civil-rights

Former Sen. Harris Wofford, who marched with MLK, dies at 92
Pennsylvania Democrat served in administration from John F. Kennedy’s to Bill Clinton’s

Sen. Harris Wofford, D-Pa., right, served alongside Sen. Arlen Specter, left, when Specter was a Republican.   (Laura Patterson/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Harris Wofford, a former Pennsylvania senator who also served in the administrations of Democratic presidents from John F. Kennedy to Bill Clinton, died Monday night. He was 92.

The Democrat’s life was defined, in many ways, by his commitment to public service. Wofford helped form the Peace Corps and AmeriCorps.

Supreme Court allows transgender troop ban while lawsuits proceed
The ruling was made over objections from the court‘s liberal justices

Supreme Court and the America flag (CQ Roll Call file photo).

The Supreme Court on Tuesday allowed the Trump administration to implement its ban on transgender troops, over the objections of the four liberal justices.

Nationwide injunctions from lower courts had stopped the ban for nearly a year. But the court Tuesday allowed a ban of transgender individuals from serving in the U.S. military to go into effect while lawsuits move through the courts. 

To Prevent Election Meddling, Invest in Black Voters, Groups Say
Russian disinformation campaign seized on long history of suppressing black votes

A voter enters the polling station at the Jefferson County Courthouse in Birmingham, Ala., to vote in the 2017 special election to fill Jeff Sessions' seat in the U.S. Senate. In the foreground is a historical marker noting a 1963 civil rights march to the courthouse to register African-American women as voters. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Political leaders seeking to prevent future meddling in American elections could take a lesson from the Russians: Invest in black voters.

That’s one takeaway from reports this week that Russian operatives disproportionately targeted African-Americans during the 2016 election, according to groups that seek to increase black participation and representation in American politics. 

Jackie Speier and Bradley Byrne Aim to End Taxpayer Settlements for Discrimination
House lawmakers want to go beyond compromise measure that passed Thursday

House lawmakers, including California Rep. Jackie Speier, already have plans to expand discrimination protections beyond the sexual harassment measure passed Thursday. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Congress on Thursday passed new sexual harassment rules governing lawmakers and staff on Capitol Hill, but House lawmakers already have plans to expand protections beyond what’s included in the compromise measure.

“This bill isn’t perfect, but that’s part of what the legislative process is about,” California Democrat Jackie Speier said Thursday. “We have decided to get this on the books to change the system that was woefully inadequate and then come back next year.”

If She Didn’t Give Up on Democracy, Neither Should We
When it came to voting, Rosanell Eaton wouldn’t take ‘no’ for an answer

After the Supreme Court gutted key provisions of the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965, Rosanell Eaton, center, fought back, Curtis writes. (Walt Unks/AP)

OPINION — If you don’t know Rosanell Eaton’s name, it’s time to learn exactly who she was and why her life and life’s work matters. She is the antidote to the cynicism infecting politics in 2018, a hero of democracy when democracy is under siege. She cared about her country and its highest principles, demanded her basic human and civil rights and brought others along with her.

Rosanell Eaton would not take “no” for an answer.

Rep. Karen Bass Elected to Lead Growing Congressional Black Caucus
California Democrat replaces Louisiana Rep. Cedric L. Richmond

The Congressional Black Caucus elected Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif., to lead the group in the 116th Congress. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Members of the Congressional Black Caucus elected California Democratic Rep. Karen Bass to lead them in the next Congress, as the group crosses a milestone 50-member threshold.

The CBC is adding nine new members, bringing its total membership to 55. Bass, who currently serves as the caucus’s second vice chair, replaces Louisiana Democratic Rep. Cedric L. Richmond, who took the helm of the caucus in late 2016.

Muslim Congresswoman-Elect Fights Off Facebook Hoax
‘Who said facts mattered?’ Rep.-elect Ilhan Omar responds to false statements attributed to her

Democratic Rep.-elect Ilhan Omar of Minnesota is one of the first Muslim women elected to Congress. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Minnesota member-elect Ilhan Omar and fellow freshman Rashida Tlaib of Michigan made history on Election Day as the first Muslim women ever elected to Congress. But Omar is already fending off conspiracy theories targeting her for her religion. 

A post on Facebook superimposes an image of Omar on the cover of Time magazine with an accurate quote (“I am America’s hope and the president’s nightmare”) and a false and incendiary one (“I think all white men should be put in chains as slaves because they will never submit to Islam”).

As Hate Crimes Climb for Third Straight Year, Democrats Prepare Hearings
Examining rise in hate crimes since Trump took office is priority for incoming House Judiciary Chairman Nadler

House Judiciary ranking member Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., wants to hold a hearing on the increase in hate crimes when Democrats take over the House in January. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The number of incidents involving hate crimes increased for a third straight year in 2017, the FBI reported in charts and data released Tuesday, a trend that House Democrats have been clamoring to examine for months as they prepare for hearings on the issue when they take back the House on Jan. 3.

Hate crime incidents rose by 17 percent in 2017 compared to 2016. From 2015 to 2016, the FBI reported a 5 percent increase.

Three States Pass Sweeping Voting Rights Expansions
Voters approve key referenda in Florida, Michigan and Nevada

Voters arrive at the Old Stone School polling location as a light rain falls in Hillsboro, Va., on Election Day. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Voting rights activists are celebrating after voters in three states approved sweeping election reforms in Tuesday’s midterm elections.

Voters in Florida, Michigan and Nevada all passed major reforms to their states’ election systems, which will make voting easier and extend ballot access to millions of new voters.

Marijuana Ballot Measures Could Drive Democratic Voters, But Candidates Aren’t Running On It
Four states will vote on ballot initiatives to decriminalize pot

A man holds a marijuana joint in his clenched fit during the DCMJ.org marijuana protest in front of the U.S. Capitol last year. Some conservative politicians are warming up to the idea of marijuana legalization. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Attorney General Jeff Sessionsmemo in January urging state officials to enforce federal marijuana laws has not stalled momentum toward decriminalization across the country. Four states will vote on pot proposals in November. 

For years, the Democratic Party has hoped marijuana ballot initiatives will motivate their voters to turn out. The theory is far from settled political science, but anecdotal evidence this cycle looks optimistic for embattled Democrats, even as they offer only meek support for the initiatives on the campaign trail.