Protests in Washington Continue
Over Supreme Court Abortion Ruling


     Words of concern and anger continued this week among the Washington area’s political and civic leaders about the Supreme Court ruling last week that overturned a constitutional right to abortion.
     Leading the outrage was Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser, who said in a message to constituents, “We are not going back and we are not backing down.”
     She also said, “I want to be clear: abortion remains legal in Washington, D.C. We stand with the majority of Americans who believe that a woman should have autonomy over her own body.”
     In deciding to uphold a Mississippi abortion ban, the Supreme Court also authorized severe restrictions by states nationwide.
     Thirteen states plan complete abortion bans. Thirteen others said they would place strict limits on them.
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We Could Use Your Help

     Thousands of DC residents need a lawyer, but can’t afford one. They could be illegally evicted from their homes, lose custody of their children, experience domestic violence, and more, all because they lack legal representation. 
      You could make a difference. By making a donation to the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia, you will provide free, high-quality, zealous legal representation to low-income DC residents. Click the photo above to make a donation today. 
      Your support could prevent homelessness, domestic violence, hunger, or family separation. In fact, if just 10 people who see this ad give $28 to Legal Aid, it will be enough to staff an experienced attorney at the courthouse for a day.
      That way, DC residents like Keith King (pictured above) can get the legal representation they need to win their cases. As Mr. King put it, if it wasn’t for his Legal Aid lawyer, “I would have been homeless again.”
     Here is the link to the Legal Aid website for donations: https://www.legalaiddc.org/donate-to-legal-aid/

     For more information, contact Rob Pergament at Legal Aid at rpergament@legalaiddc.org




Ketanji Brown Jackson Becomes
Supreme Court’s First Black Woman


     Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson was sworn in Thursday as an associate justice of the Supreme Court on the same day Justice Stephen Breyer's retirement took effect.
     Jackson, 51, is the first Black woman to serve on the Supreme Court.
     "I am truly grateful to be part of the promise of our great nation," Jackson said in a statement after the swearing-in ceremony.
     She also is the Supreme Court’s first former public defender, a job she held before becoming a federal trial judge in Washington and serving on the U.S. Sentencing Commission.
     Some Republicans during her confirmation hearing in Congress three months ago criticized her as being soft on crime. Her supporters said she distinguished herself for her even temperament, scholarly opinions and adherence to the letter of the law.
     Chief Justice John Roberts administered one oath of office to Jackson while Breyer administered the second, thereby ending his 28-year-term on the Supreme Court. She clerked for Breyer more than 20 years ago while she was a law student at Harvard University.
     "I am pleased to welcome Justice Jackson to the court and to our common calling," Roberts said. 
     As a liberal, Jackson is in a 6-to-3 minority at a time of intense criticism of the conservative majority. She is headed into another session in the fall expected to be fraught with controversial decisions.








 

D.C. Approves Law Banning Reprisal
Against Workers Who Use Marijuana
 

     A law approved this month by the D.C. Council forbids employers from punishing or firing most employees who use or test positive for marijuana use.
     The employers could be fined $5,000 for violating the law. They would need to pay the reprimanded employees back pay and attorneys’ fees.
     The Cannabis Employment Protections Amendment Act also would ban employers from refusing to hire applicants who use marijuana.
     The law creates an exception for “safety sensitive” professions, such as health care providers, police, construction workers and persons who operate dangerous machinery. They still could be refused employment or fired for marijuana use.
     Other exceptions cover District of Columbia court workers and federal employees or anyone whose job performance is impaired by marijuana use.
     The D.C. law follows a nationwide trend toward greater tolerance toward marijuana. Nevada and New York also have approved laws banning employment discrimination against cannabis users.
     The D.C. Council has allowed medical use of marijuana since 2010 and possession of small amounts for recreational use since 2015. It remains illegal to sell marijuana, use it in public places or operate vehicles under its influence in the District of Columbia.
     Another demonstration of tolerance came in April, when the D.C. Council voted against tough penalties on retail “gifting” shops that give away marijuana as an added benefit to customers who buy their clothing, drinks or other goods.
 









   









Legal Briefs

​Justice Dept. Suspects Trump Supporter
Of Influencing Jan. 6 Riot Prosecutions

     The Justice Department is asking a federal judge to investigate whether former Trump attorney Sidney Powell is contributing funds to the legal defense of the right ring extremist Oath Keepers accused of raiding the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
     The Justice Department says any funding from Powell's nonprofit organization, called Defending the Republic, could create a conflict of interest for defense attorneys.
     Media reports suggest Powell raised millions of dollars by spreading conspiracy theories about the 2020 election while asking for donations from supporters of the former president.
     The Justice Department's court filing last week in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia is another example of the rift between Donald Trump and federal prosecutors that started while he still was president.
     Hundreds of them threatened to resign if he required them to use legal action to continue his voter fraud allegations, according to congressional testimony this week from Justice Department officials testifying about Trump’s role in the insurrection.
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Letters to the Editor

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D.C. in Brief

Supreme Court’s Gun Ruling
Conflicts with Maryland Law


     The Supreme Court’s ruling last week expanding rights of private citizens to carry concealed handguns is likely to upend very different laws in Maryland and seven other states.
     “[T]he Second and Fourteenth Amendments protect an individual’s right to carry a handgun for self-defense outside the home,” Justice Clarence Thomas wrote in the majority opinion.
     The ruling struck down a New York law requiring gun owners to show “proper cause” for carrying a concealed gun. Proper cause normally refers to a life-threatening situation.
     The Supreme Court decision said the law’s requirement “is demanding,” which is not required by the Second Amendment.
     Forty-two states and Washington, D.C., are “shall issue” jurisdictions, which means applicants for gun ownership do not need to show a special need before winning local government permits.
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Power the Civil Rights Work of Our Time

     Each day members of our community are experiencing wage theft, the effects of gentrification, discriminatory policing, collateral consequences, marginalization in schools, and barriers to public accommodations. 
     We fight alongside people facing the effects of gentrification like Amira Moore. Our work empowers the people and communities who need it most, “We can do more than we think. There’s a path to equity, we just have to step to it.” –Ms. Moore
     For more than 50 years, the Washington Lawyers’ Committee has been on the frontlines of the fight for civil rights in our community. We deploy the best legal talent, we tackle the tough cases, we fight, and we win. 
     Our work is as important today as it has ever been. Through your support, you can play a role in creating justice for thousands of marginalized members of our community. Together, we will dismantle injustice and pursue lasting change.
     Join us! Donate & subscribe: https://www.washlaw.org/support-us
     Volunteer with us: https://www.washlaw.org/get-involved/
     For more information, contact Gregg Kelley at Gregg_Kelley@washlaw.org​

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