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Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
Published: 29 September 2017

The new term of the United States Supreme Court beginning Monday comes at a critical moment for civil rights. Several cases pose major implications for racial minorities on issues like prohibitions on class action lawsuits, voting, and equal access under public accommodations laws. 

In addition, the Court may consider the constitutionality of President Trump’s Muslim ban, a case that was postponed in light of the administration’s third attempt to justify discrimination on the basis of religion and country of origin. 

This also marks the first full term of Justice Neil Gorsuch, nominated to fill a vacancy held open by Senate Republicans for over a year so that President Trump could select a nominee. 

Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Justice Gorsuch’s nomination, highlighting the unprecedented obstruction that led to his nomination and his concerning record on key civil rights issues.

With Justice Gorsuch now installed on the Court and a case from his home state of Colorado pending on the docket, Americans and especially racial minorities are looking to see how this Court handles key civil rights matters in the Trump era. 

The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, which is devoted to the recognition and enforcement of civil rights in the United States, filed three amicus curiae or “friend of the court” briefs in the United States Supreme Court this term and signed on to another brief.

“In this new Supreme Court term, justices will hear cases that go to the very heart of core civil rights questions concerning the right to vote, partisan gerrymandering, access to the courts, and discrimination in the public accommodations context.  These high-stakes cases implicate the civil rights of African Americans, Latinos, the LGBTQ community and other minority communities,” said Clarke.

“This Supreme Court term moves forward during a time in which we are witnessing stark politicization of the Justice Department’s work. This politicization has impacted the position that the Justice Department’s Solicitor General has taken in several cases, including a reversed position in cases concerning an Ohio voter purge program and discrimination against LGBTQ individuals," she continued.

"This also marks Justice Gorsuch’s first full term since joining the Court. As many cases heard by the Court are closely decided, we will be watching Justice Gorsuch closely to determine what commitment, if any, he brings to full and fair interpretation and application of the Constitution and our nation’s civil rights laws.”

Click here to read a report on the Supreme Court's upcoming term and the amicus briefs filed by the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.


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