These are the amazing people who make great things happen at The Lawyers’ Committee!
Joint Committee on Human Rights
The Joint Committee on Human Rights is a select committee of both the House of Commons and House of Lords in the Parliament of the United Kingdom. The remit of the committee is to consider human rights issues in the United Kingdom.
The Lawyers’ Committee has been at the forefront of advocating for necessary changes to our voting laws through advocacy, litigation and as a leader in the nonpartisan Election Protection Coalition. In the 2012 Presidential Election, over half of all problems reported to Election Protection were related to our antiquated voter registration system, problems at the polling place, and the misapplication of voter ID laws. The Lawyers’ Committee advocates modernizing our voter registration system so that it is automatic, permanent, and allows for Election Day correction. Moreover, voters in this past election were intentionally misinformed by individuals or organizations attempting to sway elections for a particular candidate or party. Voting reform should include increased attempts to prevent voter deception by organizing various task forces within both the federal and state governments, in addition to harsher punishments for those who would attempt to deprive fellow citizens of the constitutional right to vote.
Lawyers Committee for Human Rights (U.S.)
On April 27, 2016, a class action lawsuit was filed in the Eastern District Court of Pennsylvania on behalf of a job applicants rejected by the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) based on information contained in their background check reports. The lawsuit alleges that SEPTA, the nation’s sixth largest public transportation system, willfully violated federal and state laws when conducting criminal background checks of prospective employees. Specifically, SEPTA is accused of 1) violating the Fair Credit Reporting Act by not providing proper notices and failing to give plaintiffs a pre-adverse action letter and a copy of their consumer report before deciding not to hire them; and 2) violating Pennsylvania’s Criminal History Record Information Act (CHRIA) through its policy and practice of disqualifying job applicants with unrelated felony convictions from employment in positions involving the operation of SEPTA vehicles. Defendant SEPTA filed a motion to dismiss on [insert date]. Judge Petrese Tucker held oral argument on October 12, 2016 on SEPTA’s motion to dismiss and the Court’s ruling is still pending.
Before joining the Lawyers’ Committee, John worked for eight years in the Voting Section at the Department of Justice. Prior to the Shelby County decision, he reviewed submissions for preclearance under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. More recently, he was part of litigation teams challenging the Texas voter ID and North Carolina omnibus election laws in federal district court. While at DOJ, he received the AAG Distinguished Service Award and other awards for his work. He is licensed to practice in Maryland and the District of Columbia.
Human Rights Committee
The last phase of the process is for the Committee to draft and adopt concluding observations, a document which includes: an introduction, positive aspects, factors and difficulties impeding the ICCPR’s implementation, principal subjects of concern, and suggestions and recommendations. The concluding observations also include a request to disseminate the information in the State party and that any additional information should be sent to the Committee regarding specific points mentioned in the concluding observations. A provisional due date for the State party’s next periodic report is also given. The Committee also keeps a current list of concluding observations. The Committee will also implement a follow-up procedure for two to four recommendations in its concluding observations for immediate implementation within one year. See Other Activities of the Human Rights Treaty Bodies and Participation of Stakeholders in the Human Rights Treaty Body Process, UN Doc. HRI/MC/2013/3, 22 April 2013, para. 2. A Special Rapporteur is appointed for follow-up to concluding observations, and who will produce a follow-up progress report for each session.