Amicus Blog

This Week in Civil Rights and Civil Liberties: November 11, 2019

This week, a federal judge invalidated a Trump Administration policy that would have limited the availability of abortion services, and nearly 500 incarcerated people in Oklahoma were released from prison. Also, following elections in several states including Kentucky and Virginia, several candidates were elected who had campaigned on platforms related to civil rights. 

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Text and Purpose in the Supreme Court’s Title VII Cases

On October 8th, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments for three cases, Bockstock v. Clayton County, Georgia, Altitude Express v. Zarda, and R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes Inc. v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, each of which asks whether Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which forbids employement discrimination “because of . . . sex” encompasses discrimination based on an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity. All three cases pit the text of Title VII against the intentions of its drafters, who all parties agree, did not specifically intend to protect LGBT individuals.

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States are Protecting Animal-Based Agriculture at the Expense of the First Amendment

The legislation that has surfaced in approximately twenty-five states either fines or criminally sanctions plant-based or cell-based producers that label their products with words like “meat” and “milk,” even if qualified by words like “vegan,” “almond,” or “cell-based.” Instead of violating the First Amendment to protect animal-based agriculture, authorities should instead direct resources towards a just transition for agriculture stakeholders.

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Student Athlete Compensation is a Civil Rights and Racial Justice Issue

As the NCAA charts its path forward, it’s critical that policymakers, activists, and the public seek strategies that highlight the necessity of racial justice and civil rights for student athletes in recognition of the highly racialized nature of NCAA exploitation. While the economic reality of student athletes is stark, trying to address only the economic nature of the exploitation without supporting a broader set student athletes’ civil rights will generate solutions that only address part of the NCAA’s oppressive system.

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Student Workers are Employees. The NLRB Should Agree.

The National Labor Relations Board recently proposed a new rule which would categorically exclude “students who perform any services for compensation, including, but not limited to, teaching or research, at a private college or university in connection with their studies” from being considered employees for the purposes of the National Labor Relations Act. The Board’s proposed rule is both illogical and likely to cause needless harm to student workers.

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There are dozens of critical moments during a criminal proceeding in which prosecutors across states have complete control over a defendant’s life. From setting bail to shaping plea deals, prosecutors exercise power over millions of people based on their individual...

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We're now accepting student writing submissions for Vol. 56.1 on any topic related to civil rights or civil liberties! Get your submission in to by Wed., 3/4/20. For more information, visit

We need to get the #FAIRAct through the Senate—but until that happens, it's up to states to respond to the forced arbitration crisis. Fantastic new @HarvardCRCL post from @BennJennett & @daveyseligman on how states can take action.


Still hoping that courts will revive a general liberty or expression right to student dress freedom as @djuna22 and I advocated in @HarvardCRCL. In the meantime, Equal Protection, Free Exercise, and compelled speech doing a decent job policing the boundaries of gov’t overreach.

galen sherwin@galenleigh

Another thing to be thankful for this week: declaratory judgment finding that the provision of Charter Day School dress code requiring girls to wear skirts violates Equal Protection, & order permanently enjoining the school from establishing or enforcing the provision. Justice!

As someone who used to assist accused students in Title IX proceedings, I think I’m in a good position to say that DeVos’s “due process” regs are unnecessary and dangerous. When they were proposed, I wrote about it for @HarvardCRCL’s blog:…

Alexandra Brodsky@azbrodsky

We are expecting @BetsyDeVosED’s final regulations on Title IX and sexual harassment within the month. Based on the previously published proposed rules, we have good reason to think they will be bad.

CR-CL's annual HLS Ames Final Live-blog is LIVE with blow-by-blow commentary by Nicole Franklin as the student competitors face-off before a panel of judges, including Judge Merrick Garland!

CR-CL's annual HLS Ames Final Live-blog is LIVE with blow-by-blow commentary by Nicole Franklin as the student competitors face-off before a panel of judges, including Judge Merrick Garland!

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