civil-rights

Violence Against Women Act extension could complicate spending bill
The existing act has received bipartisan support, but Democrats want an expansion of the law.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., says the Violence Against Women Act has arisen as a potential issue with the spending package. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Wednesday that a potential extension of the Violence Against Women Act has emerged as a bit of a complication to passing the spending package. 

“The Speaker is objecting to a modest extension of the Violence Against Women Act,” the Kentucky Republican said on the Senate floor.

How Ralph Northam is spending his Black History Month
The African-Americans of his state have done a whole lot of forgiving since the first enslaved people were brought there centuries ago

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam has been doing a lot of learning this month — about blackface, apologies and redemption. African-Americans who believe he should stay in his post are used to making political compromises to survive, Curtis writes. (Alex Edelman/Getty Images)

OPINION — The lessons of this February’s Black History Month commemorations have already veered far beyond the usual ones that begin and end by quoting a snippet of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech — the part about judging folks not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. A new curriculum is being written in real time, affecting real-life politicians and their constituents. And Virginia is hardly the only state not ready for the big exam.

Of course, the politician in question, Gov. Ralph Northam, has been learning as he goes — about blackface, about apologies and about redemption.

The outsiders: Roll Call’s people to watch in 2019
“We need people like ourselves fighting for policies that work for us”

Sayu Bhojwani is the founder of New American Leaders, which trains first- and second-generation Americans to run for public office. (Marcia Myers/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Roll Call’s list of the People to Watch in 2019 continues with three players from outside the Beltway expected to play key roles on the political and policy fronts.

One is working to give immigrant communities greater representation in the public sphere. Another is a state attorney general squaring off with the Trump administration in the courts. And the third is a Canadian politician whose government has plenty of concerns about U.S. positions on trade, human rights and democratic principles. 

Who won’t be at Trump’s State of the Union address
At least 4 are standing the president up, others will wear white to promote a ‘pro-woman’ agenda

Georgia Democratic Rep. John Lewis is one of at least four Democratic lawmakers to skip President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address tonight. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

At least four Democrats have openly announced they’re playing hooky for President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address tonight.

Reps. Earl Blumenauer, Hank Johnson, Steve Cohen, and John Lewis will not attend the address, Trump’s third speech to a joint session of Congress at the Capitol.

Covington Catholic lawyer adds Rep. Ilhan Omar to ‘libel,’ ‘get sued’ list
Minnesota Democrat deletes tweet that blamed teens for confrontation with Native American last week

Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar deleted a tweet Wednesday morning that blamed Covington Catholic students for the confrontation last weekend with a Native American protester. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Ilhan Omar is the latest public figure to catch the attention of the attorney for the Covington Catholic students, Robert Barnes, who is threatening to sue just about anyone who he thinks spread “libel” against his clients.

“This is libel. Retract, or get sued,” Barnes tweeted, quoting a now-deleted tweet from the Minnesota Democrat in which she claimed the teens were at fault for the confrontation Saturday at the Indigenous People’s March in Washington, D.C., between the students from the Northern Kentucky school and Native American Nathan Phillips.

Former Sen. Harris Wofford, who marched with MLK, dies at 92
Pennsylvania Democrat served in administration from John F. Kennedy’s to Bill Clinton’s

Sen. Harris Wofford, D-Pa., right, served alongside Sen. Arlen Specter, left, when Specter was a Republican.   (Laura Patterson/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Harris Wofford, a former Pennsylvania senator who also served in the administrations of Democratic presidents from John F. Kennedy to Bill Clinton, died Monday night. He was 92.

The Democrat’s life was defined, in many ways, by his commitment to public service. Wofford helped form the Peace Corps and AmeriCorps.

Supreme Court allows transgender troop ban while lawsuits proceed
The ruling was made over objections from the court‘s liberal justices

Supreme Court and the America flag (CQ Roll Call file photo).

The Supreme Court on Tuesday allowed the Trump administration to implement its ban on transgender troops, over the objections of the four liberal justices.

Nationwide injunctions from lower courts had stopped the ban for nearly a year. But the court Tuesday allowed a ban of transgender individuals from serving in the U.S. military to go into effect while lawsuits move through the courts. 

To Prevent Election Meddling, Invest in Black Voters, Groups Say
Russian disinformation campaign seized on long history of suppressing black votes

A voter enters the polling station at the Jefferson County Courthouse in Birmingham, Ala., to vote in the 2017 special election to fill Jeff Sessions' seat in the U.S. Senate. In the foreground is a historical marker noting a 1963 civil rights march to the courthouse to register African-American women as voters. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Political leaders seeking to prevent future meddling in American elections could take a lesson from the Russians: Invest in black voters.

That’s one takeaway from reports this week that Russian operatives disproportionately targeted African-Americans during the 2016 election, according to groups that seek to increase black participation and representation in American politics. 

Jackie Speier and Bradley Byrne Aim to End Taxpayer Settlements for Discrimination
House lawmakers want to go beyond compromise measure that passed Thursday

House lawmakers, including California Rep. Jackie Speier, already have plans to expand discrimination protections beyond the sexual harassment measure passed Thursday. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Congress on Thursday passed new sexual harassment rules governing lawmakers and staff on Capitol Hill, but House lawmakers already have plans to expand protections beyond what’s included in the compromise measure.

“This bill isn’t perfect, but that’s part of what the legislative process is about,” California Democrat Jackie Speier said Thursday. “We have decided to get this on the books to change the system that was woefully inadequate and then come back next year.”

If She Didn’t Give Up on Democracy, Neither Should We
When it came to voting, Rosanell Eaton wouldn’t take ‘no’ for an answer

After the Supreme Court gutted key provisions of the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965, Rosanell Eaton, center, fought back, Curtis writes. (Walt Unks/AP)

OPINION — If you don’t know Rosanell Eaton’s name, it’s time to learn exactly who she was and why her life and life’s work matters. She is the antidote to the cynicism infecting politics in 2018, a hero of democracy when democracy is under siege. She cared about her country and its highest principles, demanded her basic human and civil rights and brought others along with her.

Rosanell Eaton would not take “no” for an answer.