Announcing CREEC’s 2019 Challenging Discrimination Award Winner

The Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center is honored to announce César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández as the winner of this year’s Challenging Discrimination Award for his dedicated and distinguished service to the immigration law and policy community and to the broader civil rights community in Denver and nationally. A tenured associate professor of law at the University of Denver, César is a leading scholar in crimmigration law, defined as the intersection of criminal law and immigration law. Widely published in academic journals and popular media outlets, César’s second book, Migrating to Prison: America’s Obsession With Locking Up Immigrants, will be released in December by the social justice publisher The New Press. His seminal book Crimmigration Law (American Bar Association Publishing 2015) has become required reading for anyone pursuing work in the field. In addition to providing tools for immigration and civil rights attorneys to better represent their clients in the fight for systemic change, César generously and effectively shares his expertise with the general public, thereby magnifying his opportunities to create change in our world. César is a frequent contributor to national and international media outlets such as the BBC, NPR, The New York Times, The Guardian, Newsweek, and La Opinión through op-eds and interviews. He also writes a popular blog and has a large Twitter following. César’s academic and professional accolades are many and include being awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to Slovenia, being appointed as a Visiting Scholar at UC Berkeley School of Law’s Henderson Center for Social Justice, and receiving the Derrick Bell Award from the American Association of Law Schools Section on Minority Groups. César is...

CREEC, DU Civil Rights Clinic are Finalists for Public Justice’s Trial Lawyer of the Year!

We are very excited to announce that a team of lawyers and (then) law students from CREEC and the University of Denver Sturm College of Law’s Civil Rights Clinic (CRC) is one of four national finalists for the Trial Lawyer of the Year award presented by Public Justice. We have been nominated for our work on the Anderson and Decoteau cases. Public Justice — a nonprofit organization that pursues high-impact lawsuits to combat social and economic injustice, protect the Earth’s sustainability and challenge predatory corporate conduct and government abuses — presents its Trial Lawyer of the Year Award to the attorney(s) who made the greatest contribution to the public interest within the past year by trying or settling a precedent-setting, socially significant case. CREEC also wants to congratulate the other three finalist teams, especially our good friends at Schneider, Wallace, Cotrell, Konecky, Wotkyns, LLP; Goldstein Borgen Dardarian & Ho; Legal Aid at Work; and the Disability Rights Legal Center for their great work on the Los Angeles sidewalk case, Willits v. Los Angeles.  Possibly the coolest thing to come from this nomination will be the chance to hang out with these rockstars in Boston at the Public Justice gala! CREEC and the CRC brought the Anderson and Decoteau cases on behalf of men incarcerated in the Colorado State Penitentiary (CSP) who had been denied outdoor exercise for years or even decades. These men, who were locked in 90 square foot cells for 23 hours a day, were only permitted to exercise in an empty cell similar to the ones they live in with a narrow slit of a window and a pull-up bar....

Good Press Regarding the Decoteau Case

Our Decoteau case challenging the lack of outdoor exercise for inmates in solitary confinement at the Colorado State Penitentiary was the focus of an article on clinical legal education in The National Jurist.  We love working with Civil Rights Clinic students and appreciate the shout-out to CREEC. (Note: The link leads to an inaccessible copy of the article.  A word version is available here). Here’s a sneak peek from the article: The recent victory over the Colorado prison system was no overnight success. It was the culmination of years of work by the clinic and the advocacy organization Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center. The students coming in know this can be a long slog, [Clinic Director Laura] Rovner said. They fight the good fight and then hand it off to the next group of students. However, the work resonates long after they leave. When the recent settlement was announced, Rovner got emails from former students who worked on the case, telling her how rewarding it was to hear the news. The students also learn a lot about themselves. They may have preconceived notions about prison, about inmates, about whether they deserve sympathy or help. Best Schools for Practical...

Celebrating civil disobedience

As a law nerd and an introvert, I have not really pulled my weight in the civil rights protest department.  When activists make signs, and travel long distances, and put on rain ponchos or wool hats or sunscreen and block buses or shout at meetings full of bioethicists plotting their convenient demise, I can be found in my warm/cool, dry, shaded office, attempting to advance the cause with Westlaw research and legal briefs. So I’ve been following ADAPT’s protest in Little Rock from afar.  Tossed in a few bucks to help get the Colorado contingent to Arkansas, but otherwise just observing and law nerding as usual.  Which is why, for some reason, this interaction, as related by Michael Bailey, really struck me: Chief of Police: “why you making this fuss? Nobody ever changed nothing breaking the law.” Adapter: “The buses you’re taking us to jail on, are they accessible? ” Chief of Police: “yes, they have ramps.” Adapter: “we put those there. “ Yes, yes you did.  Congratulations, ADAPT, on a successful protest in Little Rock.  ADAPT’s website has many amazing photos, but this one poignantly shows the connection between direct action over the years. Thank you, ADAPT.  As for that progress in integration of people with disabilities?  You put that...

Congrats to HathiTrust, NFB, Dan Goldstein, and Amici!

CREEC congratulates defendant Hathi Trust (accessible-book-scanners), intervenors the National Federation of the Blind, other amici, and appellate advocate extraordinaire Dan Goldstein of Brown, Goldstein & Levy, for their victory in  Authors Guild, Inc. v. Hathi Trust.   As BGL’s press release explained: The case arose when the Authors Guild sued five universities and the HathiTrust, a service at the University of Michigan that administers digital copies of the millions of print books in university libraries scanned by Google and universities. To date, this collection includes more than 11 million digital books, and it is expected to grow to more than 20 million when the project is completed. The University of Michigan, starting in 2008, permitted scholars with documented print disabilities full access to this digital collection. To protect this access, the National Federation of the Blind and several blind scholars intervened and responded to the Authors Guild claim that making the digital copies available to the print disabled violated the authors’ copyrights. In the decision, the Second Circuit rejected the Authors Guild’s claims and held that making the digital copies available to the disabled was a “fair use” under the Copyright Act. This is an amazing accomplishment in the effort to provide full print access for people with a wide range of disabilities ( including blindness, dyslexia, quadriplegia, and others) that make it difficult to interact with a traditional book — “codex” if you’re being professional; “dead trees” if you’re being snarky. Dan was interviewed about this case on NPR as well. Congrats to all on this important...

Employee in hijab wins case against Abercrombie

Abercrombie & Fitch — the same folks who have been fighting to keep the steps at the entrance to their Hollister stores — just lost a case in San Francisco to an employee who was asked to remove her hijab.   From the press release of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR): U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers ruled that Abercrombie & Fitch violated federal and state civil rights laws against workplace discrimination when it fired Hani Khan in 2010 for refusing to remove her hijab. The lawsuit, which was filed by CAIR-SFBA, LAS-ELC and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), sought to vindicate Khan’s rights against religious discrimination in the workplace. In her 25-page decision, Judge Gonzalez Rogers resoundingly rejected Abercrombie’s “undue burden” defense. The decision stated in part: “Abercrombie only offers unsubstantiated opinion testimony of its own employees to support its claim of undue hardship. Abercrombie failed to proffer any evidence from those four months showing a decline in sales in the Hillsdale store; customer complaints or confusion; or brand damage linked to Khan’s wearing of a hijab.” CAIR has posted a copy of the summary judgment decision. Congrats to CAIR’s San Francisco Bay Area office and the Legal Aid Society-Employment Law Center (LAS-ELC) for a job well...