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ACLU Commits $8.77 Million ‘War Chest’ to Challenge State Anti-Immigrant Laws

ACLU Commits $8.77 Million 'War Chest' to Challenge State Anti-Immigrant Laws

ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romero believes the court’s decision Monday to uphold SB 1070’s “show me your papers” provision could still lead to widespread civil rights violations. He’s announced the ACLU is prepared to challenge any of the anti-immigrant laws that have popped up across the country since Arizona introduced SB 1070.

“We are not done in Arizona and will continue the battle against discriminatory laws like these that encourage racial profiling and undermine the constitutional guarantee of equal protection,” Romero said in a statement Monday. “Be it in the courts or in state legislatures, we will aggressively take on these laws and blunt the effects of this miscarriage of justice. When local police can stop and detain anyone they perceive as ‘foreign’ because of their skin color, their accent or their surname, it is a watershed moment for civil rights.”

“The Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the “show me your papers” provision for now will lead to widespread civil rights violations until it is reviewed again and possibly struck down,” Romero said. “Today’s decision is an invitation for more litigation, while civil rights are inevitably violated.”

In anticipation of the ruling, Romero announced the ACLU has amassed an $8.77 million “war chest” to aggressively battle any state’s attempts to enact copycat legislation while also fighting the “corrosive effects” of existing anti-immigrant laws in Arizona and five other states.

More details via ACLU press release:

In anticipation of the ruling, Romero announced the ACLU has amassed an $8.77 million “war chest” to aggressively battle any state’s attempts to enact copycat legislation while also fighting the “corrosive effects” of existing anti-immigrant laws in Arizona and five other states.

The high court affirmed the most egregious and hotly disputed part of the Arizona law, S.B. 1070, which requires police to determine the immigration status of someone arrested or detained when there is “reasonable suspicion” a person is not in the U.S. legally. Although the state law is not yet in effect, some Arizona sheriffs have already engaged in widespread racial profiling and discrimination in a state that is 30 percent Latino.

“When law enforcement can say ‘show me your papers,’ Arizona begins to resemble a police state, rather than one of the United States.” Romero said. “At the same time S.B. 1070 and its copycats codify discrimination, polarize communities and undercut legitimate police work.”

TAGS: SB 1070

Priscilla Dang Lays Down Kung Fu Law on Teenagers Who Groped Her

Priscilla Dang Lays Down Kung Fu Law on Teenagers Who Groped Her

Priscilla Dang was going for a run in a Vancouver, Wash., neighborhood when she was groped by two teenagers, ages 16 and 18, on bikes, according to KATU. Turns out the teens messed with the wrong woman. Dang’s family own a martial arts academy and she’s been mastering the skills of Kung Fu for 18 years—just as long as the teens have been alive.

Ala. Attorney General Luther Strange Responds to SCOTUS SB 1070 Ruling

Arizona’s immigration law, known as Senate Bill 1070, passed in 2010. Since then, five other states, including Alabama, have passed similar legislation.

Below is a statement released by Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange after Monday’s SB 1070 Supreme Court decision:

“Today the Supreme Court acknowledged that state law enforcement can play an important role in assisting the federal government in fulfilling its responsibility to enforce the immigration laws of this country. The Court, in this landmark decision, provides guidance on the validity of Arizona’s immigration law which will impact Alabama’s immigration law along with those of several other states.

“Illegal immigration is a serious issue facing states across our nation, and it has been addressed by state legislatures in various ways. Hopefully today’s decision will spur the federal government to enforce the rule of law in the immigration arena.”

“My office will be reviewing today’s decision to determine the full extent of its impact on Alabama’s law and the pending litigation.”

Supreme Court’s Arizona Ruling Hurts the Economy, as Well as People

As Colorlines.com’s Seth Freed Wessler reported, the Supreme Court this morning allowed the “show me your papers” provision of Arizona’s SB 1070 to be implemented. (Read here for the quick details of the ruling.) Seth and Monica Novoa will have in-depth analysis of the ruling tomorrow. Below Colorlines’ economic justice contributor Imara Jones chimes in on what the ruling means for the nation’s stalled economy:

Today’s Supreme Court ruling is another blow to jobs and hampers the economy’s ability to make a full recovery.

