The Supreme Court and religion

“For decades, the Supreme Court took a robust approach to the establishment clause and provided relatively weak protections under the free exercise clause. Now, though, the court is taking the exactly the opposite course, finding little that violates the establishment clause and creating robust protections under the free exercise clause. The implications of this shift are enormous.”

There is a deep political divide on the U.S. Supreme Court, and in the country, over the Constitution and religion. Liberals long have interpreted the establishment clause of the First Amendment as best understood through Thomas Jefferson?s metaphor that there should be a wall separating church and state. For decades, this was the approach taken by the Supreme Court, but conservatives reject this notion and believe the government violates the establishment clause only if it coerces religious participation or gives assistance that favors some religions over others.

The Real Courts, Rule of Law Act of 2022

The law’s title imples that the current immigration courts aren’t real courts. Quite so. I do have one quibble. The proposed bill calls for the Appellate Division to be appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate and for the trial level judges to appointed by the Appellate Division. It would be better (and less likely to lead to future conflict) to have all of the judges appointed by the Courts Of Appeal (as is the case with bankruptcy judges). In any case, independent immigration courts are a much needed reform.

On February 3, 2022, Representatives Lofgren (D-CA), Nadler (D-NY), and Johnson (D-GA) introduced the Real Courts, Rule of Law Act of 2022. AILA welcomed the bill's introduction and has long advocated for an Article I, independent immigration court system. Learn more on this featured issue page.

Let’s hope SCOTUS does the right thing

“In the United States, racialized police misconduct is endemic. Law enforcement officers too often cover up their abuses of BIPOC [Black, Indigenous, and Other People Of Color] with false ‘cover charges’ such as resisting arrest. The victims of police cover charges then suffer arrest, jail, court appearances, and all the collateral consequences (legal fees, lost wages and jobs) that come with prosecution. However, because the charges were trumped-up, no meaningful evidence exists, and the case is eventually dismissed.

“This might seem like a win, but in jurisdictions that apply an indications-of-innocence standard, it isn’t. Although the falsely accused person no longer has to defend against criminal charges, they can’t seek justice for having been falsely prosecuted in the first place. This leaves the victim of police cover charges with no meaningful recourse.”

How a little procedural rule before the Supreme Court has big consequences for racialized police misconduct in New England and beyond.