Muslim student Yasir Afifi and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) filed a lawsuit against the FBI on March 2 after Afifi discovered a global positioning system (GPS) device on the undercarriage of his car. The suit, filed in the US District Court for the District of Columbia, alleges that Afifi's rights were violated when FBI agents attempted to retrieve their tracking device, without explanation for why Afifi was being tracked. Afifi's suit alleges civil rights and constitutional violations, specifically unlawful search under the Fourth Amendment, chilling and recording of First Amendment activities, and unlawful agency action:
Last month, Louisiana's Sen. David Vitter and Kentucky's Sen. Rand Paul introduced legislation aimed at amending the Fourteenth Amendment—specifically, denying birthright citizenship to those born to undocumented immigrants. (The State Column, Jan. 30) This idea was notoriously broached last year ("worth considering," he said) by then-House Minority Leader—today House Speaker—John Boehner. (CNN, Aug. 8, 2010) This would be an alarming enough development, if it were not happening amid a sinister mainstreaming of pro-Confederacy revisionism...
For the second year in a row, a federal court in Columbus, Georgia, has sentenced activists to six-month prison terms for trespassing on the US Army's Fort Benning base during protests against the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC), formerly the US Army School of the Americas (SOA). This is the maximum sentence for the offense, and US federal magistrate G. Mallon Faircloth surprised observers when he imposed the penalty on three activists in January 2010.
The right-wing chattering and blogging classes are squealing with unanimous denial that Jared Loughner was influenced by their recent effluence of ultra-bellicose thunder. Timothy P. Carney on the Washington Examiner's Beltway Confidential blog takes issue with Paul Krugman's sensible call in the New York Times ("Climate of Hate," Jan. 9) for partisans to refrain from "eliminationist rhetoric." Writes Carney:
Although no other evidence is given, Fox News on Jan. 9 quoted a Department of Homeland Security memo stating that Jared Lee Loughner—primary suspect in the previous day's shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson—is "possibly linked" to American Renaissance, a self-styled far-right think-tank that DHS says promotes views that are "anti-government, anti-immigration, anti-ZOG [Zionist Occupational Government], anti-Semitic."
Sholom Rubashkin, former CEO of the Agriprocessors kosher slaughterhouse in Postville, Iowa—which made national headlines when it was the target of a massive ICE raid of undocumented workers in 2008—this week filed an appeal of his conviction to the 8th US Circuit Court of Appeals. Rubashkin was convicted in November 2009 of 86 counts of fraud stemming from a $26.8 million loss to lenders after the immigration raid found nearly 400 undocumented workers at his plant. Although the indictment included charges of harboring unauthorized immigrants for profit, federal prosecutors opted not to pursue the immigration charges after the fraud conviction. A state trial acquitted him of knowingly employing underage workers.
The Oklahoma chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) filed a lawsuit Nov. 4 challenging the constitutionality of State Question 755, which amends the state constitution to ban the use of Islamic or international law in state court decisions. The suit, filed in the US District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma, seeks to block the Oklahoma State Board of Elections from certifying this week's election results, in which voters approved the measure by a vote of 70 to 30%. CAIR argues that the law violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. The law would prevent Oklahoma courts from "look[ing] to the legal precepts of other nations or cultures," requiring them only to look to legal precedents of other states for guidance, provided that state does not use Islamic law.
A three-judge panel for the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on Oct. 25 struck down a portion of an Arizona law requiring proof of citizenship for voter registration. The court held that the law, Proposition 200, was inconsistent with the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA), which was passed with the intent of increasing voter registration and removing barriers to registration imposed by the states. The NVRA requires voters to attest to the validity of the information on their registration form, including their citizenship, but does not require them to provide additional proof of citizenship. Proposition 200 went beyond the federal statute, requiring applicants to show proof of citizenship before registering to vote.