Appeals Court Reinstates Texas Voter ID Law

Appeals Court Reinstates Texas Voter ID Law

Appeals Court Reinstates Texas Voter ID Law (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

TEXAS VOTER ID LAW:  An appeals court judge overturned a ruling by a federal court judge reinstating the Texas voter ID law remain in place when early voting starts next week. This sets up a possible appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

A three-judge panel of new Orleans-based court announced Tuesday afternoon that it had issued a stay of a Corpus Christi federal court’s ruling that likened the law to a “poll tax” and deemed it unconstitutional. The Texas Attorney General’s office appealed the ruling to the 5th Circuit, but also asked for an emergency stay so the law implemented in 2013 could remain in place for next month’s election.

“In light of the importance of maintaining the status quo on the eve of an election, we find that the traditional factors for granting a stay favor granting one here,” the court wrote.The plaintiffs opposing the strict law likely will appeal the stay to the full court, to the Supreme Court, or both benches simultaneously. Source: Houston Chronicle

SCOTUS Rules in Hobby Lobby’s Favor on Obamacare Contraception Mandate

Obamacare Smackdown: SCOTUS Rules in Hobby Lobby's Favor on Contraception

Obamacare Smackdown: SCOTUS Rules in Hobby Lobby’s Favor on Contraception

As if we didn’t see this coming, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that closed held companies with religious owners can refuse to pay for contraception. But there’s a caveat — the government can pay for birth control itself, so the women will receive it. The Court makes clear that women can still get coverage and it isn’t opening the door to more religious claims. So, all is not lost.

The ACLU tweeted:  ‘Supreme Court rules bosses can use religion to discriminate against women in decision for Hobby Lobby.’

Sonia Sotomayor Attacks John Roberts Over Affirmative Action, Ron Christie Begs to Differ

Sonia Sotomayor Attacks John Roberts Over Affirmative Action,  Ron Christie Begs to Differ

Sonia Sotomayor Attacks John Roberts Over Affirmative Action, Ron Christie Begs to Differ (Credit: Atlanta Black Star)

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor delivers scathing rebuke to the court striking down affirmative action, as being out of touch with reality:

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.

Sotomayor didn’t mention Chief Justice John Roberts by name, be was alluding to his frequently quoted line from 2007 case: “The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race,” Talking Points Memo reports.

But black Republican strategist Ron Christie begs to differ. He envisions “race-blind” education that can “focus on root problems.” Is that why we are seeing resegregation of schools in certain pockets of America?

Without checks, democratically approved legislation can oppress minority groups.  For that reason, our Constitution places limits on what a majority of the people may do.  This case implicates one such limit: the guarantee of equal protection of the laws.

I take strong exception to the notion that a voter ballot initiative in Michigan to eliminate the consideration of race—and view all applicants based on their academic and extracurricular achievement—is oppressive of minority groups while limiting the Equal Protection provisions in the Bill of Rights.  President Kennedy was prescient in his speech more than a half century ago when he touched on the very issues Justice Sotomayor addressed.

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US Supreme Court Upholds Michigan’s Ban on Affirmative Action

US Supreme Court Upholds Michigan's Ban on Affirmative Action

US Supreme Court Upholds Michigan’s Ban on Affirmative Action (Credit: Wikipedia)

Thanks to an activist US Supreme Court affirmative action is in real jeopardy. SCOTUS upheld a Michigan voter initiative that bans racial preferences in admissions to state universities.

“This case is not about how the debate about racial preferences should be resolved,” Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote in a controlling opinion joined by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., and Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. “It is about who may resolve it. There is no authority in the Constitution of the United States or in this court’s precedents for the judiciary to set aside Michigan laws that commit this policy determination to the voters.”

Justice Sonia Sotomayor read an impassioned dissent from the bench. She said the initiative put minorities to a burden not faced by other applicants to college.

“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…

The vote in the case, Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, No. 12-682, was 6-2. Justice Elena Kagan recused herself, presumably because she had worked on the case as United States solicitor general.

The Michigan initiative, known as Proposal 2, was a response to Grutter v. Bollinger, a 2003 Supreme Court decision that upheld the use of race as one factor among many in law school admissions to ensure educational diversity.