In upholding the most controversial part of the law, the court insured that the War on Immigrants will continue to be fought across America. Several states have followed Arizona’s lead. More have vowed to do so. The bitter arguments which will result are set to fracture both the laws of land and inflame public opinion.

Divided laws and a divided electorate will make comprehensive immigration reform, which would provide a path to citizenship and legal residency for the nation’s millions of undocumented immigrants, that much more difficult to achieve.

The Center for American Progress estimates that comprehensive immigration reform would add $150 billion to our economy each year—$1.5 trillion over 10 years—through better wages and expanded education opportunities. An increase in economic activity on this scale would add 83,000 jobs a month, allowing us to generate more than 2x the number of jobs than we’ve been creating recently.

With today’s opinion, not only has the court allowed a wrong to stand, it’s shot our economy in the foot.

Jan Brewer Responds to SCOTUS SB 1070 Ruling: ‘A Victory for the Rule of Law’

Jan Brewer Responds to SCOTUS SB 1070 Ruling:  'A Victory for the Rule of Law'

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer has released a statement on the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold portions of SB 1070.

Brewer believes the “heart” of the law was upheld and she calls it “a victory for the rule of law.”

Brewer’s statement published in it’s entirety:

“Today’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court is a victory for the rule of law. It is also a victory for the 10th Amendment and all Americans who believe in the inherent right and responsibility of states to defend their citizens. After more than two years of legal challenges, the heart of SB 1070 can now be implemented in accordance with the U.S. Constitution.

“While we are grateful for this legal victory, today is an opportunity to reflect on our journey and focus upon the true task ahead: the implementation and enforcement of this law in an even-handed manner that lives up to our highest ideals as American citizens. I know the State of Arizona and its law enforcement officers are up to the task. The case for SB 1070 has always been about our support for the rule of law. That means every law, including those against both illegal immigration and racial profiling. Law enforcement will be held accountable should this statute be misused in a fashion that violates an individual’s civil rights.

“The last two years have been spent in preparation for this ruling. Upon signing SB 1070 in 2010, I issued an Executive Order directing the Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training Board (AZ POST) to develop and provide training to ensure our officers are prepared to enforce this law efficiently, effectively and in a manner consistent with the Constitution. In recent days, in anticipation of this decision, I issued a new Executive Order asking that this training be made available once again to all of Arizona’s law enforcement officers. I am confident our officers are prepared to carry out this law responsibly and lawfully. Nothing less is acceptable.

“Of course, today’s ruling does not mark the end of our journey. It can be expected that legal challenges to SB 1070 and the State of Arizona will continue. Our critics are already preparing new litigation tactics in response to their loss at the Supreme Court, and undoubtedly will allege inequities in the implementation of the law. As I said two years ago on the day I signed SB 1070 into law, ‘We cannot give them that chance. We must use this new tool wisely, and fight for our safety with the honor Arizona deserves.’”

Supreme Court Upholds ‘Show Me Your Papers’ in Arizona’s SB 1070

Supreme Court Upholds 'Show Me Your Papers' in Arizona's SB 1070

UPDATED 12:30pm EST: Today’s Supreme Court ruling in the SB 1070 case was only about federal preemption. The federal government did not challenge the law on racial profiling grounds, which immigrant rights advocates say are their central concerns. The 5-3 decision upholding section 2(b) of the law, the “show me your papers” provision, was, in fact, the court’s more liberal decision. Kennedy was joined by Justices Roberts, Ginsburg, Breyer and Sotomayor. Justices Scalia, Alito and Thomas issued separate opinions. Kagan recused herself from the case. (Scroll to the bottom to read more of the update.)

