• March 11, 2014
    Spencer Overton, former ACS Board Member and current President and CEO of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, visited Selma, Alabama for the 49th anniversary of “Bloody Sunday.” Overton chronicled his experience on Twitter as civil rights leaders urged Congress to remember the legacy of Selma following last year’s controversial Supreme Court decision in Shelby County v. Holder. For further analysis of Shelby County, please see Overton’s guest post at ACSblog.
    In an interview with NPR’s Carrie Johnson, Attorney General Eric Holder shares his stance on softening prison sentences, the Senate’s vote to block the nomination of Debo Adegbile for Assistant Attorney General for the Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division, and former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.
    The Supreme Court has declined to hear a Pennsylvania school district’s appeal of a lower-court decision to uphold the right of students to wear breast-cancer-awareness bracelets. Mark Walsh at Education Week reports on the student-speech case.
    Walter Shapiro at the Brennan Center for Justice discusses the legal issues surrounding the Federal Election Commission and single-candidate Super PACs.
    Ann Havemann at CPRblog explains how budget cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency will affect enforcement of environmental laws. 
  • March 10, 2014
    Fifty years ago yesterday, the Supreme Court expanded First Amendment rights in the landmark case of New York Times Co. v. Sullivan. Former ACS Board Chair and current Co-Chair of the Board of Advisors for the ACS Chicago Lawyer Chapter as well as Co-Faculty Advisor for the University of Chicago Law School ACS Student Chapter Geoffrey R. Stone discusses the case that “re-framed the constitutional law of libel” at The Huffington Post. For more anniversary coverage of Sullivan, read Katie Townsend’s guest post at ACSblog.
    At the Constitutional Accountability Center’s Text & History Blog, CAC and their co-counsel Ben Cohen of The Promise of Justice Initiative discuss the certiorari petition they filed in Jackson v. Louisiana.  The Sixth Amendment case considers “whether an individual may be convicted of a crime even if the jury in his case cannot reach a unanimous verdict.” 
    At Prawfsblawg, Sarah Lawsky reviews a study by Loyola-Chicago Law School ‘s Alexander Tsesis which examines last year’s entry-level law school hires.
    At Womenstake, Emily Martin, Vice President and General Counsel at the National Women’s Law Center, discusses the importance of the West Virginia Pregnant Workers’ Fairness ers’ Fairness
  • March 7, 2014

    by ACS Staff

    Following the Senate’s failure to invoke cloture on the nomination of Debo Adegbile to be Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice, Andrew Cohen takes to The Atlantic and says that Chief Justice John Roberts should discuss his previous representation of serial killer John Ferguson.  The Chief Justice “should explain why every criminal defendant deserves a lawyer…and why lawyers have professional obligations to advocate on behalf of even the most despised members of our society.”

    Eighteen years after California voters adopted Proposition 209, which, among other provisions, prohibits affirmative action in public education, University of California officials are struggling to enroll robust levels of diverse students. Erica E. Phillips at the Wall Street Journal has the story.

    At Above the Law, Elie Mystal discusses changes to the student loan forgiveness program outlined in the White House’s latest budget proposal.

  • March 7, 2014

    by Rebekah DeHaven

    This was a busy week for nominations. Following Sen. Reid’s (D-Nev.) filing of cloture last week, on Wednesday, the Senate considered the nominations of Debo Adegbile to serve as the Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights and four judicial nominees.

    Senators voted 48-51 against the motion to reconsider cloture on Adegbile, successfully blocking a cloture vote his nomination. For procedural reasons, Sen. Reid switched his vote to preserve the opportunity to for him to bring the nomination up for consideration in the future, making the final vote 47-52. President Obama called the vote a “travesty.”

    The Senate then considered the following judicial nominations. Cloture was invoked on each nominee prior to confirmation.

    • Pedro A. Delgado Hernandez to the District of Puerto Rico;
      • Cloture: 57-41-1
      • Confirmation: 98-0
    • Pamela L. Reeves to the Eastern District of Tennessee;
      • Cloture: 62-37
      • Confirmation: 99-0
    • Timothy L. Brooks to the Western District of Arkansas; and
      • Cloture: 59-41
      • Confirmation: 100-0
    • Vince Girdhari Chhabria to the Northern District of California.
      • Cloture: 57-43
      • Confirmation: 58-41

    Of note, Vince Chhabria is a member of the ACS network and filled a judicial emergency.

  • March 6, 2014
    The Senate has blocked President Obama’s nomination of Debo Adegbile to be Assistant Attorney General for the Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division. Adegbile, who was a prominent lawyer for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, has faced criticism for overseeing an appeals process for a convicted murderer while at the LDF. NPR’s Carrie Johnson comments on why the president’s nominee is facing criticism for “one controversial episode in his long career.”
    The D.C. Council passed a bill Tuesday that would decriminalize private possession and smoking of marijuana. As anticipation grows surrounding Mayor Vincent Gray’s signing of the bill, Aaron C. Davis of The Washington Post describes how the law is developing into a civil rights issue.
    New York Mayor Bill de Blasio has cancelled plans for three new charter schools. Al Baker and Javier C. Hernández of The New York Times discuss the mayor’s unyielding support for public education in the face of a growing  “charter school empire.”
    Ryan Goodman at Just Security reports on the Obama administration’s lethal operation against a U.S. citizen in Pakistan for “production and distribution of improvised explosive devices (IEDs).”
    A study conducted by Rachel West and Michael Reich at the Center for American Progress reveals that “a 10 percent increase in the minimum wage [would] reduce SNAP enrollment.”
    At The Root, Jenée Desmond-Harris notes how the 2015 White House budget report highlights civil rights, the reduction of racial disparities and access to higher education.