civil-rights

National Democratic groups litigate 2020 in the courts
Party committees are trying to expand the electorate by challenging state voting laws

DCCC Chairwoman Cheri Bustos says some GOP state legislators were trying to “keep African Americans away from the ballot box.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

More than in previous election cycles, national Democratic groups are making litigation over election and voting laws a key part of their 2020 strategy. 

A handful of Democratic groups are currently litigating about a dozen cases over what they see as unfair election laws and maps across the country. 

Homeland Security announces easing of facial recognition rule
Lawmakers, civil rights groups and tech companies have raised privacy concerns

U.S. Customs and Border Protection has clarified that facial recognition scans at airports remain voluntary for U.S. citizens. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images file photo)

Homeland Security officials continue to step back from their published plan to require use of facial recognition technology on American citizens at U.S. airports when they arrive from or depart to international destinations.

The Trump administration’s proposed mandatory use of the technology was included in the so-called unified agenda, published in late November, which sets out the regulatory changes agencies intend to pursue in coming months. The proposal sought to expand mandatory facial recognition at U.S. airports “to provide that all travelers, including U.S. citizens, may be required to be photographed upon entry and/or departure.”

Booker’s CROWN Act would ban discrimination against black hairstyles
Federal initiative is part of state-by-state push by group that includes Dove products

Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., is among those calling for more federal protections against discrimination of hairstyles commonly worn by African Americans. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Nappy. Kinky. Too curly. These are adjectives sometimes used to describe natural black hair. While they can be insulting, some lawmakers say these perceptions also lead to discrimination against African Americans.

Several recent high-profile incidents involving discrimination and racial insensitivity have convinced lawmakers that more federal protections need to be put in place to prevent prejudice against hairstyles associated with black culture.

‘America, we’ve got a problem’: Isakson’s farewell warning

Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., shakes hands with Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., after what is likely his last speech on the Senate floor. (Screenshot via Senate Recording Studio)

Big Apple debates use of algorithms in policing
Advocates fear erosion of civil liberties as cities embrace new tech to safeguard residents

Advocates who favor greater oversight of the NYPD’s use of algorithms to aid in investigations are expressing concern after New York Mayor Bill de Blasio included an exemption for law enforcement in an executive order establishing a new position to monitor use of algorithms and artificial intelligence by city agencies. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

NEW YORK — The extent to which artificial intelligence and automated decision-making should play a role in policing is at the center of a debate over civil liberties in the nation’s largest city.

Technologies powered by artificial intelligence, such as facial recognition and predictive policing tools, have been shown to have racial and ethnic biases, raising questions about whether their use by police could exacerbate inequalities already baked into the criminal justice system.

Senate Democrats pick fight over gun provisions in VAWA
Bipartisan talks broke down over renewing law aimed at curbing domestic violence

Minnesota Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar urged Republicans to stand up to the National Rifle Association after a dispute over gun provisions led to a breakdown in bipartisan talks over renewing the Violence Against Women Act. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Democrats on Wednesday introduced the same Violence Against Women Act reauthorization bill passed by the House, days after they say talks with Republicans about a compromise broke down over controversial gun provisions.  

The entire Democratic caucus has backed the bill, which has provisions restricting gun rights of certain convicts that helped spur the split with Senate Republicans. While promoting the measure during a news conference Wednesday, Democrats blamed the National Rifle Association’s sway in the chamber for the Republicans’ reluctance to back the bill.

Inside the unique tributes to Elijah Cummings
Political Theater, Episode 97

A portrait of the late Maryland Rep. Elijah E. Cummings sits nearby as his body lies in state outside the House chamber on Thursday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The memorials for the late Maryland Democratic Rep. Elijah E. Cummings illustrate the unique way the nation remembers figures like him, a tradition of grieving both in public and private in places important to the deceased. Longstanding rituals in the Capitol, and in also in his hometown of Baltimore, give his family, friends, colleagues and constituents a way to celebrate his life. 

From former presidents to high schoolers from Baltimore City College, Cummings’ funeral shows the unique way we grieve people like him.  

Pain and politics acknowledged at Cummings’ funeral
‘They were trying to tear him down,’ widow says of the president

Former President Barack Obama speaks during the funeral service for the late Rep. Elijah Cummings at the New Psalmist Baptist Church in Baltimore on Friday. (Julio Cortez-Pool/Getty Images)

The funeral of Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, simultaneously deeply personal and star-studded, was a celebration of his life, public service, moral vision and his beloved city of Baltimore.

Cummings’ home church in Charm City, the New Psalmist Baptist Church, was packed Friday for the nearly four-hour service for which he planned all the details. He selected a range of people to speak about him, including two former presidents, two daughters, one presidential candidate, mentors, mentees and his own pastor, among others.

With ‘lynching’ comment, Trump retreats to his racist comfort zone
Pouring gasoline on the embers of racial resentment has always been his go-to move

Victor Garlington holds up a photo of the 1913 lynching of his great uncle Richard Putt outside the South Carolina State House in July 2015. The president’s recent comparison of the impeachment probe to a lynching demonstrate that tribalism and division are all he cares about, Curtis writes. (John Moore/Getty Images file photo)

OPINION — When Mamie Elizabeth Till-Mobley sent her 14-year-old son, Emmett, to visit relatives in Mississippi, she never thought he would return in a casket, a victim of a mother’s nightmare and America’s shame. A group of white men kidnapped, tortured, mutilated and murdered him that summer in 1955 for the “crime” of flirting with a white woman, who years later admitted to lying about their supposed interaction.

Mr. President, that’s a lynching.

Trump ‘lynching’ tweet just latest impeachment myth — from both sides
Inquiry has featured misleading statements thrust into ether by GOP and Dems, muddying probe

President Donald Trump speaks to members of the media on the South Lawn of the White House on Oct. 10. His comparison of the ongoing impeachment inquiry to a "lynching" drew bipartisan criticism. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

ANALYSIS — President Donald Trump’s comparison of his possible impeachment as a “lynching” set off a war of words Tuesday between his staunchest defenders and his fiercest critics. Accusations have flown back and forth during the nearly month-old inquiry, but they have not always rung accurate — or been even remotely true.

Trump’s “lynching” tweet is a prime example of the latter, with even some of his political allies making a rare break with a president who still has the support, according to multiple polls, of nearly 90 percent of Republican voters. But both sides have been guilty of pushing myths about how this impeachment is playing out and the nature of the constitutionally based process.