Things That Matter

These Families Need $5,000 To Witness Supreme Court Hearing Over The Deaths Of Their Children By Border Patrol

On Nov. 12, the Supreme Court will be hearing arguments for the case of a Border Patrol agent killing a teenager on Mexican soil. Sergio Adrián Hernández Güereca was doing what 15-year-old Mexican boys do. He was playing a game with friends on Mexican soil when he was shot in the head by border guard Jesus Mesa Jr from U.S. soil. This happened on June 7, 2010, and has no legal precedent, which is why it’s taken over nine years for a final decision to be determined. In less than a week, Hernández v. Mesa could decide how seriously U.S. officers treat non-citizens across the border, and if those non-citizens will be granted monetary redress for their loss.

The families bringing the case forward are using a GoFundMe to raise $5,500 to both make it to the hearing, but also participate in speaking engagements to raise awareness around border violence.

The presence of the parents will create significantly more media coverage for the victims of border violence.

Credit: Justice for Victims of US Border Patrol / GoFundMe

Over the past 15 years, more than 100 people have been killed by US Border Patrol as a direct result of their excessive use of force. Not one agent has ever been held accountable,” the GoFundMe states. “This systematic pattern of injustice guarantees impunity to US state agents for the criminalization and annihilation of people of color, indigenous, refugees and migrants, both inside and outside of the United States.”

The GoFundMe will allow for Guadalupe Güereca (Sergio Adrian’s mom) and Taide Zojo and Araceli Rodríguez (José Antonio’s grandmother and mother respectively) to be transported, housed, and fed in Washington D.C. for the oral arguments. The money will also help pay for the costs associated with their week-long speaking engagement tour on behalf of victims of border violence. Frankly, the budget set out seems conservative. On the GoFundMe, they list an expected $900 to pay for food for 4 people for 9 days. That’s $25 per person per day, a feat for anyone who has lived or visited the Washington area.

The GoFundMe has raised $3,775 in one week, but the case is being heard in just five days.

Credit: Justice for Victims of US Border Patrol / GoFundMe

It’s not just the Hernández Güereca family that is showing up to demand justice for their child. José Antonio Elena Rodríguez, 16, was shot sixteen times and killed in Nogales, Sonora, by U.S. Border Patrol agent Lonnie Swartz on Oct. 10, 2012. The agent shot the teenager from the U.S. side of the border in Nogales, Arizona. “Like Mesa, Swartz has not faced any accountability,” the GoFundme states. Swartz said he shot the 16-year-old sixteen times because he was throwing rocks at Border Patrol officers.

For the record, any non-citizen who is shot on the U.S. border can absolutely seek redress thanks to Bivens v. Six Unknown Unnamed Agents, which allows any person who has been injured by a U.S. law enforcement officer to sue for damages.

An anonymous donor offered to match every donation up to $2,000.

Credit: Justice for Victims of US Border Patrol / GoFundMe

On Nov. 5, the organizer shared the exciting news that every donation will be matched, thanks to an anonymous donor. “This is an incredible opportunity for people to double the impact of their contribution as we seek justice, accountability, and an end to US-led state violence against our communities,” they write.

With any funds over our $5,500 goal, we will do two things,” the campaign organizer shared, along with the good news. The “extra” money will help “provide financial support to Guadalupe, Araceli, and Taide, who have to miss work in order to travel. Whatever is left over will help “support their next trip to DC, so they can return to the Supreme Court when the verdict is announced in a few months. We need your help! If you have the resources, please donate!”

The families also want you to share the GoFundMe, and use the hashtags #USMurderPatrol #JusticeForSergioAdrian and #JusticeForJoseAntonio to raise awareness.

Credit: Justice for Victims of US Border Patrol / GoFundMe

Sergio Adrián would be 24 years old today. Jose Antonio would be 23 years old. “Peace and healing are not possible without justice,” the organizers write. “Justice is impossible without accountability which includes reparations for the victims, and guarantees of legal recourse for violence committed by U.S. agents and targeted at communities outside of U.S. borders. The victims of U.S.-led and sanctioned state violence are counting on you to end these egregious patterns of violence and the structures that uphold them,” the organizers emphasize.

