Skip to main content

Supreme Court Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor
Justice Sonia Sotomayor's dissenting opinion in Schuette v. BAMN:
Race matters. Race matters in part because of the long history of racial minorities’ being denied access to the political process. [...] Race also matters because of persistent racial inequality in society—inequality that cannot be ignored and that has produced stark socioeconomic disparities. [...]

And race matters for reasons that really are only skin deep, that cannot be discussed any other way, and that cannot be wished away. Race matters to a young man’s view of society when he spends his teenage years watching others tense up as he passes, no matter the neighborhood where he grew up. Race matters to a young woman’s sense of self when she states her hometown, and then is pressed, “No, where are you really from?”, regardless of how many generations her family has been in the country. Race matters to a young person addressed by a stranger in a foreign language, which he does not understand because only English was spoken at home. Race matters because of the slights, the snickers, the silent judgments that reinforce that most crippling of thoughts: “I do not belong here.”

In my colleagues’ view, examining the racial impact of legislation only perpetuates racial discrimination. This refusal to accept the stark reality that race matters is regrettable. The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to speak openly and candidly on the subject of race, and to apply the Constitution with eyes open to the unfortunate effects of centuries of racial discrimination. As members of the judiciary tasked with intervening to carry out the guarantee of equal protection, we ought not sit back and wish away, rather than confront, the racial inequality that exists in our society. It is this view that works harm, by perpetuating the facile notion that what makes race matter is acknowledging the simple truth that race does matter. [Emphasis supplied.]

In the last few weeks, there has been a discussion of race matters (and whether race still matters that much) sparked in large part by Jonathan Chait's lament that:
Race has saturated everything as perhaps never before. Hardly a day goes by without a volley and counter-volley of accusations of racial insensitivity and racial hypersensitivity. And even when the red and blue tribes are not waging their endless war of mutual victimization, the subject of race courses through everything else[.]
Many of us engaged in this discussion but I think Justice Sotomayor sort of swept that discussion away, placing it all in proper perspective in terms of the workings of our highest court and its real impact on real lives. It seems a clincher that we must realize that race matters, and must be discussed in order to address many, if not most, of the pressing problems faced by our country.

I'll discuss this all on the other side.    

The issue in Schuette did not directly implicate the constitutionality of race conscious government policies or affirmative action in higher education admissions. Instead, it turned on a principle known as the political process doctrine and the contours of that idea as enunciated in the 1982 case State of Washington v. Seattle School District No. 1. In Seattle, the Supreme Court stated that:

We are presented here with an extraordinary question: whether an elected local school board may use the Fourteenth Amendment to defend its program of busing for integration from attack by the State.  [...]

[A] statewide initiative [was] designed to terminate the use of mandatory busing for purposes of racial integration.  This proposal, known as Initiative 350, provided that "no school board . . . shall directly or indirectly require any student to attend a school other than the school which is geographically nearest or next nearest the student's place of residence . . . and which offers the course of study pursued by such student. . . ." See Wash.Rev.Code § 28A.26.010 (1981). [...]  Initiative 350 passed by a substantial margin, drawing almost 66% of the vote statewide.

[...] The Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment guarantees racial minorities the right to full participation in the political life of the community. It is beyond dispute, of course, that given racial or ethnic groups may not be denied the franchise, or precluded from entering into the political process in a reliable and meaningful manner. See White v. Regester, 412 U.S. 755, 93 S.Ct. 2332, 37 L.Ed.2d 314 (1973); Nixon v. Herndon, 273 U.S. 536, 47 S.Ct. 446, 71 L.Ed. 759 (1927). But the Fourteenth Amendment also reaches "a political structure that treats all individuals as equals," Mobile v. Bolden, 446 U.S. 55, 84, 100 S.Ct. 1490, 1509, 64 L.Ed.2d 47 (1980) (STEVENS, J., concurring in judgment), yet more subtly distorts governmental processes in such a way as to place special burdens on the ability of minority groups to achieve beneficial legislation.

