Joint Center Updates
Can President Biden keep police reform promise in the face of rising crime? With a Gallup poll revealing that only 24 percent of Americans were satisfied with “efforts to reduce or control crime,” President Biden faces the challenge of taking steps to fight crime, while also fulfilling campaign promises to push for policing reforms, The Guardian reports. There was a sharp increase in gun violence and homicides in 2020 and 2021, with Black communities among the hardest hit. Among voter’s chief concerns, crime, inflation, and the pandemic sit at the top of the list.
Possible Biden Supreme Court Nominee Kruger cited as a potential “mediating force” on the High Court: In anticipation of President Biden’s commitment to nominating a Black woman to the U.S. Supreme Court vacancy created by Justice Stephen G. Breyer’s retirement, Leondra R. Kruger could serve as a mediating force on the High Court, The New York Times reports. On President Biden’s short list of possible nominees, Kruger has established a reputation as a consensus builder over the course of her legal career, including during her time on the California Supreme Court. Last year, the Joint Center urged President Biden to prioritize Black appointments to the U.S. Court of Appeals — especially in the DC Appeals court, which is often a stepping stone to the U.S. Supreme Court.
White House announces Administrative Day of Action to educate Americans about new tax credits: Vice President Harris led an Administrative Day of Action Feb. 8, aimed at encouraging Americans to sign up for the Expanded Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), according to a White House fact sheet. In addition to detailing these and other changes made as part of the Biden Administration’s American Rescue Plan, this event introduced a new website, ChildTaxCredit.gov, as a resource for tax-filing assistance. As part of our Economic Recovery and Justice Series in December, we urged Congress to permanently expand the childless worker EITC to bolster the economic security of America’s Black workers and lift millions out of poverty.
Highest-ranking Black Congressman presses Biden on Supreme Court pick: Congressman Jim Clyburn (D-SC), credited with helping to resurrect President Biden’s 2020 election campaign, is now calling on President Biden to nominate Judge J. Michelle Childs to fill the vacated U.S. Supreme Court seat, The New York Times reports. Childs is among a number of Black women on the short list of potential High Court nominees, including Leondra R. Kruger, who served on the California Supreme Court
The LDF expressed disappointment with the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to grant a bid by the state of Alabama to temporarily block a district court ruling requiring the state to redraw its new congressional map to comply with the Voting Rights Act. The district court ordered the state legislature to draft a new map with two districts where Black voters could elect candidates of their choice.
The LDF announced that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit issued an opinion reversing a district court’s ruling in T.R. v. Lamar County Board of Education, a case involving the repeated strip-searching of a minor (“T.R.”) by Lamar County, Alabama school officials who defended themselves with claims of qualified immunity. The LDF represented T.R. on appeal, along with the law firm of Maxwell Tillman.
The LDF asserted that the redistricting plans proposed by the Louisiana House and Senate violate Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act by failing to provide Black voters with an equal opportunity to participate in the political process and to elect candidates of their choice. The LDF also urged the Florida House Public Integrity and Elections Committee to oppose Committee Bill (PCB) PIE 22-03, “which would make several harmful changes to Florida’s election laws and voting in the state.”
NUL President and CEO Marc H. Morial joined with the leaders of other civil rights groups, including the NAACP and National Action Network, urging the National Football League (NFL) to replace the Rooney Rule with “specific recruiting and hiring procedures for executive and coaching positions, with meaningful consequences for teams that do not abide by the rules.” The Rooney Rule is a policy established in 2003 that requires teams to interview candidates of color for head coaching and senior football operation positions. The request was made in the wake of former Miami Dolphins Head Coach Brian Flores’ class-action racial discrimination lawsuit filed against the NFL and three of its franchises.
In a letter to Congressional leaders, the NUL called for the inclusion of housing investments in the next Build Back Better budget reconciliation bill. NUL President and CEO Morial asserted that “access to safe, decent, and affordable housing is a key part of our nation’s infrastructure.”
The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights released The Voting Record, its scorecard of every vote taken by every representative and senator in the 117th Congress on the legislative priorities of The Leadership Conference.
The African American Mayors Association, led by President and Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, lauded new efforts announced by President Biden to curb gun violence. Turner also echoed Biden’s urging Congress to provide more funding for community policing and other “evidence-based crime prevention strategies.”
Dr. Alex Camardelle, Joint Center’s Workforce Policy director, will join the National Skills Coalition’s Skills Summit for a fireside chat on “how we can continue to Build Back Better and work towards an inclusive economic recovery.”
Jessica Fulton, Joint Center vice president of Policy, will be a panelist at the Sadie T.M Alexander Conference for Economics and Related Fields Feb. 17-20.
The Rainbow PUSH Coalition will present Shaping America’s Education Priorities: Working Toward Safer Schools Feb. 24-28.