Welcome to This Week in Civil Rights and Civil Liberties.

Regina Powers co-authored this week’s round-up with Mingming Feng.


This week, a Trump supporter was charged in an attempted bombing spree, a deadly shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh is being investigated as a hate crime, the Trump Administration is attempting to define “sex” to eliminate non-discrimination protections for transgender people, and former Justice Sandra Day O’Connor announced her withdrawal from public life due to a dementia diagnosis.

Outspoken Trump Supporter In Florida Charged In Attempted Bombing Spree. Cesar Altieri Sayoc, Jr. was arrested for sending bombs to Democratic and left-leaning leaders including the Clintons, Kamala Harris, Maxine Waters, and George Soros. (New York Times)

Deadly Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooting Investigated As Hate Crime; Suspect In Custody. Officials are reporting that 11 people were killed in a shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue. This is being investigated as a hate crime, and the Anti-Defamation League has called the shooting “one of the deadliest attacks on the Jewish community in the history of the United States.” (NPR)

Google Workers Fume Over Executives’ Payouts After Sexual Harassment Claims. A New York Times article published this past Thursday revealed serious sexual harassment problems at Google. The article reported allegations that Google offered lucrative exit packages to top male executives accused of sexual harassment. Google workers were ready to confront Google’s co-founder and major executive. (New York Times)

Trump Considering Executive Actions to Stop Asylum Seekers from Central America. Trump plans to deploy Army troops at the border. The President’s goal is to stop Central American asylum seekers from gaining entry into the U.S. This would include a change in the rules for asylum eligibility. (New York Times)

U.S. Apprehended Record Number of Migrant Families At Southwest Border. The White House is blaming Democrats for an increase in migration from Central America. Trump accused Democrats of passing federal law with loopholes that allow asylum-seeking families to be released rather than detained. (NPR)

Sandra Day O’Connor, First Woman on Supreme Court, Reveals Dementia Diagnosis. Sandra Day O’Connor plans to withdraw from public life as her disease progresses. She was diagnosed “some time ago,” according to her letter she wrote explaining her diagnosis. (New York Times)

The Trump Administration Is Trying to Erase Trans People, But The Law Clearly Protects Them, the ACLU Argues. Discrimination is prohibited under Title VII, Title IX, and the Affordable Care Act. Federal courts have ruled that discrimination against transgender individuals is sex discrimination, which is prohibited by federal law. (ACLU)

The Government is Trying to Silence 21 Kids Hurt by Climate Change. A group of young people is arguing before a federal court that the government’s energy policies have caused them harm under the Fifth Amendment’s Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses. (The Atlantic)

Can ICE Legally Force Immigrants to Cheer for Donald Trump? Immigration activists argue that allowing ICE to selectively deport based on speech has “extreme and troubling implications.” This could lead to deportation for any non-citizen that criticizes ICE. (The Intercept)

“One Job Should Be Enough”: Marriott Hotel Workers’ Strike Hits Eight US Cities. Marriot workers strike over wages, workplace safety, and a “seat at the table” during technology changes. Strikes have rapidly spread to several large U.S. cities. Workers claim they make less than the industry standard. (The Guardian)

Justice Department Expands Tribal Police Help, Calling It “Right Thing To Do.” In a rare move, the Trump administration is augmenting a program created during the Obama administration. The program increases access to information-sharing services. (NPR)

Jared Kushner Cites “Personal Experience” That Led To Focus On Prison Reform. Kushner’s father served time in federal prison after pleading guilty to tax evasion, witness tampering, and illegal campaign contributions, and this has influenced Kushner’s belief in prison reform. (CNN)

Heidi Heitkamp Raises Eye-Popping $12.5 Million After Kavanaugh “No” Vote. In October, the North Dakota Senator has raised more than 3 times what she raised during the past 3 months. (CNN)