This Week in Civil Rights and Civil Liberties: October 8

Welcome to This Week in Civil Rights and Civil Liberties.

Steven Palmer co-authored this week’s round-up with Felipe Hernandez

 

This week the Senate nominated Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court with a 50-48 vote amidst large scale protests across the country,  a jury convicted Chicago Police Officer Van Dyke of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery with a firearm in the death of Laquan McDonald, and the Court ruled against the DOJ on sanctuary cities.

More than 2,400 law professors sign letter opposing Kavanaugh’s confirmation– Saying that Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh displayed a lack of judicial restraint at a Senate hearing last week — behavior that would be disqualifying for any court nominee. (Washington Post)

Kavanaugh Is Forcing The Legal World To Finally Face Its Weinstein Moment– Kimberlé Crenshaw writes: “Law is placed ‘above’ the fray. Smarts are seen as somehow an antidote to predation rather than a rationalization of it. Those who create and interpret the law aren’t seen as violators of it, and even those who do violate the law are still elevated. All of this factors into why the legal profession is obscured as a site of sexual abuse.” (Huffington Post)

Retired Justice Stevens Calls Kavanaugh’s Hearing Performance Disqualifying — Judge Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed to the Supreme Court Saturday, despite retired Justice John Paul Stevens’ unprecedented statements that “the senators should really pay attention” to Kavanaugh’s angry and partisan defense of his reputation. (Washington Post)

Only the Seated Supreme Court Justices Can Save Us Now: Dahlia Lithwick writes: “Kavanaugh, caught in falsehood after falsehood, and exonerated by an investigation that failed to investigate, has now managed to inject Trumpism directly into the Supreme Court…The eight remaining justices should vote on Kavanaugh. Let’s let them be the arbiters of whether Kavanaugh has disqualified himself.” (Slate)

‘Justice for Laquan!’ Demonstrators Chant, as Chicago Officer Is Convicted of Murder--A jury found Van Dyke guilty of second-degree murder and  16 counts of aggravated battery with a firearm — each count read aloud in the packed courtroom, one for each bullet that struck Laquan McDonald. No Chicago police officer had been convicted of murder in an on-duty shooting in nearly 50 years. But when the verdict came, people called out “Justice for Laquan! Justice for Laquan!” (New York Times)

Kagan warns that Supreme Court may not have a swing vote anymore— Retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy served as someone “who found the center,” Justice Elena Kagan said Friday as nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation looked certain to succeed. (The Hill)

Federal Judge Rules for San Francisco and California in ‘Sanctuary’ Case — A federal judge in California struck down an immigration law Friday that the Trump administration has used to go after cities and states that limit cooperation with immigration officials. (KQED)

“Judge Appoints Monitor to Ensure Safe Conditions for Kids in Immigration Custody” — A federal judge in Los Angeles named an independent monitor Friday to oversee conditions for children being held in immigration custody.(KQED)

John Roberts, Swing Vote? — Chief Justice John Roberts appears poised to join the liberal wing of the Court in Madison v. Alabama, a major death-penalty case argued before the Court this week. During the arguments, “Roberts appeared eager to broker a compromise that would spare Madison’s life by conceding that dementia may exempt him from the death penalty.” (Slate)

Court-packing, Democrats’ Nuclear Option for the Supreme Court — Dylan Matthews breaks down the idea that some on the left believe “is needed if any progressive legislation in the future is to survive.” (Vox)

State Department Changes Visa Rules for Same-Sex Parents of Foreign Diplomats — “Lawmakers and gay rights advocates are criticizing a new State Department policy that denies family visas to the same-sex domestic partners of diplomats posted in the United States and gives those already in the country three months to marry or lose their visas.” (Washington Post)

The Midterms are 30 Days Away! — The most important thing a person can do to preserve civil rights and liberties is vote! So here’s Salon’s Voter’s Guide to the 2018 Election. (Salon)

Written by

Felipe is a 2L from Los Angeles, CA. Felipe is interested in prison & police abolition and dismantling the crimmigration system through social movement building and community lawyering. He is a student attorney at the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau and Harvard Defenders, Outreach Director at the Harvard BlackLetter Law Journal, and interned at the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund during his 1L summer.

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