LINCOLN, Neb., - The ACLU of Nebraska and the Iowa-Nebraska NAACP have submitted a “friend of the court” brief to the Nebraska Supreme Court in NP Dodge v. Holcomb. In the case, the court is considering whether Nebraskans are entitled to a jury trial in eviction proceedings.
The brief sides with the appellant in the case, arguing that the Nebraska Constitution provides for the right to a jury trial in eviction proceedings. It also outlines policy reasons why jury trials in eviction actions are important given the current eviction crisis, the collateral consequences of evictions and the disproportionate effects of evictions on Nebraskans of color, those with disabilities and women with minor children.
“Housing is so much more than just the walls that make up a house or an apartment, it is about security, safety and economic opportunity,” said Scout Richters, senior legal and policy counsel at the ACLU of Nebraska. “Giving Nebraskans the chance to have a jury during eviction proceedings is a step forward on racial justice and gender equity. We are glad to be able to have the opportunity to shed light on the harms of eviction and disproportionate impacts on Nebraskans of color, particularly women of color and their children for the court’s consideration.”
"Under the leadership of State President Betty Andrews, the Iowa-Nebraska NAACP has fought for nearly a decade in Iowa to revitalize and restore the right to trial by jury to its deserved place of constitutional prominence in our system of justice," said Iowa-Nebraska Conference Legal Redress Committee Co-Chairs Russ Lovell and David Walker in a joint statement. "Therefore, we are truly pleased to join with the ACLU of Nebraska in Teresa Holcomb's appeal from the denial of jury trial in her eviction proceedings, a case important to everyone but of special impact on women, especially Black women, and children."
The ACLU of Nebraska considers housing justice a priority issue, and it will continue to advocate for more equitable and fair housing policies for all Nebraskans along with partners like the NAACP.