Civil Rights Laws and Regulations in Alexandria, Virginia: An Expert's Perspective

The Office for Civil Rights is the main authority responsible for enforcing civil rights laws and regulations in Alexandria, Virginia. This office is the go-to source for any local, state, or federal election that is affected by one of the practices covered by Section 24.2-129 of the Voter Rights Act. To contact them, you can call (80) 786-2071 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The law allows 60 days for a request to be considered unobjected (see Va. Code § 24,2-129 (D)), but that time runs out when the Office requests additional information from a location. After receiving a no-objection letter or after 60 days without a request for information, localities must also set aside time to implement the proposed changes and submit them to the Board of Elections for review. In 2019, Virginia's attorney general launched a civil rights investigation in response to some parents' claims of discrimination against Asian-American students in the country's highest-ranked high school. This was done in accordance with the desegregation decision in Brown v.

The Board of Education (195) and soon after, the Virginia state chapter of the NAACP began a campaign to desegregate the state's public school system. The law prohibited camperty and defined freedom of expression to include lawyers or groups requesting potential plaintiffs, as well as people outside the legal profession who might have encouraged plaintiffs to seek legal assistance. Civil rights activists argued that this law was broad enough to include and punish plaintiffs. Despite these concerns, several lower courts upheld the law until it was annulled by the Supreme Court in 1962. In his concurring opinion, Judge William O. Douglas said that the majority of the Court did not go far enough in stating the true intentions of Virginia's law, which was to thwart the NAACP's school desegregation campaign.

Judge White agreed in part and disagreed in part. He said that Virginia law would have been constitutional if it had only punished the conduct of third-party organizations involved in hiring customers. The decision was important not only for First Amendment jurisprudence, but also for the vitality of public interest law firm litigation in general. It immunized civil rights activists from legitimate regulations of unethical legal conduct, especially when these regulations were developed by individual states. In 1975, Alexandria City Council passed one of the first human rights ordinances in Virginia. The Alexandria Human Rights Office was established to combat discrimination, increase equal opportunities and protect the human rights of people who live, work or visit Alexandria.

This office is dedicated to ensuring that all citizens are treated fairly and with respect under the law.

Bret Hokula
Bret Hokula

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