By Patrick McNeil | October 2, 2023
WASHINGTON — Jesselyn McCurdy, executive vice president of government affairs at The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, released the following statement as the U.S. Supreme Court begins its 2023-24 term:
“Following a Supreme Court term that included the rollback of affirmative action in higher education, student loan debt relief, LGBTQ rights, and more, the nation’s highest court begins a new term today and is set to hear a number of cases that could further harm our communities, diminish our democracy, and weaken our fundamental rights.
“For example, tomorrow the Court will hear oral argument in Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) v. Community Financial Services Association of America, Limited, a case that could strike down the CFPB’s independent funding structure and seriously jeopardize the enforcement of vitally important civil rights and consumer protection laws. The following day, the Court will hear Acheson Hotels, LLC v. Laufer, which could decide whether people with disabilities can enforce our civil rights laws and fully access all parts of society. And next week, in Alexander v. South Carolina State Conference of the NAACP, the Court will hear yet another redistricting case where the central issue is whether state legislatures can use claims of partisanship as a cover for racial gerrymandering. If a majority of justices green-light this kind of gerrymandering, it would have profound consequences for our democracy.
“The civil and human rights community is also deeply concerned that the Court agreed to hear Loper Bright Enterprises v. Raimondo, which seeks to hinder the ability of federal agencies to interpret and enforce civil rights laws and protections effectively. This foundational legal principle — one that has long been central to protecting marginalized communities and ensuring justice — must not be upended. We are also closely watching cases on criminal-legal reform, gun safety issues, and more, as well as cases making their way through our lower federal courts, including on access to health care and the ability to consider race in areas of American life beyond higher education. These cases at all levels of our federal judiciary underscore the importance of our fight for fair-minded, professionally and demographically diverse federal judges who are highly qualified and committed to equal justice for all.
“This new term also begins amidst an ongoing and escalating ethics crisis at the Supreme Court, which remains the only federal court without a binding ethical code of conduct. This continues to be unacceptable. For decades, our coalition has advocated for fair courts because they are imperative to our rights, our dignity, and our democracy, and this must include a Supreme Court that fairly administers justice and that rules on facts and law instead of siding with corporations and the rich and powerful. An equal justice judiciary depends on having judges and justices whose actions are trusted and whose decisions are fair.
“The Leadership Conference will continue working with our coalition to defend and advance our civil and human rights, to protect our democracy, and to ensure that the highest court in our nation lives up to its promise of equal justice under law.”
The Leadership Conference joined amicus briefs in CFPB v. Community Financial Services Association of America, Limited, Alexander v. South Carolina State Conference of the NAACP, and Loper Bright Enterprises v. Raimondo.
The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 240 national organizations to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States. The Leadership Conference works toward an America as good as its ideals. For more information on The Leadership Conference and its member organizations, visit www.civilrights.org.