Civil Rights

“No state shall make or enforce any law which shall . . . deny any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

~  Fourteenth Amendment, U.S. Constitution

The Muslim Ban: Answering Tough Questions About Motive

4/21/17  //  In-Depth Analysis

The opinion by then-Justice Rehnquist in Hunter v. Underwood (1985), a case about denying the right to vote for racist reasons, offers thoughtful answers to many of the hardest questions that you might ask about motive and the Muslim Ban.

Richard Primus

University of Michigan Law School

Echoes of History in Objections to Federal Enforcement of Voting Rights

4/21/17  //  Commentary

A letter about how to fix DOJ’s Civil Rights Division has some interesting parallels to a recent voting rights dissent.

Leah Litman

U.C. Irvine School of Law

A Different View of Why the Muslim Ban Violates the Establishment Clause

4/20/17  //  Commentary

A diverse group of leading constitutional law scholars—representing many different views about the Establishment Clause—has filed an amicus brief challenging the Muslim Ban. Here's what you need to know.

Joshua Matz

Publisher

Information Wars Part IV: Doing Violence To Sensible Policy on Guns

4/19/17  //  Commentary

The Trump administration’s efforts to disguise the facts by not deigning to look for them—and discouraging others from doing so—resemble the United States’ policy on research related to gun violence and gun possession.

Leah Litman

U.C. Irvine School of Law

The Trump Administration May Already Have What It Needs for a Serviceable (and Unconstitutional) “Muslim Registry”

4/19/17  //  In-Depth Analysis

The Trump Administration may already have the tools it would need to predict with high accuracy the religious identity of a significant percentage of U.S. citizens and visiting Muslims. And software engineers, not lawyers, may be our first line of alarm and defense.

Updates | The Week of April 10, 2017

4/16/17  //  Daily Update

This week, President Trump prompted outrage with his appointment of two men with a history of discriminatory statements against LGBT people.

Updates | The Week of April 10, 2017

4/16/17  //  Daily Update

This week, President Trump signed into law a bill that allows states to deny funding to Title X clinics. Leah Litman analyzed possible legal challenges to the bill on Take Care.

Updates | The Week of April 10, 2017

4/16/17  //  Daily Update

This week, President Trump signed into law a bill that allows states to deny funding to Title X clinics. Leah Litman offered analysis of possible legal challenges to the bill on Take Care.

Updates | The Week of April 10, 2017

4/16/17  //  Daily Update

On Monday, a federal judge in Texas found discriminatory purpose behind the Texas Voter ID law. On Take Care, Joshua Matz and Leah Litman argued that the Trump Administration's plans for the Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division raise grave concerns. Nikolas Bowie explained that the internal review of the Civil Rights Division's consent decrees threatens its value as an unbiased source. Danielle Lang noted that courts are still rooting out racial discrimination behind state laws relating to districting and voter identification, despite a shift by the Department of Justice.

Updates | The Week of April 10, 2017

4/16/17  //  Daily Update

This week on Take Care, Eve Hill explained that criminal justice reform cannot succeed without accounting for disability rights.

Updates | The Week of April 10, 2017

4/16/17  //  Daily Update

A group calling itself the Shadow Brokers dumped a cache of stolen NSA hacking tools on Saturday, a leak Grayson Clary found rather underwhelming.

Constitutional Hurdles for Concealed Carry Reciprocity

3/16/17  //  In-Depth Analysis

President Trump favors federal legislation requiring states to recognize concealed carry licenses issued by other states. But that policy rests on shaky constitutional foundations.

Joseph Blocher

Duke Law School

The Sessions DOJ Turns a Blind Eye to Discrimination

3/22/17  //  In-Depth Analysis

In the landmark Texas Voter ID case, DOJ has begun its official retreat from the protection of minority voting rights. This is the wrong decision and an ominous sign for the future.

Danielle Lang

The Campaign Legal Center

An Unconstitutional Threat to Sanctuary Cities

3/21/17  //  Commentary

DOJ argues that courts can't hear challenges to Trump's executive order threatening to punish sanctuary cities. Its arguments are wrong and prove that Trump's policy is illegal.

Nikolas Bowie

Harvard Law School

What Happened on United Is Terrible, But What’s Going to Happen Everywhere Is Worse

4/11/17  //  Quick Reactions

The video of the United flight reveals more than just what happened. It also shows why DOJ oversight is so important.

