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Vigilance in the Defense of Liberty and Freedom
The premier African American newspaper in Philadelphia recently recounted a powerful address delivered by Director-Counsel Sherrilyn Ifill to an audience of over 150 including civil rights leaders, congressional staffers, judges, at a reception hosted by the law firm of Fulbright & Jaworski in Washington, D.C. In her remarks Ifill, who became Director-Counsel of the LDF earlier this year, described her vision for the organization's work, including an emphasis on removing barriers to economic opportunity for African Americans.
LDF Criminal Justice Project Director, Christina Swarns, speaks with David Martin Davies of Texas Public Radio on how racial bias influenced the death penalty sentence against Duane Buck. Her interview begins 15:33 minutes into this audio replay.
Today, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in Arizona v. The Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, another important voting case, in addition to Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder, before the Court this term. This case involves whether Arizona’s Proposition 200, which requires new voter registrants to produce documentary evidence of United States citizenship, must yield to the federal National Voter Registration Act (NVRA).
Fifty years ago, on March 18, 1963, the United States Supreme Court decided the landmark case Gideon v. Wainwright, which vindicated the rights guaranteed by the Sixth Amendment and required states to provide defense counsel to individuals accused of serious crimes and unable to afford a lawyer.
Today, the Maryland legislature voted to repeal its death penalty law. Once the Maryland Governor signs this legislation -- which he introduced -- into law, Maryland will become the sixth state in six years to acknowledge that capital punishment is a failed sentencing option. You can read more about it here.