The Thurgood Marshall Civil Rights Center is Howard University’s flagship institutional setting for the study and practice of civil rights, human rights, racial justice, and the law. Learn how we are doing this.
Litigation challenging curfews and excessive force in response to 2020 Black Lives Matter Protests. During the first week of June 2020, the Thurgood Marshall Center became involved in lawsuits challenging curfews in DC and New York, on the grounds that they violated the First Amendment, and also raising the issue of excessive force being used during the arrests of citizens not in their homes before curfew.
Amicus Brief Submitted Before the United States Supreme Court in support of Black Lives Matter Protests. An amicus brief was submitted in support of Black Lives Matter protester Deray McKesson in DeRay McKesson v. John Doe. In this case, an unnamed Baton Rouge police officer is suing McKesson for injuries incurred while responding to a protest over the police killing of Alton Sterling, on the grounds that by encouraging people to attend the protests, he should be liable for any and all financial damages that result.
Inter American Commission on Human Rights Hearing on Reparation for Slavery and Other Forms of Structural Racial Discrimination in the United States. On September 24, 2019, the Thurgood Marshall Civil Rights Center will convene a hearing from 10:15 a.m. to 11:15 am in Room Ruben Dario at the GSB Building of the Organization of American States. Representatives from around the nation will provide testimony and the hearing is open to the public. Please read our request for a hearing for more information.
Five Years After Ferguson: Executive Director Publishes New York Times Article on Policing and Race. On August 9, 2019, Thurgood Marshall Civil Rights Center executive director Justin Hansford reflected on his experiences as a lawyer and activist on behalf of Ferguson protestors as well as the lack of progress made on police reform.
Book Banning in Michigan Prisons. On June 27, 2019, the Thurgood Marshall Civil Rights Center along with the ACLU of Michigan, submitted a letter to Michigan's Department of Corrections requesting that the agency remove Frantz Fanon's Black Skin, White Mask from its prohibited publications list because the banning violates incarcerated individual’s First Amendment and state constitutional rights, international human rights law, as
well as MDOC’s own policies.
Amicus Brief Filed. In September of 2018, the TMCRC teamed up with Professor Adam Kurland to develop an amicus brief to the Supreme Court of the United States in the case of Terrance Martez Gamble v. United States of America. This case involves a challenge to the dual sovereignty exception to the Double Jeopardy Clause of the Fifth Amendment. The TMCRC brief was filed in support of neither party.
The Supreme Court heard oral arguments in this case on December 6, 2018. Several justices asked questions about the issues raised in the TMCRC brief concerning the potential impact their decision may have on future civil rights cases.
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights Report Release. On March 20, 2019, the Thurgood Marshall Center at the Howard University School of Law hosted the launch of a critical new report finding that the pervasive bias against African Americans in the U.S. criminal justice system violates international law.
Following the high profile killings of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, and many others, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights conducted an extensive examination of public records related to racism in policing and criminal justice. Their study concluded that the U.S. has failed to meet its international human rights law obligations regarding non-discrimination, use of force, and access to justice.
The Thurgood Marshall Center’s Executive Director Justin Hansford moderated a conversation with Sara Mokuria, Mothers Against Police Brutality, Kristina Roth, Amnesty International, Jamil Dakwar, ACLU and April Groggans, Black Lives Matter DC on the report’s findings and recommendations for responding to racism in policing