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February 20th, 2014
thesmithian

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas…Whenever he opens his mouth about race, he displays a surprising myopia for a 65-year-old African American man who was raised in the Deep South during a segregated era.

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Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas…Whenever he opens his mouth about race, he displays a surprising myopia for a 65-year-old African American man who was raised in the Deep South during a segregated era.

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August 29th, 2013
thesmithian
…I will be working with people like John Lewis in reaching out to both Republicans and Democrats in Congress to see if Congress is prepared to amend the Voting Rights Act to ensure that people are not being prevented from voting…But Congress doesn’t move real quickly around here…and if we can go ahead and move administratively so that our attorney general can go ahead in jurisdictions that seem to be intent on preventing people from voting—and that have a racial element to it, even though largely it’s probably for partisan reasons—then we need to go ahead and enforce the law…the Voting rights Act has a number of tools. Section 4, which was struck down, was not the only tool available.
President Barack Obama, on PBS NewsHour
August 11th, 2013
thesmithian

The North had won the war and slavery had ended, but there the gains stalled, leading Quaker poet/abolitionist John Greenleaf Whittier to lament that, between…carpet-baggers and Confederate vigilantes, the newly freed slaves in the South “had not been saved from suffering,” yet “I see no better course”…”The negro will disappear from the field of national politics,” wrote the Nation, a modern liberal beacon then in its infancy. “Henceforth that nation, as a nation, will have nothing to do with him.” It’s hard in an era of voter suppression efforts in minority neighborhoods, with a Supreme Court that devalues the Civil Rights Act, and when an armed Florida vigilante can spark a confrontation and then claim self-defense, to not measure past against present. Especially given the argument streaming through conservative America that this is a post-racial society in which blacks no longer need special protections from the legal system. Whites and blacks have a different history in these same United States, and it behooves us to recognize that. And to sense—in the present—the weight of the past.

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The North had won the war and slavery had ended, but there the gains stalled, leading Quaker poet/abolitionist John Greenleaf Whittier to lament that, between…carpet-baggers and Confederate vigilantes, the newly freed slaves in the South “had not been saved from suffering,” yet “I see no better course”…”The negro will disappear from the field of national politics,” wrote the Nation, a modern liberal beacon then in its infancy. “Henceforth that nation, as a nation, will have nothing to do with him.” It’s hard in an era of voter suppression efforts in minority neighborhoods, with a Supreme Court that devalues the Civil Rights Act, and when an armed Florida vigilante can spark a confrontation and then claim self-defense, to not measure past against present. Especially given the argument streaming through conservative America that this is a post-racial society in which blacks no longer need special protections from the legal system. Whites and blacks have a different history in these same United States, and it behooves us to recognize that. And to sense—in the present—the weight of the past.

more.

July 16th, 2013
thesmithian
…the mood right now is in sharp contrast to the jubilation many people felt in 2008 after electing the country’s first black president. And mood matters. The expectation for change was certainly outsized and maybe, in some ways, wildly unrealistic. But the hope was that any movement would be forward—not backward. And all of this, taken together, feels like blacks are losing ground.
Dawn Turner Trice, at the Chicago Tribune
July 3rd, 2013
thesmithian
…on the question of voting rights, southerners were actually more opposed to the court’s decision (53 percent opposition) than the country as a whole (51 percent opposition).
Jed Lewison, at Daily Kos
July 1st, 2013
thesmithian
Former slave state officials wasted little time in announcing their intention to move forward with voter suppression laws that had previously been blocked under the Voting Rights Act—voter identification laws, early voting laws, even voter registration laws. But Democrats in Congress just as quickly announced their intention to pass an updated replacement for Section 4. Added to this past year’s electoral experience, when the response to voter suppression efforts lead to the highest minority voter turnout ever, the prospects are potentially disastrous for the GOP. In that respect, the conservatives’ over-reach in Shelby County may turn out to be less like Plessy, and more like an even more infamous case, Dred Scott, which tried to settle slavery as a political issue once and for all, but only ended up fueling the rush toward civil war and eventual emancipation.
Paul Rosenberg, at Random Lengths News
June 30th, 2013
thesmithian

Back in 2005, John Roberts, then a judge on the DC circuit court, drew significant support from ostensibly progressive legal pundits…

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June 30th, 2013
thesmithian
I’m here to say to the Gang of Five, that you may have thrown yet another roadblock in our path, but we’re here, we’re not going away, and some day soon you won’t be on that panel…As has often been pointed out, you may not think we are people, with rights, though you’ve given personhood to corporations. Lest you smugly snuggle in your chambers, figuring that you’ve nixed the ‘black thing,’ I’ve got news for you—civil rights and voting rights are not just about us black folks…Native Americans, Asian Americans and Latinos filed amici curiae briefs…Asian American, Alaskan Natives and Asian Pacific Islanders are not taking this lightly…None of us are stupid. We’ve seen where this is heading.
Denise Oliver Velez, at Daily Kos
June 28th, 2013
thesmithian

'While journalists and academics pay much attention to the Supreme Court and “the Nine,” the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, considered by some to be the second most important U.S. court, often goes ignored…'

The D.C. Circuit is the training ground for the Supreme Court and the place where much of the nation’s regulatory framework is decided. In its current form, it is one the most dangerous courts in the land. Much has been written recently about the four vacant seats (out of eleven) on the D.C. Circuit and the Republican filibuster on all of Obama’s nominations to the court.

However…

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