Tracking the latest developments in the fight for a fair America
Today, the US Supreme Court heard arguments in two cases that confront the role that race should play in determining legislative districts. Bethune-Hill v. Virginia State Board of Elections, concerned with Virginia state legislative districts, and McCrory v. Harris, focused on North Carolina congressional districts, ask the Court to clarify the law on racial gerrymandering. While these cases and others involving redistricting are multi-faceted and complicated from a legal perspective, they all essentially ask how an individual’s vote should be counted. The National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) believes no vote should be diluted, because a representative democracy should truly mirror its people. Read more
In a speech honoring the late Justice Antonin Scalia at the annual convention of the Federalist Society, Justice Samuel Alito laid out a stark vision of “constitutional fault lines.” He expressed dismay that the First Amendment, in particular, is under attack. In this regard, Justice Alito is undoubtedly correct: The First Amendment will face serious perils in the years ahead. He is, however, utterly wrong about who presents the threat.
During his talk, Justice Alito bemoaned attacks on both religious liberty and free speech. He expressed grave concern that religious liberty was under attack, saying, “It’s not dark yet, but it’s getting there.” Justice Alito also defended the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United, which granted corporations and unions the right to spend as much as they wished during election cycles. Specifically, he lamented that more than 40 Senators have called for a new constitutional amendment essentially overturning the Citizens United decision. Read more
Here’s a riddle: What do a death-row prisoner and a John Steinbeck novel have to do with one another? Answer: Nothing, unless the death-row prisoner is in Texas and has intellectual disability. Under Texas law, a defendant’s life may hinge on how closely his intellectual disability resembles that of the hulking, obviously disabled, farmhand Lennie Small from Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men. That’s because only in Texas will you find the “Lennie standard,” the set of criteria the state uses to determine that an individual has intellectual disability and is therefore exempt from facing the death penalty.
Whether Texas can execute Bobby Moore, based on the “Lennie standard,” is a question the U.S. Supreme Court will address in arguments it will hear on November 29. Read more
AFJ urges Senators to examine Sessions’ long public record of statements and actions hostile to the rights of communities of color, women, workers, LGBTQ people, the environment and immigration before casting a vote.
- An Open Letter to the Senate from Alliance for Justice: Reject the Nomination of Sen. Jeff Sessions for U.S. Attorney General
- Nan Aron in The Nation: Jeff Sessions Is Just Not in the Same League as Former Attorneys General
- PRESS RELEASE: Sessions’ Updated Questionnaire Still Shockingly Incomplete; Groups Call for Senate to Delay Hearings
- PRESS RELEASE: Sessions’ SJQ “Woefully Inadequate”: Groups Call for Delay in Hearing Schedule
- Click here to read our fact sheet on the Sessions record
- Click here to read Nan Aron’s op-ed in The Hill
Sessions: In His Own Words
Click below to hear some of the public statements Sen. Sessions has made over the years.
As Americans head to the polls today, most people may be thinking about the election and nothing else. But they should also be paying attention to what’s happening at the Supreme Court, where the Justices will be hearing oral argument in Bank of America v. Miami and Wells Fargo v. Miami.
In these consolidated cases, the Justices will be asked to decide whether the City of Miami can sue Wells Fargo and Bank of America under the Fair Housing Act (FHA) for allegedly targeting minority borrowers for high-risk, costly loans. What the Court decides will determine how effective the Act will continue to be in deterring illegal housing discrimination. Read more