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Category Archives: Civil Liberties

Paper – Protected Class Gatekeeping

Clarke, Jessica A., Protected Class Gatekeeping (January 12, 2017). New York University Law Review, Vol. 92, No. 1, 2017. Available for download at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2898532

“Courts routinely begin their analyses of discrimination claims with the question of whether the plaintiff has proven he or she is a “member of the protected class.” Although this refrain may sometimes be an empty formality, it has taken on real bite in a significant number of cases. For example, one court dismissed a claim by a man who was harassed with anti-Mexican slurs because he was of African American rather than Mexican ancestry. Other courts have dismissed sex discrimination claims by LGBT plaintiffs on the ground that LGBT status is not a protected class. Yet other courts have dismissed claims by white people alleging they were harmed by white supremacist violence and straight people alleging they were harmed by homophobic harassment. This Article terms this phenomenon “protected class gatekeeping.” It argues that protected class gatekeeping is grounded in dubious constructions of antidiscrimination statutes, and that its routine use prevents equality law from achieving its central aim: dismantling sexism, racism, homophobia, religious intolerance, and other such biases. While past scholarship has identified certain forms of protected class gatekeeping, it has not recognized the scope of the problem or addressed the progressive intuitions that underlie it. Critical examination of protected class gatekeeping is of pressing importance as legislatures, courts, and legal scholars debate new statutory language and doctrinal frameworks for discrimination claims.”

Police Body-Worn Camera Legislation Tracker

Via Urban Institute: “Laws governing how and when police body-worn cameras can be used and whether the footage is released vary considerably across the country. Use our legislation tracker, which we will update periodically, to find out more about passed and pending legislation in your state. For the latest commentary, click here.” Continue Reading

TRAC – Immigration Court Priority Family Case Backlog Surpasses 100,000

“The number of judges is still insufficient to handle the growing backlog in the Immigration Court. The court’s crushing workload reached a record-breaking 533,909 pending cases as the court closed out calendar year 2016, up 4.2 percent in just the last four months. The problem is particularly acute for priority cases involving women with children… Continue Reading

DOJ Announces Findings of Investigation into Chicago Police Department

Justice Department Finds a Pattern of Civil Rights Violations by the Chicago Police Department “The Justice Department announced…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… Continue Reading

Human Rights Watch World Report 2017

“In the 687-page World Report, its 27th edition, Human Rights Watch reviews human rights practices in more than 90 countries. In his introductory essay, Executive Director Kenneth Roth writes that a new generation of authoritarian populists seeks to overturn the concept of human rights protections, treating rights not as an essential check on official power… Continue Reading

Modern Slavery Statistics: Victims Significantly Outweigh Convictions

Modern Slavery Statistics: What We Know and What We Don’t By Meggie Weiler “Last year the Washington Post Fact Checker series investigated several widely used statistics that anti-trafficking advocates often cite, including UNICEF’s estimated numbers of child soldiers. It found that UNICEF and other organizations were using heavily estimated and outdated figures. Human trafficking is… Continue Reading

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“The King Library and Archives in Atlanta is the largest repository of primary source materials on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the American Civil Rights Movement in the world. The collection consists of the papers of Dr. King and those of the organization he co-founded, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, as well as the… Continue Reading

Commentary – Why Public Libraries Matter

Why Public Libraries Matter – It’s time for America to stop starving its libraries of funding. By Katrina vanden Heuvel “There are more public libraries in America—some 9,000 central buildings and 7,500 branch locations—than McDonald’s restaurants, making them one of the most ubiquitous institutions in the nation. Far from serving as obsolescent repositories for dead… Continue Reading

AALL, ALA and other advocacy groups raise privacy concerns for AG Sessions

Via CDT – January 9, 2017 – To Senator Charles Grassley, Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Dianne Feinstein, Ranking Member, Senate Judiciary Committee, Re: Nomination for Attorney General of Senator Sessions “Dear Chairman Grassley and Ranking Member Feinstein: We are writing to express our concerns about the privacy record of the President-Elect’s nominee for Attorney… Continue Reading

Military Personnel: DOD Has Processes for Operating and Managing Its Sexual Assault Incident Database

DOD Has Processes for Operating and Managing Its Sexual Assault Incident Database, GAO-17-99: Published: Jan 10, 2017. Publicly Released: Jan 10, 2017. “As of October 2013, the Department of Defense’s (DOD) Defense Sexual Assault Incident Database (DSAID) was fully implemented and in use across the military services, and DOD had taken several steps to standardize… Continue Reading

Mobile carriers boost internet for U.S. inauguration events and demonstrations

Via AccessNow: “The largest mobile carriers in the U.S. have responded to a joint letter from Access Now and WITNESS asking them to provide adequate internet connectivity during the weekend of the presidential inauguration in Washington, D.C. The responses — from Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, and U.S. Cellular — indicate that the companies will boost capacity… Continue Reading

WaPo reports US intel documents Russian geopol jubilation at Trump win

Follow up to previous posting today – President-elect plans to restructure US intelligence agencies – via Washington Post – U.S. intercepts capture senior Russian officials celebrating Trump win – “Senior officials in the Russian government celebrated Donald Trump’s victory over Hillary Clinton as a geopolitical win for Moscow, according to U.S. officials who said that… Continue Reading