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Supreme Court

Safe Abortions Everywhere, Regardless Of The Law

In 2008 in Quito, high in the Andes Mountains, a group of young feminist activists dropped a banner from the top of an enormous statue of the Virgin Mary that towers over Ecuador’s capital city. ​“Aborto Seguro,” the banner read, alongside the number for a new hotline that offered callers information on safely using medication to end a pregnancy outside the medical system. In a country where abortion access is extremely restricted and the majority of the population is Catholic, the Ecuadorian ​“safe abortion hotline” was a bold declaration of women’s bodily autonomy. It was also the beginning of what has since become a transnational movement that is increasingly relevant far beyond the region where it was born.

How A New Supreme Court Decision Threatens Movements In Mississippi

As local and state governments across the country continue to propose sweeping new policies that criminalize protests, a recent Supreme Court decision in the Deep South has sparked fears that it “effectively eliminated the right to organize a mass protest” in multiple states — setting a dangerous precedent for Southern organizers and activists. Back in 2016, prominent Black Lives Matter organizer DeRay McKesson led a protest in Baton Rouge, Louisiana where an unidentified protester seriously injured a police officer. The officer sued him, arguing that McKesson displayed negligence as an organizer.

When You’re Unsheltered, ‘Public Safety’ Doesn’t Include You

I’m going to tell you something you already know: Every human being is entitled to a roof over their head and a place to sleep at night. This is an indisputable truth, part of the catechism of humanistic virtue. In a world that lived up to its self-professed ideals of opportunity, any condition of homelessness would be rare, brief and non-recurring. The reality is cultural attitudes toward impoverished people – fueled by toxic portrayals, fear mongering in the media and systematic dehumanization – have made homelessness not a community problem to be solved, but an individual offense to be punished, and defines those who suffer this condition as enemies to the idyllic peace of ‘good (read: housed and well-fed) people’.

SCOTUS Is Set To Make A Watershed Ruling On Homelessness

This month, the Supreme Court will begin to hear one of the highest-profile court cases about homelessness in generations. City of Grants Pass, Oregon v. Gloria Johnson considers whether a local government can outlaw sleeping outside if adequate shelter is not accessible. If the Court sides with Grants Pass, cities will be able to rely on punitive policies that do little to nothing to decrease homelessness and often cause worse outcomes for unhoused people in the process. If it favors Johnson, local governments will be required to demonstrate adequate shelter is available for an individual before resorting to harsh enforcement tactics.

India’s Supreme Court Expands ‘Right To Life’ To Include Climate Change

In another landmark climate decision, the Supreme Court of India has ruled that an individual’s “right to life” includes protection against the impacts of climate change. The verdict reflects fundamental rights stated in Article 21 of the country’s constitution, reported The Independent. “Without a clean environment which is stable and unimpacted by the vagaries of climate change, the right to life is not fully realised,” the decision of the court said. “The right to health (which is a part of the right to life under Article 21) is impacted due to factors such as air pollution, shifts in vector-borne diseases, rising temperatures, droughts, shortages in food supplies due to crop failure, storms, and flooding.”

An Upcoming Supreme Court Case Threatens To Criminalize Homelessness

As America’s affordable housing crisis grows, especially for those of retirement age, Black folks continue to be pushed into homelessness at a disproportionate rate. Advocates argue that an upcoming U.S. Supreme Court ruling may make it even more dire. Earlier this month, the court announced that it would hear a case that will essentially decide if people experiencing homelessness can be issued jail time, tickets, and fines for sleeping on the streets — even if there are no shelter alternatives available for them. The case will be heard either this spring or in the fall.

Win For LGBTQ+ Youth, Supreme Court Rejects ‘Conversion Therapy’ Case

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to take up a lawsuit challenging Washington state's ban on the harmful practice of so-called "conversion therapy" for minors, a move welcomed by LGBTQ+ rights advocates. The nation's highest court rejected an appeal from Washington, where the 2018 law prohibiting therapists from attempting to change a minor's sexual orientation or gender identity has been upheld by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Although right-wing Justices Samuel Alito, Brett Kavanaugh, and Clarence Thomas dissented, their votes fell one shy of the four needed to get the case on the court's shortlist for full review.

Chipping Away At The Right To Strike

On June 1, the Supreme Court issued a significant decision against the labor movement in Glacier Northwest v. Teamsters Local Union No. 174. In an 8–1 split, the Court found that the National Labor Relations Act does not protect striking cement truck drivers from being sued by their employer, who alleges damages for lost cement caused by their work stoppage. The decision, perhaps by design, has received little public outcry. Some in labor, who had anticipated a worse outcome, even expressed relief. On June 1, SEIU International President Mary Kay Henry tweeted, “We are pleased that today’s decision . . . doesn’t change labor law and leaves the right to strike intact.”

