
    http://www.ncd.gov/

U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation
    http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/osers/osep/index.html

Civil Rights Advocacy and Policy Organizations

American Civil Liberties Union
   Access the ACLU

Asian American Legal Defense Fund
   Access the AALDF Homepage

Civil Rights. org
    "CivilRights.org is a collaboration of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights and the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights Education Fund."
   Access Civil Rights.org

Council on American Islamic Relations
   Access the CAIR Homepage

Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund
   Access the DREDF Homepage

LatinoJustice PRLDEF
   LatinoJustice is the name of the organization that began as the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund.
   Access the LatinoJustice Homepage

Leadership Conference on Civil Rights
   Access the LCCR Homepage

League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC)
   Access the LULAC

Mexican American Legal Defense Fund
   Access the MALDF Homepage

National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)
   Access the NAACP Homepage

NAACP Legal Defense & Education Fund
   Access the LDF Homepage

Native American Youth and Family Center
   Access the NAYFC Homepage

National Congress of American Indians
   Access the NCAI Homepage

Native American Rights Fund
   Access the Native American Rights Fund Homepage

National Council of La Raza
   Access the La Raza Homepage

National Organization for Women
   Access the NOW Homepage

National Women's Law Center
   Access the NWLC Homepage

Southern Poverty Law Center
   Access the SPLC Homepage

Civil Rights Glossary

Civil Rights Glossary from CivilRights.org
    Civil Rights.org Civil Rights Glossary

Civil Rights Glossary Via Findlaw.com
    Civil Rights Glossary via Findlaw.com

Civil Rights Glossary of the USDA/FSIS
    Civil Rights Glossary of the Food Safety and Inspection Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture

Civil Rights Glossary of the Civil Rights Coalition for the 21st Century
    Civil Rights Glossary by the Civil Rights Coalition for the 21st Cntury

Civil Rights Course Items

U.S. Amicus Brief in the Shelley v. Kraemer Restrictive Covenants Case
    Read the Brief