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In a long awaited decision, the Supreme Court today upheld the most controversial part of Arizona’s SB 1070, the “show me your papers” provision. The decision allows Arizona law enforcement officers to question anyone they suspect may be undocumented. Immigrants in Arizona may now face broad targeting by police and advocates warn that Latinos in general are likely to be profiled on the basis of their race.

The court considered whether states have the power to pass their own immigration laws. The federal government argued that only the federal government, not the states, can make immigration laws. Arizona retorted that SB 1070 was simply intended to help the federal government to conduct the work of immigration enforcement and does not interfere with federal law. The court considered four provisions of the law and upheld a lower courts injunction of three of the provisions, amounting to a partially victory for the federal government and immigrant right groups. But the court ruled to overturn a lower court’s injunction of section 2(b) of the law, which requires cops to ask about immigration status.

“The status checks [do] not interfere with the federal immigration scheme. Consultation between federal and state officials is an important feature of the immigration system,” wrote Justice Kennedy, for the court’s majority.

The three other provisions on the table were struck down on the grounds that they preempt federal law. Those provisions would have made it a state crime to be an undocumented immigrant on Arizona soil, allowed police to conduct a warrantless arrest of anyone they suspect could be deported and criminalized work for undocumented immigrants.

Kevin Johnson is the dean of the UC Davis Law School. “It’s important to remember that the court struck down three of the four provisions before the court,” Johnson told Colorlines.com. “There was only one provision upheld, the one that requires local police to stop people they have a reasonable suspicion they may be undocumented. It’s not an across the board victory for the US government or for Arizona.”

Johnson added that the decision will have major implications for the rest of the country. “Other states have laws with provisions like 2(b). Those are all percolating in federal courts and this decision will have an impact on those state laws.”

Alabama, South Carolina, Georgia and Utah all passed laws in the wake of SB 1070 that include sections like 2(b). Nearly two dozen other states have considered similar bills.

The Supreme Court remanded the case back to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which will be tasked with lifting the injunction against the “show me your papers” provision. The provision will not go into effect until that happens.

The court’s was clear that additional constitutional concerns may arise once provision is actually enacted, which opens the door for more litigation against the law.

“This opinion does not foreclose other preemption and constitutional challenges to the law as interpreted and applied after it goes into effect,” Kennedy wrote.

Other cases are already in the works to challenge SB 1070. Nora Preciado is an attorney with the National Immigrant Law Center, which along with the ACLU and MALDEF has sued the state of Arizona on civil rights grounds.

“There is certainly space to continue challenging the law,” Preciado told Colorlines.com. “It’s really important that the court recognized that there may be constitutional problems when put in practice. They left open the possibility of other challenges once the provision is applied.”

Check back today and tomorrow for more analysis on what the SB 1070 decision means for Arizona and the country.

Update 12:30 EST cont.: The court has clearly left open the possibility that once the law goes into effect, it could be challenged on other constitutional grounds. And some advocates say that the federal government set itself up for this loss on section 2(b) by failing to challenge the law on civil rights grounds. I’ve written about this before and will be writing about this more later today and tomorrow. But the basic point is that the “show me your papers” provision will become problematic in its implementation, because there’s no way for cops to know who’s undocumented without profiling on the basis of race.

The Supreme Court justified its decision to reject the lower court’s injunction of section 2(b) by noting that the federal government regularly asks local police to participate in immigration enforcement. The decision notes that the provision will pass constitutional muster as long as it is implemented in a fashion that does not result in clear constitutional violations, like extended periods of detention without cause. The court notes that the provision is constitutional as long as local police only check a suspect’s immigration status during a lawful stop or arrest. It’s up to the lower court to issue a new decision that binds Arizona’s cops to this kind of narrow application of the provision, but barring an injunction of the law on other grounds, Arizona’s cops will soon be allowed to ask those they stop about their immigration status

Supreme Court Rules No Mandatory Life Without Parole for Juveniles

Supreme Court Rules No Mandatory Life Without Parole for Juveniles

In a 5 to 4 decision, the Supreme Court today ruled that juveniles cannot be handed mandatory sentences for life without the possibility of parole. The court considered a set of murder cases in which teenagers were sentenced to life in prison without parole. The question before the court: does locking up kids and throwing away the key violate the 8th amendment protection against cruel and unusual punishment? The answer from the court is a clear Yes, in part. The court did not all together prohibit life sentences to juveniles, but did reject mandatory life without parole sentences for young people.

