JUNE 29, 2016
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On Brexit and Supreme Court Rulings

Major Changes in Political and Legal Arenas Make a New Story of a More Inclusive Society More Urgent and Relevant than Ever

UK and EU Flags on side of a building. Photo Credit: Dave Kellam/Wikimedia Commons

In a new piece reflecting on the UK's vote to leave the European Union, Director john a. powell noted, "Some were pleased, many were deeply concerned. What is likely is that many will be affected." john addresses what the ramifications of Brexit means for us here in the US, confronting the underlying force that is fueling these feelings—not just political and not just economic, but ontological concerns about who we are as a nation and who belongs. john advocates for a way to address the shared anxiety and frustration that is present across the political and cultural spectrum, what he calls, "not a blueprint for the future, but an orientation in a new direction. Beyond Brexit and beyond the outcome of the 2016 Presidential race, we need a bridging story that gives reason for us to believe in a shared future." Read Beyond Brexit.

Supreme Court/Creative Commons License

Fisher v. Texas

In the landmark decision on Fisher v. Texas, the Supreme Court reaffirms the importance of diversity in higher education by upholding the Holistic Admissions Plan of the University of Texas, which considered racial diversity among other factors to ensure a diverse student body. Along with The Equal Justice Society, and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, the Haas Institute submitted a friend-of-the-Court (amicus) brief on behalf of the University of Texas. This brief, which relied on the expertise of 35 prominent social scientists, demonstrated the benefits of diversity and the need for consideration of race in the University’s admissions decisions. After the victory was announced, Haas Institute Director john a. powell, one of the brief's co-authors, noted, “This decision gives hope to other institutions of higher education seeking to increase the diversity of their student body through race-conscious admissions plans, and marks a new day for equity in education.” Read the statement on the case. Read about how a decision like this affects the University of California

Whole Women's Health v. Hellerstedt

On June 17, the Supreme Court's decision in Whole Women's Health v. Hellerstedt case is a solid victory for women and all reproductive right and public health advocates. The ability to have an abortion in the US is largely dependent on the geographical region in which we reside, and in many areas, women have no choice but to travel for hours in order to reach a medical provider authorized and able to perform an abortion service. That is not a viable choice for most women seeking abortions, and is why access to abortion providers is a fundamental component of the right to choose. 

As the Supreme Court has held, any restrictions, rules, or regulations that place an “undue burden” on a woman’s right to choose is a violation of the right to choose itself. Berkeley Law Professor and LGBTQ Citizenship cluster member Melissa Murray co-authored and submitted an amicus brief supporting women's reproductive rights as it relates to this case. Murray said, "The Court made clear that the burdens imposed by the challenged provisions of HB2 are indeed undue. I'm gratified that our efforts helped secure this important victory for women."  Read the entire news article

Woman Holding a "I Can't Dream Without My Parents" Sign. / Joe Brusky via Creative Commons License

United States v. Texas

We are alarmed and disturbed by the  Supreme Court’s 4-4 outcome in United States v. Texas, a critically important case to rights for immigrant families in America delivered on June 23. The case centered on a 2014 Executive Order by President Obama to expand the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) programs. The non-decision by the Court on this case is a tragedy that affects millions of people—over 4 million people who qualified through the programs under review are now at risk of being deported and having their families torn apart.

Director john a. powell noted, “These cases are not just games of political football, they have a profound effect on the lives of human beings. Undocumented immigrants live in an extremely vulnerable and marginalized space in our society, and the lack of a decision by the Supreme Court sends a disturbing political and legal message to them that they do not belong here. This case is a devastating blow to those seeking to build a more inclusive and healthy immigration system.” Read more.

New Speaker Series at the Haas Institute: Thinking Ahead

New Thinking Ahead Discussion Series: Inaugural Speaker will be Political Activist Steve Phillips

Join a new discussion series in the Bay Area featuring big ideas to tackle extreme inequality, end racial economic exclusion, and create lasting change.

July 12 Thinking Ahead FlyerJuly 12 at 12:15 pm  
Steve Phillips  

Brown is the New White: How the Demographic Revolution Has Created a New American Majority

Venue: Citizen Engagement Lab, 1330 Broadway, Third Floor, Oakland

RSVP Here.

Steve Phillips, a civil rights lawyer and senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, draws on his extensive national political experience to unveil exactly how people of color and progressive whites add up to a new majority, and what this means for US politics and policy.

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