Nikolas Bowie

Harvard Law School

No Peeking? Korematsu and Judicial Credulity

3/22/17  //  Commentary

The Supreme Court's decision in the Japanese Internment Cases offers a chilling reminder of why courts cannot close their eyes to clear evidence of bigotry in executive orders supposedly justified by security concerns.

Ian Samuel

Harvard Law School

Leah Litman

U.C. Irvine School of Law

McKayla Maroney Is Not Impressed (With DOJ's Brief in the Fourth Circuit)

3/27/17  //  In-Depth Analysis

The Department of Justice has filed a brief in the Fourth Circuit defending President Trump's revised entry ban. This is not an impressive brief: it is rife with misstatements of fact and incorrect legal arguments.

Leah Litman

U.C. Irvine School of Law

A Powerful Statement by the California Chief Justice

3/20/17  //  Quick Reactions

In urging the Attorney General to cease using state courthouses as bait for undocumented migrants, the California Chief Justice displayed admirable bravery and commitment to the rule of law.

Laurence H. Tribe

Harvard Law School

Women Should Decide When and How to “Dress Like a Woman”

3/17/17  //  Commentary

The President should set a better example for other employers and leave the question of how to dress like a woman—with all of the trade-offs and nuances it entails—to the people who actually have to do it.

Richard Thompson Ford

Stanford Law School

"School Choice" May Leave Students with Disabilities No Choice

4/17/17  //  Commentary

Privatization and decentralization of public education will return the U.S. to the days when students with disabilities were out-of-sight and out-of-mind, without meaningful education. Public schools could become the new institutions.

Eve Hill

Brown Goldstein & Levy

Criminal Justice Reform and Disability – The Overlooked Opportunity

4/12/17  //  Commentary

Criminal justice agencies have become part of our communities' mental health services systems. They need to abide by the disability rights laws that govern mental health services

Eve Hill

Brown Goldstein & Levy

Pipelines, Presidents, and Policing Plenary Power

3/30/17  //  Commentary

The Trump Administration's recent reversal on the Dakota Access Pipeline can (and must) be carefully examined in court.

Seth Davis

U.C. Irvine School of Law

The Establishment Clause and the Muslim Ban

3/18/17  //  Commentary

Why the Establishment Clause Has Emerged as the Chief Stumbling Block for Trump's Muslim Ban

Michael C. Dorf

Cornell Law School

The Standard Fare of Judges: What Happens When the Judiciary Does What It Always Does

3/28/17  //  Commentary

The Muslim Ban litigation does not involve a "revolt of the judges." As proven by a survey of major and minor cases from the legal canon, this litigation involves only the standard fare of judging.

Daniel Deacon

U.C. Irvine School of Law

Leah Litman

U.C. Irvine School of Law

Legal Challenges To H.J. Res 43

4/6/17  //  Quick Reactions

The Republicans’ bill to arbitrarily deny grants to family planning programs could be challenged in several ways.

Leah Litman

U.C. Irvine School of Law

Mike Pence on Women, Sex, And Reproductive Health Services

4/4/17  //  Commentary

The Vice President’s policy against dining with women reveals some problems with his recent vote to allow states to deny funding to organizations that are devoted to reproductive justice and reproductive health.

Leah Litman

U.C. Irvine School of Law

The Trump Administration’s Immigration-Related Detentions

3/24/17  //  Commentary

The Supreme Court is considering a major constitutional challenge to federal immigration detention policies. Trump’s recent executive orders make that case even more significant.

Leah Litman

U.C. Irvine School of Law

Embracing Federalism

3/16/17  //  Commentary

It is time for progressives to embrace federalism and to use Supreme Court precedents protecting states’ rights to fight against Trump administration policies

Erwin Chemerinsky

U.C. Irvine School of Law

District Court Holds that Texas Discriminated Against Minority Voters, Again.

4/11/17  //  Quick Reactions

Cutting-edge analysis by Gerry Hebert and Danielle Lang of yesterday's ruling that the controversial Texas Voter ID law was enacted with racially discriminatory intent.

Danielle Lang

The Campaign Legal Center

The First Amendment Belongs Only to Americans? Wrong

3/29/17  //  Commentary

The First Amendment makes America great for everyone, not just for citizens.

Nikolas Bowie

Harvard Law School

Leah Litman

U.C. Irvine School of Law

DOJ Begins to Turn Its Back on Policing Reform

4/4/17  //  Quick Reactions

AG Sessions’s eleventh-hour effort to avoid a consent decree in Baltimore is indefensible and unmistakably political. The court should not allow it.

