Via Buzzfeed News:
The Trump administration took its hardest line yet to legalize anti-gay discrimination on Friday when it asked the Supreme Court to declare that federal law allows private companies to fire workers based only on their sexual orientation. An amicus brief filed by the DOJ weighs in on two cases involving gay workers and what is meant by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which bans discrimination “because of sex.”
The administration argues courts nationwide should stop reading the civil rights law to protect gay, lesbian, and bisexual workers from bias because it was not originally intended to do so. That view conflicts with some lower court rulings that found targeting someone for their sexual orientation is an illegal form of both sex discrimination and sex stereotyping under Title VII.
The Log Cabin Republicans did not respond to emails from this website for comment.
In a major upcoming Supreme Court case that weighs equal rights with “religious liberty”, the Trump administration on Thursday sided with a Colorado baker who refused to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple.
In July 2012, David Mullins and Charlie Craig went to Denver’s Masterpiece Cake Shop, owned by Jack Phillips (above) , looking for a cake to celebrate the couple’s upcoming nuptials.
Phillips denied the couple’s request and later admitted he had turned away other same-sex couples as a matter of policy.
In 2013, a judge ruled against Phillips. The Colorado Civil Rights Division’s [CCRD’s] decision noted evidence in the record that Phillips had expressed willingness to take a cake order for the “marriage” of two dogs, but not for the commitment ceremony of two women, and that he would not make a cake for a same-sex couple’s wedding celebration “just as he would not be willing to make a pedophile cake.”
Phillips and his lawyers, anti-gay legal group Alliance Defending Freedom, have been appealing the ruling since, and losing
The L.A. Times reports:
Acting Solicitor Gen. Jeffrey B. Wall filed a friend-of-the-court brief arguing that the cake maker’s rights to free speech and the free exercise of religion should prevail over a Colorado civil rights law that forbids discrimination based on sexual orientation.
“A custom wedding cake is a form of expression,” he said. “It is an artistic creation that is both subjectively intended and objectively perceived as a celebratory symbol of a marriage.” And as such, the baker has a free-speech right under the 1st Amendment to refuse to “express” his support for a same-sex marriage, Wall argued.
The case of the Colorado cake maker has emerged as the latest battle in the culture wars. It is a clash between the religious rights of a conservative Christian against gay rights and equal treatment for same-sex couples.
The DOJ’s decision to support Phillips is the latest in a series of steps the Trump administration has taken to rescind Obama administration positions favorable to gay rights and to advance new policies on the issue.
Read the brief here.
The Department of Justice has demanded information on visitors to a website used to organize protests against President Trump, the Los Angeles-based DreamHost said in a blog post published on Monday.
At the center of the requests is disruptj20.org, a website that organized participants of political protests against the current Donald Trump and his current administration.
DreamHost, a web hosting provider, said that it has been working with the Department of Justice for several months on the request, which believes goes too far under the Constitution.
DreamHost claimed that the complying with the request from the Justice Department would amount to handing over roughly 1.3 million visitor IP addresses to the government, in addition to contact information, email content and photos of thousands of visitors to the website, which was involved in organizing protests against Trump on Inauguration Day.
“That information could be used to identify any individuals who used this site to exercise and express political speech protected under the Constitution’s First Amendment,” DreamHost wrote in the blog post on Monday. “That should be enough to set alarm bells off in anyone’s mind.”
Instead of responding to DreamHost’s inquiries regarding the overbreadth of the warrant, the DOJ filed a motion (PDF) in the Washington, D.C. Superior Court, asking for an order to compel DreamHost to produce the records.
DreamHost has filed a legal arguments in opposition (PDF) of the DOJ’s request for access to this trove of personally identifiable information.
“We intend to take whatever steps are necessary to support and shield these users from what is, in our view, a very unfocused search and an unlawful request for their personal information,” DreamHost posted on its website.
Donald Trump has nominated Eric Dreiband to serve as the head of the Civil Rights Division in the U.S. Department of Justice, according to a White House press release.
Dreiband currently works as attorney for the Washington-based firm Jones Day, where he represents companies involved in labor disputes. Dreiband also represented the University of North Carolina in a lawsuit brought by the ACLU and Lambda Legal who sued the university for complying with the state’s anti-LGBT HB 2 law.