Finding that the Washington state Initiative 350 improperly distorted governmental processes in ways prohibited by the equal protection clause, the Seattle Court stated:
when the State allocates governmental power nonneutrally, by explicitly using the racial nature of a decision to determine the decisionmaking process. State action of this kind, the Court said, "places special burdens on racial minorities within the governmental process," id., at 391, 89 S.Ct., at 560 (emphasis added), thereby "making it more difficult for certain racial and religious minorities than for other members of the community to achieve legislation that is in their interest." Id., at 395, 89 S.Ct., at 563 (emphasis added) (Harlan, J., concurring). Such a structuring of the political process, the Court said, was "no more permissible than is denying members of a racial minority the vote, on an equal basis with others. [...] "we find the principle of those cases dispositive of the issue here. In our view, Initiative 350 must fall because it does "not attempt to allocate governmental power on the basis of any general principle." Hunter v. Erickson, 393 U.S., at 395, 89 S.Ct., at 563 (Harlan, J., concurring). Instead, it uses the racial nature of an issue to define the governmental decisionmaking structure, and thus imposes substantial and unique burdens on racial minorities.
It is in reliance on this that Justice Sotomayor would have similarly found the Michigan referendum that amended the state constitution to prohibit affirmative action in higher education violative of the equal protection clause. This is certainly a reasonable position. Myself, I am more inclined to take the view offered by Justice Stephen Breyer's concurring opinion:
[C]onsidered conceptually, the [political process] doctrine set forth in Hunter and Seattle does not easily fit this case. In those cases minorities had participated in the political process and they had won. The majority’s subsequent reordering of the political process repealed the minority’s successes and made it more difficult for the minority to succeed in the future. The majority thereby diminished the minority’s ability to participate meaningfully in the electoral process. But one cannot as easily characterize the movement of the decisionmaking mechanism at issue here—from an administrative process to an electoral process—as diminishing the minority’s ability to participate meaningfully in the political process. There is no prior electoral process in which the minority participated.

[. . .] The principle that underlies Hunter and Seattle runs up against a competing principle [...]. This competing principle favors decisionmaking though the democratic process. Just as this principle strongly supports the right of the people, or their elected representatives, to adopt race-conscious policies for reasons of inclusion, so must it give them the right to vote not to do so.

It is a close case. My slight lean is to Justice Breyer's view. But what Justices Breyer and Sotomayor share is an understanding that race matters in this analysis.

Not so the plurality opinion or (in a very open fashion) the concurrence of Justice Antonin Scalia. The plurality (made up of Chief Justice John Roberts, Justice Samuel Alito and the author Justice Anthony Kennedy) protest loudly that the case is not about race while Justice Scalia vehemently attacks the notion that any government policy should ever address race.

In many ways, Justice Sotomayor is taking her opportunity to "dissent" from Chief Justice Roberts' egregious opinion in Parents Involved, which struck down a VOLUNTARY Seattle school desegregation plan in which Roberts wrote these infamous words:

The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.
The Chief Justice's offensive shibboleth drew this dry response in dissent from Justice Stevens:
There is a cruel irony in The Chief Justice’s reliance on our decision in Brown v. Board of Education, 349 U. S. 294 (1955) . The first sentence in the concluding paragraph of his opinion states: “Before Brown, schoolchildren were told where they could and could not go to school based on the color of their skin.” Ante, at 40. This sentence reminds me of Anatole France’s observation: “[T]he majestic equality of the la[w], forbid[s] rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal their bread.”1 The Chief Justice fails to note that it was only black schoolchildren who were so ordered; indeed, the history books do not tell stories of white children struggling to attend black schools.2 In this and other ways, The Chief Justice rewrites the history of one of this Court’s most important decisions.
It was truly infuriating. And Justice Sotomayor, reminded again by the plurality opinion of Chief Justice Roberts' insidious role as the leading light in the "race does not matter anymore" charge, replies:
The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to speak openly and candidly on the subject of race, and to apply the Constitution with eyes open to the unfortunate effects of centuries of racial discrimination.
The rebuke seems to have cut the Chief Justice to the bone; he took umbrage at what he deemed a personal insult. He responded:
People can disagree in good faith on this issue, but it similarly does more harm than good to question the openness and candor of those on either side of the debate.
Of course Justice Sotomayor did no such thing (although she may think it, as I openly do.)

Dahlia Lithwick observed:

Chief Justice Roberts has been called many things in his life. But there is something about being told that he is blind, clueless, and also silencing that affects him viscerally. His entire two-page concurrence in Schuette (he did not need to write anything, Anthony Kennedy wrote the controlling opinion) is a rebuke to Sotomayor; not on matters of doctrine, but on good taste and decorum in public discourse over race. It’s not just that he doesn’t like what she is saying. He doesn’t like how she’s saying it. [...]

Maybe the outcry at Sotomayor’s reflections on why race and racism still matter is merely a function of her tone. Nobody likes to be told they are out of touch with reality, even if they work in a palace and surround themselves with silent, sock-footed clerks. Or maybe it was different when Marshall lectured them, or browbeat them into changing language in written opinions because he was a man. Or maybe they endured it because he was funny. Or maybe, and I suspect this is it, they could hear him because he was a part of the era that the majority of the current court wants to relegate to history: Marshall argued Brown. But Brown solved racism! Because, seemingly, and by popular acclaim, racism itself is over.

