March 4, 2022

A Busy Week for Democracy

Russ Feingold President

Russ Feingold
ACS President Russ Feingold

This week represents the start to Women’s History Month. What an exciting time to celebrate Women’s History as we witness history in the making with President Biden’s nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, the first Black woman to be nominated to the Supreme Court. As President Biden said in his State of the Union address this week, Judge Jackson is truly “one of our nation’s top legal minds" and will make an exceptional justice.

We are encouraged to see the Senate moving forward with Judge Jackson’s confirmation process, with the Senate Judiciary Committee announcing her public hearing will begin on Monday, March 21. If you missed our program this week about the nomination and what’s next in the confirmation process, I encourage you to watch the video here. You can also read our full statement in support of Judge Jackson’s nomination and our other resources about the confirmation process on our website. We look forward to heralding Judge Jackson’s many contributions to the Supreme Court and to our legal jurisprudence for years to come.

I am also all too cognizant that many of us remain glued to our phones and TVs as Russia continues its premeditated, unjust, and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. The courage of the Ukrainian people, including of President Zelensky, is inspiring, even as we decry the need for such courage. I appreciated President Biden’s description of this crisis in his State of the Union address as “the real test,” noting that, “In the battle between democracy and autocracies, democracies are rising to the moment, and the world is clearly choosing the side of peace and security.” This sentiment was resoundingly reinforced on Wednesday when 141 countries voted at the United Nations General Assembly to adopt a resolution condemning Russia’s invasion. Only five countries, including Russia, voted against the resolution. This was the first emergency session of the UN General Assembly convened in 40 years and only the 11th in the history of the UN.

At the same time, ACS is appalled by reports that people of color fleeing Ukraine are facing discrimination at the border, including reports that they are being prevented from boarding transportation and from crossing the border. It is deeply upsetting that people fleeing a war zone must combat racism to reach safety. We support calls upon the UN High Commission for Refugees and upon countries receiving Ukrainian refugees to ensure that all refugees are welcomed and are treated with dignity and respect.

This week was busy. On Tuesday, the first primary of the 2022 election cycle was held in Texas. It was proof positive that this election cycle will be shaped in no small part by the many voter suppression laws and gerrymandered maps being enacted in many states. Voting has become unnecessarily and intentionally complicated, with laws tailor written to suppress the votes of people of color. Make sure to listen to this week’s Broken Law podcast episode and Lindsay Langholz’s interview with Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson about how we protect election security in the face of these mounting challenges.

And take a moment to follow and subscribe to Broken Law wherever you get your podcasts, if you don’t already. You will not want to miss next week’s episode wherein Debra Perlin speaks with Steve Vladeck of the University of Texas Law School about the many laws and legal considerations involved with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the U.S. and international community’s response to it. The interview is an excellent explainer of the interrelated legal systems at play here and the many, many reasons that Russia’s invasion is blatantly illegal, regardless of what fabrication Russian President Vladimir Putin makes up.