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NAACP in the News (June 29)

June 29, 2018

President Johnson on MSNBC’s Velshi and Ruhle to Talk Supreme Court Pick

The future of the United States is at stake in this Supreme Court vacancy. While the replacement is President Trump’s decision, hard-line conservatives will have a say. Ali Velshi and Stephanie Ruhle explain what could happen to gay rights, voter rights, and immigration in the next era of the Supreme Court. Weighing in: Democratic Congressman Sean Maloney, the President and CEO of the NAACP, Derrick Johnson, and immigration attorney Raul Reyes.

NAACP National Tele Townhall

President Johnson and organization leaders hosted a townhall to discuss implications of Justice Kennedy retirement. Over 1000 individuals participated via phone and online. Leaders spoke about recent supreme court rulings, plan of action to ensure no nomination is appointed until January, and our broader civic engagement and participation in future elections, and took questions from the audience. Listen to full audio recording.

NAACP in the News

AP: NAACP alleges inmate count practice weakens urban districts

The NAACP sued Connecticut on Thursday over how the state counts its prisoners when crafting legislative districts, arguing that urban districts are weakened while rural districts with fewer minorities unfairly benefit. The civil rights organization hopes the case can become a template for lawsuits it may file in other states where inmates are included in the population counts of areas where they’re imprisoned rather than their home districts.
In the first lawsuit of its kind, the NAACP and Yale Law School are suing the State of Connecticut for the use of prison gerrymandering. Prison gerrymandering is when inmates are counted in the voting district where they’re incarcerated, instead of their hometowns. “We simply cannot accept that the State of Connecticut ships inmates to the rural areas far from their homes, then uses the fiction of their supposed residence in those areas to dilute the electoral power of their home communities,” said Brad Berry, general counsel of the NAACP.

Huffington PostNAACP Sues To Throw Out Connecticut Legislature’s Map Over Prison Gerrymandering

The NAACP and a handful of voters filed a lawsuit on Thursday to strike down the map for the Connecticut legislature before the 2020 election. The plaintiffs say that lawmakers are unconstitutionally drawing district lines when they count prisoners as part of the population of the place where they’re incarcerated.

Harford CourantNAACP Sues Connecticut Over ‘Prison Gerrymandering’

The NAACP sued Connecticut in federal court Thursday, alleging the state’s practice of counting inmates in the legislative districts where their prisons are located amounts to “prison gerrymandering” that dilutes the political power of minority communities and violates the principle of one person, one vote.

New Haven RegisterNAACP, Yale Law sue state over ‘prison gerrymandering’

The NAACP has sued the state for what it terms “prison gerrymandering,” where inmates are counted as residents for purposes of drawing state legislative district lines in the towns where they are incarcerated, rather than at their pre-incarceration address.

News 8NAACP sues Connecticut over “prison gerrymandering”

The NAACP announced Thursday the first federal lawsuit ever in the nation against the state of Connecticut to force a stop to prison gerrymandering.  It’s a fancy term which means counting prisoners in the voting district where they’re serving time, instead of where they actually lived before getting confined.

(NNPA) Charleston ChronicleNAACP Reacts to the Retirement of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy

Venerable civil rights organization NAACP issued the following statement regarding the announced retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy. Justice Kennedy played a pivotal role on the Supreme Court for thirty years. He was the deciding vote in many close cases involving civil rights and civil liberties. Without his moderating influence, the balance on the Court could shift dramatically to the right.

Various civil rights groups are backing calls from Democratic lawmakers to hold off on a vote to confirm Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy’s replacement until after the November elections.

Hilary O. Shelton, director of the NAACP’s Washington bureau, appears outside the Supreme Court in support of unions as the Court hears arguments on a lawsuit filed by Illinois state worker Mark Janus, February 26, 2018.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations — along with allies from other civil rights organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union, the NAACP, and the United Maryland Muslim Council — decried the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision, announced Tuesday, that Trump’s ban is constitutional and within his presidential powers.

And the NAACP powerfully argued in its friend of the court  brief it filed that Trump’s Muslim ban “evokes the most shameful periods of our nation’s history:  the stereotype that African Americans were inherently dangerous was used to justify slavery and Jim Crow laws, and the same stereotype about Japanese Americans was used to justify their internment during World War II.”

The narrative of Black boys being punished more severely and more frequently than their White counterparts in public schools for the same offenses has become well known. But, a new report finds Black girls who attend Baltimore City public schools face a similar fate as Black boys when it comes to discipline for their behavior.