Nobody likes to be lectured about race, and nobody likes to hear they don’t get it. Most of us have likely been on both ends of that conversation. But, at some level, the inability of certain members of the court to understand—or to be willing to listen to someone explain to them—that race continues to play a role in how Americans pursue opportunity, how they are received by others, and how they feel marginalized—is grimly ironic in the context of a case about affirmative action, a policy that was designed, by some measures, to compensate for these experiential inequities. [...]

The fight over how the court gets to talk about race—who gets to announce that the time for open talk is over, and who gets to decide that a call for honesty is “shameful?”—well, that fissure may endure at the court for a very long time. [Emphasis supplied.]

And not just at the Court, as Jon Chait demonstrated these past weeks. But never have I been prouder of Justice Sotomayor than in this moment. She wrote and said what needed to be said.

It should all give us courage to continue the struggle, the never ending struggle to  eradicate racism, discrimination and bigotry wherever we find it. Even, indeed, especially in our governments and institutions.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Sun Apr 27, 2014 at 02:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by Black Kos community and LatinoKos.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  Race Matters (18+ / 0-)

    as long as it has to be talked about.  When people stop asking the question "does race matter"  we will know that it most like does not matter any longer.  We still have long way to go, before we get to that place.  

      •  The appointment of Justice Sotomayor (6+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        a2nite, LilithGardener, poco, ramara, Aunt Pat, whl

        is probably the best thing that Obama has done.

        It's probably built into our brains that we are more likely to trust those that look like us, or come from the same place. Much of this can be harmless, but there is no question that we often use these racial differences in very harmful ways.

        On many blogs the hatred for people of a different colors is openly displayed. The pre-war propaganda in most countries drums up racial propaganda that dehumanizes the other race.

        War is costly. Peace is priceless!

        by frostbite on Sun Apr 27, 2014 at 03:38:40 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Race matters (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Aunt Pat, whl

      because the theoretical concept of race still exists.

      Women are told to get back home and to accept that we deserve lower pay and have to submit to husbands' wishes, including his wishes in bed. There's a feeling that somehow women are all the troubles that fell out of Pandora's box, and for God's sake, get back in there.

      I think this is what the Roberts Court is telling blacks and other minority groups - oops, look at what the civil rights movement dumped out of the box, it's civil rights laws and regulation that caused all this trouble, and for God's sake, get back in the box.

      Being attentive to the needs of others might not be the point of life, but it is the work of life. It can be ... almost impossibly difficult. But it is not something we give. It is what we get in exchange for having to die. - Jonathan Safran Foer

      by ramara on Sun Apr 27, 2014 at 07:18:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  On Chait, on Breyer (and Armando) (18+ / 0-)

    First, Chait: he should consider that the condition he bemoans is a sign that we are NOT in a post-racial society. The condition itself is a sign that the dialogue, such as it is, is important and needs to continue. In more direct words, he is a whiner. As is the CJ.

    On Breyer's opinion, I understand why Armando might lean toward it. I don't, but that's because I think the effect of the majority's policy decisions (as with a state constitutional amendment) must be seen against the backdrop of Equal Protection. If the effect of that policy decision is to substantially harm a minority in a society that has not achieved "post-racial" status, then it would seem to violate the 14th amendment.

  •  Race matters and so does class. I was (14+ / 0-)

    recently impressed to learn that during the U.S. civil war that 300,000 white southerners volunteered to fight in the Union army and that they were motivated in large part by class antagonism toward rich slave-owning plantation owners.

    Class, race and gender inequalities are highly correlative and causally intertwined. Identity politics absent a progressive orientation on class ends up where we have now arrived: fighting with each other over that shrinking slice of a pie being allotted more on the basis of class than on any other criterion.

    The frog jumped/ into the old pond/ plop! (Basho)

    by Wolf10 on Sun Apr 27, 2014 at 02:32:15 PM PDT

    •  It was always been based on class (8+ / 0-)

      because slavery was a method of assuring that there would be absolutely no competition for wealth from an essential class, workers or laborers,(slaves) whose  sheer numbers represented a substantial threat  if wealth had to be shared via wages.

      The intent to keep wealth among as few people as possible has not changed.

       The surprise for many is that the rich class has been aggressively seeking to "enslave" the masses(Middle Class) whites who had become  competitors for their share of the wealth produced by their labor.

      But, be reminded, the middle class also tried to keep the freed slaves and their progeny from being competitors.

