Category Archives: Civil Rights

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ACLU-MN lawsuit claims ICE illegally held Minnesota man, U.S. citizen for 11 months

ST. PAUL — The American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota is suing the federal government for holding a U.S. citizen living in Minnesota in Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE) custody for 11 months.

According to a Thursday, March 26, news release from the nonpartisan litigating group, Ali Abdalla sought refuge in the United States from Somalia, and was granted citizenship in 2003. Fourteen years later in 2017, ICE arrested him and threatened deportation despite Abdalla’s citizenship status.

ACLU-MN alleges that ICE broke the law by holding Abdalla for 11 months in three different jails, and never properly investigating whether he was a citizen. They also allege that one Minnesota county jail failed to give Abdalla his necessary anxiety medication, causing additional distress.

ACLU-MN claims immigration officials violated the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments of the Constitution, and falsely arrested and imprisoned Abdalla. The lawsuit says that what happened to Abdalla was a “consequence of official policies, patterns, practices, and customs that manifest not only intentional discrimination based on race, ethnicity, and religion as well as disregard of basic principles of due process, but also a reckless disregard for human life and liberty.”

While he was in detention, the ACLU-MN said an immigration judge ruled that Abdalla was a citizen and moved to terminate his removal proceedings. But ICE appealed the ruling and held onto Abdalla for five more months.

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ACLU questions Rhode Island cops stopping NY cars

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — The American Civil Liberties Union of Rhode Island is questioning the constitutionality of Gov. Gina Raimondo’s directive allowing state police to stop vehicles with New York license plates.

The Democratic governor on Thursday called the measure extreme but pointed out New York City is the epicenter of the disease in the United States.

Steven Brown, executive director of the ACLU of Rhode Island, says while Raimondo has the authority to suspend some state laws and regulations to address a medical emergency, she cannot suspend the Constitution.

He says under the Fourth Amendment, having a New York state license plate “simply does not, and cannot, constitute ‘probable cause’ to allow police to stop a car and interrogate the driver, no matter how laudable the goal of the stop may be.”

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Supreme Court Weighs Abortion Case; Schumer Remarks Draw Rebuke From Roberts

There were fierce clashes at the U.S. Supreme Court Wednesday and a fierce critique from Chief Justice John Roberts afterward upon learning about statements made by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer outside while the arguments were taking place inside.

Addressing a crowd of abortion-rights demonstrators, Schumer, D-N.Y., referred to the court’s two Trump appointees, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, and said, “You have unleashed the whirlwind and you will pay the price. You won’t know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions.”

Schumer’s statement was apparently a reference to Kavanaugh’s angry statement to Democratic senators at his 2018 confirmation hearing, “You sowed the wind. For decades to come, I fear the country will reap the whirlwind.”

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Use Amazon, Uber or Walmart.com? You’ve probably signed away your right to sue them

Tucked into the sign-up process for many popular e-commerce sites and apps are dense terms-of-service agreements that legal experts say are changing the nature of consumer transactions, creating a veil of secrecy around how these companies function.

The small print in these documents requires all signatories to agree to binding arbitration and to clauses that ban class actions. Just by signing up for these services, consumers give up their rights to sue companies like Amazon, Uber and Walmart before a jury of their peers, agreeing instead to undertake a private process overseen by a paid arbitrator.

Binding arbitration clauses have been common for decades, whether buying a car or joining a membership club like Costco, but the proliferation of apps and e-commerce means that such clauses now cover millions of everyday commercial transactions, from buying groceries to getting to the airport.

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Supreme Court Justices set to hold meeting on civil legal needs in Detroit

How the state’s judicial system handles debt collection, landlord tenant disputes and expungements will be among the issues two Michigan Supreme Court justices are hoping to hear about from residents during a Monday town hall meeting.

Chief Justice Bridget McCormack and Justice Brian Zahra will hear testimony and questions from Metro Detroit residents Monday during a public meeting of the Justice for All Task Force near downtown Detroit. It is scheduled for 6 p.m.-8 p.m. Monday at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Union Hall, 1358 Abbott in Detroit.

McCormack and Zahra are seeking input from Michigan residents to help identify the needs they have on issues relating to the civil branch of the law. The information gathered from residents will  help shape a statewide plan to fill in the gaps of service for civil legal needs.

“We’re trying to take inventory of what’s out there,” McCormack said. “It’s a way for us to hear directly from the public about their experience of trying to navigate the court system on their own.”

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