Chiraag Bains

Harvard Law School

Why Trump's Travel Ban Statements Compel a Finding of Improper Purpose

4/6/17  //  Commentary

Trump's statements about the revised travel ban overwhelmingly evidence a purpose at odds with the Establishment Clause. And few, if any, of those statements evince actual, substantive national security or foreign affairs objectives that explain the bizarre scope of his order.

Joshua Matz

Publisher

The Pence Policy And The Trump Administration’s Views on Anti-Discrimination

4/3/17  //  Commentary

Vice President Mike Pence’s policy of not dining with women is unconstitutional. It also suggests how far this administration will go to cut back on anti-discrimination law.

Leah Litman

U.C. Irvine School of Law

A Lurking Threat to LGBT Rights & Religious Freedom

4/3/17  //  In-Depth Analysis

Today, the Fifth Circuit hears argument in a major case about the future of religious liberty and LGBT rights. The law under review, HB 1523, is flagrantly unconstitutional. And the result of this appeal may profoundly influence Trump's still-evolving policies.

Joshua Matz

Publisher

A Department of Justice, But For Whom?

4/7/17  //  Commentary

A letter about how to fix DOJ’s Civil Rights Division simultaneously maintains that we live in a “post-racial world” and urges the Division to take measures that will disenfranchise people of color.

Joshua Matz

Publisher

Leah Litman

U.C. Irvine School of Law

The Imperatives of Structure: The Travel Ban, the Establishment Clause, and Standing to Sue

4/3/17  //  In-Depth Analysis

In the Fourth Circuit travel ban appeal, DOJ contends that the plaintiffs lack standing. But a deeper examination of the Establishment Clause proves that the plaintiffs’ claims must be heard on the merits.

Ira C. Lupu

George Washington University Law School

Peter J. Smith

George Washington University Law School

Robert W. Tuttle

George Washington University Law School

When Free Speech Suits the President

4/6/17  //  Commentary

A federal judge has refused to dismiss a suit alleging that President Trump incited violence against protesters at one of his campaign rallies last year. The bitter irony to Trump's defense is that it seeks to expand free speech rules; usually, he prefers to trash them.

Amanda Shanor

Yale Law School

Information Wars Part I: The Challenge To The Census

4/13/17  //  Commentary

The Trump administration has enacted several policies to conceal, subvert, or manipulate information. It has retracted a proposal to add LGBTQ identification to the U.S. census and eliminated LGBTQ identification from HHS surveys. These policies and others attempt to deny the existence of a problem by disappearing the (inconvenient) facts.

Leah Litman

U.C. Irvine School of Law

California v. DOJ on Immigration Enforcement

4/11/17  //  Commentary

An exchange of letters between the California Chief Justice and Attorney General Sessions offers valuable lessons for states considering immigrant protective policies that respect human rights and dignity (but might annoy the Trump Administration).

Jennifer Chacón

U.C. Irvine School of Law

Resisting Calls for Illegal Hiring Practices at DOJ’s Civil Rights Division

4/11/17  //  Commentary

Even in these strange and trying times, we would like to think that our Attorney General will follow the law while staffing the division of DOJ charged with realizing the Constitution’s promise of a democracy that’s worth a damn—one open to all citizens, regardless of the color of their skin.

Joshua Matz

Publisher

Leah Litman

U.C. Irvine School of Law

Why Jeff Sessions’s Reversal on Private Prisons Is Dangerous

3/23/17  //  Commentary

The Attorney General’s embrace of private prisons is a victory for the industry, but it threatens the safety of correctional officers and prisoners.

Chiraag Bains

Harvard Law School

Trump's Immigration Policy & The Cross-Border Shooting Case

3/30/17  //  Commentary

President Trump's immigration enforcement policy has massively raised the stakes in Hernandez v. Mesa, where the Supreme Court is considering a cross-border shooting by a U.S. agent.

Leah Litman

U.C. Irvine School of Law

The Attack on American Cities

4/7/17  //  Commentary

Trump's anti-urban rhetoric has fanned the flames of a war by state governments against progressive cities. We see this in battles over sanctuary cities, LGBT rights, gun regulation, employee rights. The time has come for a campaign on behalf of city power.

Richard C. Schragger

UVA School of Law

ADA Education and Reform Act

4/18/17  //  Quick Reactions

The ADA Education and Reform Act would undermine ADA compliance and make people with disabilities the involuntary unpaid consultants of the businesses that discriminate against them

Eve Hill

Brown Goldstein & Levy

Is the Trinity Lutheran Church Case Moot?