      Unions had to be disemboweled because they had effectively bartered for shared wealth for white workers.


  •  Of course Roberts was personally insulted (16+ / 0-)

    He's a republicon narcissist.

    Thanks tipped & rec'ed

    nosotros no somos estúpidos

    by a2nite on Sun Apr 27, 2014 at 02:36:10 PM PDT

  •  of course "race matters", as it has since 1619, (20+ / 0-)

    the year the first African slaves were offloaded in Jamestown, VA, by a Dutch ship trading them for fresh supplies. Brown v Board of Education didn't instantly result in "equal" schools for minorities, a goal still not achieved. the Civil Rights Act didn't instantly confer equal treatment of minorities, by the majority, and still hasn't. I'm old enough to remember "whites only" signs on businesses, and the film of peaceful marchers being assaulted by the "authorities" on tv. what has changed (for the most part), are the methods. no longer are the police blatantly fire hosing people, they rely on "The War on (Some People, For Some) Drugs", to arrest and warehouse them in (for profit) prisons, individually, thus accomplishing the same goals as their Jim Crow forefathers sought.

    in the present case, they've utilized a ginned up, non-existent case of "reverse discrimination", to make it easier to keep those minorities out of higher education, and thus out of the middle and upper classes. but hey, they did it "democratically"!

  •  i lean (16+ / 0-)

    toward sotomayor's opinion...

    The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

    by Laurence Lewis on Sun Apr 27, 2014 at 02:42:24 PM PDT

  •  I'd stipulate that you cannot have or achieve a (12+ / 0-)

    a post-racial society - ever - because the very nature of a modern society is a mix of races, cultures and traditions. In my thinking,  we'll always be, in one way or another,  a varied mix.

    But that's not to say we'll never achieve "post-racism" - we can, and should accept no excuses or impediments, no delays or pandering.

    I want to achieve a society that's post racism,  which celebrates cultures and traditions that are commonly derived while respecting and admiring those racially, historically, traditionally, culturally  by my brothers and sisters who are both like me (we live in the same world, the same neighborhood, the same state of mind or inhabit) and simultaneously unlike me (their family,  the history,  the cultures and the their worldviews started and evolved from a different perspective).

    I don't know if I'm articulating it well (I'm writing on my phablet, in a bar with HawkWife as we celebrate our anniversary), but hopefully those who know me understand the gist of what I'm trying to say.

    •  The conflation of race and identity is (5+ / 0-)

      problematic if as I believe identity is, with some allowances for non-race-based individual variations in temperament and so forth, culturally transmitted. A high incidence of certain preferences, beliefs and cultural expressions with certain observable physical traits is an historical artifact. Race is no more central to identity than are hair and eye color.

      I much prefer my keyboard to my touch screen tablet for this sort of communication too. I had to quit drinking so have one for me too. Congratulations and cheers!

      The frog jumped/ into the old pond/ plop! (Basho)

      by Wolf10 on Sun Apr 27, 2014 at 02:55:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  the fiction of race and reality of identities (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Wolf10, frostbite, whl

        I've always refused to identity with the term "person of colour".  It seems like such a self-alienating term.  In no way is "race" a useful term either.  We all have several identities, and some of those are alienated, so the term "alienated identities" is the one I prefer to use for those treat as "other", and "oppressed identities" for those identities that people with power & privilege actively discriminate against.  Can we ever achieve a post-alienated and post-oppressed society with a diversity of identities is a much more useful question with a clear metric to judging the answer.

        •  quite right. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          "I've always refused to identity with the term "person of colour"."

          I have always refused to self-identify as a "person of paleness", though in my case, it might more accurately be a "person of near transparency". why you ask? because just one, sunlight-reflecting glance at me, and it becomes painfully obvious, so an actual title would probably be kind of superfluous anyway.

          all that said, I pretty much go along with how anyone wants to be identified, or not. as far as I'm concerned, it's their prerogative, not mine.

  •  Iow’s, merely acknowledging bias does not.. (13+ / 0-)

    .create it; was what I took from the latter section of Justice Sonja Maria Sotomayors dissent:

    “The stark reality is that race still matters. The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to speak openly and candidly on the subject of race, and to apply the constitution with eyes open to the unfortunate effects of centuries of racial discrimination..

    ..we ought not sit back and wish away, rather than confront, the racial inequality that exists in our society. It is this view that works harm, by perpetuating the facile notion that what makes race matter is acknowledging the simple truth that race does still matter.”

    From the highlighted part that is

    I thought that Justice Sotomayor was in alignment with Justice Breyer on inclusion though..