READ: Their Son Was Killed On Mexican Soil By A Border Patrol Agent And They Want Justice

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Justice Amy Coney Barrett Just Issued Her First Opinion In Abortion Case And Cast Doubt On Future Of Roe V. Wade

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Justice Amy Coney Barrett Just Issued Her First Opinion In Abortion Case And Cast Doubt On Future Of Roe V. Wade

Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

It was no secret that if the Republican Party and Donald Trump got their way with the Supreme Court, that women’s health and reproductive rights would be under attack. Well, Trump installed his new justice, Amy Coney Barrett, to the court in November and she’s just issued her first opinion in a case related to access to abortion.

Amy Coney Barrett handed a victory to the White House and Conservatives regarding abortion.

Since taking her seat on the Supreme Court in November, Justice Coney Barretts’ opinions have escaped much scrutiny. However, her latest opinion in an abortion-related case is drawing scrutiny from both the left and the right for clues of how she might rule in the future.

The decision, issued despite objection from the court’s more liberal judges, reinstates a requirement for patients to pick up the drug, mifepristone, in person. Three lower courts had blocked the Food and Drug Administration’s in-person pick-up requirement for mifepristone during the coronavirus pandemic, citing the risks of contracting COVID-19 at a doctor’s office or a hospital.

Julia Kaye, staff attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union Reproductive Freedom Project, called the court’s decision “chilling” and one that “needlessly” endangers “even more people during this dark pandemic winter.”

In an interview with NPR, she added that people of color, like Black and Latinx patients, are at particular risk for health risks posed by COVID-19. Requiring them to go to a doctor’s office in person to pick up the drug threatens the health and lives of those patients, she said.

It’s the first abortion-related decision since last year’s swearing in of Justice Amy Coney Barrett, whose presence on the high court bench ensured a new conservative majority. Abortion-rights advocates have been fearful of what a conservative majority could do to chip away at legal protections for abortion.

On the surface, this week’s abortion ruling is fairly minor but it has many women worried.

Credit: Phil Walter / Getty Images

In its ruling, the Court didn’t release a majority opinion, which means that the case doesn’t explicitly change existing legal doctrine. And the case concerns a policy that the Biden administration could likely reverse after President-elect Joe Biden takes office.

But, when you read between the lines, the case – FDA v. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists – warns of a dark future for abortion rights and women’s health.

The premise of pro-abortion rights decisions like Roe v. Wade (1973) is that the Constitution provides special protection to the right to an abortion that it doesn’t provide to other elective medical procedures. Yet, as Justice Sonia Sotomayor explains in dissent, American College effectively rules that a commonly used abortion drug may be regulated more harshly than any other legal medication.

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Supreme Court Won’t Rule On Trump’s Case To Remove Undocumented People From The 2020 Census

Things That Matter

Supreme Court Won’t Rule On Trump’s Case To Remove Undocumented People From The 2020 Census

Patrick Semansky / Getty Images

Update December 17, 2020

The United States Supreme Court refused to rule on President Donald Trump’s attempt to have undocumented people removed from the 2020 census. The decision is another in a long line of losses for the Trump administration

The Trump administration lost their bid to have undocumented people kicked off the census count.

For months, organizations did everything they could to get everyone counted in the census. The Trump administration launched several attacks on the census to keep undocumented people from filling out their census. The Trump administration attempted to first include a citizenship question on the census and lost that battle because the Constitution has no stipulation on citizenship to participate in the census.

Another tactic by the Trump administration was to get the Supreme Court to allow them to stop the count early. The ongoing pandemic served as a reason by the court to end the count early to the dismay of immigrant activists. Door-to-door counting was stopped in the spring because of Covid-19.

