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This Week at the RAC: Supreme Court Decisions & Immigration Reform

What a week!  We’re all still on a high from Wednesday’s Supreme Court marriage equality victory. A bunch of RAC staff, myself included, were outside the Court among hundreds of others anticipating the ruling. Despite the 90+ degree weather, it was a (mostly) euphoric crowd, happy with the demise of a key part of DOMA and the Prop 8 decision likely to result in reinstating marriage equality in California.

I hope you’ll join us for our Monday, July 1 webinar at 12 p.m. ET for a debrief on what the Supreme Court decisions mean and how we can take action to ensure the protection of civil and voting rights and marriage equality going forward. Several of us from the RAC (including Rabbi David Saperstein) will be speaking, along with the Human Rights Campaign’s Brian Moulton and other D.C. policy experts. Register here and share with friends!

Supreme Court Rulings & Debriefing Webinar
Check out the press statement on the defeat of DOMA and the Prop 8 decision issued jointly by Rabbis Rick Jacobs, Steve Fox, Marla Feldman, David Ellenson, and David Saperstein.

We were significantly less happy with the Court’s ruling in the Voting Rights Act case, Shelby v. Holder, which will now threaten the ability to exercise this core right. In contrast, Monday’s ruling on affirmative action in the Fisher v. Texas case was a qualified win.

Overall, last week was something of a rollercoaster on the judicial front, again illustrating why the men and women appointed to serve on the federal courts have such a significant ability to shape the country on the range of issues about which our Movement cares.

RAC on the Road
Rabbi Saperstein returned last week from a marathon few weeks of travel in Turkey (you can read his impressions of the ongoing political protests here), Israel (where he attended the conference hosted by President Peres), and Vatican City (where he had an audience with Pope Francis.)

Last Friday, I visited New York, where I spent time with the URJ’s Collegiate Leadership Internship Program (CLIP) participants. The day was focused on the Reform Movement’s history of social justice work, and it was inspirational to learn with and from this group of college students spending their summer at the URJ.

With less than 100 days to go before the launch of open enrollment in the health exchanges created by the Affordable Care Act, the Department of Health and Human Services is pulling out all the stops to educate and inform Americans about what’s ahead. Last week, they launched the revamped healthcare.gov, which has a wealth of resources about the new law for individuals, families, and small businesses. Please share this great material in your synagogue, community and with friends.

Reform Movement Disaster Relief Efforts
You may have seen the news of the recent terrible flooding in and around Calgary, Alberta. More than 100,000 people were displaced from their homes, and the cost of repairing the damage is expected to top $1 billion. The Reform Movement has opened a relief fund – please make a contribution if you can.

Immigration Reform Success
And finally, good news on the immigration bill: the Senate passed it last Thursday in a vote of 68-32.  Thank you for your calls, emails, lobby visits and everything else you did to secure such a strong vote for the bill. Now, we turn our attention and advocacy to the House.

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Barbara Weinstein

About Barbara Weinstein

Barbara Weinstein is the Director of the Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism and Associate Director of the Religious Action Center.

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