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SCOTUS Strikes Down Overall Limits on Campaign Contributions

SCOTUS Strikes Down Overall Limits on Campaign Contributions

SCOTUS Strikes Down Overall Limits on Campaign Contributions (Credit: Wikipedia)

BREAKING: The US Supreme Court has struck down overall limits on campaign contributions, but leaves in place the cap on donations to single campaigns.

The decision, by a 5-to-4 vote along ideological lines, with the Court’s more conservative justices in the majority, was a sequel of sorts to Citizens United, the 2010 decision that struck down limits on independent campaign spending by corporations and unions. But that ruling did nothing to affect the other main form of campaign finance regulation: caps on direct contributions to candidates and political parties.

Wednesday’s decision in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, No. 12-536, addressed that second kind of regulation.

It did not affect familiar base limits on contributions from individuals to candidates, currently $2,600 per candidate in primary and general elections. But it said that overall limits of $48,600 by individuals every two years for contributions to all federal candidates violated the First Amendment, as did separate aggregate limits on contributions to political party committees, currently $74,600.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., writing for four justices in the controlling opinion, said the First Amendment required striking down the limits. “There is no right in our democracy more basic,” he wrote, “than the right to participate in electing our political leaders.”

Dissenting from the bench, Justice Stephen G. Breyer called the decision a blow to the First Amendment and American democracy. “If the court in Citizens United opened a door,” he said, “today’s decision may well open a floodgate.”

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Black Professionals Struggle as Racial Diversity Ebbs in Many Elite Careers

An analysis finds racial diversity in elite careers such as lawyers and Fortune 500 CEO, have ebbed as a result of the recession that rocked the U.S. There is less of a push for diversity among the upper echelons of many companies than before.  Affirmative Action will be on the chopping block with the U.S. Supreme Court takes up the matter sometime this week on whether the “University of Texas can continue to consider race as one of many factors in its admissions policy.”  The New York Times reports, that “even as racial barriers continue to fall, progress for African-Americans over all has remained slow — and in some cases appears to be stalling.”

Only a little more than 1 percent of the nation’s Fortune 500 companies have black chief executives, although there are some prominent exceptions, like Kenneth I. Chenault of American Express and Ursula M. Burns of Xerox. At the nation’s biggest companies, about 3.2 percent of senior executive positions are held by African-Americans, according to an estimate by the Executive Leadership Council, an organization of current and former black senior executives.

While about 12 percent of the nation’s working-age population is black, about 5 percent of physicians and dentists in the United States are black — a share that has not grown since 1990, according to an analysis of census data that was prepared for The New York Times by sociologists at Queens College of the City University of New York. The analysis found that 3 percent of American architects are black, another field where the share has not increased in more than two decades.

Prominent Republicans, Including Meg Whitman, Sign Brief In Support of Gay Marriage

Same Sex Marriage

Prominent Republicans, Including Meg Whitman, Sign Brief In Support of Gay Marriage (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Many Republicans are coming around to accepting and supporting gay marriage. Dozens of prominent Republicans including Christine Todd Whitman and David Stockman, have signed a legal brief arguing that gays have a constitutional right to marry. That position is the opposite of what many right wing evangelicals believe. This points to a schism within the GOP that has widened since the shellacking the party took in the November election. The document will be submitted later this week to the Supreme Court in support of a suit seeking to strike down Proposition 8, a California ballot initiative barring same-sex marriage, and all similar bans, the New York Times reports.

Among them are Meg Whitman, who supported Proposition 8 when she ran for California governor; Representatives Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida and Richard Hanna of New York; Stephen J. Hadley, a Bush national security adviser; Carlos Gutierrez, a commerce secretary to Mr. Bush; James B. Comey, a top Bush Justice Department official; David A. Stockman, President Ronald Reagan’s first budget director; and Deborah Pryce, a former member of the House Republican leadership from Ohio who is retired from Congress.


