Tag Archives: Vanita Gupta

DOJ Frees Federal Prosecutors to Take Steps That Could Interfere With Elections, Weakening Long-standing Policy

In an internal announcement, the Justice Department created an exception to a decadeslong policy meant to prevent prosecutors from taking overt investigative steps that might affect the outcome of the vote.

By Robert Faturechi and Justin Elliott  Published 10-7-2020 by ProPublica

Department of Justice
Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C. Photo: Victoria Pickering/flickr/CC

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The Department of Justice has weakened its long-standing prohibition against interfering in elections, according to two department officials.

Avoiding election interference is the overarching principle of DOJ policy on voting-related crimes. In place since at least 1980, the policy generally bars prosecutors not only from making any announcement about ongoing investigations close to an election but also from taking public steps — such as an arrest or a raid — before a vote is finalized because the publicity could tip the balance of a race. Continue reading

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‘Everyone in America Should Be Outraged’: McConnell Quietly Rams Through More Lifetime Trump Judges While Blocking Covid Relief

“It’s outrageous that McConnell continues to prioritize the Trump court takeover amid the pandemic. Enough.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-16-2020

Mitch McConnell. Photo: Gage Skidmore/flickr

As Covid-19 relief for jobless and hungry Americans, collapsing small businesses, and state and local governments languishes in the Senate GOP’s legislative graveyard, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday further advanced his years-long project of dragging U.S. federal courts to the right by ramming through three more of President Donald Trump’s lifetime judicial nominees and teed up votes on several others.

Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, noted on Twitter that the latest confirmations came four months to the day after the Democrat-controlled House passed the Heroes Act, a $3 trillion coronavirus relief package that McConnell dismissed as an “unserious liberal wish list” and blocked from receiving a vote in the Senate. Continue reading

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Prohibited From Holding Police Officer to Account, Federal Judge Calls on Supreme Court to Overturn ‘Qualified Immunity’

“Those who violate the constitutional rights of our citizens must be held accountable. When that day comes we will be one step closer to that more perfect Union.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-7-2020

Image: change.org

Handing down a ruling to dismiss a civil lawsuit which alleged a police officer violated a Black man’s Fourth Amendment rights during a traffic stop in 2013, a federal judge in Mississippi made clear that he sided with the plaintiff—and demanded the U.S. Supreme Court overturn legal precedent that makes it nearly impossible for the judicial system to hold officers accountable for rights violations. 

Calling for an end to qualified immunity, which dates back to a 1982 ruling and shields police from civil liability in most cases, U.S. District Court Judge Carlton Reeves turned his ruling into a plea for justice for plaintiff Clarence Jamison as well as countless other Black Americans who have faced violent abuse and deadly use of force by officers. Continue reading

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After Trump Deploys Secret Police in Portland, ‘Imagine What Happens If He Gets Four More Years’

“They want to see what they can get away with before launching into other parts of the country.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-17-2020

Photo: BoopTroopEugene/Twitter

Video footage and first-hand accounts of unidentified federal law enforcement officials snatching up Black Lives Matter protesters in Portland, Oregon and throwing them into unmarked vehicles drew nationwide attention and outrage Friday, with members of Congress, human rights groups, and journalists accusing the Trump administration of deploying “secret police” to crush dissent.

“Unmarked federal agents in combat gear are pulling protesters off the street and jailing them without charge,” tweeted Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). “That is what a police state is all about. Now is the time to defend our Constitution. Now is the time to come together and defeat Trump’s authoritarian policies.” Continue reading

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‘Exploitation of a Pandemic to Reshape Immigration Law’: Trump Order on Worker Visa Restrictions Sparks Outrage

“As long as the Trump administration is in office, they will continue to look for excuses to justify extending this ban.”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams, Published 6-23-2020

Screenshot: YouTube

President Donald Trump was accused of exploiting the coronavirus pandemic to advance his administration’s anti-immigrant agenda in response to his Monday order expanding restrictions on temporary worker visas.

