Passed by Congress June 13, 1866, and ratified July 9, 1868, the 14th amendment extended liberties and rights granted by the Bill of Rights to former slaves.
Following the Civil War, Congress submitted to the states three amendments as part of its Reconstruction program to guarantee equal civil and legal rights to black citizens. The major provision of the 14th amendment was to grant citizenship to “All persons born or naturalized in the United States,” thereby granting citizenship to former slaves. Another equally important provision was the statement that “nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” The right to due process of law and equal protection of the law now applied to both the Federal and state governments. On June 16, 1866, the House Joint Resolution proposing the 14th amendment to the Constitution was submitted to the states. On July 28, 1868, the 14th amendment was declared, in a certificate of the Secretary of State, ratified by the necessary 28 of the 37 States, and became part of the supreme law of the land.
July 4, 1776, the United States Declaration of Independence was adopted by the Continental Congress which announced that the thirteen American colonies then at war with Great Britain were now independent states. Written primarily by Thomas Jefferson, the Declaration is a formal explanation of why Congress had voted on July 2 to declare independence from Great Britain, more than a year after the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War. The birthday of the United States of America—Independence Day—is celebrated on July 4, the day the wording of the Declaration was approved by Congress.
We celebrate the 238th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence and the beginning of American democracy.
“Salute to the Military“
President Obama and First Lady Michelle will celebrate the Fourth of July by hosting military heroes and their families with a Seventh Annual “Salute to the Military” USO Concert at the White House. The celebration includes a barbeque, USO concert and a view of fireworks on the South Lawn.
8:10 PM EDT: USO Concert
8:45 PM EDT President Obama Delivers Remarks at a Fourth of July Celebration
9:15 PM EDT: National Capital fireworks display
Here Are the Six Major Rulings We’ll Get From the Supreme Court This Week
Jun 24, 2015 12:14 PM PDT Greg Shohr – bloomberg
The U.S. Supreme Court is saving the best for last.
The nation’s top court will issue a series of major rulings over the next several days as it closes its nine-month term. In addition to landmark gay-marriage and Obamacare cases, the court will decide on potentially far-reaching disputes involving housing discrimination, redistricting, air pollution and lethal injection.
“Almost all of the remaining rulings have huge implications and promise to be closely divided,” said Tom Goldstein, a Washington appellate lawyer whose Scotusblog website tracks the court.
The first of seven rulings will come at 10 a.m. Washington time Thursday, with more scheduled for Friday and Monday. The court doesn’t say in advance which decisions are being released which day, but it almost always resolves all its pending cases by the end of June.
Before they pack up, the justices will also say whether they will supplement the session that starts in October with new cases on abortion, affirmative action and union fees.
Here’s what’s coming from the Supreme Court over the next week:
No case is bigger than the one that could legalize same-sex weddings nationwide. Only 11 years after Massachusetts became the first gay-marriage state, the court would be putting the capstone on the biggest civil rights transformation in a half-century.
Three years after upholding President Barack Obama’s signature health-care [Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act] law against a broad constitutional challenge, the court will decide whether a four-word phrase will severely undercut the measure.
The biggest race case of the term may produce a long-sought legal victory for lenders and insurers, as well as social conservatives. The court is poised to say whether people suing under the U.S. Fair Housing Act can win their case without showing intentional discrimination.
The April 29 argument over lethal injection methods might have been the most heated of the term, with one justice accusing death penalty opponents of waging a “guerrilla war” and another saying she couldn’t trust a state lawyer.
The court may deal a fresh blow to efforts to make federal elections more competitive by barring states from setting up independent commissions to draw congressional district boundaries. The issue is whether an Arizona commission strips state lawmakers of power reserved to them by the U.S. Constitution.
Obama administration urges U.S. Supreme Court to strike down DOMA .
February 22, 2013 lgbtqnation Staff Reports .
The Obama administration on Friday filed a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court, arguing why it considers the federal Defense of Marriage Act to be unconstitutional. .
Filed in United States v. Windsor, a case challenging Section 3 of DOMA, the administration said “gay and lesbian people have been subject to a significant history of discrimination in this country,” and argued that laws targeting individuals based on their sexual orientation should face additional scrutiny by courts reviewing them. .