This is the third major case in the last several years on juvenile sentencing. In 2005, the court outlawed the death penalty for juveniles and last year the court found that juveniles can not be locked up forever for crimes other than murder. This decision extends these previous restrictions to cases of murder by juveniles.

A previous version of this post suggested the court had rejected all life without parole sentences, rather than just mandatory sentences.

Critic Says HBO’s ‘Newsroom’ Characters of Color are Not Very Developed

Critic Says HBO's 'Newsroom' Characters of Color are Not Very Developed

Aaron Sorkin’s highly anticipated series “The Newsroom” premieres this Sunday on HBO with plenty of TV critics already calling it a game changer for television. Sorkin, an Academy and Emmy award winning screenwriter and producer, has an impressive repertoire that includes “A Few Good Men,” “The West Wing,” “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip,” and “The Social Network.”

HBO’s “Girls” has received a mountain of criticism for the lack of diversity and how actors of color are portrayed on the show. “The Newsroom” has three regular actors of color but after reading Emily Nussbaum’s critique of the show’s first episode I’m left wondering if the show is doing any better in terms of how the actors are portrayed.

TAGS: HBO TV

Obama Talks DREAM Act at Nat’l Association of Latino Elected Officials [Video]

Obama Talks DREAM Act at Nat'l Association of Latino Elected Officials [Video]

President Barack Obama addressed the crowd at National Association of Latino Elected Officials (NALEO) Friday afternoon and a large portion of his speech addressed the DREAM Act and his recent decision to halt the deportations of DREAMers.

“The question we should consider is this: Was providing these young people with an opportunity to temporary measure of relief the right thing to do?”, Obama asked the crowd at NALEO. 

“It was time we gave them a sense of hope and your speaker from yesterday has a different view,” Obama went on to say, referring to Mitt Romney.

“Almost four years ago…we gave someone new a chance to lead. Someone who we hadn’t known very long, who didn’t have much of a record but promised to lead us to a better place. When Barack Obama came to office, America wished him well and hoped for the best,” Romney said. “Three and half years later over 23 million Americans are out of work, unemployed, underemployed, or simply quit looking for a job. At a time when we should be gaining momentum in the economy, we’re actually seeing us lose a bit of it. Job growth has slowed. As you know, Hispanics have been hit disproportionately hard.”

Media outlets noticed Romney’s “softer tone on immigration,” as “The New York Times” put it, since the Republican primary season.

But that doesn’t mean he offered up anything new.

W. Kamau Bell on Eric Holder Being Targeted: ‘Old Boys Network Only Works if You’re an Old White Boy’

W. Kamau Bell on Eric Holder Being Targeted: 'Old Boys Network Only Works if You're an Old White Boy'

Comedian W. Kamau Bell was a guest on Current TV’s “The War Room” to discuss when you can and can’t use the race card and a few other bits from the news cycle.

Bell also pointed out that Attorney General Eric Holder is likely being targeted because of his race.

“It’s clear the old boys network only works if you’re an old white boy,” Bell said.

Jeremy Lin Teams Up With Barack Obama and Joe Biden to ‘End Violence’ Against Women

David Beckham, Eli Manning and Jeremy Lin are among several athletes who joined the star-studded anti-domestic violence ad released by the White House Thursday.

Here She Goes Again: Diane Von Furstenberg Can’t Stop Talking About Chinese Women

Here She Goes Again: Diane Von Furstenberg Can't Stop Talking About Chinese Women

Last year she called Chinese people disobedient Japanese people now designer Diane Von Furstenberg is back saying Chinese women are afraid of themselves.