Right-Dominated Supreme Court Is Poised To Do Grave Harm

The 2023-2024 Supreme Court term will begin on Monday, October 2. Dominated by six right-wingers, the court has agreed to review cases in which voting rights, consumer protection, and the regulation of health and safety, workers’ rights and the environment are in jeopardy. The cases present the issues of gerrymandering and the power of administrative agencies. In light of its recent conservative rulings, we should be wary about how the court will rule on these critical matters. Besides the cases already on the Supreme Court’s docket, the court will add more cases by mid-January. Their decisions will be issued by the end of June or beginning of July 2024.

Construction Companies Exploit Agricultural Visas To Underpay Workers

Jose Ageo Luna Vanegas first worked for Signet Builders in the early 2000s. Hired on a temporary labor visa, he traveled from Mexico to U.S. job sites. The hours were long, but he was paid overtime. Years later, around 2017, Signet hired him again. This time, he received no overtime pay. That’s when he ​“started asking questions,” his attorney, Jennifer Zimmermann, said.  The work was largely the same. His visa was different. Originally, Luna Vanegas was hired on an H-2B visa. Various industries use the visas to fill labor shortages. A hotel facing a busy summer might hire foreign maids, for instance. But, when Signet hired him for his second stint with the company, he was on an H-2A visa. It’s reserved for agriculture work.

Mexico’s Supreme Court Decriminalizes Abortion Nationally

On Wednesday, September 6, Mexico’s Supreme Court of Justice (SCJN) unanimously ruled to decriminalize abortion at the national level. The SCJN resolved that the legal system that criminalizes abortion in the Federal Penal Code is unconstitutional as it violates the human rights of women and people with capacity for pregnancy. The ruling came two years after the SCJN first declared criminal penalties for abortion as unconstitutional and ordered the northern State of Coahuila to remove sanctions for abortion from its criminal code in September 2021. The ruling was in response to a case filed in 2018 challenging a criminal law in the Coahuila State legislation that punished women and pregnant individuals for terminating their pregnancy.

Juvenile Sentencing In The US Is Barbaric, Racist, And Ineffective

“The United States is the only country in the world that permits youth to be sentenced to life without parole,” the Juvenile Law Center notes. “Sentencing children to die in prison is condemned by international law. For children or adults, a sentence of life without parole is cruel, inhumane, and denies the individual’s humanity. For children, the sentence also defies law and research confirming that youth are different than adults and must be treated differently by our legal system.” While many individual states have banned the practice of sentencing juvenile offenders to life without parole, 22 states still permit it, and the conservative majority of the US Supreme Court has shown a troubling openness to overturning past precedents regarding juvenile sentencing.

50 Years Older And Deeper In Debt

This year marks the 50th anniversary of San Antonio Independent School District v. Rodriguez, the landmark 5-4 Supreme Court decision that held that education is not a fundamental right protected by the U.S. Constitution. The decision dashed hopes that the historic Brown v. Board of Education ruling that ended legal segregation in 1954 would be followed by a sustained federal commitment to making education equality a reality. Demetrio Rodriguez was a sheet metal worker and a member of the Edgewood Concerned Parent Association when he became the lead plaintiff in the case. He thought his three children were being shortchanged by wide disparities in schooling across the sprawling San Antonio school district and the state of Texas.

Next Steps In The Fight For Debt Relief

The student loan pause offered a safety raft to millions of Americans who are drowning in debt. The Supreme Court’s recent 6-3 decision to block student debt relief will devastate these borrowers, many of whom finally experienced what it was like to have money to set aside for the chance to purchase homes, start families and live without constantly worrying about debt. After having this taste of freedom, Americans are ready to organize to protect what the Biden administration promised them. Among the groups leading the charge — and continuing to push the Biden administration to exercise all options for bringing about the promised debt relief — is the Debt Collective.

Fallout From Supreme Court’s Affirmative Action Decision Has Begun

After the Supreme Court’s ruling last month effectively ending affirmative action in higher education, lawmakers and organizations on both sides of the ideological divide strategized next steps ranging from challenging legacy admissions to barring minority scholarships. In a consolidated decision in two cases — Students for Fair Admissions Inc. v. University of North Carolina and Students for Fair Admissions Inc. v. President & Fellows of Harvard College — the Supreme Court decided that affirmative action is unconstitutional. Harvard is now under fire for admissions policies that activist groups say disadvantage students of color
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