4/18/17  //  Commentary

Under President Trump, questions about the role of religion have come to the fore. The Supreme Court was set to decide a major Free Exercise issue this Term, but it now seems that the case is moot.

Marty Lederman

Georgetown Law

Deep Problems with the Proposed Executive Order on Religious Freedom

3/28/17  //  In-Depth Analysis

There are major constitutional problems with the leaked draft of a "religious freedom" executive order, which singles out for protection only traditional and conservative religious views on sex, marriage, sexual relations, gender identity, and pregnancy.

Ira C. Lupu

George Washington University Law School

Robert W. Tuttle

George Washington University Law School

Why Courts Have Probed Trump’s Motives for the Travel Ban

4/4/17  //  Commentary

Perceptions of presidential bad faith have given judges the fortitude to do what the law already demands of them, even though their actions might prompt the President to bash them by name on TV or Twitter.

Joshua Matz

Publisher

A Landmark Victory for LGBT Rights (And The Path Ahead)

4/5/17  //  Commentary

The en banc Seventh Circuit has held that Title VII protects against sexual orientation discrimination. SCOTUS is likely to grant review of this important issue in the near future. But it remains unclear what position the Trump Administration will take.

Joshua Matz

Publisher

Those Who Do Not Know History

4/12/17  //  Commentary

On the first full day of Passover, the Trump Administration offered several lessons about institutionalized racism and ethnic cleansing.

Leah Litman

U.C. Irvine School of Law

Joshua Matz

Publisher

Reinvigorating Civil Rights in the Era of Trump

4/13/17  //  Commentary

Given the nativist overtones of his campaign and his administration’s signature policies — from the Muslim ban to an immigration crackdown that equates being a foreign-born minority with criminality — Trump has exploded the fiction that we live in a post-racial society.

Chiraag Bains

Harvard Law School

H.J. Res. 43 As A Health Care Bill

4/5/17  //  Commentary

The Democrats have accepted the Republicans’ framing of a bill that would be used to defund Planned Parenthood. That’s a mistake.

Leah Litman

U.C. Irvine School of Law

Motive Matters in Assessing the Travel Ban

3/20/17  //  Commentary

To the extent that Trump’s statements about the travel ban shed light on why the executive orders were issued—and they surely do—those statements are material to the constitutional analysis.

Richard Primus

University of Michigan Law School

Desuetude and Immigration Enforcement

3/16/17  //  Commentary

It's time to force Congress back into the conversation about immigration enforcement. Here's how.

Jamal Greene

Columbia Law School

See You In Court 2.0

3/16/17  //  In-Depth Analysis

Last night, a federal judge in Hawaii blocked Trump's revised entry ban. Here is a detailed analysis of its decision and an assessment of what likely will happen next in that litigation.

Leah Litman

U.C. Irvine School of Law

The World Is Not Made Brand New Every Morning

3/20/17  //  Commentary

Judge Kozinski thinks that we cannot account for President Trump's campaign statements in the Muslim Ban cases. That is wrong. Courts can, and should, reckon with this history in assessing whether Trump's ban comports with religious neutrality.

Jonathan Taylor

Gupta Wessler PLLC

Trump’s Approach to Crime & Punishment

3/16/17  //  Commentary

The president has continued existing policies, but also signaled a misplaced (and dangerous) reliance on immigration enforcement and incarceration to protect the public.

Chiraag Bains

Harvard Law School

Youngstown Zone Zero

3/16/17  //  Commentary

Justice Jackson's famous separation of powers framework offers no support for President Trump's entry ban. In fact, it's irrelevant.

Leah Litman

U.C. Irvine School of Law

Ian Samuel

Harvard Law School

FCC’s Reversal on Prison Call Rates Demonstrates the Commission’s New Stance

3/29/17  //  Quick Reactions

The FCC has abandoned its legal defense of a 2015 order that placed new caps on the cost of phone calls placed by prison inmates. This reflects a mentality that will have major effects in prisons and elsewhere.

Daniel Deacon

U.C. Irvine School of Law

The Story Thus Far: Reproductive Rights

3/16/17  //  Daily Update

The Trump Administration has already taken extraordinary steps to undermine reproductive rights. Here are some useful analyses of the story thus far.

