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Supreme Court

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

Should There Be A Supreme Court?

Vested interests create “checks and balances” primarily to make political systems non-responsive to demands for social reform. Historically, therefore, the checks are politically unbalanced in practice. Instead of producing a happy medium, their effect often has been to check the power of the people to assert their interests at the expense of the more powerful. Real reform requires a revolution – often repeated attempts. The Roman Republic suffered five centuries of fighting to redistribute land and cancel debts, all of which failed as the oligarchy’s “checks” imposed deepening economic dependency and imbalance.

Beyond Affirmative Action, Toward Black Unity

“Affirmative action” is, at this point, a loaded phrase. Strictly speaking, affirmative action typically refers to sets of policies/procedures that attempt to “even the playing field,” most commonly in education or employment decisions, by stopping present and future discrimination against marginalized or underrepresented groups while making up for past discrimination and injustices. For some in the U.S., affirmative action that considers race is representative of ‘reverse racism’ and political ‘wokeness’ run amok, and for others, it is a major victory that our elders and ancestors struggled for for years.

The Supreme Court And Political Corruption

The Supreme Court of the United States is enshrined in the Constitution as one of three branches of government, the other two being the Executive branch, the presidency, and the Legislative branch, the Senate and House of Representatives. In other words the Court is a lawmaking body. The 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision was a landmark, a case that most Black people commit to memory. The Court declared that public accommodations could not be considered equal if they were separate, and thus began the long road to ending segregation in the law.

Here’s What ‘Moore V. Harper’ Means For Voting Rights Going Forward

Chief Justice John Roberts has historically not decided cases in a way that protects voting rights. In 2013, he authored Shelby v. Holder, which drove a stake through the heart of the Voting Rights Act. And in 2021, he voted to further weaken the Act in Brnovich v. DNC. But this past month, Roberts surprisingly authored two new Supreme Court opinions that support the right to vote. On June 8, the high court struck down a racist congressional district map in Allen v. Milligan, and on June 27, the court preserved judicial review of state legislative enactments in Moore v. Harper.

US Supreme Court Strikes Down Student Debt Relief

On June 30, the US Supreme Court struck down President Joe Biden’s student debt relief program, which had been held up in the courts for several months due to right-wing legal challenges. The six ultra-conservative justices which make up the majority of the court ruled against the program, while the three centrist justices voted to uphold it. The Court ruled that Biden had overstepped his authority when he announced a sweeping student debt relief program on August 24, 2022. The program would have zeroed out the debts of 20 million people. Biden issued an executive action in August to forgive the debts of student loan borrowers by up to USD 20,000.

SCOTUS’s Latest Attack On Affirmative Action

The Supreme Court of the United States confirmed once again what an utterly reactionary, rightwing institution it is by striking down the right to use affirmative action in college admissions. The 6-3 ruling, issued June 29, stems from two cases – Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard University and Students for Fair Admissions v. University of North Carolina – which claim that whites and Asians are victims of “reverse discrimination.” What this vote means is that “race-conscious admissions policies,” can no longer be used to assure that working class students of color, especially if they are Black and Brown, will have access to colleges and universities, whose exorbitant tuition fees have put millions into a lifetime of debt.

Indigenous Activists Respond To Gutting Of Affirmative Action

Boston, MA - Indigenous activists in Boston reaffirm their commitment to overcome historic barriers to higher education for students in light of today’s ruling delivered by the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) that guts Affirmative Action in college admissions at institutions of higher education across the country. The Indigenous activists demand the passage of two bills in the state legislature specifically addressing Native issues in public education. Today’s SCOTUS ruling overturns a longstanding precedent that had previously benefited Black, Indigenous, and Latine students in higher education due to a demonstrable historic lack of opportunities for those students.

Supreme Court Keeps Navajo Nation Waiting For Water

More than 150 years after the Navajo Nation signed treaties with the United States establishing its reservation and recognizing its sovereignty, the country’s largest tribe still struggles to secure the water guaranteed by those agreements. Decades of negotiations with the state of Arizona have proven fruitless. The state has been uniquely aggressive in using the scarce resource as a bargaining chip to extract concessions from the Navajo Nation and other tribes, dragging out the talks while Indigenous communities await desperately needed water and infrastructure, a recent ProPublica and High Country News investigation found.

ICWA Stands! Supreme Court Affirms Indian Child Welfare Act

The court’s opinion in the case Haaland v. Brackeen upheld the federal Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), a 1978 law that gives tribal governments exclusive jurisdiction over Native children who live on reservations. Considered to be the “gold standard” of child welfare policy, ICWA has protected the continued existence of Indian tribes and their most vital resource — Indian children — for 45 years. By a 7-2 margin, the court today reinforced ICWA by affirming an appellate court en banc ruling that challenged some aspects of the law’s constitutionality. The nation's highest court found that ICWA does not discriminate on the basis of race and does not impose an undue burden on states.
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