Connect with us

Justice, Justice Shall You Pursue….

Published

on

Seth Marnin is the Assistant Legal Director at the Anti-Defamation League who articulates the whip saw like politics present in America today

I cannot escape feeling a bit of whiplash as a result of the past few weeks’ events. The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was overturned and the supporters of Proposition 8, California’s ban on same-sex marriage, lacked standing to appeal the district court’s order declaring the law unconstitutional and enjoining California officials from enforcing it. The Voting Rights Act was gutted. Affirmative action lives to see another day. Employees’ ability to successfully raise claims of harassment and retaliation were made even more challenging to pursue. Justices aligned themselves in previously unimaginable ways. And that was just the Supreme Court.

The New York State Senate ended its session last week without taking up the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA), which would have added protections for transgender and gender non-conforming New Yorkers in the area of employment, housing, public accommodations, and hate crimes. The federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), barring discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in employment continues to languish. Senator Wendy Davis (D) of Texas quite literally stood up for reproductive freedom, filibustering a bill that would have virtually banned abortion in the state of Texas.

Last month we read with horror about the senseless murder of a gay man in the West Village. The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs revealed in its annual Hate Violence Report that 2012 saw the 4th highest murder rate of LGBTQ and HIV-affected people (LGBTQH) in history.

The Colorado Civil Rights Division ruled in favor of six-year-old Coy Mathis when it found that the school district “discriminatorily denied” Coy “full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages or accommodations in a place of public accommodation due to (her) sex and sexual orientation.” But an Ohio school added a prohibition against “Afro-puffs and small twisted braids with or without rubberbands” to their updated dress code (subsequently rescinded, with apologies).

We recently learned from the Williams Institute that lesbian, gay, and bisexual Americans remained more likely to be poor than heterosexual people and that transgender and gender non-conforming people report being denied access to gendered restrooms, and experience verbal harassment and physical assault in these spaces at alarming rates.  Another new study told us what we have long suspected: same-sex couples are discriminated against when trying to rent an apartment or a home.

So where does this leave us? We, together, have opportunities and responsibilities. We must fight fiercely. We may not cease doing the work that got us here. We must continue to build. That means continuing to foster the alliances we have formed and seeking ways to build new bridges. Justice Scalia opens his dissent in U.S. v. Windsor telling us that “this case is about power…” I agree completely with the sentiment, if not the rest of his conclusions. This case is about power. As is voting rights. As is affirmative action. Denying access to restrooms, discriminating against people in employment, housing, or public accommodations is all about power. Who has it and who does not.

Zakhor. Remember. We must remember that we did not get here alone. We must remember the interconnections and that we rise and we fall together. These last few weeks have highlighted for us that our collective rising and falling is not neat, nor is it synchronized. We are reminded that shifts in law and culture are not static. We take steps forward, and are pushed back. There is much work that remains to be done. Simone DeBeauvior once said, “It is in the knowledge of the genuine conditions of our lives that we must draw our strength to live and our reasons for acting.” May we go from strength to strength.

 Image of the scale of justice is courtesy via Wikimedia Commons

sethSeth Marnin, J.D., is the Assistant Legal Director at the Anti-Defamation League and helped prepare the ADL’s amicus briefs on DOMA and Proposition 8.  He is a former employment rights litigator with Outten & Golden LLP .

 

 

Continue Reading
Click to comment
 
 

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. The New Civil Rights Movement depends on readers like you to meet our ongoing expenses and continue producing quality progressive journalism. Three Silicon Valley giants consume 70 percent of all online advertising dollars, so we need your help to continue doing what we do.

NCRM is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. From unflinching coverage of religious extremism, to spotlighting efforts to roll back our rights, NCRM continues to speak truth to power. America needs independent voices like NCRM to be sure no one is forgotten.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure NCRM remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to NCRM, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

News

House Republicans Move to Upstage SOTU With New Hur Investigation Subpoena and Hearing

Published

on

While continuing to defend their impeachment investigation into President Joe Biden, despite the testimony or credibility of numerous star witnesses collapsing, Republican House Chairs Jim Jordan and Jim Comer on Tuesday announced they have issued a subpoena to Attorney General Merrick Garland for “records, including transcripts, notes, video, and audio files, related to Special Counsel Robert Hur’s investigation” of President Biden’s mishandling of classified information.

