Unfinished Business

Civil Rights News: AG Holder’s Strong Record; Fears Persist Despite Ruling on Arizona SB1070; Court Acts Wisely on Juvenile Sentencing

Compiled by Willie Roberson, a Summer 2012 Leadership Conference Education Fund Intern

Contempt Vote Will Put Focus on Atty. Gen. Eric Holder’s Record
Richard A. Serrano
Washington Post

The House of Representatives will vote this Thursday on whether United States Attorney General Eric Holder should be held in contempt of Congress for not turning over internal documents pertaining to the Fast and Furious gun walking program. If Holder is found guilty, it would be the first time a sitting cabinet member has ever been held in contempt of Congress. The Fast and Furious program, along with other controversies during his tenure, has made the Attorney General an easy target for critics who wish to compel his resignation as well as embarrass the Obama administration. Despite the visible shortcomings under his tenure, the Eric Holder led Department of Justice has experienced a large amount of success including: numerous convictions in terrorism cases; additional healthcare, mortgage and consumer fraud protections; and an increased number of civil rights investigations on local police departments.

Ruling on Arizona’s Immigration Law Leaves Many Questions Unanswered
Paloma Esquivel
Los Angeles Times

With a split decision in The Supreme Court’s ruling regarding Arizona’s landmark state immigration law, Arizona’s Latino residents are concerned about how the “show me your papers” provision upheld in the law will impact them. Police and state officials have come out saying that people will not be detained without reason, but decision has created confusion and anxiety amongst Latino residents, both legal and illegal. The language in the law does not provide much clarity, and many questions are still unanswered as far as how Arizona will implement the law. Many people are unsure if Arizona can keep its promise that Latino residents will not be singled out solely on how they look.

High Court Acts Wisely on Life Terms for Juveniles
San Francisco Chronicle
The San Francisco Chronicle commends the Supreme Court for banning mandatory sentences of life imprisonment without parole for juvenile offenders this past Monday. Before this hallmark decision, the United States was one of the few countries in the world that could imprison young people for the rest of their lives. The 5-4 ruling established that it is cruel and unusual punishment for underage murderers to be given a mandatory life prison sentence. The Court held that that age should be a consideration in punishment and that young people should be given the opportunity to rehabilitate themselves.