M&S Supports Revitalizing Federal Civil Rights Law

July 1, 2021

by M&S Staff

From Op-Ed to Legislation: M&S Helps Modernize Section 1981

Mehri & Skalet is proud to support the fight to revitalize Section 1981, the nation’s first civil rights law. On June 24, the Economic Inclusion Civil Rights Act of 2021 was introduced in the House and the Senate. Sponsored by Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Cory Booker (D-NJ), and Ron Wyden (D-OR), and Representatives Mondaire Jones (NY-17) and Jamie Raskin (MD-08), the bill would combat discrimination occurring throughout the economy by prohibiting actions with unjustifiable discriminatory effects — without having to show intent — and when a showing of intent is required, by making it easier to prove intentional discrimination.

In a press release announcing the introduction of the legislation, Rep. Raskin said, “The best time to have fully enforced the rights sacred to all people in Section 1981 was when it was enacted into law in 1866. The second best time is right now.”

The Atlantic logo 2019A team of Mehri & Skalet civil rights attorneys — Judge U. W. Clemon, Joshua Karsh, and Cyrus Mehri — played a critical role in bringing about the introduction of a bill focused on Section 1981. Last summer, they wrote an op-ed for The Atlantic explaining the merits of modernizing Section 1981 to make it a better tool for addressing structural racism in America in 2020.

They are thrilled to see the cause be taken up by Congress:

“We applaud Senators Blumenthal, Booker and Wyden and Representatives Raskin and Jones for their leadership in promoting inclusion and equal opportunity. Their bill would go a long way toward fixing Section 1981 and we strongly urge its adoption.”

Read the full joint statement.

Cyrus Mehri Receives Honorary Degree from Hartwick College

Cyrus Mehri at Hartwick

M&S partner Cyrus Mehri is humbled to receive an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Hartwick College, his almamater. Hartwick President Margaret Drugovich conferred the honorary degree upon Mr. Mehri, citing his role as a champion of a merit-based America, his commitment to creating transformative change through equal opportunities in the workplace, his efforts with Working IDEAL, and his leadership at Mehri & Skalet.

“You now oversee one of the nation’s leading public-spirited class action and complex litigation firms,” Dr. Drugovich said. “Your stated mission is, quite simply, ‘To Advance Justice.’ And advance justice you have.”

In a statement of thanks, Mr. Mehri wrote:

“An individual can provide vision and leadership, but behind every success is a collective effort by people at many levels. I share this honorary degree with all the courageous clients and dedicated colleagues who have been on the journey with me.”