Civil rights

The College Admissions Sausage Factory

Featured image Our go-to thinker on civil rights issues, University of San Diego law professor Gail Heriot, is out with a new paper (with co-author Carissa Mulder) on “The Sausage Factory” of college admissions. Here is the abstract: The Supreme Court assumes that race-preferential admissions policies are the result of a careful academic judgment by colleges and universities that racial diversity has pedagogical benefits for students generally. But evidence shows that the »

US v. Tou Thao: Opening statements

Featured image Yesterday the federal trial of the three former Minneapolis police officers other than Derek Chauvin began in earnest with opening statements. The three officers are Tou Thao, Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane. They are charged with violating the civil rights of George Floyd in the arrest that resulted in his death. I went down to the Warren E. Burger Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse in downtown St. Paul to watch »

At the George Floyd trials, cont’d

Featured image Last week I previewed the federal trial of the three former Minneapolis police officers other than Derek Chauvin: Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane, and Tou Thao. They are charged with violating the civil rights of George Floyd in the arrest that resulted in his death. Were it not for this gratuitous prosecution, the three officers would already have been tried on the criminal charges pending against them in state court. Why »

The George Floyd trials, cont’d

Featured image Tomorrow jury selection is set to commence in the federal trial of Derek Chauvin’s three former fellow Minneapolis police officers before senior Minnesota federal district judge Paul Magnuson in St. Paul. The three officers are Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane, and Tou Thao. They are charged with violating the civil rights of George Floyd in the arrest that resulted in his death. As everyone knows, Derek Chauvin was convicted of the »

The prophetic voice

Featured image When Martin Luther King, Jr., brought his nonviolent campaign against segregation to Bull Connor’s Birmingham, he laid siege to the bastion of Jim Crow. In Birmingham between 1957 and 1962, black homes and churches had been subjected to a series of horrific bombings intended to terrorize the community. In April 1963 King answered the call to bring his campaign to Birmingham. When King landed in jail on Good Friday for »

Worst presidential speech in modern history?

Featured image Has any president in the last 50 years delivered a worse speech than Joe Biden did yesterday in Georgia? The only one that comes immediately to my mind is Jimmy Carter’s “malaise” address of 1979. But impolitic as it was, at least that speech contained a kernel of truth. I invite the distinguished presidential scholars among our readers and my co-bloggers to point to a speech worse than Biden’s. How »

Uses and abuses of the past

Featured image Lani Guinier, the law professor and civil rights attorney, died on January 7. The Washington Post’s obituary is here. The Post uses its obituary to settle old scores against Republicans and to make political/ideological points. Accordingly, the obit begins this way: Lani Guinier, a lawyer whose innovative and provocative writings on racial justice and voting rights were used to undermine her nomination to lead the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division »

The Biden DOJ’s lawless “environmental justice” investigation of Alabama

Featured image The Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division has announced that it opened an “environmental justice” investigation into the Alabama Department of Public Health and the Lowndes County Health Department. The DOJ’s press release states that the Civil Rights Division will examine whether the Alabama Department of Public Health and the Lowndes County Health Department operate their onsite wastewater disposal program and infectious diseases and outbreaks program in a manner that discriminates »

A redundant prosecution, Star Tribune edition

Featured image The Star Tribune drew on the work of three reporters and its collaboration with “Frontline” (through its Local Journalism Initiative, funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting) for Andy Mannix’s story on the federal indictment of Derek Chauvin and his three former colleagues on federal civil rights charges in the death of George Floyd. With all hands on deck, I thought »

A redundant prosecution

Featured image A federal grand jury has handed up indictments of Derek Chauvin and his three former colleagues for violating George Floyd’s civil rights. I inferred from the leak underlying Andy Mannix’s April 29 Star Tribune story that the federal civil rights investigation was originally undertaken as a backstop to the state criminal prosecution of the officers in the event that Chauvin and his former colleagues were acquitted, but such is not »

Kristen Clarke’s ugly tweets

Featured image Kristen Clarke is Joe Biden’s nominee to lead the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department. She’s an odd pick, or would be in a normal administration, given her history of sponsoring anti-Semitism and advancing the idea that Blacks are superior to Whites. Clarke will argue that this happened long ago, during her college days. However, she is on record as holding another nominee to what he said while in »

The prophetic voice

Featured image When Martin Luther King, Jr., brought his nonviolent campaign against segregation to Bull Connor’s Birmingham, he laid siege to the bastion of Jim Crow. In Birmingham between 1957 and 1962, black homes and churches had been subjected to a series of horrific bombings intended to terrorize the community. In April 1963 King answered the call to bring his campaign to Birmingham. When King landed in jail on Good Friday for »

Joe Biden’s racist civil rights nominee, Part Five

Featured image Last night, I wrote about Lani Guinier, Bill Clinton’s nominee to head the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division. Clinton withdrew her nomination because, in essence, she advocated voting and legislative practices that were not race-neutral. I compared Guinier with Kristen Clarke, Joe Biden’s nominee for the same position, and found Clarke to be more extreme than Guinier. I also pointed out that, unlike Clarke, Guinier was a good-faith advocate for the »

Joe Biden’s racist civil rights nominee, Part Four

Featured image In 1993, President Clinton nominated Lani Guinier to head the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. Guinier was a professor at the University of Pennsylvania law school (she later moved on to Harvard), and a friend of the Clintons going back to their law school days. She had attended their wedding. However, Guinier’s nomination led to scrutiny of her scholarly work and that scrutiny led to charges that she was too »

The Trump DOJ’s exemplary record on civil rights [UPDATED]

Featured image Friday was my friend Eric Dreiband’s last day as Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights. Eric will take the rest of the month off and then return to private practice. Eric accomplished a lot in his two years and two months in charge of the Civil Rights Division. Some of the Division’s accomplishments under Eric’s leadership are set forth in this DOJ announcement. Eric defended the Trump administration’s record on »

Rules Are For the Little People

Featured image Every day, it seems, we see another story about governors and mayors (all of them Democrats, seemingly) who impose orders on the rest of us and then break them themselves. This New York Post cover itemizes some of these instances, but by no means all: In California, a restaurant owner was shut down by order of Mayor Garcetti, only to find that she was in the wrong business–i.e., a small »

The next four years in civil rights

Featured image Bloomberg reports that the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department is “headed for a dramatic makeover” under Joe Biden. It quotes Linda Chavez, among others. She says that the Biden administration is certain to “undo the Trump years” the same way Trump tried to undo the Obama years — “but with a vengeance.” I don’t want to underestimate the extent to which a Biden DOJ will accommodate race-hustlers, but »