“This is another thinly-veiled attempt to implement radical changes to our immigration system, and to limit the number of non-citizens who are able to come to the U.S.,” tweeted the American Immigration Council. “This is not about public health or the economy.” Continue reading

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1,250 Former DOJ Officials Demand Investigation Into Barr’s Involvement in Violently Dispersing Demonstrators Near White House

“None of us would ever have considered directing or engaging in such actions to be consistent with our oaths to support and defend the Constitution.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-10-2020

Screenshot: WUSA9

More than 1,250 former Department of Justice employees on Wednesday called on the department’s inspector general to open an investigation into reports that Attorney General William Barr personally ordered the tear-gassing of protesters in Washington, D.C. on June 1.

The former employees wrote that Inspector General Michael Horowitz must get to the bottom of Barr’s involvement in the dispersing of the crowd, which was part of the nationwide uprising against racial injustice following the killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. Continue reading

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‘This Is Despicable’: Not Even COVID-19 Pandemic Can Halt Trump’s Right-Wing Takeover of Federal Courts

Critics warn the president’s latest nominees for lifetime appellate court positions are both committed to the “deadly agenda” of overturning the entire Affordable Care Act.

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-3-2020

President Donald J. Trump honors Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell during the federal judicial confirmation milestones event, Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2019, Photo: White House/flickr

As the coronavirus pandemic continued to ravage the United States this week, killing and infecting thousands while shuttering schools and businesses, President Donald Trump proceeded with his ongoing effort to shift the federal judiciary to the far-right by announcing a fresh pair of lifetime nominees to appellate courts.

Trump on Friday announced the nomination of U.S. District Judge Justin Walker to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, following the president’s nomination on Monday of Mississippi Court of Appeals Judge Cory Wilson to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Continue reading

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Warnings of ‘Taxpayer-Funded Discrimination’ Against LGBTQ Workers as Trump Pushes Religious Exemption Rule for Contractors

“This rule seeks to undermine our civil rights protections and encourages discrimination in the workplace—and we will work to stop it,” said the ACLU

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-14-2019

Photo from We Won’t Be Erased – Rally for Trans Rights, Washington, DC. Photo: Ted Eytan/flickr

Rights groups on Wednesday accused the Trump administration of attempting to permit workplace discrimination against LGBTQ employees and other vulnerable people after the Labor Department unveiled a rule that would allow federal contractors to cite religious beliefs to protect themselves from bias claims.

On Twitter, the ACLU said the proposal “aims to let government contractors fire workers who are LGBTQ, or who are pregnant and unmarried, based on the employers’ religious views.” Continue reading

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‘Explosive’ New Evidence Shows GOP ‘Weaponizing’ the 2020 Census With Citizenship Question to Rig Elections

A Republican redistricting strategist who died last year left behind documents that critics call a “smoking gun” in the right-wing effort to exploit the census for electoral advantage

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-30-2019

The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to issue a ruling in June about the legality of adding a citizenship question to the 2020 census. (Photo: @CensusCounts/Twitter)

Just weeks before the U.S. Supreme Court is set to rule on the Trump administration’s attempt to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census, previously undisclosed documents found on the hard drives of a deceased Republican operative offer “explosive” new evidence that the GOP fought for the question to create an electoral advantage for “Republicans and Non-Hispanic Whites.”

Federal district judges in New York and California ruled earlier this year that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross’s attempt to add a citizenship question to the next census violated the Administrative Procedures Act. The Supreme Court heard arguments in April and is expected to issue a ruling in June. Continue reading

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Siding With ‘Loan Sharks’ Over Consumers, Trump CFPB Moves to Gut Payday Lender Regulations

“This administration has moved the CFPB away from protecting consumers to protecting the very companies abusing them.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-6-2019

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau director Kathy Kraninger testifies during a confirmation hearing before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. Photo: C-SPAN screenshot

In what progressive lawmakers and advocacy groups decried as the Trump administration’s latest “shameful” attack on vulnerable families, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) unveiled a plan on Wednesday that would gut regulations protecting consumers from predatory payday lenders.

Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, denounced the CFPB’s plan as “a slap in the face to consumers—especially people of color—who have been victims of predatory business practices and abusive lenders.” Continue reading

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