The Civil Rights Monitor is an annual publication that reports on civil rights issues pending before the three branches of government. The Monitor also provides a historical context within which to assess current civil rights issues. Previous issues of the Monitor are available online. Browse or search the archives
Download a printable version (pdf) of the 2008 Civil Rights Monitor (44 pages)
In this Monitor, we review legislative activities related to disability rights, the mortgage crisis, and funding for the 2010 census; discuss developments in judicial nominations; and review the most recent U.S. Supreme Court term and fights over equal opportunity in the states. We also summarize Leadership Conference activities, including ongoing initiatives on reducing poverty and high school reform and a new initiative on fair housing.
Looking Forward to New Blood in Washington
After eight years of the Bush administration, the civil rights community is looking forward to a change in leadership at the federal level that, we hope, will prioritize issues that matter to the nation’s most vulnerable citizens, regardless of who is elected.
Interview with Bob Edgar, president and CEO of Common Cause
On the Hill
The Americans With Disabilities Act, Act Two
The passage and implementation of the ADA Amendments Act this year creates an opportunity for all of us to go out and re-educate our respective communities - at the local, state and national levels - about why there is still a need for a civil rights law like the ADA 18 years after its original enactment.
As Home Foreclosures Climb, Efforts to Help Troubled Homeowners Continue
After years of ignoring warnings by civil rights and consumer groups about the crisis in the mortgage lending industry, policymakers in 2008 finally responded to the sharp nationwide increase in home foreclosures. However, the federal government’s response will help only a fraction of homeowners keep their homes as foreclosures continue.
The Year in Judicial and Executive Nominations
In 2008, President Bush continued his pattern of nominating individuals with troubling civil rights records to the Fourth Circuit and other courts. However, redoubled efforts by civil rights groups to resist such nominees helped preserve the federal courts from further politicization by the administration.
Advocating for Federal Leadership on Education
Access to a high quality education is a fundamental civil right for all children and an economic necessity for the nation, yet policymakers at all levels of government have continued to tolerate an educational system that is failing half of our nation’s children.
Facing New Challenges with the 2010 Census
After ensuring that the Census Bureau had adequate funding to prepare for the 2010 census, civil rights activists spent much of 2008 working to ensure that the Bureau’s management of new technologies would not hinder its ability to administer a successful count in 2010.
Modernizing the Federal Poverty Measure
As fears about the weakening economy continue to grow, the call for modernizing how the nation measures poverty has taken on new urgency.
Piecemeal Legislation, Raids Take Place of Immigration Overhaul
While comprehensive efforts to overhaul our nation’s immigration system remain on hold after the demise of a sweeping immigration bill in 2007, the issue of immigration remained high on the public agenda in 2008. This year’s debate, both in and out of Congress, focused most heavily on enforcement.
Below the Surface
In this new feature of the Civil Rights Monitor, we highlight a few issues that were either emerging for the civil rights community this year or were major issues in years past but flew a little below the radar this year. We anticipate that these issues will become more prominent in 2009 and will require the attention and focus of the civil rights community.
Interview with Kathryn Kolbert, president of People For the American Way
In the Courts
Wrapping up the Supreme Court’s 2007-2008 Term
The 2007-2008 Supreme Court term was decidedly mixed for the civil rights community, with decisions handed down that impact issues like voting rights, criminal justice, and workers’ rights.
In the States
Colorado: Battleground for More Than Just the Presidency.
Now the battle lines have been drawn in Colorado and Nebraska. Using vague and misleading ballot language, Ward Connerly – through the guise of the “American Civil Rights Initiative” – plans to put an end to all initiatives designed to increase opportunity for women and people of color by amending the constitutions of both states.
Interview with Lilly Ledbetter, pay equity advocate
Leadership Conference Activities
Preventing a Digital TV Divide
LCCR/EF is working to alert vulnerable communities to the digital television transition, and the availability of a government coupon to offset the cost of making the transition, to help ensure that all Americans continue to have equal access to important information and political discussion.
Examining the State of Fair Housing in the 21st Century
Forty years after the passage of the Fair Housing Act in 1968, the options for buying a house in a neighborhood of their choosing is still beyond the ability of many Americans, because the law is not adequately enforced.
Bringing Diverse Communities Together
As our country’s minority populations continue to grow, civil rights and social justice activists find themselves with a unique challenge of bringing minority populations together around a common agenda in order to avoid ongoing attempts by policy opponents to drive a wedge between different groups.
32nd Annual Hubert H. Humphrey Civil Rights Award Dinner
On May 14, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, along with its coalition of nearly 200 civil and human rights organizations, came together to honor and celebrate three civil rights leaders: Representative John Conyers, D. Mich.; housing advocate Patricia Rouse; and journalist Soledad O’Brien.
Interview with John Payton, director-counsel and president of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.