In an interview with the The Wall Street Journal the 65-year-old Belgian fashion designer describes Chinese women:

“What I like about women is always strength, but Chinese women are even stronger. It’s like strong women on steroids. I also realize they are fragile. All women are the same really: they are strong, but they are afraid of their own strength.” 

Here’s another gem about how Chinese people have come so far…because the last time she saw them they were all on bikes:

I always was fascinated with China, because I was born in Europe, and for us, China had this fascination and mystery. The first time I came here was in 1989. They were on bicycles, and the speed of the growth has been incredible.

So what say you? Do the most recent comments read a bit awkward to you?

Blacks Disproportionately Hit by Layoffs at New Orleans Newspaper

Blacks Disproportionately Hit by Layoffs at New Orleans Newspaper

Last month I shared a story with you about The New Orleans Times-Picayune scaling back its printed edition to three days a week to cut costs. Now The Poynter Institute is reporting blacks were disproportionately hit by the layoffs, “meaning the newspaper serving the majority-black city will become less diverse unless the difference is made up with new hires.”

“The lack of diversity that will be suffered in these newsrooms is unacceptable, and will result in more losses for these companies as consumers will go elsewhere to find news that is truly representative of their community,” the National Association of Black Journalists President Greg Lee said in a news release last week.

The Poynter Institutes blog with more on the layoffs:

The Times-Picayune reported that 84 of 173 people in the newsroom were laid off, a loss of 48.5 percent. According to a list I assembled (based on conversations with multiple people in the newsroom) 14 of 26 African-Americans in the newsroom lost their jobs — a 53.8 percent cut. That includes editors, reporters and administrative personnel.

A 5.3 percentage-point difference may not appear to be much, but it erodes the newspaper’s diversity. The Times-Picayune didn’t participate in the latest ASNE census, but according to the list I assembled, the newsroom would have been 15 percent African-American before the layoffs. If no African-Americans are hired into the new operation, it would be 13.5 percent. (Other departments of the company, such as the press room, have more black employees and were cut significantly.)

According to the latest survey by the American Society of News Editors, newsroom are getting whiter across the country, not just at The Times-Picayune.. When ASNE started its survey in 1978 the percentage of journalists of color in newsrooms was just below 4 percent. The percentage peaked with the 2006 census (at 13.73 percent), but it has fallen almost every year since.

Judge Rules Thousands of School Workers Wrongfully Fired After Katrina

Judge Rules Thousands of School Workers Wrongfully Fired After Katrina

On Thursday, a Louisiana judge ruled that thousands of New Orleans school employees were wrongfully fired after Hurricane Katrina shut down the entire city in 2005.

The ruling awards more than $1 million to seven people who filed the class-action suit against the New Orleans school board and the state, according to WDSU.com.

“Hurricane Katrina gave education reformers a convenient excuse to completely remake the education landscape in New Orleans in their vision. Since then, New Orleans schools have indeed been completely remade; the city now boasts the highest percentages of students who are enrolled in charter schools anywhere in the country, and aggressively adopts school reforms that push for the privatization of the school system,” said Julianne Hing, Colorlines.com’s education reporter.

“This ruling will never be able to undue those years of sweeping change, but it’s important to know that those firings are what allowed for the ‘Teach for Americanization,’ if you will, of New Orleans schools. Without these now-illegal firings, we certainly would be in a different place today,” Hing went on to say.

There are an estimated 7,000 employees that were fired that could come forward seeking damages. That is, if school officials don’t appeal the case.

George Zimmerman Re-Enacts Fatal Shooting Of Trayvon Martin [Video]

George Zimmerman Re-Enacts Fatal Shooting Of Trayvon Martin [Video]

The video above was shot by Sanford police the day after the shooting of Trayvon Martin. It was released by defense attorney Mark O’Mara Thursday morning.

N.C. Senate Killed the Compensation Program for Survivors of State Eugenics Program

North Carolina’s plan to compensate people who were sterilized under the state’s eugenics program is probably not going go through because the State Senate scratched it off the budget Wednesday.