In the brief, Solicitor General Donald Verrilli asked the court to uphold a federal appeals court ruling that found DOMA to be unconstitutional: Section 3 of DOMA violates the fundamental constitutional guarantee of equal protection. The law denies to tens of thousands of same-sex couples who are legally married under state law an array of important federal benefits that are available to legally married opposite-sex couples. Because this discrimination cannot be justified as substantially furthering any important governmental interest, Section 3 is unconstitutional. .
This case deals with Edith Windsor, who was forced to pay $363,000 in estate taxes in 2009 upon the death of her spouse, Thea Spyer. The two had lived as a couple for 44 years and married in Canada in 2007. Because her decades-long partner was a woman, the federal government did not recognize the same-sex marriage in legal terms, even though their home state of New York did. .
Section 3 of DOMA, which bars legally married same-sex couples from any federal benefits or programs based on marriage, has been found unconstitutional in eight federal courts, including the First and Second Circuit Court of Appeals, on issues including bankruptcy, public employee benefits, estate taxes, and immigration. .
The brief also mentions Proposition 8, California’s ban on same-sex marriage, and similar measures in other states as evidence of continued discrimination against gays and lesbians. .
For more: http://www.lgbtqnation.com/2013/02/obama-administration-urges-u-s-surpeme-court-to-strike-down-doma/.
High court strikes down federal marriage provision
6/26/13 By MARK SHERMAN | Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that legally married same-sex couples should get the same federal benefits as heterosexual couples.
The court invalidated a provision of the federal Defense of Marriage Act that has prevented married gay couples from receiving a range of tax, health and retirement benefits that are generally available to married people. The vote was 5-4.
Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the majority opinion.
Same-sex marriage has been adopted by 12 states and the District of Columbia. Another 18,000 couples were married in California during a brief period when same-sex unions were legal there.
The court has yet to release its decision on California’s ban on same-sex marriage.
“Under DOMA, same-sex married couples have their lives burdened, by reason of government decree, in visible and public ways,” Kennedy said.
“DOMA’s principal effect is to identify a subset of state-sanctioned marriages and make them unequal,” he said.
He was joined by the court’s four liberal justices.
Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas dissented.
.“My general view is that transgender persons, just like gays and lesbians, are deserving of equal treatment under the law. And that’s a basic principle,” the president said. “My sense is that the Supreme Court is about to make a shift, one that I welcome, which is to recognize that — having hit a critical mass of states that have recognized same-sex marriage — it doesn’t make sense for us to now have this patchwork system and that it’s time to recognize that, under the equal protection clause of the United States, same-sex couples should have the same rights as anybody else.”
Know Your Rights: Title IX Prohibits Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence Where You Go to School
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (“Title IX”), 20 U.S.C. §1681 et seq., is a Federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in education programs and activities. All public and private elementary and secondary schools, school districts, colleges, and universities (hereinafter “schools”) receiving any Federal funds must comply with Title IX. Under Title IX, discrimination on the basis of sex can include sexual harassment or sexual violence, such as rape, sexual assault, sexual battery, and sexual coercion.
Below is additional information regarding the specific requirements of Title IX as they pertain to sexual harassment and sexual violence.
What are a school’s responsibilities to address sexual harassment and sexual violence?
A school has a responsibility to respond promptly and effectively. If a school knows or reasonably should know about sexual harassment or sexual violence that creates a hostile environment, the school must take immediate action to eliminate the sexual harassment or sexual violence, prevent its recurrence, and address its effects.
Even if a student or his or her parent does not want to file a complaint or does not request that the school take any action on the student’s behalf, if a school knows or reasonably should know about possible sexual harassment or sexual violence, it must promptly investigate to determine what occurred and then take appropriate steps to resolve the situation.
A criminal investigation into allegations of sexual harassment or sexual violence does not relive the school of its duty under Title IX to resolve complaints promptly and equitably.What procedures must a school have in place to prevent sexual harassment and sexual violence and resolve complaints?
• Every School Must Have And Distribute A Policy Against Sex Discrimination
• Every School Must Have A Title IX Coordinator
• Every School Must Have And Make Known Procedures For Students To File Complaints Of Sex Discrimination.
“Mr. President, the last thing I want to say is, I want to thank you personally, you and the First Lady, for all you do to empower women. You have no idea. Every day, you both send a strong message that little girls can do anything they want to do, and they can be anything they want to be.“