Tracking the latest developments in the fight for a fair America
Today marks the 65th anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court decision that declared, “Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal.” Brown v. Board of Education represented a long-overdue remedy to historical injustice; meanwhile, in some states, the decision ignited aggressive defiance and a violent refusal to desegregate. Those painful episodes in our nation’s history are now decades in the past, and we might think that Brown is clearly settled beyond all question and that no one today would act in defiance of that principle. But we’d be wrong.
By Mariah Lindsay and Jane Liu, National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum
In the fall of 1895, Wong Kim Ark had just returned to San Francisco from visiting his parents, wife and oldest son in China. He had been born in San Francisco; it was his birthplace and his home. He had visited China before and had had no problems returning home. But this trip would be different. Immigration authorities denied him entry, forcing Wong to return to the steamship on which he had arrived. Little did he know that he would spend the next four months on the San Francisco Bay, waiting to find out if he would be allowed to enter the country of his birth.
By Sasha Buchert – Senior Attorney, Lambda Legal
May 1, 2019 marks the 30th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court landmark decision Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins. The case involved a plaintiff named Ann Hopkins who was denied a partnership at her firm because her employer believed she was insufficiently stereotypically feminine. To improve her chances of making partner, Ms. Hopkins was told to “walk more femininely, talk more femininely, dress more femininely, wear make-up, have her hair styled, and wear jewelry.” She sued the firm and won a favorable decision holding the firm liable for discriminating against her on the basis of sex under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Six trials, one alleged crime, one defendant. Each of the trials was either successfully challenged for prosecutorial misconduct or resulted in a hung jury. Meanwhile the defendant, an African-American man named Curtis Flowers, has been on and off death row since 1997—and none of the four juries that have convicted him had more than one black juror.
Thirty-three years ago today, the Supreme Court ruled that intentionally striking people from a jury because of their race violates the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The decision, Batson v. Kentucky, purported to counter decades of Jim Crow-era systematized racism in the criminal justice system and has been interpreted to lay the foundation that a single peremptory strike (the striking of a juror for an unenumerated reason) could be challenged as discriminatory.
By Nan Aron and Jess Davidson
Nan Aron is President of AFJ and Jess Davidson is Executive Director of End Rape on Campus
The statistics are shocking: Every 92 seconds an American is sexually assaulted and One in five women will be sexually assaulted in college. This harsh reality has helped give rise to the #MeToo movement, founded by Tarana Burke more than a decade ago, and a long-overdue focus on the experiences of sexual assault survivors. As much of the nation has galvanized to support survivors and commit to eradicating sexual violence, the Trump administration has had an appalling response: rolling back survivors’ rights, including those of young survivors in schools under Title IX.
And that’s not all: The administration has sought to lock in decades of anti-survivor policy with its inexplicable insistence on nominating for lifetime federal judgeships individuals with terrible records on sexual assault and harassment, ranging from victim-blaming, to outright hostility to survivors’ claims, to being alleged perpetrators themselves.