    The Constitution does not protect racial minorities from political defeat," she wrote. "But neither does it give the majority free rein to erect selective barriers against racial minorities." Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg joined the dissent.
    ..So thanks for correction, analysis and the law/cases related in this

    Thx Armando

    P.S. Justice Sotomayor really did get to Roberts. Her arguments exposed him on this and his response was sort of needlessly personal and sort of of childish - imo - kind of surprised me a bit

  •  Race matters, and Elections matter. (8+ / 0-)

    Where would we be as a country with a few different appointments on the Supreme court?

    I am also grateful however that I am not reading a diary that discusses Justice Bork's opinions on race.

    I appreciate the write up Armando.

  •  As long as people do NOT take privilege into (13+ / 0-)

    consideration, and the dead weight of historical privilege,
    racism will continue to be bolstered and built into our institutions.

    White people, especially wealthy white people, have had the leg up in our society for four hundred years and more. The insanity of opposing affirmative action after a few cases of disgruntled whites have come up for about thirty years makes me sick.

    "The soil under the grass is dreaming of a young forest, and under the pavement the soil is dreaming of grass."--Wendell Berry

    by Wildthumb on Sun Apr 27, 2014 at 03:07:38 PM PDT

  •  Justice Sotomayor ignores the historical (0+ / 0-)

    oppression of Asians and Jews in America and uses the 14th amendment to discriminate against those minorities in favor of Blacks and Hispanics (who were the least discriminated group of the 4 minorities).

  •  Oh come on now (8+ / 0-)

    You're really rying to argue that race matters?  Haven't the events in Utah put paid to the idea that the government treats racial groups differently.  

    Admittedly we need to use our imagination to conjure up a scenario equivalent to the Bundy Ranch. But I have no doubt that if a group of inter-city African Americans refused to pay the rent on their subsidized housing and, joined by some well armed brothers from Compton, Chicago & Watts, had met the evicting sheriff with semi automatic rifles, the government would have backed down "toot sweet".  Clearly, Mr. Hannity & friends would be singing their praises.

    •  heh - you just proved that is does, especially.. (5+ / 0-) those on the right.

      But I have no doubt that if a group of inter-city African Americans refused to pay the rent on their subsidized housing and, joined by some well armed brothers from Compton, Chicago & Watts, had met the evicting sheriff with semi automatic rifles, the government would have backed down "toot sweet".  

      Clearly, Mr. Hannity & friends would be singing their praises.

      - nice conjuring right there
  •  Here's the thing about race (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Wolf10, frostbite, Chi, kfunk937, whl

    People complain about the giving of 'special treatment' to others because of the color of their skin - but of course it's about more than that. It's about the perception of perceived privilege of any kind, and privilege is just the other side of the coin of discrimination. It's about being different in some discernible way - even if the discernment is based on criteria with no logical basis.

    It's not just about skin color after all. It's about things like gender, age, religion, ethnicity, ugly/pretty, country/region/town of origin, wealth/poverty, etc. and somehow the axes always seem to be drawn along numbers and power.

    It can be something as outré as what Hogwarts House the Sorting Hat puts someone in. Humans are driven by perceptions of status and the expectations that come with it, their own and those imposed upon them by others. It's how we roll. There may be perfect equality and justice in Heaven, but the only kind you'll find down here on this planet is that which we ourselves craft, however imperfectly.

    You never hear the beneficiaries of privilege complain about it being unfair; more often then not they rationalize it as 'normal', as something they deserve for whatever reason. For them, there's no question of fairness because they don't see it as being unfair at all. And, it therefore it follows in their minds that people of lesser status than theirs have arrived there as a matter of nature - their own and the way the world 'operates'. So it's not their fault and it's not their responsibility to solve other people's problems.

    But here's the thing. Everyone of us IS inherently different - as individuals. There will always be some criteria by which we are judged. The question is whether or not that treatment makes any kind of sense, whether or not it is on our own merits, or by some group standard - and who decides what that criteria is and how inclusion in that group occurs.

    I suspect one reason there is so much animosity over race in this country is because of race, of course - but also because it provides a useful distraction from something far more basic: wealth. So many of the problems ascribed to race, etc. really come down to money, as in who has it, who doesn't, and who controls those differences. Martin Luther King may have fought for racial justice, but he came to realize it's also about economic justice. That's a part of history that has been 'left behind'.

    We currently have a country experiencing inequality on steroids. We have a Congress largely of, by and for the wealthy. We have a Roberts Court with a majority that passed muster under the criteria of the oligarchs who worked to put them there. While the question of race is an important one, we should be aware it's not the only area where America is facing great struggles.