But the presence of so many well-known former officials — including Christine Todd Whitman, former governor of New Jersey, and William Weld and Jane Swift, both former governors of Massachusetts — suggests that once Republicans are out of public life they feel freer to speak out against the party’s official platform, which calls for amending the Constitution to define marriage as “the union of one man and one woman.” Source


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Poll: Three-Quarters of Americans Want New Health Care Effort If SCOTUS Strikes Down Obamacare

AP/GfK poll: A new poll finds that just one-third of Americans backs Obamacare, on which the Supreme Court is about to pass judgment possibly on Thursday, but more than three quarters want Congress and the president to begin work on a new bill if the court strikes down the 2-year-old law.

Washington Times Columnist Says Obama Has a Tendency Toward Racial Profiling, Elevated Trayvon Martin Tragedy

The Washington Times columnist Charles Hurt is out with a screed about President Obama’s horrible week and tried to blame him for the mess with Trayvon Martin, saying he has a tendency toward racial profiling. What? In case Charles Hurt hasn’t noticed, President Obama is a black man (though biracial but history dictates that he’s black) and yes, racial profiling is a huge problem for black men. That includes my father,  who is now retired, but he was a law-abiding, hard-working Christian man, who was pulled over by a New York City cop in the early 1990s and roughed up over nothing and threatened by a white officer that he would take his “brand new car” if he mouthed off. I’m pretty sure that same white cop wouldn’t have told Mr. Hurt’s father that.

People on the right like Charles Hurt would like to sweep the racial injustices perpetrated against blacks for decades under a rug. They expect us not to take a stand when there has been an obvious police cover-up in the murder of an unarmed black teen, but to just accept that cover-up because it’s just the right thing to do in their eyes. When Charles Hurt has walked in the shoes of a black American, who has lived through the darkest days in this country’s history, then he has earned the right to accuse President Obama of having a tendency towards racial profiling. Here’s an excerpt from Charles Hurt’s column:

• Last Friday, Mr. Obama wandered into the killing of Trayvon Martin. Aided by his ignorance of the situation, knee-jerk prejudices and tendency toward racial profiling, Mr. Obama played a heavy hand in elevating a tragic situation in which a teenager was killed into a full-blown hot race fight.

Americans, he admonished, need to do some “soul-searching.” And then, utterly inexplicably, he veered off into this bizarre tangent about how he and the poor dead kid look so much alike they could be father and son. It was election-year race-pandering gone horribly wrong.

• By the start of this week, Mr. Obama had fled town and was racing to the other side of the planet just as the Supreme Court was taking up the potentially-embarrassing matter of Obamacare. While in South Korea he was caught on a hidden mic negotiating with the president of our longest-standing rival on how to sell America and her allies down the river once he gets past the next election.

• Meanwhile, back at home, the Supreme Court took up the single most important achievement of Mr. Obama’s presidency and, boy, was it embarrassing. The great constitutional law professor, it turns out, may not quite be the wizard he told us he was.

By most accounts, Mr. Obama and his stuttering lawyers were all but laughed out of the courthouse. They were even stumbling over softball questions lobbed by Mr. Obama’s own hand-picked justices.

• Mr. Obama closed his week pulling off a nearly unimaginable feat: He managed to totally and completely unify the nastily-fighting Democrats and Republicans in Congress. Late Wednesday night, they unanimously voted — 414 to zip — to reject the budget Mr. Obama had presented, leaving him not even a thin lily’s blade to hide behind.

I am in agreement with Hurt’s argument about the Supreme Court and Obamacare. I really don’t see this as a win-win for the Democrats and the president if the Supreme Court throws out this legislation. It will be a big problem for President Obama’s reelection bid. But blaming him for the Trayvon Martin case and for fomenting blacks is just irresponsible. In case Charles Hurt hasn’t noticed, the black experience in this country has been tainted by racial profiling, among other things. Obama is right when he said the country needs to do some “soul-searching” because we have a faction of the population that continues to be racially profiled and too many innocent black males are losing their lives as a result. While I won’t go as far as to compare Trayvon Martin’s death to that of Emmett Till, it does bring the issue of racial profiling front and center. President Obama could have very easily said, while it’s a tragedy, I will allow the legal process to work.