Hur cleared the President of any criminal wrongdoing, while deviating from DOJ guidelines by making partisan attacks on the President’s memory.

Despite the entire “Burisma” conspiracy again imploding, Chairman Comer and Chairman Jordan have continued to promote false claims surrounding President Biden.

Comer on Tuesday claimed now-indicted former FBI source Alexander Smirnov, who reportedly got the Burisma falsehoods from Putin’s Russian intelligence, “never was a key part” of his investigation into the President.

READ MORE: At the White House Johnson Says Biden Must Use Executive Orders After Calling Them ‘Gimmicks’

Jordan’s and Comer’s remarks have drawn the scrutiny of several former federal prosecutors, including U.S. Rep. Daniel Goldman (D-NY), who last week warned they could be opening themselves up to conspiracy charges. Monday night Rep. Goldman made his allegations clear: “Jordan is now conspiring with Putin to interfere in the Nov election.”

The deadline Comer and Jordan gave the Attorney General is March 7, the date President Biden is scheduled to deliver his State of the Union Address, as NewsNation Washington Correspondent Joe Khalil noted.

Republicans, along with Fox News, have been concerned over reports President Biden’s team wants to use the State of the Union as a “reset.” Far-right Fox News Business host Maria Bartiromo expressed great concern about the State of the Union Address as she noted Republicans have legislation that would block President Biden from delivering the annual address, at least from inside Congress.

As Axios reported last week, Republicans have been planning ways to take the “spotlight” away from President Biden’s control, and turn it back onto him.

READ MORE: Democratic Senators Now ‘Daring’ Republicans to Block IVF Protections: Report

“Biden’s ownership of the national spotlight will be brief. Just five days after his speech, House Republicans will hold a hearing with special counsel Robert Hur, whose report cleared the president of mishandling documents but called him a ‘well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory,'” reported Axios’ Mike Allen and Alex Thompson. “Republicans tell Axios they hope to make the hearing a blockbuster, including pressing Hur about Biden’s fitness.”

CBS News adds that Comers and Jordan’s “committees have been trying to show for months that Mr. Biden was enriched by his family’s foreign business dealings and accepted bribes, but have so far uncovered no wrongdoing by the president. Their impeachment inquiry took a hit when one of their key witnesses was recently charged with lying about the first family’s business dealings.”

See the video above or at this link.

Image of Jim Jordan via Shutterstock

 

 

Continue Reading

News

At the White House Johnson Says Biden Must Use Executive Orders After Calling Them ‘Gimmicks’

Published

on

Republican Speaker of the House Mike Johnson says President Joe Biden must issue executive orders to address the southern border, just days after scoffing at claims the President was considering using his executive authority, calling those orders “election year gimmicks.”

Republicans, with the assistance of – and some say, at the direction of – Donald Trump derailed a bipartisan  border bill several weeks ago.

Although the House is still on vacation, Speaker Johnson attended his first White House meeting with President Biden on Tuesday, along with Senate Democratic Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Senate Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Democratic Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries.

The President’s goal in gathering the congressional leaders together was to find a way to avoid a government shutdown, which will come after midnight Friday if the House and Senate cannot agree and pass legislation to fund the government.

Majority Leader Chuck Schumer called the meeting “one of the most intense” of his career.

READ MORE: Democratic Senators Now ‘Daring’ Republicans to Block IVF Protections: Report

Schumer, McConnell, and Jeffries are all united in the need to pass legislation to help Ukraine battle Russian President Vladimir Putin’s illegal war.

Often after these meetings participants will hold a joint press conference outside the White House but Johnson opted to speak to reporters alone.

Defiant, and in opposition to the President, Leaders Schumer, McConnell, and Jeffries, Johnson declared that the southern border must be fixed before he could support funding critical military aid to Ukraine.

