Civil Rights

More Rights At Stake: A Preview of the Supreme Court's 2008-09 Term

A report from People For the American Way Foundation on a selection of cases the Supreme Court will consider in the term beginning October 6, 2008. In the 2008-09 term, the Court is set to consider a number of important cases involving voting rights, employment discrimination, free speech, and access to justice.

McCain Courts the Right, Attacks Families

This weekend, The New York Times reported that Senator McCain said flatly that he opposed allowing gay couples to adopt. "I think that we’ve proven that both parents are important in the success of a family so, no, I don’t believe in gay adoption."

Republicans Block Emergency Ballot Bill in the House

In response to the failed vote on Rep. Zoe Lofgren's Emergency Ballot Bill, People For the American Way Director of Public Policy Tanya Clay House released the following statement:

McCain, Ignoring Own Record, Claims Commitment to Equal Pay

Earlier today, Senator John McCain told voters assembled at a Wisconsin town hall meeting that he is a committed supporter of equal pay: "We have not done enough. And I’m committed to making sure that there’s equal pay for equal work. That there is equal opportunity in every aspect of our society. And that is my record and you can count on it."

People For the American Way Encouraged by Obama Commitment to Apply Constitutional Principles to Partnerships with Faith-Based Groups

People For the American Way President Kathryn Kolbert said, Senator Obama’s speech on government partnerships with faith-based and grassroots social service groups included a clear commitment to constitutional principles, something that has been sorely lacking during the Bush administration. Sen. Obama stated clearly that his administration would not allow federal funds to support discrimination in providing services – or in hiring. In so doing, the Obama campaign is embracing civil rights protections that the Bush administration actively tried to undermine.

Obama Talks SCOTUS and Women

At an event today in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Senator Barack Obama spoke about his support of the Fair Pay Restoration Act, which would reverse the Supreme Court’s decision in Ledbetter v. Goodyear. That decision severely curtailed the right of women and other employees who are victimized by unlawful wage discrimination to obtain back pay. Senator Obama criticized Senator John McCain’s refusal to support the same legislation.

People For the American Way President Kathryn Kolbert issued the following statement:

California State University and People For the American Way Foundation Reach Agreement in Fullerton Lecturer Case

(Fullerton, CA) — The California State University (CSU) and Wendy Gonaver, represented by attorneys with People For the American Way Foundation, have worked out an agreement over a dispute concerning the requirement that all state employees sign a "loyalty oath" as required by the California Constitution.

Court Affirms the Right to Vote, Rejects Challenge to Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act

A three-judge District Court in Washington, D.C. unanimously rejected the Northwest Austin Municipal Utility District No. 1’s (NAMUDNO) argument that it is exempt from Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA).

Supreme Court Issues Rare Pro-Worker Rulings

In response to the Supreme Court's rulings in CBOCS West Inc. v. Humphries and Gomez-Perez v. Potter, People For the American Way Foundation president Kathryn Kolbert issued the following statement:

People For the American Way Praises Governor Sebelius’ Veto of House Bill 2019

Today, Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius vetoed House Bill 2019. If signed by the govenor, the bill would have instituted a burdensome proof of citizenship and identification requirement, potentially disenfranchising thousands of Kansas’ elderly, disabled, minority, and low-income voters. People For the American Way Senior Vice President and National Field Director Mary Jean Collins today praised Gov. Sebelius for standing up for the rights of Kansas voters, and hailed the veto as a victory for all voters.

People For the American Way Responds to Hans von Spakovsky’s Withdrawal of His Nomination to the FEC

Following Hans von Spakovsky’s withdrawal of his nomination to the Federal Election Commission, Tanya Clay House, Director of Public Policy at People For the American Way said, “It’s clear that Hans von Spakovsky, who worked under former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, was not an appropriate choice to sit on the Federal Election Commission, or any commission charged with overseeing Americans’ voting rights and fair election practices.

People For Delivers 11,000 Petitions To Cal State Chancellor

People For the American Way Foundation delivered more than 11,000 petitions to California State University Chancellor Charles B. Reed. The petitions call for the university system to adopt a policy that accommodates employees who have religious or other objections to the state's "loyalty oath" by allowing them to sign the oath and attach an explanatory statement, the very same policy of the University of California.

McCain Puts 14-yr-old Girl on the Spot, Says Fair Pay Act Wouldn't Help Women

Sen. John McCain, at a town hall event held Wednesday in Michigan, singled out a girl wearing a t-shirt critical of him and challenged her to ask him a question. She asked about the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which would have corrected the Supreme Court’s destructive ruling in >Ledbetter v. Goodyear: “I was wondering Senator McCain why you had the opportunity to vote to give equal rights to women equal pay [but] you didn't show up to vote and you said that if you did you wouldn't support it.”

Fired Teacher Calls on Calif State University to Change "Loyalty Oath" Policy

Gonaver
People For the American Way Foundation
PFAW Foundation has taken up the case of fired Quaker teacher Wendy Gonaver, insisting that the California State University restore her to a teaching job.

Supreme Court End-of-Term Analysis: 2005-06 Term

The 2005-06 term was clearly a period of transition for the Supreme Court, as Chief Justice Roberts replaced Chief Justice Rehnquist, and two justices in a sense replaced Justice O’Connor Justice Alito took her seat on the Court while Justice Kennedy replaced her as the “swing” vote in a number of closely divided cases. And while a relatively large number of the Court’s decisions this term were unanimous (generally where the Court was able to agree on a narrow approach and avoid divisive issues as in the New Hampshire abortion case), the new justices clearly pushed the Court towards the right in several important, closely divided cases.

The Long Shadow of Jim Crow: Voter Suppression in America

This report lays out a historical review of more than a hundred years of efforts to suppress and intimidate minority voters following emancipation, through Reconstruction and the “Second Reconstruction,” the years immediately following the passage of the Voting Rights Act.

Courting Disaster 2005

What would the actual impact be on Americans' rights and freedoms if the views of Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas become the majority views on the Supreme Court? This report examines Scalia's and Thomas's opinions to answer that question, focusing on cases in which Scalia and Thomas have been in the minority on the Court, and the answer is nothing short of chilling.

The Case Against the Confirmation of John Ashcroft As Attorney General of the United States: Part II

An examination of John Ashcroft's record as Governor and Attorney General of the state of Missouri.

The Case Against the Confirmation of John Ashcroft as Attorney General of the United States: PART I

On January 4, People For the American Way published an overview of John Ashcroft's six-year record in the United States Senate. The report shows clearly that John Ashcroft does not meet the high standards of fairness and integrity required of the Attorney General. He has not demonstrated a sufficient commitment to equal justice under the law to be entrusted with upholding the Constitution and our nation's civil rights laws.

John Ashcroft's First Six Months at the Justice Department: The Right Wing Dream Team Takes Over

This report examines the nomination of John Ashcroft for Attorney General by President George W. Bush. Based on Ashcroft's record as a senator and as Missouri state attorney general and governor, public interest advocates believed that Ashcroft was a right-wing ideologue who should not be entrusted with overseeing the enforcement of laws and the protection of constitutional guarantees affecting civil rights, civil liberties, religious liberty, reproductive rights, environmental protection, and more.

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