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Updates from the Lawyers’ Committee

Blog January 20, 2017

Jeff Sessions Would Gut Civil Rights Enforcement

Law360 https://www.law360.com/articles/882757/jeff-sessions-would-gut-civil-rights-enforcement As a former attorney in the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, I appreciate the critical role of this federal agency. I saw first-hand the impact that hostility to the mission can bring to the work. This year marks the 70th anniversary of the Civil Rights Division. Launched after passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1957, the division enforces federal civil rights laws and protects our nation’s most vulnerable communities. The pending nomination of Senator Jeff Sessions to serve as attorney general threatens to gut the work of the division. There are two areas of grave concern that persist following his nomination hearing. First, the Justice Department’s work to address unconstitutional policing practices has been transformative and among the division’s most important work. However, Sessions expressed no meaningful recognition of policing problems gripping the nation. With 18,000 law enforcement agencies across our country, the Justice Department has focused on a small share […]

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What is the role of race in redistricting? A Law School panel tackles the issue

March 23, 2017

Duke Chronicle

Marcia Johnson-Blanco—a panelist and the co-director of the voting rights project for the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law—agreed. She said that the redistricting process, when done improperly, can interfere with the typical principles of representative democracy.

Class-action suit alleges dearth of public defenders in Louisiana

March 22, 2017

Louisiana Record

“Without effective attorneys, poor defendants across the state are left literally defenseless against the unchecked power of local prosecutors and police,” Mateya Kelley, the Jerry Shestack Justice Fellow with the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, which is acting as co-counsel on the case, told the Louisiana Record.

Sen. Schumer Calls on Democrats to Boycott Neil Gorsuch Vote While Trump is Under FBI Investigation

March 22, 2017

Democracy Now!

“So, you know, the hearing is happening inside the four walls of that Senate room, but the reality is everything that’s happening in the outside world. And, you know, there have been people who have talked about the experience of Judge Merrick Garland and the political obstruction that prevented his nomination from being heard…”

Questions linger over whether labor nominee Alex Acosta will stand up for workers

March 21, 2017

The Washington Post

“It took years for the civil rights division to be rebuilt and for it to return to its core focus of enforcing civil rights in an objective matter,” said Kristen Clarke

The principal mission of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law is to secure equal justice for all through the rule of law, targeting in particular the inequities confronting African Americans and other racial and ethnic minorities. The Lawyers’ Committee is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, formed in 1963 at the request of President John F. Kennedy to enlist the private bar's leadership and resources in combating racial discrimination and the resulting inequality of opportunity - work that continues to be vital today.

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