Pointing to “discussion about the supplemental spending package,” referring to the military aid bill, Johnson told reporters (video below): “I was very clear with the President and all those in the room that the House is actively pursuing and investigating all the various options on that, and we will address that in a timely manner.”

READ MORE: ‘How Extremism Is Normalized’: Schlapp Furious as Critics Slam CPAC Over Report of Nazis

“But again, the first priority of the country is our border and making sure it’s secure. I believe the President can take executive authority right now today to change that. And I told him that again today in person, as I’ve said to him many times, publicly and privately over the last several weeks, it’s time for action. It is a catastrophe, and it must stop and we will get the government funded and we’ll keep working on that.”

Last week, Politico reported Johnson, in addition to his “election year gimmicks” remarks, said: “The president suddenly seems interested in trying to make a change using the legal authority that he claimed until recently didn’t exist.”

Watch Johnson below or at this link:

Watch the videos above or at this link.

 

Continue Reading

COMMENTARY

Stephen Miller: Arrest ‘Commie’ Teachers, Use Government Power to ‘Defeat Evil’

Published

on

Former Trump aide Stephen Miller told the MAGA activists gathered near Washington, D.C. last week for the annual Conservative Political Action Conference that conservatives must be willing to use power more aggressively against their opponents. He railed against district attorneys and other officials for not arresting teachers who violate new state laws that restrict teaching on race, gender, and sexuality.

Miller, an architect of the Trump administration’s anti-immigration policies, has been promising MAGA activists that if Trump returns to the White House, he “will unleash the vast arsenal of federal powers to implement the most spectacular migration crackdown.” Miller’s America First Legal group is part of the far-right Project 2025, which has prepared a battle plan for the movement to “take the reins of government” in a new Trump administration. The Heritage Foundation, ringleader of the Project 2025 scheme, was at CPAC recruiting foot soldiers willing to carry out the plan.

In a recent article for Political Research Associates’ “The Public Eye” magazine, I noted that Project 2025 reflected a “movement-level, ideological shift away from a libertarian mistrust of government power and toward an authoritarian view of government power being used ruthlessly—whether as a righteous force wielded to advance a ‘biblical worldview’ or turned against an ‘administrative state’ supposedly captured by a radical Marxist left.”

Miller provided ample confirmation about the MAGA movement’s intentions, down to his dismissal of libertarianism as “a terrible ideology” that might be fine for academic debates but not in the real world, where he said public officials have a responsibility to “defeat evil.”

Excerpts from Miller’s appearance on a Friday, Feb. 23 CPAC panel:

Call it a mental illness, call it a spiritual failing, call it a moral deficiency, call it weakness, softness, or just being pathetic. There is something really broken in the conservative brain. They’re afraid not only of conflict, we know that. But there’s an even deeper fear, a deeper fear than all that, which is having power, and using power. Conservatives are addicted to the language of libertarianism, which is fine–you know, it’s a terrible ideology, but in an academic setting, okay, have these debates. …

You elect a state supreme court justice, you elect an Attorney General, and so on and so forth, to have an office with specific powers, duties, and responsibilities, with the expectation that they will use that authority to defeat evil, to protect the good, and to accomplish positive change in society. And you have to use that power fearlessly. …

A number of states, for example, have passed laws, saying that you can’t have this in the curriculum, or you can’t have that in the curriculum, and you can’t teach DEI and so on and so forth. Without exception, I can promise you, all the commies in the classroom changed the name of their lecture, changed one word, changed one little paragraph in the syllabus and did the exact same damn thing every single day because they’re communists and that’s what they do. Were they sued? No! Were they arrested if they broke a law and it’s applicable? No! Did any D.A. anywhere, if you’re talking about trans issues, think of arresting somebody for abusing children with trans ideology? No, we write blog posts about it. That’s what we do. So until we get serious, all the way down to the local DA, all the way up to the state A/G. and every office in between, including judges, electing people who have power and will use that power and measure their success by change in the real world, then we aren’t going to be able to beat the left.

This article was originally published by Right Wing Watch and is republished here by permission.

Continue Reading

Trending

Copyright © 2020 AlterNet Media.