President Trump’s last attempt to alter the census in the Republican Party’s favor was to have the Supreme Court exclude undocumented respondents. However, the Census Bureau said that there was not enough time to find the people and exclude them before the numbers were due to Congress. The administration was handed this loss around the same time that President Trump lost his attempts to overturn President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.

Original: The drama over the 2020 Census just won’t stop. It seems that we’re caught up in a never-ending (though all important) saga over the results from this year’s census count – one that could have a major impact on everything from congressional representation to federal funding.

The Trump Administration, in its conintued assault on the migrant community, has asked the Supreme Court for permission to exclude all undocumented residents from being counted – even though that has never happened in the country’s 244 year history.

During this week’s arguments over the case, the court’s justices all seemed to cast doubt on Trump’s plan but not necessarily for the same reasons. Though some immigration advocated worry that the Supreme Court is still set to grant the outgoing Donald Trump a lame duck victory that could cause major headaches for a President Biden.

The Supreme Court seemed skeptical of Trump’s plan to exclude undocumented immigrants from census.

On Monday, the Supreme Court heard arguments over Trump’s plan to exclude undocumented residents from the census count. But during an audio-only oral argument session that stretched to more than an hour and a half, there appeared to be few, if any, takers on the high court for Trump’s effort to leave all unlawful immigrants out of the critical count.

Even many of the court’s most conservative justices – including those Trump named to the court – seemed highly skeptical of the constitutionality of the president’s move, but they also expressed misgivings about ruling on that issue now when thorny questions about smaller groups of undocumented migrants could be just weeks away.

The court’s conservatives, who hold a 6-3 majority, signaled such a ruling might be premature based on the administration’s admission that it does not yet know how or if it will be able to implement the proposal.

Several of the justices seemed to imply that rushing a decision through would be a major mistake.

Even Trump’s own Census Bureau admitted that it has no idea yet how many people would be excluded or when it will have the answer. The justices appeared to be reluctant to act immediately to block the plan based on that admission alone.

“Career experts at the Census Bureau confirmed with me that they still don’t know even roughly how many illegal aliens they will be able to identify, let alone how their number and geographic concentration may affect apportionment,” said acting Solicitor General Jeffrey Wall, the government’s chief lawyer.

Near the outset of Monday’s session, Chief Justice John Roberts seemed to be urging some delay, despite the fact that the court urgently accelerated arguments in the case at the request of the Trump administration.

“What is the problem with post-apportionment litigation?” Roberts asked. “We don’t know what the secretary is going to do. We don’t know what the president is going to do. We don’t know how many aliens will be excluded. We don’t know what the effect of that will be on apportionment. All these questions would be resolved if we wait until the apportionment takes place.”

Much of the argument session turned on technical procedural questions about whether the suit is premature, since the Census Bureau hasn’t yet provided Trump with its report. Some justices also speculated that the number of foreigners the Census Bureau ultimately identifies as potentially subject to exclusion could wind up being so small that it wouldn’t have much impact on the apportionment of House seats among the states.

“I find the posture of this case quite frustrating,” Justice Samuel Alito said. “It could be we are dealing with a possibility that is quite important. It could be that this is much ado about very little.”

A ruling in Trump’s favor on this case would have serious implications for Democratic-leaning states.

Lawyers for the states that oppose the plan and groups affected by it told the justices that it would shift money and political power away from states with large immigrant populations and that it would violate the Constitution and federal law.

The Constitution requires a census every 10 years, and the results determine how many members of Congress each state gets in the House of Representatives. The data are also used to calculate local governments’ share of $1.5 trillion under many federal programs.

California, Florida and Texas would each lose one seat in the House, and Alabama, Minnesota and Ohio would each keep a seat they would otherwise lose to population shifts, according to an analysis by the Pew Research Center. Other predictions show Arizona losing a seat, too, and Montana gaining one.

The states would lose equal numbers of Electoral College votes, which are based on the size of their House delegations.

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