    The sad thing is, for a time it seemed as though economic justice was within our grasp (as long as you were a white male, at least), and it got derailed once we started trying to extend it beyond those boundaries - especially as Wealth, in the form of the one party always dedicated it, saw it could be used as a wedge issue to reverse that progress.  

    And now here we are, with some of us wondering what the Hell happened - and others smirking "Mission accomplished." The idea that America is now "post-racial" is as fatuous as the old discredited doctrine of "separate but equal."

    "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

    by xaxnar on Sun Apr 27, 2014 at 03:42:30 PM PDT

  •  This Robert's court leaves little for history (5+ / 0-)

    Thank goodness for Obama's appointment of this woman! I enjoyed this diary. This Robert's court either barely writes or doesn't disclose enough of a paper trail as previous Justices did for historic oversight or review. Robert's it seems has chosen to skip over any future accounting of their time or the consequences of their (bad)decisions.  We have volumes on other Justices of the past in our Congressional Library. This Robert's court is totally closed off in comparison!  It's the most closed, hidden Supreme court in my lifetime. But what can we do?

    Robert's refuses camera's, video's, tapings, and few papers are created about their decisions even after they're made.  One refused to even give a speech if they videoed him.(in what turned out to be a true rant of his anti gay comments).  The secrecy is wrong. The Robert's court leaves almost nothing to show how they think or come to the conclusions they do about the grave changes they're responsible for.

    We need a way to be allowed as a people to demand more disclosure and accountability. The Supreme court is the ONLY Political job where there is no public oversight at all, or even ( it seems) a penalty, if they do the wrong thing. Now, with this court, little to no record really to review in the future either. I'm so proud of this woman! We need 8 more like her.

    Instead of Sotomayor's clear mind, and logical reasoning, we have a Bush appointed "Good job Brownie" Justice in charge. Robert's is the dire consequence of an unqualified President appointing unqualified men who place their narrow Partisan and even personal opinions above the Constitution or the accepted laws precedent!

    If this doesn't make people shudder, and go vote to change things, we may have another Thomas or Scalia appointed because we fail to turn out in these midterms as a party. The GOP has to go, and we all have work to do, to undo what this court has done with Citizen's United..
    The last thing we need is another secretive partisan Justice..aka Thomas, Robert's, Scalia. It seems they have plenty of UGLY things to say in private speeches with the public not listening to how mean many of (especially Thomas)their comments are if any are made..History will have less to review or explain of what this court did than we do today.
    I'm so glad we have a Sotomayor on the bench.

    •  I'd like to see them give a statement (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Eric Nelson

      about why they choose to accept or reject a petition. And I think at a minimum the vote tally on those decisions to accept or reject a petition should be a matter of public record.

      Even better would be for the names/votes for/against to be tallied.

      "The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.” — William Arthur Ward

      by LilithGardener on Sun Apr 27, 2014 at 04:21:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I love that somone like her is a justice. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, vcmvo2, Chi, whl

    "I can hire one-half of the working class to kill the other half." - Jay Gould, robber baron of the first Gilded Age.

    by cjenk415 on Sun Apr 27, 2014 at 03:47:20 PM PDT

  •  Just think about if (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LilithGardener, poco, whl

    ...the case was about legacy preferences in university admissions instead of affirmative action preferences in university admissions.  Or financial donor preferences in university admissions.

    Would Dubya ever gotten into Yale or Harvard?

    50 states, 210 media market, 435 Congressional Districts, 3080 counties, 192,480 precincts

    by TarheelDem on Sun Apr 27, 2014 at 04:00:48 PM PDT

  •  If Clarence Thomas were honest, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kfunk937, whl

    he'd have joined Justice Sotomayor in her dissent because, during his confirmation hearings, it was shown repeatedly that he benefited from affirmative action then in place.

    But we know he is not honest.

  •  A lot of what Movement Conservatives do and say (9+ / 0-)

    is pretty infuriating to me.

    But one particularly odious thing that Movement Conservatives, of all stripes really, do is what John Roberts did here. In fact, this little jem comes up, over and over and over and over again. People standing behind Cliven Bundy with AR-15s and a Chief Justice of the Supreme Court do it with equal speed. If Movement Conservatives had their druthers, Elizabeth Warren would be automatically considered 'uncivil' or 'unserious' for this sin.

    Movement Conservative motives, mythology, policy, and actions often do not stand up to scrutiny or analysis nor do they hold up well under autopsy or review. It's one of the most incredibly laden with disasters and failures and gobsmackingly hinky predictions vs. results.

    What to do? What to do?


