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Lawyers' Committee Supreme Court Cases

The Lawyers' Committee is leading the charge on important cases before the Supreme Court in the areas of voting rights, employment and fair lending. With all the gains our nation has made over the past several decades, now is no time to lose our focus on the struggle for racial equality.

Voting Rights

On March 18, 2009, the Lawyers' Committee, along with other civil rights organizations, filed a major brief before the U.S. Supreme Court defending the constitutionality of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.  The brief was filed on behalf of the Texas State Conference of the NAACP and the Austin Branch of the NAACP to defend the voting rights of racial and language minorities and drafted in partnership with pro bono counsel from the Washington office of the law firm of WilmerHale. Click here for more information, including relevant documents.

Employment

The case of Ricci v. DeStefano was argued before the court on April 22, 2009.  In this case, the city of New Haven, Connecticut declined to certify the results of a firefighter promotion test based on evidence that the test discriminated on the basis of race.  The city sought to explore less discriminatory alternatives, in keeping with its obligations under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.   Nevertheless, this case has become a "cause celebre" of the right and has been repeatedly misrepresented in the media as a "reverse discrimination" case where innocent white firefighters were denied promotions because of their race. Click here for more information, including relevant documents.

Fair Lending

The Lawyers' Committee and two other national civil rights organizations, the National Fair Housing Alliance and the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., filed an amicus curiae, "friend of the court," brief in the Supreme Court of the United States in the case of Cuomo v. The Clearing House Association, L.L.C.  The brief supports the New York Attorney General's continued efforts to enforce state fair lending laws against national banks and asks the Supreme Court to reverse the Second Circuit Court of Appeals' ruling halting such enforcement.  This case questions if New York and other states should investigate racial and ethnic disparities in the mortgage rates charged by national banks, or if only the federal Office of the Comptroller of the Currency have that power.  A holdover from the anti-civil rights regime of the Bush Administration, this case is still proceeding under the new Administration. Click here for more information, including relevant documents.

Practical Progressive - Official Selection 2008