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Lawyers’ Committee For Civil Rights Under Law and Co-Counsel File Lawsuit to End Unconstitutional Jailing of Poor Defendants in White County Court

Lawsuit Seeks to Ensure Arkansas Residents Will Not be Locked Up for Court Debt They Cannot Afford to Pay.

Updates from the Lawyers’ Committee

Blog July 27, 2018

Harvard’s Affirmative Action Case and The Case for Diversity in Higher Education

On June 12, 2018, then President of Harvard College Drew Faust sent an email to Harvard students titled ‘Defending Diversity.’ In it, Faust outlined how a lawsuit brought by Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA) was moving forward in the courts and media. SFFA, along with 60 Asian-American organizations, claims that Harvard’s affirmative action practices discriminate against Asian-American applicants. Through this lawsuit, SFFA seeks to dismantle and gut the affirmative action practices that Harvard uses to achieve a diverse academic setting. The same organization has brought identical lawsuits with white plaintiffs. In the 2012 Fisher V. University of Texas case, a University of Texas applicant with average grades and test scores claimed that she had been denied admission because she was white. The Harvard lawsuit continues SFFA’s attempt to accomplish what they have previously failed to do: reverse affirmative action. SFFA’s stance on affirmative action echoes that of the Trump Administration, which recently […]

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Newsclips

Federal Judge Rules Against Imprisoning Those Who Can’t Pay Court Fees

August 7, 2018

NPR

The decision by Judge Vance concludes a three-year lawsuit against the OPCDC and the “debtors’ prison” practice, that the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law has argued unfairly impacts the poor which make up nearly all criminal defendants in New Orleans. “We believe this judgement will have an effect across the state of Louisiana,” Myesha Braden, Director of the Criminal Justice Project at the Lawyers’ Committee, told NPR.

Trump administration has Voting Rights Act on life support

August 6, 2018

CNN

As we celebrate the 53rd anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, which vastly improved voter turnout, this country is at a crucial juncture in the centuries-long struggle to create, maintain, preserve, and ensure true equality of voting rights for members of minority populations. That we are still concerned about this well into the 21st century is incredible. That we, especially those of us who work to make voting readily accessible to all, are even more concerned than we were five years ago — when the Supreme Court gutted a key provision of the Voting Rights Act in Shelby v. Holder — is frightening.

Kemp defends Georgia’s ‘exact match’ voter registration law

August 6, 2018

Politically Georgia - Atlanta Journal Constitution blog

“Georgia’s ‘no match, no vote’ policy has already disenfranchised tens of thousands of eligible voters and has had a particularly onerous effect on minorities and the poor,” said Kristen Clarke, president and executive director for the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, in a statement July 19.

Federal Judge blocks New Orleans from jailing Black folks who are unable to pay fines

August 5, 2018

The Grio

“This is a victory for the people of New Orleans and for those committed to fixing the breaks in the criminal justice system,” said Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. “America treats being poor as a crime, disproportionately victimizing people of color. This ruling ensures that people can no longer be thrown in jail in Orleans Parish for their poverty alone.”

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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