In a separate case, Dreiband represented nonprofit organizations seeking religious exemptions from having to provide insurance coverage for contraception under the Affordable Care Act and also argued against proposed legislation that would have allowed victims of gender and age discrimination to be compensated for their injury.
Vanita Gupta, the president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, blasted Dreiband’s nomination. “Dreiband has devoted the vast majority of his career to defending corporations accused of employment discrimination. He has opposed important legislation to safeguard our civil rights,” Gupta said. “And he has no known experience in most of the Civil Rights Division’s core issue areas, such as voting rights, police reform, housing, education, and hate crimes. He is the wrong person for the job.”
Here’s what you should know about Dreiband:
- Dreiband represented Abercrombie & Fitch, after the clothing retailer was sued in 2008 by Samantha Elauf, a Muslim teenager in Oklahoma, who charged that the company denied her a sales job because she wore a headscarf for religious purposes. Abercrombie & Fitch, which promotes a collegiate sex-and-bros aesthetic, argued that Elauf’s headscarf violated their “look policy.” The case eventually went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled 8-1 in Elauf’s favor. Elauf was backed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the civil rights office within the Department of Labor.
- Dreiband was also part of the legal team that represented the University of North Carolina last year in its contentious showdown with the Justice Department over “HB2,” the state law that restricted transgender North Carolinians’ access to public restrooms and voided all LGBT protections throughout the state.
- Dreiband defended R.J. Reynolds, America’s second-largest tobacco company, in an age-discrimination case that started in 2015. The plaintiff in the suit was denied a job with the company at age 49. He sued after learning, thanks to a whistleblower, that the company had hired a subcontractor to sift through resumés and discard “older” applicants. Earlier this week, the Supreme Court left a lower court’s narrow 6-5 decision intact — which was that the Age Discrimination in Employment Act applies only to people who are currently employed rather than seeking employment.
- He also represented Bloomberg LP in a 2008 lawsuit that accused the company of discriminating against pregnant women by diminishing their pay and denying them promotions. Bloomberg won the case.
- According to his law firm biography, Dreiband served in the Office of Independent Counsel Kenneth W. Starr, from 1997 to 2000, where he led the investigation and subsequent prosecution of a Clinton associate.
The Obama administration’s Department of Justice is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review a pair of cases challenging the constitutionality of the federal definition of “marriage” contained in the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in its upcoming spring session
In the filings to the Supreme Court for the cases Golinski v. Office of Personnel management and Massachusetts v. Department of Health and Human Services General Donald Verrilli Jr., the DOJ’s top appellate litigator, argues that a single question is presented by the cases, which the Supreme Court should accept the cases to answer: “Whether Section 3 of DOMA violates the Fifth Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection of the laws as applied to persons.
Since February 2011, DOJ has stopped defending Section 3 of DOMA, following a determination by President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder that the law is unconstitutional and explains its reasons for asking the Supreme Court to hear the cases:
Although the Executive Branch agrees with the district court’s determination in this case that Section 3 is unconstitutional, we respectfully seek this Court’s review so that the question may be authoritatively decided by this Court. As explained above, to ensure that the Judiciary is the final arbiter of Section 3’s constitutionality, the President has instructed Executive departments and agencies to continue to enforce Section 3 until there is a definitive judicial ruling that Section 3 is unconstitutional.
The Supreme Court then will consider whether it wants to take the case after it returns from its summer recess, a question most expect it to be yes since the constitutionality of a federal statute is at issue and appears to be likely after today’s filings.
You can read the Department of Justices letter and petition HERE:
The Department of Justice has filed federal civil rights lawsuit against Michele Bachman’s home Anoka-Hennepin School District alleging that the district violated students’ constitutional rights, as well as the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Education Amendments of 1972.
Metro Weekly reports that the DOJ complaint lays out the findings of its investigation, which was conducted with the Department of Education that found in October 2010, the Department of Education sent a letter to schools detailing their obligations under federal law to protect LGBT students from sexual harassment and gender-based harassment resulting from sex stereotypes. and using examples of discriminatory treatment faced by 10 students in Anoka-Hennepin the DOJ’s concluded that , “The school and District officials with authority to address the sex-based harassment knew or should have known about the harassment [the students] experience”and “often, District personnel ignored these sex-based harassment allegations,”
You can read the full story at MetroWeekly by clicking HERE.