Lawsuits Will Be Critical in Protecting People’s Rights over Next Four Years
As the U.S. prepares to welcome in a new administration, advocacy groups are predicting that litigation will be key in protecting citizens’ civil rights under state and federal commercial laws, including consumer protection and employment laws.
Because it is anticipated that there will be fewer opportunities to collaborate with the administration before certain laws and regulations are put in place, some advocacy organizations have said that the courts will, specifically, serve as “an important bulwark.” This will be especially important in upholding constitutional rights.
Specifically, constitutional law scholars are concerned about the following being eviscerated:
- First Amendment Rights: The First Amendment protects the rights of free speech and press, including the rights of journalists to be able to report candidly;
- Equal Protection of the Laws: S. citizens have the right to be treated equally, regardless of their religious upbringing, affiliation, beliefs, race, gender, etc.;
- Separation of Powers: It is crucial that the judicial branch remain independent as part of our system of separated checks and balances; and
- Voting Rights & Civil Rights: It is critical that the voting rights of all Americans are protected.
Recent Civil Rights Case
Commonwealth v. Warren, a recent case taken up by the Massachusetts Supreme Court, examined whether police had reasonable suspicion to stop an African-American man simply because he ran away from officers. It had already been established by the courts that evasive conduct in the absence of any other information tending toward an individualized suspicion that a defendant is involved in a crime is insufficient to support reasonable suspicion. Specifically, the law guards a person’s freedom to speak or not to speak to a police officer. It is also within someone’s right to simply wall away and avoid contact with police. In other words; there is a fine line between consensual and obligatory police encounters.
The court concluded that because African-American men are disproportionately and repeatedly subject to police stops, more is needed to establish reasonable suspicion than the officers had in this particular case, especially given that African-Americans often have reasons to flee and these reasons may be “unrelated to the consciousness of guilt.” A report recently compiled concerning the incidence of African-American men in the city likely being targeted for police-civilian encounters such as stops, frisks, searches, interrogations, etc. played a large part in the decision.
These are the types of cases that we are likely to see come up in court over the next four years.
Civil Litigators Handling both Private and Public Legal Issues
The attorneys at Lavalle, Brown & Ronan, P.A. have a combined 130 years of experience working in civil and commercial law in the Boca Raton area. If you have been involved in a dispute, or suffered from a personal injury, including a violation of your civil rights, contact us today at 561-395-0000 or online to receive a free legal consultation. We are here to serve the citizens of Boca Raton and surrounding communities.