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Civil Rights

July 15, 2013 | By Michael Muskal and Molly Hennessy-Fiske
SANFORD, Fla. -- After a day of nationwide demonstrations protesting the verdict in the George Zimmerman murder case in Florida, civil rights leaders prepared to step up their calls for justice for Trayvon Martin, the unarmed teenager killed more than a year ago. The Rev. Al Sharpton, a prominent civil rights activist and a television host on MSNBC, announced that his National Action Network will hold demonstrations and prayer vigils in 100 cities...
July 8, 2013 | By Batsheva Sobelman
JERUSALEM -- After years of delays, petitions and revisions, Israel on Monday launched a controversial biometric identification program. During the two-year pilot project, Israelis will be able to opt for a new identification card or passport with electronic parts such as a secure chip, along with biometric data including fingerprint scans and a photo providing a facial profile that will go to a database. Gideon Saar, minister of interior affairs, called on Israelis to "enter the era of smart documents," maintaining that the new technologies embedded in the cards would make them counterfeit-proof and protect Israelis from identity theft and related financial crime as well as from security threats.
July 3, 2013 | By The Times editorial board
The latest insight into the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department is as dispiriting as it is familiar. For years - decades, even, for those who remember the Kolts Commission in the early 1990s - one outside group after another has concluded that lax discipline, poor supervision and inattentive management have allowed problems within the department to fester, sometimes erupting in violations of civil rights. And here we are again. After a two-year investigation, the U.S. Department of Justice has concluded that deputies assigned to the Antelope Valley Sheriff's Station repeatedly violated the civil rights of African Americans and Latinos, especially those in federally subsidized housing.
July 2, 2013 | By Frank Shyong
Civil rights leaders in the Antelope Valley demanded reforms from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department on Tuesday, charging that racially biased policing has left residents living in fear. The U.S. Department of Justice last week found that local authorities conducted a systematic effort to discriminate against African Americans who received low-income subsidized housing and that deputies engaged in widespread unlawful searches of homes, improper detentions and unreasonable force.
June 29, 2013 | By David G. Savage
WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court promises "equal justice under law" - the words carved into stone on its facade - and last week, the justices set out a new definition of equal justice that they see as suited to this time. On the last day of their term, they struck down a 1990s-era federal law that denied all legal recognition to the tens of thousands of same-sex couples who have been legally married in the last decade - a ruling that set off gay rights celebrations from the court's steps to the West Coast.
June 28, 2013 | Sandy Banks
Jasmyne Cannick didn't join the folks in West Hollywood celebrating the gay marriage victory handed down by the Supreme Court this week. She was too busy mourning the assault on minorities' voting rights the court unleashed the day before. Cannick is a lesbian. She's also black. "And I didn't feel like dancing for joy," she said. She's not alone in feeling conflicted. For many people, including me, the high court's flurry of recent rulings feels like one big step forward on civil rights, and a whole lot of shuffling back.
June 25, 2013 | By David G. Savage
WASHINGTON - President Obama, Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. and civil rights lawyers sharply criticized the Supreme Court's decision to strike down a key part of the Voting Rights Act, calling it a blow to democracy and urging Congress to take up the issue. “I am deeply disappointed with the Supreme Court's decision today,” Obama said in a statement. “Today's decision invalidating one of its core provisions upsets decades of well-established practices that help make sure voting is fair, especially in places where voting discrimination has been historically prevalent.” Obama called on Congress to act. While Republicans are greatly beholden to white Southern voters, their leadership has been determined since their loss in the last presidential election to reach out to minorities.
June 25, 2013 | By Maura Dolan
SAN FRANCISCO -- Three California counties - Monterey, Yuba and Kings - will no longer have to seek federal approval to make changes in their election rules as a result of Tuesday's Supreme Court decision striking down a key portion of the Voting Rights Act. A history of voting discrimination against Latinos and Asians had made the counties subject to the federal requirements. As result of the voting law, attempts to change from district to at-large elections have been stopped, and polling consolidations have been delayed, civil rights lawyers said.
June 25, 2013 | By David G. Savage, Los Angeles Times
WASHINGTON - A sharply divided Supreme Court has struck down a key part of the historic Voting Rights Act of 1965, freeing the Southern states from federal oversight of their election laws and setting off a fierce reaction from civil rights advocates and Democratic leaders. The court's conservative majority moved boldly Tuesday to rein in a law revered by civil rights groups that is credited with transforming the South by ensuring blacks could register and vote. In doing so, the court eliminated a tool that the Justice Department used hundreds of times to prevent cities, counties and states from adopting allegedly discriminatory voting rules.
June 19, 2013 | By Glenn Whipp, Los Angeles Times
For a gun-rights advocacy documentary that opens with a fluttering American flag and a twangy country vocalist singing " got a gun to keep us strong / that's what our country was founded on " (the next verse violates the Old Testament's Fourth Commandment ... but not the 2nd Amendment), "Assaulted: Civil Rights Under Fire" is a reasoned counter to Michael Moore's "Bowling for Columbine" and, as such, a constructive addition to the current national firearms debate. The almost-complete absence of dissenting voices will likely limit its audience to gun-toting members of the choir, though anyone with an interest in the subject would be well-served by hearing its arguments.
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