    Make it a bigger sin to intellectually and politically confront them than for them to be wrong or acting in bad faith on matters of great importance. Appeal to the cult of the fainting couch for absolution and a 'get out of fail free' card. Nobody should be able to play this game without being subjected to a tsunami of laughter. Her sin is.... she's right. But her being right makes me look bad. So. Her being right hurts my feelings and makes me look really bad and I can wish it away to the corn field. So. Waaaaaah! So much of what happens in DC is done to this absurd, and one-way, standard that's its just a perfect default defense for everything from lying us into wars to gutting landmark legal protections to denying people of color the right to vote freely for the crime of not finding the GOP appealing as a party.

    If you accurately/bluntly describe/quote what I have done/said, you are attacking/insulting me.

    People can disagree in good faith on this issue, but it similarly does more harm than good to question the openness and candor of those on either side of the debate.
    John Roberts is too smart to not know that this is crap. That's why I think of him as worse than Scalia and Alito. He sits with them while they outright troll America some days. I'm glad Bader-Ginsberg and Sotomayor are willing to ignore the 'When I whine, you stop' rules the way Elizabeth Warren does.

    The person whose actions are in question sets the gold standard for all others in terms of analyzing the fruits of his actions. What a boon to bad faith. Can MLB pitchers with gobs of pine tar on their upper arms or the sides of their necks get in on this action?  

    What a great salve to the talk radio bullshit artist and the mathematically illiterate 'king of the conservative policy wonks' alike. Paul Ryan's math is unquestionable, because Paul Ryan says so.

    What a golden ticket to an ideology that so greatly panders to deeply embedded racial resentment. We see legions of angry people stewing in the cold-sweat inducing fear that an America ruled by a majority of people who are of color will be an America where those people of color will take a systemic revenge on their historic abusers. Because that is what they would do. "What if those people... are like us? Do what we would do in their shoes?" But... race is not a problem anymore.

    Jesus. Wept.

    The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.
    Millions of people of color are at risk of having their right to vote freely curbed or removed. Not four or five or six decades ago. Now.

    The Tea Party was born of out the fear of racists that people of color were like them and that revenge was coming if they didn't blow up the tracks of governance before that train rolled in. Also, the Heritage Foundation of the 80's has evolved into the Heritage Action of Jim DeMint for the same reason. Hell, Antonin Scalia sounds like a troll on a yahoo message board from the 1990s off the bench for this reason.

    Paranoia over fear of a brown planet, but, we "fixed" racism as my white neighbor notes his kid's school is named after 'that black guy who I heard discovered peanut butter' or Martin Luther King Jr. so obviously we nailed that down years ago.  

    I'm so fucking tired of this shit. In the age of the rich white deadbeat rancher's 'Negroes were better off as slaves' debacle and the 'you can't associate me and my views with the views of the racist I was gleefully carrying around on my shoulders yesterday'.

    She's absolutely right, and you are dead wrong.

    My fee-fees!  

    "I'm not racist, because I don't feel that I'm racist. Since I don't feel I'm racist, you can't look at the evidence and find that I have aided and abetted racism, as, I take umbrage at the slight."

    Based on that standard, why desegregate the schools in Arkansas, as the locals were cool with it, and not cool with outside agitators calling it racist? They felt they were entirely motivated by good faith, that the other side was exaggerating their case for political/ideological reasons, wantonly disregarding their self-confirmed good faith, and it was a great affront to say otherwise. Maybe I shouldn't say this at all. Sarcasm in an age where Clarence Thomas, Sam Alito, Antonin Scalia, and John Roberts sit on the bench? Why, that might be taken as wise council and good advice instead of absurdity. We have this weird world where blatant bad faith is bulletproof. Where people who are gutting landmark legal decisions will lose their shit if you say, out loud, that they don't seem to appreciate their significance or celebrate their existence. Judge me on what I say, not what I do.  

    You know you are wrong when you not only seek to create a climate where she has to apologize for the sin of being spot on, but it is existentially necessary for you to roll as your roll.  

    What a great deal you have there, John Roberts. You get to decide, for the rest of us, the standard of judging your actions and your ideologies good faith and that standard is 'because I say so'.  

    I'm a white guy. I don't get to tell black and brown people that racism is done and the discussion is over, anymore than I get to tell women that there is absolute equality between the sexes. My gut feelings vs. their living experience? I don't get the job. I don't get to call those balls and strikes. I get to listen to others on that front. As a white guy, it bothers me that so many people like me have come to such radically different conclusions based on the same evidence. That's how I arrived at the 'they will take revenge, because we would' theory of American conservatism. You have to view the world where the stick you are trying to avoid is big enough to make all manner of intellectual dishonestly okay and evidence that refutes your conclusion an attack on your character rather than evidence to be considered.  

