By Doug Porter
The Supreme Court is expected to hear oral arguments in the coming weeks for a crucial marriage equality case, and is expected to resolve the issue of national marriage equality once and for all in a ruling this summer.
The Human Rights Campaign, a national organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in the United States has crafted a unique opportunity for proponents to sign on to an amici curiae brief in support of the petitioners.
Roberta Kaplan, the civil rights attorney who won a landmark Supreme Court ruling in United States v. Windsor striking down Section 3 of the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act in 2013 is the author and lead counsel on the brief.
From LGBT Weekly:
“The Supreme Court has made it clear that laws passed based upon a desire to discriminate against gay people offend the equal protection principles of our Constitution,” preeminent litigator and lead counsel Roberta Kaplan said. “Such laws treat gay people as second-class citizens—exactly what the Fourteenth Amendment prohibits. Over the course of decades, the American people have come to realize that their gay friends, relatives, neighbors and colleagues have the same dignity and the same aspirations to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness as everyone else. This brief describes that phenomenon and its impact on the law.”
HRC is launching a campaign to collect signatures on the brief over the next four weeks. A national paid social media and online advertising effort will drive marriage equality supporters to www.thepeoplesbrief.org.
From USA Today:
“The word ‘amicus’ comes from the Latin for ‘friend,'” Kaplan said. “I hope that this brief will serve that function in helping to explain to the justices the remarkable sea change that our nation has experienced in terms of our understandings about gay people.”
I see appeals to sign petitions in my email every day. Most are nothing more than attempts to identify me as a potential financial supporter. All of them go into my virtual trash.
Signing a petition to urge Comedy Central to hire [insert name of a candidate] as a replacement for Daily Show host Jon Stewart just doesn’t cut it. I don’t believe that Elizabeth Warren needs to hear from me. If I want more trash in my backup email account, I’ll send the Democratic Party $25, thank you. This time around I’m willing to make an exception.
I have no doubt that signing this petition puts me on a list. It’s worth it if the Human Rights Campaign can say to Supreme Court Justices that they’ve got a document signed by myself and X million other Americans.
ACLU Files Suit Over Border Patrol Documents
The ACLU is suing over the failure of Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to respond to requests for information regarding U.S. Border Patrol’s interior “roving patrol” operations.
This is kind of a big deal.
Roving patrols have long been associated with civil rights violations, and abuses are not limited to the Southwest, as prior FOIA lawsuits have shown. In 2011, the ACLU obtained records of Border Patrol operations in upstate New York, showing the vast majority of stops did not target recent border crossers and occurred far from the border, with only 1% resulting in initiation of removal proceedings; many stops involved clear violations of agency arrest guidelines, as well as the Constitution, including improper reliance on race as a basis for questioning passengers and arrests of lawfully present individuals. Another ACLU lawsuit related to roving patrol stop data is currently pending in Arizona.
“The Border Patrol operates as a rogue agency, claiming extra-constitutional powers that extend far from any border, and operating with no effective oversight. But Border Patrol agents are not above the law and must be held accountable just like any other public officials,” said Adrienna Wong, Staff Attorney with the ACLU Foundation of Southern California.
Local Republican Food Fight in Progress
I can’t count the times I’ve had to shake my head at the squabbles within the local Democratic Party.
So it’s kinda nice to report on a serious split in the local GOP that isn’t based on whether or not gays are the spawn of Satan.
From UT-San Diego:
The local Republican Party has endorsed state Sen. Joel Anderson for county supervisor over six-term incumbent Dianne Jacob, setting up the latest in a series of intense intramural battles for the GOP.
Party Chairman Tony Krvaric announced late Monday night that the GOP central committee “overwhelmingly” backed Anderson at its meeting earlier in the evening, but noted that it is not the party’s policy to reveal exact vote totals.
Krvaric and other party leaders expressed anger at Jacob and three of her four fellow supervisors for approving limits on how much political parties can contribute to county candidates. That recent action by the supervisors came after it was clear that some party leaders were coalescing behind Anderson and were planning to funnel campaign contributions through the party for his 2016 race.
