Justice for All
Michigan’s 12th Congressional District is a beautifully diverse place where Black folks make up the largest plurality, several different ethnicities comprise its population, many languages are spoken, and much of its population is foreign-born. Our residents may have different needs and priorities, but at the most basic level, we must protect civil rights and voting rights and ensure a quality education for all. It is also imperative that we work to help create a better pathway toward citizenship for our immigrant communities. Justice for All Civil Rights Act Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib (MI-12) introduced the Justice for All (JFA) Act of 2020, historic legislation that pushes back against decades of conservative court rulings to restore the original intent of our civil rights laws by reaffirming the availability of discrimination claims based on disparate impact. The JFA Act includes a private right of action and a prohibition on forced arbitration, both essential to allowing victims of discrimination, actual or perceived, to vindicate their rights, enjoin discriminatory behavior, and/or receive an award of damages and attorneys’ fees. Specifically, Justice For All restores and expands protections of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Fair Housing Act of 1968, the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. America’s most critical civil rights laws have been significantly undermined by conservative court rulings over the years, including the elimination of the availability of civil rights claims based on disparate impact rather than the more difficult to prove discriminatory intent. Tlaib’s bill would result in expanded protections, stronger civil rights, and a more inclusive America by, in part: Amending the aforementioned civil rights laws to prohibit actions which have a discriminatory effect, regardless of any discriminatory intent, and providing tools – including a private right of action – to combat intentional and unintentional discrimination against people based on (actual or perceived) race, color, religion, sex, disability, age, or national origin. Protecting people from discrimination in all aspects of life, including housing, schooling, public accommodations, employment, government facilities, privatized government functions, federally funded programs, and any commercial establishment (online or physical). Prohibiting the use of compelled arbitration clauses, which are frequently used to extinguish consumer and employee rights. Eliminating qualified immunity for government employees, which allows them to escape responsibility for their actions, and establishing that units of government are liable for the acts of their officials, including, most importantly, police officers who violate people’s civil rights. The bill also prohibits racial and gender profiling in police investigations and activity. Holding all employers accountable for the actions of all employees and eliminating court-created defenses that allow employers to escape liability for creating hostile work environments. Giving victims of disparate impact discrimination the compensation they deserve and the attorney’s fees necessary to allow civil rights lawyers to take up their cases. Clarifying the definition of “sex” for purposes of civil rights to include sexual orientation, pregnancy, gender identity, sex stereotypes, or any sex-related traits. No matter how you identify, our civil rights laws must protect you. A summary of the Justice For All Act can be found here.