Welcome to This Week in Civil Rights and Civil Liberties.
The Trump administration used the holiday to quietly release an important climate change report, pick a fight with Chief Justice Roberts, and call on the Supreme Court to take up the transgender military ban case immediately. Meanwhile, border patrol agents tear gassed migrants, and the Supreme Court considered your constitutional right to talk back to the police.
US border patrol agents tear gassed migrants, including children. The tear gas was fired after some migrants attempted to get through fences and wires at the Mexican border on Sunday. The fumes were carried by wind toward people hundreds of feet away. (Huffington Post)
Donald Trump submitted written answers in Mueller probe. Trump’s attorney, Rudy Giuliani, announced on Tuesday that Trump had submitted his written answers to questions regarding Russian meddling and possible collusion during the 2016 election. In an interview, Giuliani reiterated that Trump did not and would not answer any questions about things that occurred post-election. (Reuters)
Trump administration urged the Supreme Court to address the transgender military ban immediately. The administration wants the issue dealt with immediately by the Supreme Court, even though it has not yet gone through the lower courts. It is rare for the court to allow this sort of leapfrogging, but the Solicitor General claimed the policy was a sufficient threat to military readiness to justify it. (NBC News)
Chief Justice John Roberts spoke out against Trump attack on “Obama judge.” Following a Trump comment about the judge who blocked his asylum ban being an “Obama judge,” the Chief Justice issued a rare statement disapproving of the comment and emphasizing the importance of an independent judiciary. (Vox)
The Administration released a mandatory climate report on Black Friday. The report makes clear that the U.S. is already facing the effects of climate change, including increased and more intense wildfires and hurricanes. The administration has since been criticized for choosing the holiday weekend to release the report, as some claim that it was an attempt to bury the news. (Washington Post)
Two Republican Congressmen join calls for investigation of Ivanka Trumps use of personal email for government business. Some suggest that an investigation into Ivanka could be a sign of future investigations into the rest of the first family, especially now that Democrats will have control of the House. Likely targets of investigation are the president’s personal finances as well as those of the Trump Organization. (New York Times)
Reporting on Mississippi Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith brought criticism of ‘segregation academies’ to the forefront. “Segregation academies,” private schools created specifically to avoid integration, remain a problem across the south, and Hyde-Smith is not the first to be criticized for having attended or for sending her children to such schools. (NBC News)
The Supreme Court to hear oral arguments regarding whether the First Amendment protects a citizen’s right to talk back to police. The case, Nieves v. Bartlett, deals with the problem of “retaliatory arrests” in response to a citizen ignoring or talking back to police. At issue is whether the existence of probable cause for any criminal act negates a claim of retaliation even if that act would have been ignored if not for the way the citizen spoke to the officer. Oral argument is set for Monday. (The Atlantic)
Jury selection begins for trial of James Fields, the man accused of killing Heather Heyer at a white nationalist gathering in Charlottesville in August 2017. Fields, who pled not guilty, has been charged with first-degree murder and the trial is set to last 18 days. The judge in the case has already prepared for the media attention the case is sure to bring. (CNN)
Civil rights champion Ramona Ripston remembered. Roman Ripston, the first woman to chair an ACLU affiliate, died at the age of 91 earlier this month. She was remembered this week for her lifelong dedication to civil rights and civil liberties and for helping to broaden the scope of the ACLU to include racial and economic justice issues. (New York Times)