The fact that Sen. Anderson hasn’t publicly said he’s interested in a seat on the Board of Supervisors doesn’t seem to bother the local GOP leadership.
Selma Redux: Congressmen Ask for Federal Intervention
A White House meeting with the Black Congressional Caucus yesterday included a request by Rep. William Lacy Clay for more federal intervention in local policing is needed.
From St. Louis Today:
Clay, D-St. Louis, and Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., updated Obama on legislative strategy in the aftermath of police-involved deaths of young black men, and Obama stressed that any legislative success would require Republican votes.
“Fifty years after Selma, we need the federal government to step in and protect the rights of all Americans,” Clay said he told Obama.
Over at Gawker Demos fellow Donovan X. Ramsey does the best job I’ve seen yet of breaking down the (not-so) underlying causes of the issue and pointing out that more than government intervention is needed.
…nearly half of white Americans polled believe that violent crime has increased in the last 20 years. Another 13 percent believe that it’s stayed the same. Less than a quarter of whites realize there are less violent crimes today than there were in the 90s when the crack epidemic and gang violence were at their height. Even more, whites overestimate just how much blacks are involved in “serious street crime” and, on average, believe that black people commit a larger proportion of crime than whites do. According to a 2012 study by researchers at the University at Albany, whites significantly overestimate the share of armed robberies, break-ins and drug crimes committed by black people.
So, this is how we get to Rudy Giuliani, a man once in charge of the nation’s largest police force, insisting that, “White police officers wouldn’t be [in black neighborhoods] if [blacks] weren’t killing each other” as a justification for the killings of unarmed black people. This is how we get Stop and Frisk policies, Tamir Rice shot dead in a park, John Crawford shot dead in Wal-Mart, Akai Gurley shot dead in a dark stairwell, Miriam Carey shot dead outside the White House (the list goes on and on.) And this is also how we get a grand jury reviewing video of Eric Garner choked to death and seeing no evidence of a crime. Each is an example of racist policing based on the assumption of threat.
In a country that has identified black people as its criminal element, public safety (and perceived security) is more tied to the suppression of blacks than it is to the suppression of crime. And as long as the public insists on its myth of black criminality—almost as an article of faith—police practices will be impossible to reform.
In San Diego you can add “brown” to the statements about black people above.
Voice of San Diego‘s recent report on the arrest of Luis and Diego Lobaton along with their mother at their family’s store in City Heights is a fine example of this local bias in action:
There was no 911 call, no worried neighbors who drew the officers there that night. Police on patrol simply watched the brothers separately take out keys and enter the store, and decided something nefarious was in the works. The whole thing went down because of a suspected burglary in the brothers’ own home.
Things got worse for Luis Lobaton and Julca before they got better: They were both placed on immigration holds while in custody, though Lobaton is a U.S. citizen. He was held for three days as family members scrambled to find his birth certificate to prove his citizenship. (Julca is a Peruvian citizen and is in the country illegally.)
The July 29, 2014, scuffle was over in about a minute. But its impact has been long-lasting for the family: Julca and the toddler are in therapy, Julca said. Luis Lobaton said he has suffered from memory loss and neck pain…
….Almost five months after the July incident at Lucky Star Mobile, police returned to the store on Christmas Eve. Five officers again followed Luis Lobaton inside. Julca said they told her he was acting suspicious.
There are videos included with the VOSD story which would seem to support the family’s complaints against the SDPD.
On This Day: 1913- Mary Harris “Mother” Jones was arrested while leading a protest of conditions in West Virginia mines. She was 83 years old at the time. 1968- Some 1,300 sanitation workers began a 64-day strike in Memphis, ultimately winning union recognition and wage increases. The April 4 assassination in Memphis of Martin Luther King Jr., who had been taking an active role in mass meetings and street actions, brought pressure on the city to settle the strike. 1972 – David Bowie performed as “Ziggy Stardust” for the first time.
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