Discrimination and Affirmative Action: SCOTUS Takes Another Case

The Supremes have agreed to rehear Fisher v Texas in the upcoming term. The  version you’ll hear is that Abigail Fisher sued the University of Texas, Austin on the grounds that she was refused entry because she was white, thus a reverse-discrimination claim. The larger issue is race-based admissions, or affirmative action.

Actually, that’s not what this case is about, not even close. Abigail Fisher is a cute, young white woman chosen to be the face of a suit paid for by Edward Blum, who’d been looking for someone like Fisher for a number of years.

Abigail Fisher didn’t get into UT-Austin NOT because of the colour of her skin, but because her grades weren’t good enough. She ended up at the University of Louisiana, graduated, is gainfully employed and all she really wants is the hundred dollars she spent on application fees. Full story after the jump.
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Self-Evident Truths: 1776 and 2015

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”  To paraphrase the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., despite this strong affirmation of basic principles of government in the Declaration of Independence, the practice of these basis principles by the United States has been somewhat schizophrenic.

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Happy July 4th


First and foremost, Happy Independence Day from the crew at DCW to you and yours. Play safe and enjoy.

May your day be filled with relaxation, good friends and cool fireworks. Or however you celebrate!

But it’s important to think about some things that may have slipped your mind in considering the historical elements of our country’s formation. For example, this week California passed and signed into law the most stringent vaccination law in the land. Do you know the relationship of that to Boston in July of 1776?

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Green Light for Redistricting Commissions

In several states, voters (not trusting their legislators to be able to resist “stacking the deck” when drawing congressional district boundaries) have opted to take that power away from their legislators and place it with a non-partisan commission.  Today, in a 5-4 decision, the United States Supreme Court found that the U.S. Constitution gave the voters of the states the right to choose this method for drawing congressional district lines.

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Bernie Sanders Could Win the NH Primary, IF he Can Get on the Ballot

Bernie Sanders is doing very well in New Hampshire. The latest poll has him down by only 8 points, plus or minus 5.2, meaning the spread is really 3 – 13 points.  The RCP average has him down by 15, which is not bad this far out. If he keeps pulling in the kind of numbers he’s been getting both for speeches and dollars, he could really win the New Hampshire primary, if it wasn’t for a little problem with their candidacy statement.

After the jump, the legalese, some commentary and a poll.

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Marriage is a Fundamental Right

Most people would not debate that statement.   And the Supreme Court has previously recognized that basic principle.  Some, however, believe that their definition of marriage is the only definition of marriage that has ever been recognized in this country.  Today, in a 5-4 decision by Justice Kennedy, the majority of the Supreme Court thoroughly set forth the historical facts showing that the definition of marriage and what it means to be married has been ever-changing throughout history.  In light of the ever-changing nature of marriage, laws banning gays and lesbians from marrying their preferred partners simply represented discrimination against gays and lesbians, violating the equal protection clause.

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Is John Roberts Channeling Earl Warren?

Yesterday’s SCOTUS decision on the ACA was penned by the Chief Justice. It was thoughtful, legal, and went to the intent of the legislation. It also used Scalia’s own words against him, which is just plain fun.

But the overriding question is whether or not Roberts is doing to Bush what Warren did to Eisenhower; that is, transcending politics to actually be a constitutionalist. Roberts is not the smartest Supreme, that position belongs to Antonin Scalia, who places politics and his own racism, misogyny, and homophobia (not to mention hatred of Democrats) above what he knows to be legally and constitutionally correct. Originally, it seemed that Roberts was choosing that course. Over time, he more seemed to pick large decisions and make them 1:1 Right Wing to Left Wing.

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Pro-business Conservatives and the Affordable Care Act

For the third time in four years, the fate of the Affordable Care Act rested with the United States Supreme Court.  Early this morning, by a 6-3 vote, the United States Supreme Court kept the Affordable Care Act (and the health insurance industry) alive.  If you look at all three case over the past four years, the key votes on the Supreme Court have belonged to the two pro-business conservatives (Justice Kennedy and Chief Justice Roberts).  The remaining justices have been predictable — the liberals supporting the Affordable Care Act and the three ultra-conservatives opposing.  If the past is any predictor for the future, any remaining challenges to the Affordable Care Act may rise or fall on what’s good for business.

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Guide to Decision Days-Supreme Court FAQs

I, and others, post on legal issues for the simple reason that almost every major political issue ends up in the courts — either as parties trying to use the courts to achieve what they could not achieve in the legislature or the simple effort of parties to apply a new law to particular situations.  For a variety of reasons, many politically significant decisions are issued by the Supreme Court in two or three key days near the end of June.  Since most political junkies are not avid court watchers until June, here are some FAQ’s about what will be happening between now and Monday (or maybe even later).

1)  Do we know what opinions will be issued on which days?  No, the Supreme Court keeps this information pretty much under wraps (in part because an opinion can be pulled at the last second if any  Justice wants one more chance to think about it).   Continue reading »

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Supreme Court Decisions: The Final Week

Today, the Supreme Court issued four opinions, leaving seven cases still pending from this year.  They also announced that they will be issuing opinions on Thursday and Friday.  With two more opinion days this week, there is a significant chance that the last of the opinions will be issued on Friday, but it is slightly more likely that the last one or two will come on Monday (with a slim chance of a second opinion day next week).  Additionally, with today’s opinions, it is possible to make a good guess on who has which case.

From January, it is all but certain that Justice Kennedy has the Fair Housing case.  That is not necessarily good for civil rights activists, but there were worse possibilities.

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