Updates | The Week of April 3, 2017

4/9/17  //  Daily Update

President Trump’s proclamation marking World Autism Awareness Day angered autism activists by aspiring to “cure autism."

Updates | The Week of March 27, 2017

4/2/17  //  Daily Update

Vice President Pence cast a tie-breaking vote in the Senate on Thursday removing a procedural obstacle to repealing Obama-era Title X family planning funding. A proposed executive order aimed at religious liberty has profound constitutional infirmities.

Updates | The Week of March 20, 2017

3/26/17  //  Daily Update

President Trump's "alternative facts" spread to the abortion debate.

Updates | The Week of March 27, 2017

4/2/17  //  Daily Update

The male-dominated Trump Administration has targeted women's health legislation.

Updates | The Week of April 3, 2017

4/9/17  //  Daily Update

The FCC repealed broadband privacy regulations, but Orin Kerr notes that the Wiretap Act provides a substantial check on privacy incursions by broadband providers. In response to "extreme vetting," Members of Congress introduced legislation banning warrantless cellphone searches at the border.

The Story Thus Far: Privacy & Surveillance

3/16/17  //  Daily Update

Since Trump's election, the privacy rights of foreigners (and in some cases of U.S. citizens) have grown still more precarious. Here are some useful analyses of the story thus far.

Updates | Week of March 20, 2017

3/26/17  //  Daily Update

RIchard Thompson Ford argued that President Trump's command that female employees "dress like women" is unworthy of the Presidency, while President Trump's budget blueprint may signal drastic cuts to programs under the Violence Against Women Act.

Updates | Week of March 20, 2017

3/26/17  //  Daily Update

Top law enforcement officials missed key issues about incidental surveillance of Americans. Incognito messaging by federal employees may raise legal questions.

Updates | The Week of April 3, 2017

4/9/17  //  Daily Update

This week Leah Litman analyzed the constitutional arguments against H.J. Res. 43, the bill that would allow states to deny federal grants to women's health care programs. Leah also commented on Vice President Pence's dining policy, and its potential ramifications for reproductive justice and anti-discrimination.

The Draft Religious Liberty EO

3/27/17  //  Daily Update

A leaked draft of the Administration's proposed executive order on religious liberty.

Take Care

The Story Thus Far: Disability Rights

3/16/17  //  Daily Update

The Trump Administration's education and healthcare policies may undermine disability rights in key respects. Here are some useful analyses of the story thus far.

Updates | The Week of March 27, 2017

4/2/17  //  Daily Update

A potential executive order addressing religious freedom has surfaced, and Ira Lupu and Robert Tuttle argue that it has profound constitutional infirmities. President Trump's appointment of Roger Servino within the Department of Health and Human Services has drawn criticism from LGBTQ groups.

Updates | The Week of April 3, 2017

4/9/17  //  Daily Update

Attorney General Jeff Sessions ordered a nationwide review of consent decrees implemented to curb civil rights abuses. Chiraag Bains offered analysis of the Department of Justice's request to delay a hearing on a consent decree regarding the Baltimore police force.

Updates | The Week of April 3, 2017

4/9/17  //  Daily Update

Joshua Matz offered analysis of a Mississippi "religious freedom" law on Take Care, while a DoJ memorandum "gives new emphasis to combating religious hate crimes."

Updates | The Week of April 3, 2017

4/9/17  //  Daily Update

The Seventh Circuit broadened workplace rights for LGBT employees in an en banc decision. Take Care featured analysis from Joshua Matz. President Trump's proposed budget would cut tens of millions of dollars in HIV research and prevention.

Updates | The Week of April 3, 2017

4/9/17  //  Daily Update

This week on Take Care, Leah Litman offered analysis of H.J. Res. 43, the bill that would allow states to deny federal grants to women's health care programs. Other commentators looked to the future of reproductive freedom under the Trump administration.

Updates | The Week of March 20, 2017

3/26/17  //  Daily Update

This week, commentators debated the constitutional basis for a federal concealed carry reciprocity mandate.

Updates | Week of March 20, 2017

3/21/17  //  Daily Update

The Trump Administration has made a damaging turnabout on gay rights, and LGBT communities fear an absence of hate crime prosecutions under Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Updates | The Week of March 27, 2017

4/2/17  //  Daily Update

Congress passed legislation allowing internet service providers to market customers' browsing history to third parties. In a rare en banc session, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court will consider the ACLU's claim that it has standing to assert a First Amendment right to see FISC decisions upholding the government's bulk data collection program.