Welcome to This Week in Civil Rights and Civil Liberties.
This week, the Supreme Court kicks off its fall term with a question of discrimination against transgender people, the Trump administration continues to target immigrants, and police officer Amber Guyger is found guilty of murdering her neighbor.
Trump denies entry to immigrants who cannot afford to pay for health care. The Trump Administration has issued a proclamation that requires all immigrants to the US to have health insurance. The rule takes effect on November 3rd, and requires any immigrants that cannot prove that they have health insurance to at least demonstrate that they have enough money to pay “reasonably foreseeable medical costs.” (Slate)
Supreme Court begins its 2019 term with an important question: is it legal to fire someone for being gay or transgender? The Court will consider whether Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination against LGBTQ individuals. More than 70 amicus curiae briefs were submitted to the Court, and over 200 of the nation’s largest employers are supporting the workers. (Washington Post)
Progressive candidates for the Democratic party’s nomination bring in the largest fundraising hauls of the third quarter. Progressive Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren topped their fellow candidates in third-quarter fundraising, raising $25.3 million and $24.6 million, respectively, from grassroots and small-dollar donors. (Vox)
Former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger is found guilty of murdering Botham Jean—sentenced to 10 years in prison. The police officer who entered a man’s apartment and killed him—after allegedly thinking she had entered her own apartment—was found guilty this week. She was sentenced to ten years imprisonment. (Dallas Morning News)
An inmate’s bootlegged film exposes the danger and squalor of a notorious Florida prison. Inmate Scott Whitney, using cameras hidden in eyeglasses and his Bible, filmed brawls, synthetic drug use, mold, and other scenes from life in a Florida prison. He also filmed the state of the prison during Hurricane Irma. Whitney has been put into solitary confinement after the release of his film online. (Bradenton Herald)
The Supreme Court agrees to review Louisiana’s stringent abortion law, in a case that could limit women’s access to safe abortions. The Court granted cert in June v. Gee, a case questioning whether Louisiana’s hyper-restrictive abortion law unduly burden’s women’s access to abortion. The Louisiana law is nearly identical to the Texas law struck down in 2016’s Whole Women’s Health case, and so advocates fear that the Court is signaling that it may reverse course with its new conservative majority. (Washington Post)
Recently-leaked audio recordings show how state legislators are taught to destroy evidence, avoid the word “gerrymander,” and create an appearance of bipartisanship. Audio recording of a closed-door panel called “How to Survive Redistricting” was obtained by journalists this week. In the recording, four panelists (described as “the architects and defenders of some of the most notorious gerrymanders and voter suppression plans of this decade”) give tips to Republican lawmakers on how to further cement their power via redistricting. (Slate)
Lawyer says he’s now representing a 2nd whistle-blower in Trump-Ukraine case. Mark Zaid, one of the lawyers representing the whistle-blower whose recent bombshell disclosure was the impetus of an impeachment inquiry into President Trump, has announced that he is now representing a second whistle-blower. The second whistle-blower is an intelligence official “with firsthand knowledge of the president’s interactions with Ukraine.” (Boston Globe)
Senator Elizabeth Warren releases her labor reform platform. Analysts called the 2020 contender’s plan “the most ambitious labor reform platform of the 2020 campaign.” The plan “zeroe[s] in on all the loopholes in US labor laws that deny basic protections to millions of workers.” (Vox)