Posts Tagged ‘supreme court’

Kagan Docs Show Support For #AffirmativeAction

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

(CBS News) While working as a domestic policy adviser to President Clinton, Elena Kagan emphatically agreed with a proposal to strongly defend affirmative action in the Supreme Court, while at the same time siding with a white teacher who was laid off instead of a black colleague solely because of her race.

“I think this is exactly the right position–as a legal matter, as a policy matter, and as a political matter,” Kagan wrote by hand in the margin of a memo from then-Solicitor General Walter Dellinger about the controversial case, Piscataway Board of Education v. Taxman.

That posture — strategic and careful — is reflected throughout the 46,500 pages of documents contained in the Clinton Library and released on Friday. The documents represent about a third of the Kagan documents stored in the Library and cover her time as a deputy domestic policy adviser to President Clinton from 1997-1999.

Full story…

Under the U.S. Supreme Court: Challenge to Ariz. law may be shaky. #hispanic #latino #racialprofiling

Sunday, May 30th, 2010

(UPI) Civil liberties groups have mounted a passionate constitutional attack against Arizona’s tough new illegal immigrant law, saying its “sweeping requirements” violate the U.S. and state constitutions and will lead to racial profiling.

A complaint filed in federal court in Phoenix last week raises the specter of a Hispanic-American, or any other ethnic American, having to carry a passport to prove U.S. citizenship to avoid detention.

Feelings run just as high on the other side. Proponents of the law say illegal immigration costs Arizona about $2.7 billion a year in education and police operations — read Hispanic gangs — among other things.

Rassmussen Reports says a national telephone survey of 1,000 likely voters, conducted April 22-23, found 60 percent of voters nationwide support the law while 31 percent oppose it. Still, 58 percent said they believe implementing the law will result in civil rights violations for some people. The margin of error was 3 percentage points.

Full story…

Latest affirmative action court decision doesn’t meet the smell test

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

This week the Supreme Court ruled in favor of a group of white firefighters in New Haven CT whose promotion exam was thrown out by the city for fear of litigation because the results yielded no qualified black candidates. The Court ruled that the fear of litigation is not enough evidence to show racial discrimination.

I agree, and for once find myself agreeing with the conservative wingnuts of the Court – Roberts, Scalio, Alito, and Thomas. But on the other hand this court decision really doesn’t meet the smell test when it comes to a referendum on affirmative action.

According to a recent opinion poll, 56% of the public support affirmative action for minorities while only 36% oppose it. And yet a poll conducted by Quinnipiac University cited in a June 3rd McClatchy article before the Supreme Court ruling indicated a 71% opposition to nominee Sonia Sotomayor’s appellate court decision to rule in favor of New Haven on the case, and a 56-36% support for abolishing affirmative action altogether.

Even though these polling results seem contradictory, I think they are reflective of the public’s acknowledgment that we still have a race problem but no easy way to solve it. The problem is not whether THE test is biased. The problem is that A test is biased.

Is a written test the best way of determining who is the most qualified firefighter? Or for that matter is a written test the best way of determining the most qualified candidates for any job?

We need to stop evaluating affirmative action based on test results, even though it is tempting to do so because of the quantitative nature of tests. Otherwise there are a few million Asian Americans in this country who deserve a promotion.

For more information, check out this article in the New York Times.

Ethnicmajority Affirmative Action page.

How do you spell “wedge issue” – Sotomayor

Monday, June 1st, 2009

Sonia Sotomayor, President Obama’s nominee for the Supreme Court is imminently qualified and her credentials and experience are indisputable. And she is a Latino woman. This is the ultimate “two-fer” for Obama and the Democrats.

The right-wing Republicans were going to protest against any nominee further left than Antonin Scalia anyway, just to show their ever-shrinking base that the party is still alive. In the process, their opposition has irritated scores of women and Latinos. Not a good idea for a party struggling to convince the public that their tent is getting bigger, not smaller.

That’s bad enough, but how do you make the situation even worse? Start by claiming that Sotomayor is racist for her comments a few years ago that her background and experiences made her a better judge. This is basically the same thing every judge says during their confirmation hearing because it is reasonable and logical – except if your experiences include being a Latina and a woman.

It appears that the Republicans are still using the Karl Rove playbook – attack your opponent for your own weaknesses. I await step two from the playbook. Accuse Sotomayor of being: a) a terrorist, b) an illegal immigrant, c) unpatriotic, or d) all of the above.

EthnicMajority Politics page.

Supreme Court takes on race cases

Tuesday, April 21st, 2009

While the election of Barack Obama has signaled a more liberal attitude towards diversity in politics by the American public, we shouldn’t forget that the Supreme Court still has considerable authority over race relations through its case decisions. Here the Bush legacy lives on in the form of Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito. Their appointments by Obama’s predecessor have turned the court far to the conservative side and their opinions thus far on race issues have not been encouraging.

This session the court will take on four significant civil rights cases.

The most high-profile case involves a promotions test for New Hampshire firefighters the results of which were set aside because no African Americans and only one Hispanic American passed. The firefighters who passed the test are suing to eliminate any diversity considerations from the promotion eligibility process.

There is also a challenge to the Voting Rights Act that questions Congress’ authority to enforce voting rights at the State and local level, an English-only case in Arizona public schools, and discriminatory lending case in New York.

The conservative leanings of the court already do not create an optimistic view toward potential rulings, but it seems that the country is in a different place on race relations since Obama’s election. The election of the first African American President has created an “anything is possible” attitude, in spite of a worsening economy, two wars raging on, and fragile international relations.

With all of these problems and a black man as President, are race relations even an issue? Stay tuned to see how the Supreme Court gives its two cents.

For more information, see related stories in the USA Today and Washington Post.

Ethnicmajority Civil Rights page.

Subscribe to RSS feed