Standing outside Bethany Christian Services, a Grand Rapids agency that has taken in 50 immigrant children separated from their parents, the head of the Detroit chapter of the NAACP called for reunifying the kids with their families. “Babies are being ripped from their families by our government,” said the Rev. Wendell Anthony, head of the Detroit chapter of the NAACP, one of the civil rights group’s largest and most influential branches. “This policy and practice must end now. This policy is unacceptable. This should not be what our nation is about.”

Black romantic love is an ideal celebrated as a balm for what ails the Black community. From Gina and Martin in the sitcom Martin to Good Times’ Florida and James Evans, strong Black relationships are often portrayed as antidotes against the harshness that life can offer up to people of color. However, Tayari Jones’ new novel An American Marriage explores what happens when one story of Black love is put under a stress test by the American carceral state.

Charleston Chronicle:
“Defeat Hate – Vote” theme for NAACP’s 109th Annual Convention in San Antonio

The NAACP has announced its 109th convention, beginning Saturday, July 14 through Wednesday, July 18 at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, 900 E Market St.“This year’s convention happens at a watershed moment in our history where civil rights we once considered permanent, are under attack like never before,” said Leon W. Russell, NAACP Chairman of the National Board of Directors. “We intend to organize, strategize and mobilize our members to defeat the hate and convention will be the gathering place for energizing our efforts over the next 365 days.”

Recently, the NAACP, alongside members of the Congressional Black Caucus, gathered on the steps of Capitol Hill to demand a halt of the Trump administration’s continued attempts to force Thomas Farr—a known racist with ties to the late segregationist Senator Jesse Helms—into the federal judgeship of North Carolina.

The Senate’s lone black members, Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Tim Scott (R-S.C.), introduced a bill Friday that would make lynching a federal hate crime. Lynchings are a core part of America’s long history of racial animus and violence. According to the NAACP, more than 4,700 lynches were recorded between 1882 and 1968 alone; nearly 3/4 of lynchings targeting black people (3,446 to be exact).

Statements
 

The stakes for nominating a new Supreme Court Justice could not be higher at this moment in our history. The Court is meant to be an unbiased guardian of rights and liberties of all Americans.  The country desperately needs a fair-minded and independent jurist on the Supreme Court.  Now is not the time for a divisive and biased appointment who will further shake the public’s faith in our nation’s justice system.  The constitutional process for appointing and confirming the next justice must be thoughtful, careful, deliberative, and conducted with well-informed bipartisan support.

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), together with the NAACP Connecticut State Conference and individual NAACP members who live in five of the most overcrowded Connecticut state legislative districts, filed suit in federal court today to challenge the practice of counting prisoners as residents of the state legislative districts where they are incarcerated rather than in their home districts—a practice known as “prison gerrymandering.”

A coalition of civil rights groups today released the following joint statement in response to Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy’s pending retirement.

Justice Kennedy played a pivotal role on the Supreme Court for thirty years. He was the deciding vote in many close cases involving civil rights and civil liberties. Without his moderating influence, the balance on the Court could shift dramatically to the right.

On Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5 to 4 in the case Janus v. AFSCME on the issue of whether the First Amendment prohibits unions from charging fees to workers who elect not to participate in collective bargaining activities, stating that the fees infringe upon non-member worker’s right to free speech.

According to new data “ hate crime totals for the 10 largest cities rose for four straight years to the highest level in a decade.” The NAACP believes there is a direct relationship between the rise in hate crimes exemplified by the continual #LivingWhileBlack incidents and other reported crimes and President Donald J. Trump’s xenophobic rhetoric and racist policies.

Today, a Baltimore circuit court judge granted an injunction extending the voting deadline in three North Baltimore precincts following the filing of an emergency complaint.  The suit alleged that dozens of voters were turned away early Tuesday morning because voting machines had not been set up at the Baltimore IT Academy, causing a delay of more than two hours.

The Maryland State Conference of the NAACP is demanding answers and solutions in light of the Maryland motor-voter registration update fiasco. The leadership of the Motor Vehicle Administration and the Board of Elections must immediately demonstrate that they have the capacity to accurately explain the size and impact of the problem and fix this violation of the public trust or they must make room for leaders who are able to restore confidence in Maryland elections,” said Rev. Kobi Little, a spokesman for the NAACP’s Maryland State Conference President, Gerald Stansbury.

NAACP Pennsylvania State Conference calls for the Pennsylvania Attorney General to prosecute police officer who murdered Antwon Rose, Town Hall Meeting to address community safety and policing planned.

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