    The deeper one digs into Movement Conservative scholarship/lawmaking the more one finds that fundamentally questioning its assumptions challenging its mythology is often ruled out of bounds by the Movement Conservatives as soon as possible in the process. Because it couldn't pass the laugh test if it didn't.

    I honestly don't know some days how America will survive. Either the death throes of people voting against their best interests in the service of racial resentment indirectly acting in the service of Oligarchy, or the compounding damage that economic Movement Conservatism in the direct service of Oligarchy is doing.

    For me, America being a majority minority nation is something I long for. Give me a US Supreme Court with many wise latinas and one fewer Reaganite-approved gatekeepers of the past of color. Give me a House of Representatives and Senate that is historically diverse. People of color cannot possibly systematically shit the bed as often, and as completely, as generations of rich white people and the poor white people they rook have.

    I want to live in an America where Sam Alito's ceiling is as World Net Daily's in-house Legal Scholar.

    “Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times is enemy action.” — Auric Goldfinger

    by LeftHandedMan on Sun Apr 27, 2014 at 04:27:12 PM PDT

    •  On Chait (9+ / 0-)

      He fundamentally refuses to accept that he doesn't get to set the boundaries for discussions about other people's lives and life experiences.

      White people telling black people about the boundaries of discussions of race and the lines of progress as it relates to their actual existence? I find that mind-boggling.

      But not as mind-boggling as the outrage and anger, and it was quick to rise up, at the idea that other adults wouldn't fall into line like a 1rst grade class when teacher is speaking.

      When you find yourself talking to professors and intellectuals like they are being abusive or insulting for not letting you define the borders of their own lives and their own communities struggles and achievements for the purposes of your discussion about their world, you need to step back and re-examine what you are doing.

      The one thing that makes me hold Chait, and Roberts, in extra-contempt is that, on some level, they are too smart to know that they are not in the wrong, but recognizing that doesn't suit the agenda, so, they are offended and wronged.

      His appearance on Melissa Harris Perry's show on MSNBC was watching a person who has no plan B if a discussion that he has injected himself into doesn't stay on the course that he charts for that discussion.

      “Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times is enemy action.” — Auric Goldfinger

      by LeftHandedMan on Sun Apr 27, 2014 at 04:36:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Excellent rant LeftHandedMan (6+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Armando, poco, grover, LeftHandedMan, kfunk937, whl

        ..and that means excellent reasoning and spot on the issues about the "conservative" movement above that

        The one thing that makes me hold Chait, and Roberts, in extra-contempt is that, on some level, they are too smart to know that they are not in the wrong, but recognizing that doesn't suit the agenda, so, they are offended and wronged.
        With one question: didn't you mean - "they are too smart to not know that they are in the wrong.." (?)
    •  You are always so on point with your comments. (9+ / 0-)

      Always a joy to read your take. Thanks.

      "No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money." -- JC, Matthew 6:24

      by Chi on Sun Apr 27, 2014 at 05:58:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  We must constantly fight prejudice (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eric Nelson, whl

    There is an endless supply of white men, there has always been a limited number of Human Beings

    by ratprique on Sun Apr 27, 2014 at 04:37:04 PM PDT

    •  The above link is to Tim Minchin's brilliant (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      and must see take on PREJUDICE.  Please take the time to watch.  You will not be sorry.  I guarantee.

      There is an endless supply of white men, there has always been a limited number of Human Beings

      by ratprique on Sun Apr 27, 2014 at 04:44:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Late to this discussion, but . . . (0+ / 0-)

    One of the things that bothers me about all of these decisions over the past 34 years is how carefully the "good guys" tippy-toe around some strange form of personal etiquette and excellent manners in writing dissents.

    And the media act, speak, and write as if there is some protocol for describing people such as Rehnquist, Roberts, Alito, Scalia, and Thomas. We must all be polite.

    Justice Sotomayor is probably constrained by some need to at least be civil. But c'mon folks . . . Sotomayor was "making nice" when she wrote her dissent to Schuette. But Roberts understood her perfectly well.

    We need representatives in the House and some senators to speak truth to ignorance, stand up, and state their very clear, accurate observations on the situation. I rarely use foul language in person or in my writing.

    But here, I'll start and you guys follow my lead:

    John Roberts is a fucking goddamned racist son-of-a-bitch.

    Now your turn.

    We're all just working for Pharaoh.

    by whl on Mon Apr 28, 2014 at 01:01:49 PM PDT

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site