Civil Rights Roundup: 10/06/08

Your daily dose of civil rights and related news

Obviously, this column by the treasurer of the Buchanan County (Va.) GOP (and county representative on McCain’s Virginia leadership team) is not racist. After all, the author denied that it was, and we all know that’s good enough when it’s a White guy!

It’s worth noting again — this election will be a pivotal one in terms of setting the Supreme Court’s agenda for the foreseeable future.

It’s not a parody — the poor really are hit hardest by the current economic downturn.

The Pittsburgh diocese of the Episcopalian church has voted to secede in protest of the broader organization’s tolerant attitude towards homosexuality.

Activists in Virginia are working to get ex-felons’ voting rights restored.

The Washington Post urges a settlement in a long-standing legal fight between D.C. and advocates for the city’s mentally and physically disabled population, who are working to overhaul the district’s abysmal record of care towards that demographic.

Ten years after the brutal torture and murder of Matthew Shepard, CBS looks back.

Opponents of Nebraska’s proposed affirmative action ban are in court trying to keep it off the ballot, alleging that many signatures were obtained fraudulently.

The University of Illinois appears to have gone slightly overboard in trying to curb political expression by its employees.

The Supreme Court refused to review a Colorado case in which the jury foreman read Bible passages to recalcitrant jury members in order to (successfully) convince them to apply the death penalty.

The AFL-CIO is on the case, protecting citizens from illegitimate voter suppression efforts.

A symbolic constitutional amendment in Florida which would strip anti-Asian provisions from the document is likely to fail, primarily because voters are expected to mistake it for increasing rights of contemporary illegal immigrants. Voter ignorance is lamentable, but expected. What is unexpected and inexcusable is that 31 State House Republicans voted against the measure, probably under the same misapprehension.

A White South Carolina state trooper who rammed a Black suspect with his police cruiser, then bragged that he did it deliberately on video, was acquitted by a federal jury of civil rights violations.

A new federal courthouse in Missouri is named after Rush Limbaugh. Thankfully, it’s not that Rush Limbaugh (though I had a mild heart attack before deciphering that in the article).

Companies love to sing the praises of arbitration clauses when they’re applying them against unwilling consumers but are far less keen on using them in disputes with their fellow corporations.

The Supreme Court has for the third time rejected a suit by anti-abortion activists protesting a judgment against them due to their “Wanted” posters targeting abortion doctors.

Both supporters and opponents of California’s Prop. 8 (revoking the right of gay couples to marry) are treading lightly in their efforts to persuade swing voters.

An AP writer says Sarah Palin’s charge that Obama “pals around” with terrorists has a racial subtext. John Cole doesn’t see it. I’m inclined to agree with Cole, but I think it raises some interesting questions I’ll probably raise in a post later today.

A transgender woman won a suit filed against her by former political opponents who said she “misled” voters by running for office as a female.

The New York Times demands the obvious — having your home foreclosed upon should not deprive you of the right to vote. I wrote about this twisted tactic adopted by some local GOP bodies earlier here.

The Washington Supreme Court holds that employers can’t retaliate against employees victimized by domestic abuse who take time off to protect themselves and their children. The Court was bitterly-divided; you can access the four opinions handed down here.

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