Sen. Kamala Harris And Sen. Cory Booker Weigh In On Racial Discrimination Case Against Comcast
Harris argued that the purpose of the law is to prohibit all racially motivated refusals to contract.
Sen. Kamala Harris and Sen. Cory Booker led an amicus brief on Monday in the United States Supreme Court with nine members of the Congressional Black Caucus in Comcast Corporation v. National Association of African American-Owned Media and Entertainment Studios Networks, Inc., where the court is set to decide whether victims of race discrimination are subject to a clause written over 100 years ago under one of the oldest federal civil rights laws.
The case was brought forth by Entertainment Studios CEO Byron Allen and has been making its way through the judicial system for years. Allen claims that Comcast has refused to carry his channels due to his race, and critics are concerned that if Comcast is able to secure a victory in the court ruling, it would become practically impossible to prove racial discrimination in any future cases.
“[T]he structure and history of Section 1981 confirm that the statute, by design, prohibits any racial discrimination in the making and enforcement of contracts, regardless of whether that discrimination is a but-for cause of the parties’ failure to enter into an agreement,” the lawmakers argued in the brief.
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The brief, filed by members of Congress, came after DOJ Solicitor General Noel Francisco filed a brief in the U.S. Supreme Court on August 15, which supported Comcast. Still, members of Congress continue to critique Francisco's argument for Comcast, saying it's the final step toward openly allowing racial discrimination in America.
"[T]his Court should hold that a person who is denied the right to contract to which she is entitled under Section 1981 need not plead or prove that race was a but-for cause of that denial," lawmakers stated in their brief. "To hold otherwise would fundamentally alter the statute that Congress passed in the immediate aftermath of the Civil War ‘to prohibit all racially motivated deprivations of the rights enumerated in the statute.’”
The Supreme Court will hear arguments in this case on Nov. 13.