Unfinished Business

Civil Rights News: Obama’s Diverse Judges; Budget Cuts to Hit the Poor Hardest; Was Roberts Wrong about Voting in Mass.?

Compiled by Philomena Ogalo, a Spring 2013 intern at The Leadership Conference Education Fund

Obama pushing to diversify federal judiciary amid GOP delays
Jeff Chiu
The Washington Post

As President Barack Obama gains his footing in his new term, he is working to make changes to the judicial system that are unprecedented.  With his nomination of the first openly gay black man for the federal district court, the first Asian-American lesbian in New York’s district court and the first South Asian in the U.S. Court of Appeals in the D.C. District, President Obama is working hard to create a “legacy” that will affect the outcome of future cases in the country. He has 35 nominees awaiting approval and 50 other vacancies which he needs to fill.

Poor Face Most Pain As Automatic Budget Cuts Take Effect
Annie Lowrey
The New York Times

With the sequester having gone into effect on March 1st, Annie Lowrey of The New York Times says that the poor are going to most feel the effects. Unless a deal is reached in the immediate future, federal aided agencies have until September 30th, the end of the fiscal year, to make cuts to their programs. This could mean that about “125,000 individuals and families” could become homeless and approximately another group of 100,000 people who used to be homeless may be “removed from housing arrangements”, according to Lowrey.

John Roberts Voting Rights Act Comments Wrong, Massachusetts Official William Galvin Says
Paige Lavender
Huffington Post

The Supreme Court last week heard arguments in the Shelby v. Holder case, in which Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act was being question by the justices as to whether it was constitutional. During the arguments, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts made a statement claiming that Massachusetts has the worst ratio of white to African American voter turnout. When Secretary of the State of Massachusetts, William Galvin heard this, he felt that it was an untrue remark. Paige Lavender of The Huffington Post writes that Massachusetts may have been “falsely represented” in the Chief Justice John Roberts argument. Lavender discusses alarming comments made by some of the justices and what that could mean for the outcome of the case.