PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Justices on the United States Supreme Court are preparing to hear oral arguments in some of the most consequential cases of our lifetime and Philadelphia is in the middle of the courtroom battle. The Philadelphia branch of the NAACP has its eyes on the two cases set to be heard this week.
These cases revolve around the rights of immigrants and the civil rights of those alleging racial discrimination.
National and local branches of the NAACP will be watching oral arguments very closely on two high-profile cases to be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court, including one brought by the NAACP versus the Trump administration.
“Our lawsuit against the Trump administration is for its decision to terminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival or DACA program,” Philadelphia NAACP President Minister Rodney Muhammad said. “If this program is rescinded, it will send thousands of undocumented immigrants — many of whom are black — it will place them at risk of deportation.”
The DACA program is not the only case concerning the NAACP. On Wednesday, cable giant Comcast will face off against Byron Allen, an African American Hollywood entertainment mogul.
In this case, the civil rights groups say it could make it harder to allege racial discrimination.
Allen claims that Comcast racially discriminated against him when it refused to carry his cable TV channels on its systems.
“Comcast is urging the court to roll back vital protections on one of the country’s oldest and longest-standing civil rights provisions, the Civil Rights Act of 1866,” Muhammad said.
Legal experts say that the issue is whether a person filing a racial discrimination lawsuit must show that race is the sole reason a decision was made, or whether race was a motivating factor.
“Provided the court rules in their favor, it could make it almost impossible to prove discrimination against black businesses, black contractors and even more for people of color in this land,” Muhammad added.
NBC Universal, the parent company of Comcast, told Eyewitness News in a statement that Allen’s lawsuit is “frivolous.”
“There is no major media company in America that has done more to promote diverse programming than Comcast. We believe that the civil rights laws are an essential tool for protecting the rights of African-Americans and other diverse communities. Mr. Allen’s frivolous, baseless claims, which a judge appointed by President Carter threw out three times as having nothing to do with race, debase and distort those laws. We are not seeking to roll back any civil rights laws – all we are asking is that section 1981 in our case be interpreted the same way it has been interpreted for decades across the country,” the statement said.