New York Times reports:

Despite backing from Gov. Bev Perdue and the State House of Representatives, a compensation package that would have given victims up to $50,000 each was not included in the Senate’s budget.

“I think there’s a very strong message from the Senate they’re not prepared to take it up this year,” said Thom Tillis, a Republican and speaker of the House, who supported paying victims.

Lawmakers will vote on the final $20.2 billion budget later this week and then send it to the governor, but it is unlikely that any last-minute changes will include the eugenics bill.

There are an estimated 2,000 victims of North Carolina’s forced sterilization program that are still alive today.

Check Colorlines.com’s archives for more history on the proposed compensation package.

Watch ‘Glee’ Star Harry Shum Jr. Compete in a Pole Dancing Contest [Video]

Watch 'Glee' Star Harry Shum Jr. Compete in a Pole Dancing Contest [Video]

Kev Jumba from You Offend Me, You Offend My Family” aka YOMYOMF invited Harry Shum Jr. to a pole dance off.

857 Desks Installed On National Mall to Call Attention to Drop Out Rates

857 Desks Installed On National Mall to Call Attention to Drop Out Rates

An installation of 857 empty school desks, representing the number of students nationwide who are dropping out every hour of every school day, is on display at the National Mall June 20, 2012 in Washington, DC. The installation was presented by the College Board to call upon presidential candidates who are running for the White House to make education a more prominent issue in the 2012 campaigns and put the nation’s schools back on track. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

TAGS: schools

64-Year-Old Great-Grandmother Takes 2nd Place at Bikini Contest

64-Year-Old Great-Grandmother Takes 2nd Place at Bikini Contest

A Los Angeles grandma beat a bunch of women half her age in a bikini contest in Atlanta, Georgia earlier this month. Ruby Carter-Pikes, 64, won second place in the FitSciences Championships on June 2.

“It’s like showing people age is only a number and you don’t have to get cut up or do anything crazy, just be healthy and take care of your body,” Carter-Pikes told KNBC-LA Wednesday.

“Coming from a black family, and most Hispanics, too, we die from high blood pressure, diabetes, heart attack, kidney failure, it’s not because of our genes, it’s because of what we eat,” she told KNBC-LA.

According to her profile on the social networking site Body Proud, Carter-Pikes seriously got in to fitness after several family members were affected with diabetes.

It wasn’t until I was an adult and had four children that I really start to realize and recognize the devastation of my family’s poor eating habits and the effects it had on the health my love ones including my grandmother, mother, aunts, sisters, uncles, brothers, etc. For example, my grandmother died at 57 after being diagnosed with heart problem and high cholesterol; my mother fought the battle of diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease; a sister leg was amputated as a result diabetes (while on dialysis). A niece was diagnosed with diabetes at the early age of 11 and was prescribed insulin shots immediately. She lived with the disease until the age of 32.

Mrs. Carter-Pikes, keep inspiring us all!

FOX Picks Up Jesus Orellana’s Sci-Fi Movie Project ‘Rosa’

rosa_jesus_orellana_poster.jpg

20th Century Fox has purchased the rights to create a full length feature film based on the sci-fi short-film ROSA that was created entirely by young comic-artist Jesús Orellana.

The film’s synopsis:

ROSA is an epic sci-fi short film that takes place in a post-apocalyptic world where all natural life has disappeared. From the destruction awakes Rosa, a cyborg deployed from the Kernel project, mankind’s last attempt to restore the earth’s ecosystem. Rosa will soon learn that she is not the only entity that has awakened and must fight for her survival.

The Hollywood Reporter has more details: > Orellana is on board to direct the project, which is being produced by Simon Kinberg as well as Raymond Brothers and Scott Glassgold of IAM Entertainment.

Orellana produced the short with no budget on a home computer in Barcelona. The short film that has been widely celebrated at film festivals across the globe took him one year to complete.

TAGS: Film ROSA
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