December 2, 2023

The Supreme Court May Be Poised to Kill the Voting Rights Act Once and for All

A federal court said only the government, not civil rights groups or individuals, can enforce the Voting Rights Act.

The Voting Rights Act, which Congress passed to enforce the 15th Amendment, has been targeted by the right wing since it was enacted in 1965. In the last few years, the Supreme Court has weakened the Voting Rights Act but has never ruled that civil rights organizations and aggrieved individuals could not sue to enforce its provisions.

On November 20, 2023, a panel of the Eighth United States Circuit Court of Appeals ruled two-to-one in a racial gerrymandering case that only the Department of Justice (DOJ) can file lawsuits to vindicate voting rights under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. In Arkansas NAACP v. Arkansas Board of Apportionment, the appellate panel dismissed a lawsuit filed by Black Arkansas voters who claimed that the state’s congressional map would illegally “undermine the voting strength of Black Arkansans.”

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November 19, 2023

Palestinians File Emergency Motion to Block US Aid for Israel’s Genocide in Gaza

A federal lawsuit accuses Biden, Blinken and Austin of failure to prevent genocide and complicity in genocide.

On November 16, two Palestinian human rights organizations, three Palestinians and five Palestinian Americans brought an emergency motion in United States federal court to immediately force President Joe Biden, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to stop providing additional weapons, money, and military and diplomatic support to Israel, which is committing genocide in Gaza.

“Our Palestinian clients are asking the court to urgently order Biden, Blinken and Austin to stop supporting Israel’s genocide,” said Maria LaHood, Deputy Legal Director of Center for Constitutional Rights which filed the lawsuit on behalf of the Palestinians, in an interview with Truthout. “Israeli officials stated their intent to eliminate everything in Gaza, and then proceeded to carpet-bomb it, killing more than 11,000 people, including nearly 5,000 children thus far — many more are missing, buried under rubble, crushed and suffocating before they die.”

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November 11, 2023

Self-defence and the right to resist in Palestine

Ian Sinclair speaks to legal expert MARJORIE COHN about what international law says in regard to Israel’s right to self-defence, and Israeli actions against Palestinians more generally.

“ISRAEL has a right to defend herself.” This supposed moral truism has been repeated incessantly, by public figures on the right and left, since the Hamas terror attacks on October 7.

Marjorie Cohn, professor emerita at Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego and a former president of the US National Lawyers Guild, has a different view.

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November 10, 2023

UN Report Details Rampant US Human Rights Violations at Home and Abroad

Two-thirds of U.S. breaches of the civil and political rights covenant involve racial discrimination.

AUnited Nations body has issued a damning report blasting the United States for its rampant violations of a major human rights treaty that it ratified in 1992.

The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) enshrines the rights to life, to vote, and to freedom of expression and assembly; and the prohibition of torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. It forbids discrimination in the enjoyment of civil and political rights based on race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status (which includes sexual orientation).

In its blistering November 3 report, the UN Human Rights Committee — a group of 18 independent experts that monitors the implementation of the ICCPR — documented how little the U.S. has done to challenge the systemic, wide-ranging racism that continues to infuse every aspect of our society. Racial discrimination permeated two-thirds of the documented U.S. violations of the human rights treaty.

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October 24, 2023

Assange Freedom May Be Pivotal in Australia’s Support for US Cold War With China

Australian cooperation with the United States’ cold war against China is not a slam dunk.

The stakes are high as Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese arrives in Washington, D.C., on October 23 to meet with President Joe Biden. The U.S. government hopes to obtain Australia’s support for its cold war initiatives against China.

Australia is one of the United States’ closest allies. Australia, the U.S. and the U.K. comprise “AUKUS,” a trilateral “security” alliance in the Indo-Pacific.

This is a crucial issue for Australia as well. Before Albanese left for the United States, he told parliament that the AUKUS transfer of U.S. and British nuclear submarine technology to Australia was critical to the future of the alliance.

Another item on the agenda when Albanese meets with Biden is the extradition of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, an Australian citizen. Assange, who has been incarcerated for four years in a top-security London prison, was indicted by the Trump administration for charges under the Espionage Act for WikiLeaks’ 2010-2011 revelations of U.S. war crimes in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantánamo Bay. If extradited from the U.K. to the United States and convicted, Assange faces up to 175 years in prison.

