Law & Policy: Legal Advocacy

We increase the capacity of attorneys and other legal actors engaged in racial justice advocacy.

For example, with the benefit of EJS convenings and technical assistance, Legal Services of Northern California represented neighborhood associations in communities of color against the placement of harmful natural gas, served as counsel to reform racially discriminatory practices in community benefits disbursement, and litigated a land use case to ensure housing for Latino farm-workers and other low-income community members.

Current litigation involvement:

Lewis v. City of Chicago – EJS contributed to an amicus brief submitted by the National Women’s Law Center in the pending Supreme Court case.  The issue in the case is when the statute of limitations begins to toll in a Title VII discrimination suit.   In the brief, Equal Justice Society supported an expansive interpretation of statute of limitation laws in order to ensure that victims of discrimination are afforded adequate time to remedy their wrong.

Sander – Professor Richard Sander, Joe Hicks and the California First Amendment Coalition are attempting to compel the State Bar of California to release information of those that have taken the bar in California. With this information, Sander, an opponent of affirmative action in law school admissions, would like to conduct research pertaining to the gap in bar passage rates among racial and ethnic gaps, in the hopes of showing that many minorities in elite higher education settings perform more poorly than they would in other schools.  EJS is helping in drafting an amicus brief that would deny Sander the information because it is confidential and protected.

Darensberg v. Metropolitan Transportation Commission – The plaintiffs in this case, people of color, argue that Metropolitan Train Commission discriminates against them by under-funding bus service to minority communities.  The plaintiffs argued Equal Protection Clause, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act and California Government Code 11135 violations.  EJS aided in an amicus brief arguing that illegal discrimination was taking place.

Watkins v. Country of Alameda – The Alameda County Social Services Agency was attempting to terminate General Assistance benefits for more than 5,000 recipients with the adoption of a policy, which limits GA benefits to six months a year for any person classified as employable.  EJS is serving as Amicus in this case to thwart the aims of Alameda County.

Caltrans – EJS is of counsel in this case, in which the Caltrans program, the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise, was set up using federal funds to set aside an amount of contracts to minority businesses.  Proposition 209, which limits the use of race conscious policies in the state of California, includes an exception which allows the use of race conscious policies where federal funds would be lost if not implemented.  The Department of Education approved race conscious means.  Contractors who are against the use of race consciousness and the Pacific Legal Foundation have filed suit arguing that the policy violates the Fourteenth Amendment, and Prop 209.  EJS is involved in the effort of supporting minority contractors in their aid of procuring more government contracts.

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