Welcome to This Week in Civil Rights and Civil Liberties. Pressure builds to push the Biden Administration to address the overcrowding and harsh conditions in federal detention facilities; the Supreme Court will review a Boston federal appeals court decision vacating the death sentence of Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsaranev; lawmakers, activists, and protesters are speaking out against anti-Asian hate, and more.
Across the country this weekend, lawmakers and citizens alike have been condemning violence against Asian Americans and calling for greater solidarity with the community, after six Asian women were killed in Atlanta on Tuesday in shootings that also killed two others. The remarks are in response not only to Tuesday’s shootings, in which Asian-owned businesses, and Asian women in particular, were targeted, but also the dramatic increase in anti-Asian violence over the past year. According to Stop AAPI Hate, an organization that tracks anti-Asian sentiment, there have been at least 3,795 anti-Asian incidents — both physical and verbal — in the United States since March 2020. Some observers tie the increase in violence to anti-Chinese rhetoric perpetuated throughout the coronavirus pandemic. The pandemic is believed to have originated in China, and some political leaders, including former President Donald Trump, referred to Covid-19 using derogatory language, such as calling it the “kung flu” or “the China virus.” (Vox)
The Biden administration is facing mounting pressure over a surge of unaccompanied migrant children crossing into the US, with the numbers seeking asylum at a 20-year high that is placing federal facilities and shelters under immense strain. (The Guardian)
The Supreme Court on Monday granted a request from the Department of Justice to review a lower court ruling that threw out a death sentence against the lone surviving perpetrator of the Boston marathon bombing. The case presents a challenge for President Biden, the first president in U.S. history to publicly oppose the death penalty and call for an end to the practice. (The Hill)
California’s agricultural growers square off against the farmworkers union at the Supreme Court on Monday over a nearly half-century-old law stemming from the work of famed union organizer Cesar Chavez. The law, enacted in 1975, allows union organizers limited access to farms so they can seek support from workers in forming a union. The growers challenging the law contend that California, by giving union organizers a limited right of access to farms, is authorizing a mass trespass on the growers’ private property. And that, they argue, is an unconstitutional taking of their property. (NPR)
Elenor Holms Norton, Delegate to the US House of Representatives, representing the District of Columbia, will propose H.R. 51 to the House Oversight Committee on Monday. H.R. 51 seeks to declare Washington D.C. a State to the Union States of America. The bill would reduce the size of the federal district and admit the state of Washington, Douglass Commonwealth — in honor of the abolitionist Frederick Douglass — into the union. Advocates contend the statehood cause is a fight for racial justice as the majority of D.C.’s 700,000 residents are people of color. (NPR)