civil-rights

Muslim Congresswoman-Elect Fights Off Facebook Hoax
‘Who said facts mattered?’ Rep.-elect Ilhan Omar responds to false statements attributed to her

Democratic Rep.-elect Ilhan Omar of Minnesota is one of the first Muslim women elected to Congress. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Minnesota member-elect Ilhan Omar and fellow freshman Rashida Tlaib of Michigan made history on Election Day as the first Muslim women ever elected to Congress. But Omar is already fending off conspiracy theories targeting her for her religion. 

A post on Facebook superimposes an image of Omar on the cover of Time magazine with an accurate quote (“I am America’s hope and the president’s nightmare”) and a false and incendiary one (“I think all white men should be put in chains as slaves because they will never submit to Islam”).

As Hate Crimes Climb for Third Straight Year, Democrats Prepare Hearings
Examining rise in hate crimes since Trump took office is priority for incoming House Judiciary Chairman Nadler

House Judiciary ranking member Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., wants to hold a hearing on the increase in hate crimes when Democrats take over the House in January. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The number of incidents involving hate crimes increased for a third straight year in 2017, the FBI reported in charts and data released Tuesday, a trend that House Democrats have been clamoring to examine for months as they prepare for hearings on the issue when they take back the House on Jan. 3.

Hate crime incidents rose by 17 percent in 2017 compared to 2016. From 2015 to 2016, the FBI reported a 5 percent increase.

Three States Pass Sweeping Voting Rights Expansions
Voters approve key referenda in Florida, Michigan and Nevada

Voters arrive at the Old Stone School polling location as a light rain falls in Hillsboro, Va., on Election Day. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Voting rights activists are celebrating after voters in three states approved sweeping election reforms in Tuesday’s midterm elections.

Voters in Florida, Michigan and Nevada all passed major reforms to their states’ election systems, which will make voting easier and extend ballot access to millions of new voters.

Marijuana Ballot Measures Could Drive Democratic Voters, But Candidates Aren’t Running On It
Four states will vote on ballot initiatives to decriminalize pot

A man holds a marijuana joint in his clenched fit during the DCMJ.org marijuana protest in front of the U.S. Capitol last year. Some conservative politicians are warming up to the idea of marijuana legalization. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Attorney General Jeff Sessionsmemo in January urging state officials to enforce federal marijuana laws has not stalled momentum toward decriminalization across the country. Four states will vote on pot proposals in November. 

For years, the Democratic Party has hoped marijuana ballot initiatives will motivate their voters to turn out. The theory is far from settled political science, but anecdotal evidence this cycle looks optimistic for embattled Democrats, even as they offer only meek support for the initiatives on the campaign trail.

Senators Trigger Investigation Into Missing Saudi Journalist Who May Have Been Murdered
Jamal Khashoggi went missing after visiting Saudi consulate in Turkey

Protesters hold posters of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi  at the entrance to Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, on Monday. Fears are growing over his fate after Turkish officials said they believe he was murdered. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

Senators on Wednesday triggered a U.S. government investigation into what happened to a prominent missing Saudi journalist, who is suspected to have been murdered last week in Turkey.

The lawmakers said they expect the investigation to look into the actions of the “highest-ranking officials in the government of Saudi Arabia,” a move that signals lawmakers on both sides of aisle are willing to confront the staunch ally.

Democrats Fume Over Transfer of FEMA Money to ICE Before Hurricanes
Agency officials, some Republicans say funds could not be used for response

Sen. Jeff Merkley has released documents showing that nearly $10 million from FEMA’s budget was diverted to fund ICE’s detention facilities and deportation operations. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

On the eve of Hurricane Florence hitting the U.S. coast, Democratic lawmakers expressed outrage that the Homeland Security Department transferred nearly $10 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to Immigration and Customs Enforcement in a reprogramming move this summer.

Sen. Jeff Merkley’s office on Wednesday released documents confirming that $9.8 million from FEMA’s operations and support budget was diverted to fund ICE’s detention facilities and deportation operations.

Civil Rights Commission Calls for Action on Voting Rights Fix
State actions since 2013 have hurt minority voting rights, new report says

Rep. Joyce Beatty, D-Ohio, second from right, at a rally outside the Supreme Court in January to oppose an Ohio voter purge law. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights urged Congress on Wednesday to update the landmark law that protects voter rights, finding in a new report that a 2013 Supreme Court decision helped lead to elections with voting measures in place that discriminate against minorities.

But opposition from Republican lawmakers has stalled legislation to change the Voting Rights Act of 1965 since the 5-4 decision in Shelby County v. Holder that struck down a key enforcement mechanism in the law. Current efforts appear stuck for the same reason.

Steny Hoyer Touts Oversight and Ethics Standards as Key to Trust in Government
Eyeing majority, Maryland Democrat and minority whip looks at transparency as winning issue

Hoyer layed out proposals to boost transparency, oversight and to strengthen ethics standards. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Efforts to boost transparency, ethics and oversight are among House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer’s strategies for restoring Americans’ trust in government if Democrats win the House majority for the next congress.

“Our people believe their government is rigged against them. This belief undermines trust in government and impedes our ability to govern,” the Maryland Democrat told a crowd Wednesday.

46 Republicans Call on Ryan, McCarthy to Reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act
Time is short on legislative calendar before Sept. 30 expiration

A group of House Republicans are calling for action on the Violence Against Women Act before it expires at the end of the month. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Nearly 50 House Republicans are calling on Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., to bring a reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act to the floor before it expires Sept. 30.

“Since being signed into law in 1994, VAWA has helped to protect and support millions of Americans who have faced domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking,” the group, led by New Yorkers John Katko and Elise Stefanik, wrote in a letter.

Kamala Harris, Brett Kavanaugh and ‘Racial Dog Whistles’
Potential 2020 presidential candidate found nominee’s answer ‘very troubling’

Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., attends the Senate Judiciary confirmation hearing for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. She has accused the nominee of using racial “dog whistles.” (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Kamala Harris, a potential 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, said Friday she was not satisfied with Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s answers this week when she asked him about his use of a term she dubbed a racial “dog whistle.”

During a Senate Judiciary confirmation session Friday with legal experts and other witnesses, the California Democrat returned to a line of questioning she had with the federal appellate judge on Wednesday. During the first full day of questioning Kavanaugh, she asked him to explain why he, in an op-ed, once used the term “racial spoils system.”