The Republic of T.

Black. Gay. Father. Vegetarian. Buddhist. Liberal.

Digest for June 25th

Here are some of the people writing about some of the stuff I wish I had time to write about, for June 25th from 11:35 to 11:43:

  • Kevin Cathcart: From Criminals to Newlyweds in 10 Years – Question: In 10 years, how did we get from an America in which 13 states still had anti-sodomy laws that made criminals of lesbian and gay people just for having sex to an America where 13 jurisdictions allow same-sex couples the freedom to marry?

    Answer: We relied on the Constitution.

  • Is Paula Deen Just a Product of Her Deep-Fried-Racist Time? – That's the question that seems to be bubbling to the surface in the fallout from Deen's n-word controversey. Bill Maher made the case on his show recently, asking, "If you're 66 years old, and you were raised in Georgia, and you were a child before the civil rights movement, do you get a bit of a pass?"
  • The real supreme court stunner: sometimes workplace harassment is OK | Jason Farago – In Vance v Ball State University, the US supreme court has ruled that job harassment only counts if it's from a 'supervisor'.
  • Watching Zimmerman’s Trial Might Break Your Heart – George Zimmerman is finally having his day in court. We know that the jury includes some interesting, concealed-weapons-permit-having jurors. The stage is now set for heartbreak from the witness stand.

    In a case about life and death–and the charge of second-degree murder to be specific–Zimmerman defense attorney Don West started his opening statement with a knock-knock joke that no one seemed to find too amusing.

  • The solution to US public schools is not corporate America | Daniel Denvir – We're slashing K-12 funding and teachers and then turning our schools over to private operators. This is hardly good 'reform'.
  • Chris Weigant: The Long Road to Societal Change – This is a post about Paula Deen, racism, and the upcoming gay marriage decisions from the Supreme Court. But mostly it's an article about the long, slow road to true changes in American society. The beginning of this road always starts with the prevailing casual acceptance of bigotry and prejudice in everyday life, and the road doesn't end until society as a whole reaches the point of near-universal condemnation of a way of thinking which used to be widespread and unremarkable.
  • This Study Said the South Is More Racist Than the North – Certainly plenty of people outside of the South are racist, and plenty of people in the South are not. But here's the trouble: there's social science evidence that, 150 years after the Civil War, Southern states do have bigger racism problems than states outside the South. And many of them are the same states that the VRA requires to seek federal approval before changing their voting laws.
  • Yes, Justice Thomas, Affirmative Action Is Constitutional – As the Prospect's Jamelle Bouie notes, yesterday the Supreme Court finally released Fisher v. University of Texas, its long-awaited affirmative action ruling and … mostly decided not to decide. There is surely a juicy story waiting to be uncovered about why the Court took eight months to issue a ruling that barely took up 40 pages and left the current state of the law essentially untouched. (It's hard not to suspect that a coalition favoring a much broader majority opinion ultimately crumbled.) In addition to the minimalist majority opinion, however, there was a concurrence by Justice Clarence Thomas—who agreed with the majority that the case should be sent back to the lower court, but for different reasons—that laid out the case for ruling affirmative action unconstitutional in essentially all circumstances. This concurrence is worth attending to, because it inadvertently lays out the fundamental weakness of the case against affirmative action.
  • Court Assault on Voting Rights Frames Need for Constitutionally Guaranteed Right-to-Vote – Enacting a right-to-vote amendment will be difficult. But it is necessary. And the movement to amend the constitution will create space for more immediate action at the congressional and state levels to address the Supreme Court's decision.
  • Voting Rights Dominoes Start To Fall – We'll have more later about this decision and its implications, but basically the Court's majority took the easiest route for killing Section 5, the powerful voting rights instrument that requires mostly- (but not exclusively) southern jurisdictions making changes in laws or procedures that might "dilute" minority voting influence to submit them in advance for "preclearance" by the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department. Section 4 sets out the formula for which jurisdictions are under Section 5, and which are not. By declaring Section 4 unconstitutional because its measurements of the kind of past voting discrimination needed to trigger coverage under Section 5 are allegedly "outmoded," the Court is essentially suspending Section 5 itself until such time as Congress rewrites Section 4. Good luck with that.

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