President Obama and Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland will stop by the University of Chicago Law School on Thursday to address the significance of filling the vacancy on the Supreme Court. Law students and faculty at the institution will have the opportunity to interact with the president and Garland during the town-hall-like event. President Obama will highlight Garland’s accomplishments in an effort to show people why he belongs on the Supreme Court. Filling the vacancy has been one of Obama’s top priorities as his time in office dwindles down. White House Strategic Communications Advisor Rachel Racusen said the event will “continue to shed light on why it is so important that everyone does their job and give Judge Garland a fair hearing and an up-or-down vote.” President Obama is no stranger to the University of Chicago Law School. He taught constitutional law there between 1992 and 2004. Garland also has deep ties to Chicago. “This is the president getting out of D.C., going to his hometown in a place where Judge Garland also has roots, to a school where the president himself and Judge Garland also have connections,” said Racusen. Read more.
Religious Freedom Laws Are On the Rise
Proposals for religious freedom laws are becoming all too common nowadays. Throughout the country, there are proposed bills being laid on the table to guarantee that businesses and individuals can make decisions based on their faith – even if it results in discriminating against other groups. This week, Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant signed a bill that would allow religious groups and businesses to withhold services, including adoption, wedding planning, and counseling, to individuals that associate with the LGBT community. This is allowed when they have “sincerely held religious beliefs or convictions.” Last month, Georgia passed a similar bill that gave religious organizations the right to deny services to individuals who identified as gay or lesbian. However, it was vetoed by Gov. Nathan Deal. North Carolina has also taken the same measures. Although many LGBT advocacy groups believe these bills are blatantly discriminatory, supporters see them as a way of protecting First Amendment rights. Read more.
Toronto’s Special Investigations Unit Accused of Racism
Black Lives Matter protesters in Toronto are putting the pressure on city officials to look into the alleged racist activity of its Special Investigations Unit. The SIU, a civilian police team that examines sexual assault cases, injuries, and deaths, is being accused of racism. In July 2015, an unarmed Black man was shot and killed by a Toronto police officer. There were no charges brought against him. Following the verdict, several protesters took to the streets to express their outrage. “Most in Toronto acknowledge that there is a growing lack of trust between those in authority and our community, in particular around anti-Black racism,” said city official Mike Layton. “Black Lives Matter, community outreach workers and mental health agencies have all been speaking out and telling us that people are not being treated justly,” read a motion filed by Layton and other city leaders. Read more.
PHOTO CREDIT: Getty