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October 22, 2023

Israeli and US Leaders Must Be Held Accountable for the Genocide of Palestinians

Netanyahu and Gallant are committing genocide in Gaza. Biden and Blinken are aiding and abetting Israeli genocide.

In retaliation against the Palestinians in Gaza for Hamas’s October 7 killing of hundreds of Israeli civilians, Israel has intensified its 16-year siege of Gaza to a “complete siege.” Israel is slaughtering civilians, cutting off their food, water, electricity and fuel, ordering more than 1 million of them to leave their homes and then bombing their evacuation routes, and trapping them with nowhere to escape.

Israeli forces are amassing tanks on the border in preparation for an imminent invasion. The United States is sending massive firepower to help Israel.

“Complete siege” is a euphemism for ethnic cleansing. It “explicitly indexes a plan to bring the siege to its final destination of systematic destruction of Palestinians and Palestinian society in Gaza,” Raz Segal wrote in Jewish Currents.

Israel has turned its incremental genocide of the Palestinian people into full-fledged genocide — with the unconditional support of the U.S. government.

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October 13, 2023

Israel Is Using Starvation as a Weapon of War Against the Palestinian People

A full-scale ground offensive on Gaza is imminent, even as Palestinians are already suffering collective punishment.

After Hamas launched more than 2,000 missiles from Gaza and sent hundreds of fighters into Israel on October 7, killing hundreds of civilians, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared war on Hamas. But Israel’s retaliation, including massive bombing from the land, air and sea, and its collective punishment of Gazans — denying them food, water, electricity and gas — reveals that Netanyahu has actually declared war on the Palestinian people, especially those in Gaza.

Israeli warplanes are conducting indiscriminate bombings throughout Gaza, targeting homes, schools, hospitals, mosques and civilian buildings. As of October 10, Israel had reportedly used 1,000 tons of explosives and targeted 500 locations, primarily in civilian residential areas.

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October 2, 2023

Right-Dominated Supreme Court Is Poised to Do Grave Harm in Upcoming Term

Voting rights and the protection of workers, consumers, health, safety and the environment are on the court’s docket.

The 2023-2024 Supreme Court term will begin on Monday, October 2. Dominated by six right-wingers, the court has agreed to review cases in which voting rights, consumer protection, and the regulation of health and safety, workers’ rights and the environment are in jeopardy. The cases present the issues of gerrymandering and the power of administrative agencies. In light of its recent conservative rulings, we should be wary about how the court will rule on these critical matters.

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September 20, 2023

The Fate of the “Dreamers” Is Likely Headed to the Right-Dominated Supreme Court

If the Supreme Court agrees with the new decision by a Texas federal judge, it will be devastating to 600,000 Dreamers.

Eleven years after Barack Obama launched the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, six years after the Trump administration tried to rescind it, and five years after it began wending its way through the courts, the fate of the “Dreamers” is now likely headed to the Supreme Court.

On September 13, Judge Andrew Hanen of the Federal District Court in Houston ruled in Texas v. U.S. that Obama did not have the legal authority to create DACA, a program which has protected hundreds of thousands of undocumented youth from deportation. Although this is bad news for the Dreamers (undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children and grew up studying at U.S. schools), Hanen didn’t order that DACA immediately be terminated. Those who have already applied can keep their status and renew it but new applications will not be accepted. Hanen’s ruling will invariably be appealed.

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September 15, 2023

Colorado Lawsuit’s Strategy for Keeping Trump Off Ballot Is Starting to Spread

The lawsuits cite the 14th Amendment, which says former officials who engage in insurrection may not serve as president.

The lawsuit filed earlier this month by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) on behalf of six Colorado voters provides a template that can and will be used in other states to keep Donald Trump off the ballot in the primary and general presidential elections. Indeed a similar lawsuit filed September 12 in Minnesota by the progressive group Free Speech For People shows that the strategy laid out in the Colorado lawsuit is already starting to spread.

Like the Colorado lawsuit that was filed on September 6, the Minnesota suit, which was brought in the Minnesota Supreme Court, seeks to remove Trump from the state’s ballots based on Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, known as the “Disqualification Clause.” It forbids anyone who has sworn the oath of office and later “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” or given “aid or comfort to the enemies” of the United States from holding public office.

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