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AUG 18, 2013 - San Francisco Chronicle

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A look at federal role in civil rights cases

The U.S. government must get "justice for Trayvon," insisted protesters angry about the fatal shooting of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin. The federal government has claimed its power of protecting civil rights against violence as far back as the Reconstruction era. Empowered by constitutional amendments and early civil rights laws passed after the Civil War, the government sought to protect newly freed blacks and their voting rights, mostly from the Ku Klux Klan. [...] court decisions, the end of Reconstruction and the rise of Jim Crow laws essentially "defanged" the federal ... Read More

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